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The Life of Kuresan-5

From: sampath kumar (sampathkumar_2000_at_yahoo.com)
Date: Mon Jan 24 2000 - 22:40:23 PST

Dear friends,

After his great expedition all across India to
propagate his fresh Vedantic theology and to also
secure the "boddhayana vrutti", Ramanuja settled down
in SriRangam once again to consolidate the position of
Srivaishnavism. His fame had now spread far and wide
over the country. His disciples and followers were now
legion. SriRangam and the temple of Lord Ranganatha
became the capital city of SriVaishnavites.

Ramanuja, at that point of time in his life, had
indeed fulfilled much of his promise to his own guru,
YamunachArya, who had on his death-bed entrusted him
with the life-mission of 

(1) writing a fresh, new commentary on the
"brahma-sutrA-s" based on the philosophical premises
of the "bhakti" tradition handed down from the times
of NammAzhwAr through Nathamuni and 

(2) to propagate the same through the devotional
literature of the ancient AzhwArs known as the 'Tamil
Vedas' or the 4000 verses of the "nalayira divya
prabhandam".

*******  *******     ********

At that point of time, Ramanuja's most beloved
disciple, Kuresan, however was not a fulfilled man.
His wife, AndAlamma and he still went childless.

In SriRangam Kuresan had so thoroughly become involved
in the ministry of SriRamanuja that he had very little
time to devote to family affairs. His wife AndAlamma
too was a very devout lady and too good a soul to
rebel against what had become her hard lot in life.

Kuresan earned his daily bread by the traditional
means prescribed for a Vedic "grahasta" (householder)
viz. "unchavratti" or the practise of going around
one's neighbourhood begging for daily alms and ekeing
out a living solely by such means. Kuresan begged from
day to day. Nothing was accumulated... be it food or
clothes...nothing more was collected than what Kuresan
considered as sufficient to satisfy the wants of his
family in the space of a single day...

One day it rained heavily and the time for going
around on his "unchavratti" came and passed. Kuresan
and Andalamma went without any food that day except
for a sip of the holy water offered to the household
deity. They skipped supper too. Kuresan was unmindful
of his hunger since he kept reciting the
"tiruvoimozhi" throughout the rainy day, but AndAlamma
deeply felt the pangs of pain... pain, not of her own
hunger, but the pain of watching her husband starve.

It was evening then and just at that moment the temple
bells of the Srirangam temple gonged. It was the
signal to indicate that Lord Ranganatha was being
offered his evening "naivEdyam" or worshipful food.

When AndAlamma heard the temple gong she bit her lips
in tears. She couldn't help silently muttering,"O
Ranga, when your devotee Kuresan goes starving on a
day like this, how are you able to enjoy your feast?".

The piercing cry of Andalamma's pain was obviously
heard by the Deity, for Ranga that same night appeared
in the dream of one of His temple-officials, one Sri.
Uttama-nambi whom He commanded: "Go forth immediately
with my food-offerings to the house of my devotee
Kuresan for he has eaten nothing this day! Tell him
that We send him our meal and our blessings!".

Uttama-nambi woke up startled and drenched in cold
sweat.

Gathering himself up and summoning all temple staff
including pipers, drummers, stewards and ceremonial
carriers, he marched in a great procession in the
middle of the night to Kuresan's house, carrying trays
of food that had previously offered as "naivEdyam" to
Lord Ranganatha.

When the procession reached Kuresan's home
Uttama-nambi recounted to him Lord Ranga's commandment
in his dream and begged Kuresan to accept the Lord's
offering of food. 

Kuresan was too dumbfounded to react!

AndAlamma however gently advised her husband to accept
the temple offerings. "This food has been sent by our
Lord Ranga Himself, and we must accept it and
rejoice!", she said. 

His job accomplised, Uttama-nambi returned to his
abode, utterly relieved that he had carried out Lord
Ranga's express orders without further ado.

Back home at Kuresa's place, he suspected that the
midnight offer of food by Lord Ranga had something to
do with his wife. So Kuresa queried AndAlamma who
after much persuasion confessed to what had happened,
of how she had shared her anguish with Ranga over the
plight of Kuresan going without a morsel of food on
that rainy day.

"My dear woman", chided Kuresan gently,"what have you
done! What have you done! You have tested Divinity's
compassion for a mere morsel of food to fill this
sinner's belly!".

All the same that night, Kuresan and AndAlamma ate the
temple food-offerings of Lord Ranganatha and went to
bed happily.

That same night, Ranga appeared again in a dream, but
this time in Kuresan's sleep and announced,"Kuresa, We
trust that our offering of food has pleased you. Our
offering was not merely to satisfy your pangs of
physical hunger but to meet your desire or greater
hunger for the love of children! What you and
AndAlamma have just eaten are the seeds of two little
children to be born to you! They will Our Own
Children! They are blessed indeed! Rejoice in them as
you would rejoice in Our Own Presence amongst you!".
Ranga vanished and Kuresan excitedly woke up Andalamma
to tell her all about the dream. 

A year later, two beautiful boy babies were born to
Kuresan and Andalamma! Their hearts burst with joy.

The news of the birth of Kuresan's boys reached
Ramanuja and he was transported with joy!The grand old
"AchAryA" himself performed the "nAma-karanam" for
Kuresan's 2 boys naming them "VyAsa-bhattar" and
"Parashara-Bhattar"! 

*******     *********     ********

The latter boy became later in life one of the tallest
"AchAryA-s" in the SriVaishnava pantheon of
post-Ramanuja stalwarts! Parashara Bhattar came to be
acknowledged by posterity as the natural heir to all
of Ramanuja's spiritual kingdom!

Thus indeed, had Kuresan, through his offspring,
Parashara Bhatta, performed yet another great service
or "kainkaryam" to his beloved guru: He gave unto the
venerable RamanujachArya's arms his fledgling
spiritual heir... one who would carry on unbroken the
grand tradition of "sri-sampradAyam" for all times to
come!

(contd)

dAsan,
Sampathkumaran
  





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