Parents of Swami Desika
In the Perumal Koil, there was on Anantha Somayaji of Viswamitra Gotram, who was one of the 74 Simhasana Adhipathis nominated by Bhagavad Ramanuja. His son was Pundareeka Yajvaa. His son was Ananthasuri. Pundarika Yajvaa approached Appullaar (belonging to the Vamsam of Atreya Ramanuja Kidaambi Aachaan) and requested to give the latters sister Totaramba in marriage to his son, Ananthasuri. That night, Lord Devaraja appeared in a dream of Appullaar and seconded the proposal saying that by this marriage will be born one who would be the prime torch-bearer of Ramanuja Darsanam. The very next day, the marriage of Ananthasuri and Totaramba was celebrated and they lived a happy and devout couple.
As ordered by the Lord of Tiruvenkatam and Padmavati Thayar, the couple went on a pilgrimage to Tirumalai. The Lord appeared in their dreams in the garb of a Srivaishnava youth and handed over a small golden bell which Totaramba swallowed. Next morning, when they compared notes, they were astonished to find how both of them had the same dream which concurred in every detail. As the Archaka opened the doors of the Sanctum Sanctorum, he found the bell missing. During an investigation ordered into the loss of the bell, the Lord appeared by Avesa (spiritual trance) on Tirumalai Nambi and told that He had himself presented the bell to the Ananthasuri couple and thenceforward, the small hand- bell need not be used in the Tiruvaradhana in the temple. Even today. when the Naivedyam is offered to the lord, IT IS ONLY THE HUGE BELL suspended in the front hall that is being rung.
Swami Desika's Avatara
12 years after this incident, the Ganta of the Lord was born as Gantaavataara Aazhwar. The Avatara of Thooppul Kulamani was in the Kali yuga year 4370 which corresponds to 1268 AD 9I,e)Year Vibhava, month Purattaasi, on the Dasami day of Sukla Paksha, a Wednesday, in the constellation of Sravanam ( the same as that of Lord of Tirumalai). PPM observes that, perhaps, he had Guru Udhara Vaasam for 12 years instead of 12 years of Guru Kula Vaasam, since he was destined to be the Vedanta Acharya. He was born in Thooppul, near Tiruttangaa (Himavanam) adjacent to the temple of Deepa Prakaasar in Kanchipuram, the birthplace of Poigai Alwar.
Naamakaranam and Lord Varadaraja's Blessings
As he was born during the Theerthotsava of Tiruvenkadamudaiyaan, Appullaar, his uncle named him "Venkatanathan". After Abdapoorthi (the first birthday) he took the child to "Per aruLaLan Temple" at Kanchi, near Madras, India. The Lord blessed the child to become the "beacon light" of "Srivaishnava Darsanam" like Ramanuja. Swami Desika himself mentions this in his "Amritha Ranjanai", thus: "Anre Adaikkalam Konda Nam Athigiri Thirumaal". The child had his choulam in the 3rd year and Aksharaabhyaasam in the 5th year.
His Encounter With Nadadur Ammaal
One day, Appullaar took the boy, who was then hardly 5 years of age, with him to the Eastern praakaaram of Lord Varadaraja temple to attend the Sri Bhashya Kalakshepam of Nadadur Ammaal. Ammaal was so impressed with the captivating brilliance of the kid that he stopped the discourse to exchange pleasantries. Later, when he tried to resume the discourse, Ammaal was fumbling as to the context where he left off. Our Thooppul Pillai reminded him of the context. Ammaal was overwhelmed and took the boy on his lap, hugged him and blesssed him saying:-
Pratishtapita Vedaantah Prati- Kshipta Bahir Mathaa Bhooyaah Traividyaa Maanyas Tvam Bhoori Kalyaana Bhaajanam
meaning you will establish Vedanta on a firm footing demolishing the misrepresentations of other faiths". Even today, one can see the painting of the scene of Ammaal blessing the boy on the ceiling in front of the Kachi Vaithaan Mandapam in the temple of Lord Varadaraja in Kanchipuram. He bade Appullaar to initiate the boy in all the Sastras and other esoteric doctrines.
