Submitted by: Yasoda nandana Dasa
Srila Prabhupaapda glorifies Sripada Ramanujacarya – Main events in the life of Sripada Ramanujacarya
Therefore, sanātana-dharma does not refer to any sectarian process of religion. It is the eternal function of the eternal living entities in relationship with the eternal Supreme Lord. Sanātana-dharma refers, as stated previously, to the eternal occupation of the living entity. Rāmānujācārya has explained the word sanātanaas “that which has neither beginning nor end,” so when we speak of sanātana-dharma, we must take it for granted on the authority of Śrī Rāmānujācārya that it has neither beginning nor end.
The English word “religion” is a little different from sanātana-dharma. Religion conveys the idea of faith, and faith may change. One may have faith in a particular process, and he may change this faith and adopt another, butsanātana-dharma refers to that activity which cannot be changed. For instance, liquidity cannot be taken from water, nor can heat be taken from fire. Similarly, the eternal function of the eternal living entity cannot be taken from the living entity. Sanātana-dharma is eternally integral with the living entity. When we speak of sanātana-dharma, therefore, we must take it for granted on the authority of Śrī Rāmānujācārya that it has neither beginning nor end. That which has neither end nor beginning must not be sectarian, for it cannot be limited by any boundaries. Yet those belonging to some sectarian faith will wrongly consider that sanātana-dharma is also sectarian, but if we go deeply into the matter and consider it in the light of modern science, it is possible for us to see that sanātana-dharma is the business of all the people of the world-nay, of all the living entities of the universe.Bhagavad-gita As It Is – Macmillan 1972 Edition : Bg: introduction
The Gītā answers this question very frankly. Those really learned leaders of society like Brahmā, Śiva, Kapila, the Kumāras, Manu, Vyāsa, Devala, Asita, Janaka, Prahlāda, Bali, and later on Madhvācārya, Rāmānujācārya, Śrī Caitanya and many others-who are faithful philosophers, politicians, educators, scientists, etc.-surrender to the lotus feet of the Supreme Person, the all-powerful authority Books : Bhagavad-gita As It Is – Macmillan 1972 Edition : Bg 7: Knowledge of the Absolute : Bg 7.15 : PURPORT
Those who are worshipers of demigods have been described as less intelligent persons, and here the impersonalists are similarly described. Lord Kṛṣṇa in His personal form is here speaking before Arjuna, and still, due to ignorance, impersonalists argue that the Supreme Lord ultimately has no form. Yāmunācārya, a great devotee of the Lord in the disciplic succession from Rāmānujācārya, has written two very appropriate verses in this connection. He says, “My dear Lord, devotees like Vyāsadeva and Nārada know You to be the Personality of Godhead. By understanding different Vedic literatures, one can come to know Your characteristics, Your form and Your activities, and one can thus understand that You are the Supreme Personality of Godhead. But those who are in the modes of passion and ignorance, the demons, the nondevotees, cannot understand You. They are unable to understand You. However expert such nondevotees may be in discussing Vedānta and the Upaniṣads and other Vedic literatures, it is not possible for them to understand the Personality of Godhead.” Books : Bhagavad-gita As It Is – Macmillan 1972 Edition : Bg 7: Knowledge of the Absolute : Bg 7.24 : PURPORT
The statements of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam are accepted by great ācāryas like Śrīdhara Svāmī, Rāmānujācārya and Vallabhācārya. Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu specifically accepts Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam as the spotless Vedic authority, and as such no sane man can ignore the statements of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam when it is spoken by the self-realized soul Śrīla Śukadeva Gosvāmī, who follows in the footsteps of his great father, Śrīla Vyāsadeva, the compiler of all Vedic literatures Books : Srimad-Bhagavatam : Canto 2: “The Cosmic Manifestation” : SB 2.2: The Lord in the Heart : SB 2.2.26 : PURPORT
however, are not written by any living creature within this material world. Therefore they are said to beapauruṣeya.
No one can trace out the history of the Vedas.
Of course, modern human civilization has no chronological history of the world or the universe, and it cannot present actual historical facts older than three thousand years. But no one has traced out when the Vedas
were written, because they were never written by any living being within this material world. All other systems of knowledge are defective because they have been written or spoken by men or demigods who are products of this material creation, but Bhagavad-gītā
for it was not spoken by any human being or any demigod of this material creation; it was spoken by Lord Kṛṣṇa, who is beyond the material creation. That is accepted by such stalwart scholars as Śaṅkarācārya, not to speak of other ācāryas such as Rāmānujācārya and Madhvācārya
. Śaṅkarācārya has accepted that Nārāyaṇa and Kṛṣṇa are transcendental, and in Bhagavad-gītā
also Lord Kṛṣṇa has established, ahaṁ sarvasya prabhavo mattaḥ sarvaṁ pravartate: [Bg. 10.8
] “I am the origin of everything; everything emanates from Me.” This material creation, including Brahmā and Śiva and all the demigods, has been created by Him, for everything has emanated from Him. He also says that the purpose of all the Vedas
is to understand Him (vedaiś ca sarvair aham eva vedyaḥ [Bg. 15.15
]). He is the original veda-vit,
or knower of the Vedas,
or compiler ofVedānta.
