Chapter 27. ThanjamambALin MoondrAvathu Kuttram (Thanjamambal’s Third Sin)
One day, ElaiAzhwAr met a poor brAhmaNA at the Temple whose hunger was evident in his eyes. rAmAnujA’s defining characteristic was his ability to retain philosophical attitudes which required him to be detached from the world, with a genuine compassion for all beings. Moved by the man’s plight, he asked him to visit his home and inform his wife that rAmAnujA himself had told her to provide him with food. When the poor brAhmaNA did as suggested, he was met by an unresponsive ThanjamambAL who claimed to have no food in the house as she had not prepared any. rAmAnujA came to know of this and was surprised. He gave prasAdam to the brAhmaNA and felt sorry for not having been able to feed him. He was in for a surprise when he went home. His wife had cooked a sumptuous feast, with special sweets and whatnot, and was in a good mood. When he posed a query regarding the reason for her elation, she replied that she had been apprised of her brother’s marriage and had prepared the meal to feed the man who brought her such good news. rAmAnujA was terribly upset. A true VaishNavA does not suffer from the vacillations of the mind. Here, she seemed to be regarding it unnecessary to feed someone who was in need, but felt obliged to prepare a feast for someone who gave her news which was of personal significance. Indeed, personal relationships are blinders which prevent most people from realizing their true nature and their relationship to the Absolute. rAmAnujA realized that she was not the right person for him. In such cases, someone who has insight into the character of the human mind, does not persist in trying to make such relationships work. She or he will have to put an end to them even at the cost of personal emotions. rAmAnujA did something even more far-reaching in its consequences. He decided to renounce worldly ties in toto. He arranged for his wife to be sent away to her village on the pretext of a family function, and hastened to accept samnyAsA. He had told her that he would meet her at her residence, but he did no such thing.