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The Life of Kuresan-11 (CONCLUDED)

From: sampath kumar (sampathkumar_2000_at_yahoo.com)
Date: Fri Jan 28 2000 - 22:52:30 PST

Dear friends,

Kuresan worked tirelessly at Srirangam all his life
for his guru Ramanuja who was by then more than 110
years old and also for the cause of SriVaishnavaism
which had by then become firmly established as a
distinctive shool of Vedantic thought and practice in
India.

Kuresan too had aged considerably. His sons, Parashara
and Vyasa Bhattar had quickly grown to be stripling
lads who showed great promise as future leaders of the
Sri Vaishnavism fold. His wife AndAlamma too had grown
into an old but graceful lady. 

One day blind Kuresan went all by himself to visit
Lord Ranga in the temple. After offering worship
Kuresa continued to linger behind in the presence of
the Lord. The Deity was a little surprised and asked
Kuresan,"You seem to have something to say to Me,
Kuresa?".

Kuresan replied,"No my Lord! I linger here so that I
may sing your praise to my hearts content!". 

Ranga was pleased and said,"Kuresa, you have pleased
me today! Ask of me any favour you want!".

Kuresan quickly replied,"O Ranga, you have bestowed me
with every blessing and gift in life! There is nothing
that I lack! What can I ask thee further?".

The Deity however pressed Kuresan,"No, once more ask,
and ask for more, if not for yourself, then ask for
the love that I bear towards my beloved spouse,
Ranganayaki, and towards my Ramanuja!".

Kuresan then had to ask for something, so he asked
that he be released from his mortal body and be merged
in the Lord's Feet. The Deity however demurred and
said,"Ask me anything but that, Kuresan!".

Kuresan said he had nothing else to ask of God. So
Ranga finally relented and said,"Let it be so then!
What you have asked of me, Kuresan, shall be boon for
not only thee but also a boon conferred upon everyone
that has any sort of kinship with thee!".

On receiving the supreme blessing from the Deity of
Srirangam, Kuresan walked out of the temple with his
head held high in pride! He felt like a crown-prince
who was about to be coronated in the Kingdom of God!

He went home with his spirit soaring!

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

Meanwhile news of Kuresan's encounter with Lord
Ranganathan quickly reached Ramanuja who was in his
monastery. When the old AchArya heard of the incident
he was startled! He stood up immediately, and throwing
his upper garment in the air, let out a low whoop!

The old achAryA's behaviour was so unusual that a
disciple who was standing close-by asked him what the
matter was. Ramanuja replied,"My faithful one, do I
also not bear kinship with my Kuresan! My salvation
too is now assured by the boon that Ranga has granted
my Kuresan!".

It was an ironic but wonderful reversal of roles!
Usually it is by the guru's intercession that God's
grace is fetched for a disciple. But here in the case
of Kuresan and Ramanuja, it was the Master who was
benefiting from the disciple's stock with the
Almighty!
 
 **********      ***********     ************

The old pontiff then left his Mutt and made his way to
the quarters of Kuresan in the other part of
SriRangam.

Kuresan was waiting for his guru.

When the Master met Kuresan he said,"What have you
done,Kuresan?! You have gone and done a deed without
even consulting me your guru?".

Ramanuja's tone was a bit remonstrative and a bit
accusatory too. So Kuresan kept silent.

"Why do you not speak, Kuresa? What was your purpose
in going to our Lord Ranga and begging Him to let go
of thee far in advance of someone like me here who is
so far gone in age? Do you wish to be gone ahead of
me, my dear Kuresa? Why?".

Kuresan spoke in soft tones, "My Master, my most Holy
Sire! My sole purpose was to preserve the order of
prededence in "parama-padam".... in God's Kingdom.".

"Don't speak to me in riddles and conundrums, Kuresa!
I am your Master, speak plainly with me!", gently
chided Ramanuja.

"Sire, in the "pasuram" "muDiyuDai" it is said that
our elders in heaven who preceded us come out of the
gates of "parama=padam" to welcome their younger
brothers when it is the latter's turn to arrive
there.... and then the elders usher the young ones
into God's Presence. Sire, but this I consider as
being of improper order! It is the younger ones who
should always go first and prepare in Heaven to
receive and welcome their elders. That is the order of
precedence I wish to preserve! Hence, Sire, I go in
advance so that I may welcome my Master when he
arrives there in good time!".

When Ramanuja heard Kuresan's stirring words his whole
body shook with tremors of emotion. His spirit melted.


