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THE PIOUS BRAHMANA
Once a brdhmana came to Ramanuja and said, "I wish to purify myself by serving you, for you are the best of devotees. By such service I shall be freed from the influence of material nature.Yatiraja accepted the request, saying, "What you have said is correct, for one can be liberated only by service. If you wish to serve me, then you must stay here and do whatever I ask of you.The brdhmana was very pleased by this reply and said eagerly, "O master, tell me what is your desire. I will do anything you ask of me.Seeing the man's sincerity, Ramanuja then told him, "O brahmana, I have resolved to purify myself by taking daily the water which has washed the feet of a pure hearted brahmana. Now, by the grace of the Lord, you have come here. My order is that you stay here, and every day give me the water that has washed your feet. Only if you do this will you be able to render real service to me.Although a very humble person by nature, the brahmana could not refuse this direct order.From hat time on, every day when Yatiraja retumed from taking his noon bath in the Kaver he would take upon his head some of the water that had washed the brahmana s feet.One day Ramanuja was invited to take prasadam at the home of one of his househo|der disciples , and went there directly after bathing in the river. After they had eaten, all the devoteyes began to discuss the glories of Lord Nar.ayana.putting various puestions to the Ramanujacarya and listening intently to the explanations he gave.So sweey,were these discussions that th e devotees became unaware of the passage of tim e. Thus by the timeYatra a rose to leave the house.It was very late at night.When they arrived back at the asrama they ,found that the only person still awake was the pious brahmam. Why have you waited up so long for m? asked Yatiraja. "Have you eaten yet?"How could I think of eating.. rep|ied tne brdh, mana, smiling, "when I have root to rendered my service to you.At this Yatiraja smiled broadly and embraced the man, saying, "You areawonde rfu|devotee, the perfect servant of the Lord. By b,eing absorbed on,y in thoughts of service, you h^ve atlained fecion. Then he drank the water that had washed the brahmanas feet and offered it to his other disciples.