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RAMANUJA'S THREE VOWS
Ramanuja followed Mahapurna to the banks of the Kaveri. When they saw the body of Yamunacarya, Mahapurna fell at his feet, bathing them with tears, while Ramanuja stood still, looking at the great VaisnavaLAlthough the life air had passed from the body, Alabandara's face was still serene and untouched by the shadow of death. Ramanuja stood there transfixed, just gazing, as if in a trance, at the face of that great devotee. Suddenly the crowds fell silent and turned to look at Ramanuja, for it seemed that somehow he was able to transcend the barrier of death and be fully in the presence of Sri Yamunacarya.After a while Ramanuja said, "I see that three fingers of Alabandara's right hand are folded and clenched tight. Were they like that during his lifetime?The disciples who were close by replied, "No, his fingers used to remain straight. We cannot guess why they are like this now.The last of Alabandara s fingers relaxed and became straight.Ramanuja then declared aloud, "Remaining fixed in devotion to Lord Vi?nu, I shall free the people from illusion by spreading the glories of the Lord throughout the land." As these words were spoken, one of the fingers relaxed and became straight.Ramanuja spoke again, saying, "To establish that there js no truth beyond Lord Vi$nu, I shall write the Srubhdsya commentary on the Veddnta* sutra." At this the second of VSmunacarya's fingers became straight.Ramanuja declared again, "In order to show respect to the sage Parasara, who has so wonderfully described the glories of the Lord in the Visnu Purdna, I shall name one learned Vai$nava after him." With this final statement, the last of Alabandara's fingers relaxed and became straight.When they saw this wonderful occurrence, everyone there was filled with amazement. They could now understand that YSmunacarya's three tightly held fingers represented his three unfulfilled desires, namely, to preach the glories of the Lord all over India, to compile a complete Vai$nava commentary on the Veddnta'sutra, which would nullify the atheistic doctrines of the impersonalists, and to honor the sage Parasara by naming a disciPie after him. Now, Ramanuja's statements con¬firmed that he would complete the work Alabandara had begun.