Yogi Parthasarathy Aiyangar

PRECIS OF UNIVERSAL SPIRITUALITY
by
Yogi Pārthasārathy Aiyangār (1900)

The Catholics shut heaven against all
Who follow not the Pope.
Most Protestants say – “None who isn’t
Of Christ, for heaven need hope”.
Some others send to hell, all who
their Prophet do not own.
The man of God opens heaven to all
Who do not God disown.
His doctrine is :- “In God we live
And move and have our being.
Grown ripe by God’s free grace, gains heaven,
In time each living thing, –
To lead, in blessedness which hath no bounds,
A God-communing life that never ends.
The name – Nārāyaṇ’s hence to God is given,
By saints Inspired, who foretaste bliss of heaven,
Seeing the Divinity that ever shapes our (a) course and (b) our aim,
However much we free will feel in us and credit claim.
As life is short and art is long,
Let’s choose the best all truths among“.

Books by Sriman Yogi S. Parthasarathy Aiyangar

Yogi Parthasarathy Aiyangar published many books in the 19th century to propagate Veda/Vedānta (The Universal Spirituality) globally. The following are extant currently:

Tattva Traya or Aphorisms on The Three Verities, Soul, Matter and God, by Sri Pillai Lokacharya, translated by Śrī Yogi Pārthasārathy Aiyangār (1900). This is best studied along with Tattva Traya, translated into contemporary English by Sriman S. Satyamurthi Ayyangar Swami, Gwalior (1970).

A brief biographical sketch collated from online sources

Yogi Parthasarathy Aiyangar was a great scholar of Vedanta (the pre-eminent foundation of Hinduism) and initiated the world-wide propagation of Vedanta (Universal Spirituality). He was born in 1840.1

Yogi Parthasarathy Iyengar was among the first batch of students to graduate from Madras University in 1859, and was one of the first to graduate from the Madras Law College in 1862.

Yogi Parthasarathy Iyengar was a student of the Madras Christian College, and a favourite of principal Miller, because of his brilliance. When Miller was asked to suggest someone to represent Hinduism at the World Parliament of Religions, he suggested Yogi Parthasarathy Iyengar, who was proficient in Tamil, Sanskrit, Kannada, Telugu, English and French. But Yogi Parthasarathy Iyengar, for reasons of orthodoxy, wouldn’t cross the sea, and so turned down the offer.

Around this time Vivekananda was in Trivandrum, where a nephew of Yogi Parthasarathy Iyengar met him. Later when Vivekananda visited Madras, this nephew and another nephew Alasinga Perumal attended Vivekananda’s discourses. When Vivekananda decided to go to Chicago, Alasinga Perumal collected money to pay for his passage, and also went to Bombay to see Vivekananda off.

Vivekananda wrote many letters to Alasinga Perumal from Chicago. When Vivekananda needed money while in Chicago, again it was Alasinga, who borrowed money and sent it to Chicago, along with his own salary. Although Yogi Parthasarathy Iyengar did not go to Chicago, his paper on Vaishnavism was read out in the conference.

In 1861, Sir Colley Harman Scotland was appointed the first Chief Justice of the Madras High Court, a post he held until his retirement in 1871. Sir Adam Bittlestone was also appointed a judge of the Madras High Court in 1861, and he was also acting Chief Justice of the Court for sometime. Both these judges learnt Hindu scriptures from Yogi Parthasarathy Iyengar. They gave him 2,000 rupees, with which he started the Thirumalachariar’s Scotland and Bittlestone Prize Committee to award prizes to two Vaishnava scholars annually.

The members of this committee constituted the Saraswathi Bhandaram Committee, with Yogi Parthasarathy Iyengar as secretary. He put in a great deal of effort in collecting manuscripts of works on Visishtadvaita and publishing them in the Saraswathi Bhandaram Press, located in the Saraswathi Bhandaram Bungalow. The cost involved in printing Tiruvaimozhi alone was Rs. 40,000. A lecture hall and a shrine for the Vaishnavite Acharya Nampillai have now been built in the place where the Saraswathi Bhandaram Press functioned.

