Thanians

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 acharyasambandham 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.

1. SRIMAD ANDAVAN SRIVARAHA MAHA DESIKAN

śrīmad vedānta-rāmānuja-yati kṛpayā rangiṇī nyasta-bhāram
tat samprāptāgamānta dvitayam-anugaṇam śiṣṭatā-pūrṇam-agryam
sreśṭha śri-ranga-rāmānuja-muni karuṇā-labdha mokśaśramam-tam
sattvastham sri-varāham yati-varam-anagham deśikam samśayāmi

“I seek refuge in the blemishless Srimad Srivaraha Mahadesikan (Srimushnam Chinna Andavan), the most eminent of ascetics situated in the mode of divine goodness; who was decorated with bhara-samarpanam by the divine mercy of Srimad Thirukudanthai Andavan,   from whom he respectfully acquired the complete knowledge of ubhaya-vedanta; and who was awarded the renunciate sannyasa order by the illustrious Srimad Srimushnam Peria Andavan.”

2. Srimad Srimushnam Andavan

vedānta lakśmaṅa-munīndra kṛpāttha-boddhaṁ
tat pāda-yugma sarasīruha bhṛñga-rājaṁ
trayanta-yugma kṛta bhūri pariśramaṁ-taṁ
śrī-rañga-lakśmaṇa-muniṁ śaraṇaṁ prapadye

“We prostrate and seek refuge at the divine lotus feet of Srimad Ranga Ramanuja Mahadesikan (Srimushnam Peria Andavan) who had his bhara-samarpanam (ritual surrender) conducted at the holy feet of Srimad Thirukudanthai Andavan Sri Vedanta Ramanuja Mahadesikan. With resolute determination, he gained the wealth of the  knowledge of ubhaya-vedanta from his acharya, at whose lotus feet, he whirs like a honeybee.”

3. SRIMAD MYSORE ANDAVAN

śrīmad śrīvāsa-yogīśvara-muni karuṇā-labdha vedānta-yugmaṁ
śrīmad vedānta-rāmānuja-guru-padayor-arpita svātma-bhāraṁ
śrīmad srutyanta-rāmānuja-yati-nṛpateḥ prāpta mokśāśramaṁ taṁ
śrīmad śrīvāsa-rāmānuja munimaparaṁ samśraye jñana-vārdhiṁ

I seek refuge in Sri Srinivasa Ramanuja Mahadesikan (Srimad Mysore Andavan) who is an ocean of divine knowledge (sampradayika jnanam); who had studied the texts of the dual Vedanta (ubhaya-vedanta-granthas) at the holy feet of Srimad Akkur Andavan Sri Srinivasa Mahadesikan;  who had his ritual surrender (bhara-samarpanam) conducted by Srimad Nammandavan Sri Vedanta Ramanuja Mahadesikan; and who was ordained into the renunciate order (sannyasa-asrama) by Srimad Thirukkudanthai Andavan Sri Vedanta Ramanuja Mahadesikan.”

4. SRIMAD THIRUKKUDANTHAI ANDAVAN

śrīmad vedānta rāmānuja-muni karunā-labdha vedānta-yugmaṁ
śrīmad śrīvāsa yogīśvara gurupadayor-arpita svātma-bhāraṁ
śrīmad śri rañganāthāhvaya muni-krupayā prāpta mokśāśramaṁ taṁ
śrīmad vedhānta rāmānuja-munima-paraṁ samśraye deśikendraṁ

I seek refuge in our acharya Srimad Vedanta Ramanuja Mahadesikan (Thirukkudanthai Andavan) who studied ubhaya-vedhanta-granthas (the sacred texts of the dual-Vedanta) under the holy feet of Srimad Nammandavan Sri Vedanta Ramanuja Mahadesikan; who had his bhara-samarpanam (ritual surrender) conducted by Srimad Akkur Andavan Sri Srinivasa Mahadesikan; and who was ordained into mokshasramam (the renunciate order of sannyasa) by the grace and benediction of Srimad Thenbirai Andavan Sri Ranganatha Mahadesikan.