Duly performing the Upanayanam at Garbaashtamam(i.e.) at the age of 7, Appullaar initiated the boy into Veda Adhyayanam, Saamaanya Sastras, Sri Bhashya and other scriptures. He was surprised to notice that the boy was precociously so smart as to grasp all that he was taught almost instantly ("Eka Sandha Graahi"). By age 20, Desika became an unparalleled Vidwaan so much that the elders wondered whether he was the combined reincarnation of Aalwaan, Naathamuni, Aalavandaar, Udaiyavar, Pillaan, Aachaan and other exponents of our Darsanam who seemed to have entered his soul (Aavesa). Swami himself says in Sankalpa Suryodaya, "Vimsati Abde Visrutha Naanaa Vidha Vidyaah"
Appullaar got the lad married at the age 21 to a beautiful maiden named Tirumangai aka Kanakavalli . He initiated Desika into the Garuda Mantra. Desika was carrying out his daily chores with Anushtaanam appropriate to his stage of life as a householder, ie. Oupaasana, Panchakaala Prakriya,etc., He lived by "Uncha Vritti" (begging for grains) true to the norms prescribed for a Srivaishnava Grihasta. By age 27, he had already become an Acharya delivering discourses on Granthas and Mantras to his Sishyas. He is reputed to have delivered discourses on Sri Bhashya over 30 times in his lifetime.
Some Incidents in the Life of Swami Desika
On the demise of Appullar, he proceeded to Tiru vaheendra puram where he climbed the Oushaadri hillock, sat under an Aswatha tree and meditated on the Veda Maya Swaroopa Garuda, the divine bird vehicle of Lord Vishnu reciting the Garuda Mantra taught to him by his Guru. Garuda appeared before him and taught him the Hayagriva Mantra. As he recited it, Lord Hayagriva appeared before him, fed him with the nectar flowing from His mouth and presented an icon of Himself to Desika. Lord Hayagriva, took His seat on the tip of the tongue of Swami as prayed by him. Like Rama to whom All Astras and Sustras became slaves due to the Upadesam of Viswamitra, due to Hayagriva's grace, all Saastras became slaves to do the bidding of Desika. Feeling grateful, Swami composed Hayagriva Stotram, Garuda Panchaasath, Devanaayaka Panchaasath, Achyuta Sathakam etc in Sanskrit and Mummanikkaovai, Navamani Maalai etc., in Tamil. There was no branch of knowledge. literary or scientific in which he was not proficient. Of the many deities he sang about, Devanatha of Tiruvaheendrapuram is the ONLY ONE who has been praised in 3 languages viz Sanskrit, Prakrit, and Tamil. Swami himself catalogues all his works on Devanatha in the serial order thus:-
Antam-Il Seer Ayindai Nagar Amarnda Naathan Adiyinai Mel Adi Uraiyaal Aimbadetti Chintai Kavar Praakritam Nooru Koori Senthamizh Mummanik Kovai Seriyach Serthu Pandhu Kazhal Ammaanai Oosal Yesal Paravu Navamani Maalai Ivaiyum Sonnen Mundhai Marai Mozhiya Vazhi Mozhi Neeyenru Mukundan Arul Thanda Payan Petren Naane ||
But, unfortunately, the Tamil poems mentioned above which are in the nature of love lore are lost for us.
At Tiruk Kovilur
On his way back to Kanchi, he visited Gopapura (Tirukkovalur) where he composed the famous Dehaleesa Sthuthi.
During his stay in Kanchipuram, Swami took the opportunity to visit several shrines in and near Kanchi and composed lyrics of incomparable beauty on the Lords in the various shrines. He composed in Sanskrit: Saranagathi Deepika on Lord Deepa PrakAsA. (Vilakkoli Perumal); Kaamaasikaashataka on Lord Nrisimha whose temple is on the banks of the river Vegavathi; Ashtabuja Ashtaka in praise of the eight armed Lord in Ashtabuja temple; Vegaasethu Stotra on Lord Yatotkaari; Paramaartha Sthuthi on Lord Vijayaraghava at Tirupputkuzhi. He also composed Sri Vaishnava Dinasari, Panniru Naamam, Tiruchchinna Maalai; In Manipravala: Sampradaaya Parisuddhi.
