By Swami Harshananda
Maṇavāla Māmuni lived in A. D. 1370-1443. He was one of the prominent teachers of the Viśiṣṭādvaita philosophy and the Śrīvaiṣṇava sect. He 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 Kiḍāmbi Nāyanār. Thus, he became an expert in the Sanskrit scriptures and Tamil lore of Viśiṣṭādvaita.
He settled down at Srīraṅgam. Initially he was a householder. Later on, he embraced sanyāsa (monastic life) receiving the monastic vows from Saṭhagopa 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 Srīvaiṣṇavism. He was a prolific writer mostly in Tamil. Some of his commentaries on the important works are:
He trained eight disciples from whom three were sanyāsins and the rest were householders. He appointed them as the pontiffs of the several Maṭhas (religious centers) 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