Recently Swami Nikamanda Maha Desikar's 750th birthday celebrations took place. At what instances he got the special titles “Vedanthachariyar”, “Sarva thantra Swatantrar” and “Kavithargiga Simham” and from whom?
When Swami Desika undertook a pilgrimage to the Northern Kshetras, he first halted at Thirumalai where he composed the famous Daya Satakam on Perumal. The Lord Srinivasa then conferred on him the title of ‘Vedantacharya’.
Later, a band of Mayavadis came to Srirangam, condemning the philosophy of Swami Ramanuja. Periya Vaachaan Pillai, Pillai Lokacharya and others resorted to the grand old Acharya named Sudarsana Bhattar for advice. Sudarsana Bhattar said that it was only Swami Desika who could save the situation and caused a letter to be sent to Kanchi inviting Swami Desikan to face the opponents. Swami immediately set forth to Srirangam but on the way he halted at Sriperumbudur and prayed to Swami Ramanuja and composed the famous Yathiraja Saptadhi. On reaching Srirangam, Swami fell at the feet of Sudarsana Bhattar and sought his blessings and then proceeded to debate with the Mayavadis, crushing every argument if theirs. The debate went on for 7 days, at he end of which the Mayavadis accepted defeat, became his Sishyas, converting to Srivaishnavism. The essence of the debate is what we now have as the text called Satha Dushani. It was at this time that Periya Perumal (Sri Ranganatha) conferred on him, the title ‘Vedanta Desikan’ and Periya Piraatti (Sri Ranganayaki) the title ‘Sarva Tantra Svatantra’. Sudarsana Bhattar and Periya Vaachaan Pillai commended on this and declared that he was the one who deserved the honorific most eminently.
Another time, A Vidvan (scholar) by name Krishna Misra challenged Swami Desikan to write a drama to match his own drama, 'Prabhoda Suryodayam' Swami wrote within just a single night 'Sankalpa Suryodayam’, a marvellous drama with 10 acts in which qualities like Viveka and evil tendencies like jealousy, greed etc., were personified as the personae of dramatists. In appreciation of this, Krishna Misra and others honored Swami with the title of ‘Kavitarkika Simha’