You are here: Sri Vaishnava Home Page : Bhakti List : Archives : January 2000

The Life of Kuresan-4

From: sampath kumar (
Date: Mon Jan 24 2000 - 22:32:02 PST

Dear friends,

In Srirangam, although Ramanuja and Kuresan succeeded
in the stupendous task of systematising an exciting
and epochally new philosophy, they both knew that the
"sri-bhAshyA" still needed a final coat of brilliant
polish.... the polish of irrefutability... before it
could go into and earn an unchallenged place in the
annals of Vedantic history.

Ramanuja knew that in order to lend irrefutable
authority to his commentaries on the "brahma-sutras",
he badly needed to consult with ancient texts and
treatises that could be actually shown to expressly
affirm some of the the fundamental postulates and
theses of VisishtAdvaita.

Ramanuja knew he must access an ancient parchment or
document called "boddhAyana vrutti" --- a rare
exegetical treatise on VyAsa's "brahma-sutras"
incorporating the insights of other great
'bhAshyakAr-s' of a distant past like Dramida,
Guhadeva, Tanka and Bharuchi. The "boddhAyana vrutti",
Ramanuja learnt, was lying somewhere in a musty
library in the royal library of the then king of an
obscure Kashmiri state.

Daunting as the task appeared to him, Ramanuja decided
that he must have access to the "vrutti". To that end
he, at the advanced age of about 60 odd years, decided
that he would undertake a "digvijayam" of the country
--- an All-India tour by foot --- which would not only
take him to Kashmir in pursuit of the "vrutti" but
also enable him to propagate his message throughout
the vast land through establishment of several
"ramanuja- koodam-s" and "mutts"... his pontificial

Ramanuja with his disciples thus set out from
Srirangam on their formidable expedition. Kuresan was
with him.

The expedition sojourned through vast provinces ---
Tirupati, then south to the Malabar areas, up north
along the western coastal belt of India to the eastern
regions of Puri, Kasi, NaimishAranyam, Varanasi,
Salagrama in Nepal, the West to Dwaraka, Pushkaram and
to Bhatti (near Lahore) and finally into the Himalayan
districts of Kashmir.

In the court of the King of Kashmir, Ramanuja was told
that before they gave him access to their library he
would first have to prove his credentials as a
philosopher genuinely propagating a new school of

Ramanuja not only put forth his exposition of the new
VisihtAdvaita but also engaged the royal pundits in
debate to show them the inadequacy of their own

The King was pleased and freely gave permission for
Ramanuja and Kuresan to access the archives in the
royal library. The royal pundits however were none too
happy about the King's generosity and played malicious
mischief to frustrate Ramanuja. They held that,
notwithstanding the royal assent, Ramanuja would not
be permitted to take the "vrutti" out of the library

Ramanuja and Kuresa then began to study the "vrutti"
within the library premises itself. Then the pundits
came up with another plot to frustrate them. They held
that Ramanuja would not be allowed to take down any
notes from the "vrutti".

So Ramanuja and Kuresan proceeded to memorise vast
portions of the "vrutti".

The pundits seeing that Ramanuja and Kuresan were
thwarting them at every point finally plotted murder.
It was then that Ramanuja decided that enough was
enough and decided to leave Kashmir... 

The expedition slowly wound up and returned south to

In spite of the disappointment faced in Kashmir,
Ramanuja however, as it turned out, suffered no loss
at all! For, back in Srirangam, when Kuresan and he
sat down to complete the "sri-bhAshya" by
incorporating authentic references to the "boddhAyana
vrutti", Kuresan by the sheer power of his prodigious
memory was able to instantly and accurately recall
vast passages from the "vrutti"--- word for word! The
commentary of Ramanuja on VyAsa's "brahma-sutrA-s" --
the labour of so many, many years --- quickly
progressed to its conclusion.

It turned out to be a real miracle of miracles!

Ramanuja finished his immortal "sri-bhAshyA" with a
sense of utter fulfillment thanks to the "vrutti" and
even greater thanks to the daring enterprise and
phenomenal memory of his chief disciple, Sri.Kuresan!



Do You Yahoo!?
Talk to your friends online with Yahoo! Messenger.