|NITAAI-Veda.nyf > All Scriptures By Acharyas > Ramanujacharya > The Life Of Ramanujacarya > Chapter Seven > CONVERSION OF KING V1TTHALADEVA|
CONVERSION OF KING V1TTHALADEVA
The king of that region was known as Vitthaladeva, and he was a follower of the Jain religion. For several years his daughter had been possessed by a ghost, despite all the efforts of the Jain priests to cast out the evil spirit. When the king heard that a group of Vaisnavas had come from the east and were residing in Bhaktagrama at the house of Purna, he invited them to his palace hoping that they might be able to do something to help the princess.Ramanujacarya, as a pure devotee, was always filled with divine potency and thus able to drive out the ghost just by looking at the girl's face. King Vitthaladeva was delighted and amazed to see how easily this devotee of Lord Visnu had cured his daughter, and at once he became greatly devoted to Yatiraja. Desiring to understand the teachings of the Vaisnavas, he bowed down at the feet of the acdrya and begged him to reveal the true conclu¬sion of the Vedas.As Ramanuja spoke about the glories of devotional service and pure love of God, the heart of the king was moved. He began to regret his adherence to the Jain philosophy, which is completely devoid of the spirit of love of God. He called for all the Jain priests and panditas to come into the assembly so that they might hear from this great devotee and philosopher. When Yatiraja began addressing the Jains, clearly explaining the position of the Person¬ality of Godhead as the Absolute Truth, some of the audience began to jeer and make a disturbance, until they were ejected from the assembly on the order of the king.When Ramanuja had finished speaking, the leader of the Jains arose to attempt to refute the statements that had been presented there. How¬ever, being unable to find any way to contradict the flawless logic of ttie Vaisnava philosophy, the Jain immediately launched into a blasphemous attack on the followers of sandtanadhdrma, ignoring all the points that Ramanuja had put to him.King Vitthaladeva, a man of keen intelligence, was in no way taken in by the Jain's diversionary ploy and he spoke out, "There is nothing so simple as speaking ill of others. You are a great scholar. Refute if you can, with precise arguments, the doc¬trine expounded by your opponent. Otherwise you must give up your false teachings and be initiated into Vaisnavism.The Jain could find no words to counteract Ramanuja's presentation and was forced to shame¬facedly resume his seat in the assembly. Several other Jain philosophers then attempted to establish their own opinions, but all to no avail.
Then the king stood up and addressed the as¬sembly once more. "Today you have all seen the most learned of our Jain scholars utterly defeated by this Vaisnava acarya. What then is our present duty? To stubbornly adhere to doctrines which have been proven to be faulty or to accept and em¬brace the sublime teachings of loving devotion that we have heard so wonderfully presented? Any sane man will admit that bliss is preferable to afflic¬tion and knowledge to ignorance. Therefore let all of us this day be initiated into the true faith by this great devotee and thus become blessed.All but a few of the Jains accepted this proposal and were initiated as Vai$navas. The king also ac¬cepted Yatiraja as his spiritual master and was given the name Visnuvardhana. From that time on this was the name by which he was always known.