Nitya Raama Smaranam - Special Story

A story that shows Bhagavan does not forget His Bhaktas!

A debt of love and kindness returned!

He had lost count of how long he had walked! His feet ached to no end and yet, he could not afford to stop.

In that dense forest shrouded by darkness, only his dear brother’s words offered a ray of hope – “Dear Elder! Flee as fast as you can as our Guru and fellow Sishyas plan to kill you at the first chance they get.”

The news was shocking but he took the wise path and escaped! He lost count of time and place as he fled. Many hours passed and as the night took over, the young man did not know where he was.

May be, he had lost his way. How was he to get back to his hometown now? How will his mother survive without him? What could he do now? Tears flowing, he raised his eyes to the skies in a silent prayer to the Lord of his heart and all the Worlds, Sriman Narayana! As he stood musing what to do next, he heard footsteps. He looked back and saw an aged hunter couple near him.

The hunter’s hair was matted and he wore the skin of a tiger. He held a spear in his hand and his eyes were as red as a lotus. The hunter spoke, “Dear Child, You do not seem to be from these parts? How come did you then end up here?”

Though the hunter’s appearance was fearsome, his kind voice stirred the young man a bit. He gathered courage and replied, “Dear Sir, I am from Dakshina Desha and had come on a Yatra to the North. Fate willed that I had to return. But now I am lost.” Upon asking the hunter couple who they were, the hunter said, “We come from Siddhashrama in the North and are now headed to _Satyavrata Kshetra_ in the South. The young man’s face lit up in joy. He was headed there too…why, these days Satyavrata Kshetra was known as Kanchipuram!

Yet, now the night had fallen and while the young man did his evening _Sandhya_ prayers, the hunter couple laid a bed of twigs beneath a shady tree.

The young man returned. Already tired from a long sojourn, he fell asleep to the soft caress of Devi Nidra (sleep)! The hunter couple watched kindly over the young man.

The hunter’s wife softly patted the young man’s head as though lulling her child to sleep. But suddenly, a strange thirst took hold of her and as she asked her husband to fetch water, he said, “Devi! Where will we go now at this hour? And we cannot leave this child behind too! It seems he has not slept for a long time! Let him rest as we watch over him this time. Will you not bear your thirst till dawn?” The huntress was moved and kept her patience.

It dawned finally and as the young man woke up, he saw the huntress pleading for water. Moved to no end, the young man walked a few steps ahead. Soon, he saw Surya rise in the East and arrived at a small garden where there was a beautiful step-well filled with clear water. He rushed down the steps and fetched a handful of water went back to the hunter couple. The huntress drank willingly but her thirst stayed unquenched.

The young man brought water a few times more. As he returned the fifth time, he saw that the couple was nowhere to be seen!

He was surprised. As he walked back to the pond, he saw some women gather there. When he asked them the whereabouts, they laughed! “O young man, do you not know that you are in the best of cities, Kanchipuram?”

“See the temple gopuram of Shri Varadaraja Swamy there.” The young man was amazed. As he gazed at the temple and bowed, the truth flashed in his mind.

But who were the hunter couple?

Why, the hunter couple were none other than Shri Varadaraja Swamy and Mother Perundevi (Devi Mahalakshmi) themselves! Yugas ago, as they walked the forests as Shri Rama and Mata Sita, this same man had walked ahead of them and guarded them as Lakshmana!

Even today he was known as Ramanuja and as the years passed, he would rise to become none other than our Srimad Ramanujacharya and shine as the light of Sri Vaishnava Sampradaya!

Om Namo Narayanaya!

“Devi! Where will we go now at this hour? And we cannot leave this child behind too! It seems he has not slept for a long time! Let him rest as we watch over him this time. Will you not bear your thirst till dawn?”