"My most beloved Kuresan, you forget the rule in
Heaven that all differences and distinction between
elder and young, between wise and ignorant, between
saint and sinner simply disappear there! And yet you
Kuresan, who has served me here so devotedly as a
disciple, wish to perpetuate in Heaven too the same
relationship that existed between you and me here on
earth! O, my dearest Kuresa, is there anybody to match
you in this world! Kuresa, my beloved child!".

The aged Ramanuja could not contain his tears and
rushing forward took hold of his disciple and embraced
him.

"Kuresa, my Kuresa, my dearest son, you are my very
soul! How can I part with thee? You say you want to
leave this old man behind alone in this world! Can you
not be kind-earted to this Master of yours of so many
years? Take me too with you, my son, to the Kingdom of
God! Why do you want to leave me behind to suffer the
pangs of separation? While I am yet here upon this
earth, how can you be so anxious for Heaven, O Kuresa?
Tell me, how can you enjoy "parama-padam" without
me?".

On hearing his old guru's wrenching words, Kuresan
heart was torn to shreds by emotion. He was stunned
into a poignant silence. After a moment Kuresan meekly
replied,

"My Master, my Great Sire, in the depth of my thoughts
for the miseries of earthly existence, I completely
forgot the point that you have raised! Pray forgive me
please, SIre, please pardon for me my thoughtlessness
even in the presence of God!".

Ramanuja then said,"If Ranga can grant you a boon such
as that which you asked him, Kuresa, surely He can
grant me one too! So I will go right now to His temple
and ask him to stop you here on earth for my sake!".

So saying the old and bent Ramanuja turned and walked
a few paces towards the temple of Lord Rangantha....
but then after a short distance paused abruptly and
reflected aloud:

"The Will of God is unalterable! What audacity on my
part to go and force Him to change it! No! Let me
submit and be resigned to the Divine Inevitable!". So
saying the old guru retraced his steps towards
Kuresan.

Ramanuja now faced Kuresan and spoke in a clear voice:

"Kuresa! When you are gone how shall I live without
thee? Alas, God in "parama-padam" has attracted thee,
even though our Ranga here has all attractions too! So
then yet have you decided to sever yourself from Ranga
here! Happy is the God in "parama-padam"  and happy
His celestials to claim thee as one of their own!
Luckless are we all going to be here, yes luckless
Ranga too, who will no longer have thee amongst
us....".

"But Kuresa, I am an old and fading man now, let me
not change your mind and disturb thy plans! Be it all
as thou wishest! All Hail to you, my dearest Kuresa!
Go now, go now and proceed to the Blessed Kingdom of
God and rule there in eternal Peace and Happiness!".

So saying Ramanuja gathered the blind Kuresan in his
arms and smothered him with love, stroking his head
and shoulders as if he were a but mere a child.

"Kuresa, in this moment when you have to depart from
me, I salute thee now, my son!". It was moment of
divine pathos.

Kuresan had no words left in him! Such was his
stupefied condition of being that he simply lay
motionless in the arms of his great "achAryA" who
clasped him in his arms as if he were a tiny infant!

After a while Kuresan disengaged himself slowly and
simply fell at Ramanuja's feet like a log of senseless
wood. The old guru then bent down and raised his
disciple and wiped away his tears. "Go now, my child,
go now quickly to the Lord! Thou hast now my leave to
depart!".

So saying the aged and venerable Ramanuja turned and
slowly made his way to return to his monastery in the
other part of SriRangam.

It was at that moment that a most excellent and
poignant prayer ("tanian") in euphonious Sanskrit
sprang spontaneously to Kuresan's lips and which even
to this day all devout followers of SriRamanuja recite
in their homes daily and at all times:

   "yO nityamachutha padAmbhuja yugmarugma
    vyAmOhatas-tadi-tarANi trNAya mEnE
   asmath gurOr bhagavatOsya daiyaiyaka sindOhO
   rAmAnujasya charanow sharanam prapadyE !".

"The Holy Feet of My Master, Ramanuja, are my sole
refuge! For He is an Ocean of Mercy! And for Him all
else is dross other than the supreme wealth that is
the Feet of God!"   

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

Kuresan passed away peacefully after a few hours in
the presence of his loving  family, AndAlamma and
their two young sons Vyasa and Parashara Bhattar. All
of Srirangam gathered and performed all the due
obsequies and honours that one so great a soul as
Kuresan richly deserved. Ramanuja had many disciples.
But there never was one like Sri.Kuresan....

               CONCLUDED 

dAsan,
Sampathkumaran
   







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