A Son is Born
Lord Varadaraja blessed Swami with an illustrious son Varadarya in 1317 AD. He followed the footsteps of his illustrious father and shone like a lamp lit from another lamp
Swami at Tirupati
Later, Swami Desika undertook a pilgrimage to the North. The first halt was Tirumalai where he composed the famous Dayaa Sathakam and the Lord conferred on him the honorific of "Vedaantha Aachaarya" . Swami himself refers elsewhere that it was Lord Ranganatha who conferred the title on him. It must be understood that the Swami did not treat any deity with any partiality but considered as one and the same.. He exclaimed "Vedaanta Desika Padhe Vinivesya Baalam" meaning "Oh ! How the Lord had elevated me a mere boy into a competent Acharya "
Pilgrimage to the North
Swami went on a pilgrimage to several Kshetras like Tiruk Kadigai, Tiru Ayodhya, Kaasi, Mathura, Avanti, Badarikasramam, Puri, Brindavan, Dwaraka, Triveni, Gaya , Salagramam, Purushothamam, Srikoormam etc., (as can be seen from his description of these places in Act VI of Sankalpa Suryodayam) Before returning to Kanchi, he also visited Tiruvallikkeni and Tiruvallur.
Back at Kanchi
- The Archa murthi of Hayagriva which was originally worshipped by Goddess Saraswati and handed over by her to Bhagavad Ramanuja was being subsequently worshipped by Pillaan and Pundarikaaksha. This Pundarikaaksha was the son-in-law of Appullaar, and was working as the Rajaguru of the Rayar Samasthaanam in the north. As ordered by the Lord, Pundarikaaksha handed over the murthi to Swami Desika with royal honors.
- This is reported to have happened while the Swami was in Kanchi. A magician confronted him. As the magician drank the water of a pond, Desika's belly bulged filled with water and caused unbearable pain. Desika just scratched with his fingernail a pillar nearby and all the water flowed out there from and Desika's belly regained the normal position. The magician begged to be excused and disappeared but not before the Swami thanking him for helping in cleaning the streets of Kanchi without any effort on his part!
- Once, his boyhood friend, Vidyaranya, a Court official of 'Vijayanagara kingdom' wanted to help Desika financially and invited him to the court for the purpose. But, Desika declined and sent him a letter containing his famous ' Vairagya Panchakam' depicting his renunciation of and detachment from worldly wealth.
- Swami was requested to preside over and moderate in a debate between the Advaita Vidwan, Vidyaranyar and Dvaita Vidwan, Akshobhya, After hearing the arguments of both he gave a ruling impartially that Akshobhyas views were in accordance with Pramanas even though Vidyaranya was his boyhood friend and settled the dispute.
- In Kanchipuram, a snake charmer brought a few snakes and asked Desika if he could control them. Desika drew a line on the floor with a piece of chalk. The serpents could not cross the line. But, when a poisonous snake crossed and threateningly advanced towards him, he uttered the Garuda Mantra. Immediately, a Garuda bird appeared and picked up all the serpents and flew away. Deprived of his only means of livelihood, the snake charmer begged to be excused. Desika recited his "Garuda Dandakam' and the bird brought back the snakes.
- Instigated by some jealous people , with the intention of embarrassing Swami sent a bachelor to Swami for financial help for his wedding, knowing full well that Swami had no wherewithal. Swami Desika took him to the Sanctum Sanctorum of the divine mother and sang the famous 'Sri Sthuthi'. Immediately, the sky opened up, as it were, and rained gold coins. Swami asked the bachelor to take them away. And, the mischief makers were aghast at this wonder.[ While the facts are attested by all, Vangipuram Rama Desikachar Swami places the incident at the Sannidhi of Sri Ranga Nachiyar ( Vide p.29-30 in "Sri Desika Charitra Sangraham" in Part I of Sri Desika Stotra Maalai, while ASR places it the Sannidhi of Perundevi Thayar at Kanchipuram.
- As ordered by Udaiyavar, Swami composed 15 Vedanta Granthas like Bhagavad Dhyaana Sopaanam, Dasaavataara Stotram, Tattva Muktaa Kalaapam, Sarvaartha Siddhi, Nyaaya Parisuddhi, Nyaaya Siddhaanjanam, Seswara Mimaamsa, Tattva Teeka etc
- Periya Vaachaan Pillai requested Swami to compose a shorter version explaining the essence of Prapatti Saastras. Accordingly, Swami composed Nyaasa Vimsati, Nyaasa Tilakam and Nyaasa Dasakam.
