Upadesa Rathinamalai

Srimathe Ramanujaya Nama:
Srimad Vara Vara Munaye Nama:

Manavala Mamunigal, the one with unswerving devotion to the feet of his master Thiruvaimozhippillai (who inturn is comparable to the celestials in his expression of disinclination towards all things material), learnt under the tutelage of his illustrious preceptor, the special meanings of Thiruvaimozhi and of the other Divya Prabandhams, along with the Rahasya Granthas. Out of his abounding generosity, he wrote this grantham “Upadesa Rathinamaalai” or “Jewel-studded Garland of Instructions” to inform his successors about:  (i) The Glory of Azhwars and Purvacharyas belonging to Sath Sampradhayam tradition; (ii) The Greatness of the Thiruvaimozhi Divya Prabandham and its commentaries, (iii) The Eedu Commentary Kalakshepa tradition, (iv) The glory of Srivachana Bhushana divya sastram,  (v) Instructions to Srivaishnavas on how to conduct themselves as worthy seekers of salvation and finally (vi) The revelation of Charamopayam.

The context of this work is nicely captured in the invocatory verse (thaniyan) that Sri. Kovil Kanthadai Annan, one of the eight principal disciples of Manavala Mamunigal, has composed for this grantham:

munnan thiruvAimozhippiLLai thAm upadesitha
nEr thannin padiyaith thaNavAdha sol maNavALa muni
than anbudan sei upadEsa rathinamAlai thannaith
than nenju thannil tharippavar thALgaL saraN namakkE

Their feet are our sole refuge, who, register in their respective hearts, the inner truths conveyed in “Upadesa Rathinamalai”, a work authored by Sri. Manavala Mamunigal by virtue of the spiritual education he received under the tutelage of his acharya Thiruvaimozhippillai, which he in turn offered to the world out of his love for people’s spiritual upliftment.

We shall proceed forward in looking at the English translations for the individual pasurams:

enthai thiruvAimozhippillai innaruLAl
vandha upadEsa mArgaththai sindhai seidhu
pinnavarum kaRka upadEsamAi pesurindREn
manniya seer venpAvil vaiththu

I offer the knowledge gained through the grace of my preceptor Thiruvaimozhippillai to those who follow me in the form of instructions tuned in a poetical construct called venpaa, such that they can learn them and put them to practice.


a. Mamunigal acknowledges his preceptor in this opening verse because the instructions of Thiruvaimozhippillai, by virtue of the latter’s scholarly standing, can be assured of its trustworthiness. Mamunigal, further corroborates through the term ‘Upadesa Margam’ that the words are not just His’ but those of his earlier preceptors, whom he succeeds in the Guru-disciplic succession of acharyas.

b. Through the term innaruLAl, Mamunigal refers to the causeless grace of his teacher which was instrumental in his learning of the means to salvation.

kaRROrgaL thAmugappar kalvithannil AsaiyuLLOr
peRRomena ugandhu pinbu kaRpar – maRROrgaL
mAchchariyaththAl igazhil vanthen nenjE igazhgai
AchcharyamO thAnavarkku

Those who are well-trained in the scriptures will acknowledge the greatness of these instructions. Those interested in acquiring true knowledge will gladly receive these instructions and put them to practice. If people, belonging to neither of these groups, were to demean the importance of these instructions, what harm will befall us? Isn’t it in the nature of such people to ridicule?

AzhwArgal vAzhi aruLichcheyal vAzhi
thAzhvAdhumil kuravar thAm vAzhi – yEzhpArum
uyya avargaL uraiththavaigaL thAm vAzhi
seyyamaRai thannudanE sErndhu

May the divine azhwars live long!
May their works, the divya prabandhams, live long!
May the spotless poorvacharyas live long!
May their accurate commentaries, which were generously codified so that people of the seven worlds can benefit from them; live long along with the sanskrit vedas!

poigayAr boodhathAr pEyAr pugazhmazhisai
ayyan aruLmARan sEralarkOn – thuyyabhatta
nAthan anbar thAL thooLi naRpANan naRkaliyan
eedhivar thorRRath thadaivAmingu

In this pasuram, Manavala Mamunigal explains the order of incarnation of the Azhwars on this earth. The first three azhwars to incarnate in this world were poigai AzhwAr, bhoodhathAzhwAr and pEyAzhwar. Then came the reputed Thirumazhisai AzhwAr, the illustrious grace of NammAzhwAr, Kulasekara AzhwAr, the spotless periyAzhwAr, thondaradippodi AzhwAr, the epitome of humility – thiruppAn AzhwAr and Thirumangai Azhwar.

anthamizhAl naRkalaigal Aynthuraiththa AzhwArgaL
indha ulagil iruL neenga – vandhuthitha
mAdhangaL nALgaL thammai maNNulagOr thAmaRiya
eethendRu solluvOm yAm

In order that they get to know, I will be informing the people of this world about the birth months and stars of the AzhwArs – who incarnated on this earth to dispel the darkness of ignorance by offering the essence of the vedas in beautiful tamil language.

aIppasiyil ONam avittam sadhayam ivai
oppilavA nALgaL ulagaththeer – eppuviyum
pEsupugazh poigayAr boodhaththAr pEyAzhwAr
thEsudanE thOndRu sirappAl

