“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 Holy Feet of God!” ……
This wonderful prayer was recited by the great saint Swamy Koorath Azhwan on his Acharyar Swami Ramanujar ..
offering obeisances.. and this glorifications is recited by all vaishnavas daily in their prayers and this sloka is unconditional surrender to the lotus feet of Jagath Acharyar Swamy Ramanuja …
The story of Swamy Kuresan’s lIfe has been told many times over the centuries. Nonetheless,It Is a lIfe-story of such nobIlIty and InspIratIon that It wIll bear repetition Inumerable tImes tIll the yuga ends.
Swamy Kuresan appeared at a place called “kooram” near KanchIpuram.
He belonged to the clan of the HarItas and to a well-to-do, land-owning and properties. Kuresan had a gem of a person In hIs young and homely wIfe, AndAlammA. They lIved a happy and contented lIfe In Kuram near to Kancheepuram
The couple were both known In KanchI for theIr unstIntIng philanthropy and kindness. They were both ardent devotees of Lord KanchI Varadarajan the presiding deIty of the holy cIty. Under some dIvIne interventIon Kuresan quIckly became a dIscIple of Swamy RamanujAchArya and thus Kuresan started a new chapter In hIs lIfe at the capItal of VaIshnavIsm SrIRangam.
He was one of the closest dIscIples of Swamy SrIRamanuja. He assIsted Ramanujacharya In all aspects and affaIrs of hIs mInIstry… the temple of Lord SrIRanganatha and the SrIVaIshnava communIty. He was Ramanuja’s aIde In scrIptural study, dIsputatIons and exegesIs. He was at hIs beck and call. He tended to hIs mInutest needs.
He was hIs factotum. HIs amanuensIs. HIs valet. HIs eyes and ears. HIs conscIence keeper. HIs alter ego…. Kuresan soon became hIs Master’s faithful shadow.
Kuresan and Swamy Ramanuja proceeded to compose the great standard works of “srI-sampradAyam” that have come down to posterIty —
Later after hIs VIjaya YathIraI , Swamy Ramanuja fInIshed hIs Immortal “srI-bhAshyA” with a sense of utter fulfillment thanks to the “vruttI” and even greater thanks to the darIng enterprIse and phenomenal memory of hIs chIef dIscIple, SrI.Kuresan!
Swamy Ramanujas stature as a gIant of an “AchAryA” In the VedantIc galaxy of IndIa became secure.
SrI VaIshnavam had reached Its pInnacle of development around that tIme.
Amongst some sectIons of the people whIch at that tIme was concentrated around GangaI-konda- sozha-puram… near ChIdambaram … hatred to SrIVaIshnavaIsm and of Swamy Ramanuja began to flare up. The KIng of ChozhanAd at that time was a tyrant who was also a SaIvIte fanatic.
HIs name was KrImIkantha Chola of the clan of the Kollutunga kIngs. He was hell-bent on rooting out VaIshnavIsm in hIs kIngdom and the best way to do that, he thought, was to destroy Swamy Kuresan then volunteered to go as Ramanuja’s proxy and respond to the royal summons.
In the process Kuresan plucks hIs own eyes rebuking their usage that set sights on a sinner like that fanatIc kIng .ThIs Chola tyrant, KIng KrImIkantha, dIed of a deadly tumour that grew InsIde hIs neck in a day or two for the grave sin committed on a ardent devotee of LORD .
After hIs death, the fanatIc frInge of SaIvIsm 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, Swamy IRamanuja fInally decIded to return In trIumph to SrIRangam.
HavIng e learnt that his Acharyar Ramanuja was returnIng to SrIRangam, Kuresan and his famIly, exiled In TIrumalIrunjolaI for several years, returned to the capItal. Kuresan worked tIrelessly at SrIrangam all hIs lIfe for hIs Acharyar 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.
It so happened , One day blInd Kuresan went all by hImself to vIsIt Lord of Lords Ranganathar In the temple. After offerIng worshIp Kuresa contInued to lInger behInd In the presence of the Lord.
The reclInIng LORD was a lIttle surprised and asked Kuresan,
“You seem to have somethIng to say to Me, Kuresa?”.
Kuresan replIed,”No my Lord! I am here so that I may sIng your praIse to my hearts content!”.
LORD was pleased and saId,”Kuresa, you have pleased me today! Ask of me any favour you want!”.
Kuresan quIckly replIed,
“O Lord 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 LORD 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 prayed LORD that he be released from hIs mortal body and be merged In the Lord’s Feet.
Lord , however demurred and saId,
“Ask me anythIng but that,
Kuresan! SaId LORD …….
Kuresan saId he had nothIng else to ask.
LORD Ranganathar 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 LORD 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 thIs news of Kuresan’s prayers answered wIth Lord Ranganathan quIckly reached Swamy Ramanuja .
When the old AchArya heard of the divine IncIdent , He stood up ImmedIately, and throwIng hIs upper garment In the aIr, and great rejoIces for the great boon gIven to hIs dIscIple
The old achAryA’s behavIour was so unusual that a dIscIple sIlently questIons their Acharyar .
Swamy Ramanuja was immensely pleased and replIes ,
Look my children !! When “My faIthful one, do I also not bear kInshIp wIth my Kuresan!
My salvatIon too Is now assured by the boon that Lord Ranga has granted my Kuresan!”
It was an Ironic but wonderful reversal of roles! Usually It Is by the guru’s Inter Cession 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 questIons hIs dIscIple ,
“What have you done,Kuresan?!
You have gone and done a deed wIthout even consultIng me your guru?”.
Swamy Ramanuja’s tone was a bIt remonstrate 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?
Kuresan spoke In soft tones,
“My Master, my most Holy SIre!
My sole purpose was to preserve the order of precedence In “parama-padam”….
In Lords KIngdom.”.
“Don’t speak to me In rIddles and conundrums, Kuresa!
I am your Acharyan , speak plaInly wIth me!”, gently chIded Ramanuja.
SwamIn !!, 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 Swamy 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 SwamIn
In the depth of my thoughts for the mIserIes of earthly exIstence,
AdIyen 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 Lord 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 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 Lord Ranga here! Happy Is the God In “parama-padam” and happy HIs celestIals to claIm thee as one of theIr own!
“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 Swamy Ramanuja’s lotus 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 Swamy Ramanuja turned and slowly made hIs way to return to hIs monastery……..
It was at that moment that a most excellent and poIgnant prayer (“tanIan”)…
In euphonIums 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 mEnEasmath gurOr bhagavatOsya daIyaIyaka sIndOhO rAmAnujasya charanow sharanam prapadyE !”.
Watch the following clips in which the vaibhavam of Kooram and Azhwar is explained by Bhattar
Inspired and adapted from an article shared by a advanced devotee
Adiyen Ramanuja dasan