As I discuss in this question, Vishnu is said to have taught the principles of Vaishnavism to four gods: Lakshmi, Brahma, Shiva and Sanatkumara. And they in turn started the four main Sampradayas or traditions of Vaishnavism: Sri Sampradayam, Brahma Sampradayam, Rudra Sampradayam, and Kumara Sampradayam. Now the Sri Sampradayam, the one started by Lakshmi, is most famous for containing the Sri Vaishnava sect (of which I'm a member). But this is not the only sect that traces its origins to the Sri Sampradayam. There's also the Swaminarayan sect, which I discuss here. And then there is the Ramanandi sect, which is the subject of my question.

The Ramanandi or Ramavat sect was popularized by Ramananda, who believed that Rama is the supreme being. It's similar to the ISKCON worldview, where Krishna is supreme and Vishnu is an incarnation of Krishna, except Krishna is replaced by Rama. Famous devotees of Rama like Tulsidas and Kabir belonged to this sect. And they believe in Visistadvaita as I discuss here. In any case, the reason the consider themselves part of the Sri Sampradayam is that they trace their origins to the Guru Parampara of the Sri Vaishnava Acharya Ramanujacharya; see the Parampara given in this Ramanandi website:


Sita (Shri-Devi)





Shri Ram Misra

Yamun Muni


Jagadguru Ramanuja (incarnation of Shri Lakshman)







Jagadguru Ramanandacharya (Incarnation of Shri Rama himself, he brought Bhakti from south to North)

Now as a Sri Vaishnava, one glaring difference I see compared to the Parampara I'm familiar with is that it says Rama and Sita rather than Vishnu and Lakshmi. But that's just an issue of what god they consider supreme. The next nine names are recognizable from the Sri Vaishnava Guru Parampara: you have Vishvaksena, then Nammalwar, then Nathamuni, then Uyyakondar, then Manakkal Nambi, then Yamunacharya, then Periya Nambi, then Ramanujacharya, then Kurathalwan.

But my question is, how does the rest of the Parampara connect with the Sri Vaishnava Parampara? Who is this "Purushottam" figure who is listed as the shishya of Kurathalwan? For those who don't know, Kurathalwan was the shishya of Ramanujacharya who had his eyes plucked out in the court of a Shaivite Chola king as I discuss here. And Kurathalwan was the father of the Sri Vaishnava Acharya Parashara Bhattar. But the only shishya of Kurathalwan that I know of is Thiruvarangathu Amudhunar, who was the author of the Ramanuja Nootrandhadhi, a famous poem in praise of Ramanujacharya.

But are there any records of Kurathalwan having a shishya named Puroshottam? Could Puroshottama be the Sanskrit name of Thiruvarangathu Amudhunar?

EDIT: I found three other Shishyas of Kurathalwan. First there's Naluran, who was a minister to the Shaivite Chola king who persecuted Kurathalwan as I discuss here. And the other two are Pillai Pillai Alwan and a local king named Virasundara Brahmaraya. During the time when Kurathalwan's son Parashara Bhattar was the head of the Sri Vaishnava sect, the king Virasundara Brahmarayan rebuilt one of the walls of the Sri Rangam temple. In the course of doing so he demolished the house of Pillai Pillai Alwan, against Parashara Bhattar's express instructions. Parashara Bhattar was so outraged by the Bhagavata Apachsram (offense against a fellow Vaishnava) that he left his beloved Sri Rangam and went to Thirukoshtiyur, only returning to Sri Rangam after Virasundara Brahmarayan died.

In any case, I still haven't found a shishya named "Puroshottam".

  • 1
    @SuryaKantaBoseChowdhury Yes, they do. They consider Ramanujacharya an incarnation of Lakshmana. This is because they consider Adiseshan to be an incarnation of Lakshmana, in contrast to Sri Vaishnavas (and others) who consider Lakshmana to be an incarnation of Adiseshan. Commented Mar 15, 2018 at 16:13
  • 1
    @SuryaKantaBoseChowdhury They do, but they put bow and arrow on their shoulders rather than Shankha and Chakra, because those are Rama's symbols. Commented Mar 15, 2018 at 16:23
  • 1
    @SuryaKantaBoseChowdhury Well, probably not a crucial part, but as you can see in the quote in my post, they put Nammalwar in their Guru Parampara. That's because they trace their Guru Parampara to Ramanujacharya, and Nammalwar is in Ramanujacharya's Guru Parampara. Commented Mar 15, 2018 at 17:03
  • Nammalwar is the one who meditated for 16 years right?
    – user9969
    Commented Mar 15, 2018 at 17:05
  • 1
    @SuryaKantaBoseChowdhury Yes, from birth until the age of 16 he was engaged in meditation in the hollow of a tree. At the age of 16 he was found by Madhurakavi Alwar. Commented Mar 16, 2018 at 3:24

1 Answer 1


I seem to recall having read in A L Basaham's Wonder That Was India that Ramananda was originally from Melukote. He was expelled from the Muttam because of his having moved about with Muslims. He then moved to Benares and started the Sect which bears his name. Dr. Vasudha Narayanan records how he wrote his own version of Mimukshupadi and Sri Vachana Bhushanam, putting Rama slokas in place of the Mantra Trayam.

Basham states he influenced Tulsi, Kabir and Nanak.

All this took place around the start of the 15th century, so I doubt there was direct connection to Kurattalwan.

  • 3
    No one is claiming that Ramananda was a direct shishya of Kurathalwan, the claim is that he belonged to a Guru Parampara originating with Kurathalwan, six generations after Kurathalwan. Commented Jun 17, 2017 at 19:12
  • I have researched this and can find nothing to connect Kuratthalwan with Ramanand. Commented May 6, 2019 at 0:46

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .