The Compassionate Acharya

Ramanuja was the favourite disciple of his guru who sensed in the youth a great spiritual strength. When the time came for the young man to take leave of his guru, the teacher took him aside and said he will give him a mantra which if he recited with devotion every day would take him to heaven. And he revealed the mantra.

“Keep it to yourself”, said the guru. “If you reveal it to anyone you will go to hell. Mark my words, you will go to hell!”

The young man went to the temple and began to shout: “Come all of you who wish to go to heaven ! Gather around and listen to me!”

When a large crowd had gathered he recited the mantra his guru had taught him and exhorted everyone there to recite it with devotion, every day. His Guru was stunned when he heard the news. He went and confronted Ramanuja. “Didn’t I tell that you would go to hell if you revealed the mantra ?” he said. “Why did you do it?”

“Going to hell would be a small price to pay for enabling so many to go to heaven,” replied Ramanuja, but begged forgiveness of his Guru for having disobeyed him.

The Guru, realizing that his disciple was a greater man than he himself could ever hope to become, gathered him in a warm embrace. Ramanuja went on to become one of our greatest Acharyas, renowned for his compassion and a broad mindedness.