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Koorathazhwan – The Greatest Disciple of Sri Ramanujacharya – Sri Koorathazhwan Works and Life History

Koorathazhwan is one of the greatest expositors of Visista Advaita Vedanta. He was born at Koora Agrahara, a village near Kanchipuram in a rich Brahmin family. His original or birth name was ‘Srivatsanka Misra’, but was more known as Kooreshan or Kooranathan as he was the chief of Koora Agrahara.

Short Life History of Koorathazhwan

  • Koorathazwan was born in 1009 AD.
  • He is believed to be an amsam of Sri Vathsam (partial incarnation of mole on the chest of Srihari Vishnu.)
  • He is also known as Kuresan, Azhwan, Pavithram of Swami Ramanuja.
  • He was married at a young age. The name of Koorathazwan’s wife was Andal Amma. But the pious couple had a very short married life. It is believed that Andal Amma attained moksha at a very young age.
  • He attained Vaikunta (feet of Lord Vishnu) in 1127 AD. (As per some calculations, it is 1132 AD).

When Sri Ramanujacharya embraced Sanyasa Ashram, Koorathazhwan sacrificed all his riches went to Srirangam, stood by the side of Sri Ramanujacharya, and followed him like a shadow.

Koorathazhwan lived for 108 yrs and left for his heavenly abode (Sri Vaikuntam) when Sri Ramanujacharya was alive.

Sacrificing Eyesight for His Acharya

It is impossible for a common man to understand Koorathazhwan’s unfathomable knowledge, detachment and devotion. To protect his teacher, Sri Ramanujacharya, he was ready to give away his life and this devotion resulted in him sacrificing his eyesight. When an ignorant Chola king wanted Sri Ramanujacharya, to adhere to Shaivism, Koorathazhwan went to the palace in the guise of Sri Ramanuja and faced the wrath of the king. When Koorathazhwan did not accept Shaivism above Vaishnavism, the king had his eyes pulled out.

There is no Acharya like Sri Ramanuja and no disciple like Koorathazhwan.

Helping Sri Ramanuja in Composing Sri Bhashya

Koorathazhwan was gifted with a talent of remembering forever what he once reads or listens. When the scholars at Kashmir Sharada shrine rejected to lend for some time the great work Bodhayana Vrithi to Ramanuja, Koorathazhwan glanced the whole work once overnight and helped Ramanuja a lot during the composition of the celebrated Sri Bhashya.
  • For Koorathazhwan Visista, Advaita Vedanta was not merely a doctrine but it is the way of life, the path of perfection, and the whole truth of being and becoming. 
  • For him Visistadvaita is the final word of Vedanta and Sri Ramanuja’s Sri Bhashya is the final statement of it.

Works of Koorathazhwan :

  • The celebrated Pancha Stavas - the five stavas comprising of 
  1. Sri Vaikuta Stava
  2. Athimanusha Stava
  3. Sri Varada Raja Stava
  4. Sri Sundara Bahu Stava
  5. Sri Stava popularly known as Pancha Stava.
  • Yamaka Rathnakara
It is a Kavya about Sri Krishna’s incarnation starting from His Birth till He puts an end to Kamsa. It consists of 1010 verses and not easily understandable. Koorathazhwan himself has written a commentary for it.
  • Kooresha Vijaya
A great composition wherein Koorathazhwan has established Sriman Narayana who is the home of all perfections and who is inseparably associated with Sri Mahalakshmi as the Supreme Brahman in unequivocal terms.

Koorathazhwan is next to Sri Ramanujacharya in his highest order of Bhakti, Jnana and Vairagya. His devotion and dedication to Sri Ramanuja is of very high and unique order and impossible for anyone to imagine. That dedication and devotion found him a very pious place next to Ramanuja in all Sri Vaishnavaite temples. He is forever with his Acharya as he desired and devotees worship him as they worship Sri Ramanuja.

Source - notes taken from Saptagiri Magazine January 2017