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Tuesday, 14 January 2020

Margazhi Blogotsavam: Day 29: He Showed us the Path to the Lord: Sri Ramanujacharya

About 9 kms away from Thirupathur in Tamil Nadu, is a village called Thirukoshtiyur. This village houses the temple of Sowmya Narayana Perumal, and is one of the 108 Divya Desams – holy shrines for the Vaishnava followers.

However, the other important reason for this place gaining importance is because of its association with Sri Ramanujacharya – the Preceptor of the Srivaishnavas, who propounded the doctrine of Vishistadvaita. 


Sri Ramanujacharya
Image courtesy: Anudinam.org
To describe the glory of Ramanujacharya will require a blog series of its own. Today, my attempt is to highlight one incident from his life, which holds a valuable lesson for us all.

Ramanujar is in desperate search of the path to salvation. His well-wishers have advised him to become the disciple of Thirukkottiyur Nambi. So, he travels to Thirukoshtiyur, knocks on the door of Nambi, and says, “I have come to meet you.” But Nambi refuses to accept him as a disciple and sends him back.

Ramanujar makes 17 desperate trips, makes the same request, and is rebuffed 17 times. The 18th time that he visits Nambi, Ramanujar says, “Adiyen Daasan, Ramanujar vanddirken” – “Your disciple Ramanuja has come.”

Now, Nambi opens the door and welcomes Ramanujar. 

Did you notice the difference in the words that encouraged this acceptance? 

Right! As Nambi explains, “Your arrogance has gone. Now let’s talk!”

As desired by Ramanujar, Nambi teaches him the path to salvation. He whispers in Ramanujar’s ears, “Repeat after me the Ashtakshara mantram! Om Namo Narayanaya!” At the same time, the guru warns the disciple, “Remember, you must not reveal this mantra to anyone. If you do so, you will go to hell!”

Trembling with happiness to have learned the secret path to Vaikuntha, Ramanujar leaves the house of Nambi. There is a strange radiance in his face and also a strong resolve. Within the next few minutes, a shout is heard from the top of the temple, asking everyone to gather there.

Hearing the summons, people rush from far and near. They are surprised to see Ramanujar standing on the temple top. The next minute, he proclaims in a loud, steady voice, “Listen to me, everyone! Do you want to know how to go to Vaikuntha? Surrender yourself to God, and repeat the mantra ‘Om Namo Narayanaya’ and you are sure to reach Vaikuntha!” 


Image courtesy: Amar Chitra Katha
Note: Thirukkottiyur Nambi was also called Goshti Purna
Hearing the chant from the mouth of Ramanujar, all the people gathered there begin repeating the chant, delirious with joy at being blessed with this secret. 

Word soon reaches Thirukkottiyur Nambi about the doings of Ramanujar. Furious, he sends word for the disciple and scolds him for having defied the guru’s orders. Carried away in his frenzy, he thunders, “You will go to hell for this sacrilege!” 

Ramanujar has a placid smile on his face. He is least affected by the effects of his actions. Humbly, he bows to the guru and says, “If my action helps a hundred others to attain salvation, I don’t mind going to hell!”

Nambi is stunned into silence realizing the large-heartedness of his disciple. Clasping Ramanujar to his bosom, Nambi declares, “You are Emberumaanaar!” (my lord) and from then on, Ramanujacharya was also known by this name.

Can we imbibe the perseverance of Ramanujar who approached his guru 18 times despite being rebuffed?

When things don’t go the way we want them to, can we introspect, and see where we may be making a mistake instead of blaming the world and the people around us?

Are we aware of ways in which we are being egoistic, and trying to change ourselves?

Like Ramanujar, are we prepared to sacrifice our comfort if our actions can help/benefit others - even those who are not related to us in any way?

Like him, can we develop such a deep sense of surrender to the Lord, realizing He is the sole refuge?


References

https://ramanujadasan.wordpress.com/2008/06/04/thirukostiyur-nambhi-thirunakshatram/ 
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2 comments:

  1. It was a pleasure to read all those bakth stories this Margazhi month. Some were known and many unknown. Thanks for bringing those to our attention. Can't wait for next Margazhi.

    I had been to Thirukoshtiyur. Lord Sowmya Narayana Perumal is really imposing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much, Sundarsekaran. It has been a most blissful experience for me too! Thirukoshtiyur is on my bucket list of places to visit ☺️🙏🏼

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