The Biggest impediment to Mo:ksha

Dear children!

Ga:lava was a disciple under Sage Viswa:mitra. At the conclusion of his studies, before taking leave of his Master, he said, “Guruvarya, please give me an opportunity to offer you something as Guru Dakshina”. To this, Viswa:mitra lovingly said, “Ga:lava, you did lot of service for me during this period for which I am very pleased, there is nothing more I need”. To this, Ga:lava insisted on. Finally, Guru Viswa:mitra said, “if you so insist: I need, 800 horses that belong to a good breed, that are white all over the body, except that their ears are black”. (what happened to the guru dakshina, the story never finishes? I am curious?)

Ga:lava agreed and left Viswa:mitra. He soon realized that what his Guru asked is a very difficult thing. The more he thought about this he got very worried that he may not be able to get it and worried that he will be committing a sin of not keeping his word for Guru Dakshina. Then he wondered if there could be someone who can help him and thought of his childhood friend Garuda. He immediately went to Garuda and explained his problem. To this Garuda replied, “Ga:lava, this task is impossible for human beings. But do not despair. We can achieve this with divine help”. Then with Ga:lava sitting on his shoulders Garuda flew towards East.

On the way they crossed an ocean. Garuda felt that Ga:lava may be tired so he laid him on a mountain called Rushabha nearby. On the mountain lived a woman, a Vaishnava devotee called Sandili, who received them warmly and gave them a meal. As he was sleeping for the night, Garuda thought “how nice it would be if this lady Sandili lived in a divya kshetra, holy Vaishnavite place, may be I can drop her”.

On arriving at the Gurukul, he assembled them and said, ‘Children, I will tell some beautiful stories to you that are enjoyable. Apart from being enjoyablethey will also make you knowledgeable and intelligent.

The next day when they tried to leave, Garuda’s wings stopped working. Ga:lava asked “Garuda, my friend, did you commit any sin?”. To this, Garuda thought real hard and told Ga:lava his thoughts about Sandili the night before. To this, Ga:lava said, wherever a sincere Vishnu devotee lives, that becomes Vaikuntham, the abode of Vishnu. You have committed a sin by wanting to move her to some place else. Even though it is just a thought, but a sin is a sin, and you must redeem yourself of this sin by asking her forgiveness”. To this Garuda begged Sandili, to forgive him, and miraculously his wings began to work.

Saint Ra:ma:nuja:cha:rya’s prime disciple, Ku:ratta:lva:n had a disciple named Pillai A:lvan. Pillai initially was very proud and had a lot of ego that he was born in a Brahmin family, due to which he learnt all the scriptures no one could learn, he was a scholar because of his birth and high standing in society. He also used to pass derogatory remarks to the other devotees causing mental stress to them. Ku:ratta:lva:n came to know about this He felt that although Pillai had great scholastic abilities and he was very disciplined in daily rituals, he would be tainted by such a trait of having bha:gavata:pacha:ra. To avoid this, he was waiting for an opportune time.

During one of the Zodiac transits, Ku:ratta:lva:n went to the river to take a bath, and saw Pillai also at the river to take a bath. He waited for Pillai to finish his bath and waited for him. Meanwhile, several devotees came and sought to receive blessings from
Ku:ratta:lva:n, even Pillai came and prostrated to take his blessings. After that Pillai began to leave, and Ku:ratta:lva:n said “Pillai, I had been waiting here for you, why are you leaving?” To this, Pillai said “forgive me, please state your command, I shall obey”. Then Ku:ratta:lva:n said ‘I am waiting here to seek a charity from you”. Then Pillai said, “O Master, there is nothing in this world that belongs to a da:sa, or a slave, all belongs to the Master who is the embodiment of God. To this, Ku:ratta:lva:n said, I will not ask you what you inherited from your forefathers, but I will ask you something about your behavior. Think well, and if you really want to and can do it, after reciting your Sankalpam (intent), take some water in the palm of your hand from the river, pour it in mine”. Pillai then realized his mistake, did what was asked and he
went home. He was able to control himself, but after a few days, went back to his original way of behaving towards other devotees. After realizing his mistake of not keeping his word, overcome with grief, he decided the only remedy is to sacrifice himself, so he went on without eating or drinking, even though everyone around pleaded with him not to.

Noticing that Pillai has not been coming to his place, Ku:ratta:lva:n sent a person to inquire about Pillai. Finding out that he is trying to starve himself, the Guru went to Pillai’s house, when Pillai prostrated and told his Guru of his mistake. To this, Ku:ratta:lva:n said, “Pillai, you realized your mistake. There is no greater punishment than repentance. God will always protect you. Always, keep your tongue and speech under control. Always be at peace with yourself. This will always protect you.” Ku:ratta:lva:n ensured that Pillai broke his fast and from that day
Pillai always behaved good with the devotees of God.

After Krimikamtha’s death Ku:ratta:lva:n was able to enter Sri:Rangam into Ra:ma:nuja Mutt. He wanted to clean the ashram himself and mixed water in the cowdung to clean. As he was spilling the water it fell accidentally on the clothes of another devotee by name Tadiyase:khara, walking by. He got mad at Ku:ratta:lva:n and said, are you blind, dint you see me?. To this Ku:ratta:lva:n said, I am really blind (Krimikantha caused blindmess to ku:ratta:lva:n) and he felt very sad about this.

Later, Tadiyase:khara died and went to Yamalo:ka. Lord Yama, asked him “you performed the sin of bha:gavatapacharam to Ku:ratta:lva:n, so you must atone for this sin, until which you will not get Mo:ksha”. To this, Tadiyase:khara went into the form of a dead pigeon and fell on Ku:ratta:lva:n’s feet to seek his forgiveness. During this time, Ku:ratta:lva:n was in the temple procession in Srirangam, reciting
the Divya Prabandham. Noticing that the sparrow is trying to touch him, and if that happens, he needs to sanctify himself with a bath before concluding the prayers, Ku:ratta:lva:n tried to move away each time the pigeon came near. Then Ra:ma:nuja realizing the pigeon is none other than Tadiyase:khara, his voice spoke thus: “Ku:re:sa, look at the pigeon and say kshama (forgive) thrice”

After Ku:re:sa uttered these words, the pigeon left the body and traveled in a heavenly vehicle in the sky and uttered these words: “This da:sa did the sin of bha:gavata:pacha:ra towards Ku:ratta:lva:n, to pay for this sin, I took the form of the pigeon for six months,
by the grace of Ra:ma:nuja, I was cleared of this sin and attained Mo:ksha.”

The moral of this story: By mere association with devotees of Vishnu, one will obtain Mo:ksha. By harming them, one will certainly go to Hell and will be prevented from getting Mo:ksha.

In Vara:hapura:nam Swami says

“madbhaktam svapacham va:pi
ninda:m kurvanti ye: nara:h
padmako:ti sate: na:pi
na kshama:mi vasundhare:”

“O Bhudevi, if someone faults my devotees I
will not forgive them even for crores of years”. That is
why, bha:gavata:pacha:ram is an obstacle in spiritual
progress, and will prevent one from getting Mo:ksha.

– By Ramakrishna Tupurani, translated from
Telugu BN