Later Yogi Parthsarathy Iyengar bought land in Ayodhya, where he built a Rama temple. He breathed his last there, and after his death, his wife carried on his good work, giving discourses in Ayodhya. The people, who referred to her respectfully as Ammaji [mother], even gave the Rama temple built by her husband the name Ammaji Mandir [Mother’s temple]. And that’s how it’s known even today. It’s a South Indian style temple, which is managed by the Saraswathi Bhandaram Trust.

In the mid 19th century, Yogi Parthasarathy Iyengar’s family had property worth seven lakhs! While Yogi Parthasarathy Iyengar spent his share of the fortune on publishing books on Hindu philosophy, another branch of the family spent what was left on the freedom movement.

“Footprints on the sands of time” by Suganthy Krishnamachari in The Hindu dated JUNE 26, 20101

It was around 1890/91 that Alasinga learnt of the upcoming Parliament of World Religions from Yogi Parthasarathy Iyengar [his maternal Uncle] who, by virtue of his connections with the Hindu League of America and scholarly reputation, had been invited to participate [but would not cross the seas for reasons of orthodoxy]. Representatives from various communities except the Hindu community had been named. Alasinga and his friends saw the Parliament as a good opportunity for the Hindus to present their faith to the world, but the question of who would travel to Chicago and represent Hinduism remained undecided even after days of discussion. The answer came with the arrival of Swami Vivekananda in Madras in early 1893.

The man who made it possible: Vivekananda’s Chicago visit (Madras Musings VOL. XXII NO. 4, JUNE 1-15, 2012)2

One of the relatives of our hero Sri Parthasarathi, Yogi Parthasarathy Iyengar, a great scholar with great vision and forethought, established Sri Saraswathi Bhandaram though which he supported many scholars and ensured publication of many sampradaya granthas for the first time.  Sri Yogi Parthasarathi Iyengar was invited to present a paper in the World Parliament of Religions at Chicago in 1893; did not go and yes, it  was attended by Swami Vivekananda whose 150th birth centenary is presently being celebrated.  Yet another relative Mr Alasinga Perumal helped and arranged the visit of Swami Vivekananda. 

Republic Day at SYMA – Mandayam Parthasarathi Iyengar, the freedom fighter3

Ammaji (Mother’s) Temple

Excerpted From: http://kungumaraje.blogspot.com/2014/10/ammaji-mandir-valmiki-bhavan-ayodhya.html 4

Ammaji Mandir
credit: http://kungumaraje.blogspot.com

This Mandir is dedicated to Sri Rama and is like any other Divyadesam in Tamilnadu. The temple structure, the Archamoorthys and the mode of worship are all as per Bhagavad Ramanuja Sampradaya Srivaishnava tradition. It’s a South Indian style temple in Ayodhya, which is managed by the Saraswathi Bhandaram Trust. This temple is around 100 years old and located close to the banks of the river Sarayu. This temple came into existence by the efforts of a noble souls by names Yogi Parthasarathy Iyengar & Smt Singammal. The founder of this temple, Sri Yogi Parthasarathy Iyengar was known to possess in-depth knowledge in Hindu religious scriptures, theology, and traditions with versatility in Sanskrit, Tamil, Telugu and Kannada languages. He was responsible for bringing out publication of various Hindu religious texts. He was invited to participate in the World Congress of Religions held in Chicago in 1893. His thesis, the Science of Religion, was taken up for discussion at this Congress and received all round approbation. Yogi Sri Parthasarathy was a Member of the Group, which was responsible for identifying Swami Vivekananda to the whole world.

