Malayappan and Manavala Mamunigal



Sri U.Ve. Dr. M. Varadarajan Svami, Tirupati.

Tirumala is the second Divya Desa among 108 Divya Desas sung by Alwars.  Several Acharyas visited this holy temple since the advent of Sriman Nathamunigal, the first Acharya.  According to Yatindrapravana Prabhava, Manavala Mamunigal visited this temple twice in his life time.

Manavala Mamunigal (1370-1443), otherwise called Varavara Muni, an incarnation of Adisesha, was the last Purvacharya in this realm, who propagated Sri Vaishnavism through his gentleness. He was a disciple of Srisailanathar.[sc:/b]

[sc:b]Before taking Sanyasa Asrama, at the behest of Namperumal of Srirangam, Mamunigal visited Tirumala enroute Tirukkovilur and Sholingur. He reached the foot of the hills.  At that time, Sri Vari Brahmotsavam was taking place.  H.H.Periya Kovil Kevi Jeeyar had a dream the previous day night that to the South of Alwar Theertham in Tirupati, near the garden, a person would be standing facing north and beside him there was another man stretching from the west to east, with a huge body, holding the head on the western side and feet on the east side was reclining.  Further, beside the foot of this huge body, a Srivaishanva, a Jeeyar is standing.  In his dream, Periya Jeeyar asked the pilgrims on the way about the person. They said that he is Alagiya Manavala Perumal Nayanar, who propagated Edu, the famous commentary of Tiruvoymozhi and the Jeeyar standing nearby, called Ponnadikkal Jeeyar.  Then, Periya Jeeyar woke up in amazement and he proceeded for the second day Brahmotava Purappadu.  He informed the people in the Ghosti about the dream. Everybody was happy to hear this news. Among those, some said that he is Koil Nayanar and some others told that he is coming for Tirumala Brahmotsava and some more people said that he is coming along with his disciple Vanamamalai Jeeyar, who is very close to Nayanar.  Everyone in the Ghoshti realized that this festival would assume a special significance by Mamunigal’s visit.

Manavala Mamunigal, who reached the foot of the hill, thought of Nammalavar’s verse on Tirumala which eradicates all our sins and prostrated before the hill.  In the Swarnamukhi River flowing nearby, he took bath and adorned twelve Tirunanams. At that time, he received the honours of Sri Govindaraja Swami’s Abhaya Hasta, Kalabha, garlands brought out by the Sri Vaishanvas and distributed among others. He worshipped Sri Govindaraja Swami. Then at the foot of the hills he worshipped Alagiya Singar. On the way up, he worshipped Parishat Tiruvenkatamudayan. He received the water at Karpurakkal and worshipped Kattu Azhagiya Singer. Then he ascended very steep part of the hills called Muzhangal Murichchan, and worshipped Sri Mambhazha Emberumanar (Sri Ramanuja), a temple consecrated by Kandadai Ramanuja Iyengar. On the way up, even now one can witness the renovated small Sannidhi of Sri Ramanujar, recently consecrated in 2004 by the then HH Periya jeeyar Swami of Tirumala. Mamunigal then took rest at that place for some time and continued his journey.

