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Acharya Bhakti - 2

From: TCA Venkatesan (vtca_at_yahoo.com)
Date: Mon Dec 10 2001 - 13:48:49 PST

Sri:
Srimathe Ramanujaya Nama:
Srimathe Vara Vara Munaye Nama:
Srimathe Anantharya Mahagurave Nama:

Acharya Bhakti - 2

Some time agao I posted an article on Sri Tirumalai 
Anandazhvar's acharya bhakti and how it led to his
descendants using "madhurakavi dAsan" instead of
"ramanuja dAsan". Continuing on that topic here is
another episode in his life describing his 
interaction with Sri Nanjeeyar and his message
about acharya sambandham.

Sri Nanjeeyar after being taken into the Srivaishnava
fold by Sri Parasara Bhattar continued on his 
gruhasthasrama life with his two wives. After an 
episode when his wives did not feed some hungry 
bhAgavatAs, Sri Nanjeeyar split his wealth into 
three parts, gave two parts to his two wives and 
took the third part to give to Sri Bhattar and
live at his feet at Srirangam. He also took up  
sanyAsam before leaving for Srirangam.

On the way to Srirangam, he met Sri Anandazhvar. Sri
Anandazhvar knowing of his wealth and life in the 
past, said to him: "Had you taken a cool bath when 
warm and ate when hungry and lived while surrendered 
at Sri Bhattar's feet, would you have been rejected 
from Sri Vaikuntam? What was the need to take up 
sanyasa dharma? In any case, now that you have done 
it, may you be born in Tirumantram, grow in Dvayam 
and recite the Dvayam always and earn kainkrya sri 
from it". 

The message that Sri Anandazhvar is giving us all is
that it is possible to live a normal life in this 
world, but without developing attachments to it, 
surrender at an acharya's lotus feet and thence 
reach Him. One does not have to go through severe  
austerities or follow other means to achieve this 
goal.

Later Sri Manavala Mamunigal would express the same
in his Upadesarattinamalai:

gyAnam anuttAnam ivai nanRAgavE udai
yanAna guruvai adainthakkAl - man^ilaththeer!
thEnAr kamalath thirumAmagaL kozhunan
thAnE vaikuntham tharum

O people of this world! If you reach (surrender) 
to an acharya who has the true knowledge and 
follows the prescribed rituals, He who is the Lord 
of Sri who stands on a lotus, will give you 
Vaikunta without you having to do anything further.

So, what does it mean that one has to do nothing
further. Does it mean one does nothing at all after
surrendering to an acharya? Not so. Sri Anandazhvar's 
life itself continues to be a lesson for us. He did 
not give up his duties to his acharya or to the Lord, 
even though he had great sambandham with his acharya 
Sri Ramanujar. Our pUrvAcharyAs have also indicated 
to us that it is the soul's journey that we surrender 
to our acharya. The body's journey in this world is 
to be surrendered to Him, by way of performing one's 
duties, thereby cleansing the karmas gathered by 
us.

Anandazhvar, Manavala Mamunigal Tiruvadigale Saranam

adiyEn madhurakavi dAsan
TCA Venkatesan

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