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Re:Thirunarayanapuram

sreekrishna_at_mmd.com
Date: Mon Jul 24 1995 - 08:11:12 PDT

Is this uthsavar called "chellapiLLai". i have a heard an anecdote which
goes like this: raamaanusar goes to north india in search this uthsavar
and talks to that muslim king. he tells that he has a lot of vigrahams
which his daughter plays with. then raamaanusar calls "vaaray
chellappiLLaay" and i am not sure what exactly happened after that.
something like that particular vigraham came forward.....
 could anyone recall this..
Thus wrote Viji

Yes, I recall that story. Ramanuja approached the Sultan for the Vigraham of 
Cheluvanarayana(Kannada version of chelvapillai Sampatkumara). The Sultan
was impressed by the charisma and Tejas of Ramanuja and thus agreed to let him 
have the vigraha saying "call your god if he comes take him." Ramanuja looked
in the prison where the sultan had imprisoned various idols stolen from 
different temples. Ramanuja could not find the idol he was looking for there. 
However, he did find the vigraham in sultan's daughter's room. She was not 
there at that time. He addressed the vigraham as Viji has said above. The 
Vigraham walked upto Ramanuja. Sultan kept his promise and Ramanuja carried 
back the Vigraham. He also realized that Sultan loved his daughter and she 
loved this idol very much. He anticipated that sultan's soldiers will follow
him to take the vigraham back. Thus, Ramanuja did not stop anywhere and on his 
way, he was helped by numerous tribal people (untouchables) in transporting 
this idol. Ramanuja had guessed it right. Sultan's daughter and a batallion of 
soldiers along with another muslim prince who loved sultans daughter Lachimar 
very much set on forth to rescue the idol. Ramanuja made it back to his
destination Tirunarayanapuram before the soldiers could find him. The soldiers 
gave up. Lachimar loved this idol so much that she did not give up. She was a 
prapanne in her own way. The prince who loved her (a prapanna in his own 
right) also did not give up. They both made it to Thirunarayanapuram and 
stayed there. In due course, she died and the Srivaishnavas were so deeply 
impressed by her love to that vigraham, they made a small statue of her and 
placed it at the foot of the idol. This statue is called Bibi Nachhiar. She 
was also duplicated in numerous other temples, which we commonly see (I have 
heard) in many a temples of South India.  The prince who followed her, after 
her death, turned deeply towards God and took refuge at the feet of Sri 
Ranganatha in Srirangam. He was not permitted to enter the Srirangam temple, 
he stayed outside and took refuge at the blessed feet of Seshasayi with 
undivided devotion. Once, while absorbed in deep meditation, he heard a voice 
saying, "o' the best among the Yavanas! I am here to grant liberation to 
Vaishnavas who take refuge in me:and Lord Jaganatha is there to grant 
liberation unto fallen ones" Having heard that, the prince moved to 
Puri-Jaganatha kshetra. The name of this prince is Kubera. It is said that 
when he was in Puri, a dog came and made away with the bread he was baking.  
He shouted to the dog, Oh Narayana! wait a little, let me smear ghee on the 
bread so that you may relish it better.

To recognize the role of Chandalas in helping Ramanuja to carry idol from 
North India, even during those rigid days, Chandalas were allowed into the 
Temple at Thirunarayana Puram, three days in a year.

I had heard this story numerous times, in parts. This version I found in the 
Book on life of Ramanuja by Swami Ramakrishnananda which I praised in one of
my earlier postings.
-K. Sreekrishna.