Ammaji Mandir

There is an interesting story about the beginnings of this temple. Sri Krishna desired to build a temple for Sri Rama. There lived one Swami Parthasarathy Iyengar in Tiruvallikeni, Chennai. He was publishing many Sri Vaishnava books from Tiruvallikeni, from circa 1870 to about 1890. He was called Yogi Parthasarathy, and with a desire to worship the Lord in all Divya Deasams, he took leave of Lord Sri Parthasarathy, in Tiruvallikeni. In his tour of North India, he visited Badarikashram, Salagramam, Devaprayag, etc., and landed in Ayodhya, the Janma Bhoomi of Lord Sri Rama. He worshiped the Lord and things were going routinely. But still there was a yearning, for a temple with Southern Culture and with South Indian sculptures. His thoughts, perhaps, reached the Lord. The Lord decided to convey to his wife Yogi Singammal, that He desired to have a temple, through their efforts. On one night, when Yogi Smt. Singammal, the wife of Yogi Sri Parathasarathy, was fast asleep, in her dream she found the Uthsava Vigrahas of Sri Rama and Seetha buried in a dilapidated temple in the village known as Thiruppullani (Dharbasayanam) in Ramanathapuram District of Tamilnadu. The couple went there looking for it. Her dream turned out to be true as they found the dilapidated temple as well as the Sri moorthys. With the assistance of their friends and relatives, they met the King of Ramanathapuram and took his permission for taking these Vigrahas with them. After that, they have decided to shift to Ayodhya and build a temple for Sri Rama and install the Vigrahas in that temple.

Ammaji Mandir

In about 1898-99, this couple visited here. Within Five years, all construction was completed; the idols were brought from Tiruppullani; and in 1904, this new temple was consecrated. From that time, till about Five years only, Yogi Parthasarathy was here. To serve the Lord permanently, he departed for Vaikuntam. But his wife, Yogi Singammal, lived thereafter, for about 30 years, in Ayodhya. From Tiruvallikeni, this couple came to Ayodhya and served the Lord Sri Rama. She looked after the administration of the temple and also taught important aspects of Sri Vaishnava philosophy, and spread Swami Ramanuja Sampradhayam. Though her original name was Singammal, she was known popularly as Ammaji and the temple also was called Ammaji Mandir. With the passing away of Yogi Sri Parthasarathy within a few years after moving into Ayodhya, his wife took up the responsibility of completing the temple and organizing Nithya Aradhanams, Uthsavams etc. Since she played a very significant role in bringing up this temple, the shrine itself is popularly known as AMMAJI MANDIR.

Ammaji Mandir

The Moola and Uthsava moorthys are simply beautiful and a treat to watch them unendingly. As we enter Raja Gopuram, we come across Dwajasthambam. Further inside is the Maha Mantapam. Then is the Arda Mantapam. Sri Utsavar is Sri Rama standing at the center. He is holding His bow, Kodandam. On His side is Lakshmana, ever ready to serve Sri Rama. On the other side is, Sita Matha. Nearby is Sri Nartana Krishna, dancing Next is Vishvaksena, the commander. Sri Balaji of Tirumala is also gracing here. Sri Ranganatha, the Lord, Who was worshiped by Sri Rama, is also here in a separate sannidhi. In this sannidhi, there is another set of Sri Rama, Sri Sita and Lakshmana There is another sannidhi of Azhvars and Acharyas. We can see Nammalwar, Tirumangai Alwar, Swami Ramanuja, Swami Alavandar, etc.

Excerpted From: http://kungumaraje.blogspot.com/2014/10/ammaji-mandir-valmiki-bhavan-ayodhya.html 4
Ammaji Mandir

Ayodhya

SrI:  SrImathE SatakOpAya nama:  SrImathE rAmAnujAya nama:  SrImath varavaramunayE nama: SrI vAnAchala mahAmunayE nama:

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Birth place of srI rAma. A beautiful temple following thennAchArya srIvaishNava sampradhAyam is present in this dhivya dhEsam. This temple is famously known as ammAji mandhir which was established by yOgi pArthasArathy iyengAr swamy.

