Despite being a Muslim by birth, Bibinachchiyar became an adorable deity of the Hindus in general and the Vaishnavas in particular due to her intense devotion for the Supreme Lord. A devotee is above all material limitations. Therefore, Ramanujacharya had allowed Bibinachchiyar to personally worship Lord Sampath Kumara and the Lord took her to His abode through His deity form even when she was alive. Bibinachchiyar joined the most cherished list of very great devotees who ascended to the spiritual realms along with their body. The list includes some very great devotees like Thirupani Alwar, Kulashekara Alwar and Thirukannangudi Nambi. A great devotee like Bibinachchiyar not only attained the highest form of final beatitude but also purified all those who were associated with her irrespective of their caste and religion but also transformed them into good devotees.
According to some sources, a Muslim prince called Kuber was madly in love with Bibinachchiyar and he was aspiring to marry her. He used to try and associate with her whenever he could get a chance with the intention of winning her by impressing her. However, Bibinachchiyar, due to all the good work done by her in many births, got attracted to the Lord. As soon as Kuber came to know about Bibinachchiyar’s escape from the military camp he relinquished everything and went in search of Bibinachchiyar. After searching in various parts of the country Kuber finally found Bibinachchiyar in Melkote. As Kuber was much attached to Bibinachchiyar he started to follow her footsteps. Bibinachchiyar used to worship Lord Sampath Kumara and Kuber used to worship her. In the course of time Kuber had become a very good devotee of the Lord just by emulating Bibinachchiyar. Kuber became very depressed after Bibinachchiyar left this material world. He could not live in Melkote. He decided to go to Sri-Rangam and spend the rest of his life in the service of Lord Ranganatha.
Kuber stayed within the precincts of Lord Sri-Ranganatha’s temple in Sri-Rangam and used to contemplate on the beautiful form of the Lord. He was so focused in contemplating on the Lord that he used to forget about his bodily needs. He used to sparsely eat and drink whenever he came out of the samadhi state. Once when Kuber was lost in meditation he heard a voice and it said, “O best among Yavanas go to Puri Kshetra. You will be blessed by the most merciful Lord Jagannatha, who redeems even the fallen souls out of His causeless mercy.”
Kuber went to Puri and started to spend time contemplating on the Lord and he was blessed with the vision of Lord Jagannatha very soon. Kuber was so advanced that he used to see the Supreme Lord in everything he came across and wherever he went. As Kuber was a Muslim by birth he was not allowed into Lord Jagannatha’s temple and Lord Jagannatha never deserted Kuber. Once, Kuber prepared rotis and as he did not have anything to eat along with the rotis he went to the nearby shop to get some butter. A stray dog that was sitting close by took Kuber’s rotis and was about to consume them. As Kuber returned even before the dog could eat the rotis the dog started running along with the rotis fearing that Kuber might beat it. Kuber started to run behind the dog and began shouting, “Narayana! Please wait! I haven’t smeared the butter on the rotis and it will be difficult to eat the rotis dry, take this butter!”
Kuber was a parama bhagavata. Therefore he used to see every being as the personification of the Lord. By the mercy of the Lord and Bibinachchiyar, Kuber attained liberation very soon. Such is the power of association of great devotees irrespective of their caste and other material attributes ascribed to them.
Let us know more about Ramanuja in the next post.