Ideal Acharya

Ramanujacharya served his Acharyas with devotion.

Everyday, he would boil milk for Tiruvaranga Perumal

Arayar. He would check to see if it had just the right degree

of warmth. Tiruvaranga Perumal Arayar was so pleased

with Ramanuja’s service that he said “You have

demonstrated how a sishya should behave towards his

Acharya. All my wealth I give to you.”

The wealth that he was referring to was Nammazhvar’s

Thiruvaimozhi. It need not necessarily follow that an ideal

student also turns out to be an ideal Acharya. But in

Ramanuja’s case, he was both an ideal student and an ideal

Acharya, said Kidambi Narayanan in a discourse.

One day, in Srirangam, Ramanuja noticed a man called

Pillai Urangavilli holding an umbrella over his wife’s head.

Pillai Urangavilli was oblivious to everything else around

him. He presented a curious sight. Ramanuja asked him

why he was holding an umbrella over his wife’s head. Pillai

Urangavilli replied: “My wife’s eyes are so beautiful that I

want to shield them from the rays of the Sun.”

Ramanuja asked him if he would give up being obsessed

with his wife’s eyes if he showed him a pair of eyes more

beautiful than his wife’s. Pillai Urangavilli agreed.

Ramanuja then showed him Lord Ranganatha’s eyes,

which had been praised by Tiruppanazhvar as large and

elongated. Ranganatha’s eyes caused a change of heart in

Pillai Urangavilli.

Ramanuja could just have ignored Pillai Urangavilli’s

obsession. But he was so kind and so anxious to redeem

Pillai Urangavilli that he showed him the Lord’s beauty and

turned his thoughts towards the Lord and steered him in

the path of bhakti. Thus Ramanuja was not only an ideal

student, but also was an ideal Acharya.