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THIRUKOLUR PEN PILLAI RAGASIYAM - 63

"Did I behold the depth of the Lord' s grace, by Sriman Nārāyana himself declaring a devotee as the emperor among good people (Nallān Chakravarthi), when Chakravarthi cremated an abandoned corpse just because he was a Vaishnava?"


“Arulāzham(Arulāzhi) kandēno Nallānaip pola?”


Rāmānuja was amused by the little girl narrating stories about himself to him, yet amazed by her knowledge! He was ready to listen to the next story.


Once upon a time in Kānchipuram, there was a great Vaishnava called Chakravarthi who followed all Vaishnava principles. Hearing about Rāmānuja's glories, he went to Srirangam, remained there and served Rāmānuja as his sishya.



One day when Chakravarthi was taking a bath in the Kāveri, one cadaver came flowing in the river towards him. Looking closely, he saw that the cadaver had Shankha (Conch) and Chakra (Discus) marks on its shoulders!

Wondering why this respectable body of a Vaishnava had been abandoned, he felt very sad about it.

He took charge of the cadaver, bathed him, applied Thiruman (Vaishnava identity on our forehead) and performed all the final rites for him. But the local Brāhmanas gathered around and showed displeasure in his act, saying that it was not acceptable to perform the rites of someone of unknown origin. They felt that a Brāhmana like Chakravarthi should not do such a thing for someone who may be from a 'lower caste'.


Chakravarthi explained that the body had Vaishnava marks on its shoulders and he was merely giving a Vaishnava the respect he deserves, but the people didn’t agree with him. The Brāhmanas excluded him from their community and even changed his name from Chakravarthi to ‘Pollān’ (one who is very bad).


He felt extremely sad and locked himself in his home as he was spurned anywhere. Even in the temple, everyone shunned him, so he decided he would not leave his home.

Days went by and it was Arangan’s birthday. All of Srirangam wore a festive look. Chakravarthi wanted to see Perumal but was worried about societal ill-treatment, so he stayed home, praying to get a glimpse of Arangan.


On hearing his bhakta’s call, Arangan couldn’t bear it any longer. He appeared in front of the Archakar and declared loudly, “Ungalukku ellām Pollān, ānā enakku Nallān”- "The one whom you consider bad is actually one of the really good ones according to me!".

On hearing Perumāl speaking for Chakravarthi, people finally understood that Chakravarthi had indeed done a wonderful deed, which had pleased Arangan. After Arangan Himself vouched for him, there could be no more doubt. In large numbers, they went to Chakravarthi’s house and brought him to the temple with all honours. From then on, people started calling him ‘Nallān Chakravarthi’.


While Rāmānuja had to journey to Mēlkote, he was going through a dense forest. He and his sishyas had no food and water for many days. It was getting very dark and suddenly it started pouring. His sishyas were perplexed as to how they will take care of Rāmānuja. Far ahead of them, they saw the light of a lamp. Assuming there was someone living there, four sishyas headed towards it.

When the sishyas approached the place, they realized it was a hunter’s hut. They asked the hunters if they could stay there till the rain subsided. The hunters asked the sishyas where they had come from. They replied, "We are coming from Srirangam”. On hearing this, the leader of the hunters eagerly asked them, “How is Emperumānār? “


Taken aback by this question, the sishyas answered, “Emperumānār is here with us, getting drenched in the rain”. Upon hearing this, the leader himself rose and brought Him to his abode and served him with utmost respect. One of the sishyas asked the hunter, “How do you know about Emperumānār?”


"Long ago, a person called Nallān Chakravarthi ‘came to this place. He guided us and told us many good things and the right way to lead life. He was the one who told us about Emperumānār. A great scholar responsible for establishing Vaishnava principles is how we know Rāmānuja. We are Nallān Chakravarthi’s sishyas.”

“The generous, laden cloud that is Nallan has poured his rain of mercy here too," smiled Rāmānuja.


Thirukōlur Pen says, "I am not such a ‘Nallān’ like Chakravarthi, who saw nothing but the Shankha-chakra marks on the shoulder and understood the depth and importance of Perumāl and Vaishnavas!“


“When one Vaishnava meets another Vaishnava and they greet each other, the ‘Shankha’ marks on their shoulder sparkle and shine like lord Padmanābha’s Āzhi (Discus) and Shankha (Conch) and they automatically do not discriminate based on one's caste, clan, riches or poverty," added Rāmānuja.

Rāmānuja then asked Thirukōlur Pen, “Now who are you going to talk about?”

She replied, “Ananthapuram pukkēno Ālavandhārai pola?”


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