Brahmā is not the compiler of the Vedas Books : Srimad-Bhagavatam : Canto 4: “The Creation of the Fourth Order” : SB 4.2: Daksa Curses Lord Siva : SB 4.2.31 : PURPORT
The question may be raised that since the Lord is supposed to be worshiped by great demigods like Lord Brahmā, Lord Śiva and others, how can an ordinary human being on this planet serve Him? This is clearly explained by Pṛthu Mahārāja by the use of the word yathādhikāra, “according to one’s ability.” If one sincerely executes his occupational duty, that will be sufficient. One does not need to become like Lord Brahmā, Lord Śiva, Indra, Lord Caitanya or Rāmānujācārya, whose capabilities are certainly far above ours. Even a śūdra, who is in the lowest stage of life according to the material qualities, can achieve the same success. Anyone can become successful in devotional service provided he displays no duplicity. It is explained here that one must be very frank and open-minded (amāyinaḥ). To be situated in a lower status of life is not a disqualification for success in devotional service. The only qualification is that whether one is a brāhmaṇa, kṣatriya, vaiśya or śūdra, he must be open, frank and free from reservations. Then, by performing his particular occupational duty under the guidance of a proper spiritual master, he can achieve the highest success in life. As confirmed by the Lord Himself, striyo vaiśyās tathā śūdrās te ’pi yānti parāṁ gatim (Bg. 9.32). It does not matter what one is, whether a brāhmaṇa, kṣatriya, vaiśya, śūdra or a degraded woman. If one engages himself seriously in devotional service, working with body, mind and intelligence, he is sure to be successful in going back home, back to Godhead. The Lord’s lotus feet are described here as kāma-dughāṅghri-paṅkajam because they have all power to fulfill the desires of everyone Books : Srimad-Bhagavatam : Canto 4: “The Creation of the Fourth Order” : SB 4.21: Instructions by Maharaja Prthu : SB-4.21.33 : PURPORT
In this verse the word tīrtha-pādīya indicates devotees of Lord Viṣṇu, or Vaiṣṇavas. As far as brāhmaṇas are concerned, in the previous verse the mode of reception has been already described. Now, in this verse, special stress is being given to the Vaiṣṇavas. Generally the sannyāsīs, or those in the renounced order of life, take trouble to enlighten the householders. There are ekadaṇḍī sannyāsīs and tridaṇḍī sannyāsīs. The ekadaṇḍī sannyāsīs are generally followers of Śaṅkarācārya and are known as Māyāvādī sannyāsīs, whereas the tridaṇḍī sannyāsīs are followers of Vaiṣṇava ācāryas—Rāmānujācārya, Madhvācārya and so on—and they take trouble to enlighten the householders. Ekadaṇḍī sannyāsīs can be situated on the platform of pure Brahman because they are aware that the spirit soul is different from the body, but they are mainly impersonalists. The Vaiṣṇavas know that the Absolute Truth is the Supreme Person and that the Brahman effulgence is based on the Supreme Personality of Godhead, as confirmed in the Bhagavad-gītā (14.27): brahmaṇo hi pratiṣṭhāham. The conclusion is that tīrtha-pādīya refers to Vaiṣṇavas. In the Bhāgavatam (1.13.10) there is also another reference: tīrthī-kurvanti tīrthāni. Wherever he goes, a Vaiṣṇava immediately makes that place a tīrtha, a place of pilgrimage. The Vaiṣṇavasannyāsīs travel all over the world to make every place a place of pilgrimage by the touch of their lotus feet. It is mentioned here that any house which does not receive a Vaiṣṇava in the manner already explained in the previous verse is to be considered the residential quarters of venomous serpents. It is said that around the sandalwood tree, which is a very valuable tree, there is a venomous serpent. Sandalwood is very cold, and venomous serpents, because of their poisonous teeth, are always very warm, and they take shelter of the sandalwood trees to become cooler Books : Srimad-Bhagavatam : Canto 4: “The Creation of the Fourth Order” : SB 4.22: Prthu Maharaja’s Meeting with the Four Kumaras : SB 4.22.11 :
PURPORT Śrīpāda Rāmānujācārya has also refuted the arguments of Śaṅkara in his own commentary on theVedānta-sūtra, which is known as the Śrī-bhāṣya: “Śrīpāda Śaṅkarācārya has tried to equate the Pañcarātras with the philosophy of the atheist Kapila, and thus he has tried to prove that the Pañcarātras contradict the Vedic injunctions. The Pañcarātras state that the personality of jīva called Saṅkarṣaṇa has emerged from Vāsudeva, the supreme cause of all causes, that Pradyumna, the mind, has come from Saṅkarṣaṇa, and that Aniruddha, the ego, has come from Pradyumna. But one cannot say that the living entity (jīva) takes birth or is created, for such a statement is against the injunction of the Vedas. As stated in the Kaṭha Upaniṣad (2.18), living entities, as individual spiritual souls, can have neither birth nor death. All Vedic literature declares that the living entities are eternal. Therefore when it is said that Saṅkarṣaṇa is jīva, this indicates that He is the predominating Deity of the living entities. Similarly, Pradyumna is the predominating Deity of the mind, and Aniruddha is the predominating Deity of the ego.