O’ the people of the world! The vibrant Poigai, Boodath and pEyAzhwArs, by virtue of their incarnations in the world, have brought incomparable and unparalled glory to their birth month and stars – Aippasi ONam, Avittam and Sadhayam.

maRRuLLa AzhwArgaLukku munnE vandhudiththu
naRRamizhAl noolseidhu nAttai uyththa – peRRimayOr
endRu mudhalAzhwArgal ennum periyavarkku
nindRadhu ulagaththE nigazhndhu

By incarnating on this earth before the remaining seven AzhwArs and by offering (to the people of the world) the means of salvation through the divya prabandhams of mudhal thiruvandhAdhi, irandAm thiruvandhAdhi and moondrAm thiruvandhAdhi, the first three AzhwArs earned the name “mudhalAzhwArs” – a reference that has come to stay since then.

pEdhai nenjE indRai perumai aRindhilaiyO
yEdhu perumai indRaik kenDriyEl OdhugindRen
vAiththa pugazh mangaiyarkOn mAnilaththil vandhuthitha
kArthigaiyil kArthigai nAL kAN

Oh foolish mind! Don’t you know the glory associated with this day? If you ask me what makes this day special, I will tell you. The illustrious Thirumangai Azhwar incarnated in this world in the Karthigai month under Karthigal star.

mARan paNindha thamizh maRaikku mangaiyarkOn
Arangam kooRa avadhariththa – veeRudaiya
kArthigaiyil kArthigainAL indRendRu kAdhalippAr
vAiththa malarth thAlgaL nenjE vAzhththu

O’ my heart! Sing the glory of the lotus feet of those who celebrate this auspicious day associated with the birth of thirumangai AzhwAr (kArthigai month, kArthikai star) – the one who incarnated in this world to supplement the dravida vedAs of nammAzhwAr with his six auxiliary works – periya thirumozhi, thirukurunthAndakam, thirunedunthAndakam, thiruvEzhukooRRirukkai, siRiya thirumadal and periya thirumadal.

kArthigaiyil rOhininAL kANminindRu kAsiniyeer
vAiththa pugazhpANar vandhudhippAl – AththiyargaL
anbudanE thAn amalanAdhipirAn kaRRadhaRpin
nangudanE koNdAdum nAL

O’ the people of the world! Today, in the month of Karthigai and under the star Rohini, the illustrious thiruppAn AzhwAr incarnated in this world. Today is the day on which the believers, who are well versed in the prabandham of amalanAdhipirAn, celebrate the occasion associated with thiruppAnAzhwArs birth.

manniyaseer mArgazhiyil kEttaiyindRu mAnilaththeer
ennidhanukku yERRamenil uraikkEn – thannu pugazh
mAmaRaiyOn thoNdaradippodi AzhwAr piRappAl
nAnmaRaiyOr koNdAdum nAL

O’ the people of this world! If you ask me what makes today (Margazhi month, kEttai star) a glorious day, I will tell you. It is on this day that the scholars well versed in the four vedas celebrate the birth of the illustrious Thondaradippodi Azhwar into a vedic brahmin family.

thaiyil magam indRu dhAraniyeer yERRam indhath
thaiyil magaththukku sARRugindRen – thuyyamadhi
peRRa mazhisai pirAn piRandha nALendRu
naRRavargal kondAdum nAL

O’ the people of the world! Today is Thai (month) Magam (Star). I will tell you the glory associated with this day. It is on this day the people, who are renowned for their devotion to their respective preceptors, celebrate the birth of Thirumazhisai Azhwar, the one with superior intellect.


In the commentary to this Pasuram, Pillai Lokam Jeeyar offers some examples for ‘naRRavargal’ – kaNikaNNar and perumpuliyur adigaL, people renowned for their acharya abhimana nishta.

mAsi punarpoosang kANminindRu maNNulageer
thEsith thivasaththuk kEthennil – pEsugindREn
kolli nagark kOn kulasEkaran piRappAl
nallavargal koNdAdum nAL

O’ the people of the world! Today is Masi (month) Punarpoosam (star). I will tell you the glory associated with this day. It is the day on which the people of erudition celebrate the incarnation of the ruler of Kolli, Kulasekara Azhwar, in this world.

yErAr vaikAsi visAkaththin yEtraththai
pArOr aRiya pagargindREn – seerArum
vEdam thamizh seidha meyyan ezhil kurugai
nAthan avathariththa nAL

O’ the people of the world! Let me tell you the glory associated with visAkha star in this beautiful vaikAsi month. This day marks the incarnation of nammAzhwar (who provided to us the essence of the vedAs in simple Tamil language) in the southern hamlet of AzhwAr thirunagari.

uNdO vaikAsi visAkaththukku opporu nAL
uNdO satakOparkku opporuvar – uNdO
thiruvAimozhikku oppu thenkurugaikku uNdO
oru pAr thanil okkum Oor

Is there a day that is equivalent to vaikAsi visAkham? Is there a person whose scholarship is equivalent to that of nammAzhwAr? Is there a scholarly work which is comparable to Nammazhwar’s thiruvAimozhi? In the whole world, is there a place which is comparable to AzhwAr thirunagari? The answer is a resounding “No”.

indRaip perumai aRindhilaiyO yEzhai nenjE
indRaikken yERRamenil uraikkEn – nandRipunai
pallANdu pAdiya nam bhattarpirAn vandhudhiththa
nallAniyil sOdhi nAL

