Friday, February 25, 2011

Chapter 6 - EmperumAnAr Part 5

Opening of 3 fingers

MEanwhile, Periya Nambigal showed great haste in bringing RAmAnujar to see the AachAryan. As they approached SrI Rangam, at TirukkarambanUr turai, they saw a big congregation of ShrI Vaishnavaites. They enquired what the crowd was all about and on finding out that the AachAryan had passed away, they burst into tears and sobbed loudly. After a while, Periya Namabigal first steadied himself and then comforted RAmAnujar to make way to see the AachAryan for one last time. RAmAnujar prostrated before AalavandAr's body many times. On noticing the 3 fingers, he enquired what that was about or if it had always been that way. The disciples who had heard AalavandAr's 3 desires earlier in the day explained it to him. Immediately RAmAnujar vowed that "As the selected one of the Aacharyan, PEraruLALan will carry out all these 3 tasks through me". At that very instant, the 3 fingers of the Aacharyan relaxed on his departed body! Everyone who witnessed this was astounded. They realized that RAmAnujar was indeed the chosen one. They performed the necessary rites for AAchAryan and went back to their houses to take a shower. RAmAnujar, under the guidance of Periya Nambi went to the PerumAL temple.

Tirukkachchi Nambi and RAmAnujar

In Kachi, Tirukkachchi Nambi came to hear of the news of AalavandAr's passing in ShrI Rangam. He was deeply saddened by the news and paid his obesciences from afar.

RAmAnujar came to hear all about Tirukkachchi Nambi: how he was reforming daily rituals for PEraruLaLan and that he was a devotee of AalavandAr and hence invited him over to his house. He offered Nambi a place to sit and wanted to prostrate him at that very moment.  But Nambigal prevented him from doing so. He said that RAmAnujar was a chosen one; chosen none other than AalavandAr himself and he said that he should not forego his VarNAsrama duties. He recounted the story of how NAdamuni went behind the king and started singing his praises but was reminded by his disciples that we should not sing praises of mere humans when it is our prime duty to serve the Supreme Lord. Accordingly, RAmAnujar did not prostrate him. Instead, he asked him a few questions that were on his mind and requested that Nambi pass on the word of PEraruLAlan to him. When it was time for Nambigal to leave, he escorted him to his destination for a short distance and came back home. Unbeknownst to him, his wife, in the meantime had cleaned out the spot occupied by Nambi with "GOmeyam". RAmAnujar was enraged at her ignorance and left her then and there itself to be permanently under the service of PEraruLAlan.

6 words

The next day, Tirukkachchi Nmabi was in the KachchivAzhththAn mandapam, fanning PEraruLALan when he approached the Lord with all the doubts that RAmAnujar had and AruL Varadan gave him the following 6 pearls of wisdom:

1. SrIman NArAyaNa is the supreme and only Lord
2. The discrepancy between Advaitam and VishitAdvaitam
3. The only way to mOkShA at the lotus feet of the Lord is by CharaNAgati
4. Once charaNAgati is done, it is not necessary to utter/think of the Lord's name during the last moment of life
5. MOkshA is not instantaneous upon charaNAgati: until the body lives, the soul lives in it. The should departs for mOkshA only when the body dies.
6. RAmAnujar should stay by Periya Nambi's side and gain his tutelance.

Joining Periya Nambigal

Back in SrI Rangam, all of AalavandAr's disciples approached Periya Nmabigal with a request: They wanted that RAmAnujar, chosen by none other than the departed AachAryan, come on to take over the now empty post as the rightful successor. Periya Nambigal agreed to take on this endeavor. He left with his wife on a journey to PerumAL kOil enroute a few divvy kshEtrams. At one point, he reached MadurAntagam and sought the blessings of "Aeri KAththa RAmar".

Meanwhile, according to the wishes of PEraruLaLan, RAmAnujar was enroute from PerumAL koil to periya kOil and by sheer coincidence, happened to be in MadurAntagam at the same time! He was overjoyed to find Nambigal there and immediately prostrated him with the following lines: "Sishyas DEhamsAdimAm TvAm prapannam" which meant "Your slave, accept my surrender and bless and protect me". Periya Nambi offered to discourse him at PEraruLALan's sannidi but RAmAnujar did not wish to put it off and he asked that it be done right there and then. In Aeri KAththa RAman's sannidi, under a Magizha tree, Periya Nmabi revealed the Pancha SamskAram to RAmAnujar. He expounded all the shlOkAs and the meaning of every Dvayam. They both them offered their respect and gratitude to Lord RAmA for the unexpected meeting under his guidance.

(For these reason,s MaturAntagam is also known as "Dvayam viLainda KshEtram". He can be found here next to RAmA as a grihastar, i.e. not yet as a SanyAsi. Behind the AndAL sannidi, alongwith the Magizha tree, there is platform on whose walls there is a sculpting to this upadEsam taking place. A festival to commemorate this event occurs every Aavani month on sukla Panchami. In the lake, there are some steps called "BhAshyakArar padiththurai" where daily rituals are performed to this day.)

From there, they went back to PerumAL kOil and RAmAnujar gave up a portion of his house for Periya Nambigal to reside in. He provided him with everything needed for his rituals and was very devoted to him. Periya Nmabi transferred a lot of knowledge to him, including that of the tiruVai mozhis and Divyaprabandams.

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