Once a band of Maayaa Vaadhis landed in Srirangam for a debate condemning Ramanuja Darsanam. Periya Vaachaan Pillai, Pillai Lokaachaarya and others resorted to the Grand old Master Sudarsana Bhattar for advice. Sudarsana Bhattar said that it was only Swami Desika who could save the situation and caused a letter to be sent to Kanchi inviting Thooppul Pillai to face the opponents. Swami immediately set forth to Srirangam but on the way he halted at Sriprumpudur and prayed to Yathirajar and composed the famous Yathiraja Saptadhi.
On reaching Srirangam, Swami fell at the feet of Sudarsana Bhattar and sought his blessings. Bhattar blessed him saying that it was Perumals command that he should re-establish our Siddhanta like our Ramanuja did earlier. The debate went on for 7 days in which Swami demolished every single argument of the opponents. The Maayaa Vaadhis accepted defeat, became Srivaishnavas and his Sishyas. The essence of the debate is what we now have as "Satha Dushani" It was at this time that Periya Perumaal conferred the title "Vedanta Desikan" and Periya Piraatti the title "Sarva Tantra Svatantra" . Sudarsana Bhattar and Periya Vaachaan Pillai commended on this and declared that he was the one who deserved the honorific most eminently.
His Exodus to Tirunarayanapuram
In about 1327,during the Muslim invasion of Srirangam by Malik Kafur, the General of Allauddin, Sultan of Delhi, there was a great commotion. The Srivaishnavas who were Satvic by nature were no match to the Muslim plunderers. Fear gripped the minds of everyone as to what might happen to the temple and the Lords Archa murthis. The Acharyas deliberated under the guidance of the Centenarian Master, Sudarsana Bhattar. It was decided that one group under Pillai Lokacharya ( who was equally advanced in age) was to take the Utsava Murthi and His consorts covered up in a palanquin to Tirupati.. The party under Sudarsana Suri was to stay put at Srirangam, after erecting a stone wall in front of the Sannidhi of Moolavar to cover him from the sight of the marauders. Swami took Sudarsana Bhattars two sons and the manuscripts of Sruta Prakaasika ( the elaborate commentary on Sri Bhashyam chronicled by Sudarsana Bhattar during the Kalakshepams of Nadadur Ammaal) to safety at Tiru narayana puram via Satya mangalam. But, before he could do that, the muslim army attacked them and massacred many of them. Swami hid himself with his wards in the midst of corpses and spent the night. In the morning, they moved towards Satyakalam village in Karnataka en route to Tirunarayana puram.
Swami at Satyakaalam
It was at this time, Swami composed the famous Abheeti Sthavam seeking the Lord to restore the worship of the Lord at Srirangam. He lived there for nearly 12 years (reciting incessantly the Sthavam) until news of restoration of the Lord in Srirangam reached his ears. The Aswatha tree under which Swami rested in Satyakaalam can still be seen in the village even today. The stone slab on which Swami sat is kept preserved in the temple of Lord Vardaraja in the village. There is also the image of Swami which is unique.. Unlike in other places, the Swami is seen in a standing posture as if he was on his toes ever ready to move to Srirangam awaiting the good news of reinstallation of the Lord there.
At Tirunarayanapuram, his son, Kumara Varadachariar delivered discourses on Pillaans commentary of Tiruvoimozhi named 6000 Padi with the help of Swamis notes named "Nigama Parimalam
Swami Back at Srirangam
- When some of the orthodox people objected to the recital of Divya Prabandam in the temple on the grounds that they included the works of Non -Brahmin Alwars, written in Dravida Baasha and Tiruvoimozhi in particular dealt with Kaama that was taboo for them. Swami argued with them and convinced them that the holy collects were equal to the Vedas since they contained all that was in the Vedas, that since they were in praise of the Lord, the language did not matter and that the Kaama spoken of was nothing but absolute devotion to the Lord . He re-instituted the practice of 'Adhyayana Utsava'- the ceremonial honoring of the Alwars.
- Azhagiya Manavaala Naayanaar, brother of Pillai Lokachaarya and our Swami went to worship Lord Ranganatha. The Naayanaar was captivated by the feet of the Lord and wanted to compose a Stotra praising the same. Our Swami felt that the Divya Mani Paadukaas of the Lord were equally captivating and offered to compose a Stotram on the Sandals of the Lord. before daybreak the next day. But, he had slept almost till the small hours of the morning of the appointed day. When there was hardly a couple of hours to go before sunrise, the agitated disciples woke him up to remind him of his promise. Instantly, he commenced pouring out with bewildering rapidity an epic 'Paaduka Sahasram' and completed it well before daybreak. The 1,000 verses of this epic is an example of literary excellence and lofty thoughts- a wonderful masterpiece of how a single subject like the sandals could be expressed in so many different ways and yet hold up the imagination and interest of the audience!
