By Swami Harshananda
Sometimes transliterated as: Manavala Mamuni, MaNavAla MAmuni, Manavaala Maamuni
Maṇavāla Māmuni (A. D. 1370-1443)
One of the prominent teachers of the Viśiṣṭādvaita philosophy and the Srīvaiṣṇava sect, Maṇavāla Māmuni was born in A. D. 1370 at Tirukkuruhur of Tamil Nadu. His parents were Tātaraṇṇar Araiyar and Srīraṅga Nācciyār.
He was educated first by his father and later by two well-known teachers of his times, Tiruvāymoli Pillai and Kidāmbi Nāyanār. He thus became an expert in the Sanskrit scriptures as also the Tamil lore of Viśiṣṭādvaita.
He settled down at Srīraṅgam. He was a householder at first. Later on, he embraced samnyāsa (monastic life) receiving the monastic vows from Sathagopa Jīyar.
He spent most of his time in giving religious discourses, writing books and helping in building temples or renovating old ones.
He toured widely, visiting all the
important places connected with Srīvaiṣṇa-vism. He was a prolific writer mostly in Tamil. Some of them are: commentaries on the important works of Pillai Lokācārya (A. D. 1228-1327) such as Śrīvacana-bhusana and Tattvatraya; Pramānat-tirattu; Yatirājavirhśati; Upadeśaratna-mālai; Ārtiprabandha and Tiruvārādhana-krama.
He trained eight disciples—three were samnyāsins and the rest householders—and appointed them as the pontiffs of the several Maṭhas (religious centres) such as Vānamāmalai Maṭha, Yatirāja Maṭha and others.
He emphasised the superiority of bhakti (devotion) to God and service to the society in one’s personal life. Even members of the lower castes were his disciples.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore