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Sri Ramanuja, the Srivaishnava saint and social Reformer

Discussion in 'Religious places & Spiritual people' started by PushpavalliSrinivasan, Aug 16, 2007.

  1. PushpavalliSrinivasan

    PushpavalliSrinivasan IL Hall of Fame

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    Govindan becoming Vaishnavite from Saivite

    Though Ramauja was always surrounded by Kurathazvan, Muthaliyandan, Periya Nambikal and other disciples, he missed his brother Govindan who saved his life. He wanted to bring him to Srirangam and change him to vaishnavite sampradayam. Then he thought that Sri Sailapurnar alias Thirumalai Nambikal who was his uncle was the right person to fulfill his wish. He wrote a letter to him and sent it through a vaishnavite disciple. When Thirumalai Nambikal received the letter, he left for Sri Kalahasthi with a few of his disciples. He resided near the tank where Govindan used to come and take bath.


    One day Govindan saw Thirumalai Nambikal and others. Thirumalai Nambikal was giving vyakyanam to sastras and Prabandams and the others were listening with rapt attention. Govindan also happened to hear it while plucking flowers. He was very much attracted when he heard the vyakyanam for Thiruvaymozi. He approached Thirumalai Nambikal and told him that he also wanted to become a vaishnavite. Nambikal was very glad to hear this and he took him to Tirumalai with him. There he gave him Dhiksha as per the Vaishnava sampradayam. When Ramanuja came to know this he felt very happy.



    Ramanuja obtaining Thirumanthratha Upadesam from Thirukoshtiyur Nambikal

    Periya Nambikal had taught Ramanuja the meaning of Dvayam, Gitartha Sangraham, Vyasa Suthram, and Pancharathra Agamam. One day he told Ramanuja about Thirukoshtiyur Nambikal who was very dearly loved by Alavandar. He was a very famous Vaishnavite scholar and Alavandar had taught him a lot more to him. Periya Nambikal told Ramanuja to go to Thirukoshtiyur and get all the upadesams that he was taught by Alavandar.
    So one day Ramanuja went to Thitukoshtiyur and prostrated before Thirukoshtiyur Nambikal and requested him to explain Thirumanthrartha rahasyam and other secrets of Veda manthras. Thirukostiyur Nambikal was not impressed and he just told Ramanuja to come the next day. Ramanuja went to Thirukoshtiyur 18 times, but Thirukoshtiyur Nambikal did not accede to his request. Hence Ramanuja turned his attention in maintaining and upgrading the services of the Srirangam temple. He built thirumadapalli for cooking prasadam, planted flowerplants and trees for making garlands to the Deities. He also built a dispensary and a library for the devotees and other people. The Choza king also helped him in building and maintaining all these things.


    Thirukoshtiyur Nambikal came to know about the temple rituals and other services initiated by Ramanuja. Now he was very much impressed about Ramanuja’s selfless service and flawless administration of the temple. He sent one of his disciples to Ramanuja with a message that he should come alone with his thridandam and pavithram to receive his upadesam. Ramanuja who was waiting for this golden opportunity immediately left for Thirukoshtiyur with Mudaliyandan and Kurathazvar.
    When Thirukoshtiyur Nambikal asked wjhy he had brought those two with him, as he had told him to come alone. Ramanuja told him that he had only obeyed his order for Mudaliyandan was his Thrithandam and Kurathazvar was his Pavithram. Nambikal was surprised to hear Ramanuja’s cleverness. He told that he would teach them Thirumathrartha rahasyam on one condition that they should not teach the same to anyone else.
    He told them that the manthram would help them to attain moksha. He had agreed to teach Thirumanthrartham because they were fit to receive it for the tremendous spiritual knowledge they had possessed. Further he told them that if they taught it to others they would go to hell.
    Ramanuja’s face dazzled more than before after acquiring Thirumanthrartha upadesam. Though he wanted to return to Srirangam, his legs pulled him towards the <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:smarttags" /><st1:place><st1:placeType>temple</st1:placeType> of <st1:placeName>Thirukoshtiyur</st1:placeName></st1:place>. On his way he was calling all the people to follow him to the temple where he would offer them a priceless gem. On hearing this lot of people followed him and after reaching the <st1:place><st1:placeType>temple</st1:placeType><st1:placeName>Ramanuja</st1:placeName></st1:place> climbed at the top of the gopuram. A big crowd was gathered in front of the temple. Mudaliyandan and Kurathazvar were speechless.
    Ramanuja told the crowd that he would chant the Ashtashara Narayana manthra, that would fetch mukthi to all those who chanted it. He told that he would chant it thrice and all of them should follow chanting the same.

    The people were enthralled to hear this and they all chanted the manthra in one voice. They all prostrated before him for his great deed and returned home happily.
    Ramanuja wanted to go to Thirukoshtiyur Nambi’s house to thank him for his benevolence. In the mean while Nambikal was filled with rage when he came to know that Ramanuja broke his promise. As soon as he saw Ramanuja, he shouted at him telling that by breaking the promise he had committed a greatest sin and also guru dhroham. But Ramanuja answered him calm and quietly that he very well knew that he had committed the biggest sin and for that he would be punished to go to hell. Yet he thought that a lot of people would attain moksha by chanting the Narayana manthram and he alone would reach narakam and he did not mind. He chanted the following slokam:
    Yathishye eka evaaham narake guru pathakath
    Sarve kuchanthu bavatham krupayaa paramam patham!
    The meaning is;” that I am the only one who will go to narakam because I had broken the promise to my guru, but I feel happy that thousands of people will attain mukthi by chanting this manthram.”
    When Nambikal heard this reply he felt ashamed for his narrow mindedness. He hugged Ramanuja and those who witnessed this also felt very happy. Nambikal conferred the title ‘Emperumaanaar’ to Ramanuja. He also made his son Sowmyanarayan Udaiyavar’s disciple and sent him with him.

    To be continued



    Emperumanar Thiruvadikale Saranam!
     
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2007
  2. Sriniketan

    Sriniketan IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Mrs. Pushpavalli,
    I was waiting for this article. Selfless service is what it is all about Sri Ramanuja.
    Keep up the work!

    sriniketan
     
  3. Kamla

    Kamla IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Pushpavalli,

    Though I have heard these great names and vague lines about their greatness, I will be eternally thankful to you for writing about Sri Ramanuja in plain and understandable English. I am at last getting to read about him.
    I am fascinated with this piece of our cultural history. I am not familiar with many of the names and terminology here, but am enjoying getting to know about them, thanks to you.
    I am amazed at your writing ability and the way you are bringing this to us , with respect and bhakti. You are really blessed.
    After noticing it, I have been waiting to read it and wanted to do so only when I had enough time to concentrate fully. Hence my late feedback. Sorry about that.
    Please keep up this effort and remember, it will be here for ever to enthrall many many more readers.

    L, Kamla

    BTW, the last lines of the story simply moved me to tears. What a great being, he did not mind going to hell so long as others benefitted from it. My pranams to him.
     
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2007
  4. PushpavalliSrinivasan

    PushpavalliSrinivasan IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Kamla,
    Your FB has touched my heart. I'm not proficient in English language, yet I thought that more people would be benifited if I posted in this universal language. IL had given me this golden opportunity and I am very much indebted to you all. As I am not finding parralel words for Sanskrit words, I am using the Sanskrit words, but trying to explain the meaning in my simple English. Kindly bear with me. I have also started the Twelve Alwars Stories in my blog. I would like you to read it and express your opinion. Thank you once again for your appreciation,
    Love,
    Pushpavalli,
     
  5. PushpavalliSrinivasan

    PushpavalliSrinivasan IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Sriniketan,
    As you are waiting for the article, I am also waiting for your encouraging FB.
    Thank you,
    Pushpavalli
     
  6. PushpavalliSrinivasan

    PushpavalliSrinivasan IL Hall of Fame

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    Ramanuja conferring the title Vaishnava Dasar to Mudaliyandan

    Thirukoshtiyur Nambikal was very much pleased with Ramanuja and so he wanted to impart to him the meaning of Sarama sloka from the eighteenth chapter of Bagavat Gita. So he sent word to Ramanuja to come alone again. This time Ramanuja went alone and Nambikal taught him the meaning of sarama sloka and told him not to teach it to anyone. But Ramanuja beseeched with Nambikal that he should be allowed to teach it to Kurathazwar. Then Nambikal told him that Kurathazwar should be taught only after doing service to Ramanuja one full year.
    When Ramanuja returned to Srirangam, he told Kurathazwar about his Guru’s order. Kurathazwar was disappointed to hear this. He thought when it was not sure whether we would be alive for the next moment, how he could wait for a year to learn this secret meaning of the Sarama Sloka. He rememembered that it was depicted in Sastras, if a person observe upavasam for one month it was equal to serving for one year. So he observed fasting for one month in front of Ramanuja’s Thirumalikai. Thus he got his wish fulfilled. Mudaliyandan came to know about this and he went and protrated before Ramanuja and begged him to teach him also the Sarama Sloka manthrartham. But Ramanuja told him that Nambikal gave him permission to give the upadesam only to Kurathazwar and he could go to Nambikal and get it directly from him.

