Sweet and Sublime Relationship

Hare Krishna Prabhujis and Matajis,
Please accept my humble obeisances! All Glories to Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudev!

In the recent series of Granthraj offerings on the "Power of Association", in Part 11 we see  a very vital point mentioned by HG Kalacakra prabhuji regarding full surrender wherein he has explained about the vedic etiquette of not getting up after falling at the lotus feet of spiritual masters and elders and getting up only after being raised by them, thus patiently waiting for their instructions and blessings. In this regard there is a very nice pastime in the life of Srila Ramanujacharya. Herein we also see the immense love shared between the spiritual master and the disciple.

Sripad Ramanujacarya was entrusted with the administration and proper functioning of Srirangam temple. He  meticulously set upon the job and aimed at perfection. He could not brook any lapse in the services rendered to the Lord and did not hesitate to punish and reform those who erred. This angered some of the people involved and they hatched a plot to murder Ramanuja. As a sannyasi, Ramanujacarya had to accept alms or Bhiksha from grhasthas (householders) from a certain number of houses. One such housewife was compelled to give poisoned rice as alms. This was against her will. She placed the poisoned rice away from the rest of the alms and prostrated Ramanuja with tears in her eyes. Ramanujacarya understood something was amiss. He took the rice and threw it in the Kaveri river. Some particles which fell on the river bank was eaten by a crow which fell down dead after eating it. Ramanujacarya  observed fast for several days following this incident. 

The Spiritual Master of Sripad Ramanujacarya, Goshtipurna (also known as Tirukoshtiyur Nambi) heard about this from Mahapurna (also known as Periya Nambi) and immediately rushed to Srirangam. Sripad Ramanuja went to the banks of the Kaveri to receive his guru. It was mid-day and the sands were scorching. Yathiraja Ramanuja who was weak due to fasting, kept lying prostrated at his guru's feet and his guru did not stop him. According to vedic etiquette, when one meets  the spiritual master, he should fall at the spiritual master’s feet and get up only when he is asked to. So Sripad Ramanuja did not get up though the sands on the banks of the Kaveri was scorching his skin. Along with Ramanujacarya were his disciples. None was willing to risk Tirukoshtiyur Nambi's anger by requesting him to allow Ramanuja to get up. But one disciple Kidambi Achan could not bear to see his spiritual master Ramanuja's skin being scorched by the sands. So he said to Ramanuja, "Will anyone put a garland of fragrant flowers on the sand?" Then he told Tirukoshtiyur Nambi, "Your action (in not asking Ramanuja to get up) is worse than the poison mixed in the biksha". With tear- filled eyes he asked, "Is the acharya going to test his shishya till he dies?" He hugged Ramanuja and rubbed him all over. His only concern was the welfare of his guru Sripad Ramanuja.

Goshtipurna (Tirukoshtiyur Nambi) said very gladly, “After all, now I can cast off my physical body since I have found one who would take the greatest care of Ramanuja. This was a test to find the person most concerned about  Ramanuja’s well-being. Kidambi achan! Henceforth Ramanuja will not go out seeking ‘bhiksha'(alms). We entrust you with serving him food personally cooked by you.”

Saying so, he tried to lift Ramanuja up. This was what Nambi was looking for in Ramanuja's disciples. He who put Ramanuja's welfare above everything else would be the proper one to cook for Ramanuja. He would make sure that there was no danger to Ramanuja. So, Nambi decided that Kidambi Achan, a great scholar, should be Ramanuja's cook. 

Herein we see the deep bond of love between the spiritual master and the disciple. How much care and concern they have for each other.

In the pastime of Lord Krishna meeting his friend Sudama, we find that Krishna was reminiscing the times they spent as students and He recollects the incident when they went to collect fuel from the forest on the order of the guru’s wife. While collecting the dried wood, they entered the dense forest and by chance became lost. There was an unexpected dust storm and they were lost in the dark jungle. After this, there was severe rainfall; the whole ground was overflooded with water, and they could not trace out the way to return to our guru’s ashrama. They passed the whole night in that way, and early in the morning, when their absence became known to their gurudeva, he sent his other disciples to search them out. Not only that, the spiritual master was so much concerned about the children that he personally came with them, and when he saw Krishna and Sudama in a distressed condition, the spiritual master very compassionately speaks in Srimad Bhagavatam 10.80.40:

aho he putrakā yūyam asmad-arthe ’ti-duḥkhitāḥ
ātmā vai prāṇinām preṣṭhas tam anādṛtya mat-parāḥ

[Sāndīpani said:] "O my children, you have suffered so much for my sake! The body is most dear to every living creature, but you are so dedicated to me that you completely disregarded your own comfort."

Then Sandipani Muni greatly appreciated them and blessed his disciples with the Vedic mantras, which reveals that the Absolute Truth will never lose their meaning for them but will remain ever fresh in their minds.

Such is the sweet and sublime relationship between the spiritual master and the disciple.

Thank you very much.
Yours in the service of Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudev,
Vaijayantimala devi dasi