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The Life of Kuresan-9

From: sampath kumar (sampathkumar_2000_at_yahoo.com)
Date: Thu Jan 27 2000 - 23:52:32 PST

Dear friends,

After living in exile in Melkote for a decade and
more, a time came in history when Ramanuja was at last
in a position to return to SriRangam.

The Chola tyrant, King Krimikantha, died of a deadly
tumour that grew inside his neck. After his death, the
fanatic fringe of Saivism in the kingdom quickly lost
its militant edge and the land of the Cholas again
reverted to sanity and its high civilization.

Krimikanta Chola's successor was his son who turned
out to be a wise king utterly unlike his father. He
discouraged religious bigotry in his kingdom and
allowed freedom of faith and worship amongst all his
subjects.

Taking leave of his vast following in the Mysore
regions of Tirunarayanapuram, and at the ripe old age
of around 100, SriRamanuja finally decided to return
in triumph to his holy See in SriRangam.    

The centenarian's re-entry into Srirangam was a
historic moment in the annals of SriVaishnavism. 

A great gathering of SriVaishnava laity and orthodoxy
lined the streets of SriRangam to welcome their
beloved leader as he came in majestic procession with
his disciples. Pagaentry and fanfare, excitement and
expectation was rife in the air. Vedic chants and loud
"prabandhic" recitation filled the air as Ramanuja's
great procession wound its way slowly from the outer
ramparts of the Srirangam city into the inner
courtyards of the temple of Lord Ranganatha.

It was the grand return of the Hero of SriVaishnavism
to reclaim the papal throne that was rightly his!
 
   *******     ********    ********

After worshipping inside the temple of Lord
Ranganatha, Ramanuja went out again into his beloved
city of SriRangam to loud cheers ot the population.
The street sights and smells, the people and their
children, were all familiar to him... 
He remembered the glorious days of the past .... a
happy and eventful past that had been peopled by so
many of his dearest gurus, mentors and
disciples....and so many, many wonderful memories...

Ramanuja's first stop in Srirangam was to call on the
house of his most beloved disciple, the blinded
Kuresan....

    ******   ********  *********
Having earlier learnt that his guru Ramanuja was
returning to SriRangam, Kuresan and his family, exiled
in Tirumalirunjolai for several years, had made the
greatest haste in themselves returning to their
homestead in Srirangam to await their Master's
arrival. 

Someone rushed ahead of Ramanuja's procession to tell
the blind Kuresan that Ramanuja was himself heading
straight towards his home after worshipping at the
temple.  Kuresan's heart leapt with joy. He
immediately asked his family to lead him out onto the
street outside his home. There he eagerly awaited his
guru's arrival. 

When Ramanuja arrived, the Master and the disciple
faced each utterly transfixed... In each other's
presence they suddenly lost themselves in a flood of
distant recollections... of their young days together
back in Kanchi, of their times in Srirangam composing
the "sri-bhAshya", their travels together across India
to Kashmir and back .... and the many battles they had
together  fought and won against  ideological
adversaries like Advaitins and "mAyAvadins", Jains and
Buddhists....

Tears welled up in the Master's eyes as he looked at
Kuresan who, being eyeless, was unable to vent or shed
the tears of utter joy that seemed to inundate his
breast.

Kuresan tottered forward and fell at Ramanuja's feet
and clasped them both tightly to his eyeless and
scarred face. He lay there motionless and speechless
for several moments. 

A great hush of silence descended on the large crowd
collected there! It stood dumb witness to probably 
the most poignant moment ever in the entire history of
the SriVaishanavite movement.
 
Ramanuja was himself speechless for a while as tears
shook his now frail body and rolled down his aged
cheeks. Then the old, wizened "AchArya" bent down and
lifting Kuresa to his feet held him to his bosom
tightly.

"My child, my child," whispered Ramanuja to
Kuresan,"what have thee done! What have thee done! You
have given your eye... the eye of faith... for the
sake of Our faith!".

When he heard his Master's familiar voice again for
the first time after 12 long years Kuresan became
simply overwhelmed. But with effort, he somewhat
composed himself, recovered quickly and finally
replied,

"My Master, if I had to lose my eyes it was but in
atonement perhaps for some sin I may have committed!
Perhaps I may have once happened to pass by some good
SriVaishnavan and may have said to myself "How
clumsily this man has applied his "urdhvapundhram"  on
his forehead! Hence, Sire, my punishment is rightly
deserved!".

Ramanuja said, "My beloved Kuresa! You and sin?!!
Never!  Rather, my child, it is is all my sin for
which you have atoned all these years!"

"But let the past be bygone, Kuresa, come with me now!
You and I have lots of unfinished work yet to do!".

So saying Ramanuja proceeded to his own monastery in
Srirangam, personally leading his blind but happy
Kuresan by hand.....

All the crowds gathered there in SriRangam that day
watched in wide-eyed fascination as the old
RamanujachArya led the blind disciple to his papal
headquarters .... It was indeed the perfect and most
appropriate picture that anybody could have witnessed
on that most magnificent occasion ---- the picture of
"enlightenment" lovingly leading the "blind"....

(contd).
dAsan,
Sampathkumar  




 





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