How does Sri Ramanuja receive Diksha?

Ramanuja receives Diksha

Why were Ravana and Jayanta punished? | Guru Paramparai Prabhavam – Part 2

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.

Latter 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.

Glories of Surrender-Sharanagati

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. On the other hand, 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.

Is it important to think of God at the time of death?

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 thus. He says: “For a surrendered soul, it is not necessary 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.

Lord’s compassion for helpless living entities

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 relieve me 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. He shall be saved of the burden of remembering me. The result is that he shall be liberated just because I think of him.

An Important conversation from the Varaha Purana

In the Varaha Purana, the Lord addresses Bhudevi, “Since the chest and throat of the living entity gets filled with phlegm, one should be wise and surrrender unto Me and the time of death. It would be better if the living entity surrenders to Me and hands over all His affairs to Me. I then take the full responsibility of the living entity. I think of the surrendered living entity at the time of his departure and liberate him.

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An event in the life of Sant (संत sage) Soordas

Once the great devotee of Lord Krishna named Soordas decided to visit Badrikashramam. He desired 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. He sees very clearly whoever visits the place. So, for the sake that the Lord sees everyone, I 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 the act. 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 Sri Rangam 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.

At what Time, Place and Situation should one get Initiated?

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.

 When is Muhurta important?

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. Religious activities undertaken for fulfilment of desires and welfare of family, etc demands seriousness to look into 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? We must learn from the life of Acharyas to know what is most appropriate for our spiritual welfare.

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