O’ ignorant mind! Don’t you know the glory associated with this day? If you ask me what makes this day special, I will tell you. It was on this day (in the month of Aani and the star swAthi), periyAzhwAr, who gave us the prabandham infused with good messages – The Thiruppallandu, incarnated in this world.

mAnilaththil munnam periyAzhwAr vandhudhiththa
Ani dhanil sOdhi nAL endRAl Adharikkum – nyAniyarkku
opporuvar illai ivvulagu dhanil endRu nenjE
eppozhudhum sindhithiru

O’ my mind! Please remind yourself that that those people, who understand the glory associated with the incarnation of periyAzhwAr once upon a time in this big world, have no equivalent in this world in terms of knowledgeable peers.

mangaLAsAsanaththil maRRuLLa AzhwArgaL
thangaL ArvaththaLavu thAnandRi – pongum
pirivAlE villipuththur bhattarpirAn peRRAn
periyAzhwAr ennum peyar

Having surpassed the other AzhwArs in his display of concern to the Lord’s well-being (by singing for His auspiciousness), bhattarpirAn, who incarnated in Srivilliputtur, came to be hailed as “periyAzhwAr”.

kOdhilavAm AzhwArgaL kooRu kalaikkellAm
Adhi thiruppallANdu Anadhuvum – vEdaththukku
Om ennum adhu pOl uLLaththukkellAm surukkAith
thAn mangaLam AdhalAl

Just like Pranavam (OmkAram) forms the beginning of all vEdAs, the Thiruppallaandu, which marks the beginning of the spotless AzhwAr compositions, serves as a summary as well as the invocatory “prayer for auspiciousness” verse for the sacred four thousand hymns.

uNdO thiruppallandukku oppadhOr kalaidhAn
uNdO periyAzhwArukku opporuvar – thaNdamizhnool
seidharuLum AzhwArgaL thammil avar seikalaiyil
paithal nenjE nee uNarndhup pAr

Is there a prabandham that is equivalent to the Thiruppallaandu? Is there an equivalent to periyAzhwAr in terms of his devotion and scholarship? O’ ignorant mind! May you learn and analyse the scholarly works of the peerless periyAzhwAr, which were offered to us in the glorious tamil language.

AzhwAr thirumagaLAr AndAL madhurakavi
vAzhvAr ethirAsar AmivargaL – vAzhvAga
vandhuthitha mAdhangaL nALgaL thammin vAsiyaiyum
indha ulagOrkku uraippOm yAm

O’ the people of the world! I will be telling you the glory associated with the birth months and stars associated with Andal – the daughter of Periyazhwar, Madhurakavi Azhwar and Ramanujar who incarnated in this world for our spiritual upliftment.

indRo thiruvAdippUram emakkAga
andRo ingu ANdAL avathariththAL – kundRAdha
vAzhvAga vaikuntha vAn bOgam thannai igazhndhu
AzhwAr thirumagaLArAi

Didn’t Andal take birth on this Aadi month pUram nakshathram just for us? Despite being the “mother of the world”, she left behind the anubhavam offered by Vainkuntam and took birth in this world solely for our spiritual upliftment.


a) Just like a mother will jump into a well to save her newborn from drowning, AndAL, who is the Goddess Incarnate of bhUmi pirAtti herself, took birth to save the people of the world from drowning into the sullen well of samsAra.

b) “KunRAdha vainkuntha vAn bOgam” refers to consumption of the never-ending supply of emperuman’s bhagavad anubhavam in Vaikuntam, something so precious which AndAL left behind and took birth in this world solely for our spiritual upliftment.

periyAzhwAr penpiLLaiyAi ANdAL piRandha
thiruvAdip pUraththin seermai – oru nALaik
uNdO manamE uNarndhup pAr ANdALuk
undAgil oppu idhaRkum uNdu

O’ my heart! Analyze and find out whether there is a day that matches the glory of Aadi month pUra nakshathram – the day on which ANdAL incarnated in this world as the daughter of periyAzhwAr. Only when one finds another person who matches ANdAL in compassion, forbearance and beauty, can he find another day that matches the glory of Aadip pUram.

anjuk kudikkoru sandhadhiyAi AzhwArgaL
than seyalai vinji niRkum thanmayalAi – pinjAi
pazhuththAlai ANdALai baththiyudan nALum
vazhuththAi manamE magizhndhu

ANdAL, who incarnated in the prapanna kula of the AzhwArs, displayed great scholarship, devotion and disinclination (to worldly objects) ever since her childhood days. O’ my mind, may you fixate yourself in devotion to her!


a) Just like Parikshit was the lone successor the the Five Pandava kings, Andal here is likened to be the lone successor to the prapanna kula of the ten Azhwars.

b) Since Andal took birth in the prapanna kula of the Azhwars, she inherited the sum total knowledge, devotion and the vairagya (disinclination) of all the Azhwars. In addition, her being female helped her in naturally assuming a form of devotion (parama bhakti), something which Nammazhwar and Thirumangai Azhwar had to obtain by roleplaying as Parankusa Nayaki and Parakala Nayaki respectively.

c) vinji niRkum thanmayalAi…: When it comes to singing for the Lord’s auspiciousness, Andal outdoes her father Periyazhwar. When it comes her display of knowledge, devotion and disinclination to worldy objects, Andal easily outdoes the rest of the Azhwars.

