Monday, February 26, 2018

Ramanuja's darshan of Adi-shesha

On coming to know that Ramanuja was visiting Tirumala, Srishailapurna went down the hill with some maha-prasadam from Lord Venkateshwara’s temple kitchen to receive Ramanuja. Ramanuja reached the foothill of Tirumala and offered his obeisance to the hill and to the Lord. Ramanuja offered his salutations to Srishailapurna who gave him the Lord’s prasadam. Ramanuja relished the prasadam and discussed the glories of Lord Srinivasa with the devotees who had come to receive him. After sometime, Ramanuja turned towards Srishailapurna and said, “Sir, I am grateful to you for having blessed me with the prasadam of the Lord. Please bless me and allow me to go back as the purpose of my visit has been served.”

Srishailapurna said, “How can you go away without having the darshan of the Lord?”

Ramanuja replied, “Sir, this hill is supposed to be the manifestation of Adisesha, the thousand hooded serpent of the Lord. How can I step on it when the great Alwars who are considered to be the greatest devotees did not dare to step on it?”

Srishailapurna said, “If a renounced sannyasi like you should not step on the hill, how can us householders and brahmacharisstay on this hill? All of us will stop our services to the Lord and come down to stay with you.”

Ramanuja was stunned at Srishailapurna’s reply and agreed to go to the hill and have darshan of the Lord. As Ramanuja did not want to place his foot on the hill, he started to climb the hill on his knees. When he reached a spot called Makalla-Parvatham, Adisesha who is in the form of the hill revealed his thousand hooded form to Ramanuja. The entire hill seemed divine and all the trees and stones on the hill seemed to be munis and rishis, who were performing different austerities to appease the Lord. Ramanuja became very happy and offered his obeisance again and again to Adisesha. After having the vision of Adisesha, Ramanuja climbed the hill on foot along with the other devotees.

After circumambulating the temple and Swami Pushkarini, the temple tank, Ramanuja entered the temple and had darshanof the Lord. Ramanuja was so captivated by the bewitching form of the Lord that he started to eulogize the Lord in mellifluous Sanskrit verses, which were later on recorded and presented as Vedartha-sangraha, which means the essence of the Vedas. On Ramanuja’s request, Srishailapurna agreed to teach him the different interpretations of Valmiki’s Ramayanaand the esoteric meanings enshrined in it. After staying on the hill for three days, Ramanuja climbed down the hill and started living in Tirupati.

Ramanuja used to travel on foot every day to the foothill of Tirumala to learn Ramayana and Srishailapurna used to come down the hill after having finished all his services to the Lord to teach him. Once when Ramanuja and Srishailapurna were discussing some important passages from the Ramayana, the deities of Lord Rama, mother Sita and Lakshmana manifested themselves close to them. 

Srishailapurna and Ramanuja were surprised to see the deities. They tried to see if anybody had brought the deities there and on not finding even a single soul around, they understood that the deities manifested themselves and became very happy. Srishailapurna made arrangements to take the deities to Tirumala and these deities were subsequently installed in the sanctum sanctorum of Lord Venkateshwara’s temple and one can see these deities by the side of the main deity at Tirumala even today.

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