It was Namperumal’s divine plan to make Swamy Ramanujar leave Srirangam for a short time , and purify other places by placing his holy feet in Melnadu and retrieve Thirunarayanan who was worshipped by SriRamar and Sri Krishna during Tretha and Dwapara yugas .
Peria Perumal thus created a difficult situation by which Swamy Ramanujar had to leave Srirangam after taking Peria Perumal’s consent and thus proceeded towards north accompanied by Sri Mudaliandan Swamy. After many days of travel and undergoing various hardships following the course of Kaveri, Swamy Ramanuja finally arrived in Karnataka where the local tribals served them. En route he met his disciple kongu piratti and graced her . Later he moved near Srirangapatinam. The local people who were averse to Swamy Ramanujar conspired a plan to do away with him. Swamy Ramanujar learning their evil intentions ordered Mudaliandan Swamy to place his feet in the drinking water pond in that area now called saligrama near Thondanur , which he politely obeyed. At salagrama ,by partaking this Sripada theertham, the minds of the evildoers changed miraculously and they fell at Swamy Ramanujar lotus feet seeking forgiveness. Such was the greatness of Swamy Mudaliandan .
Ramanujar named this place as “Saligramam” which is near to Melkote. Even today this pond is maintained by the archakar family . There is a small temple opposite to this pond in which Swamy Ramanujar’s lotus feet are worshiped.
Swamy Ramanuja had a large number of disciples at Melnadu .Vangipurathu Achi , Vangipurathu Nambi , Thondanur Nambi , Marudhur Nambi, Malur Nambi , Anathazhwan were some of them in the large group of disciples he had at Melnadu.
Thondanur Nambi was a great bhagavatha , a saint and most respected scholar as he was close to the Royal family . Thondanur Nambi , during his pilgrimage to Srirangam was attracted to Swamy Ramanuja . He loved his approach and the simple teachings which leads to self realisation that takes one to godhead. He was one among the 74 Simhadhipathees .
Thondanur was the summer capital of the Hoyasala kingdom ruled by King Vittala deva who was a staunch follower of Jainism .They were tolerant to other religions too . The King had a daughter who was possessed with an evil spirit . No treatment could cure her illness . She was always under the possession of the evil spirit which made her do unnatural things .She was almost dressed like a madwoman and was a big embarrassment to the Royal family . There was another tragedy , during a war the King lost his finger. This earned him the name Bitti deva .
The King was very upset due to the deformity and the new worry of his daughter that took shape . No treatment either medicines or tantric rituals could cure her .The Jain monks also tried their best but nothing seemed possible to relieve her from the evil spirit . Thondanur Nambi, the disciple of Swamy Ramanujar suggested to the queen that his spiritual master who arrived recently and staying at Saligrama was capable of restoring the princess to normalcy. The Jain king pleaded Nambi to invite Swamy Ramanuja to his palace . He even promises that If his daughter is cured he will adopt Srivaishnava faith and surrender to Swamy Ramanuja
Thondanur Nambi goes to Saligrama and surrenders to the lotus feet of Swamy Ramanuja and briefs him about the Jain Kings intentions . It was a wonderful opportunity to grace the King and his people and induct them in the great srivaishnava sampradayam .
Swamy Ramanuja and Thondanur Nambi look for an auspicious time and leave to Thondanur to the Royal palace . The Royal couple have the divya darshan of JagathAcharyar Swamy Ramanuja . Both of them fall like uprooted trees looking at Swamy Ramanujas divine aura . They welcome Swamy to their Royal chambers . The whole Royal family pay their obeisance’s to Swamy Ramanuja . The mad princess who was irritating the members few minutes back suddenly leaves into another room when Swamy enters the chambers . With some cajoling the princess who is shabbily dressed is brought before Swamy Ramanuja . Looking at the pitiable state of the princess , Swamy gives the holy water that was offered to his Lordships and applies the holy turmeric paste offered to Lord on her forehead . The moment she sips the holy water and makes an eye contact with the great Acharya the evil spirit vanishes and she almost faints before him . The princess is slowly brought back to senses by sprinkling some water on her . To everybody’s surprise she gets up , looks at herself feels shy and runs away to her chambers . She dresses herself elegantly and offers obesiances to Swamy Ramanuja amongst all the people . The Royal couple are amazed with the sudden happenings . They accept that the great seer who is with them is a very pious soul who has incarnated to uplift them . Instantly they surrender to his lotus feet and beg to be taken into his fold . Swamy Ramanuja asks them to offer prayers at Nambi Narayana Temple and meet him there .
