Acharya Vaibhavam (25th - 36th Jeeyars)
The Jeeyars of Ahobila Mutt from 25th to 27th occupy an important place in the history for many reasons. First, unique in the Guruparampara, these three formed successive generation of a family. Thus the 26th Jeeyar was the son of the 25th Jeeyar and 27th Jeeyar was the son of 26th Jeeyar. Three more of the same family were to adorn this holy peetam and about that later on.
The 25th Jeeyar - Srivan Satakopa Sri Srinivasa Satakopa Yatheendra Mahadesikan hailed from Gadhadharapuram (Kumbakonam) and ascended the peetam in March 1776. He was a great Narasimha Upasaka and in his powers of mysticism and miracles, he equalled Adivan Satakopa Swamy and Shashta Parankusa Swamy (6th Jeeyar). He was sought after from every part of the country and people thronged to have his benign grace so as to rid themselves of their sorrow and suffering. His chants were quite effective and his words were the very truth. He was astute and hence his lectures and discourses gave solace to his disciples. On one occasion he was administered poison by some jealous persons; but it did not affect him in the least. He attributed his protection from poison and evil to Lakshmeenarasimha and Garuda. While on a tour of the north, an evil sorcerer was harassing the people of a town by his magic and sorcery. This Jeeyar, by invoking Lakshmeenarasimha by his chants made the sorcerer ineffective who having lost his livelihood, fell at the feet of this 25th Jeeyar and asked for pardon.
This Swami was on his way to Gadwal Samasthanam when at a village called Surapurani, he was confronted by a great scholar by name Kireeti Venkatacharya who accepted defeat in an academic debate with the Jeeyar and tied his Victory bell on the palanquin of the Jeeyar. Then and there, he became an ardent devotee and disciple of the Jeeyar. Gadwal Samasthanadhipathi Somabhoopala took him to his Royal palace in a, grand procession and offered him many presents and endowments. Likewise, the Maharaja of Thanjavur who had a vision of the Lord Narasimha one night, went to meet this Jeeyar then camping neat Pullamboothamgudi near Kumbakonam and was instantly attracted to him by seeing the Thejas on the face of this Jeeyar. The Sarabhoji Maharaja (1798- 1832) was immensely benefited by the Jeeyar's benignity and in gratitude gave many gifts including land near where His Holiness was camping and thus was created the famous village Narasimhapuram. The Jeeyar 0 s period saw acquirement of Additional lands in many towns and villages as also renovation and construction of Brindavanams to his predecessors where idols were duly installed and regular worship undertaken. He was noted for his interpretations of the esoteric and his works include Narasimhasthavam, Sree Sathcharitra Ratnavali and Sree Narasimha Mangalasasanam. His long tour include northern parts of the country as also Ahobilam and Thirupathi and down south upto Azhwar's birthplace. His Brindavanam lies in Narasimhapuram the village created by him.
The 26th Jeeyar, Srivan Satakopa Sri Ranganatha Satakopa Yatheendra Mahadesikan, son of the 25th Jeeyar in his poorvasrama, zealously guarded the property entrusted to him and also carried on the Mutt activities in the tradition of his poorvacharyas. He was considered to be an avathara of Sri Andal. Such was his love for God. He also visited Ahobilam and other Kshetras and toured south upto Srivillipulthoor where he built a Branch building of the Ahobila Mutt. He installed an image of the 25th Jeeyar in his Brindavanam at Narasimhapuram, The Mysore Maharaja, Sri Krishnaraja Kantecrava Sarva Bhouma, gave as gifts to this Jeeyar, a golden palanquin, a Silver Mandapa, a jewelled Gata (urn) and a box made of gold to offer Betel leaves, nuts etc., to Malola. This Jeeyar also created a village naming it as Ranganathapuram. He was laid to rest at Narasirnhapuram.
The 27th Jeeyar, Srivan Satakopa Sri Veeraraghava Vedantha Yatheendra Mahadesikan, was again the son of the 26th Jeeyar in his poorvasrama and a great scholar. He has 28 works to his credit that include among others, authoritative instructions on Dharma Sasthra, Nithyanushtanas, on Vyakarana, on Logic, on the subject of reaching the Ultimate Abode of Sriman Narayana, on Ashtakshara, on the divine Jyothi, on sacred rivers etc. His duration was only just 2 years and 7 months when, while on tour, he attained salvation at Gadwal. He called the Gadwal Raja and entrusted the task of choosing his successor to him. The Raja desired to give the Peetam again to the son of this 27th Jeeyar. But the son declined and instead recommended an erudite pandit of Thirukkurungudi by name Vanamamalacharya. He was deserving of the post by all merits and so, he was anointed as the 28th Jeeyar styled Srivan Satakopa Sri Ranganatha Satakopa Yatheendra Mahadesikan. He was gifted with Narasimha Sakshathkaram just like Ramanuja, Desikan, Adivan Satakopa Swami and Shashta Parankusa Swami. As was his predecessor Sri Srinivasa Yatheendra Mahadesikan, this Jeeyar also by his miraculous powers, removed the distress of the sufferers. This Jeeyar and his brother by poorvasrama, Venkatanarayanacharya were both intellectuals, adept in expounding difficult subjects in a lucid manner and were great logicians. Because of this Jeeyar's mystic powers, special prayers are conducted by devotees at his Brindavanam at Madhurantakam to obtain relief and tranquility.
Once a wealthy man, to show off his wealth and with a view to boost his own ego, gave large cash to this Jeeyar. The Jeeyar, in order to contain his prides distributed the entire money along with the pearls of promogranate fruits to the assembled devotees, who had come from far and near. The 33rd and 34th Jeeyars were great devotees of this 28th Jeeyar. He named Srivan Satakopa Sri Parankusa Ramanuja Yatheendra Mahadesikan as his successor (i.e. 29th Jeeyar) and since this 29th Jeeyar was also not well, he directed that the son of the 27th Jeeyar (in his poorvasarama) be anointed as the 30th Jeeyar.
