Being blinded by the Chola king and separated from his spiritual master, who was very dear to him, Kuresha endured a lot of hardships. Just a few days after Ramanujacharya was forced to flee Sri-Rangam, the Chola king had directed his soldiers not to allow the followers of Ramanuja to enter Lord Ranganatha’s temple at Sri-Rangam. To overcome his sorrow of getting separated from his master, Kuresha went to the temple. Seeing the urdhva pundra on his forehead the soldiers stopped Kuresha from entering the temple. Kuresha was liked by everyone in the town because of his simplicity, humility and kindness. One of the soldiers who liked Kuresha identified him and said, “Sir I know that you are a great man and have renounced everything just to attain the mercy of the Lord. Our king has asked us not to allow Ramanuja’s disciples to enter the temple. Please understand our helplessness. I can allow you to enter the temple if you sign a declaration saying that you do not have any connection with Ramanuja.”
Kuresha said, “Even if the Lord wants me to sever my relationship with my guru, who is an embodiment of pure devotion and good qualities, I might not sever them. I am sure that I will return to this temple along with my Guru someday.”
Kuresha offered his obeisance to Lord Ranganatha from the main gate of the temple and left. Since then, Kuresha had stopped going to Lord Ranganatha’s temple. When Ramanuja returned to Sri-Rangam, Kuresha had gone to Lord Sundarabhau’s temple near Madurai with the intention of spending sometime with the Lord and the devotees there to overcome his sorrow. After coming to know about Ramanujacharya’s return to Sri-Rangam Kuresha became very happy and returned to Sri-Rangam immediately. Ramanujacharya had a special regard for Kuresha and became very happy to be reunited with Kuresha once again.
Krimikantha Chola’s son, who succeeded him, was a very wise and dutiful king. He realized the mistake committed by his father and personally came to Sri-Rangam to meet Ramanujacharya. The king offered his salutations to Ramanuja and apologized for the mistakes committed by his late father. Besides handing over the administration of Lord Ranganatha’s temple at Sri-Rangam to Ramanujacharya, the king allocated a lot of wealth for the propagation of Vaishnavism. Ramanujacharya had innumerable disciples and more than 900 of them had accepted the renounced order of life. Ramanujacharya appointed Mudali Andan, who is also called Dasarathi as the in charge of Lord Ranganatha’s temple. To ensure that the deity worship is systematically carried out in accordance with the agama shastras in the different divya deshams, Ramanujacharya appointed 73 other sanyasis, who were great scholars and were well versed in the agama shastras to administer the important shrines in different parts of the country. These sanyasis were called Jeeyars. Thus Ramanujacharya established 74 mathas in different places across the country during his lifetime.
Being concerned about Kuresha’s blindness and the hardships that he was facing due to that, Ramanujacharya asked Kuresha to request Lord Varadaraja of Kanchipuram to restore his eyesight after gratifying the Lord by composing some works to glorify Him and worshipping Him with devotion. As instructed by Ramanujacharya, Kuresha went to Kanchipuram and started worshipping Lord Varadaraja with devotion. Kuresha composed a beautiful work called Devaraja Ashtakam during his stay in Kanchipuram. Being gratified by Kuresha, the Lord asked him to seek a boon. Instead of requesting the Lord to restore his eyesight, Kuresha requested the Lord to reform Nalluran, who had instigated the Chola king to blind him by plucking his eyes and was instrumental in driving away Ramanujacharya from Sri-Rangam, and bless him with devotion. Kuresha was such an advanced devotee that he did not have ill will even towards those who were responsible for all the hardships that he had to undergo.
We will reveal more about Ramanujacharya in the next post.