Ramanuja acharya saw a young man Dhanurdas infatuated by his girlfriend who was a rich society girl. He was captivated by her beauty, and stared at her eyes, even in a public place. During those days, the society was culturally sensitive; what to speak of public display of affection, even looking at your beloved’s eyes romantically in front of others, was a sacrilege.
Ramanuja acharya was surprised to see that even during the wonderful procession of Ranganath (Deity at the town of Srirangam) Dhanurdas preferred to look on at his girlfriend. Feeling compassion, Ramanuja called for him, and asked him what was so riveting about her that he’s gone bonkers. Dhanurdas unabashedly extolled her beautiful eyes. Ramanuja then challenged him if he saw eyes more beautiful than hers would he accept them. Dhanurdas dismissed the idea that anyone could ever possess a greater beauty than his girlfriend.
Ramanuja silently offered prayers to his beloved Lord and escorted Dhanurdas to the temple altar. When the darshan opened, the Lord’s resplendent divine form, as presented by Ramanuja acharya, mesmerized Dhanurdas. He broke down in love, and surrendered to Ramanuja acharya as his disciple. Ramanuja urged him to marry his girlfriend, and they went on to become two of his dear most disciples.
Devotees in the monastery saw their guru Ramanuja acharya being affectionate to this married couple- Dhanurdas and his wife. The couple began to render lots of services. Their simple devotional mood and selfless service attracted Ramanuja acharya towards them. Meanwhile the monks felt a little envious. They wondered why their guru was extra kind to a householder couple who were till recently highly materialistic. Besides, they had begun the practise of spiritual life only recently, while they-the monks- were exalted, senior leaders in Ramanuja acharya’s camp.
Often when Ramanuja entered river Kaveri to take a bath, he would hold Dasarathi’s hand. And when he came out, he held Dhanurdas’s hand. Once he explained the reason for this behaviour. “Dasarathi is a high class Brahmin. I enter the river holding his hand so that all my pride of high birth gets washed in the river. Then I come out holding Dhanurdas’s hand because he loves Krishna. If I hold his hand, I too can get the wealth of love for God that he has in his heart. I wish to get purified in his association.” This glorification of Dhanurdas peeved the renunciate disciples of Ramanuja acharya; they received ‘lesser’ glory compared to a married couple.
Ramanuja acharya understood the faulty mentality of his disciples. He decided to teach them a lesson.
To be continued…