d) Since Andal possessed these exception qualities even as a five year old girl, Mamunigal compares her to a fruit which has riped prematurely.

yErAr madhurakavi ivvulagil vandhudiththa
seerArum chiththiraiyil chiththirai nAL- pArulagil
maRRuLLa AzhwArgaL vandhudhiththa nALgalilum
uRRadhu emakkendRu nenjE Oar

O’ my mind! Please understand that the incarnation of Madhurakavi Azhwar in the Chithirai month, chithirai star befits our swarUpam when compared to the thirunakshaththirams of all the other Azhwars.


a) Madhurakavi Azhwar was known for his unswerving devotion to his acharya Nammazhwar. In this pasuram, Mamunigal extols the acharya abhimana nishta of Madhurakavi Azhwar by saying that his conduct towards serving his preceptor is capable of creating a positive influence on others as well.

b) We shall see the meaning of ‘befitting our swarupam” in the commentary to the following pasuram.

vAiththa thirumanthiraththin maththimamAm padhampOl
seerththa madhurakavi seikalaiyai – Arththapugazh
AriyargaL thAngaL aruLichcheyal naduvE
sErviththAr thARpariyam thErndhu

The middle portion of Thirumanthiram (the nama: part) has the message required to deliver us from samsAram. Similarly, Kannunin Siruththambu, the prabandham of Madhurakavi Azhwar, expounds the same meaning contained in the middle portion of Thirumanthiram. Recognizing the importance of this work and the meaning it conveys, our pUrvAchAryAs, included this work in the compilation of the works done by other AzhwArs (4000 Divya Prabandham).


The middle portion of Thirumanthiram contains sabda pUrthi (conciseness) and arththa pUrthi (completeness). This portion carries a meaning that befits our swarUpa (nature). That is, the middle portion has the message to dispel the impediments to our swarUpa upAya purushArththam. In addition, it also expounds pAratantriyam (our dependence on emperumAn) and the relationship between the us and emperumAn (seshatvam). Similarly, the essence of kanninun siruththAmbu is “vEdaththin utporuL”, which is the same as bhAgavatha seshatvam, i.e. servitude to the devotees of the Lord.

eNNa arum seer poigai munnOr ivvulagil thOndRiya oor
vanmai migu kachchi malai mAmayilai – maNNiyil neer
theEngum kuraiyalUr seerk kaliyan thondRiya oor
Ongum uRaiyUr pANan oor

The first three AzhwArs (Poigai AzhwAr, Bhoodath AzhwAr and PeyAzhwAr), with glories worth remembering, incarnated in this world in the towns of Thirukachchi, Thirukkadalmallai and Thirumayilai. The illustrious Thirumangai AzhwAr incarnated in the town of ThirukkuRaiyalUr, a town that is watered by the maNNi river. The glorious ThiruppAnAzhwar incarnated in the town of ThiruvuRaiyUr.

thoNdaradip podiyAr thOndRiya oor thol pugazh sEr
maNdangudi enbAr maNNulagil – yeNdisaiyum
yEththum kulasEkaran Oor endRu uraippar
vAiththa thiruvanjikkaLam

The elders used to say that Thondaradippodi AzhwAr incarnated in Thirumandangudi – a town with a hoary past. According to legend, the incarnation of Kulasekara AzhwAr, an event which is celebrated by people residing in all the eight directions, took place in the beautiful town of ThiruvanjikkaLam.

mannu thirumazhisai mAdath thirukkurugUr
minnu pugazh villiputtUr mEdhiniyil – nanneRiyOr
yEndha baththisArar ezhil mARan bhattar pirAn
vAindhudiththa oorgaL vagai

Thirumazhisai AzhwAr incarnated in the town of Thirumazhisai – a town that is inhabited by bhAgavAthas known for their steadfast devotion to their acharyas. NammAzhwAr incarnated in the town of Thirukkurugur, a town that is full of storied buildings. PeriyAzhwAr incarnated in the town of Srivilliputtur, a town that has glory incomparable to the others.

seer ARum villiputtur selvath thirukOLUr
yErAr perumpudUr ennum ivai – pAril
madhiyArum AndAL madhurakavi AzhwAr
ethirAsar thondRiya oor ingu

The glorious Srivilliputtur, the prosperous Thirukkolur, and the beautiful Sriperumpudur are the towns in which AndAL, Madhurakavi AzhwAr and EmperumAnAr – highly acclaimed for their knowledge (bhagavad gnanam), incarnated in this world.

AzhwArgal yERRam aruLichcheyal yERRam
thAzhvAdhum indRiyavai thAmvaLarththOr – yEzhpArum
uyya avargaL sei vyAkkiyaigaL uLLadhellAm
vaiyam aRiya pagarvOm vAindhu

It is my duty to point out to the people of the world that the glory of the AzhwArs and their divine outpourings – the divya prabandham, cannot be belittled. It is also my duty to talk about the AchAryAs who wrote commentaries on AzhwArs’ works and offered it to the people of the seven worlds for their spiritual upliftment.

