Thursday, October 21, 2010

Journeying through The Ramayana Day 4 @ Nandigram


This was one of the most emotional experiences of the trip. This is a small township about 40 kms from Ayodhya. The significance of this place is that this is where -
     bharatha came and did paduka pattabhishekam.  
     hanuman came just in time to stop bharatha from entering the fire. As he realized what a great rama devotee hanuman was , and how much he had helped rama, Bharatha  spontaneously hugged him.

     sri ramabiran came back from exile and was received by all - specially bharatha. Then it was here he shed his hermit clothes  after 14 years and took on  his royal robes, on route to his coronation.

The temple is a small one  but it vibrates with the bhakthi of Bharatha and Rama’s abiding faith and love for him. As you enter the temple, across a round hall, right in front is the main vigraham of Bharatha hugging Hanuman for bringing him glad tidings of Rama’s return to ayodhya.  The tearful joy of Bharatha is only matched by the humility and affectionate servitude of Hanuman. The expressions are so real and the figures so life like that for a moment one is transported back to witness that moment in Time. And Time stands still and I stop to catch my breath!

Then we go underground by a small narrow flight of steps to cone into a similar round hall. Here, there is a bharatha sannidhi on one side which is looking with great affection and respect at the Paduka he received from Rama which is kept in the opposite sannidhi. 

There is also a  sannidhi for hanuman here.

Dazed at the monumental significance of this place, we blundered our way out to witness another beautiful sight - that of the archakas having decked up therezhendur perumal, as Rama with Sita at the woods with Bharatha at their feet receiving the Paduka. It was a beautiful sight. 

Swamigal  gave a very moving speech on what was the difference between bhakthi of lakshmnana & bharatha – former showing seshathvam & the latter, paratantrayam. Lakshmana’s bhakthi of  seshathvam was such that he would not leave Rama even for a minute – He could never bear the separation. He would do anything it takes to be with him even if it meant going against the will of Rama. He believed that he was there to be of service to Rama. Whereas, Bharatha’s Paratantrayam, was about always being there to fulfil Rama’s wish – no  matter what he wanted personally or what hardships he would have to undergo to ful fill them. His will or desires just did not exist away from Rama’s. Swamigal also spoke of the few moments before Hanuman arrived at Nandigram. In those critical moments, Bharatha asked Shatrugna to light  a funeral pyre for Him since it seemed that Rama had forsaken him. On hearing this, Shatrugna breaks down and asks if this is what he was born for, to lose two brothers to the exile and help the last one immolate himself. Did Bharatha not have any mercy on him? The entire discourse was such a moving experience that I don’t think there were many of us who were not weeping .In fact swamigal himself was moved in delivering this discourse.

Anyhow, we all trooped back into the buses with a happy heart that now that Rama had returned to Aodhya, all was finally well with the princes and Rama would begin his Ramarajyam. 

To view photos of Nandigram in Rama Anu Yatra click on:

Journeying through The Ramayana Day 3 & 4 @ Ayodhya

Day 3

Sarayu Snanam at Ram Ghat

Ayodhya - City that cannot be won over in war. Though it was early days into the yatra, to me reaching Ayodhya was THE most important point of the yatra. Imagining that Rama and Sita would have walked these very places that we were in, was enough to make this stop a momentous one. 

We reached Ayodhya around 4.30 am tired from the long journey. But the excitement of  reaching this punya bhoomi got us on our feet in a jiffy and we soon got ready to leave for Sarayu snanam. As we approached the Ram Ghat, we found that the water was as calm as the Ganga of yesterday was turbulent. She seemed to have the calmness and shantham of Rama himself. Only it was clayey and slippery. As I entered the cool waters of Sarayu,  I thought of Rama’s pain and sorrow on being separated from Sita in the Uttarakanda. It was as if the waters were muddy and unclear since the Lord's heart itself was lost in the agony of separation. Anyhow, we went in for a quick dip. The water was cool and felt nice despite the clayeyness of the water and the sinking feet, which I felt would soon get set there itself as the clay took hold of it!

