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MEETING WITH SAILAPURNA
Accepting the appeals of these holy rnen, Yati raja changed his decision and set off with all hjs disciples to climb the hill. The ascent is long and steep, and after some time Ramanuja became fa. tigued due to hunger and thirst. While they k%e resting by the side of the path, Ramanuja's unc|e the Vaisnava dcdrya SriSailapurna, appeared there' having come to bring maha'prasdda and carandm^ from the temple at the top of the hill. Seeing this saintly devotee performing such menial service on his behalf, Ramanuja was a little disturbed and said, "Why are you behaving in this way? Wty should such a lea rned acarya as yourself take such trouble for a lowly person like me? Surely a boy could have been engaged to perform this service;I was thinkings in this way, too," replied Sai|a. purna, "but after searching for someone suitable | could find no one Hess respectable than myself. For this reason I have come to you personally." Ram$. nuja was very sat isfied to hear this reply from hjs uncle, for he could understand that humility is one of the Vaisnava's most essential qualities. He then offered obeisances at the feet of sri Sailapi% and happily honored the prasdda along with his disciples. Being relieved from their fatigue, the party then continued up the hill until they reached therV mous temple of Veshkafesvara.Having circumaimbulated the temple, Ramanuja went before the Deity to offer prayers and obeisances. On seeing the beauty of the Lord his heart became filled with devotional ecstasy, and tearsbegan to flow down his cheeks. Quickly the symptoms of love of God overwhelmed him, and he passed from external consciousness, falling to the ground in a faint. When he eventually regained his senses, the priests of the temple brought large quantities of mahd'prasdda both for Yatiraja and all of his disciples. All the devotees felt great happi¬ness in seeing that holy shrine and remained at the temple for three days.During this time Govinda, Ramanuja's cousin, who was a disciple of Sailapurna, came there to join the party. The two devotees were delighted to see one another again and embraced each other in great happiness. At the request of Sailapurna, Ramanujacarya remained at sriSaila for the next year, and every day the aged acdrya would recite the Ramdyana to him, adding his own inspired explanations to the verses. At the end of one year their study of the Ramdyana was complete and Ramanuja considered himself highly fortunate to have been able to hear this scripture from such a learned devotee.