Srimath Thirukkudanthai Andavan (1907 – 1989 CE)

Birth Place: Karukudi, Thanjavur                          Birth Date: Panguni - Pushyam


Given below is the history of   Srimath Thirukkudanthai Andavan – Sri Vedantha Ramanuja Maha Desikan,who took Srirangam Srimath Andavan periAsramam to glorious  heights of growth spreading it literally across length and breadth of the country.

Srimath Thirukkudanthai Andavan was in the born in a small village  called  “ karukudi” (situated next to Thirukkandiyur in Tanjore district) in the banks of river Kaveri in the  Parabhava year - Panguni month –with  pushyam as his birth  star -( 1907) to Sri. U.Ve. Padmanabhachariar and Komalavalli devi. He was named as “Srinivasaraghavan” He was fondly called by everybody as ‘Kannan”.

Kannan swami was taken to Srirangam periAsramam many a times by his father during His childhood days. He used to observe the paduka Aradhanam being performed there and when he came back to kudanthai, he will play with  friends of his age posing himself as an acharya, wearing a cloth up to knee height and will have a dhandam in his hand and proclaim himself as Andavan. He will carry the water in “kottankacchi” – a dried coconut shell ( Srirangam periAsramam is also called kottankacchi Asramam) and distribute the “theertham” in the same way Srimath thErezhundur Andavan used to do ( focusing both His eyes in one direction). He will do all this with out the knowledge of his father.

Sri Padmanabhachar swami taught him the arulicheyalgals of Alwars – Nalayira divya prabhandham at a tender age and swami mastered  the tamil vedham , before he completed 14 years. He also learnt sAstras in Kottaiyur , under the tutelage of Sri. Seshasayee
Sri padmanabhachAr swami sent his son to Raja patasala in Kamakshi josyar street for some time to learn more on sastras. Later swami learnt tharka,and  meemamsa,vyakarana sastras under shri devanagar vilagam swami . He stood as a paragon, gaining extensive knowledge in all the sastras  . He also qualified for Sanskrit Sironmani fromThiruvaiyaru Sanskrit college. Whenever Nammandavan and Engalandavan visited Thirukkudanthai in their respective times, Sri Kannan swami performed kalakshepams on adhyatma sastras under their lotus feet. One of those times, Srimath Engalandavan performed “Bhara samarpanam” to Sri Kannan swami in Amudhan sannidhi. Swami had been performing kainkaryam to divya desam perumals even much before becoming Andavan.


Life as a Gruhasta
By the age of 14, swami having mastered the whole of Divya prabhadham became a leading member in the adhyapaka ghosti.  At the age of 16, He got married to Sri vedavalli ammal. She was the sixth daughter of Neduntheru krishnaswamy Iyengar. For his livelihood, swami started giving upanyasams at a very young age.

Swami used to visit Tanjore , every Sunday to render kalakshepams on Geetha Bhashyam.
 Four sons and two daughters were born to swami in his gruhasthasramam. After his father’s demise, swami with the blessings of his Acharya, went  to Chennai to take care of his family needs.

Move to Chennai
When swami went to chennai, Akkur varadachar swami, an ardent devotee of sreemad Akkur Andavan,and a great business magnet , requested Him to stay in his thirumaligai and arranged  for swami’s rendering of kalakshepams in various sabhas through out the city.

Kannan swami had His own distinct and inimitable style of rendering upanyasam. It simply mesmerized the listeners who were always seeking more at the end of His upanyasams. At that time His contemporaries in upanyasams were stalwarts such as karppangaduvenkatachariar swami, kanchi vidwan prathivadhi bhayankaram Annangarachariar swami. As a parent, Swami performed his duties very well by giving good education to his children and led his gruhastasrama in a blessed manner

His Acharya Bhakti which was so deep rooted in his heart prompted him to visit Srirangam several times to seek the blessings of Srimath Thembarai Andavan. Srimath Thembarai Andavan,seeing his Acharya bhakthi not only ordained him to look after the administration affairs of the Asramam ( by appointing him as Sri karyam of the Asramam) but also commanded Him to stay permanently in Srirangam.


