A Traditional, Cultural & Meaningful Biography

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Kuppuswamy Srinivasan
Kumbakonam is a small town, with the maximum number of temples - large and small, on the banks of the holy river Cauvery, in Tamilnadu, South India. In late 19th century, Sri Kuppuswami Srinivasan of the Madabusi family of Thiruchirai, lived in Kumbakonam. Srinivasan was a clerk in a textile shop in Kumbakonam.

In another small town of South India, called Erode, Sri Thiru Narayanan of Kattur near Thiruvallur (Chennai) lived in the Kottai area with his family. He was the Ameena in the Erode Munsif Court. He had a daughter by name Komalam. The family's Kula Dheivam was Sri Namagiri Thayar of Namakkal, near Erode.

17 Sannathi St.
Srinivasan married Komalam and they lived in house No.17 (now 38), East Sannadhi Street of Sri Sarangapani Perumal Koil. 'Sannathi street' is the street just in front of any Temple; the street leeds straight into the Sannadhi (Sanctum Santorium).

Names Become Respectful with Age
As the couple grew older their names would change, somewhere down the line; they would become Srinivasa Iyengar (Iyengar is the caste title) and Komalathammal (amma or ammal is 'mother' or also 'lady'.) Obviously, by that time, Thiru Narayanan also would become Sri Thiru Narayana Iyengar.

Komalathammal did not have children even after a long time after marriage and this was a matter of great concern for her family. So Thirunarayanan prayed intensely to their Kuladeivam, Sri Namagiri Thayar. One day Namagiri Thayar descended (Avaesam) on Thiru Narayanan's wife, Rangamma and assured that Komalam would get children. Sri Thayar also gifted a bonus; She declared, "I shall be in the tongue of the eldest born." Thirunarayanan was very happy and he immediately tied a small coin-offering to Sri Namagiri Thayar in a small piece of cloth, dipped in a turmeric solution. This tied-coin offering will be deposited in the Temple hundi (money collection box) after the successful birth of the child.

Traditional Child-Birth in Bharat
In Bharat (not really in India), child-birth is a very important event. Parents take their pregnant daughter few months before the expected delivery time, at an auspicious day and time, to their home after performing certain rituals propitiating gods, and happy celebrations. The daughter is under the tender and watchful care of her mother. After she delivers the child, they wait a few more months. Now the child's father and his family come and take mother and child again on an auspicious day and time after celebrating the child-birth.

Ramanujan's Birth House at Erode

R's-Birth-House 400x300

Ramanujan, was born in this
(his maternal grand-father's) house at Erode.
Photo (January 21, 2015) by me, Doss.

Some elderly people live there now.

Komalam Under Rangamma's Care
When Komalam became pregnant, she was also taken to her father's house in Erode where her mother, Rangamma, took very special (triple) care of her; more so for three reasons: 1) Komalam was child-less for a long time had conceived now; 2) She had conceived after intense prayers and Divine Intervention and 3) the first-born would be specially gifted, with Namagiri Thayar 'in the child's tongue'. Everyone was left wondering as to, in which way or in which area, Thayar will manifest Herself through the child.

Sarvasithu, Margazhi, 9th, 6 p.m.
Months passed; expected delivery time approached. Everything went on well and Komalam gave birth to a male child, at home itself. The delivery was natural and normal, on Thursday, the 9th of Margazhi, in the Sarvasithu year at 6 O'clock in the evening. This corresponded to December 22, 1887.

The Child, Great and Famous
Komalam had the necessary knowledge and skill and so calculated her son's horoscope and found that her first-born would grow to be great and famous. The child's horoscope details: Sun-set 6-00 hours, ashtami 40:37, Uththirattathi 60, Mithuna Lagnam and Sri Bharatwaja Gothram.

Ramanujan (Not Ramanujam)
The child's naming ceremony was celebrated on January 1, 1888 and Komalm named her son, Ramanujan, and laid him in the thotty (thottil - traditional cloth-cradle). But Komalam herself called him affectionately as Chinnaswaamy and this was his popular name in the family. The name Ramanujan, in fact, means Rama Anujan, Rama's brother, Lakshmanan. It may be mentioned here that the name Ramanujan is very commonly mistaken as Ramanujam. Mother with new-born returned to her home in Kumbakonam only on September 9, 1988.

Ramanujan's Kumbakonam House

Ramanujan lived his life in this house at Kumbakonam.
Photo (April 10, 2013) by me, Doss.

This house is now acquired and maintained as a Museum
by a Private University,

by the Government of India
by the Government of Tamilnadu!

Komalam's Other Children
Komalam had five more chidren, Satagopan, Ambujavalli (girl), Seshan, Lakshmi Narasimhan and Thiru Narayanan after Ramanujan. The first two of these did not survive long.