Swami Alavandar is amongst the most important acharyas of Sri Vaishnava tradition. He was the foremost to identify that Sri Ramanuja was the future of Sri Vaishnavam and ordered all his disciples to give due respect to Sri Ramanuja. Here is a short story of the great Acharya.
Yamunacharya, also popularly known as Alavandar, was the son of Isvara Bhatta and grandson of the great acharya Nathamuni. He was born in 916 A.D at Viranarayanapuram (present day Kattu Mannargudi) in Tamil Nadu. Yamunacharya was a genius – a child prodigy. He was instructed in all Sastras. He had the gift of eka-santha – graha (remembering forever by learning only once). When he was a pupil under the tutelage of Maha-bhasya Bhattar, one proud Raja-purohit by name Akki Alwan used to collect levies from vidwans. When Maha-Bhasya was grief stricken owing to this demand letter by Akki Alwan, the student Yamuncharya tore it into pieces. When, owing to this audacious act, a royal order was issued summoning him to attend the court, he tore that order too into pieces. The king and queen, having heard of the fame of Yamuna, wanted to see the brilliance of the boy. They sent a palanquin to bring him to have a debate with the Raja purohit on spiritual matters. Yamunacharya went in all honour and defeated the Raja purohit on arguments covering both mundane and spiritual matters. The royal couple, deeply impressed, made Yamunacharya the prince of half of their kingdom. Thenceforth, Yamunacharya lived in all royal luxury.
Manakkal Nambi was on the task of finding Yamunacharya. He learnt that Yamunacharya was in a royal status, attended by ministers and other retinue. To gain entry into the palace, Mankkal Nambhi daily gives Thoodu vilai keerai (a type of green leaf liked by Alavandar) daily to the palace guards, who in turn cook and give it to Alavandar. One day, when Alavandar doesn’t find the green in his food, he asks his assistant for the reason. The guards tell him about Manakkal Nambhi and also add that he has stopped coming to palace. Alavandar instructs his guards to bring Nambhi to palace. Manakkal Nambhi immediately asks Alavandar that he should listen to his Upanyasams daily. Nambhi teaches him the secrets embedded in Bhagavad Gita day-in and day-out, despite the busy schedule of Yamunacharya. Yamunacharya was enraptured by the teachings of the Master Manakkal Nambi. He learnt all about Sri Vaishnavism and Divya Prabandam. And one day Manakkal Nambi says Alavandhar that his grandfather Sri Nathamuni had passed on the family wealth (kula dhanam) that needs to be handed over to Sri Alavandhar. Alavandhar said, “in that case, give me that.” Manakkal Nambhi takes Yamuna to Sri Rangam and showed the wealth of Sri Vaishnava. Sri lying on Sesha, bequeathed to him by his grandfather Nadhamunigal.
The very instant Alavandar renounce all his princely wealth and takes over the task of spreading Sri Vaishnavam.Further Reading – http://www.srivaishnavan.com/tomcat/alavandar.html, http://alwarsandacharyas.blogspot.com/2007/02/uyyakkondar.html, http://www.srivaishnava.org/sva/alavan.htm