The Tirumani, a mound of white clay, that is used to apply Urdhva Pundra on twelve parts of the body by the Vaishnavas, got over. As Ramanuja used to normally get his supply of Tirumani from a nearby village called Bhaktagrama, he sent his disciples to get some Tirumani. The disciples could not get Tirumani in Bhaktagrama as the white clay in the vicinity was exhausted. As a Vaishnava is not supposed to do anything without applying Urdhva Pundram, Ramanuja became concerned. That night the Lord appeared in Ramanuja’s dream and said, “A deity form of mine lies abandoned in the forest near Yadavadri. Lot of white clay that is used for making Tirumani is available there. Trace my deity and start worshipping it after installing it.”
Ramanuja woke up and sent one of the senior disciples to inform Vishnuvardhana about the dream. Vishnuvardhana came with some soldiers and all of them started to comb the forest in and around Yadavadri, which is popular as Melkote today. According to the scriptures, Yadavadri was one of the important towns and pilgrimage centers in the region. According to popular belief, Lord Dattatreya accepted the renounced order of life in Yadavadri. It is also believed that Prahlada performed penance in Yadavadri to propitiate Lord Narasimha and to overcome the sinful reaction of opposing his father. A beautiful self manifested deity of Yoga Narasimha, which is believed to be worshipped by Prahlada, is present even today on the top of the hillock in Yadavadri. Despite searching for a very long time, Ramanuja and others could not trace the deity as told by the Lord in Ramanuja’s dream and he became anxious. The search party decided to rest for a while and Ramanuja slept briefly due to exhaustion. The Lord once again appeared in his dream and said, “a few hundred feet from here is an abandoned well. Our deity is hidden in that well. Take that deity out of the well and start worshipping it.”
Ramanuja immediately woke up and rushed to the spot mentioned by the Lord. With the help of some of his disciples and soldiers, Ramanuja managed to bring out the deity, which was lying in the well from a very long time. Ramanuja could also get a lot of white clay for Tirumani from the well. The King directed the soldiers to bring some milk, honey, curds, tender coconuts, jaggery, bananas, ghee and other things that are required to worship from a nearby village. After coming to know about the discovery, the villagers came in large numbers to see the deity. Some old villagers told Ramanuja that their grand fathers used to tell them about the deity of Yadavadripati and about the glories of worshipping the deity. They also told Ramanuja that their forefathers had to hide the deity to save it from desecrated by the Muslim kings who had come to invade their kingdom and had forgotten the whereabouts of the deity in the course of time. According to some sources, Lord Dattatreya renounced material life and accepted the renounced order of life in Yadavadri.
Ramanuja performed an abhisheka to the deity and consecrated the deity. Ramanuja named the deity as Thirunarayana and installed it in a suitable place. Very soon Ramanuja managed to construct a magnificent temple for the deity with the help of his disciple, Vishnuvardhana. A big tank for collecting the water for the Lord’s ablutions and other needs was also constructed as part of the temple. Ramanuja started to live in Yadavadri and worship the deity in accordance with Pancharatra Agama along with his disciples.
Let us know more about Ramanuja in the next post.