Here is a short write up on ammAji mandhir’s history by M A  madhusUdhanan swamy:

Once in Yogi Parthasarathy Iyengar Swamy’s (born 1840) dream, Chakravarthy Thirumagan appeared and asked him to look in a place in thiruppullANi and find a Ramar Vigraham there and do a prathistai in Ayodhya. Swami did the same and purchased huge land in Ayodhya and built a south indian style temple with Vimanams, Dwajasthamabam, Alwar Acharya dhivya mangaLa vigrahams according to Pancharathra Agamam and thennAcharya sampradhAyam and to meet the expenses, he established the Komutti bunglow colony (in thiruvallikkENi) and used the rent from the land.

After the installation in early 1900s, He attained acharyan thiruvadi in a few years and after his time, his dharma pathni Smt Yogi SingammAl (who was also a Bhagavat vishaya Adhikari and the gyAna AcharyA of stalwarts like Ayodhi Ramanuja Jeeyar and Kunrapakkam Jeeyar swami) took care of the daily proceedings of the temple by staying there for almost 40 years. After her period, the temple is being maintained by Saraswati Bhandaram Committee which was also established by Yogi Swami in the aim of publishing samparadya granthams and to run a Patasalai(Sri Nampillai Sannidhi @ thiruvallikkENi). Since the temple was maintained by Yogi Singamma for a long time, locals used to refer this temple as Ammaji Mandir or DivyaDesh Mandir (as the temple’s architecture looks like any other dhivya dhEsams of south india).

Sri Ramanavami utsavam is being celebrated for 5 days ending with Mesha Sukla Navami (chAndramana). The utsavam is celebrated in similar style to that of south indian dhivya dhEsams. It is started with Mruthsangrahanam & Dwaja arohanam and on each day Thirumanajanam is done. Grand purappadu is also done daily in different vahanams like Hanumantha vahanam, Garuda sevai, Yanai Vahanam, etc., on various streets of Ayodhya. On Sri Rama Navami day, the utsavam starts with Theerthavari of Sita Lakshmana sametha Sri Ramar(theertha beram), Sri Satari & Sudharsan Aazhwan at Sarayu river followed by Thirumanjanam to Ramar, Sita, Lakshmanar and Hanuman. In the evening grand purappadu is done in Sesha vahanam and after perumal returns back to temple Dwaja Avarohanam is done.

The temple is located on the banks of Sarayu river in GolaGhat, Near Nirmochan Chaurara junction (next street to Ayodhya Post office). It is around 150 KMs from Lucknow (better to take a private cab to reach there as public transport is not good in the region). For more details the committee office at thiruvallikkENi Nampillai Sannidhi can be contacted directly.

http://koyil.org/index.php/ayodhya/5

Around 100 years earlier, there was a great person by name Yogi Parthasarathi Iyengar and his wife was Yogi Singamma. Sri Yogi Parthasarathi Iyengar in his wisdom created a press for re-publishing on paper edition,  the great granthams of our Vaishnavaite mahans and in this venture established a press and persons to take care known as –  “Saraswathi Bhandram Committee” – saraswathi bhandaram meaning ‘library / treasure house’ of the works of Goddess of Learning Saraswathi. He spent his fortune towards establishing this and on this place built a temple for Sri Nampillai as the rightful person to own this treasure house. The idol of Namperumal was also installed alongside. He ensured that there would be festivities at least once a year. This Nampillai sannadhi was renovated and re-built decoratively recently by the Committee, spearheaded by Sri MA Venkata Krishnan Swami.  
Yogi Singamma, a century ago, built a temple of Sri Rama at the historic Ayodhya, a typical South Indian type temple, which is popularly known as ‘Ammaji Mandir’.  This temple is being maintained by ‘Saraswathi Bhandaram Committee’ – being taken care of by Dr MA Venkatakrishnan Swami.  Here  are some photos  of Lord Sri Rama of Ammaji mandir  – Thirumanjana Thirukolam, shared by MA Madhusudhanan. Thanks to him and to Sri VN Kesavabashyam Swami too.
With regards – S. Sampathkumar

