Respect for one's preceptor is imperative, and this is emphasised time and again and is demonstrated by God Himself. When Krishna studied under Sandeepani, He asked the sage what he wanted as recompense.

The sage, who had lost his young son, wanted the boy to be brought back to life. Krishna granted him his wish and restored the boy to life. But while the Lord fulfilled his preceptor's wishes, it doesn't speak highly of the teacher who sought of the Lord something so worldly as his son's life. Here was Lord Krishna, capable of giving him moksha. And yet, the sage did not ask for moksha, but asked for the life of his son, thereby proving Lord Krishna's words to Arjuna later on. Krishna told Arjuna that those who only sought Him and nothing else were few and far between.

When the Lord came as Rama, and was in Mithila to wed Sita, Janaka's guru narrated to Rama, the deeds of Rama's guru Viswamitra. As Rama listened to the narration, He was distressed by the fact that Viswamitra had succumbed to the charms of women so easily. Would a good preceptor have behaved in this manner?

Perhaps, the Lord was displeased with His gurus in the Rama and Krishna avataras. He must have wanted instruction from a preceptor worthy of being His preceptor. Hence He must have asked Vaishnavite Acharya Manavala Mamunigal to speak on Nampillai's commentary on Nammazhvar's Thiruvaimozhi, Kidambi Narayanan said.

Lord Ranganatha of Srirangam asked Mamunigal to give such a discourse. Srirangam is famous for its many festivals and celebrations. All of these were stopped by the Lord for a year, until Mamunigal finished his discourse. Had the Lord ever before listened so attentively to His story being told? He had done so earlier, during the Rama avatara, when He heard His sons Lava and Kusa sing the story of His life. But there had been a lacuna, for Rama was then alone, Sita having been sent away. But in Srirangam, Lord Ranganatha heard Mamunigal along with His Consort. Thus His listening to Mamanuigal's discourse was superior to His listening to Lava and Kusa's narration.

More In: Faith | Friday Review