On coming to know about Ramanuja’s return, Govinda’s mother Sridevi came to see him and enquire about her son’s well-being. She stayed with Ramanuja till Yadava Prakasha returned from his pilgrimage along with his disciples. After taking a bath in the Ganges at Varanasi and having darshan of Lord Vishvanatha, Yadava Prakasha returned three months after Ramanuja to Kanchipuram. However, Govinda did not return to Kanchipuram with Yadava Prakasha and his disciples.
When Sridevi asked Yadava Prakasha about Govinda he said, “Your son is a very blessed person and Goddess Uma is very pleased with him. A sacred Shiva Linga found its way into his hands while he was taking bath in the Ganges. Being pleased with his devotion, Lord Shiva has chosen Govinda as His dear servant. I told Govinda that he would get everything that he needs and liberation by serving the Shiva Linga. He decided to stay near Kalahasti and spend the rest of his life in the service of the Shiva Linga, which he has installed in a piece of land that he purchased at Mangalagrama." Sridevi became very happy to know about Govinda’s good fortune and immediately left for Kalahasti to see her son with the permission of Ramanuja’s mother, Bhudevi.
Yadava Prakasha, who was convinced beyond doubt that Ramanuja would not be alive, became nervous as soon as he saw him but regained his composure as he thought that Ramanuja was unaware about his evil intentions. Ramanuja humbly offered his obeisance to Yadava Prakasha who was moved by his humility. He embraced Ramanuja and said, “We were greatly pained when we found you missing and thought that you were killed by some wild beast. Though we continued our pilgrimage we were very sad for you and I am very happy after seeing you alive. Why don’t you continue your studies in my school like before?”
Though Yadava Prakasha had temporarily lost his senses due to his excessive attachment to monism (advaita or Mayavada) he had many other good qualities. Therefore, Ramanuja agreed to continue his studies under Yadava Prakasha. Ramanuja continued his service of fetching water for the Lord’s ablutions though he had to dedicate a lot of time to his studies.
Once Yamunacharya visited Kanchipuram to have darshan of Lord Varadaraja and he saw Yadava Prakasha coming to the temple with his arms around Ramanuja. Yamunacharya was captivated by Ramanuja’s person and the spiritual luster on his face and inquired about him from his disciples. Yamunacharya was happy to know that Ramanuja had refuted Mayavada by writing a commentary on “satyam jnanam anantham brahma,” a famous passage from Taittiriya Upanishad, which describes the Lord as Truth, Knowledge and Infinity.
As Yamunacharya was searching for a worthy successor, who could save the Vaishnavas from the onslaught of Mayavada philosophers and reestablish the glory of Vaishnava philosophy, he felt like talking to Ramanuja, who was devoted to the Lord and was not willing to accept the philosophy of Yadava Prakasha. However, he refrained from doing so to avoid getting into an argument with Yadava Prakasha, who used to despise Vaishnava philosophy due to his excessive attachment to Mayavada philosophy. Being concerned about Ramanuja’s future, Yamunacharya prayed to Lord Varadaraja requesting Him to bring Ramanuja into the Vaishnava fold before leaving for Sri Rangam, where he was looking after the Deity worship and temple administration of Lord Ranganatha’s temple.
We will reveal more about Ramanuja in the next post.