Nammazhwar being graced by the causeless mercy of the Supreme was able to realise the defects of this world, the misery associated with the cycle of births and deaths and the eternal happiness awaiting one in the Lord’s upper abode (Vaikuntam). However, the Supreme Lord’s grace notwithstanding, Nammazhwar continued to remain in this very world and the defects of material existence deterred his stay here. Having attained the knowledge of discerning the right from the wrong, Nammazhwar pleaded to the Lord to remove him from this world and to take him up to the VAikunTam. On the one hand, Nammazhwar was happy that he had realized the Lord in His true form while on the other hand, he was forlorn that he was still being kept in this world in a physical body associated with earthly defects. It is this longing of Nammazhwar that runs throughout the Tiruvirutham. Nampillai demonstrates this to us from Nammazhwar’s choice of words from the first song ‘inninra neermai’ to the last one ‘polla aruvinai’, indicating that his plea to the Lord, to remove the impediments to salvation, goes on forever.
Nampillai took over the reins of Srivaishnavism and its propagation from his preceptor Nanjiyar. He began delivering lectures on Nanjiyar’s onpatinayirappadi commentary on the Thiruvaimozhi in addition to adding his own examples and quotations from the scriptures. These lectures were transcribed on a palm-left by one of Nampillai’s disciples by the name Vadakku Thiruveedhi Pillai. When the latter submitted this commentary at the feet of his preceptor, Nampillai took possession of it as it was written without his permission. He then gave this commentary to another of his disciples by the name Eyunni Madhava Perumal at a later date. Eyunni Madhava Perumal taught this EDU commentary to this son Padmanabha Perumal. Padmanabha Perumal taught this to Nalur Pillai, who in turn taught his son Nalur Achan Pillai. The commentary finally reached Mamunigal’s preceptor Srisailesa through divine intervention in Lord Devaraja temple, Kanchipuram.
Upadesa Ratnamalai or ‘Jewel-studded Garland of Instructions’ is a work authored by Manavala Mamunigal in a classical Tamil form of poetry called venpa. A venpa is a metric prosody that ranges anywhere from two to twelve lines. This work appears to be an attempt by the author to educate the Srivaishnava community about: (i) The Glory of Alvars and Purvacharyas representing the tradition of Srivaishnavism; (ii) The commentaries authored by his earlier preceptors on the Divya Prabandham, (iii) The Greatness of the Tiruvaimoli and its commentaries, (iv) The tradition of Eedu Commentary of the Tiruvaimoli from Vadakku Tiruveedhi Pillai to Mamunigal himself, (v) The glory of Pillai Lokacharya’s srivachanabhushanam, (vi) Some instructions to Srivaishnavites on how to conduct themselves as worthy seekers of salvation and finally (vii) The revelation of ultimate means, Charamopayam.