AzhwArgalayum aruLichcheyalgaLaiyum
thAzhvA ninaippavargaL thAm naragil – veezhvArgaL
endRu ninaiththu nenjE eppozhudhum nee avar pAl
sendRaNugak koosith thiri

O’ my mind! Please understand that the people who belittle the AzhwArs and their divine outpourings will beget hell. Avoid the company of such people at all times!

theRuL aRRa AzhwArgaL seermai aRivArAr
aruLichcheyalai aRivArAr – aruL peRRa
nAthamuni mudhalAna nam desikarai allal
pEdhai manamE undO pEsu

Who are those who understand the glory of the Azhwars – the repositories of spiritual knowledge? Who are those who understand the glory of the divine outpourings of the Azhwars? Is there any one in this world other than our AcharyAs beginning from Sri. Nathamuni who possess knowledge about the AzhwArs and their devotional hymns? O’ foolish mind! May you deliberate on this.

OrAN vazhiyAi upadhEsiththAr munnOr
yErAr ethirAsar innaruLal – pArulagil
Asai udayOrkkellAm AriyargAL koorumendRu
pEsi varambaRuththAr pin

Our pUrvachAryAs beginning from Sri. nAthamuni followed a tradition of teaching the special meanings of the aruLichcheyals to one person at a time. However, Ramanuja, out of his infinite compassion towards the people of the world, broke this tradition and established 74 simhAsanAthipathis to communicate the meaning of the aruLichcheyals to all and sundry interested in gaining this knowledge.

emperumAnAr dharisanam endRE idhaRku
namperumAL pErittu nAtti vaiththAr – am puviyOr
indha dharisanaththai emperumAnAr vaLarththa
andhach cheyal aRigaikkA

In order that the people of the world get to know Ramanuja’s contribution in strengthening the foundations of the Sri Vaishnava sampradAyam, the Lord of Srirangam, namperumAL, titled this sampradAyam as “emperumAnAr dharisanam”.

piLLAn nanjeeyar periyavAchchAn piLLai
theLLAr vadakkuth thiruveedhip piLLai
maNavALa yOgi thiruvAimozhiyak kAththa
guNavALarendRu nenjE koru

Oh my mind! May you appreciate the contribution of the fivesome – Thirukkurugai Piraan Pillaan, Nanjeeyar, Periyavachan Pillai, the illustrious Vadakku Thiruveedhi Pillai and Vadhikesari Azhagiya Manavala Jeeyar, who, by writing commentaries on the Thiruvaimozhi, have played a significant role in safeguarding and preserving this work for posterity.

mundhuRavE piLLAn mudhalAnOr seidharuLum
andha vyAkkiyaigaL andRAgil – andhO
thiruvAimozhiyin poruLai thErndhuraikka valla
guruvAr ikkAlam nenjE koru

If not for the commentaries of the abovementioned fivesome on the Thiruvaimozhi, how could the acharyas of today learn and propagate the inner spiritual meanings enshrined in the grantham? Oh my mind, you may deliberate upon this!

theLLArum nyAnath thirukkurugaip pirAn
piLLAn ethirAsar pEraruLAl – uLLArum
anbudanE mARan maRaipporuLai andRuraiththadhu
inbamigum ARayiram

Thirukkurugai Piran Pillan, a disciple of Sri. Ramanuja and one with spotless knowledge, with the special grace of his acharya and out of his abounding devotion to Nammazhwar, blessed us with his commentary on Thiruvaimozhi (with all of its inner meanings) in what is titled “Aarayirappadi” vyakhyanam.

thanjeerai nyAnigaL thAmpugazhum vEdhAnthi
nanjeeyar thAmbhattar nallarulAL – enjAdha
aarvamudan mARan maRaipporuLai aaindhuraiththadhu

Nanjeeyar, the one with unparalled glory that people having knowledge about reality (tattva) will acknowledge, by the grace of his acharyan Parasara Bhattar and with utmost devotion to Nammazhwar’s Thiruvaimozhi, blessed us with his commentary which came to be called as “Onbadhinaayirappadi” vyakhyanam.

nampiLLai thamadhu nallaruLAle viyidap
pin periyavAchan piLLai adhanAl – inba
varubaththi mARan maraipporuLai sonnadhu
irubaththi nAlAyiram

With his acharyan Nampillai requesting him with his causeless mercy, Periyavachan Pillai, in obedience, blessed us with his commentary on the divine Thiruvaimozhi, the nectar of devotion sung by Nammazhwar. This commentary came to be called as “Irubathinaalayirappadi” vyakhyanam.

theLLiyadhA nampiLLai cheppu neRi thannai
vaLLaL vadakku thiruveedhip piLLai indha
nAdaRiya mARan maRaipporuLai nanguraiththadhu
eedu muppathi ARayiram

The generous Vadakku Thiruveedhippillai, following the path shown by his acharyan Nampillai, blessed the people of this world with his commentary on the inner truths of Thiruvaimozhi in what came to be hailed as “Muppathiaarayirappadi” vyakhyanam.

anbOdu azhagiya manavALa cheeyar
pinbOrum kaRRaRindhu pEsugaikkAth – thamperiya
pOdhamudan mARan maRaiyin poruLai uraiththa
thEdhamil pannErAyiram

In order that the people who follow him can practise and preach, Vadhikesari Azhagiya Manavala Jeeyar, out of his abounding love and erudition, offered to the people of the world the inner truths of Thiruvaimozhi in his “Panneeraayirappadi” vyakhyanam.

periyavAchchAnpiLLai pinbhuLLavaikkum
theriya vyAkkiyaigaL seivAl – ariya
aruLichcheyal poruLai AriyargatkippOdhu
aruLichcheyalAi thaRindhu

