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CRITICISM OF MAHAPURNA
A short time after the incident involving Dhanurdasa and the brdhmana disciples, word came to Ramanuja that his own guru, Mahapurna, had performed the cremation ceremony for a sudra and that as a result of this many people were criti¬cizing him for transgressing the rules which gov¬ern a hrdhmanas conduct. On hearing this news, Ramanuja went at once to Mahapurna's house to hear from him the truth behind these allegations. When he arrived at his guru's house, he learned that all of Mahapurna's relatives had abandoned him, considering him fallen, and that he was served now only by his daughter, Attulai, who had come from her father-in-law's house.When Yatiraja enquired from him about his actions, Mahapurna replied, "Yes, it is true that my behaviour was improper according to the Dharma Sdstras. But what is real dharma? The Mahdbhdrata states, mahdjano yena gatah sa panthahtrue dharma is to follow the example set for us by great personalities. Now consider the example of SrT Ramacandra, for he peformed the funeral cere¬mony of Jatayu, who was just a bird.Then again we have King Yudhisthira, who worshipped Vidura, who was considered a sudra by birth. Why would they act in such a way? The answer is that a devo¬tee of the Lord, being liberated while still in this world, is transcendental to all consideration of family or caste. For Sri Rama or King Yudhisthira no irreligious act is possible. That devotee, whose body I cremated was a pure-hearted servant of the Lord and I consider myself fortunate to have been able to render that service to him." Very pleased at Mahapurna's words, Yatiraja bowed down at his feet and begged forgiveness for his impudence in questioning his guru's activities.