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Sri Ramanujacharya is the most important philosopher-saint of Sri Vaishnavism. He revitalized Indian philosophy and popular religion. His life and works show a truly unique personality, combining contemplative insight, logical acumen, charismatic energy, and selfless dedication to God. He is said to be the incarnation of Laxman, the younger brother of Lord Rama, hence the name Ramanujacharya.
One of Yamunacarya’s chief sannyasi disciples was Sri Sailapurna. He had two sisters, the elder named Kantimati and the younger named Diptimati. Kantimati was married to a very pious brahmana known as AsuriKesavacarya. At Sriperumpudur Kantimati gave birth to a baby boy in the year AD 1017, who bore all auspicious marks on his body. It was this child who grew up to be renowned all over the world as Sri Ramanujacarya, the great devotee of Lord Narayana.
On Yamunacarya’ disappearance , Ramanujacarya took following three vows:
( i ) that he would write a commentary on Veda Vyasa’s Brahma Sutra (ii ) To honor sage Parasara, father of Vyasadeva , he would name a disciple as Parashara and (iii ) that he would strive to propagate Visishtha-advaita philosophy. He refuted Shankaracarya’s explanation who said that the jivatma and material nature are all illusion. Visishtha-advaita philosophy essentially explains that the Supreme Personality of Godhead Narayana has an eternal form, has an eternal abode and is ever merged in loving pastimes with his devotees.
One of his gurus, Mahapurna instructed Ramanuja to receive special mantra from Ghostipurna. Ramanujacarya went 17 times but still Ghostipurna didn’t give the mantra. Even the deity of Ranganath told him through the priest to initiate Ramanuja but still Ghostipurna was not ready. Finally he gave the mantra “Om namo Narayanaya” on the condition that Ramanuja will never tell anyone unless they are tested like him, as only one who is totally pure without any ego can achieve this mantra . Still, out of great compassion for common people, just after getting mantra Ramanuja went on top a temple & shouted the mantra to thousands of people.
Gosthipurna was very angry at Ramanuja & told that for this offence Ramanuja will suffer in hell. Ramanujacarya with deep humility replied, “My dear master, I knew that before I revealed the mantra. But you told that anyone who chants this mantra will go to Vaikuntha. If they all go back to godhead , it is insignificant that one person like me suffers in hell.” Such unseen compassion & kindness melted the heart of Ghostipurna who started begging for mercy on himself. Ramanuja caught his lotus feet & gave all credit to his guru.
Ramanujacarya preached very strongly and had many illustrious disciples like Kuresh , Dasrathi, Anantaacarya etc. He met with lot of opposition & even death threat still his determination to spread bhakti never diminished.
He wrote a commentary on Vedanta- sutra called as Sri-bhashya. The essence of his teachings is surrender to guru & service to vaisanavas.
One can pray to him for service attitude and humility.
Sripad Ramanujacharya ki ….. Jai!