We got ready in a hurry and then waited for swamis upanyasam which was announced at Ram Ghat. But search as we might, we couldn't find it and missed it due to some miscommunication. We went back to our rooms for breakfast and then proceeded to see Rama Janma bhoomi. 

Rama Janma Bhoomi

We all assembled at the lobby for instructions. It was like getting prepared for entering a high security prison. There is heavy security everywhere and all of us prepared to get ready for it. Chains, pins, paper, purse – even the clips on our tags were removed and kept. There were some emotional moments when the women were asked to remove even their mangalasutras. We all point blank refused and said that we didn’t wish to see Rama in that case. Anyhow, all that apart, dust soon settled and we were on our way.

Aravindalochanan Swamigal on the previous night had mentioned how, before the Babri Masjid incident, Muslims were not using the mosque and that Pooja and all the essentials for Rama  were happening. However, thanks to the unnecessary action, today Rama is sitting under the tarpaulin and all his bhakthas cannot even bring him any Prasad to offer nor can they bring any prayer book or papers.  

Anyhow, coming back to our visit, there is heavy security with checking at about 5 points. The army is everywhere with uniform and guns. We pass through a maze of caged passages. My thought went  back to my 

visit to
 Mathura - wasnt it strange that at  the place where the Lord was born free as a prince, we were coming to see him in cages. And in Mathura where he was born in a prison with his parents chained and caged, we visited him as princes. Right royally! Back at Ayodhya, we were even told not to make noise - but as we chanted his bhajans in low voices, the guard outside the cage asked us why were not singing loudly. When we told hm that we were told to not make noise, he told us, "Who can stop you from chanting His name? What are you afraid of? Sing loudly!!"  Overjoyed, we all sang His name loudly and a nama fever set into the line as the tempo picked up! After a long winding walk through caged paths, we finally reach the sanctum. Despite the tents, security, guns and the grilled fences, when we reached the exact spot, it was an emotional moment. All of us were loudly singing bhajans and namavali of the Lord. When we reached the sanctum, we were asked to move on but not rushed at that point -  I  stood there tearfuly, imagining Dasaratha and Kausalya  and their joy in holding in their arms the much awaited  son born to them after 60,000 years. I strained to see the idol of the Lord through my tears - It was black and quite small. And before I knew it , we were past the sanctum. We began our walk back and all along to our surprise we found the gaurds very encouraging and friendly. One of them even showed us the well from which sita drew water. He was a tamilian ; another smiled at us and responded as he was a malayali. Just steping on that exact soil where Rama was born made me very emotional. The Lord took all this trouble and pain in a life time to come down from His comfort just for us!!!? How much He cares and how eager He is to bring us into His fold! As I looked back on the tarpaulin sheets, I also felt a twinge of agony that thanks to our small measly egos, the Lord has been sitting under a tarpaulin sheet imprisoned away from his devotees, exposed to the very elements that He has created. I came out of the Ramjanmabhoomi enclosure preoccupied and sad. 

Hanuman Gaddi

We came out of the rama Janma Bhoomi and made our way to Hanuman Gaddi. This is a very  old temple on top of a small hillock. It’s a small but cute. We have to climb steep steps. The Hanuman here is supposed to be very powerful and it is one of the important temples in Ayodhya

Dasharath Bhavan

We walked for a late afternoon upanyasam at Dasharath Bhavan. This is quite close to Hanuman Gaddi. This temple was originally the Durbar for Raja Dasarath.  This is where  the children were brought along with their newly wedded wives.  It has a beautiful sannadhi with all the 4 kids and their wives. The late afternoon aarati is an elaborate affair with bhajans. We all joined in with our own songs and nama sankirtan. 

