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|Home »Religion Articles >> Sri Ramanuja - His Life History and Love towards all humans.||Text Size|
SrimathE RAmAnujAya namaha:
YO NityamachyuthapadAmbuja yugmarukma
VyAmOhathasdhitharAni thrunAya mEnE
RamAnujasya charanau sharanam prapadyE
ThundeeramandalE Seshamurthim RamAnujam BhajE
KalyabdE divyakumbhE budhajanavidithE vatsarE PingalAkhyE
ChaitrE mAsE gathE cha thriyutha dashadinE deepyamanE himAmshau
PanchamyArdrA samEthE suragurudivasE karkatAkhyE cha lagnE
Thirunakshatram (Birth Star) of Sri RAmAnujAchAryA falls on 20th April 2010. This is the most sacred day for all SreevaishnavAs. It is our duty and privilege to remember Him and to study with love and reverence the life and greatness of Sri RAmAnuja . I would like to share my thoughts and exchange views with RAmAnujadAsAs. This note was prepared on an earlier occasion of Sri Ramanuja Thirunakshatram.
Birth/Incarnation and Naming
are as under.
- SriperumbUdUr (Bhoothapuri),
- Shaka 839(1017AD)Pingala Samvatsara MEsha Masa
- KarkAtaka Lagna
- KEshavasUri and
KAnthimathi of Haritha Gothra
other names of SriRAmAnuja are
BhAshyakAr (One who composed SriBhashyam -Title given by Goddess
Saraswathi); EmberumAnAr (As referred to by His guru, GostIpUrnar); KOil Annan
(Called by another guru SreeShailapUrnar); GOdAgraja (Elder brother of Goda-
Known in SriVilliputtUr); Lakshmanamuni(Called by MALAdhara); Udaiyavar(One who
got Ubhayavibhuthi-Title conferred by Lord RanganAtha); YathirAja(King among
yathis-Title conferred by Lord VaradarAja); and, Thiruppavai Jeeyar (One who
mastered Thiruppavai- Title given by Srirangam
3. Avatar Lakshana
have drawn comparison between Sri RamAnuja and Sri Krishna.
Sri Krishna is the younger brother of BalArAma
(Also called Rama) and is therefore RamAnuja.
Sri Krishna is the eighth child of DEvaki and VasudEva. SriRAmanuja is the eight
in the line of AchAryAs after VishwaksEna, ShataGOpa, NAthamuni, PundareekAksha,
RAmamishra, YAmunAchArya and MahApUrna
While Sri Krishna annihilated Kamsa Sri RAmAnuja vanquished the opponents
Sri Krishna was born in Mathura, grew up in Gokul and settled in
DwAraka.Sri RamAnuja was born in Bhoothapuri, grew up in Kanchi and
settled in Srirangam.
Sri Krishna liberated Nala-Koobara (YamulArjunabhanga). SriRAmAnuja
liberated souls by cutting asunder bondage of Sukha-Dukha and
Sri Krishna had
established supremacy over the seven worlds (And also the seven
nederworlds).Sri RamAnuja established supremacy in Shruthi, Smrithi, PurAna,
ItihAsa, Agama,Prabhandham, AchAryasUkthi.
Sri Krishna protected PanchapAndavAs. Sri RAmAnuja protected Arthapanchaka
and led to JnAnamArga.
as Sri Rama had preceptors VasisHta and Viswamitra ,and Sri Krishna
studied under Sandeepani
RamAnuja had traditional teaching from YAdavaprakAsha, but accepted YAmunAchArya
as JnAna guru.
had great love and regard towards KAnchIpUrnar, the closest devotee of Lord
Varadaraja, and, would share all his thoughts with him, and, act
as per his advice. In course of time, the tutelage of YAdavaprakAsha was
interrupted and SriRamAnuja devoted himself totally to the
service(Theerthakainkarya) of Lord VaradarAja.