“It has been said that Pradyumna, the mind, was produced from Saṅkarṣaṇa. But if Saṅkarṣaṇa were a living entity, this could not be accepted, because a living entity cannot be the cause of the mind. The Vedic injunctions state that everything-including life, mind and the senses-comes from the Supreme Personality of Godhead. It is impossible for the mind to be produced by a living entity, for the Vedas state that everything comes from the Absolute Truth, the Supreme Lord. “Saṅkarṣaṇa, Pradyumna and Aniruddha have all the potent features of the absolute Personality of Godhead, according to the revealed scriptures, which contain undeniable facts that no one can refute. Therefore these quadruple forms are never to be considered ordinary living beings. Each of Them is a plenary expansion of the Absolute Godhead, and thus each is identical with the Supreme Lord in knowledge, opulence, energy, influence, prowess and potencies. The evidence of Pañcarātra cannot be neglected. Only untrained persons who have not genuinely studied the Pañcarātras think that the Pañcarātras contradict the śrutis regarding the birth or beginning of the living entity. In this connection, we must accept the verdict of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, which says: ‘The absolute Personality of Godhead, who is known as Vāsudeva and who is very affectionate toward His surrendered devotees, expands Himself in quadruple forms who are subordinate to Him and at the same time identical with Him in all respects.’ The Pauṣkara-saṁhitā states: ‘The scriptures that recommend that brāhmaṇas worship the quadruple forms of the Supreme Personality of Godhead are called āgamas [authorized works of Vedic literature].’ In all Vaiṣṇava literature it is said that worshiping these quadruple forms is as good as worshiping the Supreme Personality of Godhead Vāsudeva, who in His different expansions, complete in six opulences, can accept offerings from His devotees of the results of their prescribed duties. Worshiping the expansions for pastimes, such as Nṛsiṁha, Rāma, Śeṣa and Kūrma, promotes one to the worship of the Saṅkarṣaṇa quadruple. From that position one is raised to the platform of worshiping Vāsudeva, the Supreme Brahman. In the Pauṣkara-saṁhitā it is said: ‘If one fully worships according to the regulative principles, one can attain the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vāsudeva.’ It is to be accepted that Saṅkarṣaṇa, Pradyumna and Aniruddha are as good as Lord Vāsudeva, for They all have inconceivable power and can accept transcendental forms like Vāsudeva. Saṅkarṣaṇa, Pradyumna and Aniruddha are never born, but They can manifest Themselves in various incarnations before the eyes of pure devotees. This is the conclusion of all Vedic literature. That the Lord can manifest Himself before His devotees by His inconceivable power is not against the teaching of the Pañcarātra. Since Saṅkarṣaṇa, Pradyumna and Aniruddha are actually the predominating Deities of all living entities, the total mind and the total ego, the descriptions of Saṅkarṣaṇa, Pradyumna and Aniruddha as jīva, mind and ego are never contradictory to the statements of the scriptures. These names identify these Deities, just as the terms ‘sky’ and ‘light’ sometimes identify the Absolute Brahman.
“The scriptures completely deny the birth or production of the living entity. In the Parama-saṁhitā it is described that material nature, which is used for others’ purposes, is factually inert and always subject to transformation. The field of material nature is the arena of the activities of fruitive actors, and since the material field is externally related with the Supreme Personality of Godhead, it is also eternal. In everysaṁhitā, the jīva (living entity) has been accepted as eternal, and in the Pañcarātra the birth of the jīva is completely denied. Anything that is produced must also be annihilated. Therefore if we accept the birth of the living entity, we also have to accept his annihilation. But since the Vedic literature says that the living entity is eternal, one should not think the living being to be produced at a certain time. In the beginning of the Parama-saṁhitā it is definitely stated that the face of material nature is constantly changeable. Therefore ‘beginning,’ ‘annihilation’ and all such terms are applicable only in the material nature.
“Considering all these points, one should understand that Śaṅkarācārya’s statement that Saṅkarṣaṇa is born as ajīva
is completely against the Vedic statements. His assertions are completely refuted by the above arguments. In this connection the commentary of Śrīdhara Svāmī on Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam
) is very helpful.
“For a detailed refutation of Śaṅkarācārya’s arguments to prove Saṅkarṣaṇa an ordinary living being, one may refer to Śrīmat Sudarśanācārya’s commentary on Śrī-bhāṣya, which is known as the Śruta-prakāśikā
The original quadruple forms Kṛṣṇa, Baladeva, Pradyumna and Aniruddha expand into another quadruple, which is present in the Vaikuṇṭha planets of the spiritual sky. Therefore the quadruple forms in the spiritual sky are the second manifestation of the original quadruple in Dvārakā. As explained above, Vāsudeva, Saṅkarṣaṇa, Pradyumna and Aniruddha are all changeless, transcendental plenary expansions of the Supreme Lord who have no relation to the material modes. The Saṅkarṣaṇa form in the second quadruple is not only a representation of Balarāma but also the original cause of the Causal Ocean, where Kāraṇodakaśāyī Viṣṇu lies asleep, breathing out the seeds of innumerable universes.
In the spiritual sky there is a spiritual creative energy technically called śuddha-sattva, which is a pure spiritual energy that sustains all the Vaikuṇṭha planets with the full opulences of knowledge, wealth, prowess, etc. All these actions of śuddha-sattva display the potencies of Mahā-saṅkarṣaṇa, who is the ultimate reservoir of all individual living entities who are suffering in the material world. When the cosmic creation is annihilated, the living entities, who are indestructible by nature, rest in the body of Mahā-saṅkarṣaṇa. Saṅkarṣaṇa is therefore sometimes called the total jīva. As spiritual sparks, the living entities have the tendency to be inactive in the association of material energy, just as sparks of a fire have the tendency to be extinguished as soon as they leave the fire. The spiritual nature of the living being can be rekindled, however, in association with the Supreme Being. Because the living being can appear either in matter or in spirit, the jīva is called the marginal potency.
