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Ekantin – A Sect of Sri Vaishnava School of Vedanta – Sattadu Srivaishnavas


Ekantin (also known as ekangi or ekki) refers to Sattadu Srivaishnavas.

Periyatirumudi Adaivu (16th Century) mentions that there are 12,000 ekantins in the entourage of Ramanuja, the founder of the Vishishtadvaita school of Vedanta.

Kandadai Ramanuja Ayyangar, the trustee (dharma – Karattar) of the Srirangam Temple, is referred to as Sattadu Ekadi Shrivaishnava.

Ekaki literally mean “one alone” or a solitary person.

The Tamil Lexicon defines Ekanga as
  • A class of Vaishnava devotees
  • A single person one who has no family
Samayachara Cirukkam of Vadikesari Venkatacharya, a part of the Sattadu Srivaishnava literature, dating from Kandadai Ramanuja Ayyangar’s time, defines Ekangin (ekantin) as a vanaprastha, he has a wife, wears a saffron upper garment, a white lower garment, may or may not wear the thread and the tuft and is engage in nothing but service to the temple.

The Ekangis have their own Sri Vaishnava mata which is known as Paravastu Matha, whose head is Jeer.

Ekantin also means “one solely devoted to one object.”

Paramaikantin (one supremely devoted to one object) is a title given to Sattadu Sri Vaishnavas, in the sense of one solely devoted to Vasudava, Narayana. They don’t wear the sacred thread because the three strands of the thread symbolize more than one God.

A Tirumalai inscription, date 1476 AD stipulates that a portion of the prasadam is to regularly go to the Sattadu Sri Vaishnavas (Ekantins) who reside in the sixteen houses on Kandadai Ramamya Ayyangar Street.

The Vijayanagar Kings also patronized the Paravastu Matha to propagate bhakti (devotion) and prapatti (surrender to God).

The Sattadu Srivaishnavas also participated in the recitation of songs of the Alwars at the shrine of Ramanuja.

The Srirangam Temple chronicle Koil Olugu and Arayirappadi Guruparamparaprabhavam (the 6000-stanza work on the guru lineage) also refer to the ekangis and their service in Sri Vaishnava Temples.