At Swamy Nambi Narayana temple , Swamy Ramanuja conducts a discourse attended by many people . The King along with his Royal family too attend the discourse which speaks about the ultimate purpose of life as a srivaisnava . Attracted to his simple teachings the entire crowd adopt srivaishnavism . Amongst the citizens the King , Queen and all his family members are given Panchasamskara initiation . The King is given a name a Vishnu vardhana after due initiation by Swamy Ramanuja himself . The celebration amongst the citizens is multifold . All the citizens hail Swamy Ramanujas discourse and accept him as their Jagath Acharya .
Somewhere down the lane the Jain monks are upset with the happenings .All of them march to the Royal Palace and argue with the king for taking such a foolish step . They convince the King that their proposed debate with Swamy Ramanuja will prove Jainism superiority and he must agree to their command .
The King knew very well that such thing can never happen . However he along with the Jain monks in huge numbers walk up to the Yoga narasimhar temple located on a hillock as Swamy Ramanuja was staying there .
The Jain monks along with the King meet Swamy Ramanuja and invite him to a debate on the esoteric truths . All the Jain monks assemble and start posing questions . The euphoria around makes Swamy Ramanuja to command his disciples to surround him with a curtain . Almost 1000 jain monks shoot questions on him without any break .
It is was ONE vs ONE THOUSAND .
The divine incident of Swamy Ramanuja taking over one thousand Jain monks was relished by the disciples . Inside , Swamy Ramanujar was covered by a curtain and with his original form as Adisesha with 1000 hoods, he answers every question of the monk with patience and clarity . Thus he defeats all the 1000 Jains at a time. One monk was inquisitive to find out why the curtain was put .He slowly managed to peep inside the curtain . To his shock he could see JagathAcharyar’s viswaroopam and fainted . The Jain monks had no reply and were forced to accept defeat and adopt to srivaishnavism .This incident happened at Lord Narasimha swamy temple in Bhakta nagari (presently known as Thondanur).
Swamy MudaliAndaan who gave us the nectarian sloka DHAATI PANCHAKA in praise of Swamy Ramanujar at this place. This place is on the way to Melkote(about 16 kms) from Srirangapatinam. The wonderful opportunity given by Swamy Ramanuja to Mudaliandaan is remembered even today . “Dhati Panchakam” speaks of the victory of Swamy Ramanuja over other philosophies – both those that accept Vedas and those that don’t – and his establishing the Visishtadvaita philosohpy that was built by Azhvars and Purvacharyas.
As the name suggests, it comprises of five slokas The word “DHATI” means “attacking” – as this work shows the attack that Ramanuja carried over the other philosophies that were widespread at that time, it is an appropriate name for it. Swamy out of his love composed a wonderful composition on Swamy Ramanuja called “DHATEE PANCHAKAM” which starts with the introductory sloka .. The Varthamana swamy descendant of Swamy MudaliAndaan was kind to recite this sloka at our residence during his recent visit , a clip presented below
and the sloka
Our moksham is not guaranteed only with the sambandham of any other acharya – but Ramanuja”.
Our daily chant is ” RamanujArya divyAgya vardhatAm abhi vardhatAm. ” It is only he who can command and all our acharyas and we follow his command . Swamy Ramanuja is the only acharya who was referred with respect and followed by all other schools in vaishnavism like chaitanya, vallabhacharya, Swamy narayan as the margadayee .
Uyya Ore Vazhi Udayavar Thiurvadi!
(only way for spiritual upliftment is to take refuge in Yathiraja Padhuka)
Adiyen Ramanuja dasan
Pictures courtesy : Google images uploaded by several devotees