Saṅkarṣaṇa is the origin of Kāraṇa Viṣṇu, who is the original form who creates the universes, and that Saṅkarṣaṇa is but a plenary expansion of Śrī Nityānanda RāmaBooks
: Sri Caitanya-caritamrta – 1975 Edition : Cc. Adi-lila : Adi 5: The Glories of Lord Nityananda Balarama : Adi 5.41 :
The purpose of the discussions in the Upaniṣads and Vedānta-sūtra is to philosophically establish the personal feature of the Absolute Truth. The impersonalists, however, in order to establish their philosophy, accept these discussions in terms of lakṣaṇā-vṛtti, or indirect meanings. Thus instead of being tattva-vāda, or in search of the Absolute Truth, they become Māyāvāda, or illusioned by the material energy. When Śrī Viṣṇusvāmī, one of the four ācaryas of the Vaiṣṇava cult, presented his thesis on the subject matter of śuddhādvaita-vāda, immediately the Māyāvādīs took advantage of this philosophy and tried to establish their advaita-vāda or kevalādvaita-vāda.To defeat this kevalādvaita-vāda, Śrī Rāmānujācārya presented his philosophy as viśiṣṭādvaita-vāda, and Śrī Madhvācārya presented his philosophy of tattva-vāda, both of which are stumbling blocks to the Māyāvādīs because they defeat their philosophy in scrupulous detail. Students of Vedic philosophy know very well how strongly Śrī Rāmānujācārya‘s viśiṣṭādvaita-vāda and Śrī Madhvācārya’s tattva-vāda contest the impersonal Māyāvāda philosophy. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, however, accepted the direct meaning of the Vedānta philosophy and thus defeated the Māyāvāda philosophy immediately. He opined in this connection that anyone who follows the principles of the Śārīraka-bhāṣya is doomed Books : Sri Caitanya-caritamrta – 1975 Edition : Cc. Adi-lila : Adi 7: Lord Caitanya in Five Features : Adi 7.110 : PURPORT
This verse indicates that oṁkāra, or praṇava, is a direct representation of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Therefore if at the time of death one simply remembers oṁkāra, he remembers the Supreme Personality of Godhead and is therefore immediately transferred to the spiritual world. Oṁkāra is the basic principle of all Vedicmantras, for it is a representation of Lord Kṛṣṇa, understanding of whom is the ultimate goal of the Vedas, as stated in the Bhagavad-gītā (vedaiś ca sarvair aham eva vedyaḥ). Māyāvādī philosophers cannot understand these simple facts explained in the Bhagavad-gītā, and yet they are very proud of being Vedāntīs. Sometimes, therefore, we refer to the Vedāntī philosophers as Vidantīs, those who have no teeth (vi means “without,” and dantīmeans “possessing teeth”). The statements of the Śaṅkara philosophy, which are the teeth of the Māyāvādī philosopher, are always broken by the strong arguments of Vaiṣṇava philosophers such as the great ācāryas,especially Rāmānujācārya. Śrīpāda Rāmānujācārya and Madhvācārya break the teeth of the Māyāvādī philosophers, who can therefore be called Vidantīs, “toothless.
“Books : Sri Caitanya-caritamrta – 1975 Edition : Cc. Adi-lila : Adi 7: Lord Caitanya in Five Features : Adi 7.128 : TRANSLATION
Subject: Fw:Main events in the life of Sripada Ramanujacarya
by Sri Anbil Ramaswamy
Sri Ramanuja (1017 – 1137 CE), the most important philosopher-saint of Sri Vaishnavam and one of the most dynamic characters of Hinduism. He was a philosophical as well as a social reformer, displaying a catholicity that was nearly unparalleled in Hindu religious history before him. He revitalized Indian philosophy and popular religion so much that nearly every aspect of Hinduism has been influenced by his work. His life and works show a truly unique personality, combining contemplative insight, logical acumen, catholicity, charismatic energy, and selfless dedication to God.
The less known fact even among Srivaishnavas about this well known Acharya by whose name Srivaishnava philosophy is called ‘Ramanuja Darsanam’ and who is hailed as “Sri Vaishnava Siddhanta Nirdhaarana Saarva bouma” is that he was a ‘Vadama’ by birth.(Authority :” Periya Thrumudi Adaivu, Pazhanadai Vilakkam and Visishtaadvaita Catechism” – quoted in GLE
HIS AVATARA AND EARLY DAYS
Ilaya Perumal was born to Kesava Perumal Somayaji Dikhsitar and Kanthimathi Ammal at Sriperumpudur. Just as Sage Vasishta on seeing the brilliance in the face of the child named him as Lakshmana saying “Lakshmano Lakshmi Sampannaha”, Periya Thiru malai Nambi struck by the Tejas of the child, named him after Lakshmana as Ilaya Perumal. (PPM) aka Ilayalwar.
There is a sloka in Yadhavaachala Mahatmyam which says:
Ananthah Prathamam Roopam Lakshmanascha Tathah Parah |
Balabadram Thritheeyasthu Kalou Kaschit Bhavishyathi ||
(meaning) It is the same who was Adhisesha first, Lakshmana after and Balarama in the third who is born as Sri Ramanuja in the Kali yuga. This Kaschit is taken by our Poorva Acharyas as referring to Ramanuja (PPM)
HIS BIRTH::CHITRAI- TIRUVADHIRAI)
His date of birth is placed differently by different authorities.As per PPM, he was born in Kaliyuga year 4119 which corresponds to1017 AD. PPM fixes even the exact date as 13th April 1017 AD, interms of English Calendar.
PRA, though notes the year as 4118 Kali , maintains the year as 1017 AD only and gives additional information that the Rasi was Karkataka and the time of birth was exactly at noon.
VAC, MKS and MSR also agree on the year 1017. PTA gives a few more details like the Yogam being Ayushman, Karanam being Bhadra, Gotra being Harita, Saakha being Yajus, Sutra being Apasthambha and Sect being Vadama ( Vide p.45 of GLE).
PPM and ATA mention the year as Pingala, month Chitrai and the constellation Tiruvadirai. PPM adds that it was a Sukla Paksha Panchami, a Friday.
It will be for the Research minded scholars to piece together all these details to arrive at the correct date, time etc.
Vriddha Padma Purana presages his incarnation thus:-
” Long, long afterwards, the Lord himself will come down on earth as a Tridanda Sannyasin, to restore the good law. At that time heretics and men of perverted intellects will confuse the minds of the people. Aasuric Saastraas, based upon fallacious arguments and various schools of thought, very attractive and almost indistinguishable from the Vedanta, will turn away mens’ hearts from Vishnu and cause them to forget His glory. That glorious incarnation will, through the good fortune of the Lord’s devotees, come down upon earth, to explain and amplify the teachings of the great Sage Baadaraayana and the divine singer of the Gita. The holy one would compose a Bhaashya on the Vyaasa Sutras, to save men from the confusion and despair caused by spurious doctrines and lead them to the True faith” ( Vide p.44 of GLE)
While still a boy , he lost his father and was living with his mother at Kanchipuram under the protection of one ‘Tiruk kachi Nambi’ This Nambi was believed to converse and was on ‘speaking terms’ with Lord Varadaraja in the Archa form.
