Melukote – Ramanujachary excile

Published on Dec 06, 2014

At that time Sri Rangam was a part of the dominions of the Chola king, Koluttunga I, who had made his capital at Kancipuram. Although the Cholas had become devoted to Lord Narayana in the time of Yamunacarya, Koluttunga was a great devotee of Lord Siva and an avowed enemy of all Vaisnavas. It was his desire that all the devotees of the Lord give up their faith and surrender to Lord Siva alone. Lord Siva is the most powerful of the demigods, but still he is not on the level of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Thus all the Vaisnavas refused to abandon their worship of Lord Visnu, which satisfies the conclusion of all Vedic literature.
Koluttunga was well aware that Yatiraja was the greatest Vaisnavaacarya in India, and he reasoned that if he could induce him to worship Siva, then the other devotees would also abandon their faith. Even if Ramanuja would not agree to give up his worship of Lord Narayana, the king felt that he would still be able to establish the supremacy of the worshippers of Lord Siva by putting him to death. Accordingly, he sent messengers to Sri Rangam to invite Ramanuja, along with his guru, Mahapurna, to come to Kancipuram for an audience with the king. Little suspecting Koluttunga’s evil intentions, Yatiraja agreed to go with them, and entered the asrama to make his preparations for the journey.
Kuresa, however, was considering the matter deeply, and after a while he said to Ramanuja, “I feel certain the king wants you to come to Kancipuram simply to put an end to your life. Please do not go there. While you are living and preaching the true religion of devotion to the Lord, the entire earth is benefiting. For fallen souls like myself, who are scorched by the miseries of material existence, you are the only refuge. Let me go in your place. You take these white clothes of the grhasthaasrama, while I put on the dress of a sannyasi and go with the king’s men. In this way you may still be able to escape from their clutches.”
Yatiraja considered Kuresa’s words for a few moments and then agreed to the proposal. Dressing himself in his disciple’s clothes, he left the asrama unseen and made his way quickly to the forest to the west of the city. Govinda and the other devotees also left the city one by one and joined Ramanuja in the forest.

In the meantime, Kuresa, adopting the dress and danda of a sannyasi, presented himself along with Mahapurna before the king’s men, who then escorted the two Vaisnavas to Kancipuram, completely taken in by the trick. Mahapurna was also fully aware of the danger they faced, but he was now so old that he could not leave Sri Rangam with the other devotees and was perfectly happy to leave this world if that was the will of the Lord.
When they arrived at the palace, Kuresa and Mahapurna went before the king, who welcomed them with respect and saw to it that they were properly accommodated. Koluttunga had good reason to respect Ramanuja, for the acarya had delivered his sister from an evil ghost when the king was just a boy of eight years. However, this memory did nothing to alter his intention of either forcing Yatiraja to renounce the Lord or else taking away his life.
After a few days, the king assembled all of his Saivitepanditas and called for the two devotees, still believing Kuresa to be Yatiraja. When Kuresa and Mahapurna entered the assembly, Koluttunga addressed them in a respectful way, “0 holy men, please be seated. We have invited you to our city just to hear auspicious talks on spiritual topics. All the scholars of my court are assembled here, eager to converse with you, for your reputation has spread far and wide. Now please tell us, what is the duty for men like us?”
“0 King and panditas,” replied Kuresa unflinchingly, “Lord Visnu, the savior of all the worlds, is the Supreme Lord of all others. Therefore the duty of every man, whatever his position in life, is simply to worship Him with love and devotion. There is nothing more than this.”
On hearing these defiant words, King Kotuttunga flew into a rage and spoke angrily to Kuresa, “I had heard that you were a great scholar and holy man. But now I see that you are an imposter, for you worship Visnu instead of Siva, who is the Lord and destroyer of all the worlds. Now you must give up this foolishness. Hear from these great scholars the real conclusion of all the scriptures and then become a devotee of Lord Siva. If you are obstinate and ignore their pure teachings, then surely neither of you will live to see another dawn.”………

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