Those were the glorious days when the most revered Acharyar Swamy Yamuna Acharyar was living . A great devotee Nambi also lived near srirangam . One day, Swamy Yamunacharya was on the way to a village . To his surprise he saw Nambi who was working in the field was drinking the mud water in the field with his two hands. Yamunacharya was amazed to see this action of Nambi. He sent one of his disciples to inquire about his strange act with Nambi .
Nambi with all humility answered Swamin !! philosophically this body goes into this mud (earth) after our death and this body made up of Panchabhootas has to rest at the place it originated , hence my taking mud water should not amuse you .
Swamy Yamunachary was hearing his statement with interest . He understood that Nambi was almost like Satakopa, who had eradicated with anger, the Sata vayu before it enters into his body and became Satakopa our Nammalvar only . He understood this great personality was non other than our Swamy Nammazhwar .
Hence he called him Maran Err Nambi.
Swamy Yamunachary pleased with his answer , invited Nambi to join his ashram . Nambi was touched …. He said Oh Acharyaa !! , being born in a panchama varna my qualification doesn’t suit to be amongs’t learned disciples .
Swamy Yamunacharya replied , My child … Nambee …..there is no caste-bar for a Brahmajnani and he must join him without any obstacle.
Thanking his Gurudeva for the mercy … , He accompanied him to Srirangam and arranged his residence near his Ashram . Nambi was overjoyed and served his Acharyar with unstinted devotion . He started attending classes regularly and relishing the esoteric truths . It was a great privilege to be amongst the great disciples of Swamy Yamunacharya. Nambi’s joy knew no bounds. He made a small idol, a replica of his Acharya in clay and started worshiping with deep devotion . He was always in the mood of serving his Acharyar and was thus immersed in the discourses .
Once , looking at the small hall where the daily discourses were conducted , Acharyar decided to enlarge the Hall in a new place and thus initiated construction . He fixed an auspicious muhurtha for inaugurating the New Hall and conduct a class . Nambi came to know about the New Hall . He was keen to visit and do some service there . He managed to reach the New Hall and was amazed to see the large hall well ventilated . He walked inside the Hall with prestige for being a student of the great school .
Yamunacharya came to know through his disciples about Nambi visiting the Hall . Pleased with the happening , Yamunacharya cancelled the inaugural ceremony and informed that there is no need for any ceremony now , as Nambi’s foot sanctified the hall . He decided conduct the discourse immediately on the same day
Thus , Maran Err Nambi earned that much of affection from his Acharya.
Once Swamy Yamunacharya was suffering from a painful disease called the carbuncle. Carbuncle, known as the King of Boils, Rajapilavai, in Tamil, is caused due to inflammation of tissues in the back and neck. The shooting pain emanating from the fast-spreading boil would be unbearable.
Antibiotics and painkillers were unknown in those days and it is difficult to imagine the kind of pain the disease inflicted . Swamy Alavandar was suffering silently. He did not even let his disciples know about the disease lest they should be worried. Perianambi and Thirukoshtiyur Nambi the senior most disciples alone knew.
One day Maraneri Nambi went to Acharyars ashram . He insisted that he should see his Acharyar . The diciples resisted . But Maraneri was adamant. So he was let in. Acharyar attempted to cover his pain and welcomed him with a smile.
He thought that Nambi must have come to clear his doubts in his lessons. The best way out was to dispose Maraneri as early as possible without letting him find about his disease. Maraneri came into the room and prostrated at his Acharya’s feet.
The Acharyar spoke “May you be blessed, Maraneri Nambi. Please get up. You see I have a lot of things to do today. Please tell me your doubts fast. We don’t have much time.
Nambi replied …
“ Acharya ,…
I have been your disciple for decades. Have I asked anything from you?”
“Today I have come to you with a desire. I have set my mind on that object. And I can’t live without that. You have that with you. Can you give that to me?
“It’s yours Maraneri. Whatever it is.”
“Thanks, Acharya .”
Maraneri ran out to fetch a silver vessel containing the holy water. Yamunacharya was puzzled.
“Please Gurudeva my Gurudeva show me your hands.”
“What is this for, Maraneri?”
“When you gift a piece of land you need to solemnize the gift with the holy water, right?”
“Yes, you are right.
You want the mutt’s land near the river kaveri .
Well, it’s yours. Take it.” “No, Acharya.”
“Then..’ “Please repeat whatever I am going to say.
“I, Yamunaithuraivar , do hereby gift to my disciple Maraneri Nambi, the Rajapilavai disease which I have now, along with the pain, the suffering and all the after-effects.”
The Acharyar was shocked .. He roared …
“What the hell you are doing, you idiot? This is not a game. This water is holy. And if I repeat whatever you said, then you will have the disease, you moron. The disciple innocently pleads
…. Acharyaa Don’t ever say the words again.” “You are one of the greatest Acharyas, the world has ever seen. You have promised to give whatever I want.
How can you go back on your word, Gurudeva?”
The Acharyar replied My child … “But that’s ridiculous, Nambi.”“What is ridiculous, Acharya? You are our Guru. You have a hundred disciples. A thousand people come to you every day to listen to your words. Even the Lord in the temple is looking forward to see you every day.“How can you afford to be confined to your bed? And by your kind, wise words you are removing our pains. Pains which have been following us for millions of births. How can you suffer in pain, Acharya?
“I am a low-born worm, Gurudeva.
By accepting me as your disciple you made a gift to me which is worth more than the whole universe.
“Now, Gurudeva, please.. I beg of you.. please allow me to do my part. If you refuse to gift your disease to me , then I will have no option than to die at your feet. It’s your call.” Alavandar melted. He poured the water on his hand and chanted the appropriate mantra.
“Please bear with me, Gurudeva. I have one more request.”
Alavandar looked at his disciple through a screen of tears.
“Let this transaction be not known to anybody else in the world.”
Alavandar was happy and sad at the same time. Happy that he had such a loving disciple and sad because he was forced to give so much of pain and suffering to such a nice man.
Maraneri Nambi went out as a happy man.
Peria Nambi met him outside the room.
“Why are you so happy, my friend?”
“After many decades of discipleship it was only today that our Guru was kind enough to give me a precious prasadam. And that too only after I compelled him to do so.”
Perianambi did not understand a word of what his friend said.
Alavandar’s recovery was quite dramatic after that day. A week later Maraneri Nambi was down with carbuncle. It is said that he suffered for three months from shooting pain. Whenever he was in pain he would only chant the name of his Gurudeva and the pain subsided ..
Because his Guru’s blessings were fully on him and because the Lord was moved by his selfless love Maraneri Nambi recovered from the disease sooner than the usual time..
Swamy Mareneri Nambi ThiruAdigale sharanam
Adiyen Ramanuja dasan.
Pics credits : Google images