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Saint honoured by the Lord

CHENNAI, OCT. 31. One of the distinguishing features of Hinduism is the universal prayer that is offered by its followers that the entire world should be prosperous and all should enjoy peace. To illustrate this are statements from ancient scriptures but a Tamil verse by a luminary will reveal the mind of our forbears. It points out that if devotees are enabled to continue their service to God, the deity (Lord Ranganatha) at Srirangam will continue to shine in all splendour and the town itself will reverberate with divine chants. If Srirangam is thus kept as a holy pilgrim centre the famous Tamil scripture, "Thiruvoimozhi" of Nammazhwar, will be recited by all and it will gain glory. If this hymn becomes popular and all people recite it, the world, surrounded by oceans, will witness all-round progress. This hymn ends with a plaint that the fame of Saint Manavala Mamunigal should remain among devotees forever for his contribution to spread Ramanuja's philosophy.

In a lecture, Sri Venu Raja Narayan explained the constant fears that afflicted people a few centuries ago about the onslaught on Hindu culture and attempt to wipe out its tradition and the damage caused to temples and idols by alien rulers. But God, out of His compassion, prevents such outrageous acts by deputing His messengers. One of them was Manavala Mamunigal (1370 AD) who is considered as Ramanuja reborn. He took steps to keep the religious flag flying. As one who upheld the definition of a true Vaishnavite, the Acharya, whose religious headquarters was once torched, asked the ruler to forgive the culprit. He took to ascetic order to serve the Lord uninterruptedly. Taking guidance from him were eight enlightened disciples, one of whom was the Jeeyar Swami of the Vanamamalai Math.

Sri Manavala Mamunigal enjoyed the extraordinary privilege of being visited in person (as a boy) by Lord Ranganatha, who recited an adulatory couplet that is being recited even today. When parts of the commentary by another great exponent for Periyazhwar's works were destroyed, Mamunigal restored the missing portion. He has also left a manual on the procedure for daily worship. To see that the administration of the temple at Tirumala was not interrupted he made two Jeeyar Swamis to be in charge of it. The epitomised version of "Thiruvoimozhi" was his another significant contribution. In another work he pours out his heart pleading with the Lord to end his worldly stay and take him to His kingdom.

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