Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Chapter 6 - EmperumAnAr Part 2

Over the next few days, YAdavaprakAsar spoke very sweetly to RAmAnujar indicating to him that he was a genius and he had the correct explanations for a lot of verses. He pseudo apologized to him and RAmAnujar believed all his words. At this juncture, he suggested that all the disciples undertake a pilgrimage to the Ganges with him. RAmAnujar obtained his mother's permission to travel and willingly agreed. An auspicious date was fixed for their departure.

Govinda Battar's loyalty

And so started the pilgrimage. They journeyed over many a land, forest and mountain. GOvinda Battar who was also on the trip, came to know of the evil scheme of his Guru. His wished to somehow convey this to RAmAnujar and warn him of his impending doom and urge him to find a way to escape. The opportune moment came one day when the Guru and his disciples walked fast ahead and RAmAnujar strayed behind to answer the call of Nature. Govinda Battar conveyed all that he had come to know about the Guru's plot. He urged him to find his way back to their hometown somehow. Govinda Battar then hurried and caught up with the rest of the entourage. When the others realized that he was missing, RAmAnujar was already making his way back. The Guru and his disciples looked all around for him and just naturally assumed that he ha been eaten by some wild animals in the forest. They marveled that their plot was carried out in such a natural way without their interference. Govinda Battar was very sullen and everyone noticed this, but they just attributed to his feeling bad for his cousin. Little did they know that he was large with concern for the safe return of his brother back home.

Varadan as the guide

RAmAnujar traced his way back and walked the whole day. Along with being tired, fear and loneliness crept up to him: He wondered how he would pass the night; where he would stay and who would help him if he got into any trouble? He leaned against a tree and fell asleep out of sheer exhaustion. Did the sun have any concerns about him? No - so the sun also set as was his duty. When RAmAnujar woke up, it was dark. He could make the outline of a hunter and his wife in the dark. he wondered if it were a mirage, and hence wanted to make sure of it. He asked them "Who are you? Do you live around here? Where are you going?". The hunter replied "We are people of the Villi community. We live here in these parts. We intend to go to KAnjIpuram. This is a dangerous forest, please don't wander it all by yourself. If you are willing, you can come with us." RAmAnujar agreed. They walked in a straight file - first the hunter, then his wife followed by RAmAnujar. When Lord RAmA went to the forest, the trio walked in a similar fashion: RAmA leading the way, followed by SItA in the middle with LakshmaNA trailing behind them.

"Akradaha prayayou RAmaha SItAmatyE SumatyamA
Prushtadasya DanushpANihi LakshmanO AnujakAmaha"

In the middle of the night, all 3 of them slept under a tree. The wife was thirsty and asked her husband if there was any water nearby. The hunter replied that he remembered a well in the vicinity, but that it would be hard to find in the dark so he would get her some in the morning. RAmAnjuar overheard their conversation. He decided that since they had been so helpful to him, he should be the one fetching the water in the morning. Accordingly, when they arrived at the well the next day, RAmAnujar got in and brought water for the pair. They drank the water. Then they told him that the place they were in was called "PuNyakOdi VimAnam" and disappeared. RAmAnujar realized that it was none other than the Lord and Her almighty PirAtti who had been his guides and fainted at the realization. When he came to, he perfumed his daily rituals and went to the temple to have a darshan of PErarulAlan. From that day onwards, he cariied on the task of bringing water from the very same well to the deities. R=That well was called "SAlak kinar" and to this day, water is supplied to the deities from there. There is also a sannidi for BHAshyakArar here. Every year for IyarbA SAthumOrai, it is customary for ArulAlan to come be with RAmAnujar there.  Turumanjanam is also done. The Lord is dressed as haunter with a bow and arrow on this day.

YAdavaprakAsar in KAsi

After losing RAmAnujar in the forest, YAdavaprakAsar and his entourage reached the city of KAsi. They spent their days here for a while, bathing in the Ganges everyday. YAdavaprakAsar had a few magical powers. Once when GOvinda Battar was dipping in the Ganges, he made a lingam appear in his hands, magically. GOvinda Battar was amazed and he went and showed it to his Guru. YAdavaprakAsar told him that Lord ShivA had decided to grace him and hence he should start praying to that lingam every day. He also gave him the name of "ULLangai koNarndha NAyanAr". Thus, YAdavaprakAsar who was a Shivite also converted GOvinda Battar, the staunch Vaishnavite.

Coming back to Kacchi

After spending some time in KAsi, they wished to return to Kacchi. They visited holy places like JagannAtam and AhObilam. En route, GOvinda Battar indicated to YAdavaprakAsar that he would like to install his lingam in a temple and then come and join them in KAnjIpuram. The Guru also agreed. GOvinda Battar went to his hometown of Maduramangalam and installed the lingam there. One day, ShrI KAlahasti NAdan came in his dreams and asked him to come to KAlahasti and take care of the temple over there. Similarly, he visited the guards there and told them to go fetch GOvinda Battar from Maduramangalam. Accordingly, Battar settled in KAlahasti and was performing rituals for ShivA there.

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