Since Periyavachan Pillai authored the commentaries for the three thousand hymns (of the 23 prabandhams excluding Thiruvaimozhi) in a language that everyone can understand, the acharyas who succeeded him were capable of explaining the special meanings contained in the hymns to the people of this world.

nanjeeyar seidha vyAkkiyaigaL nAliraNdukku
enjAmai yAvaikkum illayE – thenjeerAl
vaiyaguruvin thambi mannu maNavALamuni
seyyumavai thAmum sila

Nanjeeyar wrote his commentaries on only a few select prabandhams and not on all the divya prabandhams. Azhagiya Manavala Perumal Nayanar (the brother of piLLai lokAcharya and the epitome of auspicious attributes, i.e. Kalyana Gunas) and Vadhikesari Azhagiya Manavala Jeeyar also wrote commentaries on a few select prabandhams alone.


Azhagiya Manavala Perumal Nayanar wrote his commentaries on Thiruppavai and Kanninun Siruththaambu. Vadhikesari Azhagiya Manavala Jeeyar wrote his commentary on Thiruviruttam swapadesam.

seerAr vadakkuth thiruveedhippiLLai yezhu
thErAr thamizh vEdhath theeduthannaith – thArumena
vAngi mun nampiLLai eeyuNNi mAdhavarkkuth
thAng koduththAr pinnadhanaith thAn

With the blessings of his acharyan Nampillai, Vadakkuth Thiruveedhippillai, the one of unsurpassed glory, wrote his “Muppathi Arayirappadi” commentary on the beautiful Thiruvaimozhi at an earlier time and submitted it at the feet of his acharyan. Nampillai, after having gone through this commentary (which later came to be called Eedu), took possession of it as it was written without his permission. At a later date, Nampillai gave this commentary to another of his disciples by the name Eeyunni Madhavapperumal for his perusal.

AngavarpAlpeRRa siriyAzhvAnappiLLai
thAngoduththAr thammaganAr thangaiyil – pAngudanE
nAlurpiLLaikkavar thAm nallamaganArkkavar thAm
mElorkkeendhAr avarE mikku

In this pasuram, Manavala Manunigal explains how the knowledge of Eedu commentary that was obtained by Eeyunni Madhavapperumal reached His acharyan Thiruvaimozhippillai through the guru-disciplic succession. Eeyunni Madhavapperumal taught the special meanings of Eedu to this son Padmanabha Perumal. Padmanabha Perumal inturn preached those meanings to Naloor Pillai, which inturn was taught to Naloor Pillai’s son Nalooraachchan Pillai and to all those who followed him in the guru-disciplic succession.

namperumAL nammAzhwAr nanjeeyar nampiLLai
enbar avar tham yERRaththAl – anbudaiyOr
sArru thirunAmangaL thAn endRu nan nenjE
yEththadanaich solli nee indRu

Due to their respective glories, the Lord of Srirangam, Sri. Madhavacharyar and Sri. Nambur Varadarajar came to be referred to by the names of Namperumal, Nanjeeyar and Nampillai respectively. Oh my mind! May you propagate their glories and meditate upon them!

thannupugazh kanthAdai thOzhappar tham ugappAl
enna ulagAriyarO endRu uraikkap – pinnai
ulagAriyan ennum peyar nampiLLaikku Ongi
vilagAmal nindRadhu enDru mEl

Kanthadai Thozhappar was a person whose glory befitted his conduct. One day, overwhelmed by the personality of Nampillai, he jovially asked the latter if he was a Lokacharya (teacher to the world). Since then, the name “Lokacharya” came to be associated with Nampillai and remained persistent.


Once, Kanthadai Thozhappar commited apachAram towards Nampillai. Nampillai, on his own volition, went ahead and apologized to thOzhappar as if the fault was all his. Thozhappar, moved by this behaviour of Nampillai, was overwhelmed with emotions and gave him the title “lOkAchAryar”.

pinnai vadakkuth thiruveedhippiLLai anbAl
anna thirunAmaththai Adhariththu – mannupugazh
maindarkkuch sAththugaiyAl vandhu parandhadhu engum
indhath thirunAmam ingu

At a later date, Vadakkuth Thiruveedhippillai, a disciple of Nampillai, out of his desire towards the name “Lokacharya”, named his illustrious son “Pillai Lokacharyar”. Thus, this sobriquet, by virtue of its usage by others, spread across the world.

annapugazh mudumbai yaNNal ulagAsiriyan
innaruLAl seidhakalai yavaiyilum – unnil
thigazh vachanabUdaNaththin seermai yondRukkillai
pugazhallaviv vArththai meyyippOdhu

Starting from this song, Mamunigal sings the glory of Pillai Lokacharya in addition to extolling the greatness of Srivachana Bhushanam – a work that encapsulates the deeper spiritual meanings of Thiruvaimozhi and the other divine outpourings of the Azhwars.