Lakshman ghat

The visit to this place happened around late afternoon. It was a beautiful ghat on the banks of Sarayu, with a small temple for Rama Lakshmana & Sita on the top. The Sarayu flows here with full force  and but is peaceful. It looks as if it is catching the sad mood of the moment when at this very place, Lakshmana entered the Sarayu to go to Vaikuntham.. He must have been so sad to leave Rama behind; he had never in his life ever been separated from Him. The Ramayana mentions that when the princes were born and put into separate cradles, lakshmana cried all the time till he was put in the same cradle as Rama. Such was his closeness. Imagine the  pain he would have felt when Rama asked him to stay away from him, since that is equal to death for Lakshmana! The visit to this ghat made me pensive yet gave a sense that I was experiencing the finishing line of the Ramayana.

Guptar ghat

This is one of the most important temples at Ayodhya on the banks of Sarayu. The Sarayu is very expansive here and seems almost like ganges. Except that  she is a lot more serene and calm. There is majesty to her here that I didn't experience at any other ghat of Sarayu. Probably because it signifies the exact place that Rama discarded all his robes, took on maravoli and sent every single soul in ayodhya to vaikuntam. He then followed all of them, himself . So desolate was the city that Luv & Kush  had to bring people from outside to re establish ayodhya as a city. The beautifully mesmerising sunset at the ghat, added to the whole melancholy of the moment. 
On the banks of such a beautiful  ghat, is a majestic temple of Rama. The temple houses beautiful images of Rama with Sita with many saligrama murthies. The sanctum is on a huge marble platform. With large steps in front of the sanctum, leading to a huge marble courtyard, the place has a tremendous sense of space and peace. 

Kanaka Bhavan
This was the last stop for the day. In the days of Rama, this was a palace made completely of gold. They say here, that it is the palace that Dasaratha built for Sita and Rama soon after their wedding.  It was their Antahapuram -private chanmbers so to say. Today only the main mandapam is made of gold. It houses 4 pairs of rama-sita.  It is clearly visible even from the main entrance as we enter the temple. In order to reach the mandapam, however, one has to walk across  a beautifully engraved, very large marble courtyard. The sense of space is immense and a stillness enters the soul as we move towards the mandapa; this, despite the noise and hub of people milling around the courtyard. The deities are beautifully decorated and it is hard to take your eyes off them.    
What is even more endearing is the cute hanuman. He looks tucked into his dress and hands that bless. The mandapam has in its middle a small mandapam with rama’s foot print in marble.

Hanuman Bagh

This is a dharamashala with a lovely Hanuman sannidhi, tucked away in one of the by lanes. It is also the place where the  food was served on both days. There is a beautiful Hanuman seated here. A huge courtyard with a huge marble hall came in very handy for meals. There was also a sense of peace in the place that wanted one to stay with the plate a little longer. 

Day 4

Vashisht kund

The day started with a visit to the Vashisht Kund. This  is a beautiful temple which signifies the place where the 4 princes came to do gurukula vasam. That is,  the 4 princes stayed here, at the Vashisht hermitage, to study. In fact so did all the kings before rama.  The temple has lovely images of Vasishisht and young Rama and his brothers which are almost life like. Looking at them one can actually imagine the 4 princes sitting around their Guru and learning. They look so eager to get on with their learning. At the basement of the main sannidhi are multiple sannadhis of Saptarishi, Vasisht with his wife Arundhathi, Bhuma devi as a cow, Hanuman, etc. When you come out of this undergorund sannadhi into an open courtyard, there are steps that go further down to  a water tank. The miracle is that the water level in this tank changes with the water inflow into the  Sarayu. There is no direct visible connection to the river yet the tank is influenced by how much water the Sarayu carries. This small tank which can be seen from the top.  It is a very serene and calm place. 

Valmiki Bhavan

Though we saw Valmiki Ashram at Bittoor, according to the Uttara Kanda of Ramayana, when Rama was done with listening to Luv and Kush singing teh Ramayana, he wanted to honour their Guru who had taught them all this. So he asked them to bring their Guru to the court; which they did in a very short time. It seems to indicate that Valmiki must haev moved in closer to Ayodhya in order to be with teh boys  and hence there is valmiki’s ashram near the erstwhile ayodhya which now is in the heart of the city. 

