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Ananta Alvan Iyengar – Short Biography

Ananta Alvan Iyengar was a contemporary of Ramanuja. He was born in Kirangoor, a village near Srirangapatna in Karnataka. He was asked by Ramanuja to do pushpa kainkarya (offering of flower garlands to Srinivasa, the Bhagavan of the Seven Hills at Tirupati. He built a tank in Tirupati to grow flowers in the garden for pushpa kainkarya. Even to this day, the tank is named after him. There is a separate colony in Tirupati under the name of Anandalwar colony named in recognition of his devotion to Bhagwan Venkateswara. He was given the title of ‘Ananda Pillai’ by Ramanuja as he readily agreed to go over to Tirupati for Acharya Kainkarya when others were doubtful about their competence  to accept this Kainkarya as planned by Ramanuja.

The descendants are recognized in six folds – Akkarakani, Tirumalai, Kunrapakkam, Kunrakunrapakkam, Purisai and Mandyam.

His life was an example for others to follow. There are many anecdotes of his life in the following –

  1. Bhagavata Pratipatti – respectful behavior towards Sri Vaishnavas.
  2. Kainkarya Nistha – dedication to the service of God and his devotees.
  3. Tadiyaradhana Krama – arranging food for Bhagavatas.
  4. Sarvabhutadaya – concern for the welfare of all living beings.
  5. Arthapancakajnana – knowledge of the self, Ishvara, obstacles, path and the result.
  6. Devotion to Bhagavan Venkateshwara.
  7. Acharya Abhimana – self-respect and worthy feeling on his preceptor.
  8. Erudition and Scholarship in Ubhayavedanta (Tamil and Sanskrit).
  9. Silent workmanship.
  10. Individual, personal care of God, illustrated by the sight of Srinivasa at Thirunarayana Sannidhi at Melkote (Puyukappau Sevai)