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Acharya Vaibhavam (37th - 41st Jeeyars)

Atthippattu Azhagiyasingar (34th Jeeyar), Kalathur Azhagiyasingar (35th Jeevar) and the 36th Jeeyar were also privileged to utilise the services of Pillaipakkam Gopalacharya, a great Visishtadvaitin who was known better by his title Sapta-tantra Vachaspathi, meaning master of the seven tantras. Let us see how this illustrious person became the 37th Jeevar called affectionately as Pillaipakkam Azhagiyasingar. While young, he mastered Vyakarana and Nyaya Sastras at the feet of the famous Thirupputkuzhi Swami (Mahamahopadyaya Krishna Thathacharya) and received his panchasamskara from 33rd Jeeyar. Completing Adhyathma Sastra first under 33rd, he studied next under the 34th Jeeyar. Recognising his merit, the Atthippattu Azhagiyasingar appointed him as the Srikaryam of the Mutt which post Pillaipakkam Gopalacharya continued under the 35th Jeeyar also. Even as he was performing his duties both at the office and at home, he developed Vairagya and while on a pilgrimage, he was fortunate to get the benign grace of the Tenkanikottai Swami who was a centre of attraction at the time in view of his divinity and scholarity. This Tenkanikottai Swami gave Sanyasasrama to Gopalacharya and gave him the name Veeraraghava Satakopan. The Swami continued to visit temples and his contribution included renovation of some temples and offering of jewels. By a divine vision from Veeraraghava Perumal, he rectified defects on the idol of the Lord of Thiruvallur. He regularly gave discourses on Sree Bhashya at Kancheepuram, proceeded further south to master Divya Prabandham and Bhagavad Vishayam. When the 36th Jeevar attained Mukthi without nominating his successor, the sishyas of Ahobila Mutt called on Pillaipakkam Swami and requested him to ascend the Peetam. With reluctance, he acceded to their request; but once he became the Azhagiasingar, Srivan Satakopa Sri Veeraraghava Satakopa Yatheendra Mahadesikan considered it his special duty to enhance the glory of the Mutt and this he did with great devotion. His bhakthi for Vedantha Desika was unparalleled and he visited the abhimanasthala of the Acharya -

Thiruvaheendrapuram (near Cuddalore) where he restored the uthsavas after settling the dispute among the Srivaishnavas there. He himself remained there to supervise the Brahmothsavam and he documented his experiences in a beautiful record named "Vedantha Desikothsava Vaibhavani" for the sake of the posterity. It was unfortunate that this Jeeyar also did not nominate anybody and hence there was an interregnum for about 5 1/2 years between 1899-1905.

38th Jeeyar
One among the group who had earlier persuaded Pillaipakkam Swami to accept the Peetam was Gadadharapuram Chakravarthi Venkatacharya, a very learned person who hailed from the Gadadharapuram family that had given five Azhagiyasingars earlier. This Swami had done his best for the upliftment of the Mutt though leading a family life. He was respected by all. However since the 37th Jeeyar had left without nominating anyone and as five and a half years had elapsed, the sishyas made an appeal to the Government to restore the Mutt to its pivotal position. The then British Governor ordered preparation of electoral rolls of the Mutt's disciple,- and when the votes were cast, the majority favoured the Gadadharapuram Swami who respecting the sentiments, became the 38th Jeeyar of Ahobila Mutt. "The History of the Ahobila Mutt" (Venkatesa Ayyar) records thus: "Gadadharapuram family came to the assistance of the Mutt in good time. This 38th Jeeyar's (Srivan Satakopa Sri Srinivasa Satakopa Yatheendra Mahadesikan) knowledge of men and matters was so great that by wise choice of management, the property of the Mutt was cleverly administered and made to yield a good income." The Mutt rose once again to become the centre of influence and revered seat of learning. For his reign of just four years, this Jeeyar can be said to have achieved remarkable results. A northern devotee by name Balamukundachariyar became his disciple and with his influence, Utthara Ahobila Mutt was established at Pushkaram. He also renovated a number of Mutt buildings and Brindhavanams and was laid to rest at Narasimhapuram adjacent to the Brindhavan of 37th Jeeyar. Even today, the 38th Jeeyar's (poorvasrama) grandsons lead a retired life after having served very high posts and his great grandsons are serving in high capacities. The 40th Jeeyar installed an image of the 38th Jeeyar out of his reverence for him in his Brindhavan at Narasimhapuram.