The temple is magnificient marble structure. It is beautifully engraved with paintings on marble. It also has all the 24000 slokas of valmiki Ramayana etched in marble on the walls. The entire temple is a large hall with pillars with the slokas just surrounding you. Its like the Ramayana has come to life with its author standing majestically in the centre with the 2 lovely cherubic boys Luv & Kush. Its an amazing sight - almost as if the boys have just returned triumphantly with their Guru to present before Rama! 

Ammaji Mandir

A strange sight! A sense of home! A beautiful small south indian styled temple, right in the middle of Ayodhya! It was unbleievable! This temple, close to Sarayu,  is more than a 100 years old; it was constructed by  Yogi Sri Parthasarathy Ayyangar at the very spot where the Ikshavaku kings had the Ranganatha shrine . He was a great scholar on theology, traditions etc. The main shrine he constructed was that of Sri sita, Rama with Lakshmana. There are also separate shrines for Sri Ranganatha, Hanuman, Sri Satagopa, Sri Ramanuja and Sri Manavala Mamunigal.  Sri Yogi soon created a trust by name Sri Sarasvathi Bhandar and donated all his wealth to the Trust for the purpose of maintaining this Ram Temple in Ayodhya. Even today, this temple is run on the income derived from the properties left over by the Yogi. 

It is said that Smt. Singaramma, the wife of Sri Yogi, had a dream of the Uthsava Vigrahas of Sri Rama and Seetha being buried in a dilapidated temple in the village of Thiruppullani(Dharbasayanam). When the couple went there they found the dilapidated temple as well as the Sri moorthys. With the permission of the King of Ramanathapuram they took the Vigrahas with them to Ayodhya and built a temple for Sri Rama. With  the passing away of Yogi within  a few years after moving into Ayodhyahis wife took up the responsibility of completing the temple and organizing 

Nithya Aradhanams, Uthsavams etc, the shrine itself is popularly known as AMMAJI MANDIR. There is also a stone inscription in the temple proclaiming the temple as SETHU RAMA MANDIR identifying its origins.

Vanamamalai jeeyar  

A bonus on the Ayodhya visit, was the darshan of Vanamamalai Jeer swamigal who was on a chathurmasa vratham at Ayodhya. He was quite unwell, yet he took the time off to bless all of us and give us mantrakshadai. He also gave a discourse on the importance of Ayodhya and its mahima. The archakas had also given us a feast for our eyes by creating a beautful visual of Ram-Lala with Kausalya.    

This ended the Ayodhya visit. We got ready to 

move on to  Nandigram.

For photos of Ayodhya in  Rama Anu Yatra click on

Monday, October 11, 2010

Journeying through The Ramayana Day 2 @ Bittoor

Bath at Ganges

This is a small sleepy village which was spectacularly green and lush with the rivers Tamasa and Ganges flowing on two ends of the village. While the Tamasa is almost non-existent and just like a wide canal, the Ganges was overflowing and in full flow. It was a pleasure to watch her flow swirling and turning as she went. There were many bathing ghats and all were filled with people. Yet there was peace and calm – the serenity of the place seemed to seep into the very soul. Overhanging Peepul trees added to the whole beauty of the place.  We went to the last ghat crossing the Brahma temple, and all the other ghats, since this was the only ghat that had chains.  The Ganges had a lot of power and flow and almost pushed us as we stepped in. As Varad and I got in, we could feel the power of the Ganges. It stumped me to imagine how Bhageeratha could have lead such a powerful force to follow him meekly!! We had a great snanam at the ghat as we found that Swamy mama and Renu akka were also at the ghat.  Together we took sankalpam and then took a dip. After changing and doing all the nityakram anushtanams, Mama did thirumanjanam for my Krishna along with all his perumals and saligrama moorthies. By the time the worship was done, a whole lot of bhakthas joined the prayer and it was a beautiful feeling to be praying to our nitya perumals on the banks of the Ganges.  Swamy Velukkudi Krishnan with his wife also bathed at the same ghat and swept a passing glance at the pooja that was happening.  We then walked back the 3 kms towards the college where lunch was arranged and from there on took a long walk to Valmiki Ashramam.

