Sri Krishna Devaraya was the emperor of Vijayanagara Kingdom. The king benefited from the able Prime Minister, Timmarusu. The minister was responsible for the coronation and was in fact the guardian of the prince.
Right before the ceremony on the day of coronation, Timmarusu called Krishna Devaraya to a closed room. He hit the prince hard on his cheek. The prince fell into a complete shock. He was sure that there must be a reason and patiently waited for Timmarusu to let him know. He told the king to remember the how painful it is to be hit or punished. This was important for the prince to know before stepping into the throne. He added that it is very easy to order punishment to the people after he becomes King but advised not to punish people unless required. Timmarusu told Krishna Devaraya that after today, he won’t be able to punish the prince because he will become the King.
When one reaches a position that is high, it is hard for the person to bow down and listen to subordinates or equals. Now, what is the connection of this with the characteristics of soul? Let’s park this incident for a minute and come back to it.
Bhagavad Ramanuja Acharya and Sri Kuratthalvan were going through the scriptures and defining the characteristic of a soul. They hit a roadblock to define the order of the words, ‘Jnana’(one who is knowledgeable) and ‘Dasa’ (one who serves the supreme). Which of the two attributes takes precedence?
Ramanuja Acharya sent Kuruatthalvan to Gostipurna so that he can clarify the question. Kuratthalvan expressed the question to the guru and waited. The wait lasted for about 6 months. He could not wait any longer and so he returned to Ramanuja. When he narrated what happened, Ramanuja asked Kuratthvalvan if the guru did not say anything at all. Then, Kuratthalvan remembered a sloka that the guru stated on the first day itself. Ramanuja was very happy after hearing the sloka, and then declared that it is ‘Dasatvam’ first and only then comes ‘Jnana’. The purpose of existence of a soul is to serve the Supreme – this is the primary knowledge element of a soul. The order is important because if the soul takes knowledge as its primary characteristic, then it becomes proud of the knowledge and that can lead to an attitude which is a hurdle in serving the Supreme power.
Going back to our incident, it is clear that unless you are able to bow down, you cannot serve or abide. So, the soul should first accept the ‘Serve out of love to the Supreme’ characteristic and only then comes any other knowledge.
That is why, Timmarusu took the liberty to hit the prince and advise him with regards to punishing people because the prince may not want to abide by the minister’s words after he gets his position as the King.
Let’s shed ego, and accept our true nature in relation to the supreme power. God is so compassionate that he runs behind the devotees who abide by this characteristic and gives them all the greatness that he possesses in terms of knowledge and power. So, why should we worry about it?!?! Live happily serving God through each activity we do with love and devotion. Rest is taken care by him just like a mother takes care of a baby.
-From the discourses of Sri Chinna Jeeyar Swami