Lord Ranganatha - Srirangam

As they approached the temple, Yamunacharya, having lost his desire for material pleasure and wealth, started to falter. Manakkal Nambi walked ahead and Yamunacharya followed him with folded hands. They started crossing one door after another and Yamunacharya’s mindset was surcharged with the spiritual vibrations that were emanating from within the temple and the intensity of his newly awakened spiritual consciousness started to increase manifold. Yamunacharya had not experienced anything like this before and he started to forget himself as they approached the sanctum after crossing the six gates that adorned the six ramparts of the temple. Manakkal Nambi reached the door of the sanctum sanctorum and started to pray by chanting some mantras and hymns of the alwars.

Yamunacharya, who was soaking in the grandeur of the temple and the spiritual atmosphere standing behind Manakkal Nambi, became anxious. Manakkal Nambi opened the door of the sanctum sanctorum and said, “Look there lies your family treasure on the coils of the great serpent, which is supposed to be holding the entire creation on its hoods. This family treasure of yours is the cause of all causes and the source of everything. This is the beginning and end of everything. Everything in this universe including the demigods and planets rest in its belly and this is the most cherished treasure that is bequeathed by your grandfather, Natha Muni, to you. Please accept it and take care of it and relieve me of the burden.”

Yamunacharya saw the Deity of Lord Ranganatha and was captivated by its beauty. He ran into the sanctum sanctorum and hugged the Deity and started crying out of ecstasy. He repeatedly swooned and rolled on the floor unable to control his happiness. Tears started dripping from his eyes, he became oblivious of the world around him, his hairs stood erect and he started to sing and dance unable to control his ecstasy. Manakkal Nambi became very happy to see the devotional fervor of Yamunacharya and considered himself to be very fortunate to witness such unhindered spontaneous display of intense devotion to the Supreme Lord, which is desired even by the great yogis who have practiced austerities for thousands of years. Yamunacharya fell on the ground and went into a trance. He remained in that state for a very long time and Manakkal Nambi did not want to disturb him.

Though Yamunacharya regained his consciousness after sometime, words failed him, his throat was parched, he could not control his emotions and he continued to devotedly gaze on the beautiful form of the Lord. Unable to contain his devotion or to find an appropriate means to express his devotion to the Lord he circumambulated the Deity again and again, hugged the Deity and frequently cried in ecstasy. Yamunacharya spent hours in the sanctum sanctorum and when it was time to come out of it he told Manakkal Nambi that he would not go back to Madhura (the present Madurai), which was his capital and expressed his desire to stay back in Sri Rangam.

Yamunacharya fell at Manakkal Nambi’s feet and requested him to accept him as a disciple. Manakkal Nambi, who had witnessed intense devotion and dispassion in Yamunacharya, initiated him without delay. Yamunacharya also took sannyasa, the renounced order of life, by the mercy of Manakkal Nambi. Manakkal Nambi revealed Thirumantra, the eight syllabled Ashtakshari Mantra that was revealed by Lord Narayana to Nara during their incarnation at Badrinath; Dvaya Mantra that was revealed by the Supreme Lord to Lakshmi and the Charma Shloka to Yamunacharya. Yamunacharya began to stay at Sri Rangam and serve the Lord, and Manakkal Nambi started to teach various sacred scriptures including the Divya Prabandhams and the works of Natha Muni to him.

Let us know more about Yamunacharya in the next post.

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