According to you, is Humility a sign of weakness?
Offences of Ravana and Jayant
It is a well-known fact that the demon-king Ravana had kidnapped mother Sita and kept Her at Asoka Vatika in Lanka. For this reason Ravana was finally slain by the Supreme Lord, Sri Rama. Not only that, the entire clan of Ravana was destroyed. There is another instance when the Devata King Indra’s son Jayant assumed the form of a crow and pecked at the breasts of the Divine Mother Shrimati Sita Devi. The Divine Mother started bleeding immensely. But still Lord Rama spared Jayant but put an end to Ravana. If one compares the degree of offence of Ravana and Jayant, one can easily see that Jayant had committed a more serious offence, in terms of his mood, intention and action as compared to Ravana. Ravana had carried Mother Sita and kept her at the Asoka Vatika without causing her any physical harm. One can wonder as to why the Lord meted out such an unbalanced punishment to the two convicts. The difference is that Jayant, after committing the offence, relented and performed Sharanagati or surrendered at the feet of the Lord on the advice of Deva Rishi Narada, while Ravana maintained his position of offence without relenting. By performing Sharanagati, all of one’s sins and offences stand nullified and one is accepted by the Lord. In due course one automatically attains liberation.
The position of the Surrendered Devotee
To the question of Sri Ramanujacharya, as to whether it is required for a surrendered Individual to remember the Lord in the final moments of one’s life, Lord Varadaraja replies to Kanchipurna Swamigal that only for a surrendered soul, it is not necessary for him to remember the Lord as he leaves his body. Now one may wonder as to why this is not required. A surrendered devotee has transferred all his responsibilities to the Lord. It is a well-known fact that as one is in the final stage of leaving his body, all the 72,000 nerves of the body start exploding, the three types of phlegm namely Vat, Pitta and Kapha fills up the throat and chokes the entire oral passage. In such a helpless position, how can one think of the Lord? That is why the surrendered devotee of the Lord prays “Oh Lord I do not know in what position I shall be when I am on my death-bed. So kindly accept me at your Lotus feet, whereby I transfer all my responsibilities to you and you make me free right away.” In this elevated mood the devotee surrenders at the feet of the Lord one’s and for all. The Lord proclaims “There is no need for my surrendered devotee to think of Me during the last moments of his life. Since I know all his problems, I shall remember him at the time of his leaving the body and he shall be saved of the burden of remembering me. The result is that he shall be liberated even if I think of him.” In the Varaha Purana, the Lord addresses Bhudevi, “Since the chest and throat of the living entity gets filled with phlegm at the time of death, it would be better if the living entity surrendered to Me and hands over all His affairs to Me. I then take the full responsibility of the living entity and think of the surrendered living entity at the time of his leaving the earthly platform and liberate him.”
An event in the life of Sant (संत sage) Soordas
Once the great devotee of Lord Krishna named Soordas decided to visit Badrikashramam to have Darshanam (दर्शन to have the spiritual view) of Lord Badri (Vishnu). The other devotees were surprised to hear this. Sant Soordas was blind from his childhood. They asked him “Guruji, how would you have Darshanam of the deity in Badrikashramam? How can this be possible?” To this the great sage said “I am blind from childhood but the deity has eyes and sees very clearly whoever visits the place. So, for the sake that the Lord sees him, he shall visit the place. Such was the pure emotion of Sant Soordas. Whether the Lord sees us or we see the Lord, it is we who are going to benefit by such seeing. Similarly whether the Lord remembers us at the time of death or we remember the Lord, it is we alone who will get liberated.
The last doubt of Sri Ramanujacharya
Sri Ramanujacharya had this doubt as to whom he should accept as his preceptor. Lord Varadaraja gave his verdict that Sri Ramanuja has to accept the disciple of sage Yamunacharya named Mahapurna Swamigal as his Guru. Thus all his doubts had been answered by Lord Varadaraja of Kanchipuram. Thus Sri Ramanujacharya took Guru Diksha (गुरु दीक्षा spiritual initiation) from Mahapurna Swamigal. The story of Diksha of Sri Ramanujacharya is also very interesting.
Story of Diksha of Sri Ramanujacharya
Sri Ramanujacharya arrived at Srirangam to accept Diksha. He requested Vaishnava Diksha from Mahapurna Swamigal there. Somehow the Diksha ceremony was getting postponed. It so happened that once Mahapurna Swamigal undertook a Yatra, a spiritual expedition and Sri Ramanuja accompanied him. Sri Ramanuja was constantly worried about his formal Diksha. He would time and again enquire from Mahapurna Swamigal “Guruji, when shall you give me Vaishnava Diksha?” To this Swamigal said “Alright, we shall have the Diksha ceremony when we reach Kanchipuram.” On the way they passed through a jungle. In that wilderness there was an old temple of Sri Rama known as Kodanda Pani Kovil (கோதண்டபாணி கோவில் Temple of the Bow Wielding Rama). Both of them were resting in the Temple. Mahapurna Swamigal was fast asleep but Ramanujacharya was unable to sleep. He was lost in thought about his Diksha. He would wonder “I am still not a Vaishnava. I have not yet surrendered at the feet of the Guru. If I die now, in the next moment, then my entire life shall be futile. Death can occur at any time, even in sleep.” Suddenly in the dark hours of the night, he got up with a jerk and started waking up Mahapurna Swamigal. He demanded “Guruji, kindly make me a Vaishnava right now and grant Diksha to me.” Guruji said “In the midst of the night? You can wait, I will give it to you at Kanchipuram.” To this Sri Ramanuja said “Life is unpredictable and without any surety. What if, we do not reach Kanchipuram and I die on the way? Please grant me Diksha right now.” So saying Sri Ramanujacharya held the feet of his preceptor. Seeing Sri Ramanujacharya’s attachment to the Lord and the Vaishnava Dharma, Mahapurna Swamigal decided to grant his Diksha, in the dead of the night. Diksha was granted then and there to Sri Ramanujacharya by his preceptor. In Vaishnava Dharma, it became a norm that for Diksha time, place and situation for the event is never assessed. There is no Muhurta (முஹூர்த்தம் auspicious time) that is to be looked into, while giving Vaishnava Diksha to devotees. For everything else there is Muhurta but to surrender to the Lord there is no Muhurta. If the Acharya of Vaishnavism, Sri Ramanujacharya himself got his Diksha at the oddest time, then who needs to care for the time for receiving Vaishnava Diksha?