Lord Thirunarayana once again appeared in Ramanuja’s dream and asked him to search for the utsava deity in the princess’s room as the princess had kept the deity within the confines of her chamber due to her love for the deity. The following morning Ramanuja went to the king’s court and told the king that the Lord had appeared in his dream and had asked him to search for the deity in the princess’s chamber. The king was surprised. Though men were not allowed to enter the quarters of the queens and princesses in those days, the king personally took Ramanuja to the princess’s chamber to see if Ramanuja’s claims were true. The princess had gone out of the palace along with her associates for a short time. Ramanuja searched the entire chamber in the presence of the king and could not find the deity. Out of dejection, Ramanuja started to intensely pray to the Lord to reveal Himself in His deity form and started to chant some of the hymns compiled by the Alwars. The utsava deity, which was lying in a sleeping posture on the princess’s bed, rose from the bed on its own and started walking towards Ramanuja. The deity came to Ramanuja and sat on his lap. The Muslim king and everyone present there were astonished to see the deity walking. As the deity fondly came and sat on Ramanuja’s lap the deity came to called “Cheluva Pillai” or “Sampath Kumara”.
The king was astonished by the turn of events. He honored Ramanuja and allowed him to go back to Melkote along with the deity as he had expressed his desire to return at the earliest. As the princess was much attached to the deity, Ramanuja thought that the king might ask him to return the deity if the princess asks the king when she returned to the palace. Ramanuja abandoned the main roads and started traveling through the forests along with his disciples to ensure that the king’s men do not catch up with them if they wanted to take the deity back. The princess returned to the palace and was disturbed when she could not find the deity. She got to know that a saint from south India had taken the deity back to Melkote from one of the palace workers. She immediately went to the king and requested her father to return the deity to her. She also told her father that she loved the deity and treated the deity as her husband. The king was shocked to know about the princess’s relationship with the deity and tried to convince her saying that the deity does not belong to their faith. As the princess was adamant, the king deputed a contingent of armed forces under her to bring the deity back. The princess was accompanied by some able generals and they started searching for Ramanuja and his disciples to take the deity back from them.
The princess and the soldiers reached the borders of their kingdom and, yet, they could not trace Ramanuja. Therefore, the generals decided not to go further as the neighboring king was hostile towards them and were planning to return to inform the king about their inability to trace Ramanuja and his disciples. When all the soldiers were fast asleep, the princess abandoned her royal robes and stealthily escaped from the army camp. She started traveling towards Melkote. Ramanuja reached Melkote with the help of some tribals and started worshipping Sampath Kumara as instructed by Lord Thirunarayana in a secret chamber fearing that the Muslim king might once again take the deity back to appease his daughter. After a few days the princess reached Melkote and requested Ramanuja to show her the deity. Though Ramanuja initially declined to show the deity he allowed the princess to worship the deity personally ignoring the fact that she was a Muslim by birth due to her excessive natural devotion for the Lord. Ramanuja would often say that the princess was a part manifestation of Mother Mahalakshmi. The princess used to worship the deity with a lot of devotion and one fine day she merged with the deity along with her body. In due course of time the princess became popular as Bibinachchiyar and a deity of Bibinachchiyar is worshipped along with that of Sampath Kumara at Melkote even today to commemorate this pastime of the Lord.
We will reveal more about Ramanuja in the next post.