What is a Thanian?
Thanian is a Tamil word. It refers to a eulogistic devotional verse that praises the glories of an individual acharya. An acharya dispels the darkness of the mind and enlightens us with spiritual knowledge. He pleads with the Lord to accept our prapatti or sharanagati and thus saves us by escorting us to the lotus feet of the Lord.
The chanting of at thanian thus represents our dedication, sincerity, duty, and respect towards our acharya. Depending upon the acharya parampara, thanians will differ. Sometimes, there may be two or more thanians for the same acharya. A thanian may be long or short, but is accorded the same respect.
The greatness of an acharya-thanian can in reality only be understood by those who have acharya–sambandham or a relationship with an acharya after having taken his shelter. It is an essential duty for a disciple to chant the thanian of their acharya every day, and receive his grace.
In addition to thanians for acharyas, there are thanians for vedanta rahasya-granthas (esoteric texts) too. One can only learn the mysteries of the rahasya-granthas through the established process of grantha-kalakshepam (personal tutelage under an acharya or his representative) after chanting the thanian of that grantha or text.
In established Sri Vaishnava institutions such as the Srimad Andavan Ashramam, Sri Parakala Matam and Sri Ahobila Matam the thanians of all their purvaacharyas (the chain of previous preceptors tracing back to the Supreme Lord) are recited every day in their daily ghosti (congregational assembly).
The following are the thanians chanted everyday at the Srirangam Srimad Andavan Ashramam. All disciples of Srimad Andavan Ashramam are requested to chant them at least once (it is usually best to chant them in the morning after the ritual of pratah-sandhyavandanam) to receive the blessings and grace of our purvacharyas, tracing back all the way to the Supreme Mother Sri Mahalakshmi Piratti and the Supreme Lord Sriman Narayana.