If we consider the sum total of scholarly works which Pillai Lokacharya (the Administrator of Mudumbai province), generously blessed us with, there is no work that can match the glory of Sri Vachana Bhushanam. The encomiums that I shower on this work are deservedly true.

munnanguravOr mozhindha vachanangaL
thannaimigak koNdukaRROr thammuyirku – minnaNiyAch
sErach samaiththavarE seer vachanabhUdaNamen
pEr ikkaikkittAr pin

At an earlier time, Pillai Lokacharya compiled the teachings of all his earlier preceptors in the form of an ornament in order to bejewel those who have learnt the spiritual meanings of the scriptures under their respective teachers. At a later date, he gave this ornament the name “Sri Vachana Bhushanam”.


koNdu kaRRor thammuyirku minnaNiyai – In a manner that befits the nature (swarUpa) of the learned.

Arvachana bUdaNathin AzhporuL ellAm aRivAr
Aradhu sonnEril anuttippAr – Ororuvar
uNdAgil aththanai kAN uLLamE yellArkkum
aNdAdha thandRo vadhu

Oh my mind! Is there anyone in this world to understand the majestic spiritual meanings enshrined in Sri Vachana Bhushanam? Is there anyone to follow the prescriptions advocated by this work? If there is someone who understands these spiritual meanings correctly and follows the prescriptions dutifully, then he’ll be the only person in the whole category. In that case, is it even possible for others to understand this work and put its prescriptions to practice?

uyya ninaivudaiyeer ungaLukkuch sollugindREn
vaiyaguru munnam vAi mozhindha – seyyakalai
yAmvachana bhUdaMNaththin AzhporuLaik kaRRadhanuk
kAmnilaiyil nillum aRindhu

Ye desirous of salvation! Listen to me! May you learn the deeper spiritual meanings enshrined in Pillai Lokacharya’s Srivachana Bhushanam and forever engage yourselves in practicing its prescriptions in a way that befits your clarity of the subject matter!

dEsikarpAl kEtta sezhum poruLaich sindhai thannil
mAsaRavE yoondRi mananam seithu– Asarikka
vallArgal thAm Vachana bhUdaNaththin vAnporuLaik
kallAdha thennO kavarndhu?

If you are capable of (i) Fixing permanently in your heart, the glorious meanings learnt from your acharyas in a manner that it cleanses you of all sins; (ii) Meditating upon them and (iii) Putting the prescriptions contained in them to practice, why aren’t you learning Srivachana Bhushanam as a necessity?

sach sampradAyam thAmudayOr kEttakkAl
mechchum viyakkiyai thAnuNdAgil – nachchi
adhigariyu neer Vachana bhUdaNaththuk kaRRa
madhiyudaiyeer mathiyaththarAi

If the sambandhis belonging to Sath Sampradayam were to avidly listen to a celebrated commentary of Srivachana Bhushanam, people like you, who have already understood the inner meanings of Srivachana Bhushanam, should still listen to it as a neutral person.

seer vachana bhUdaNaththin semporuLaich sindhai thannAl
thERilumAm vAikoNdu cheppilumAm – AriyarkAL
endRanakku nALum inidhAgA nindRadhaiyO
un thamak kevvinbam uLadhAm

I feel a sense of sweetness in my mind everytime I think about the deeper meanings enshrined in Srivachana Bhushanam and when I verbally extol its greatness. Oh the noble ones! I wonder what effect it would have had on you!

than guruvin thALiNaigaL thannil  anbu onRillAdhAr
anbu than pAl seydhAlum ambuyaikOn – inba migu
viNNAdu  thAn aLikka vEndiyirAn  AdhalAl
naNNAr avargaL thirunAdu

Those who don’t have love unto the feet of their respective acharyas will not beget paramapadham even if they were to exhibit steadfast devotion to the consort of Periya Piratti, i.e. Emperuman. That is, Emperuman will not desire to bless such people with a place in paramapadham.

njAnam anuttAnam ivai  nanRAgavE udaiya
nAna guruvai adaindhakkAl – mAnilaththIr!
thEnAr kamalath thirumAmagaL kozhunan
thAnE vaikundham tharum

O’ people living in this big world! If we seek refuge at the feet of an acharya (who will perform the needful for administering our surrender to the Lord), Emperuman, the consort of Periya Piratti who dwells on a lotus flower flowing with honey, will automatically bless us with a place in Srivaikuntam.


a) Gnanam and anushtanam refer to the knowledge and practice that befits the knowledge of upaya (means to salvation) and upeya (the goal).

b) “Seeking refuge” under an acharya refers to the understanding that one’s acharyan is the means to salvation and that the acharyan plays the role of a mediator to procure salvation for us.

uyya ninaivuNdAgil um gurukkaL tham padhaththE
vaiyum anbu thannai indha mAnilaththIr! – mey uraikkEn
paiyaravil mAyan parama padham ungkaLukkAm
kai ilangku nellik kani

O’ people living in this big world! Listen to the truth I am going to tell you! If the interest to attain salvation takes root in you, develop utmost love and devotion towards your acharya. If you manage to do so, gaining entry into Paramapadham – the abode where Emperuman reclines on the serpent Adisesha, will easily happen to you.

AchAriyan seydha upakAram Anavadhu
thUydhAga nenjchu thannil thOnRumEl – dhEsAn
tharaththil irukka manam thAn porundha mAttAdhu
iruththal iniyEdhaRiyOm yAm

If you think about the gratitude you owe to your acharya for the favour he has rendered to you, it will be impossible for your heart to bear his separation for even a split second. However, if one continues to stay away from his acharya even after his heart craving for the latter’s companionship, I am not in a position to fathom out the reason behind this!

than Ariyanukkuth  thAn adimai seyvadhu avan
innAdu thannil irukkum nAL – annEr
aRindhum adhil Asai inRi AchAriyanaip
pirindhiruppAr Ar  manamE! pEsu

A true disciple is duty-bound to attend to the bodily needs of one’s acharya throughout the latter’s lifetime. O’ my mind! May you reason out and tell me why someone would fail to serve one’s acharya even though they understand the importance of this service from the scriptures and from the instructions of sadacharyas.