EVENTS IN THE LIFE OF SRI RAMANUJA
(1) Within 16 years of age, he had mastered all the Vedas and Sastras. At age 17, he married Rakshakaambaal ( Tanjammal, in Tamil) (PPM)
(2) Ilaya Perumal was placed under the Advaitic Sannyasi called YADAVA PRAKASA at Tirupput kuzhi for training in Advaita Purva Paksha Sastra of Vedanta. Once during this period, Alavandar who desired nominating Ilaya Perumal to succeed himself visited Tirupput kuzhi, met with him but had no opportunity to speak to him and had to return to Srirangam.
Very many occasions arose when the Saivite Guru clashed with Ilaya Perumal when the Guru misinterpreted Vedantic statements. Ilaya Perumal fearlessly pointed out the errors in the Guru’s interpretations and corrected him. This enraged the Guru. Fearing that one day, Ilaya Perumal would demolish Advaita philosophy, he plotted to kill Ilaya Perumal by drowning him in Ganga while on a pilgrimage tour of the country with his disciples.
Learning of the design through one Govinda, another disciple who was also related to him, Ilaya Perumal slipped out into the forest at dead of night. Miraculously, an aged hunter couple appeared and guided him. As Ilaya Perumal who was in a trance, opened his eyes, he found himself at the outskirts of Kanchipuram and the couple had disappeared. He realized that it was Lord Varadaraja and Perundevi Thayar who had come in the guise of the hunter couple. He stayed at Kanchi for a while to assist Tiruk Kachi Nambi in his daily chores of service to Lord Varadaraja.
(3) News came that Alavandar was very sick and he desired to meet with Ilaya Perumal. Just as Tirukkachi Nambi and Ilaya Perumal arrived, they saw the funeral procession of Alavandar. During the last rites, they noticed that three fingers of Alavandar remained folded signifying three of his last unfulfilled wishes. As Ilaya Perumal swore
( i ) that he would write a commentary on Veda Vyasa’s Brahma Sutra( ii ) that he would perpetuate the memory of Vyasa and Parasara and( iii ) that he would strive to propagate Visishtadvaita on the lines of the 4000 holy collects of Alwars, the fingers unfolded one by one automatically and stretched out to normal position signifying that these were his last wishes. Since he could not meet with Alavandar, he returned to Kanchi without even going into the temple at Srirangam (PPM)
(4) Tirukkachi Nambi obtained from Lord Varadaraja the famous ‘ Six Words ‘ and passed them on to Ilayalwar. The six words provided the guidelines for Ilayalwar to follow. They were:-
( i ) that Lord Narayana is the Paramatma. (ii ) that the individual souls were different from Paramatma. (iii) that Prapatti is the means to attain salvation. (iv) that the last remembrance of the Lord on the part of the departing soul was not necessary. (v) that Moksha can be obtained only on laying off the mortal coils (Videha Mukti) & (vi) that Ilaya Perumal should take refuge at the feet of Periya Nambi.
Accordingly, he met with Periya Nambi at Madurantakam , where under the shade of Vakula tree Periya Nambi performed Pancha Samskara to him. As he was initiated into the esoteric of Dvaya Mantra at Madurantakam, the place came to be known as “Dvayam Vilaindha Tiruppathi” (PPM) Both returned to Srirangam and did Kalakshepams on Brahma Sutra etc. for sometime. It was at this time that Lord Ranganatha called him “Nammudaiyavar” (He is ours).(PPM)
(5) Ilaya Perumals was not a happy married life. His wife never understood either his greatness nor appreciated his catholicity and always acted on her own wavelength and there was no compatibility as between them. Several instances are cited wherein the lady ensconced in her own in her own pet ideas of being holy or otherwise showed scant respect to Bhagavatas and this greatly annoyed Ilayalwar. When he was about 30 years of age, Ilayalwar took Sannyas with the name of ‘Ramanuja Muni’. He was the king among Sannyasis. Hence, he is called ‘ Yati Rajar’- a honorific invested by Lord Devaathi Rajan.
(6) The seat of Acharya at Srirangam was lying vacant without a successor to take over. He was prevailed upon to assume charge. But, before doing so, he wanted to equip himself with the secrets of the three great Mantras. For this purpose, he approached one ” Tiruk Koshtiyur Nambi” who made him come several times before actually instructing him. He cautioned Ramanuja that he should not give out the secrets to all and sundry and if he did so, he would go to hell.
Immediately on receiving the instructions, Ramanuja climbed up to the top of the steeple of the temple and proclaimed to the large gathering of his disciples assembled there the purport of the instruction.
