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KURESA AT THE COURT OF KING KOLUTTUNGA
In the meantime, Kuresa, adopting the dress and danda of a sannydsi, presented himself along with Mahapurna before the king's men, who then escorted the two Vaisnavas to KancTpuram, completely taken in by the trick. MahapGrna was also fully aware of the danger they faced, but he was now so old that he could not leave 6rT Rahgam with the other devotees and was perfectly happy to leave this world if that was the will of the Lord.
When they arrived at the palace, Kuresa and Mahapurna went before the king, who welcomed them with respect and saw to it that they were properly accommodated. Koluttuhga had good reason to respect Ramanuja, for the dcdrya had delivered his sister from an evil ghost when the king was just a boy of eight years. However, this memory did nothing to alter his intention of either forcing Yati¬raja to renounce the Lord or else taking away his life. After a few days, the king assembled all of his Saivite panditas and called for the two devotees, still believing Kuresa to be Yatiraja. When Kuresa and Mahapurna entered the assembly, Koluttuhga addressed them in a respectful way, "O holy men, please be seated. We have invited you to our city just to hear auspicious talks on spiritual topics. All the scholars of my court are assembled here, eager to converse with you, for your reputation has spread far and wide. Now please tell us, what is the duty for men like us?"O King andpanditas," replied Kuresa unflinchingly, "LordVisnu, the savior of all the worlds, is the Supreme Lord of all others. Therefore the duty of every man, whatever his position in life, is simply to worship Him with love and devotion. There is nothing more than this.On hearing these defiant words, King Koluttuhga flew into a rage and spoke angrily to Kuresa, "I had heard that you were a great scholar and holy man. But now I see that you are an imposter, for you wor¬ship Visnu instead of Siva, who is the Lord and destroyer of all the worlds. Now you must give up this foolishness. Hear from these great scholars the real conclusion of all the scriptures and then become a devotee of Lord Siva. If you are obstinate and ignore their pure teachings, then surely neither of you will live to see another dawn.Immediately the court panditas began to present their false conclusions, using fallacious arguments to try to prove that Siva was the Supreme Lord. However, by dint of their vast knowledge of the scriptures, Kuresa and MahapOrna were easily able to refute all their arguments. Eventually the king became completely exasperated and cried out, "Enough of this wrangling! If you want to save your lives, then acknowledge that there is/ione greater than Siva.To this Kuresa mockingly replied, "Why even Drona is greater than Siva." This was a play on words, for Siva and Drona were also the names of units of weight—and, of the two, the drona was the heavier.In speaking these words Kuresa knew perfectly well that he was bringing his death inevitably closer, but he considered it his great fortune to be able to sacrifice his life in order to save that of his guru. The devotee of the Lord is known as abhaya, fearless, because he fully takes shelter of Lord Hari.Thus Kuresa was not in the least disturbed by Koluttuhga's dreadful threats, but within his mind he began to pray, "O Lord Hari, seeing the mercy that you are now bestowing on me by allowing me to serve Yatiraja in this way, I can partially realize the meaning of Sri Ramunacarya's statement: namo namo 'nanta'dayaifasindhave—I offer obeisances unto You, the unlimited ocean of mercy. Even this mighty king and his proud scholars know nothing of Your unlimited glories, but You have revealed them to such an insignificant person as myself just to increase my humility and surrender. What greater good fortune could I ever hope to achieve!