, the pontiff of Srirangam recognised SriRamAnuja as his heir. He went to Kanchi
and graced him by mere look. After returning to Srirangam he despatched his
senior confidante MahApUrnar to Kanchi to bring Sri RamAnuja to Srirangam.
MahApUrnar attracted SriRAmAnuja(Who was firmly in the camp of YadavaprakAsha)
by rendering loudly SthOthraratna and escorted him to Srirangam. But by then
YamunachArya had attained samAdhi. This saddened both MahApUrna and Sri RamAnuja,
who incidentally observed that
three fingers of YAmunachArya were folded. On enquiry with the close associates
of YAmunachArya he learnt that Yamunacharya had desired commentary to be written
on BrahmasUthra and also wanted to perpetuate the name and glory of ParAshara
declared that he would fulfil these desires. Immediately the three folded
fingers straightened up.
RAmAnujA’s grief and clearing of doubts
Sri RamAnujAa was distressed when he could not meet YAmunachArya. He returned to Kancheepuram and met KAnchIpUrnar. The latter told SriRAmAnuja that he knew the sadness and certain doubts in his mind, and,that he would seek Varada’s direction in the matter(He could fathom the doubts even without Ramanuja’s spelling them out).The next day he called Sri RamAnuja and conveyed Varada’s message.
AhamEva param tattwam jagathkAranakAranam
siddha Eva mahAmathE
nyAsa Eva janAnAm mukthimicchathAm
janAnAm cha nAnthimassmruthirishyathE
bhakthAnAm dadAmi paramam padam
PurnAcharyam mahAtmanam samAshraya gunAshrayam"
am paratattwa; I am distinct from JeevAtma;Prapatti is the route to
Moksha;Anthimasmruthi is not essential;I shall grant Moksha to my devotees; Seek
guidance from the esteemed MahApUrna). Sri RAmAnuja immediately left for
Srirangam to meet MahApUrnar. From the other end, MahApUrnar left Srirangam for
Kanchi to meet SriRAmanuja.
is true love. The intending tutor and disciple
met at MadhurAnthakam. Sri RamAnuja obtained Panchasamskaram from
Sri MahApUrna at MadhurAnthakam.
RamAnuja married ThanjammAl. She was a very orthodox lady. But she could not
match the large -heartedness and broadmindedness of SriRAmanuja. On one occasion
she did not offer proper hospitality to Thirukkacchinambi who had been specially
invited for lunch by Sri RAmAnuja. On a second occasion she refused to offer
food to a hungry Sreevaishnava who came to her house. On yet another occasion
she behaved in a very rude manner with the wife of Sri RAmAnuja’s guru
MahApUrnar who had come as a guest. Sri Ramanuja got frustrated by the constant
bad behaviour of his wife not befitting a sreevaishnava. He immediately left
home and headed towards the temple seeking sanyAsa. Varada greeted him
through the priest with the title “Yathiraja”.
the passing away of YAmuna there
was a void in Srirangam. Lord RanganAtha decreed through the priest that Sri
RAmANuja should be brought to Srirangam. Vararanga was sent for this mission. He
went to Kanchi and offered intense prayers to Lord Varada with his dance and
music. Varada was highly pleased and bade Vararanga to seek any boon. He prayed
to Varada that Sri RAmAnuja should be given to him. Varada felt sad at the
thought of separation from SriRAmAnuja but having given word he had to agree to
release Sri RamAnuja, who then proceeded to SriRangam. There he was warmly
received by all led- by Lord Ranganatha himself. The Lord said that he would
bless SriRAmanuja with the control of UbhayavibhUthi( Nitya and Leela).Also he
conferred on SriRAmAnuja the title “Udaiyavar”.
received guidance from five AchAryAs as under.