The popular belief that he gave out the Mantras is not correct; What he actually gave out was that he had found out the way to attain Moksha through the three great Mantras and invited those who sincerely wished to follow him and get initiated. Also, he did not advise all and sundry as assumed by some. By the time of this episode, he had already gathered a huge following of disciples who congregated at the main entrance to the temple and he was thus addressing his own disciples (as explained in a separate posting in this series). This is another less known fact about the well known Acharya Tirukkoshtiyur Nambi was so enraged and demanded an explanation. Ramanuja replied that he did not give out the secrets and even if he had transgressed the specific warning of the Guru, only he himself would go to hell but the multitude of humanity that listened to his clarion ‘ wake – up’ call would be saved spiritually. The Guru was overwhelmed by this reply . Embracing Ramanuja appreciating his broad mindedness, he called him ‘Emperumanar’- ” O! My lord” and declared that Srivaishnavism would thenceforward be known as ” Ramanuja Darsanam”- ‘ the light of Ramanuja’
(7) Yadava prakasa, his old Guru had by then returned to Kanchi, became Ramanuja’s disciple assuming the name of ‘Govinda Yogi’
(8) Ramanuja used to go round the streets for his Biksha. An evil minded fellow had mixed poison in the biksha. His wife while serving the biksha fell at Ramanujas feet with tears in her eyes. Ramanuja understood that there was something wrong. When the Sishyas sorted out the biksha for cooking, they found out that poison was mixed with it. Ramanuja went on a fast with a view to cleanse the mind of the evil-doer. On hearing this, Tirukkoshtiyur Nambi rushed all the way to Srirangam. When Ramanuja heard of the coming of his Guru, he rushed to the banks of River Kaveri to receive him. It was the height of summer. Ramanuja ran towards him in the hot Sun to receive him and fell at his feet on the burning sands on the banks of river Kaveri. Nambi did not ask him to get up. Such was his Acharya Bhakti. At that time , Kidambi Aachaan, who was nearby told Nambi ” Your action (in not asking Ramanuja to get up) is worse than the poison mixed in the bikshai”. Such was the Acharya bhakti of Ramanujas Sishya !(Like master, like pupil !). Tirukkoshtiyur Nambi exclaimed, ” After all, now I can cast off my physical body since I have found one who would take the greatest care of Ramanuja”
(9) Ramanuja traveled throughout the country spreading the message of Visishtadvaita. Once a votary of the ‘ illusion theory’ Yagna Murthi by name confronted him for 16 days in endless arguments and counter arguments. Finally, he accepted defeat and became a disciple of Ramanuja assuming the name of ‘Arulala Perumal Emperumanar’ and wrote ‘Gnana Saram and Prameya Saram’.
(10) One of the most important disciples who was totally devoted to Ramanuja was Kuresan also known as ‘ Kurattalwan’. Once, Kuresan participated in the shradda ceremony performed for his mother by the famous Tiruvarangathu Amudanar. This Amudanar was in charge of the Srirangam temple. When Amudanar inquired what Kuresan desired as reward for his participation, Kuresan replied that the administration of the temple should be handed over to Ramanuja. Amudanar, who had already known the greatness of Ramanuja was only too glad to hand over the key to Ramanuja. It is this Tiruvarangattu
Amudanar who subsequently wrote the Ramanuja Noorrantadhi of 108 verses which was included in the holy collects to make up the total of 4,000.
(11) After Mastering the Bodhaayana Vritti of Sage Vyaasa, he wrote several works like Vedanta Sangraham explaining the various viewpoints of Sankara, Yadhava, Bhaskara and others, Vedanta Deepam, Geetha Bashyam etc.
(12) During Panguni Uttram, he did Prapatti before the Divya Dhampathi in Serthi and submitted his famous Gadhyatrayam (comprising Saranagathi Gadhyam, Sriranga Gadhyam and Sri Vaikunta Gadhyam ),
(13) Later, he wrote a Grantha called Nityam detailing the Tiruvaradhana Kramam
(14) While he was on his Sancharam, it is believed that the Lord himself appeared before him at Tiruk Kurum Kudi as a Srivaishnava got Samasrayanam from Udaiyavar (PPM)
(15) When he visited Saraswati Peetam, Goddess Saraswati was so impressed with his commentary on Brahma Sutram that she named it “Sri Bhashyam” and conferred on him the title of “Bhashyakaarar”. It must be noted that while the other commentaries are known by the names of their authors like ‘Sankara Bashyam’ written by Aadhi Sankara, the commentary of Ramanuja is always referred to with the venerable honorific ‘Sri’ denoting its unsurpassed quality and clarity and known as ‘ Sri Bashyam’ (PPM)
(16) When he visited Tirumala, a miracle happened. Some argued that the Lord of Tirumalai was Saiva param. It is surprising that such a claim should have arisen about the Lord who had been worshipped as Lord Vishnu by all the Alwars and Acharyas besides Elango Adigal and other Tamil Pulavars for several centuries. This was because the Lord had earlier entrusted His insignia to a King called Tondamaan. (SAA p.57-58). The Lord desired to take back from Tondamaan, these insignia viz., Sankhu, Tiruvaazhi, Soolam, Damarukam etc. They were placed in the Sannidhi the previous night. And, when the doors were opened the next morning, the Lord gave Darshan adorning all his insignia (PPM). Ramanuja was hailed as ” Appanukku Sangaazhi Alittha Perumaal” Poet Arunagiri himself sang clearing all doubts in this regard saying “Ulageenra Pachai umaiyanan, Vada Venkadathil Uraibhavan, Uyar Sanga Chakra kara Thalan”
(17) Ramanuja “was the greatest synoptic thinker which the world ever produced to systematize Visishtadvaitic philosophy, faithfully interpreting the ancient knowledge in tune with the letter and spirit of the text in the light of revelation and experience tested by stern logic”- [- Hon’ble Justice K.S.Krishnaswami Iyengar of the High Court of Judicture, Madras in his foreword to Desika Prabahandam( P.31) published by Lifco Associates, Madras- 3rd Edition, 1982. ]
(18) His magnum opus is his wonderful commentary on Vedavyasa’s Brahma Sutram and a simpler commentary thereon called Vedanta Saram. Kuresan was very helpful in publishing his works. Thus, he fulfilled his FIRST PROMISE to Alavandar. It is this Kuresan (aka) Sri Vatsanka Misra who wrote the famous Pancha Sthava consisting of Athi Maanusha Sthava, Sri Sthava, Varadaraja Sthava, Vaikunta Sthava and Sundarabaahu Sthava.
(19) He asked Kuresan to name his two sons after Veda Vyasa and Parasara and thus fulfilled his SECOND PROMISE to Alavandar. It was this Parasara Bhattar who subsequently wrote the famous commentary on Vishnu Sahasra Nama as ordained by Ramanuja.
