By Swami Harshananda
Great religious leaders have often been helped by highly dedicated disciples who assisted them tirelessly but they themselves remained in the background. Kureśa a trusted disciple of Rāmānuja (CE 1017- 1137) was one such fortunate soul. He was a wealthy land-lord living near Kāñcīpuram in Tamil Nadu. He was as generous as he was rich. His wife, Aṇdālamma too, was of the same disposition.
The couple renounced everything and followed Rāmānuja wherever he went. Kureśa used to live by begging when they stayed at Śrīrangam. One day, a divinely handsome boy appeared before Āṇḍālamma and gave her the sacred food offerings of Śrī Raṅganātha, the main deity of the temple there. After consuming this sacramental food, she conceived and gave birth to twins. Rāmānuja named them as Parāśara and Vyāsa.
Parāśara later became a great scholar and wrote an erudite commentary on the famous hymn, the Visnusahasranāma. Kureśa impersonated himself as Rāmānuja and went to his court when the Cola king Kulottuñga, a fanatic Śaiva, wanted to eliminate Rāmānuja by sending his men. The evil king gouged out his eyes. Thus Kureśa sacrificed himself to save his guru. He spent his last days near Madurai.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore