Starting from today we will have an series on Sri Anandazhvan vaibhavam. It is written for our blog by Sri TCA Venkatesan, who is a descendant of Sri Anandazhvan himself.
Prior to being won over by Bhattar and becoming a Srivaishnava, Nanjeeyar was known as Vedanti/Madhavacharyar and lived near Thirunarayanapuram, in Karnataka. By the order of Swami Ramanuja, Bhattar went to Vedanti, defeated him in a debate and made him a Srivaishnava. Vedanti continued to live near Thirunarayanapuram after that. Later, due to some incidents in his household, he became indifferent to this world and became a sanyasi. He collected a sizeable portion of his wealth and headed to Srirangam to seek Bhattar’s divine feet. When Bhattar saw him, he called him “nam jIyar” and he got the name Nanjeeyar after that.
On the way to Srirangam, Nanjeeyar was met by Anandazhvan. Anandazhvan saw that Nanjeeyar had become a sanyasi and told him “Why did you take on sanyashrama dharma? You lived a comfortable live as Vedanti. If you had continued in the same way (and not taken on the rigid requirements of this ashrama) and considered Bhattar’s divine feet as the means and the goal, would anyone have rejected you from attaining His divine abode?” He continued: “Now reject all the mantras that you had learnt as Vedanti. Instead, be born in Thirumanthra as a Srivaishnava; grow (in knowledge) in the Dvaya mantra that Bhattar taught you by reciting it always; and be attached to Dvaya mantram alone”. He also said the following to Nanjeeyar: “Do not think that you have given your worldly wealth to Bhattar and therefore Bhattar will take care of you. That will take you to a lower place than where you were as Vedanti. Consider thus: Your state in this world will be taken care of by Periya Perumal and Your state in His divine abode will be taken care of by Bhattar.” Why not consider that both the states in this world and the next are the responsibility of the acharya? If we did, if due to our karmas we have some bodily suffering, we would blame our acharya. If that were to happen, the Lord will not pardon that. On the other hand, if we blame the Lord (if we consider the body to be His responsibility and suffer from some affliction), we will still be pardoned by Him as we will be approaching Him through the mediation of the acharya only.