Last week the Sri Vaishnava Acharya Srimushnam Andavan departed the Earth. He was the head of a large Vadakalai Matham called Srirangam Andavan Ashramam. As I discuss in this question, both Thenkalais and Vadakalais have Mathams, similar to the Shankaracharya Mathams in Advaita. But a small number of Sri Vaishnavas, known as Swayamacharyas, do not belong to any of these Mathams. They're biological descendants of the 74 original disciples of Ramanujacharya, and for them their father functions as their Sri Vaishnava Acharya. But nowadays this distinction can be blurred, because sometimes Swayamacharya people decide to join one of the Mathams. For instance my family is a Swayamacharya family descended from Ramanujacharya's nephew Mudhaliandan, but in the 1800's we joined Vanamamalai Matham.

Srimushnam Andavan seems to have had a similar situation; here is what his official biography says:

[Srimushnam] Andavan was born in Srimushnam, a Swayamvyakta Kshetra, in South Arcot district, on a Vaikasi Arudra day in Yuva Varsham 03-06-1935 to U. Ve. Srinivasachariar and Sri Kumudhavalli, belonging to the illustrious lineage of Swayamacharya Purushas. His great great grandfather Sri Nadu Nattu Narayanachar was the prime disciple of Annarya Mahadesikan. The Purvashrama name of Srimushnam Andavan was Varahan.

I'm interested in the part in bold. My question is, what is the Swayamacharya lineage of Srimushnam Andavan? That is, what disciple of Ramanujacharya is his family descended from?

The quote says that Srimushnam Andavan's great great grandfather Nadu Naadu Narayanachar was a shishya of Annarya Mahadesikan. I've managed to find information on Annarya Mahadesikan: he was a shishya of Vazuthur Andavan, the disciple of the Vadakalai Acharya Gopala Desikan whom Sri Rangam Andavan Ashramam traces its lineage from. But I haven't found any information on Nadu Naadu Narayanachar, apart from the fact that Nadu Naadu refers to the region of central Tamil Nadu which contains Srimushnam, the birthplace of Srimushnam Andavan.

Does anyone know the Gotra of Srimusham Andavan? That might allow me to narrow down which shishyas of Ramanujacharya had the same Gotra as him.

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    "For instance my family is a Swayamacharya family descended from Ramanujacharya's nephew Mudhaliandan," Since there is some uncertainty as to when Ramanuja lived, perhaps your family's genealogical records can clarify this.
    – S K
    Commented Apr 4, 2018 at 16:16
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    @SK There's no uncertainty about this. Ramanujacharya was born in 1017 AD. My ancestor Mudhaliandan was born in 1027 AD. Mudhaliandan's son Kandhadai Andan is the one who performed last rites for Ramanujacharya. Kandhadai Andan's son Kandhadai Thozhappa was a contemporary of Parashara Bhattar's shishya's shishya Nampillai as well as Ramanujacharya's cousin's son Kura Narayana Jeeyar. It's all very well documented. Commented Apr 4, 2018 at 16:23
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    You should contact encyclopedia brittanica - which says "Information on the life of Ramanuja consists only of the accounts given in the legendary biographies about him, in which a pious imagination has embroidered historical details."
    – S K
    Commented Apr 4, 2018 at 16:26
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    @SK That's the standard sort of thing that Western Indologists say. But I think the traditional biographies of Ramanujacharya are perfectly accurate. Commented Apr 4, 2018 at 16:27

1 Answer 1


Srimushnam Srimad Andavan was born in the Tamil year Yuva(1935), Vaikaasi, Thiruvaadarai to Srimushnam Puranam Vangipuram Srinivasachariar and Srimathi Kumudavalli. He was born into Bhaadadvaaja Gotram, Yajush shaakha. His paternal great-grandfather was Nadu Naadu Narayanachariar - the principal disciple of Sri Annayaarya Mahadesikan. His given name was Bhu-Varaahan - the presiding diety of Srimushnam.

His samaashrayanam (ritual initiation into Sri Vaishnavism) was performed by his father's elder brother.

Reference: Biographical article by Natteri Sri Rajagopalachariar, editor of Sri Ranganatha Paduka in one of the summer issues of Sri Ranganatha Paduka in 2015 commemorating the 80th thirunakshatram of Srimushnam Srimad Andavan.

  • Where did you get the info that he received Samashrayanam from his father's brother? And are you saying that Nadu Naadu Narayanachariar is not a descendant of one of the 74 Simhasanadhipatis? That's the purpose of my question, to find out the ancestry of Nadu Naadu Narayanachariar. Commented Apr 29, 2018 at 7:52
  • And yes, it is certainly possible for a Sri Vaishnava Acharya to make one of his shishyas into a Sri Vaishnava Acharya, but that does not make that shishya's family into a Swayamacharya family. As far as I know all the Swayamacharya families are descended from one of the 74 Simhasanadhipatis. By the way, what branch of the Nathamuni family do you belong to? Do you belong to Agnihotram Thathachariar family? Because my maternal grandmother is from Agnihotram Thathachariar. Commented Apr 29, 2018 at 7:57
  • Wait a minute, the name Srimushnam Puranam Vangipuram Srinivasachariar answers my question, because that indicates he belongs to the Vangipuram family, descended from Vangipuram Nambi. Can you tell me what source you got the name Srimushnam Puranam Vangipuram Srinivasachariar from? Commented Apr 29, 2018 at 8:56
  • (1) I removed content unrelated to the main question as it may imply things that I didn't intend. (2) I didn't imply that NN Narayanachiar is not a descendant of the 74. (3) I don't belong to Agnihotram Svami's direct lineage but one of the parallel lineages - Shatamarshanam, Kotikannikaadaanam Thathachariar lineage. (4) While it is clear that Ramanuja established 74 Samashrayana Acharyas, to my knowledge there isn't any authoritative that attests to the fact that the rights extend to their biological descendants. Do you have a source for this? I'm aware of the popular lore though.
    – hashable
    Commented Apr 29, 2018 at 15:59
  • (5) My understanding is that even among Svayamacharya families not everyone has initiation rites. It goes from most senior qualified person (periappa, chittappa, thatha) to next most senior qualified person and the rest of the family gets initiated through them. (6) I updated the answer with the source of information.
    – hashable
    Commented Apr 29, 2018 at 16:09

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