Manakkal Nambi

Rama Misra was the disciple of Uyyakondar, who in turn was

a disciple of the great Vaishnavite preceptor Nathamuni.

There is an incident in the life of Rama Misra which shows

his devotion to his Acharya and also shows us the best gift

one can have, said Akkarakkani Srinidhi in a discourse.

Uyyakondar’s wife departed from this world at a young

age, leaving behind her two young daughters. On the last day of the funeral rites, the girls had to be taken to the river for a bath and escorted back home.

Rama Misra was put in charge of the girls. But the path to

the river was slushy and if the girls went back the way they

had come their legs and clothes would get dirty. So Rama

Misra came up with an idea.

He lay prone on the muddy track and asked the girls to

step on him and make it across to the dry ground. The little

girls did accordingly. Rama Misra then hurried to

Uyyakondar’s house with the girls. Because he had allowed

the little girls to walk on his back and because their feet had left sandy imprints on his back, he was given the name

Manakkal (sandy footprints) Nambi.

His Acharya was moved by his disciple’s devotion and

whispered the dvaya mantra in his ears. This is a great gift

from an Acharya to his disciple. Ramanujacharya has stated

that while kings chewed edible camphor to while away their

time, Sri Vaishnavas spent their time reciting the dvaya


Vedanta Desika has observed that nothing is superior to

the dvaya mantra. It ensures our welfare and that is why it is called mantra ratna — the gem among mantras. So Manakkal Nambi could not have been blessed with a greater gift than this by his Acharya.