Friday Review » History & Culture

Updated: March 25, 2010 17:24 IST

Voice of a mighty philosophy

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Periya JEER- Sri Ranga Ramanujan
Periya JEER- Sri Ranga Ramanujan

H.H. The Pedda Jeeyangar of Tirumala

“ Every great book, every great work of revealing art, every record of a devoted life is a call and an open sesame to the Elysian Fields.” - Will Durant

The Periya Jeeyar Swami of the Tirumala Mutt attained Acharyan Tiruvadi on March 14. The Andhra Public reverentially referred to him as Peddha Jeeyangar. He had the title of Peria Koil Kelvi Appan Sri Ranga Ramanuja Jeeyar Swami. The term “kelvi appan” refers to the fact that the Jeeyar Swami was the custodian of the key, the mudhradikari of the temple at Tirumala.

The Peddha Jeeyangar Mutt was established by Sri Ramanuja in 1119 A.D. when he was 102 years old, in consultation with Tirumalai Ananthalwan. The idea was to institutionalise service to the Lord and the devotees according to the Vaikanasa Agama tradition. Sri Ramanuja himself was the first Jeeyangar of the Mutt. Manavala Mamunigal adorned the Mutt as the twelfth head.

The Periya Jeeyar who passed away last week happened to be the 43{+r}{+d} pontiff of the Mutt. In his poorvashrama, he was the Principal of Venkateswara Patashala. He played a fertilising role in the development of scholastic philosophy. His was the voice of a mighty philosophy representing the most powerful Hindu temple of the world.

He organised the chanting of the Divya Prabandhas, everyday, throughout the year. Watching him at the entrance to the temple, screening the Sri Vaishnava devotees, quizzing them whether they knew Andal Thiruppavai forty (if they say yes, they will be out of the queue;) is an educational experience by itself. He ensured the chanting of the Prabanna Gayatri of 108 pasurams on Sri Ramanuja at the Ramanuja shrine up the Hills everyday. It was a moving sight, even in his eighties, watching this saint carry a basket of flowers on his head to adorn the Lord everyday during Thomala.

He helped all those who wanted darshan. The Devasthanam took his word as gospel. He had the authority to question them about the observance of traditions set up by the Savant from Sriperumbudur. Sri Ramanuja found it difficult to climb up the Hills half way through and that place is known as Muzhangal Madippan. A shrine was erected for Ramanuja at that place by Sri Manavala Mamunigal. Five hundred years later, the 43rd pontiff renovated the shrine.

The Jeeyar Swami drank deep from the treasury of divine love of the Azhwars and propagated the same. He believed that Manava Seva was Madhava Seva. The immortality of his soul makes almost insignificant the passing of the flesh.

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