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The Last Words

From: sadagopan iyengar (
Date: Tue Dec 04 2001 - 19:42:05 PST

Srimate SrivanSatakopa Sri Vedanta Desika Yatindra
Mahadesikaya Nama:

                   The Last Words

        The scene was one of great melancholy: some in
the vast congregation were weeping uncontrollably,
while others were fighting to control themselves, with
their faces betraying their inner turmoil. All eyes
were riveted on the supine, patrician figure of the
grand old man, with his whole being aglow with a halo,
lying with his head on the lap of one of his
disciples, while another acolyte pressed his feet
gently. The captivating eyes, famed for their merciful
and powerful outlook, were closed. All present were
looking down at the handsome master, anxiety writ
large on their faces, conversation with one another
made impossible by the pall of gloom that hung over
the hall. 

  Sri Ramanuja, who had spent 120 extremely productive
years on earth, saving innumerable souls, had decided
to shed his mortal coils, and his disciples had
gathered for a last glimpse of the venerated Acharya,
knowing not what they would do without his august
presence and guidance. Many of them were bent on
taking their own lives, unable to bear the impending
separation from their great leader. Somehow, they had
thought that Sri Bhashyakara would live on and on,
defying nature, and would be in their midst
perpetually: even if this were possible, the Acharya
had had enough of this mundane world and was looking
forward to his ascent to SriVaikuntam and reunion with
the Paramapadanatan. And, more importantly, the Lord
could bear Sri Ramanuja’s absence no longer, and had
decided to recall him to the heavens. 
In contrast to this scene of gloom, there was a
diametrically different festive atmosphere at
Paramapadam, where Emperuman was impatiently awaiting
the arrival of His favourite messenger, whom He had
reluctantly sent to the earth for a mission, which He
himself could not accomplish. The Lord had tried His
best, through various avataras, to emancipate the
errant inhabitants of earth, but failed miserably.
However, the advent of Sri Ramanuja saw even die-hard
atheists become ardent devotees of the Lord.
(“MaNmisai yOnigaL tOrum pirandu- engaL MadhavanE
            KaNNura nirkilum kANagilla ulagOrgaL ellAm
            aNNal IrAmAnusan vandu  tOndriya
             NaNNarum gnAnam talaikkondu nAraNarkku
Emperuman had personally orchestrated all arrangements
for the triumphant home-coming of Sri Ramanuja, with a
hundred of His chosen angels waiting at the doors of
Sri Vaikuntam with garlands, a hundred others with
glowing lamps, a hundred more with fragrant powders,
etc. (“satam mAlA hastA: satam choorNa
hastA:..etc”-Kausheetaki Upanishad-“nidhiyum nar
chuNNamum niraikuda viLakkamum madhi mukha
madanthaiyar Endinar vandE”-Sri Nammazhwar.).All the
houses at Paramapadam were tastefully decorated to
receive Sri Bhashyakara, whose deputation to earth for
a mere 120 years (for, the human year is but a day for
the nitya suris) had appeared to be an unending
separation. Everybody, including Emperuman, was
impatient- what was holding up Sri Ramanuja?

Down on earth, the Great Master’s eyes opened gently,
and took in the anxious faces around him. A fresh bout
of weeping overcame the assembled disciples, and many
of them declared their intention of taking their
lives, which they considered not worth living in a
world bereft of their beloved Master. At this, Sri
Ramanuja’s brows creased with sorrow and he declared,
“ I swear upon Sri Alavandar’s haloed name! Anybody
doing Atma tyAga upon my passing away has no
connection with me!”.  Robbed of even this avenue of
solace, the disciples cried to him, ”Please bless us
with your good words, which will see us through this
life, which stretches ahead of us like a dark tunnel
without end!”  
 Sri Ramanuja’s lips parted and he started speaking in
a low but clear voice. “My dear children! You have
heard from me in detail, on numerous occasions, the
true purport of all that is worth knowing. I see
however that some of you are yet to overcome your
misgivings about this world and what it holds in store
for you. Please listen carefully, for you shall hear
from me no more after today”. And he began his last
sermon to the assembly, filled with the essence of all
philosophy, catering to the needs of the lettered and
unlettered- golden words that, till today, guide us
through the dense jungle of samsara filled with
dangerous predators like kAma. KrodhA, lObha, mOha,
mata and mAtsarya.

“nallAr paravum IrAmAnusan-tirunAmam namba
vallAr tiratthai maravAdavargaL evar- avarkkE
ellAvidatthilum endrum eppOdilum etthouzhumbum
sollAl manatthAl karumatthinAl seivan sOrvindriyE « 
- To be continued-
Srimate Sri Lakshminrsimha divya paduka sevaka
SrivanSatakopa Sri Narayana Yatindra Mahadesikaya

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