Sri Pillai Lokacharya

Pillai Lokacharyar பிள்ளை லோகாச்சார்யர் (1205–1311 CE) was a prominent Vaishnavite leader and philosopher who authored several works important to Vishishtadvaita philosophy.

The name Ulag-Ariya (or Lokacharya) first became associated with Sri Nampillai when Sri Kanthadai Thozhappar celebrated him as the acharya for the world ("Kanthadai Thozhappar tham ugappal enna ulagariyano enru uraikka"). Nampillai's disciple was Sri Vadakku Thiruveethippillai. Out of great affection for his acharya, Vadakku Thiruveethippillai named his first son as Pillai Lokacharya ("anbal anna thiru nAmaththai Athariththu mannu pugazh maintharkku sarrukaiyal").

   

Sri Pillai Lokacharya Thanian (by Eieunni Padmanabhar):

lokaachaarya gurave krSHNapaadhasya soonave |
samsaarabhogi sandhaSHta jeeva jeevathave namaha ||


Year : 1205 - 1311
Birth Place : Srirangam
Other Names: Ulagasiriyar, Lokacharyar
Month : Aippasi
Thiru Natchathiram: Thiruvonam
Amsam : Kanchi Devaraja (Varadaraja) Perumal

Lord commanded Sri Nampillai to bless Sri Vadakku Thiruveethippillai to have another son like Lord himself. The second son was named Azhagiya Manavala Perumal Nayanar, after Lord Renganatha. Sri Pillai Lokacharya was born as the amsam of Kanchi Devaraja (Varadaraja) Perumal in the month of Aippasi under the star Thiruvonam, in the year 1205 CE.

Both Sri Pillai Lokacharya and Sri Azhagiya Manavala Perumal Nayanar remained as Brahmachaaris to make sure that their vyraakyam is not hindered. Because of this only, they were boldly able to advise that for a Sri Vaishnava, leading a marriage life even with his wife is not good In their youth, both brothers learned everything from their acharya Nampillai as well as from their father. They grew up like Sri Rama and Sri Lakshmana.

Vilanjsolai Pillai has praised Pillai Lokacharya's work Sri Vachana Booshanam by singing "Saptha Kaathai" and Sri Vedanta Desikan sung "Lokacharya Panchaasat"
in praise of Sri Pillai Lokacharya.



In foreword to his vyakhyanam of Sri Vacana Bhushanam, Sri Manavala Mamuni tells of the following event. Once upon a time Kanchi Devaraja Perumal out of His nirhEduka krupa selected one Manarpakkam Nambi, and appearing in his dream taught him some special rahasya meanings; He also advised him to go live in Srirangam and wait for Him there where He will teach him in further detail those meanings. Manarpakkam Nambi moved to Srirangam, built a small temple and quietly lived there worshipping Him and keeping the meanings revealed by Him to himself. One day Pillai Lokacharya came to that temple with his close disciples and seeing the quiet nature of the place began teaching them the meanings of rahasyas. Nambi listening from inside noted that these meanings were the same as taught by Lord Varadaraja to him. He then came out and bowing at Pillai Lokacharya's feet, asked him "AvarO neer?" - Are you the one (the same as Devaraja)?. Pillai Lokacharya replied "Yes, and why do you ask?". Manarpakkam Nambi explained his dream to him. This is the avatara rahasyam of Pillai Lokacharya.

Pillai Lokacharya then took him as his disciple and taught him the meanings of the rahasyas. Nambi then told him that Lord Varadaraja had asked him to request Pillai Lokacharya to collect these meanings as a book. The book thus written is Sri Vacana Bhushanam. Sri Manavala Mamuni speaks of the greatness of this work in several pasurams in his UpadesaratthinamAlai. Mamunigal also says that this is the greatest of Pilla Lokacharya's works ("innaruLAl seytha kalai yAvaiyilum").

The works of Pillai Lokachariyar:

Sri Pillai Lokacharya authored Ragasya Granthas with mercy in His heart towards the samsaaris. He has authored the following 18 Ragasya Granthas collectively known as Astaadasa Ragasya

  • Mumukshupadi
  • Tatvatrayam
  • Artha Panjakam
  • Sri Vachana Booshanam
  • Archiraadhi
  • Prameya Sekaram
  • Prapana Parithranam
  • Saara Sangraham
  • Samsaara Saamrajyam
  • Navarathnamaalai
  • Navavidha Sambandham
  • Yaadhruchikapadi
  • Parandhapadi
  • SriyaPathi Padi
  • Tatvasekaram
  • Thani Dwayam
  • Thani Charamam
  • Thani Pranavam

  • The year was 1311 CE and the day was jyEshtha suddha dvAdasi. At his death bed he advised his disciples such as Koorakuloththama Dasa & Vilanjsolai Pillai that Srisailesa was working for the king at Madurai and that they should bring him back into the Srivaishnava fold so that he could lead the darsanam. While Swamy was about to leave this world and reach Achaaryan's Lotus feet, he started touching the ants and other such insects near him. (All such animals will get to reach Sri Vaikunta if they have get touched by a Sri Vaishnava).

    Such was Sri Pillai Lokacharya's Karunya towards the living beings. Azhagiya Manavala Perumal Nayanar reached Achaaryan's lotus feet at his 65th year. Pillai Lokacharya lived 106 years.