The Chola king at the time, known in traditional
biographies as Krimikantha Cholan and identified
by modern historians as Kulottunga, was a fanatical
Saiva who was not happy about the popularity of the
Ramanuja's Vaishnava movement. To squelch the
growth of the movement, he decided to force Ramanuja
to sign a document attesting to the supremacy of Siva.
Ramanuja's chief disciple Kuresa, fearing for the
acharya's safety, decided to don the ochre robes of a
sannyasi and pretend to be Ramanuja while the latter
fled the kingdom. Kuresa and Maha Purna (Ramanuja's
elderly acharya) were confronted by the king's enforcers,
and the latter, thinking they were addressing Ramanuja,
commanded Kuresa to sign the document. Kuresa
refused to do so and instead made a pun on the
words in the document. Enraged, the king's enforcers
blinded both Kuresa and Maha Purna, killing the latter
in the process. Other disciples are also said to
have suffered at their hands.
Many of Ramanuja's followers then fled the kingdom
Ramanuja spent nearly a dozen years in Melkote, modern
Karnataka, until the Chola king died and political
conditions were amenable to his return.