Monday, March 5, 2018

Mayavada accepts Ramanujacarya (PT. 43)

Being a staunch Mayavadi, Yajnamurthy had removed his sacred thread at the time of accepting the renounced order of life. Immediately after he embraced Vaishnavism and accepted Ramanuja as his guru, Yajnamurthy once again began to wear the sacred thread after performing atonement rituals and austerities to purify him. He started to apply the Vaishnava Urdhvapundras on twelve parts of the body in accordance with Ramanuja’s guidance. As Yajnamurthy became his disciple immediately after Lord Devaraja told Ramanuja that Vaishnavism would be re-established in this world through him, Ramanuja named Yajnamurthy as Devarajamuni. Devarajamuni quickly became a very good devotee and studied Vaishnava philosophy. Under the guidance of Ramanuja, Devarajamuni compiled two works called Jnanasara and Prameyasara in Tamil.

Once, four bright young Brahmin scholars came to Ramanuja and requested him to accept them as his disciples and to teach them about the intricacies of Vaishnava philosophy. Ramanuja asked them to accept Devarajamuni as their guru and sent them to Devarajamuni. The scholars went to Devarajamuni and requested him to accept them as his disciples and also told him that Ramanuja had sent them. Devarajamuni was shocked and he immediately rushed to Ramanuja along with the scholars, who had come to become his disciples. Devarajamuni fell at Ramanuja’s feet and said, “Sir please do not punish this humble disciple of yours by asking me to become a guru as I am not qualified to become one. I am still struggling to overcome the pride of being a great scholar. If I become a guru I might become very proud. Please don’t entrust me the responsibility of accepting disciples as it will make a person proud and that is detrimental to his spiritual advancement.”

Ramanuja was moved by Devarajamuni’s humility. Ramanuja affectionately lifted Devarajamuni and hugged him. Ramanuja said, “My son I was testing you to see if your knowledge of scriptures had made you proud. I am happy that you have evolved into a very good Vaishnava and are able to understand what is good for you.”

Once there was a feast in Ramanuja’s monastery and many devotees had gathered to take part in the feast. As there was a scarcity of plantain leaves for serving food to the devotees, Dasarathi and other senior disciples of Ramanuja asked Kuresha to bring some plantain leaves from the nearby plantation. Kuresha went to the plantation with a sickle in his hand and started to cut the plantain leaves. Some liquid started to ooze out of the banana plant. Kuresha, who was very compassionate, thought that he had injured the plant by cutting it and started to lament for having committed the sin of hurting a plant. As Kuresha did not return in time, Dasarathi came to the plantation and started to look for Kuresha. Dasarathi was stunned to see Kuresha standing before a banana plant with tears in his eyes. Dasarathi asked him the cause of his misery.

Kuresha said, “I have committed a great sin by cutting the leaves of this plant, which is full of life. Being a Vaishnava I am supposed to practice non-violence and should not harm any living being. I am feeling sad, when I think of the injury that might have happened to this plant.”

Dasarathi was stunned at Kuresha’s concern for every living being around him and offered his salutations to him. Dasarathi sent Kuresha back to the monastery by telling him that everyone in the ashram were waiting for him and brought the plantain leaves that were required to serve food for the Vaishnavas.

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