Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Chapter 6 - EmperumAnAr Part 1

(RAmAnujar was known as EmperumAnAr, IlayAzhvAr (Raman-anujan = Lakshmanan) and Shri BhAshyakAr)

ChaitrArdrAsambhavam VishnOho DarshanasThApanOtsukam
ThuNdIramaNdalE ShEshamrutim RAmAnujam BhajE


Periya Tirumalai Nambi, one of AalavandAr's disciples had 2 sisters: BhUmi PirAtti and Periya PirAtti. The older of the two was BhUmi PirAtti and she was married off to KEsavaperuMal of ShrI PerumbUdUr of the Aasuri kulam. Madura Mangalam Kamala Nayana Battar married the younger sister. Nambigal prayed that they be blessed with virtuous children of good faith and prayed to Lord VenkatEshvarA of Tirupati. He invoked the Lord's blessings everyday. Accordingly, about 950 years ago, in the Pingala year, ChitrA month, on suklapaksha panchami titi, under the TiruVAdurai start, KEsavaperumAl was blessed with a holy son: He was none other than the avatAr of AadisEshan.

Anantaha PraThamamrUpam LakshmaNastu tataha Param
balaBhadraha TrutIyastu kalou Kashshid Bhavishyanti

The AadirUpam's first avatAr was AadisEshan, second was LakshmanA. His third was BalarAman and it was written in AadisEshAvatAram that he would be born in KaliyugA as RAmAnujar.

Naming Ceremony

On hearing the news of his nephew's birth, Periya Tirumalai Nambi ventured to ShrI PerumbUdUr from Tirupati. He blessed the child and was overjoyed on seeing him. He was ecstatic that the child was destined to serve God in many ways. Since the child resembles LakshmaNA, he named him RAmAnujan. He was also named IlayAzhvAn. KEsavasOmaji performed all the rites of AnnaprAsanam, Soulam, AkshrAbhyAsam and Upanayanam for his son at the right times. RAmAnujar turned out to be quite a literary genius in all ways. He got married at the age of 16 and then went to KAnjIpuram to learn Advaita VEdAnta grantAs from YAdavaprakAsar.

GOvinda Battar

Similarly, in Maduramangalam, Kamalanayana Battar was also blessed with a son in KrOdana year, Tai month under the Punarvasu star. Periya Tirumalai Nambi made a trip to Maduramangalam, blessed the child and named him GOvinda Battar.   All vaishnava rites were performed on this child also at the right ages and GOvinda Battar also grew up to be very intelligent and learned. He was also married at an appropriate age. Following his cousin's footsteps, he also went to KAnjIpuram under the tutelage of YAdavaprakAsar.

Once YAgavaprakAsar was explaining the meaning of the following shlOkam: Satyan NyAnam Anantam Brahma. RAmAnujar argued with him that his explanation was incorrected and proceeded to correctly explain it according to the VishitAdvaita principles. His Guru was enraged and became very angry with him, After a few days, he was doing an pilled massage for his Guru, when another disciple came and asked him for the meaning of some shlOkams: "Tasya yadA kabyAsamm PundarIkam Ayvam AkshiNI:. YAdavaprakAsar explained it thus - "Kapi means monkey. Aasam is it's rearside. So the line means that the Lord's eyes are as red as a lotus which is the same color of a monkey's rear". RAmAnujar could not digest this. His eyes welled up with water and he brutes into tears. Some hot tears fell on the Guru's thighs and he looked up to see what the matter was. On seeing a distraught RAmAnujar, he asked him what the matter was. RAmAnujar replied " I could not bear to accept the explanation that you just gave. Pardon my tears. You compared the Lord's eyes to a monkey's rear. It is not fair to equate the Lord's eyes to something so base. That is why I got upset." The Guru then asked him for his version of the explanation and Ramanujar came up with it:

"GambIrAm PassamudBhUta SamrushtanAlaravikara vikasita PundarIkAkshEnaha": A stem swollen lotus in a water filled pond, blooming on the occasion of a solar eclipse - that is what the Lord's eyes are like.

The Guru was enraged again with what he thought was impertinence. RAmAnujar was very distraught and stood there, silently weeping.

Pilgrimage to the Ganges

YAdavaprakAsar was determined to get rid of RAmAnujar because he was worried his popularity would outshine his. So he hatched an evil plot with some of his disciples. They decided to carry it out in a far-away location so that no suspicion would point to them. the Guru suggested that they could convince RAmAnujar to undertake a pilgrimage to the Holy Ganges with them. They decided to push him into the swelling waters of the floods and tell everyone that he passed away in an accident.

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