Yamunacharya, who was earlier ruling a kingdom, very soon mastered the sacred scriptures and became the king of the spiritual world due to his intense devotion and dedication for serving the Lord. Yamunacharya’s erudition and interpretation of scriptures made him the undisputed leader of the Vaishnava world and many devotees started to flock around him. Though Yamunacharya dedicated his life to serve Ranganatha, he frequently went on pilgrimages to Kanchipuram, Tirupati and other Divya deshams.
Yamunacharya compiled some important works in accordance with the tradition established by Natha Muni, which later helped Ramanuja to establish the Vishista-advaita school of thought by refuting Mayavada in his commentary on Brahma Sutras. The important works of Yamunacharya are as follows:
- Chatusloka: Four verses glorifying universal mother Maha Lakshmi.
- Stotraratnam: A classical masterpiece in which Yamunacharya concisely establishes the supremacy of Lord Narayana, Vishista-advaita philosophy and the greatness of complete surrender to the Lord, i.e., Prapatti.
- Siddhitrayam: A philosophical work that consists of three chapters – Atmasiddhi, Samvitsiddhi and Ishvarasiddhi – and describes the nature of the soul, its relationship with the Lord and means to overcome the impediments that prevent one from reaching the Lord.
- Agama Pramanya: An authoritative work that establishes the importance of adhering to Pancharatra agama during the Deity worship and explains the philosophy enshrined in it.
- Maha Purusha Nirnayam: A work that describes Sri and Narayana as the ultimate reality.
- Gitarta Sangraha: A concise summary of the essence of Bhagavad-gita in thirty two verses.
- Nityam, and
- Mayavada Khandanam: A work that focuses on refuting Mayavada.
Yamunacharya had several disciples and some of them dedicated their lives to the service entrusted to them by their Guru. Important among them are Kanchi Purna, Srishaila Purna, Thiruvaranga Perumal Araiyar, Maha Purna, Ghosti Purna and Maladhara.
Srishaila Purna had two sisters. The elder sister was named Bhudevi (Bhumi Pirrati) and the younger sister was named Dhyuthimathi and Sridevi (Periya Pirrati). Bhudevi was married to Asuri Keshava Perumal of Sri Perumbadur and Sridevi was married to Kamala Nayana Bhatta of a nearby village called Agharam. After getting his sisters married, Srishaila Purna started to spend his day serving his spiritual master, Yamunacharya. Eventually, he dedicated his life to serve Lord Venkateshwara of Tirupati at the behest of Yamunacharya. Asuri Keshava Perumal was a learned scholar from Harita gotra and a family of Yajur Veda scholars. He was very interested in performing yajnas and was capable of performing all the sacrifices ordained in the scriptures. Therefore, he was called Asuri Sarvakratu Keshavacharya Dikshita by Vedic scholars.
As Asuri Keshava Perumal did not have any children for a long time after his marriage with Bhudevi he was worried. He decided to go to Vrindaranya (present Triplicane in Chennai) to perform Putra Kamesti (a sacrifice that is performed by those desirous of having children) in the precincts of Lord Parthasarathy’s temple. Asuri Keshava Perumal and his wife performed the aforesaid sacrifice in accordance with the scriptural injunctions. Lord Krishna appeared in the dream of Asuri Keshava Perumal in His Deity form as Parthasarathy and said, “O Sarvakratu, I am pleased with your steadfastness, devotion and righteous conduct and I will incarnate Myself as your son. The people of this age have become perverse due to their wrong understanding of the scriptures and the so called spiritual leaders are projecting themselves as God. The people will be doomed if I do not incarnate Myself as an acharya. Therefore, go back satisfied as your desire will be fulfilled very soon.” Asuri Keshava Perumal became very happy and left to his native place, Sri Perumbadur along with his wife as directed by the Lord.
Let us know about the advent of Ramanujacharya, one of the greatest saints in the next post.