In 1963, Srimath Thembarai Andavan became very weak and emaciated due to strict Ahara niyamams and old age and wanted to nominate His successor to adorn the Acharya peetam. Sri Kannan swami who  had  unassuming Acharya bhakthi,  rigorous observance ofanushtanams, and great administrative skills immediately came to his mind. This very thought made Srimath Andavan feel happy and His Holiness apprised Sri kannan swami about this and was optimistic that Sri Kannan swami would oblige.   


Taking up sanyasam
Srimath Thembarai Andavan became weaker as the days passed by. So His Holiness gave upadesam on “Preksha manthram” and “Mokshasrama Ahnika Anushtanam” to three vidwans of the Asramam - U.Ve. Sri. Kannan swami(the incumbent for the succession,) U.Ve. Sri. Mysore GopalachAr swami( who later on became Srimath Mysore Andavan in the year 1988) and  Mannargudi Ganapadi vidwAn U.Ve. Sri. Narasimhacharya swami , to be ready and take up sanyasam any time when called.


When swami was in chennai, Srimath Andavan’s niyamanam  kept on occurring to his mind and  swami  appeared to be reluctant in  taking up sanyasam due to family circumstances.,.

 Sri. Kannan swami’s son, Sri. Gopalan told his father that he had dreamt about Srimath Thembarai Andavan telling him that He had gone to viraja nadhi and come back and asked him to send his father immediately and take up sanyasam. GopAlan also told his father that he would take care of his mother (swami's dharma pathni) and asked him to proceed to Srirangam. Sri Kannan swamy  finally decided to  prepare  himself for sanyasam and accept Srimath Thembarai Andavan’s Niyamanam.

On April 4th 1963, Srimath Andavan's condition became worse Sree karyam Sri. U.Ve. kannan swami was informed of Srimath Andavan’s health and immediately kannan swamyrushed up to Srirangam. On His arrival, arrangements were speeded up for His thureeyasrama sweekaram.

Early morning the next day i.e. on 5th april, 1963 (Friday, sukla dwadasi, makam star), in the presence of sishyas, His Holiness Srimath Thembarai Andavan ordained the ascetic order to Sri U.Ve. Kannan Swami who was named as Srimath Vedanta Ramanuja maha
Desikan and within few hours on the same day (April 5th 1963) Tembarai Andavan adorned  Thirunadu .

This illustrious Acharya Peetam of Srimath Andavan,developed centrally on His Holiness Thirukkudanthai Srimath Andavan vedantha ramanuja maha desikan.

He was a great scholar in Nyaya, Vyakarana, and so much he was at ease in the recitals of Nalayira Divya Prabhandham, Srimath Ramayanam, Bhagavath Vishayam and sukthis, Having taken to ascetic order,   casting away plentitude of wealth , this great Acharya had assimilated in himself extreme, rigid and rigorous life of a sanyasi, the strict austerity and highly puritan life of his predecessors scorning all luxuries.

Poorvacharyas like Sri Periandavan, Sri Nammandavan and Sri Akkoor Andavan went by padayatra to places such as Melkote, Mysore , Kanchi, Ariyakkudi,sethu. Srimath Andavan covered over 30000 km by foot from sethu to Himachalam through out the length and the
breadth of the country and set up various Asramams in places very far away from South India .

During His time, Srimath Andavan Asramam grew leaps and bounds throughout the country. This was truly a golden period in the annals of the Asramam as it witnessed itself a phenomenal growth and a meteoric rise. His Holiness constructed many Asramams throughout the country during His period and also conducted many Temple samprokshanams,Yagnams, Homams and performed mangalasasanams of various Divya desams, Vijaya yathras from Kanniyakumari to Badrinath and held Many Vidvath Sadas to name a few.

Srimath Andavan observed 26 chathurmasyams spanning 26 years from 1963 to 1989 and reached Thirunadu on Vibhava varusham –panguni madham-Krishna panjami day (10-04-1989) leaving behind thousands of grieving disciples and admirers, whose divine anubhavams with His Holiness during His life time remain carved  in their memory forever.


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