Vedanta Desika

Sri Vedanta Desikan
Swamy Desikan.jpg
Swamy Sri Vedanta Desikan as in Kanchipuram with lions on two sides
Personal
Born
Venkatanathan

1268 CE
Thoopul (Thiruthanka) (present-day Kanchipuram District, Tamil Nadu, India)
Died1369 CE
ReligionHinduism
PhilosophyRamanuja's Vishistadvaita
Religious career
GuruSri Kidambi Appullar alias Sri Aathreya Ramanujachariar
Literary worksSri Sthothra Nidhi, Sri Paduka Sahasram, Rahasya Granthams, Sri Desika Prabandham, Kavyams
HonorsSarvathanthra Swathanthrar, Kavitharkiga Simham, Vedanthachariar
Quotation
Srimathe Nigamantha Maha Desikaya Namah:(श्रीमते निगमान्त महादेशिकाय नमः)

Sri Vedanta Desikan (Swami Desika, Swami Vedanta Desika, Thoopul Nigamaantha Desikan) (1268–1369)[1] was a Sri Vaishnava guru/philosopher and one of the most brilliant stalwarts of Sri Vaishnavism in the post-Ramanuja period. He was a poet, devotee, philosopher, logician and master-teacher (desikan). He was the disciple of Kidambi Appullar, also known as Aathreya Ramanujachariar, who himself was of a master-disciple lineage that began with Ramanuja.[2] Swami Vedanta Desika is considered to be avatar (incarnation) of the divine bell of Venkateswara of Tirumalai by the Vadakalai sect of Sri Vaishnavite. Vedanta Desika belongs to Vishwamitra gotra.[3]

On the occasion of 750th anniversary of Vedanta Desika, Indian postal department unveiled a stamp to commemorate the great philosopher's life and highly valued works. The stamp was unveiled by Sri Venkaiah Naidu Vice President of India in May 2019.

Early life

Desika was born in the year 1268 CE, to a pious couple named Ananta Suri and Totaramba, who named him ‘Venkatanatha’. When he was five, his maternal uncle, Kidambi Appullar took him to attend a spiritual discourse of Nadadhoor Ammal, a revered Sri Vaishnava scholar of that time. As soon as Ammal saw the divine radiance of the child, he stopped his discourse, and hugged Venkatanatha affectionately.

When Ammal told the audience that he had forgotten where he had stopped his discourse, it was Venkatanatha who reminded him immediately, to the astonishment of the assembled scholars. Deeply impressed, Ammal blessed him and predicted that Venkatanatha would become the main torch-bearer for Sri Vaishnavism.

When Desika turned seven, Kidambi Appullar accepted Venkatanaatha as his disciple, and taught him arts, sciences and scriptures. By the age of 20, Desika became famous for his mastery over poetry, logic, linguistics, science, Vedanta, debate, and allied arts.

Even though Desika was multi-faceted and famous, he lived a humble and simple life with the support of his wife, Thirumangai. He undertook a vow called uchhavritti, whereby he depended wholly on the Supreme Lord for his household needs by accepting grains and vegetables donated by disciples voluntarily, without actively seeking it.

Desika stayed in several cities and towns through his life such as Thiruvaheendrapuram, Kanchipuram, Srirangam, Sathyagala and Melkote. He also travelled widely all over India on foot.