The 29th Jeeyar in his characteristic way carried out the duties of the Mutt. His period lasted unfortunately just 13 months and obeying the command of his Acharya, he anointed Srivan Satakopa Sri Srinivasa Vedantha Yatheendra Mahadesikan as the 30th Jeeyar. The 29th Jeeyar wrote Sanskrit slokas to wake up Lakshmeenarasimha (Suprabhatha) and based on this, the 30th Jeeyar composed Sri Lakshmeenarasimha Suprabhatham which is recited in the Mutt early in the morning everyday even now.
The 30th Jeeyar's period lasted 5 years six months. After the (poorvasrama) family run of 25th, 26th and 27th Jeeyars, it devolved again on this 30th Jeeyar. He has a number of spiritual works to his credit. He toured the entire region of the south and held his chaturmasya at Veeravanallur (Thirunelveli Dist). He offered a pair of gold padukas to the Lord Aravamuda of Kumbakonam. He established a village called Srinivasa Vedanthapuram and was laid to rest at Narasimhapuram. The 31st Jeeyar, Srivan Satakopa Srimannarayana Vedantha Satakopa Yatheendra Mahadesikan undertook tour from Narasimhapuram to Srirangam and Thiruvallur. He donated a silver (Elephant) Vahana to Veeraraghava Perumal at Thiruvallur. Ms compositions were Sri Narasimha Magalasasanam and Saanga Prapatthi Nishtai. The 40th Jeeyar built a Brindavanam for this 31st Jeeyar at Thyagarajapuram on the banks of the river Kaveri where his image was also installed. The 32nd Jeeyar, Srivan Satakopa Sri Veeraraghava Yatheendra Mahadesikan extensively toured from Kumbakonam to Thirukkurungudi, upto Thirunarayanapuram in the west and Thirupathi in the north. He was honoured by the then Maharaja of Mysore. This Jeeyar was pretty old when he took over the Mutt as a sanyasi and yet with remarkable energy undertook tours for the benefit of his disciples and devotees. He was called "Thatha Swami" because of his age. He renovated some of the Brindavanams of his poorvacharyas and as he felt his final release was about to come, he gave the asrama to the 33rd Jeeyar, Srivan Satakopa Sri Satakopa Yatheendra Mahadesikan.
This 33rd Jeeyar carved for himself a special place in the history of Ahobila Mutt. No better tribute can be paid to him than to mention that eight Azhagiyasingars after him were the ones who had 'Bharasamarpanams' at this Jeeyar's feet; that is for about 60 years his direct disciples were the pontiffs of the Mutt one after another. Not only was he known for his keen knowledge and wisdom, but was also a great mystic, like his predecessors. It was during this Jeeyar's period that there was a tremendous improvement in the wealth and welfare of the Mutt and so the Mutt's prestige as well as the sishya's prestige stood greatly enhanced. He acquired groves and trees so that the society could benefit by the fruits. He bought lands for Veeraraghava Perumal so that the proceeds from the cultivation would go to maintain the archakas and other staff as also the temple administration. He built a big mutt at Thiruvallur for the benefit of the pilgrims. He had a charming personality, was broad minded, had always entertained noble thoughts and was astute by nature. His delivery of speech had a distinct style and his presentation of the subject matter was clear and lucid. People used to vie with one another to be at the front to watch his performance of the daily pooja, especially the Mangala Harathi which brought forth visible divinity in the surroundings in all its brightness. The history of the Ahobila Mutt is well preserved thanks to this Jeeyar who had done a detailed note in Manipravala called Sathsampradaya Mukthavali in which he has authenticated many episodes of the earlier Azhagiyasingars. His another work is named Acharya Gunaadarsam. He was laid to rest at Thiruvallur.
The 34th Jeeyar, Sri Lakshmeenarsimha Divya Paduka Sevaka Srivan Satakopa Sri Satakopa Ramanuja Yatheendra Mahadesikan was better known as Atthippattu Azhagiysingar. He has fifteen works to his credit among which are topics on Nyaya, Adhikaranasaravali on Brahmasutra and on Lakshmeenarasimha, Veeraraghava and Varadaraja. His Tamil stanzas "Adaikkalappatthu" are recited even to day at the Mutt. He took pains to publish for the benefit of the disciples and devotees, books on Srimad Ramayanam, Srimad Rahasyatrayasaram and on Sannidhi Guruparampara. His Bridavanam is at Thiruvallur. The 35th Jeeyar, Srivan Satakopa Sri Ranganatha Yatheendra Mahadesikan reigned for about five years and stayed mostly in Thiruvallur doing repair works to the temple there and spent his time expounding the philosophy of Ramanuja and Vedantha Desika.
Since the 35th Jeeyar did not nominate anybody to the asthanam before his attaining salvation a section of the disciples desired to install the well known pandit of the Chola Desa, Sri Satharka Vachaspathi Kuricchi Rangacharya; but as per the wishes of the majority, another scholar by name Paranthoor Vankeepuram Rangacharya who was the younger brother of the 33rd Jeeyar in his poorvasrama, was installed as the 36th Jeeyar. He was respected for his depth of knowledge in Tarka Sastra, Vedantha Sasthra and Sreebhashya. He was a good exponent of the Vedantha philosophy and his lectures were keenly heard. When he passed away another scholar of the day, Swarnam Krishnamacharya remarked that the world has lost 'Sreebhashya'.
Source: Sri Nrusimha Priya, 66 Rangachari Road, Mylapore, Madras 600 018.