In Ramanuja Acharya’s sampradaya, Vaisnava-seva and Guru-seva are very glorified. Tridanda-sannyas was in Ramanuja’s sampradaya first, and later it was organised in Mahaprabhu’s sampradaya by Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur.
Two of Ramanuja’s disciples, Dhanur Das and his wife Laksmi Devi, were very poor and lived in a thatched house in a village. One day, Ramanuja came to visit that village with forty disciples. First, he stopped at the home of a rich man there who was also his disciple, thinking it would be easy for him to arrange prasad for his group. His disciple heard Ramanuja come to his door and was very glad. He then spent thirty minutes giving instructions to his servants to make arrangements, and forgot his Guru was outside. Ramanuja left after twenty minutes and went to the home of the poor couple.
The husband was not there at that time, but his wife happily received Ramanuja and his disciples with water, straw mats, and so on. She said, “You all be seated here. I will arrange some food for you” as she thought to herself how it would be possible.
There was a very rich man in the village who was attracted to her and had made proposals to her many times. She had always rejected him, but on this day Ramanuja had come with his disciples and she could not arrange food for them. She thought, “This is my mundane body. Here is some blood and some skin, and it has attracted that man. If I can get something in exchange for this body, my Gurudev must be very happy.” She immediately went to that man’s house and told him, “If you arrange very nice food for the devotees and my Gurudev, I shall fulfil your wish tonight.” That man was very glad and sent many things. Laksmi Devi cooked and distributed the food to Ramanuja and the Vaisnavas. They were very happy.
Dhanur Das returned and was very glad to see his Gurudev. He gave full dandavat and told Ramanuja he would arrange for his food. Ramanuja told him that his wife had already satisfied them with very nice food. Dhanur Das entered his room and asked his wife about this. She was shy but did not lie: “There is nothing here in this mundane body of mine, but that man is attracted to it. I rejected him so many times, but today you were not here and Gurudev came. I thought instead of my body if I got some things for the satisfaction our Gurudev, we must get transcendental benefit.” Dhanur Das embraced his wife, crying joyfully and praising her. Ramanuja asked what had happened, and Dhanur Das told him the story. All of Ramanuja’s devotees heard this and were surprised to see this type of dedication. Ramanuja was a very high quality Vaisnava and had gone there to show this example to his disciples. Ramanuja told Laksmi Devi, “When you go tonight to the rich man take some prasadam of mine. First give the prasad to that man.”
Laksmi went like a goat at eleven o’clock. She told the man, “My Gurudev is very satisfied, I am very satisfied, and my husband is very satisfied. Please take a little prasad of my Gurudev.” The man took a little prasad and immediately his mind changed. He took Laksmi’s feet and prayed, “Please forgive my offences. Give me your blessings and take me to your Gurudev.”
We have this example from the Ramanuja sampradaya. Real surrendered souls are like this. We may not be qualified like that but our goal is there. We must try wholesale to serve Guru, Vaisnava, and Bhagavan.
There are also many examples in the Christian sampradaya and Mohammedan sampradaya. Religion means a good thing. Dharma: dhṛ dhātu man. The jiva-souls want to go down, but dharma, religion, rescues them and throws them up.