tharkshyat simhachalou srikoormam purushottamam cha
badarinarayanam naimisam srimad dwaravati prayag
mathura ayodhya gaya pushkaram
salagrama girim nishate ramanujoyam muni:
In this sloka some of the Kshetrams Swami Ramanuja visited have been mentioned. We worshiped Sri Thirunarayana in Thirunarayanapuram. We also saw that both Moolavar and Utsavar Sri Ramapriya of Thirunarayanapuram were got re-established by Swami Ramanuja. To understand how Swami Ramanuja came to this place, we have come to Thondanur. It is near Thirumarayanapuram. Swami Ramanuja left Srirangam and proceeded Westwards along river Kaveri. He crossed Thottiyam. Then he entered Kongunadu [கொங்கு நாடு] [Erode region]. Then turning North, he entered the forests of Sathyamangalam. He entered Karnataka and crossing Kaveri, he arrived at Vanni pushkarini. We can see that pond even today. It is near a place called Ramanathapuram [not the one in Tamilnadu] and on the banks of Kaveri. It is about 50 miles from Mysore in the North West direction. From there he proceeded towards Mysore [in those days Mysore was there or not is not known]. He came to a place called Mithilapuri Salagramam, presently known as Salagramam. There we can see the lake where Swami Mudaliyandan [முதலியாண்டான்] aka Dasarathi [ nephew of Swami Ramanuja] washed his feet and so is considered as Sri Pada Theertham [ஸ்ரீ பாத தீர்த்தம்]; which in Vaishnava custom is sacred and considered to eliminate our sins. One of the very important disciple of Swami Ramanuja, Swami Vaduga Nambi [வடுக நம்பி], was born in Salagramam. From Salagramam, Swami Ramanuja arrived at Thondanur. Thondan in Tamil means servant. It has a very big lake. He stayed here for sometime and conducted his daily routines and preached his disciples. There was a person Swami Thondanur Nambi here. Along with him, Swami Ramanuja started to go to Thirunarayanapuram. We can see the mountain just opposite the lake. On this hill the Lord Sri Narasimha is there. When Swami Ramanuja was in Thondanur, the Lord appeaed in his dreams and asked him to come to Thirunarayanapuram and retrieve the Moolavar idol. That time the King Bittadeva Raya, later got chritened as Vishnuvardhana, was ruling and he became a disciple of Swami Ramanuja. With the King's help he reached Thirunarayanapuram. This is the route Swami Ramanuja followed coming from Srirangam. We have already seen how the Moolavar and Utsavar were established. In Thondanur, he had philosophical arguments with others and established Visishtadvaita siddhantham. Sri Krishna told that among stagnant waters, He is Ocean. This lake in Thondanur also is like an ocean. We will now see sloka 26:
devarsinam ca naradah
siddhanam kapilo munih
"Of all trees I am the banyan tree, and of the sages among the demigods I am Narada. Of the Gandharvas I am Citraratha, and among perfected beings I am the sage Kapila."
Among trees Sri Krishna is peepal tree. Among devarishis, the Lord is Narada. Among gandarvas [celestial singers], He is Chitrratha. And, among siddhas, He is sage Kapila. Here also Four groups are indicated. trees are very important in our lives. Peepal tree [Ficus religiosa] is considered as King among trees and so its name in Tamil is arasa maram [அரச மரம்]. During visit to Thirumanam kollai [திருமணங்கொல்லை], it was mentioned that King of Mangai [Thirumangai Alwar], was administered the King of mantras [Ashtaksharam], by the Universal King, the Lord, under the King of trees, Peepal tree. In Naimisaranyam, the Lord is in the form of a Forest. In Pushkar, He is a Pond. Tree lives for others. Its bark, leaves, fruits and flowers are all used by us. So we have to honour trees, especially when the Lord says He represents them. Like us they are also body of the Lord. Earlier He mentioned about Maharishis and He said He was Brughu. Now, He mentions Devarishis. Narada means he who cuts off the ignorance attached to humans. It also means he who grants the knowledge to humans. He, thus removes the darkness of ignorance in us. Narada with his veena travels everywhere and spreads the glory of the Lord. Sage Kapila founded Sankhya philosophy. In Srimad Ramayana his story is narrated. Sagara was the King of Ayodhya and he had 60,000 sons called sagara puthras. Another wife of him had only one son. Once Sagara performed asvamedha yaga. The ceremonial horse was allowed to wander. Only when it returned the yaga could be completed. Here, the horse went to the nether world -patahala lok, where sage Kapila was meditating. All the 60.000 children went in search of the horse. They went to pathal lok and saw the horse by the side of the sage. They mistook that the sage had captured the horse and so attacked the sage, who was in deep meditation. But when his meditation got disturbed and he looked at them, all the 60,000 sons of Sagara were reduced to ashes. Their grand son Bhagiratha, wanting to wash off their sins with Ganga, brought the river from heavens after a very great effort. Siddhas are those who have mastered siddhi. Ashta maha siddhi are anima [taking micro forms] , mahima [ taking gigantic forms], darima [ becoming very heavy], lahima [ becoming very light], prapti [attaining anything], prathanyam [completing the task undertaken], aiswaryam [commanding all] and vasitvam [attracting all ]. Siddhas master these skills.