    Though Mudaliyandan waited for six months, he did not get any positive signal from Nambikal. Hence one day he went and prostrated before Nambikal and begged him. Nambikal told him, “you were proud of your wealth, your learning and your high caste As You have not yet attained the paripakkuvam (controlling mamakaram.) Ramanuja had sent you here. But now you are fit to have the Upadesam. You go back and your guru would be pleased to teach you now.”
    Then Mudaliyandan returned to Srirangam and narrated to Ramanuja all that had happened. At that time Periya Nambikal's daughter Athuzaay also had come to see Ramanuja. She told that her mother in law had sent her home, telling her to bring a cook from her house and her father had told her that she should go to Ramanuja and he would do the needful. When Ranmanuja heard this, he told Mudaliyandan to accompany Athuzaay. Mudaliyandan at once obeyed his guru and went with Athuzaay. There he was doing service to her mother in law for six months.
    One day he happened to hear a Srivaishnava explaining the meaning of a Sanskrit slokam wrongly. Then he went and explained the proper meaning of the sloka. The Brahmin got angry and told, “You are only a cook and just go and do your job.” Yet Mudaliyandan did not get angry and spoke sweetly and also explained again. The Brahmin got ashamed and begged for pardon. Then he told that he was the disciple of Ramanuja and he was sent by him to do service at Athuzaay’s house. When Ramanuja came to know this, he went in person and brought him back with him. He was happy that Mudaliyandan now had attained the paripakkuvam to be taught the Sarama sloka Rahasyartham. He taught him the same and also conferred him the title” Vaishnava Dasar.”
    After a few days Thirukoshtiyur Nambikal came to Srirangam with one Thirumalai Andan ( Maladharar) who was a disciple of Alavandar. He was well versed with Thiruvaymozi. Nambikal left him at Srirangam to explain the meaning of Thiruvaymozi. Hence he was explaining the meaning of Thiruvaymozi at the mutt, but Ramanuja used to correct him when he felt the meaning was not appropriate. Thirumalai Andan felt insulted and stopped his discourse. When Thirukoshtiyur Nambikal came to know this, he told him that Ramanuja was an avathara purushan and Alawandar had kept him in high esteem. Hence he need not feel hurt. Ramanuja also had the privilege to hear the Thiruvaymozi Vyakyanam from Alavandar’s son Thiruvaranga Perumal Araiyar. Ramanuja also studied Andal’s Thiruppavai with deep devotion and was called “Thiruppavai Jeer.” Ramanuja studied under five Acharyas. All of them were the disciples of Alavandar. What all he learnt, he taught to his disciples. Thus knowledge shared with others become many fold. Ramanuja was also looking after the administration of <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:smarttags" /><st1:place><st1:placeName>Sri</st1:placeName> <st1:placeName>Ranganathar</st1:placeName> <st1:placeType>Temple</st1:placeType></st1:place>. A person who was looking after the temple’s administration before Ramanuja's arrival was jealous of Ramanuja. He felt that people were not giving him respect after Ramanuja took over the administration. Hence he wanted to get rid of Ramanuja.
    To be contiued
    Emperumanar Thiruvadikale Saranam!
     
  7. Sriniketan

    Sriniketan IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Mrs. Pushpavalli,
    I think this is my fastest FB.
    Read through the post and found out once again that Ramanuja is a self-less person thinking only about the welfare of the people, as a whole.
    waiting to see what that 'administrator' does and how does he learn a lesson from Ramanuja!

    sriniketan
     
  8. PushpavalliSrinivasan

    PushpavalliSrinivasan IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Sriniketan,
    May be this was the fastest FB, but yours is always the first FB. Thank you very much for the interest you are showing that motivates me. This week I had posted one day in advance due to the Deepavali and also we are experiencing powercut on and off. Thank you,
    Love,
    Pushpavalli
     
  9. PushpavalliSrinivasan

    PushpavalliSrinivasan IL Hall of Fame

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    Another attempt on Sri Ramanuja’s life foiled

    In those days the administrator of the temple was called sthanikar. He planned to poison Ramanuja’s food. Ramanuja used to take biksha and eat. The sthanikar gave money to a greedy person from whom Ramanuja used to take biksha. The person’s wife refused to do the atrocious deed. But he forced her to do it; the pious lady devised a plan. She used to offer the biksha in his biksha pathram. That day she kept the food at the side and prostrated at his feet. Ramanuja understood the reason and so he took the biksha and threw it in the river Cauveri. Ramanuja stopped going for biksha and was observing fast.
    Thirukoshtiyur Nambikal came to know about this. He was very much shocked to hear this and he came to Srirangam to see Ramanuja. Ramanuja went to meet him at the river bed and it was mid-day. Due to the scorching Sun the sand was very hot and Ramanuja prostrated at the feet of his guru. Nambikal was looking at him aghast and Kidambiyachan who was watching this asked Nambikal, “Is this the way to treat the shisya? Won’t you ask him to get up?” Saying this he lye down on the sand and lifted Ramanuja above him. Then Nambikal told him that he was only searching for such a person who would look after Ramanuja with deep devotion. He told Kidambiyachan that from then onwards he should cook and serve food to Ramanuja.Then he hugged Ramnuja and told him not to go for biksha from that day. Kidamiyachan was very glad to serve Ramanuja.
    The sthanikar was disappointed for his plan had failed. Yet he determined to try again to get rid of Ramanuja. He knew that Ramanuja used to drink Thiruvaranga Perumal’s thirtham daily. So one day he mixed poison in that and offered it to Ramanuja. Ramanuja drank it and started dancing happily, thinking that it was Lord Ranganatha’s Thiruvilaiyadal. His face shone brighter than before. Then sthanikar came to know about Ramanuja’s greatness and he felt ashamed for his cruel act. He fell down at his feet and asked for pardon. Ramanuja was magnanimous to pardon the person who tried to poison him.
    Emperumanar Thiruvadikale SaraNam!
    to be continued
     
  10. srinivasan_vanaja

    srinivasan_vanaja Gold IL'ite

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    hi pushpa,

    you are doing a great kainkaryam. i am enjoying it. thank you.
     

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