Swami at Srivilliputtur
When in Srivilliputtur, he composed "Godha Sthuthi", the Choodik Kodutha Naachiyaar was so pleased that she ordained that the Stotra should be recited during her Utsavam days along with Divya Prabhandams. To this day, this recitation is being followed in Srivilliputtur. After visiting Tirupullaani, Tirukkurugur, Tiruvananthapuram and other shrines in Malai Nadu and Chozha Nadu, he returned to Tiru Ayindai.
Swami Back at Triu Ayindai
- Once, a mason wishing to test his skills, as Desika was named Sarva Tantra Swatantra (master of all arts), challenged him to construct a well with broken and irregularly shaped bricks that were supplied to Desika. Desika built a well almost in no time which stands to this day as a testimony of his dexterity as professional mason.
- Once a sculptor offered to provide a base and asked him to make an image of himself. Desika made an image of himself but when the sculptor tried to fix it on the base, he could not do so. He tried to chisel out a portion of the body of the image. Blood flowed from the corresponding part of the body of Desika. The sculptor admitted that the fault was in the base made by him. Desika fixed it up in the base exactly as it should be, like a professional sculptor. Later, this image was installed by Desika's son Nainarachar at Tiru vaheendra puram. Anyone visiting Tiru vaheendra puram and offering prayers to the idol, can never take their eyes off this marvelous Vigraha.
- Afraid that they cannot win a debate with Swami, some jains joined hands with the leaders of other faiths and confronted Swami during a festival at Tiru Ayindai. Single handed, Swami proved them all wrong by dashing to ground everyone of their arguments. The convincing repartees of Swami during this debate is enshrined in his famous "Para Matha Bhangam"
Other Incidents in the Life of Swami
- Once, a Vidwan by name, Krishna Misra challenged Swami Whether he could write a drama to match his own drama, 'Prabhoda SuryOdayam' Swami wrote within just ONE night 'Sankalpa SuryOdaya'- a marvelous allegorical drama in 10 Acts in which qualities like Viveka and evil tendencies like jealousy, greed etc., were personified as the dramatis personae. In appreciation of this, Krishna Misra and others honored Swami with the title of " Kavi Taarkika Simham"
- Similarly, a poet by name Dindima (14c AD) - a junior contemporary of Swami challenged him to write an epic poem to match his work entitled " Rama abhyudhayam". He wrote 'Yadhava abhyudhayam'- a poem of exquisite beauty which was praised by one and all and especially Appayya Dikshitar of Advaitha darsanam & yet an ardent admirer of Swami Desikan. This was praised by Dindima Kavi himself as follows:-
Vede Sanjnaata Khede Muni Jana Vachane Praapta Nityaavamaane Sankirne Sarva Varne Sathi Tadanugune Nishpramaane Puraane | Maayaavaade Samode Kali Kalusha Vasaat Soonya Vaade Vivaade Dharma Thraanaaya Yo Bhooth Sa Jayathi Bhagavaan Vishnu Gantaavataarah ||
(meaning) "Due to the nature of Kaliyuga, great confusion arose; Vedas were misinterpreted; The sayings of great men were ignored; There came about an admixture of castes; The sacred scriptures lost their validity; Maayaavaadis were gloating in glee; Soonyavaada pervades everywhere untrammeled; Swami Desika appeared at this juncture as the very incarnation of the great bell of the Lord, vanquished all and established Dharma. All Glory unto him"
- Once, when the Swami was staying in a Kshetram, he could not get anything to offer as Naivedyam to the Lord, he just offered some water to the Lord and went to bed with an empty stomach and a heavy heart. Suddenly, he was awakened by a farmer who reported that a white horse was grazing the crops in his field. Swami understood that it was the leela of Hayagriva and comforted the farmer. He asked the farmer to bring some milk and offered it to his upAsanA murthi. Thereupon, the horse disappeared.. Next morning, when the farmer went to the field, it was fully laden with fresh and green crop.