5. SRIMAD THENBIRAI ANDAVAN

śrīmad veda-vatamsa-lakṣmaṇa-munehe prāptāgamānta-dvayaṁ
tena śrī-raghu-puñga-vāñghri yugaḷe nyastātma-rakśābharaṁ
śrīmad śrīnidhi-yogi-varya karuṇā-labdhābja chakrāñgaṇaṁ
vande śānti-virakti-purnaṁ-anaghaṁ śrī-rañganāthaṁ-guruṁ

I Prostrate at the holy feet of guru, Ranganatha who dispels the darkness of my ignorance, who possesses limitless saintly qualities like Gnanam, Santham, Virakthi, Vairakyam, and Anagam (blemishless) Who studied ubhaya Vedhantha Kalekshepams under the holyfeet of Srimadh Vedhantha Ramanuja Maha Desikan (Nammandavan) & thru his grace, was submitted at divine feet of Vaduvur Lord Raghunatha and Who was initiated into Sanyaasaasramam and Acharyatvam by the incessant grace and sympathetic kataaksha of Srimath Srinivasa yogi (Akkur Andavan)

6. SRIMAD AKKUR ANDAVAN

śrīmad vedānta rāmānuja-yati-nṛpater labdha vedānta-yugmaṁ
śrīmad  devādinetuś-caraṇa-sarasije tena dattātma-bhāraṁ
śrīmad śrīvāsa-yogīśvara mahita-maha-sampradāyaika-niśṭaṁ
vande śrīvasa-yogīśvara-guruṁ-anagahaṁ vatsalaṁ-bhavya-śīlaṁ

“I prostrate at the holy feet of Srinivasa Mahadesikan (Akkur Andavan), who is blemishless, and possesses saintly qualities such as affection and simplicity; who had gained the esoteric mysteries of ubhaya-vedanta at the lotus feet of Srimad Nammandavan; who was benedicted by Srimad Nammandavan with atma-bharam (ritual surrender) conducted at the divine lotus feet of Lord Varadaraja of Kanchi; and who propagated the teachings of the eternally rich Sri Vaishnava tradition that had been nurtured earlier by Srimad Periandavan.”

7. Srimad Nammandavan

śrīmad ṣrīvāsa-yogīśvara pada-vinataṁ labdha vedānta-yugmaṁ
śrī pādu-sevi-rāmānuja-muni tilakāt-tat-pada nyasta bhāraṁ
śrīmad ṣrīvāsa-rāmānuja-muni-maṇer labdha mokśāśramaṁ taṁ
śrīmad  vedānta-rāmānuja-yati nṛpatiṁ samśraye jñana-vārdhiṁ

“I  seek refuge in Srimad Vedanta Ramanuja Mahadesikan (Srimad Nammandavan), the king amongst ascetics, who is decorated with spiritual knowledge that is deep like the ocean; who offered repeated prostrations at the lotus feet of Srimad Periandavan from a young age; on whose order,he studied the esoteric texts of the ubhaya-vedanta at the holy feet of Srimad Chinnandavan, who also ordained his bhara-samarpanam (ritual surrender); and who was initiated into the renunciate sannyasa order by Srimad Kadanthethi Andavan.”

8. Srimad Kadanthethi Andavan

śrīmad ṣrīvāsa-yogī pravara sakaruṇā-pāñga sangāta-bhañgāt
vedānta dvandva-vidyā madhura-salaharī-chancharī kayamāṇaḥ
tenāchāryeṇa ranga-prabhu caraṇa-yuge datta rakshā-bhara-śrīḥ
śrīmad ṣrīvāsa-rāmā-varaja muni-maṇis-santataṁ śreyase-syāt

“May Srimad Srinivasa Ramanuja Mahadesikan (Kadanthethi Andavan), a jewel amongst renunciate sannyasis, benedict us with the topmost spiritual prosperity. Due to the incessant and compassionate glance of Srimad Periandavan, he hovered like a bee sipping the knowledge of ubhaya-vedanta, which emanated like a stream of honey from the acharya’s lotus feet. It was by the same acharya (Srimad Periandavan) that he was awarded bharanyasam (ritual surrender) at the divine lotus feet of the Supreme Lord Sri Ranganatha.”

9. Srimad Chinnandavan

śrīman-nātha-munīndra yāmuna-munis-śrī samyaṁ-īndrātmanaḥ
śrī śrīvāsa munīndra deśika-maṇeḥ prāptāgamānta dvayaṁ
śrī rañgeṣa-pade samarpita-bharaṁ śrīpadukā sevakaḥ
śrī rāmānuja-yoginaṁ guru-varaṁ vande daya-sāgaraṁ

“I pay my obeisances unto Srimad Padukasevaka Ramanuja Mahadesikan (Chinnandavan), the greatest of spiritual preceptors, who is verily an ocean of compassion; who acquired the esoteric knowledge of ubhaya-vedanta from the gem of spiritual masters Srimad Periandavan, who himself was the combined incarnation of Sri Nathamuni, Sri Yamunamuni and Sri Ramanuja muni; and who had his bhara-samarpanam (ritual surrender) conducted at the divine lotus feet of the Supreme Lord Sri Ranganatha by the same Srimad Periandavan.”

