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Sri Koorath Azhvan (Kooresa)

 



Sri Kuresa was born in a village called Kooram near Kanchi in A.D 1008. His parents, who were extremely rich, named him Sri Vatsangar. Because of his background he was called Kooranaatha or kooresa.
When he heard that Sri Ramanuja had joined the monastic order, Kooresa and Dasarathi rejoiced and proceeded to kanchi, where Ramanuja initiated them into Sri Vaishnavam, by performing Pancha-samskaram. Kooresa and Dasarathi were the first disciples of Ramanuja. It is believed that both Dasarathi and Kooresa are the incarnation of the divine symbols of Lord Vishnu, namely, the Conch and the Discus respectively.
After studying under Ramanuja for a while, Kooresa returned to Kooram. There he was very generous with his wealth and used to feed and cloth anyone who came at his door. It is said that the doors at his mansion would close only after the doors at Kanchi Varadaraja Perumal Temple closed.
One day the doors at his mansion closed earlier than usual. The next day, Kanchi Poorna visited him inquiring about the reason for closing his mansion's doors before Sri Varadaraja's doors closed and added that it was the Lord's wish to get an answer from him. On hearing that the noise from his mansion's doors disturbed the Lord, he resolved to forego all his possession and join Ramanuja at Sri Rangam.
Soon Kooresa and Andaal (his wife) were on their way to Sir Rangam. They were walking through a thick forest, which Kooresa's wife was not used to. Soon she stopped Kooresa and asked him if the path they had taken was safe. To this, Kooresa replied, there was no reason to be afraid as long as they do not have anything of value with them. Smt Andaal replied that she had brought a small cup made in gold to fetch water for Kooresa. He immediately took the cup and threw it away, saying her fears has been defeated. When they arrived at Sri Rangam, Ramanuja invited them with a warn reception. Kooresa and Andaal then made Sri Rangam as their home.
Kooresa assisted Ramanuja in writing the Sri Bhasya. It is said that, he accompanied Ramanuja to Kashmir and studied Bodhayana-vriti; a gloss on the Brahma-sutras, which was available only there. He committed the entire text to memory when the authorities in charge of the manuscript did not permit Ramanuja to take it with him. He helped Ramanuja in writing the Sri Bhasya by reciting the relevant passages of the Vritti.
When Ramanuja was ordered by Kulottunka to appear before him and admit Siva's supremacy, kooresa feared for Ramanuja's life. He convinced Ramanuja to switch robes and appeared before the king in Ramanuja's ascetic robes. He lost his eyes when he was not able to create conviction in favor of Vishnu in the mind of the King. His devotion to the Lord was such that he was able to visualize the divine vision of Lord Varadaraja at Kanchi and describe Him to Ramanuja.
Kooresa and Andaal had two sons, Parasara bhattar and Vedavyasa bhattar, who became great scholars during their times. Kooresa composed five poems, collectively known as Panchasthavam, in addition to some Granthas. The five poems are:
  1. Sri Vaikuntha Stava
  2. Sri Atimaanusa Stava
  3. Sir Sundarabaahu Stava
  4. Sri Varadaraaja Stava
  5. Sri Stava