NyAyatatwa,GeethArthasangraha and AgamashAstrAs
Dharma Shastra and Bhagavadvishaya
The entire Divyaprabhandham
told SriRAmAnuja that the rahasyamantra was the means to Moksha and that he
should treat it as secret and any violation would lead him to hell. SriRAmAnuja
,after initiation, went on top of the temple rampart and summoned all people to
gather and listen to this highly potent mantra. On learning this, GostIpUrnar
became furious and summoned his disciple and asked for explanation for the
wanton violation of
his command. SriRAmanuja said that he was prepared to go to hell if in
the process other people are assured of MOKsha. GostIpUrnar was overwhelmed at
the largeheartedness of his disciple and embraced him calling him ‘EmberumAnAr”.
He sought to become SriRAmAnuja’s disciple
RAmAnuja systematised the administration and worship procedures in Srirangam. He
then set upon the task of fulfilling the promise he had made to YAmuna. He went
with his closest disciple and confidante , Kooratthalwan to Kashmir to get copy
of Brahmasuthras. He wrote a detailed commentary on the same.This is called
SriBhAshyam , the Magnum Opus of Srivaishnavite literature. In approval and
admiration of this work,Goddess Saraswathi conferred on SriRAmAnuja the title
“BhAshyakAr”. He named the child oF Kooratthalwan as ParAshara and
the child of his cousin , Govinda as ParAnkusha in order to perpetuate the names
of the great persons. He thus fulfilled the three promises he had made.
then set out on his digvijaya yAtrA. He went to Tirupathi-Tirumala. There was a
lot of controversy about the identity of the deity at that place. Some argued
that it was Easwara. Some said it was Shanmugha. Some claimed it to be Devi.
Some insisted it was Vishnu. The king called for an open debate on the subject.
Even after prolonged discussions,the subject was not cleared. Then Sri RamAnuja suggested that the best way
would be to leave the insignia of the various deities inside the temple and seal
the place, and, watch out the next day for definite indications. This was
accepted by all and the King approved the proposal. Accordingly, arrangements
were made. The next morning the temple doors were opened with all security
precautions and in the presence of all the parties who had laid claims on the
issue. To the surprise of all and unqualified joy of SriRAmAnuja and his
followers the deity shone wearing Shankha and Chakra. Then it was proclaimed
that the deity was Vishnu. SriRAmAnuja was given full authority to oversee the
worship arrangements. SriRAmanuja systematised the puja procedures. He however
retained the VaikhAnasa System here whereas in all other places that he visited
he adopted PAncharAthrAgama system
. In recognition of his contribution in establishing the identity of the deity
and systematising pujAs,even to this day a special privilege is accorded to
people of SriRAmAnuja mutt by giving exclusive
priority in the matter of ShAttumurai SevA after SuprabhAtham.
great scholar, YagnamUrthy
once challenged all pundits
to come for debate . After a long debate over 17 days SriRAmAnuja vanquished him
,and, later accepted him as a
disciple, who came to be called as ArulAlapperumAl
who was earlier tutor of Sri RamAnuja was asked by his mother and later through
archaka of Varada temple to realise the greatness of SriRAmAnuja and to become
his disciple. Without any remorse and sense of ego, YadavaprakAsha accepted this
suggestion and became the disciple and came to be known as GovindaJeeyar.
cousin, Govinda who had become a follower of YAdavaprakAsha was later
brought back into SriRAmAnuja’s fold through the efforts of SreeshailapUrna
and was named Embar.
course of time, the chola king, Krimikanta started relentless persecution of
SreevaishnavAs. Followers of SriRAmAnuja prevailed upon SriRAmAnuja to move away
from Srirangam to a safe place since he was needed for humanity.SriRAmAnuja and
others then moved to KarnAtaka. At Melkote he salvaged the NarAyana Vigraha
which was buried under a snakehill ,and,
installed the same in a specially built temple. He learnt that the
Utsavamurthy Ramapriyan had been taken away to Delhi. SriRAmAnuja proceeded to
Delhi and brought back the same for worship. He systematised the worship and
festivals. He appreciated the help rendered by the local people who had been
classed as of lower caste. He arranged for special entry for these people into
the temple(There was a bar on temple entry for these people earlier). He also
called them as “Thirukkulatthar”hose of (Sacred class).He was the foremost
13. Back to Srirangam
twelve years at Melkote SriRAmAnuja and his followers returned to Srirangam .By
then,with the passing away of Krimikantan the persecution of
Sreevaishnavas had stopped. SriRAmAnuja felt sad to see that Kooratthalvan had
lost his eyes ( Through atrocious act of the cruel king) and that MahApUrna had
settling down in Srirangam SriRAmAnuja arranged for AkkAra Arisil Naivedyam at
ThirumAlirumsholai temple to fulfil the vow of Andal. He was therefore called
GodAgraja. He was deeply involved in study of ThiruppAvai and was called
14. SriRAmAnuja’s works
great works are listed below.