Valmiki Ashram

The hot sun bore down on us as we walked. As I walked I wondered what the ashram would be like. Would it spell out the magnificence of the epic or after all these years would it have gone to seed? I wasn’t to be disappointed – As we approached this beautiful ashram it was lush greenery and peace everywhere. Our joy was compounded as we find that the Luv-Kush janmasthan was to be visited below,  before we climbed the few steps leading up to the ashram.

Luv-Kush Janmasthan: This was a beautiful temple that had a nice feel to it. As soon as we entered the large hall, exactly opposite the entrance, were the idols of Rama, Sita and Lakshmana. It was as if they had stood up to receive & welcome all of us. To the right were the idols of Rama & SIta with the twins. To the left was the idol of Hanuman.  The temple had an instant calming effect that cooled the hot senses and made us all feel so rested after the long walk.

We soon climbed up to the ashram. This had a whole lot of small temples and enclosures that brought the whole Bala Kandam & Uttara kandam of the Ramayana to life!!

Sita Rasoi: This is exactly in front of the Valmiki Sannidhi. It’s a small kitchen with some tools and shelves. One can’t imagine how the queen of the  universe, worked here to rough up a meal for her children!!  It was heart rending!

Pracheen Sita Mata Mandir:  This  is said to be an old temple with an ancient idol of Sita. The idol is very difficult to identify and the features are almost indistinguishable.

Valmiki Mandir:  This is the centre piece of the ashram with a large courtyard. The sage sits majestically at the end of the room facing the entrance. It is as if Brahma has just left and Valmiki has just sat down in a meditative trance visualizing the entire Ramayana. There is tremendous peace and tranquility on his face. The middle of the room has a sivalingam.

Valmiki In His Purva Ashramam As A Robber:  This sannidhi has Valimiki dressed in matted hair and saffron clothes but tied unlike a sage. This is supposed to be his idol as a robber, before he became a sage.  

Sita Mata Mandir- One needs to go ahead in the ashram and climb down a flight of steps from valmiki ashramam to go to this temple. It is nestled amongst trees and a garden next to a satsang mandir. The entire place is calm as there is not a soul around me. Fellow Yatrikas are yet to discover this place. To me, in the entire ashram, this was probably the most beautiful place. The idol of sita as a mother is THE most beautiful one that I have ever seen. It is as if the sculptor took all maternal love and instincts in this world and poured it into this form. She is wearing a saree with her head covered. Her palms are on the heads of her 2 sons on either side. There is a gentle smile on her face as if she realizes that her boys are shy and don’t want to meet us. And the boys have this petrified but curious look on their face as they cling to her on either side.  It’s a heart rending sight as you realize that these children should have been playing in the lap of luxury as young princes.

Tying of Hanuman : There is also a they huge tree just outside the Valmiki Sannidhi to which hanuman was tied by the boys. That is why The luv kush janmasthan also has hanuman  sannidhi.

Sita Pataal Pravesh : There is a small pit that marks the point where Sita entered the earth after handing over the boys to Rama in order to prove her purity.

All the swamigals began the Valmiki Ramayana Parayanam (some sargas of balakandam as well as uttara kanda) at the Valmiki Sannidhi.

Soul-satiated at having made a good beginning, we took the long walk back to the bus. On the way, we interacted with the simple local folk and soaked the atmosphere. Dinner was loaded on the bus itself and we soon began our journey towards Ajodhya.

Over dinner on the way, as we ate, we spoke to  co-yatrika, a young software professional called Prakash from London. It was amazing to see such faith in a so young a person – it turned out that he had been a non-believer who began to read only to question and refute the believers. In the process, he realized that science was incapable of explaining all phenomena and that there had to be a God who can only be experienced and not attained through logic and reasoning. Today he has become a staunch devotee himself. He mentioned that the turning point for him was the reading of Swami Vivekananda's Chicago speech at the World Congress of Religions.  We also spoke to Raghuvir who became emotional when speaking about guru kripay. I asked him how I could turn my face from the Lord to my guru - I don’t yet feel the same attachment for him as I do for the Lord. To which he replied with a smile, you don’t have to do anything, you have already done what is required- Prappati. Nothing  else is not required now – it will happen in course of time.

