Appaya Dikshitar – (1554-1626) He was a sage, saint, and scholar. He was born as Vinayaka Subramanya in Adayapalam, near Ami in the North Arcot district, to Rangarajudhwari. He had a younger brother, Acharya Dikshitar or Acchan Dikshitar. Appaya studied the holy scriptures under Guru Rama Kavi. Chinnabomma, Raja of Vellore, invited the brothers to his capital after the death of Rangaraja, who was the Chief Pundit of the State. Srinivasa Thathachari, the Dewan, had great dislike for the worshippers of Lord Siva. He censured the devotees of Lord Siva while Appayya praised the Siva Lilas and the glory of Lord Siva. Other rajas, of Thanjavur, Kalahasti, and Tirupathi also invited him.
His songs mainly praised Shiva, and it is said that he once went to Tirupathi and was told Shaivites could not enter. The sage became angry and overnight changed the face of the idol from Lord Vishnu to Lord Shiva! The priests at the temple begged Appaya Dikshitar for forgiveness, and he restored the image.
Ratna Kheta Srinivasa Dikshitar, a Sanskrit scholar and devotee of Kamakshi Devi, Kancheepuram, was the Chief Pundit of the Court in the Chola kingdom. The Chola king asked the Pundit, “O Pundit, what is the day today?” The Pundit mistakenly replied, “Today is Full Moon day” (it was New Moon day). Everybody laughed and Srinivasa Dikshitar was mortified. As a true devotee of Kamakshi Devi., he prayed to Her and she gave him one of Her earrings and asked him to throw it in the sky. When he did so, the earring became like a full moon and shone brilliantly. The king and others of the court were amazed, and the king honored Srinivasa. Srinivasa came to know that Appayya was a great scholar and wanted to defeat him. He went to Kancheepuram to pray to Kamakshi Devi, who appeared before him. He asked to be a great scholar so he could beat Appaya. Devi warned him that Appaya was a great scholar and he could only get his wish if he gave his daughter Mangalambika in marriage to Appaya. Shiva also came to Appaya in a dream and told him to go to Kancheepuram to marry Srinivasa’s daughter. The two were married and lived in prosperity. They had two daughters, and the younger Mangalamba was a great devotee of Shiva. Her son was Neelakanta.
Appaya’s compositions include Chaturmata Sara Samgraha, which describes the four schools of Vedanta (Dwaita, Adwaita, Visishtadwaita, and Sivadwaita). Other works include Sadhana Panchaka and Sviarkamani Dipika. He was honored with the unique epithet Dikshitendra and is considered to have been an incarnation of Lord Shiva.