The sannyasis in the Vaishnava sampradaya are called ‘Jeeyar’. Though I was familiar with this title, I never knew what it actually means. But this morning Dr. Anandapadbanabacharya (Podigi, Ramanuja Vaibhavam, 15-9-15, 6.45 to 7.00 am) gave the meaning of this term.
It is a corrupt version of the Tamil word ‘seeyam’ which means lion. Sri Anandapadbanabacharya said that since no one should go empty-handed to see a god or guru, the lions in the forest of Ahobilam (a famous Vaishnavite pilgrim centre where Narasimha is the famous deity) kill the
elephants and take the tusk to submit them to the Lord when they go to worship.
Similarly Sri Ramanuja, like that lion, is known as the Lion who roars against his opponents who promote false doctrine to delude people (like Advaita). Like the elephants he smashes the teeth of his opponents in the debate to establish the true doctrine of Vishishtadvaita and presents them to the Lord. He pointed out that we should not take it literarily as if Sri Ramanuja actually broke the teeth of his opponents. Like him, all of his followers in the Sri Vaishnava Sampradaya are known as the ‘seeyam’ as they remain a terror to their opponents like the lion. All the Sannyasis are then called as ‘jeeyar’ which is the corrupt form of ‘seeyam’. Continue reading