- This provides a clear insight to the Upanishads
Sri BhAshya - This is
the principal and classic composition which gives detailed commentary on
- This is meant for people
who are not in a position to study Sribhashyam.
- This is smaller in size than VedAnthadeepa
e) GeethabhAshya - This is based on YamunAchArya’s GeethArtha Sangraha and with greater explanation.
f) SharanAgathi Gadya - This portrays the principle of surrender.
g) Sriranga Gadya – This brings out the total devotion to SriRanganAtha
h) Vaikunta Gadya – This brings out the beauty of MukthAvasthA(State of liberation)
i) Nitya Grantha - This defines the daily routine and rituals to be followed by paramEkAnthins.
RamAnuja laid out the following;
should follow the well- defined order of the VedAs and other DharmashAstrAs
considering them as divine
One must observe all prescribed rituals with a spirit of dedication to
One must keep reciting Dwaya at all times and try to understand the
One must study religious scriptures and teach other willing persons.
One must stay in DivyakshEtrAs whenever possible and offer dhoopa, deepa,
at the temple/s there.
One must seek Srivaishnavas who correctly follow the creed and serve them
One must rejoice at the sight of true sreevaishnavas.
One must shy away from people who are inimical towards Bhagavan and Bhagavathas.
We must passively ignore people who do not show affection and love.
His Last message (Charama SandEsha)
Sri Lakshminarayana is the supreme being
He is our (Universal) father.
Sri MahAlakshmi is our (Universal) mother
We are all brothers and sisters.
All of us (ChEthanAs ) are servants of God.
All chEthana and achEthana are subordinate to God.
Since the entire universe is his body,He(Residing in the body) can not bear
when any part of the body suffers pain.
Any pain or hurt we cause to any being is equivalent to causing pain or
hurt to the antharyami bhagavan.
If one wants upliftment of
soul and supreme bliss, the only way is total surrender to Him.
Love and identifying oneself with the problems of others is the hallmark
of a person who loves God and Is His devotee.
Hence one should approach such an exalted soul, serve and surrender to be
assured of Mukthi.
Sri RamAnuja had 74 prime disciples who were to become the torchbearers
of the Sreevaishnavite
The 72 golden words of SriRAmAnuja are well spelt in “Golden lives of the East”
- Chapter 20). These will be brought in a subsequent note.
- Chapter 20). These will be brought in a subsequent note.
wish to acknowledge with thanks the excellent material provided
in the books and lectures of
Sarvasri C. M.
Vijayaraghavachar, Dr. N. S .Anantharangachar, H. J. Ramiengar,
Mudumbe Ramanujaiyengar, Swami Ramakrishnanada, Sridevi, S. M.
Krishnamachar, G .R. Srinivasadesikachar, Raghusutha, S. S.
Raghavachar, Prof. Yamunacharya, Sri Krishnapremi, K. C.
Vardachari, Prof. K. S. Narayanachar, M. O. S. Iyengar, Setlur
Srinivasaiyengar, A. S. Raghavan, Mysore Andavan, Dr.
Varadarajan, Varadaraj Thirumale, and
Krishna Thatachar and Velukudi Krishnan.
Thirunakshatram day, it is recommended to recite the following.
I crave indulgence of readers with regard to any deficiencies and errors in this write-up and shall be grateful for correction.