(20) Another disciple of Ramanuja was Pillaan. Once, when Ramanuja was alone mentally reciting a particular hymn of Tiruvoimozhi, Pillaan entered his room and inquired if he was meditating on a particular hymn. And, it was indeed the one Ramanuja was actually meditating on!. Ramanuja decided that Pillaan was the person best suited to write a commentary on Tiruvoimozhi. As ordered, he wrote the famous ‘AARAAYIRAPPADI’ (the commentary known as the 6000 Padi also known as Bhagavad Vishayam) and called Pillaan as ‘Tirukkurugai Piraan’ after the name of Nammalwar. He was also known as Kurugesar and Braathru Thozhappar. Thus, he fulfilled his THIRD PROMISE to Alavandar. He was one of the Sri Bhashya ubhaya Simhasana Adhipathis.(PPM)
(21) Kulothunga Chola was a staunch devotee of Siva. He commanded Ramanuja to come to his court with a view to enlisting his support to establish the superiority of Siva over all other deities. (including Vishnu ). If the support was not forthcoming, the king was planning to kill Ramanuja. Sensing the danger, Kuresa went to the court disguised as Ramanuja along with another disciple called Periya Nambi. The king ordered him to sign a document to the effect that ‘Siva is the greatest’. Kuresa added that ‘ Sivam was no doubt great but Dronam was greater than Sivam’- both expressions referring to units of measurement. The enraged king ordered both of them to be blinded when he came to know that he was Kuresa who was impersonating Ramanuja. Periya Nambi was tortured to death while Kuresa survived. Kuresa, though he himself was blinded, was happy that he had saved Ramanuja. It is this Kulothunga who is reported to have thrown away the idol of Govindaraja in the sea. Ramanuja recovered it and had it installed at Tirupati.
(22) While on an itinerary, Ramanuja noticed an officer of state, by name Danur daasa, a hunter by birth was over -concerned and over- protective about the beauty of his wife who was walking along on the hot sands on the banks of the river Kaveri. Ramanuja offered to show him something more beautiful than his wife and took him to the proximity of the image of Lord Ranganatha. Danur daasa was enraptured by the charm of the Lord and became a disciple of Ramanuja assuming the name of ‘ Uranga Villi Daasar’. Ramanuja never entertained any caste distinctions and was conferring his benedictions even on the lowliest of the lowly whom he called ‘Tiruk Kulattar’.
(23) Ramanuja went to Tiru narayana puram in search of white clay paste used for applying caste marks by Vaishnavites. The idol of the temple there had been taken away by the muslim invaders and was being used at play as a doll by the muslim princess in Delhi. Ramanuja went to Delhi and when he endearingly called ‘ Come on! My dear child ‘Selva Pillaiye Vaarum’, the idol miraculously came onto his lap. Ramanuja reinstalled it in the temple.
(24) Once some kids were playing on the road pretending to construct a temple, installing an idol of the Lord, offering fruits and flowers etc all the time using the dust on the road for the purpose. They offered some mud as prasadam to Ramanuja who was passing along , he received it with due respect. He remembered in this connection the words of Poigai Alwar who said that the Lord took whatever name and form his sincere devotees wished and in the instant case though the kids were only playing, they sincerely believed in what they were doing.
(25) Another disciple of Ramanuja was Vaduga Nambi who put the sandals of his Guru along with those of the Lord. When questioned, he replied that the Acharya’s sandals were for him as holy as those of the Lord. When Lord Ranganatha was coming on his rounds on the streets of Srirangam, Vaduga Nambi remarked that the eyes that had seen the charm in the eyes of Ramanuja would not be able to appreciate the beauty of the eyes of even the Lord.-‘En Amudinai Kanda Kangal Marronrinai Kaanaave.’ Such was his devotion to his Acharya.
(26) Ramanuja arranged to make a lifelike idol of himself and embracing it invested it with his powers and had it installed in Tirumalai at Tirupati. The only temple consecrated in Tirumalai , other than that of Lord Venkateswara, is that of Ramanuja.(SAA p.58) The Archa moorthi of Ramanuja known as “Thaan Ugantha Tirumeni” was installed in Tirunarayanapuram.
(27) Once, when he visited Tondanoor in Hoysala State, he happened to meet a Jain king called Devarayan. His daughter was possessed by a demon and none could get rid of her predicament. When Ramanuja’s SriPaada Theertham ( water consecrated by association with his feet) was sprinkled on her,she was cured of the devil. The King pleaded to be accepted as Ramanujas Sishya. Ramanuja accepted and named him “Vishnu Vardhana”.
(28) Ramanuja nominated 74 Acharyas to succeed him. It is he who instituted the 13 day “iyal oshti in Srirangam.” (PPM)
HIS ASCENT TO PARAMAPADAM
With his head on the lap of Embar and his feet on the lap of Vaduga Nambi, Ramanuja breathed his last in 1137 AD listening to the recitation of the Divya Prabandam.
Born in PINGALA year, he left for his heavenly abode also in PINGALA year that followed 120 years from the year of his Avatara. Thus, he lived TWO full cycles of Tamil years after his birth
PLV places the date in Saaka era 1009, Pingala, in the month of Magha, the 10 th day of Sukla Paksha under the constellation of Tiruvadirai and at noon ( as in the time of his birth).
TKG notes that Lord Ranganatha and Periya Piraatti bathed and purified themselves as relatives do.
PRA avers that he died on a Saturday
VAC places the date as 4238 Kali yuga which corresponds to 1137 AD.
PTA, however, states that he lived for 128 years and died in the year Durmati in the month of Vaisaka.
Again, Research scholars may fin ways to piece together all these information to arrive at the correct date.
His physical body is preserved even today in a sitting posture in the Sannidhi (Sanctum Sanctorum) dedicated to him on the southwest corner on the fifth round within the Srirangam temple as ordered by Lord Ranganatha himself.