The 39th Azhagiyasingar Srivan Satakopa Sri Parankusa Yatheendra Mahadesikan carried on his predecessor's work dutifully. He made a silver Mandapam for Malola and built outer walls of the Veeraraghavaswami Temple at Thiruvallur. His Brindhavan exists at his birthplace Rajamannar Koil (Mannargudi).

Ahobila Mutt's glory rose to greater heights during the stewardship of the 40th Azhagiyasingar, Sri Lakshminarasimha Divya Padukasevaka, Srivan Satakopa Sri Ranganatha Satakopa Yatheendra Mahadesikan. Known as Karaikurichi Vankeepuram Vidwan Venkata Krishnamacharya in his poorvasrama, he ascended the Peetam on 17th April 1913 and came to be sought by scholars and laity alike because of his genial temperament as also by his great psychic power. Since some of the earlier Azhagiyasingars could not visit Ahobilam, he more than made up for them and Venkatesa Ayyar in his History of Ahobila Mutt says, 'Here is a clear case of HE CAME - HE SAW - HE CONQUERED. No other Azhagiyasingar had undertaken so extensive a travel as this Jeeyar - all for the sake of devotees welfare. His visits extended upto Hyderabad. He stayed at Ahobilam for quite sometime restoring the worship and renovating the temple structures. His psychic powers and Mantra Siddhi were utilised by the then Gadwal Raja to regain his royal, financial and spiritual powers.

40th Jeeyar
The 40th Jeeyar-Sri Ranganatha Satakopa Yatheendra Mahadesika (1913-1923) visited Gadwal after a long interval. Apart from being an erudite scholar, he was credited with great psychic and mystic powers like the 1st, 6th and 25th Jeeyars. When he reached Gadwal, the 40th Jeeyar found to his dismay that the place had become one of total inactivity. It seems that when the Kesava temple was built, a human (Brahmin) sacrifice was made and that as a consequence, Soma Bhoopal had incurred a curse whereby he was left without a progeny. From that time onwards his successors in line were all by adoption only. Not even a female child was born, leave alone a son. When Sriram Bhoopal ascended the throne, the temple had become a haunted place as also the Gadwal palace and the Raja had moved to Hyderabad where he had a palace and other properties. In a bid to set right things, the Jeeyar sent word to the Raja at Hyderabad who promptly came back to Gadwal with his family. This Jeevar's son was a great scholar with Mantra Siddhi and with his help the place was duly sanctified. The Jeeyar on visiting the Kesava temple found the Moola Vigraha (idol) deformed and wanted it to be removed. The Raja and other learned Brahmins were reluctant to do so for fear of incurring the wrath of the God once again. Undaunted, the Jeeyar, it is said, himself went about the job. He tied a rope round the idol and the other end of the rope was tied round a bullock which dragged the idol out of its place. The Vigraha was then buried in the sands of the river Krishna and that place is known as Erra Banda since then. A new idol of Kesava with Sreedevi and Bhoodevi on His either side was obtained from Srimushnam, a Swayamvyaktha Kshetram of Tamil Nadu and duly installed at the temple situated in the fort of the Gadwal palace. A number of Ahobila Mutt disciples once again settled down in that town and the era of bubbling and bustling activities began again. The Jeeyar stayed at Gadwal for three years. The grateful Raja of Gadwal honoured the Jeeyar with jewels to the Lord Lakhsminarasimha and gave other properties.

Source: Sri Nrusimha Priya, 66 Rangachari Road, Mylapore, Madras 600 018.