Pillars of the mandapam are carved with sculptures. We can see many dancers and musicians in the sculptures. On one side of the Mandapam, the Lord Sri Adi Kesava Perumal is gracing with His Ubhaya Nacchiyars. With the blessings of Sri Kesava Perumal, Swami Ramanuja was born here. The Lord here gave the World, Swami Ramanuja. Let us see why this place got this name and how the Lord arrived here. This place is called Sriperumbudur or Bhutapuri. This place was built by Bhuta ganas [group of Bhuta பூத கணங்கள்] and so it got the name. These Bhutas were the servants of lord Shiva. Once when lord Shiva was dancing, for some reason the Bhutas giggled, making lord Shiva angry and curse them. To absolve from the curse, they prayed the Lord, Who asked them to come to this place and meditate after bathing in Anantasaras pond. Bhutas did accordingly. Pleased with their behaviour, the Lord asked lord Shiva to come to this place and pardon his Bhuta ganas. Lord Shiva pardoned them and accepted them in his troupe. The Lord was later requested by all, to grace in this place and so He appeared as Sri Kesava here. Since Sri Thayar also graces here, this place is called Sriperumbudur. Singing the name of Sri Kesava, all our sins are washed away, says Nammalwar in the Tenth Century of Thiruvaimozhi. Even if we chant the name Sri Kesava once, we will not have to visit hell. It seems lord Yama says that by not even chanting once the Divine name Sri Kesava, which would hardly take a second to utter, one wastes one's entire life. When this lecture was recorded it was Vana bhojanam [ வன போஜனம், eating in forest, something like picnic!] day and so the Lord was in a relaxed appearance without the crown [savarik kondai சவரிக் கொண்டை ]. The Lord arrives at a garden and after Thirumanjanam, He graces all offerings and returns in the evening. The abhaya mudra in His right hand appears to tell that we need have no fears as Swami Ramanuja had arrived to redeem all! Left hand is beckoning all to arrive at Sriperumbudur, to worship His favourite devotee Swami Ramanuja! Moksham is sure to all those who are connected with Swami Ramanuja. This is stated by the Lord in Srirangam, Tirumala and Kanchipuram. Whoever is recommended by Swami Ramanuja, Moksham is certain. In this world, by uttering the name Ramanuja, one gets all comforts like wealth, health and knowledge. Not merely that, after life here, the Lord accepts them in Vaikuntam to give them the eternal bliss. Once a milkmaid was supplying milk ti Sri Ramanuja mutt, when Swami Ramanuja was alive. After supplying for about a month, the mutt managers wanted to compensate for her services. But she refused to take, instead demanded a letter of recommendation from Swami Ramanuja, which she would show at Tirumala to the Lord and go to Vaikuntam! Such was his fame. In this Mandapam, on one side we see Sri Adi Kesava Perumal sannidhi. We also see the sannidhi of Swami Ramanuja. We also see the sannidhi of Swami Thirukkacchi Nambi [திருக்கச்சி நம்பிகள்] and Swami Nampillai [நம்பிள்ளை]. Then we see Swami Alavandar sannidhi. We also see the sannidhi of Swami Vedantacharya [Desika]. In Yatiraja saptati, Swami Vedanta Desika says that Swami Ramanuja is like the precious pendent in the middle of a jewel necklace. On one side are Acharyas before him starting from the Lord and on the other side Acharyas after him. He is the centre-piece! Thus both the sides are drawing fame from Swami Ramanuja. Now we will see sloka 16:
anapeksah sucir daksha
yo mad-bhaktah sa me priyah
"My devotee who is not dependent on the ordinary course of activities, who is pure, expert, without cares, free from all pains, and not striving for some result, is very dear to Me."
We would have noticed a feature in these slokas; that in each sloka the Lord says 'sa me priyah' - 'he is dear to Me [Sri Krishna]'. That should induce us to do what the Lord desires. Anapeksa = [excepting atman] desires or needs nothing, suci = pure [in food]. To have the atman pure, our body, and so our food habits, should be pure. We can not take every type of food and expect the body and atman to be pure. A Karma yogi will have strict control over the food he takes. Daksa = skilled [in following shastras], udasina = indifferent [to all not recommended by shastras], gata = tolerate, vyata = sufferings [ in following shastras permitted activities]. For example, shastras say that on Ekadasi day to remain fasting. One should tolerate that suffering by starving on Ekadasi. There are many having untold miseries. The Lord also does not ask people to suffer very much; just a fasting once in a fortnight, etc. The Lord expects our sincerity and earnestness to follow His advice. The Lord only grants us the skill and capacity to follow shastras, as well as to tolerate any sufferings, thereon. Sarvarambha = starting of all, parityagi = discarded. Whatever is not mentioned or barred by shastras, he never even begins to follow. We need not start what is not recommended by shastras. We can list out our daily activities and see which are acceptable or recommended by shastras. We should examine every action of ours, as to whether they ar as per Vedas or are they doing good to atman. If we get a positive 'yes' as the answer, we could follow tham. We should ensure at least some, nay, at least one, to be in agreement with shastras. In Thiruvaimozhi, while praising the Lord of Thirumaliruncholai, Nammalwar says that there was no use in saying one did so many activities; but were any of them useful? many of our mannerisms are like that. Even while waiting at a place, it would be useful to reflect the Divine images of the Lord or chant His Divine names; instead of chit-chatting with others. Such a devotee is dear to the Lord. The list of qualities here mentioned are:
- Control of food taken.
- No desire in matters other than atman.
- Capacity to follow activities recommended by shastras.
- Disinterest in activities not mentioned by shastras.
- Endure any sufferings arising out of following shastras.
- Never begin any action not recommended by shastras.