Following dinner, Aravindalochanan Swamigal came with us on the bus,  gave a pravachanam on Rama Jananam. He spoke of many rather rare nuances which most people would not know. For example, why did Dasaratha have to do the Putrakameshti yagam after doing the Ashwameda yagam, which is superior.  It was a very interesting pravachanam and thus the day ended on a satisfied note. Sleep soon took over after the pravachanam.

Adiyen Devika

 ( To see photos of this click on )

Friday, October 8, 2010

Journeying through the Ramayana - Day 1 & 2 - On the Way to Kanpur

To Warangal by bus

The trip began with excitement of beginning what I hoped was likely to be a beautiful spiritual journey. Hopefully, we would return from this trip with some ounce of saranagathi seeping in; with some love for perumal taking root in our hearts.

The whole night before the journey slipped away in preparation for leaving early at 4.30 am. We locked up and drove by cab to the pickup point. The whole gang was on the bus as it came in and there was excitement in the air of meeting old friends again.

As the bus moved on with us, I began an early japam – It was rejuvenating - wish I had done it more often. The early morning air brought freshness to the mind and soul. Nalini and Kalyani mami began with music straightaway at 5 am!

Sleep took over soon and we reached Warangal before we knew it . The tiredness vanished when we actually woke up & saw all our old friends. We hit the ground running for the yatra as we got into a discussion at the platform, on the play of karma. Kalyani mami spoke of a pravachanam where swamigal spoke of how what we have done is what we pay for. A beautiful example given was this : we write an exam on a given day. After a few months, we get the result. Our joy or sorrow on receiving our marks is experienced by us at that moment though what marks we will get is decided at the moment we write the exam itself. Then why the sorrow? Why do we question what is happening to us? The Lord keeps an account and connects all the right ones – a fabulous piece of accounting !! That was the deep thought with which we delved into a very tasty hot arisi upama breakfast brought by Prabha akka.

On the Train

Settling down to a long journey to Kanpur

The train arrived 10 mts late and we rushed into our compartment only to find an uncouth rough family occupying our 8 seats though they had reservation only for 2. It soon blew over into a full blown fight. It amazed me that even mild mannered bhagavathas could be pushed to anger and frustration when faced with an unfair lawless situation. The authorities were soon called in to sort out the problem.

Raynu akka and Swamy mama, my friends and spiritual mentors from Coimbatore, actually got down at the platform to meet and receive us. It was great to meet them. After quiet settled in the bogie, I went to spend some time with them. Meeting other bhagavthas like Raghuvir, Madhavan and his mother was a bonus. My heart filled up on meeting them – a hope in my heart that maybe with their satsangam, we would be able to take a few steps closer to the Lord.

Back at my seat, a co-passenger Lata mentioned about how the young boys at Nanganallur Hayagrivar Koil mirrored all the utsavams that the elders did including acting out the roles of all the presiding officiandos. It reminded me of how Swami Ramanuja took the “sand” prasadam from children who were acting out the periya perumal’s utsavam- only to prove that the Lord is in every form that you choose to see him in – the bhava is what is important.

Kalyani Mami - the heart of all the bhajan
singing in our group

Post lunch, zipped past singing to the reverberating music and pasurams sung to various ragas. From classical krithis to fast paced bhajans all filed our soul with the beautiful name of RAMA. Like a top up on a beautifully appetizing dessert, the music session ended and we soon had the benefit of the satsang of Swamy mama, followed by Raghuvir.