10. Srimad Periandavan

ṣrī rañgeśa-pade samarpita-bharaṁ śrutyanta rāmānuja
ṣrī yogīndra guruttamena yaminaś-śrutyanta-vidyātmanaḥ
prāpta-śrutya-vatamsa yugma-hṛdayaṁ śrīvāsa-rāmānujāt
ṣrī ṣrīvāsa munīndra deśika maṇiṁ śreyo nidhiṁ samśraye

“I seek refuge under Srimad Srinivasa Mahadesikan (Periyandavan) who is a treasure-house of sreyas (spiritual opulence); who undertook his bhara-samarpanam (ritual surrender) at the divine lotus feet of the Supreme Lord, Sri Ranganatha by the grace of Srimad Vazhuthur Andavan Sri Vedanta Ramanuja Mahadesikan; and who skillfully acquired the esoteric knowledge of ubhaya-vedanta from Srimad Thiruthuraipoondi Andavan Sri Srinivasa Ramanuja Mahadesikan, in whose heart reside the personification of the Vedas.”

11. Srimad Thiruthuraipoondi Andavan

śrīmad gopāla-surer niravadhi-karuṇā-vāpta sat-saṁpradāyaṁ
śrīmad vedānta rāmānuja yati-nṛpatis-sarvataḥ sthāpa-yitvā
yasmin sat-saṁpradāyaṁ sakala-mupadi-śannaṁ sato’nu-praviśthaḥ
śrīmad śrīvāsa rāmānuja munim-anaghaṁ taṁ bhaje deśikendraṁ

“I pay my profound respects, to the blemishless Srimad Thiruthuraipoondi Andavan Sri Srinivasa Ramanuja Mahadesikan, who was the recipient of the limitless mercy of Srimad Gopalarya Mahadesikan (Thirukudanthai Desikan). The king amongst yatis (renunciates),  Srimad Vazhuthoor Andavan Sri Vedanta Ramanuja Mahadesikan who was also the founder of the worldwide sat-sampradayam (the original and bonafide spiritual tradition), had nominated and chosen Srimad Thiruthuraipoondi Andavan to succeed him. Srimad Vazhuthoor Andavan taught him all that one should know about our sat-sampradayam , and appeared to have reincarnated in him.”

12. Srimad Vazhuthur Andavan

gopāla-deśika padābja madhu-vratasya
prajña-virakti-karuṇā-mukha sat-guṇābdheḥ
vedānta-lakṣmaṇa-mune śrita-bhāga-deyaṁ
pādāravinda-yugalaṁ śaraṇaṁ prapadye

“I surrender at the lotus feet of Srimad Vedanta Ramanuja Mahadesikan (Vazhuthur Andavan), who is like a bee hankering for honey at the divine lotus feet of Srimad Gopala Mahadesikan (Thirukudanthai Desikan); who is endowed with a an ocean of auspicious qualities such as  spiritual knowledge, deep detachment and graceful compassion; and who benedicts those who seek his refuge with a shower of beneficial qualities.”

13. Srimad Thirukkudanthai Desikan

śrī kṛṣṇa-deśika-padāmbuja bhṛñga-rājaṁ
vedānta lakṣmaṇa-munīndra kṛpātta-bodhaṁ
traiyanta-deśika yatīndra śaṭāri-mūrthiṁ
gopāla-deśika śikhāmaṇiṁ-āśrayāmaḥ

“We seek refuge and offer prostrations unto Sri Gopalarya Mahadesikan (Thirukudanthai Desikan), who is like a bee hankering for nectar at the lotus feet of his acharya and father, Srimad Krishna Desikan, from whom he undertook his pancha-samskaram (five-fold initiation into Sri Vaishnavism) and veda-adhyayanam (study of Vedic texts); who absorbed the essence of ubhaya-vedanta from Srimad Sakshat Swami Sri Vedanta Lakshmana Muni; and who is an embodiment of three great acharyas: Srimad Vedanta Desikan, Bhagavad Ramanuja and  Swami Nammazhwar.”