Today is the Thirunakshatram of Embar, also known as Govinda Bhattar. Life of Swami Embar is a part of Swami Ramanuja life. Here’s a small post on Embar.
Embar was the cousin of Swami Ramanuja and son of Kamala Nayana Battar. Following Swami Ramanuja’s footsteps, he also went to KAnjIpuram to learn under the tutelage of YAdavaprakAsar. Differences arise between Yadavaprakasar & Ramanujar when Yadavaprakasar wrongly teaches the meaning of the Vedas. Yadavaprakasar plots to kill Ramanujar on a trip to Ganges, but Govinda Bhattar alerts and saves him. Later, while taking bath in Ganges with Yadavaprakasar and ashram mates, Sri Govinda Battar gets a lingam in his hand. Sri Govinda Battar shows the same to his guru. The advaitic scholar replied that it is the anugruham of Lord Siva and names him as Ullankai Konarntha Naayanaar. From that day, Govinda Battar becomes a pure advaitee and starts practising the same.
Swami Ramanuja decides to correct his cousin and requests Thirumalai Nambhi to do so. Thirumalai Nambhi too had been thinking of correcting Govinda Bhattar and hence immidietely leaves to Kalahasti with few of his disciples. He crosses ULangai konNarnda NAyanAr’s path and makes AaLavandAr’s shlokam fall on his ears: “SvAbhAvikAnavatikAtisayEchitrutvam”. Something in NAyanAr’s mind gets stirred when he hears the words and becomes disturbed. On another occasion, Nambigal went and sits under the tree from which NAyanAr used to pluck flowers everyday and starts teaching the meaning of TiruvAimozhi to his disciples. NAyanar forgets his task of gathering the flowers and stands there mesmerized. Nambigal explains the meaning of 3 pAsurams. The fourth one contained the following lines: “EmperumAnukkallAmal PUvum PUsanaiyum TagumE”. On hearing those words, NAyanAr throws the basket and the flowers and says realises the folly he had been committing. He falla at Nambigal’s feet and asks for forgiveness and asks for his blessings and protection. He sobs loudly and laments his wasted years. Nambi consoles NAyanAr. The local Saivaites on hearing this news surrounded Nambigal, and fight with him while questioning if this behavior was okay. Nambigal redirects them to NAyanAr, who promptly disowns them and gives them back the key and the ring that had been given to him.
Nambigal takes him to Tirupati and performs pancha samskAram for Embar. He then starts teaching him all the prabandams starting with “tirup pallANdu”. Later Embar also becomes the Acharya of Sri Parasara Bhattar.