Swamy Parasara Bhattar, the famous acharya in Srivaishnavam Sampradaya was the eldest son of Swami Koorathazhvan. . Bhattar was the chief priest at Srirangam temple and appeared out of the grace of the Lord of Srirangam. Swami parASara bhaTTar appeared in this world through the divine aravanai prasadam (the prasadam that is offered to the Lord just before the nightly closing of the temple) of Namperumal, which was offered to Andal, the wife of swami Kurathazhvan. Not only by birth did swami bhattar, as he is addressed by all, show his greatness, but also by his sharp intelligence, kind actions and inspiring spiritual practices throughout his life.
A toughest enemy would also adore Bhattar on listening to him. Bhattar’s skill in answering a person’s question even before the questioner has finished asking the question was marvelous, and offers food for our thoughts , thus pondering the filthy mind which always rests in the ocean of egoistic approach . Two divine pastimes mentioned below awakens one to work on our approach and seek Lord’s lotus feet unconditionally .
Once Bhattar went to a temple with his disciples to worship his beloved Lord Ranganatha . Unfortunately, the shrine was closed to the general public. In those times, the closing of the shrine to the public was usually expressed through a divine servant shouting out the words “netrapaani, netrapaani”.
While this was happening, swami Bhattar was inside the enclosure created by the screen that separates namperumAL’s shrine and the outside. One of the close servants in the temple , without knowing the divine closeness of Bhattar with Lord Namperumal, shouted at Bhattar and uttered inappropriate words much to the surprise of the crowd . Bhattar simply smiled at him. but , the disciples of Bhattar couldnt accept and hence started to shout back at the person .
Bhattar looked at his disciples and politely asked them “Why are you taking revenge at me?”
The disciples were shocked and taken aback,. They were confused on hearing these unusual words from their guru Bhattar. One of the disciples, with a bit of courage, asked Bhattar “Swami, we are not taking revenge at you, but only at the person who inappropriately, misbehaved at you”.
Bhattar explained to them “The person at whom you are shouting has done a great favour to me . And by shouting at him, you are showing ungratefulness and are becoming a nuisance to him by shouting at him”. All the disciples were stunned; Bhattar simply continued – “It is the duty of every Sri Vaishnava, while worshipping the Lord, to speak out his own bad qualities and the Lord’s kalyana guNas.
Our Namperumal is very busy with so many utsavams and does not find enough time to listen to my bad qualities which are innumerable to be told completely. Given that this is the case, this swami serving the LORD has indirectly helped me and has taken up my task in his shoulder and put forth the bad qualities of me before the Lord and the Lord is also very pleased to hear. Why are you disturbing him from doing a favor to me?”
Swami Parasara bhattar, simply smiled at that person who committed the slip , took one valuable necklaces from his neck, and offered it to that swami and told him “Swami – Even though this will not equal the favor done by you for me, it is my humble offering to you”.Please keep it with you …
Once Swamy was proceeding to attend a festival in nearby temple away from Srirangam . He had to walk into deep bushes . En route he met a hunter. The hunter was spellbound looking at Bhattars composure and tejas . He immediately offered obesiances to Swamys lotus feet and offered a seat to Swamin . Srivaishnava acharyas had the unique trait of looking at everyone with respect and hence Bhattar also made him sit along with him .
A srivaishnava is a person who never cast anyone as low or high by how he looks or where he lives. The instinctive prejudice that has diseased the society was never in their midst and hence the respect and love from the common folk was visible .
Having taken his seat, Swamy, with his usual inquisitiveness, asked the hunter of the daily routine in and around the forest. The hunter was excited to have the audience of the distinguished seer and sharing dais with his holiness .He mentally rehearsed what he can reveal and decided to tell a strange incident that he came across .
He humbly said “Swamy, a few days back, I did not get food throughout the day. Due to pangs of hunger , I decided to find food at any cost and headed towards a rabbit habitat. I was overjoyed when I found a little baby rabbit .
Holding it by the ears, I started walking home. Having walked a few steps, I sensed something nibbling at my feet. To my surprise, I found the mother of this rabbit was at my feet. Its behavior was very strange. It kept nibbling at my toes and quickly ran around my feet and came back to the toes. This kept on happening for some time and I couldn’t put a foot forward.
A strange feeling entered in my heart. Feeling pity at the behavior of the Mother rabbit I suppose , my heart felt for the little one and her mother My mind stubbornly directed me to make my supper with the rabbit BUT my heart overruled the mind and demanded the release of the little rabbit.
I was overcome with compassion and remorse that I put down the child rabbit. Both the rabbits went around me a couple of times and merrily jumped may be blessing me for letting them go safely .And to my surprise, this feeling overpowered my hunger and I was feeling my stomach seemed full.
“Oh Lord Ranga!
How can we narrow down the concept of Surrender to a certain set of rules? This small incident where a man devoid of any shastric learning melts down to the surrender of a rabbit and forgoes his hunger.
A rabbit, absolutely devoid of any sort of tatva gnyanam instinctively surrenders at the feet of the hunter and seeks the release of its child! How can unconditional surrender have stringent rules?
It is a simple yet highly effective concept for the mankind to learn from the rabbit to surrender seeking Lords Lotus Feet unconditionally .
Adiyen Ramanuja dasan
Pics credits : Google images