Ramanuja had to make 18 trips to Tirukoshtiyur before getting initiated into Tirumandiram by Tirukoshtiyur
Nambi. Each time he went to his preceptor with the words, “I have come seeking…” he was sent back.
On the 18th occasion he opened with “Adiyen Dasan,” the acharyan welcomed him with the positive reply
— ‘Your arrogance is gone. Now we can talk.’
Acharya Nambi initiated him into the Tiru(Narayana) Mandiram on the condition that Ramanuja would not share it with anyone else and that if he failed, he would go to hell. Having learnt the Tirumandiram, Ramanuja made his way to the third tier of the temple. Calling out to the people of Tirukoshtiyur to assemble, irrespective of caste and creed, he revealed the mantram to the world at large. Shocked at this ‘break of promise,’ Nambi questioned Ramanuja, who stunned the acharya with his response: ‘By sharing Tirumandiram, I alone (one person only) will go to hell but having learnt it several people will get Moksham. Impressed with Ramanuja’s reply, Nambi crowned him with the title ‘Nee Emperumaal Aanaai’ (you have become my Lord).
A beautifully sculpted statue of Ramanuja in a sitting posture on the southern side of the third tier reminds devotees of this episode.