The whole world is aghast at the feat of preservation of the mummies of Egypt and the body of St. .Xavier in Goa in India and make so much fuss about them.
Even some Srivaishnavas are not aware that here in Srirangam. their holiest place hailed as ‘ Bhuloka Vaikuntam’ ( Heaven on Earth) lies preserved the body of Sri Ramanuja in all its pristine state unostentatiously, without any fanfare or publicity and without using any of the chemical preservatives employed by the Egyptian and Goan models.
Swami Desika in Sloka 10 of his Yathiraja Saptadhi pays obeisance to Bhagavad Ramanuja thus before proceeding with his eulogy.
Pranaamam Lakshmana Munih Prathi Grihnaathu Maamakam |
Prasaadhayathi yat Sookthih Svadheena Pathikaam Sruthim ||
(meaning) I beseech Sri Ramanuja whose Srisookthis claimed the acclaim of the Lord and adorned the Upanishads to kindly accept my Pranams. There is another famous Sloka which says :-
Thasmai Ramaanujaaryaaya Namah Parama Yoginae |
Yah Sruthi Smrithi Sutraanaam Antharjvaramaso Samathaa ||
(meaning) I bow to that Sri Ramanuja, the great Yogi who became the very soul of Vedas, Upanishads and other Sutras.
(1) “Acharya Vamsa Vriksha Chart” issued by Desika Darsana Sabha, New Delhi and released by Sri Uttamur Swami Centenary Celebration Committee (AVV)
(2) “Srirangam Srimad Andavan of Poundarikapuram Asramam Tanians” compiled by Kampavayal Vangipuram Sri J. Raghavachariar and released by Sri Paravakkottai Srimad Andavan, Sri Gopal Desika Maha Desikan (PPT)
(3) ” Sri Vaishnava Acharya Parampara”- A special manuscript in the handwriting of Sri Paravakkotai Srimad Andavan, Sri Dopala Desika Maha Desikan- containing details from Prathama Acharya to Tirutturaippoondi Ramanuja Maha Desikan of Poundarika puram Asramam. (PPM)
(4) “Veda Malar”- Souvenir issued during the Centenary Celebration of Vennatrankarai Srimad Andavan, Sri Srinivasa Maha Desikan- containing details from Swami Vedanta Desikan to Paravakkottai Swami (VM)
(5) ” Aniyarangan Tirumutrathu Adiyargal” published by Sri Visishtadvaita Research Center, Madras, 1993 (ATA)
(6) ” Sri Ranganatha Paduka”- March 1993 issue containing details from Srimad Vazhuttur Andavan to Prakritam Srimushnam Swami of Periyasramam (SRP)
(7) ” Guide to Srivaishnavas” by Srirangam Siromani M.S.Rajagopalachariar and published by Sri Visishtadvaita Pracharini Sabha, Madras. (MSR)
(8) ” Peeps into Mysticism” by D. Ramaswamy Iyengar and published by Sri Visishtadvaita Pracharini Sabha, Madras,1986(DR)
(9) ” Golden lives of the East” by Sri V.R.Srinivasa Iyengar published by P. Venkateswara & CO, Madras.(GLE)
(10) ” Vaishnava Vinaa Vidai” by Karappankadu Venkatachariar Swami and published by Tamilnadu Deiveega Peravai, Madras18, 1970.(VVV)
(11) “Sri Vaishnavam” by Sri V.N.Gopala Desikan published by Tiruppavai Committee, Kumbakonam,1994 (SVG)
(12) “A dialogue on Hinduism” by Sri V.N.Gopala Desikan published by Sri Visihtadvaita Research Center, Madras,1990 (DH-G)
(13) ” Vaishnavism- A Concise study” by Sri M.K.Srinivasan, President, Vedanta Desika Research Center, Madras and published by Hari Vilas Charities, Madras,1995 (MKS)
(14) “Acharya Vaibava Manjari” by Puttur Sri S. Krishnaswami Iyengar, Editor, Sri Vaishnava Sudarsanam, Trichy (AVM)
(15) ” Vinodha Rasa Manjari”- monthly (VRM)
(16) ” Tenkalai Guru Parampara”- 1880 Edition- (TKP)
(17) ” Vadakalai Guru Parampara” – 1880 Edition -(VKP)
(18) ” Prapannamritam”- An old Edition (PRA)
(19) ” Visishtadvaita Catechism” – An old Edition (VAC)
(20) “Srivaishnavam” published by Anuragam Publishers, Madras (SAN)
(21) “Srivaishnavam” by R. Ramaswamy Ramanuja Dasar, published. by Alwargal Amuda Nilayam, Madras.1994 (S-AAA)
(22) ” Visishtadvaitam”-do- (V-AAA)
(23) ” Pirkaala Vaishnavam” by M. Radhakrishna Pillai. Published by Alliance & CO1987(PVA)
(24) “Life of Alwars”- An old Edition (LOA)
(25) “Life of Ramanujaachaarya” by Govindacharlu- An old Edition (LOR)
(26) “Ramanujacharya’s Divya Charitai”- An old Edition (RDC)
(27) “Palanadai Vilakkam”- An old Edition (PLV)
(28) “Periya Tirumudi Adaivu”- An old Edition (PTA)
(29)” Hari Samaya Deepam”- An old Edition (HSD)
(30) “Divya Suri Charitham”- An old Edition (DSC)
(31) “Vaarthaa Maalai”- An old Edition (VAR)
(32) “Alwargal Kaala Aaraaichi”- by Dr. M.Rajamanickanaar(AKA)
All Glories to Srila Prabhupada.
Sri Krsna Caitanya Prabhu Nityananda Sri Advaita
Gadadhara Srivasa adi Gaura Bhakta Vrinda
Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare hare