Having known this, Periya Jeeyar of Tirumala along with Ekanki Sri Vaishanvas with all paraphernalia, Sri Satakopa of Malayappa, His Melchattu, Sripadarenu, Abhaya Hasta and Mangala Vadya reached this place to receive Mamunigal with honour. Having accepted this, he was profusely amazed to witness Monnai Tower, Divya Vimana, Tirunaryaana Giri, Dwajasthamba, Golden Tower and worshipped the entrance, called Avavarachchuzhnthan Tiruvasal. Circling the Mada streets, he reached Swami Pushkarini and took bath, adorned Tirunamams. Then he worshpped Venkata Varaha and obtained Theertham, Prasadam, Sri Satakopam, Chandana.  He prostrated before the Ranga Mandapam, Sri Bali Peetam, Shenbhaga Tiruvasal, and Attani Tiruppuli. After circling Shenbhaga vasal, he entered and saw the Naikkinnaru etc.  He worshipped Tirumadappalli (kitchen) and Yamunathurai (flower-stretching place). Having obtained water in Sri Swami Pushkarini, he ascended towards Golden Mandapam and worshipped again Tirunarayana Hill.  By entering Shenbhaga Vasal, he worshipped Pon Vinchiya Perumal Koil, Azhagappiranar, divine Ananda Vimana, Tirumadappali Nachchiyar and Dasavatara.  In Tirumamani Mandapa, called Yaga Mandapa, he worshiped Malai kuniya Nindra Perumal with His Consorts and obtained Theertham, Sri Satakopam, Sripadarenu. Again glanced the Divine Vimana and then worshipped Senaimudaliyar. By pronouncing the sentence, “Sri Ramanuja Charanow Saranam Prapadye”, he worshipped Sri Ramanuja.  He obtained Theertham, Ananthalwan (the name of Ramanuja’s  Satakopam, only in Tirumala, Ramanuja Satakopam is called Mudaliyandam at other places), Chandanam, Prasadam etc. He also worshipped Venkatattu Ari, called Azhagiya Singar (consecrated by Sri Ramanuja to arrest His anger by seeing the Ananda Vimanam).  Then, he worshipped Periya Tiruvadi, who is like a standing mirror and put a voluntary oblation on behalf of Piratti. Having obtained the consent of Jaya Vijaya, the two Dwarapalakas, he entered inside. In the midst, he worshipped Sri Rama, Lakshmana, Sita, Angatha, Sugriva and Hanuman (Sri Ramanuja and Periya Tirumala Nambi consecrated these idols) and reached Kulasekarappadi.

 He worshipped Tiruvenkatamudayan, who is  standing tall and often compared with golden cloud, emerald, purple flower, raging ocean, glittering dark musk prefacing the red effulgence, and  the Goddess Alarmelmangai resides in His Chest and received the honours like Theertham, Prasadam, Tirumalai, Sri Satakopam. This is his first visit experience of Tirumala.

 Manavala Mamunigal had his Sanyasa Asramam and was living in Srirangam.  At one time, he desired to visit Tirumala and other Divya Desas.  At the behest of Namperumal of Srirangam, along with his disciple Prathivadhi Bhayankaram Annan and his disciples, he began his pilgrimage towards the north of Kaveri.  He first reached Kancheepuram and worshipped the Lord there. Then through Tirupputkuzhi, he reached Sholingur and worshipped Akkarakkani.  On reaching Tirupati, the Acharya Purushas received him and accompanied him to have the worship of Sri Govindaraja Swami.  There, he first worshipped Sri Ramanuja and later worshipped Sri Govindaraja Swami, who was consecrated by Sri Ramanuja.  Later he reached the foot of the hill and prostrated before the Alwars including Nammalvar. He stayed back there on that day.  The next day he proceeded towards the hill.  On the way up, he worshipped Kattu Azhagiya Singer. While enjoying the natural beauty of cool groves, flower-gardens, waterfalls, on the way, the Periya Koil Kelvi Jeeyar of Tirumala, Ekanki Sri Vaishanvas and others gathered there to receive Mamunigal.

He entered along with them and worshipped Vaikuntha Tiruvasal, Avavarachchuzhnthan Tiruvasal,  Ramanuja Lake built by Tirumalai Ananthalwan, and other flower-gardens.  Later he took bath in Swami Pushkarini and adorned twelve Tirunamams. First, he worshipped Gnanappiran and by reciting the decad of Kulasekara Alwar, “Uneru Selvattu”, he bowed head to the animals, trees and plants, the assembled birds like crane and those who are standing like pillar doing penance. Entering the big tower, he worshipped the Ranga Mandapam, Attanippuli in Big Door, golden Balipeetam, Yamunaiththurai-Garland Mandapam, Senbhaga Tiruvasal, Periya Tiruvadi (Garuda), kitchen, Tirumamani Mandapam, the golden Ananda Nilaya Vimanam and Senai Mudaliyar.  He recited the hymns (76, 106) pertaining to Tirumala which is liked by Sri Ramanuja in Ramanuja Noorthanthadi of Amudanar   and worshiped Sri Ramanuja.  With his behest, he worshiped Narasimha and entered the Garuda Mandapam, otherwise called Venru Malaiyiittan Mandapam (in Krishnavatara, Krishna conquered Sisubala and garlanded Rukmini and hence called this name to this Mandapam) and prostrated by reciting Tirumangai Alwar’s Prabandham – Periya Tirumozhi 1.8 (Taye Tandai enrum). As per the first sentence of Dvaya Mantra (Sriman Narayana Charanow Saranam Prapadye), Mamunigal with the recommendation of Goddess worshipped the feet of Lord Tiruvenkatamudayan. His experience of worship from the bottom of the Tiruvenkatamudayan upto the head is described as follows:

