The Alwars (also spelled Azhwars) are a group of 12 ancient Vaishnava saints who lived in Tamil Nadu and are famous for their poetry in praise of Vishnu. The 4000 verses of the Alwars were compiled by the Vaishnava Acharya Nathamuni into a book called the Naalayira Divya Prabhandam, which is considered by many to be the "Dravida Veda", or South Indian Veda. It's the principles and beliefs embodied in the Alwars' poems that Nathamuni used to found what we now call the Sri Vaishnava sect (of which I am a member).

Now Nathamuni's grandson was also a Sri Vaishnava Acharya, known as Yamunacharya or Alavandar, whom I discuss in my questions here. Among other things, Yamunacharya composed a famous hymn to Vishnu known as the Stotra Ratna. It is revered even by non-Sri Vaishnavas, and it is this poem that inspired the famous Ramanujacharya to become a Sri Vaishnava in the first place! Here is a verse from it:

Let us submit one piece of information before You, dear Lord. It is not at all false, but it is full of meaning. It is this: If You are not merciful upon us, then it will be very, very difficult to find more suitable candidates for Your mercy.

When I read this verse, I was reminded of a poem of one of the Alwars, known as Thirumangai Alwar, who once visited the town of Indaloor to see the Parimala Raganatha Perumal Vishnu temple. But when he arrived, the temple was closed, and Thirumangai Alwar was so eager to see Vishnu that he spontaneously composed this paraclausithyron poem expressing his frustration that Vishnu would not allow Thirumangai Alwar to see him. In particular, he says this:

Oh! indaLooreerE [lord of Indaloor]! I want to say something to You. I shall certainly express it now. I cannot keep quiet. Listen. You think I am one of Your numerous dAsas. I am not. You know who are good and who are bad. In fact You know everything. But You don’t know one thing i.e. me!

In both verses, the devotee claims to be presenting Vishnu with a new piece of information, and that piece of information is that the devotee is unique among the devotees of Vishnu.

So my question is, was Yamunacharya's verse in the Stotra Ratna inspired by the verse of Thirumangai Alwar? It wouldn't be too surprising, considering that Yamunacharya was part of the Sri Vaishnava Sampradayam, and Sri Vaishnavas place a high value on the poetry of the Alwars. And considering the Yamnunacharya was the grandson of Nathamuni who compiled the poems of the Alwars.

Does anyone know of any commentaries on the Stotra Ratna which connect the verse to the Thirumangai Alwar verse I quoted?

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    very touching verse. Are there other translations available for the verse. Because it seems like this one is a rather free translation. It appears to contain words and verses that don't seem to exactly match with the actual lyric.
    – Sai
    Jul 21 '15 at 16:11
  • @Sai Are you referring to the Thirumangai Alwar pasuram? This web page gives a word-for-word translation of it, in addition to giving the translation I quoted above: srivaishnavan.com/upload2.6/onbadampattu4.html Jul 21 '15 at 16:56
  • Yes I was referring to it. Thanks for that.
    – Sai
    Jul 21 '15 at 17:13
  • Yamunacharya was a Sri Vaishnava then who was Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa referring to as the guru of Sri Ramanuja? He said the guru of Ramanuja was pure non dualist.
    – Pinakin
    Nov 18 '15 at 10:20
  • @ChinmaySarupria Before Ramanujacharya became a Sri Vaishnava, he was first a disciple of Yadava Prakasa, who believed in either Advaita or Bhedabheda. It is said that he left Yadava Prakasa after they had a falling out over a passage in Adi Shankaracharya's commentary on the Chandogya Upanishad, where Adi Shankaracharya says that some verse of the Chandogya Upanishad compares the color of the supreme being's eyes to the color of a monkey's butt. Ramanujacharya started crying when he heard Yadava Prakasa teaching this passage from Adi Shankaracharya's work, because he thought it was so wrong. Nov 18 '15 at 14:46

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