By Swami Harshananda
Kurukeśa lived in CE 1061-1161. Great spiritual teachers often have great disciples to carry on their work even after they leave this world. One such disciple of Rāmānuja, considered as his ‘jñānaputra’, was Kurukeśa. He was also known as Tirukkurugaippirān Pillān.
He was the son of Rāmānuja’s maternal uncle Śrīśailapurṇa. He was born in Tirumalai in CE 1061. Rāmānuja chose him to complete one of the three promises he had made to fulfill the last wishes of Yāmunācārya (CE 912-1042). This was to get composed an authoritative commentary in Tamil on the Tiruvāymoli of Nammālvar.
He had acquired great erudition in the Sanskrit and the Tamil scriptures. His single-minded devotion towards Rāmānuja was equally laudable. When Rāmānuja got an idol of Lakṣmī-Hayagrīva in Kashmir, he gave it to Kurukeśa for worship and reverential maintenance. He was the first successor of Rāmānuja as the ācārya (pontiff).
He wrote a detailed commentary in the Maṇipravāla language on the Tiruvāymoli of Nammālvar in 6000 stanzas. Stanzas here are called as ‘granthas’. This work is known as Arāyirappadi. It is said to contain all the important doctrinal points expounded in the Śrībhāsya of Rāmānuja. He was also a good speaker in Sanskrit as well as Tamil. He conducted discourses throughout his life and passed away in CE1161.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore