On arrival, they discovered the great Yamunacharya had already left; his followers surrounded his transcendental body, and cried in grief. Ramanuja felt devastated. As he entered the assembly, a hushed silence filled the room. He came close to Yamunacharya’s body which lay with three of his right hand fingers closed.
Ramanuja acharya loudly proclaimed a vow before the dead body of his revered Yamunacharya. “Oh great teacher, I vow today that I shall dedicate my life to fulfil three of your wishes. I shall teach the universal message of surrender to Lord in pure Bhakti.” No sooner did Ramanuja say this, one of Yamunacharya’s fingers opened. To the astonishment of the devotees gathered around, Ramanuja spoke his second vow, “I promise I shall write a detailed commentary on the devotional poems of the Alwars (the great devotees of south India).” Yamunacharya’s second finger opened; it was now obvious that these were his unfulfilled desires, and Ramanuja was promising to fulfil them. “I promise I shall write a Sri Vaishnava commentary on the Vedanta sutra,” said Ramanuja, “and re-establish the position of Veda Vyasa and Parashara muni.” Immediately the third finger of the great saint opened. Thus it was established that Ramanuja acharya was the chosen one; he’d now carry forward the legacy of Sri Vaishnava tradition.
After the final rites of Yamunacharya were performed, Ramanuja acharya returned to the devotional association of Kanchipurna. Rakshambal’s annoyance with her husband and his guru increased. One day in Ramanuja’s absence, Kanchipurna had arrived at their house for lunch. She served him, but refused to touch his leaf plate, considering it to be contaminated. She called for her maid servant and had the whole house cleaned because a ‘low born’ person had eaten food in their house. She herself went to river Kaveri to bathe and clean herself from the ‘contamination’ of hosting a low class shudra in her house.
Little later Ramanuja acharya arrived home and was enraged to discover that his wife had scant respect for his guru. He admonished her and reminded her that Kanchipurna was no ordinary mortal; the Supreme Lord Varadraj in His deity form actually talks to Kanchipurna daily. By undermining his position, she was falling away from the eyes of the Lord. Saddened by these developments, Ramanuja resolved to spend even longer hours with Kanchipurna; he had no interest in his domestic life anymore.
To be continued…