- He wrote a poem entitled ' Hamsa Sandesam' which far excelled the famous poem of Kalidasa viz., 'Megha Sandesam'
- Once when he returned after his daily rounds of begging for rice ( Uncha vritti), somebody out of pity at his utter penury had deposited a few gold coins to help him. When he noticed them he threw them out saying they were like vermins.
- A Vidwan by name Kandaadai Lakshmanaachar had committed some Apachaaram to Swami. Subsequently, he was found suffering from serious and incurable ailment. He rushed to Swami and begging his forgiveness, partook Swamis Sri Paada Theertham. Not only was he cured of his ailment completely but he was also blessed to have a son. He was named "Theertha Pillai" in honor of the drinking of the Sri Paada Theertham.
- A prolific writer, he wrote more than 100 works. His magnum opus is his 'Rahasya Traya Saram' in Manipravala style (a mixture of Sanskrit and Tamil) explaining in inimitable manner Tattva, Hita And Purushartha as well as the significance of the three great Mantras of Ashtakshara, Dvaya and Charama Sloka. This Rahasya Traya Sara is reckoned as one of the four works that any Srivaishnava should study the other three being Sri Bashya, Gita Bashya and the Nalayira Divya Prabandams.
Swami's Last Days
Having lived a full and rich life for 101 years and satisfied with his work on earth, Swami Desika cast his tabernacle of flesh, praying to Udaiyavar and Appullaar by placing their Paadukas on his head which he kept on the lap of Nainarachar and his feet on the lap of Brahma Tantra Svatantrarar, while his Sishyas chanted Tiruvoimozhi and Upanishads. He attained Paramapadam in Sowmya year in the month Kartigai in the asterism of Kartikai. In the Kali yuga year 4471 which corresponds to 1369 AD.
Tanians on Swami Desika
A number of 'Thanians ' (laudatory dedication verses) were dedicated to him.
(1) His son Varadacharya implores "the great lion of poetics and dialectics and the great preceptor of Vedanta (that Swami Venkatanatha was ) should reside in his heart always."
Sriman Venkata Natharyah Kavitarkika Kesari | Vedantacharya Varyo Mey Sannidhattam Sadaa Hridhi ||
(2) Another one was by his disciple Brahma Tantra Swatantra which says:- " I salute the great Venkata Natha also named Vedanta Acharya and Lion among poets and logicians and who was well adorned by both Knowledge and discretion and who well deserved the grace of Srimad Ramanuja":
Sri Ramanuja Daya Patram Gnana Vairaghya Bushanam | Srimad Venkata Natharyam Vande Vedanta Desikam ||
(3) Pillai Lokaachaarya, the doyen of Tenkalai Sampradaayam lavished a praise on Swami Desika that " For a person who desires to ascend up to the Heavens, even a single statement of the great Acharya , Tooppul Tiuvenkadamudaiyan ( Vedanta Desika ) uttered by him for the benefit of humanity would be sufficient to lift him up to his desired goal
Seeronru Tooppul Tiruvenkata mudaiyan Par onra chonna pazhamozhiyul | OronRu thane Amaiyado Dharaniyil Vazhvorkku Vanerap Pomalavum Vazhvu ||
It is really intriguing to find that when all these leaders of the stature of Brahma Tantra Swatantrar and Pillai Lokaachaarya, have been honest in their approbation and lavish in their praise of this towering personality, some people try to totally black out any reference to Swami Vedanta Desika (while dwelling on Guru Parampara) as if he never existed or if he did, he was a persona- non- grata. This attempt is like that of the proverbial cat that closes its eyes and imagines that the world had disappeared!. This is also like an attempt to cover up the bright Sunshine in the sky with a handkerchief.
Others, grudgingly mention and that too very casually, perhaps, by way of concession - about this great Colossus who strode over the Srivaishnava firmament like the lion among poets and logicians and shines to this day and forever, as an unfailing source of inspiration and guidance to genuine Srivaishnavas.
Kavi Taarkika Simhaaya Kalyaana Guna Saaline | Srimate Venkatesaaya Vedaanta Gurave Namah ||
In the case Swami Vedanta Desika, certain oblique biographical references are available internally in his works e.g. in the Prologue to his Sankalpa Suryodayam . Prathivadi Bhayankaram Annan (1300-1400 AD), a junior contemporary of Swami Desika and a disciple of Kumara Varada gives some details about Swamis parentage, education etc in his " Sapta Ratna Maalika".