Thiru Ayodhya Sri Ramar Thirukovil ~ Ammaji Mandir6

Sri Veda Vedanta Vardhini

srI vEdha vEdhAntha vardhinI was established in 1868 – vibhava varusham, mAsi mAsam, 5th day at thiruvallikkENi by great scholars. Some of those great scholars include srImAn MaNNi SingarAchAryAr, srImAn M. A. SingarAchAryAr, SrimAn yOgi pArthasArathy iyengAr, etc. This is registered as a dharma sthApanam. The main objectives of this sabhai is to spread the knowledge from vEdham and vEdhAntham of both samskritham and thamizh languages. In the original manifesto, it is mentioned that
“to spread the anushtAnam as practiced in srI pArthasArathy swAmy sannidhi”.

One of the main persons behind the creation of this sabhai is yOgi pArthasArathy iyengAr swamy. He had lots of wealth and put them in full use for our sampradhAyam [tradition]. He was instrumental in bringing up saraswathy bhandAram which printed many of our sampradhAyam literature those days and also established NampiLLai sannidhi in thiruvallikkENi. He also built a temple for chakkaravarthi thirumagan in ayOdhyA (famously known as ammAji mandhir) and established proper sri-vaishnava style of worship there.

https://srivedhavedhanthavardhini.wordpress.com7

A note on the above portrait: This was sourced online and was the only available portrait of Sri Yogi Pārthasārathy Aiyangār Swami. For the curious: there’s nothing in Vedic culture that requires the wife to be standing beside her husband. If anything, it’s expected that man and wife be seated together, just like how Śrī/Lakshmi (Grace) and Nārāyaṇa (God) are seen seated together always. Hence, it’s quite possible that two separate b&w photos (from the late 1800s) in existence were combined to form the above portrait; the color, wall rendering, curtain, carpet, etc., are quite clearly artistic additions to the portrait. But, if it was originally one photo (before artistic renderings were added), it might appear patriarchal, but what it must certainly convey is a personal aspect of an enlightened spiritual relationship, wherein the wife possibly considered her husband to be her Guru, bringing in an extra element of due veneration. Vedic wisdom explains all beings are equal as āthmās (spirit souls) while explaining a culture of loving devotion to God that extends to and is practically exercised in relation to other beings around us (see the article Equality in Srivaishnavam for an understanding of this principle). In Vedic culture, Mother, Father, Guru and Guest are considered to be representatives of God, according to the Vedic maxim “matrudevo bhava, pitrudevo bhava, acharyadevo bhava, atithidevo bhava”. And similarly the husband is considered to be a representation of God Himself for the wife and this engenders a life of loving devotion of the wife towards the husband, assisting the husband in his devotion in turn towards his Guru, God and other devotees. In other words, a Vedic marriage is a spiritual arrangement geared toward loving service of God and the Godly as opposed to a mundane body-centric relationship meant for the practice of mundane principles of bodily-equality, etc. In other words, while the wife standing beside her husband is quite atypical by Vedic standards, it could still be understood; there’s no pressure on Hindu women to exercise or demonstrate mundane bodily-equality, etc.

References

  1. Footprints on the sands of time by Suganthy Krishnamachari published in The Hindu dated JUNE 26, 2010
  2. The man who made it possible: Vivekananda’s Chicago visit in Madras Musings
  3. Republic Day at SYMA – Mandayam Parthasarathi Iyengar, the freedom fighter
  4. Ammaji Mandir, Valmiki Bhavan, Ayodhya
  5. http://koyil.org/index.php/ayodhya/
  6. Thiru Ayodhya Sri Ramar Thirukovil ~ Ammaji Mandir
  7. srI vEdha vEdhAntha vardhinI