(Last Updated on : 21/06/2010)
Pillai Lokacharya is known as a great Indian philosopher who authored several works including the eighteen rahasya granthas known together as Ashtadasa Rahasya and Gadyatraya Vyakhyanam. Swami Pillai Lokacharya, a benevolent Acharya, full of compassion, confirmed the basics of Sri Vaishnava sampradayam in his 18 works popularly known as Ashtadasa Rahasyangal. Every small detail of Rahasyatrayam, Tatva trayam and the doctrine of unconditional surrender (Saranagati) are explained in His divine works. This collection of 18 works is a godsend to everybody and a must for every jeevathma who wants to be released from the bondage of samsara. These works are the oars and guiding lights that help us cross the vast ocean of samsara.
The name Lokacharya or UlagAriya first got associated with Sri Nampillai when he was celebrated by Sri Kanthadai Thozhappar as the Acharya for the world. The disciple of Nampillai was Sri Vadakku Thiruveethippillai. Due to the great affection of Vadakku Thiruveethippillai towards his Acharya, he named his son as Pillai Lokacharya. His second son was called Azhagiya Manavala Perumal Nayanar. The great Pillai Lokacharya was born as the amsam of Kanchi Devaraja Perumal in the Aippasi month under the star Thiruvonam, in 1205 CE. Both the brothers learned everything in their youth from their father and also from his Acharya Nampillai. Both of them grew up like Lord Rama
. They lived the life of a brahmachari their entire life. Azhagiya Manavala Perumal Nayanar reached His lotus feet or he left for the heavenly abode when he was 65 years old and his brother Pillai Lokacharya attained His lotus feet when he was 106 years old.
The primary disciples of Pillai Lokacharya were Manarpakkam Nambi, Koorakuloththama Dasa, Kollikavala Dasa (Azhagiya Manavala Perumal Pillai), Vilanjsolai Pillai and Kotturilannar. At young age, Thirunaaveerudaiyapiran Daatharannar and Srisailesa (Thiruvaymozhi Pillai) became his disciples. The former is his father and the latter is the Acharya of Sri Manavala Mamunigal. The father of Mamunigal was the disciple of Kollikavala Dasa at Sikkil Kidaram and also married his daughter. Thiruvaymozhi Pillai acquired all sorts of knowledge from Koorakuloththama Dasa. Mamunigal acquired the famous knowledge of Sambandham along with Pillai Lokacharya through his Acharya (Srisailesa), his maternal grandfather and his father.
When Pillai Lokacharya stayed in Srirangam, he maintained Emperumanar's Darsanam. At that time the city experienced Islamic invasion. In order to protect the temple and the Periya Perumal, His sannidhi was blanketed by brick stones and another Vigraha was kept at the front. Then the great Pillai Lokacharya left Srirangam with Naccimars and Namperumal before the invasion. While moving through a forest thieves attacked them and robbed all the vessels and jewellery of Namperumal. Pillai Lokacharya gave away all he had to the thieves and he also refused to accept some items which were returned to them by the thieves. After that, they reached Jyothishkudi, a small town and there Pillai Lokacharya fell ill and took his last breath. The day was Jyeshtha Suddha Dvadasi and the year was 1311 CE. He gave advice to his disciples like Vilanjsolai Pillai and Koorakuloththama Dasa in his death bed that in Madurai
, Srisailesa was working for the king and his disciples need to bring him back to the fold of Srivaishnava so that the darsanam could be lead by him. Several books were authored by Pillai Lokacharya which includes the eighteen rahasya granthas together called Ashtadasa Rahasya and Gadyatraya Vyakhyanam.