Koorathazhwan @ Kooram

Swamy mama spoke of the Acharya vaibhavam - Koorathalvan went to Thirumalirumcholai, after he became blind in the service to Ramanujar. There he did pushpa kainkaryam for perumal every day. Once on the 5th day of the Margazhi maasam, alwan on the way to the temple was reliving the paasuram of the day. After offering the garland he took sathari and came out of the temple with a sad disposition. As he sat outside his house, a young well built man emerged and asked him why he was sad. He further professed that whatever the problem, He would solve it. Despite repeated such assurances, Koorathalwan, insisted that there was no way his problem could be solved. At this the man got very angry and asked, “Do you know who I am?”. Koorathalwan replied with calmness, ”I know very well. You are the Lord himself”. Amazed at how the blind alwan could recognize him, Alwan mentioned, that he could smell the Lord and also the garland that he had offered for the day. Coming back to the question of what was troubling alwan, alwan still insisted that though he was the Lord himself, his trouble could not be resolved even by Him. “What is the problem - you have to tell me?” Alwan replied, “ The pasuram mentions your anubhavam with the yadava kulam. I’m sad that I couldnot be born in the yadava kulam. Now that I have ramanuja sambandham, I can only get moksham. Then how do I experience the joy of being part of your kulam?” The Lord truly had no answer to this problem!

Night on the train

After dinner, we went to spend some time with Raynu akka and Swamy mama again. As soon as I took out my Doddamallur Krishna the place transformed into a temple. In a jiffy, a dindi was put, and he was made to recline on it. Then Madhavan and his friend, recited all the pasurams enjoying Krishna avataram. As we were finishing, there was an announcement due to which we had to leave the Lord alone for a few minutes. It was as if He had created a few minutes to be in ekantham/ alone with Piratti. The session then ended with a Thallatu for both Krishna and Rama.

Day 2 – On the Train

The day started sedately but was energized by the arrival of Swami mama. He began by asking all of us what is the avatara rahasyam for Krishna’s birth. All of us gave many reasons. But he gave a beautiful explanation for it – Though the Lord had enjoyed the experience of sucking his toe during pralayam, He wanted to experience it again. Like how a good experience creates a greater desire to enjoy the whole thing again, so it was with the Lord. Since he could not do this in Vaikuntam, He came down to yadavakulam and did all the lilas. Apart from that He also fulfilled His desire of sucking his toe too!!

Then He spoke of the arul of acharyas. Of how all our acharyas were so simple and easily accessible to all of us. Of how they had so much karunyam for their sishyas. He gave examples from Ramanuja’s and Koorathalwan’s life. When Ramanuja returned to Srirangam after 12 years, he wrote on a leaf to Periya Perumal, requesting Him to ask Sundararaja Perumal to return Alwan. Sundararaja Perumal asked Alwan to sing for Him before leaving, which he did. Then as Alwan reached the outskirts of Srirangam, Ramanujar rushed to meet him and was shocked and pained to see that Alwan had given his eyes for him. To this Alwan replied that he must have looked at some Bhagavthas thiruman and thought that it was not straight and hence the punishment.

Ramanujar with sishyas- Mudaliaandan,
koorathazhwan & Embar

Mama also spoke of another Ramanuja sishya, Vaduga Nambi and how he carried Emberumanar’s paduka along with the Lord's vigraham, on his head. To Swami Ramanuja’s shocked & tearful questioning he boldly asked, “How is your Perumal greater than my Perumal?” Such was his acharya bhakthi! Ramanuja then  tearfully asked the Lord to forgive & take care of Vaduga Nambi.

Parasara Bhattar’s sishya, Nampillai gave kalakshepam on thiruvazhmozhi a 100 times. The Lord himself loved to listen to him and would come – but obviously with a lot of nzoise, which disturbed the bhagavathas as they listened to the Kalakshepam. Hence Nampillai gave him the name "Kalakshepa Shatru". His sishya Thiruvelakkaipiduchhan, was given the duty of holding the lamp for the Lord at night before he slept. As the Lord moved one night to go and listen to Nampillai, Thiruvelakkaipiduchhan saw him and ordered him to go back to bed as the service was not yet over. Such was the love that the Lord had for his devotees!!!

With so many anecdotes on the Lord and his devotees, time flew and we reached Kanpur in a hurry!!