Parasara Bhatta’s intelligence

When a scholar called Sarvajna came to Srirangam to debate with Ramanujacharya’s disciples, Parasara Bhatta asked him a question. He said, “Can you guess how much sand there is in my closed palm?” Sarvajna was puzzled, for no one can count grains of sand and arrive at an accurate conclusion. Parasara Bhatta said that all that was required was a simple reply. Sarvajna should have said that Bhatta had a fistful of sand. Instead Sarvajna had said he did not know the answer. Could such a person debate with Ramanuaja’s disciples, Bhatta asked. Humbled by the experience, Sarvajna asked Bhatta who his father was, said Thenthirupperai Aravindalochanan in a discourse. When Bhatta replied that Kooraatzhvan was his father, Sarvajna said, “No wonder you are brilliant. Will a baby bird crawl, when its parents soar in the sky?” He then visited Kooratazhvan’s residence, and told Andal, Bhatta’s mother, that her son was so intelligent, that she would have to take care to ward off evil eyes.

Ramanujacharya had appointed Embar as Bhatta’s acharya and Bhatta had been initiated into Sri Vaishnavism by Embar. One day Kooratazhvan was explaining a verse from Thiruvaimozhi, and said that only those who had been initiated by Kooratazhvan into Vaishnavism must stay to be instructed. Bhatta, therefore, prepared to leave. But Kooratazhvan stopped him and said, “It is true that I said only my disciples should listen to my lessons. Your Acharya Embar’s house is close by. But in human life, nothing is certain. What if something unfortunate happens before you reach his place? Sacred texts must be learned without delay, because of the sudden twists in life.” So devoted was Kooratazhvan to the Sri Vaishnava sampradaya, that he was keen to teach Bhatta the verses of the Azhvars at once.

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Printable version | Jun 17, 2022 5:53:53 am |