The feet that is approached by Goddess; knee-joints; lap; supporting like crimson colour of cloud, the waist with red cloth; shield; the navel, which blessed Brahma; a gold ornament worn round the waist like nectar; the chest that adorned the Goddess; garland; the orderly breast ornament; hill like four shoulders; the glittering chunk and wheel; the hand which shows the place of Paramapada; another hand which embraces, a moonlight like face, passionate eyes – all these quenched his heart.

Having not satisfied with this experience, he again worshipped Tiruvenkatamudayan from head to foot as follows:

The decorated Thulasi, a fragrant herb on the head, the face that shines all round its glitters; an ornament in the forehead; the Tirunamam adorned in the forehead; the nose which is like  one who swallowed butter and like long beautiful nose; the lotus like eyes; the fish shaped earrings; the  neck that shows his swallowing the whole world; rust in the neck; the chest where goddess resides; in this the garland of flowers; the white Yagnopaveetha (thread); the shoulders that conquered the Wrestlers (Mallars); a flower-bud in the shoulders; chakra in  right hand and conch in the left hand; that resembles the body which is like clouds; the liver that created the world;  a gold ornament worn round the waist; a girdle of small bells with gold; the white clothes like the dawn colour; a short scimitar; the lotus like feet and in that small bells with gold.

With this, Mamunigal experienced the Lord by reciting Periyalwar’s Tiruppallandu.  Again by reciting the following oblation, he worshipped Him:

Mangalam manusheloke vaikuntamadhithishtathi | seshasaila nivasaya Srinivasaya mangalam ||

which means that he did mangalasasanam for Tiruvenkatamudayan, who resides in Tirumala, which is like Sri Vaikunta.

 Having heard this oblation of Mamunigal, Tiruvenkatamudayan honoured Mamunigal with his theertham, prasadam, Sri Satakopam, etc.  He stayed for some time at Tirumala by doing kainkarya to Malahyappa. While worshipping Tiruvenkatamudayan in Viswarupa Darsana, he heard the sweet hymns of Tondaradippodi Alwar’s Tiruppalliezhuchchi.  He felt the absence of Suprabhatam and Mangalasasanam (prayer for Lord’s welfare).  Immediately, he asked Prathivadhi Bhayankaram Annan to compose verses in Sanskrit. At the instance of Mamunigal, Anna composed Suprabhatam, Stotram, Prapatti and Mangalasasanam all addressed to Tiruvenkatamudayan.  Mamunigal heard these nectarine verses in rapt attention and directed that these verses should be recited daily at the time of Tiruppalliezhuchchi.  Since then, these sonorous verses were enchantingly recited every day in the temple quite early in the morning, except in the month of Margazhi.

During that time, with a view not to get trouble by other religions, he consecrated a Jeeyar like in Srirangam, by giving Sanyasa to his disciple and with the permission of the King, he established the Chinna Jeeyar Mutt at Tirupati and named that Jeeyar as Tiruvenkata Jeeyar.  He ordered Him to assist the Periya Jeeyar all in his kainkarya to Malayappa.   Manavala Mamunigal also rendered service as Periya Jeeyar between the 11th and 12th Jeeyars and later left for Srirangam.

Thus, the second pilgrimage of Mamunigal completed.

  Srimath Sundarajamaathru Munimanasavaasine |  Sarvalokanivasaya Sreenivaasaaya Mangalam ||

(Let all auspiciousness be with Tiruvenkatamudayan, who pervades in all the worlds, resides mainly in the heart of Manavala Mamunigal.  It is Mamunigal who leads us to the lotus feet of Tiruvenkatamudayan).

            Alwar  Emberumanar Jeeyar Tiruvadikale Saranam.



  1. Extremely glad to read this great rendition and details of Manavala Maamunigal at Tirumala. I am not sure where is this “Kaattu Azhagiya Singar” Koil on the way by footpath to Tirumala. Has that Sannidhi been lost?

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