The compassionate hearts of the saints deplore the fate of the men who are turned away from LORD. Such compassion was once expressed in the most tender heart of the greatest srivaishnava saint Sri Koorathazhwan . He renounced his entire wealth and took asylum under the lotus feet of Swamy Ramanuja. Kuresa lived by alms because he had given away all his wealth at Kuram a village near Kancheepuram and had come to Srirangam to live with Swamy Ramanuja. He helped Swamy Ramanuja in writing Sri Bashya. He accompanied him to Kashmir, got the manuscript of the Bodhayanavritti, retained it in his fabulous memory. Swamy Ramanuja dictated his commentary Sri Bashya which was written down by Kuresa. It was Kuresa who along with Mahapurna went to the tyrant king Krimanta Chola Palace to safeguard Sri Vaishnava darsanam. He blinded himself, unwilling to yield to the fanatic Chola King’s dictates.
Elders advocate a Vaishnava has to practice the eight atma gunas which take him to godhead quickly . The gunas include Mercy, forbearance, kindness, shedding of ego, not to be proud of wealth and observance of patience. Among these another duty of the Sri Vaisnavas, is feeding the poor and helping all the Lord’s creations in all the directions. A true Vaisnava should have a tender heart and feel the sufferings of the needy people and the suffering of all creatures as his own suffering. He should try to redress their grievances and difficulties face by the utmost possible help. This great quality has been strongly advocated by our Poorvacharyas.
Koorathazhwan practiced all the above with humility . There are many divinepastimes in his journey to godhead which inspires any human being . Few among them have been shared in several discourses .
One day Koorathazhwan was walking along the bunds of river cauvery. He suddenly heard a distress cry of a frog which was taken as a prey by a snake. The little frog was in the jaws of the snake croaking most piteously in death agony .On hearing this sound Koorathazhwan fell down and was telling others how can I act on the call of the frog to save its life. Such was the tender heart of Koorathazhwan.
On another day Koorathazhwan had his morning bath at the river cauvery. As he was returning he saw a lady struggling to put the water pot on her head. Even though Koorathazhwan had his bath at not knowing to which caste the lady belongs he promptly went and helped her to put the waterpot on her head. Orthodox men would not like to go near persons of other caste and help them as they have to again take a bath, and carryout certain samskaras. For Koorathazhwan showering of mercy was superior to the other activities.
Once Kuresa walked into a plantain groove to take plantain leaves for feeding the Prasada to the assembled devotees . He went with his disciple into the garden. The plantain leaves were cut from the tree and water was oozing out from the edges of the plantain tree. Koorathazhvan could not bear this scene .He swooned and fainted . He regained his consciousness only after some time when his disciple attempted . The puzzled disciple asked the reason for such an expression of pain. Kurattazhwan replied My child !! I could not bear to see the crying of the plantain tree while cutting the leaves. From these incidents, we have to appreciate the natural and deep tenderness which Koorathazhwan had towards others, whether it was men or animal or a tree..
Kooresa’s resignation to Lord’s will was so full and unqualified that he had no will of his own even in the ordinary concerns of his household . One day his wife Andal remonstrated with him for having taken no thought about the weddings of their sons Sri Bhattar and Sri RamaPillai who were eligible for Gruhathashram.
Kuresa replied , Oh ! Is that so ! Fine then ….. Adiyen shall submit to the Lord ….
Kooresa stood before the LORD and was in a deep thought consulting his will . Lord asked Kuresa what was he contemplating about . Kooresa begged for his mercy .
Lord replied .. OK ! Kooresa … This affair is now my own ..I shall see the boys are properly matched ..
The very next day some gentry brought the good news of the prospective brides for his sons .
That was Swamy Kuresa who submitted everything to the divine will ….
Moliyaikkatakkum perumpukalan vancamukkurumpam
Kuliyaikkatakkum nam Koorathazhwan carankutiyapin
Paliyaikkatattum Iramanucan pukalpatialla
Valiyaikkatattal enakkini yatum varuttamanre.
Adiyen Ramanuja dasan
Photos credits : Sriman Shreekrishna and advanced devotees