Kooraththalwan (Vaishnava Acharya)

Kooraththalwan is a historical figure, born about one thousand years ago. He is one of the Vaishnava Acharya (teachers) credited with documenting and propagating Vaishnava hymns.

Kooraththalwan’s significant identifying mark is his beard. Born into a a rich land-owning Brahmin family, he opted to spend his life propagating Sri Vaishnavism.

He is Ramanuja’s disciple and helped Ramanuja towards the composition of Sri Bhashyam.

It is said Kooraththalwan took part in a sectarian debate ( Saivite Vs Vaishnavites) which was organized by a Saivite King. As Kooraththalvan refused to accept Shiva’s superiority, the King ordered blinding of Kooraththalwan. That move was preempted by Kooraththalwan. It looks like the sculptor has tried to portray his blindness by not showing pupils. The photo below shows Kooraththalwan with Vedanta Desika (on our right). Desika’s Vigraha shows pupil whereas it is absent in Kooraththalwan’s Vigraha.

In Kooram, there is a Sannidhi (consecrated place) for Kooraththalwan in Aadhikesava Perumal Koil. Photo courtesy Tamil Nadu Tourism Department’s website.

The Vigraha is 5.5 cm in height. This is from Tamil Nadu and it may date to early twentieth century. The rarity of the subject and the quality of casting (see the elongated ears) warrants its place on this blog.


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