(Kadamba Kanana Swami, 19 January 2014, Durban, South Africa, Lecture)
There is the story of a wrestler in South India who was very much impressed by a beautiful girl and he served her so nicely. He was opening doors and holding parasols and was doing whatever he could to please her! So, one day, Ramanuja Acharya saw that wrestler and said to him, “Why are you serving her in this way?” The boy then said, “She… is… so… beautiful!”
Then Ramanuja Acharya said, “You call that beautiful?” Now, if it had been anyone else, they would have been in serious trouble but since it was a sadhu, the wrestler held himself back even though he felt the urge. Then Ramanuja Acharya said, “If you want to see what beautiful is all about, I will show you.”
So the next day, Ramanuja took that wrestler through many different corners, left, right and then suddenly, they stood in front of the deities. And because of the presence of the pure devotee, the wrestler had a special experience; something that you cannot just get without mercy. But because of the mercy of a vaisnava, suddenly for a moment, he saw the deity in all its transcendental beauty and for a moment, he realized that Ramanuja was right and that actually, the beauty of Krsna was greater…
So the wrestler saw the beauty of Krsna and that day he changed completely. From that day on, he became a devotee and he also made that lady a devotee. Then the roles reversed, instead of him always serving her, she was always serving him after that and they became initiated disciples of Ramanuja Acharya.
Then time went on and one day, the brahmacharis in the ashram were criticising those fallen householders who were so attached, so attached – just collecting all kinds of material things, “Just see how she is decked out with gold – gold everywhere like a Christmas tree!” Okay, maybe they didn’t say Christmas tree in South India at that time (laughter!) but anyway, something like that.
So then, that night when everyone was deeply asleep, Ramanuja Acharya went to the brahmachari ashram. All the dhotis of the brahmacharis were hanging over the washing line and drying, and Ramanuja went up to every dhoti and ripped a strip off every dhoti and he took the cloth and he left!
Then, he went to the house of his grhasta disciples and when he was inside, he sneaked up to the sleeping householders and started to take the earring out of the ear of the lady and he even slid-off her golden bangle. Then she woke up and realized, “It is Guru Maharaj! He is taking my earring. Oh, I should give him my other one as well but he can’t reach it because I am sleeping on it.” So she decided to turn over and then Ramanuja immediately left. She then he woke up her husband, and told him the whole story, who chastised her, “You nonsense! Why did you turn over and disturb him like that. Give me that earring!”
So, it was morning and just around mangal artik time and the grhastas were just on their way to the temple. The brahmacharis were just waking up and there was a major riot; they were accusing each other of ripping pieces of their cloth, “Who took a piece of my cloth? Was it you, was it you…” It was a big fight! Then Ramanuja Acharya asked, “What’s going on here?”
“He took a piece of my dhoti,” all were saying.
Ramanuja said, “Who took a piece of your dhoti…” and he pulled from behind his back, all the pieces of cloth and held up all the pieces of cloth! Just then, those householders arrived and said, “Guru Maharaj, you were taking the earrings but you forgot something, here take these also…” then Ramanuja Acharya said, “See, who is attached!”
So, ultimately it is about dedicating ourselves to Krsna. It doesn’t matter where we are; it doesn’t matter what our position is; it doesn’t matter if we are married and we have thirteen children; it is okay!