Pathway to Paramapadham – Post 4

Srimathe Ramanujaya Namaha
Sri Rangapriya Divya Padukabhyam Namaha
Song Ramanuja Kilikanni: https://youtu.be/FFxPwGUqFAQ                              
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Sri Ramanuja kept his focus on fulfilling Sri Alavandhar’s three wishes. The first wish was to write a commentary on the Brahmasutras. The second was to name a fitting person as Parasara to honor the contributions of the sage Parasara. The final wish was to write a commentary on Nammalwar’s Thiruvaimozhi. 
Sri Ramanuja decided to write a commentary on the Brahmasutras. He was told that Bodhayana Vrithi Grantha would help him to gain better insight and understanding to write his commentary. The king of Kashmir had one copy of Bodhayana Vrithi Grantha. So, Sri Ramanuja and Sri Koorathalwan went all the way to Kashmir to get the book. Much against the wishes of the palace scholars, the Kashmir king gave the book to Ramanuja. While returning to Srirangam, the Kashmir scholars waylaid Sri Ramanuja and Sri Koorathawan and seized the book Bodhayana Vrithi. Sri Ramanuja was deeply disappointed. But Sri Kooratha Alwan, one of Sri Ramanuja’s prime disciples consoled him and said that he had read the entire book overnight and could reproduce verbatim!
In Srirangam, Sri Ramanuja wrote a commentary on the Brahmasutras. Godess Saraswathi was so pleased with his work that she named it as “Sri Bhashyam.” The pre-fix “Sri “was added to honor his great contribution. She also conferred him the honorific title “Bhashyakarar.” This is the magnum opus of his works. He clearly expounded that the universe has three entities:
1.      Chith/ Jivathma (Living soul)
2.      Achith (Nonliving elements)
3.      Paramathma (God)
Jivathma is the life force of the body. Paramathma is the life force of the entire universe. Paramathma is the supreme soul and both Chith and Achith are constituents of Paramathma. In Sri Bhashyam, he also discussed in detail about the kalyana gunas (auspicious qualities) of Perumal. Sri Bhashya helped to spread the thought of Srivaishnavism.
As desired by Alavandhar, Sri Ramanuja named his dear disciple Kooratha Alwan’s son as Parasara. Sri Ramanuja chose to name this child as Parasara because he was born out of the divine grace of Lord Ranganatha! Here is the story.
Every day, Koorathalwar would go on uncha vruthi (accepting alms for food for the day.) But one day he could not go because there was a heavy downpour. So, there was no food for the couple that day. Although hungry, Koorathalwan calmly retired for the day. But his wife Andal was very sad that her husband was hungry. When she heard the temple bells ring to announce that food was being offered to Perumal, she thought to herself “Oh Lord you are happily enjoying a feast but my husband is hungry.” Lord Ranganatha heard her plea and sent home prasadham. Koorathalwan guessed what may have happened and confirmed with his wife that she had appealed to God. After partaking the divine prasadham, two beautiful children were born to them. They were named as Vyasa and Parasara to honor the great sages. Later they became very famous as Sri Vyasa Bhattar and Sri Parasara Bhattar.
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Sri Ramanuja wanted to fulfil Alanandhar’s final wish. He himself did not want to write a commentary on Thiruvaimozhi because he felt that people may respectfully step back from writing any more commentaries. He felt that Alwar’s pasurams which are emotional outpourings need to be experienced and expressed by many. So, he was looking for an ideal candidate who could take up this challenging assignment. He found one in Pillan, the illustrious son of Periya Thirumalai Nambi. Pillan studied Divyaprabandham and Vedanta under Sri Ramanuja himself. Sri Ramanuja asked him to write the first vyakyanam (commentary) for Thiruvaimozhi (Nammalwar’s work). This commentary is equivalent to Vishnu Puranam which has 6000 verses and is called as Arayira Padi. Pillan became renowned as Thirukurugaippiran Pillan and is celebrated as the intellectual brain child of Sri Ramanuja. This work was followed by few more commentaries on Thiruvaimozhi.
To be continued… Next