One of the accomplished vedanta philosopher and acharya desikan is famous in southern india.
Whose avatara is he believed to be?
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Let me begin with Sri VedantAcharya's Taniyan:
"Sriman Venkata Natharyah Kavitarkika Kesari |
Vedantacharya Varyo Mey Sannidhattam Sadaa Hridhi ||"
Sriman NigAmAntha MahADesikar or Sri Vedanta Desikar is Perumaal's GhantAvathara i.e., an avatar of of Lord's Temple Bell. Let me elaborate:
Sri Desikar was born in the year 1268 CE(Common Era) about 130 years after Bhagavad Ramanuja attained parama padam. He hails from, the heart of sacred city of kAnchi at, Thooppul to a devoted Sri Vaishnava couple - Sri Ananthasuri and Smt Thothaaramba. After some years of Marriage, they yearned to have a child. Since they were both ardent devotees of Lord Venkatesa, they went to Tirupati seeking Perumaal's blessings.
In the pre-dawn hours one day during their time at Tirumala, Lord Srinivasa in the form of a child appeared in Smt Thothaaramba's dream and presented the couple with a Golden bell and said, "For flourishing of Sri rAmAnuja SiddhAnthA, an extra-ordinary genius child will be born to you who will firmly establish Sri Vaishnava Sampradaya!"1 In the dream, Ananthasuri gave the bell to Thothaaramba who swallowed it at once. Extraordinarily, Ananthasuri also had a similar dream! On waking up, both of them discussed their dreams and a surprise awaited them in Lord's Shrine - The Temple bell was reported missing. The Jeeyar of the temple had also had a vision of the couple's dream. Everyone was thrilled with the events that had conspired.
After a span of twelve years from this event, in the year 1191 of sAlivAhana era(corresponding to 1268 AD) in PurattAsi Maasam under SravanA Nakshatram, Venkatanatha was born in Thooppul. His Birthday coincided with Perumaal's SravanA Festival of TheerthaAri at Tirumala. Thus was born a stalwart of Sri Vaishnava Sampradaya who is verily an Avatara of Venkatesa Perumaal's temple bell - the Lord's GhantAvathArA. To remind us of this incident, even today, there is no bell in the Perumaal sannidhi. Only the huge bell suspended in the front hall is used while doing ThiruvArAdanam.
1It is also said Perumaal announced, to the Archakas who were searching for it the next day, that he had given the Bell in his Sannidhi to the blessed couple and that a scholar of paramount erudition would be born to them who would firmly establish SriVaishnava Sampradaya