AchAriyan chichchan Aruyiraip pENumavan
thEsArum chichchanavan sIr vadivai – Asaiyudan
nOkkumavan ennum nuNNaRivaik kEttu vaiththum
Arkkum annEr niRkai aridhAm

An acharya is one who oversees the spiritual development of his disciple. A dutiful disciple is one who serves the bodily needs of his acharya. It is important for a disciple to put this knowledge to practice than merely possessing it.

pinbazhagarAm perumAL sIyar perunthivaththil
anbadhuvumatRu mikka AsaiyinAl – nampiLLaik
kAna adimaigaL sey annilaiyai nannenjchE!
UnamaRa eppozhudhum Or

O’ my good mind! May you attain the spotless assiduity of Pinpazhagaraam Perumal Jeeyar, who, instead of desiring for a place in paramapadham, diligently served his acharya Nampillai, out of his abounding devotion to the latter’s holy feet.

AchAriyargaL anaivarum mun Asariththa
AchAranthannai aRiyAdhAr  – pEsuginRa
vArththaikaLaik kEttu maruLAdhE pUruvargaL
sIrththa nilai thannai nenjchE! sEr

O’ my mind! May you not be carried away by the words of those who have not understood the ways of the wise! May you constantly endeavor to attain the assiduity of our purvacharyas, who, by virtue of their conduct, have demonstrated to the world, the practices that befit a seeker of salvation.

nAththigarum naRkalaiyin nanneRi sEr Aththigarum
Aththiga nAththigarumAm ivarai – Orththu nenjchE!
munnavarum pinnavarum mUrkkar ena vittu naduch
sonnavarai nALum thodar

O’my mind, may you critically evaluate (i) The non-believers, (ii) those that believe in the path shown by the scriptures and (iii) the Astika-Nastikas who keep flipflopping between believing and non-believing. May you get rid of the company of the first and the third and follow the path of the second one at all times.

nalla maNam uLLadhonRai naNNi iruppadhaRku
nalla maNam uNdAm nayamadhu  pOl – nalla
guNam udaiyOr thangkaLudan kUdi iruppArkku
guNam adhuvEyAm sErththi koNdu

Just like a thing endowed with sweet fragrance rubs off its fragrance on its surrounding objects, the good qualities of good people have a rubbing off effect on others by virtue of possessing their companionship.

thIya gandham uLLadhonRaich sErndhu iruppadhonRukku
thIya gandhamERum thiRamadhu pOl – thIya
guNam udaiyOr thangkaLudan kUdi iruppArkku
guNam adhuvEyAm seRivu koNdu

Just like a thing endowed with foul smell has a rubbing off effect on its surrounding objects, people endowed with bad qualities influence the people around them by virtue of possessing their companionship.

munnOr mozhindha muRai thappAmal kEttu
pinnOrndhu thAm adhanaip pEsAdhE  – tham nenjchil
thOtRinadhE solli  idhu sudhdha upadhEsavara
vAtRadhenbar  mUrkkarAvAr

Instead of learning the correct way of administering the spiritual practices of our purvacharyas from a qualified teacher, evaluating them and communicating them in the exact fashion, if one resorts to propagating his own interpretation in the name of purvacharya instructions, such a person should be termed as a fool and be ignored.

pUruvAchAriyargaL  pOdham anuttAnangkaL
kURuvAr vArththaigaLaik kondu nIr – thERi
iruL tharumA njAlaththE  inbam utRu vAzhum
theruL tharumA dhEsikanaich sErndhu

O’ people of the world! May you surrender unto an illustrious acharya capable of explaining the truths of purvacharyas and the method to practice their instructions. With this knowledge, may you live happily in this world.

indha upadhEsa raththina mAlai thannaich
sindhai thannil nALum sindhippAr – endhai
ethirAsar innaruLukku enRum ilakkAgi
sadhirAga vAzhndhiduvAr thAm

Those who constantly keep reminding themselves of these instructions (in Upadesa Rathinamaalai) will become the objects of (my master) Emperumanar’s grace at all times and will lead a happy life everafter.

mannuyirkAL ingkE maNavALa mAmunivan
ponnadiyAm sengkamalap pOdhugaLai  – unnich
siraththAlE thINdil amAnavanum nammai
karaththAlE thINdal kadan

O’ the sentient beings!  The moment we bear the red lotus-like feet of Sri. Manavala Mamunigal’s on our head, the act of Amanava Purusha’s touching our hands once we cross the Viraja river becomes just a formality. That is, bearing the thiruvadi sambandham of Manavala Mamunigal is sufficient enough to elevate us to a place in paramapadham.

Upadesa Rathinamalai English Translation Ends
Jeeyar Thiruvadigale Sharanam

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One Response to Upadesa Rathinamalai

  1. M.Mariyappa March 21, 2014 at 1:41 pm

    Wonderful,God Krishna bless you


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