Yo nityamachyuthapada:mbuja yugmarukma
vya:mo:hathasdhithara:ni thruna:ya me:ne:
Rama:nujasya charanau sharanam prapadye:
Dear Bhagavad Bandhus!
“Gurudev! If my act of disclosing the sacred Mantra redeems the sins and sufferings of the entire world, and I, as a result, deemed to rot in the worst of hells, am willing”. Startled Guru of Ramanujacharya embraced him at once proclaiming “em-perum-ana:re:”, which means “You have surpassed us” by carrying such a magnanimous selfless attitude towards welfare of the world. The scholars of that day thus declared Ramanuja as Emberuma:na:r.
“Why not humans, when every creature is the child of God, despite their caste, creed, colour race or gender? Every man has the right to receive the Blessings of God. Declaring thus, for the first time in human history, Ramanujacharya escorted Harijans, the down trodden, into the temple, at Melkote, Karnataka. Exemplifying himself, Sri Ramanujacharya instructed the lineage of Acharyas not to discriminate or deny any sincere truth seeker from the mantra.
The Decree of Lord Venkateswara
Sri Venkateswara, The Lord of Seven Hills himself having accepted Ramanujacharya as his guru, instructed the then King Ya:dava Ra:ja, “Let the divine commandant of Acharya Ramanuja, be sung in all corners of the world for all times to come” by His own words, “Ra:ma:nuja:rya Divya:jna: Vardhatha:m Abhivardhatha:m”
Ramanuja can aptly be called the torchbearer of Vaishnavism when it was being challenged by various forces. Though he had mastered the Vedas and other relevant religious literature, even while young he had shown impatience of the then forms of orthodoxy. His wife could not reconcile to the fact that he was generous to all. She was discourteous to two great men whom he revered and so a stage came when he renounced his family life and took to sanyasa. By then there was the call of Yamunacharya (Alavandar) and even before he reached Srirangam the latter had reached heaven, but Ramanuja vowed to fulfil the tasks left by him. As a student he had challenged his teacher that the interpretation he gave to a few Vedic statements was distorted. Later he cured the illness of a young princess of a strange disease which his teacher could not do. The teacher, who was jealous, attempted to do away with him while taking him on a trip to Kasi. Ramanuja was forewarned and Lord Varadaraja and his consort led him to safety.
Ramanujacharya lived on earth for a period of 120 years, stayed in Srirangam for about 60 years, changed the procedure of modes of worship in the temple. He had a number of disciples whom he taught Vedanta. At one stage his popularity made the neighboring chieftain envious and there was a scheme to kill him. But in his place Koorthazhwar went dressed like him and faced the challenge. In that process he gouged out his own eyes. There was also an attempt to serve Ramanujacharya with poisoned food. His disciples saved him. One among them who was dear to Ramanuja was Koorthazhwar.
Ramanuja and Koorthazhwar went to Saraswati Bhandar (a library) in Kashmir to learn advanced knowledge from the famous book Bodhayanavritti which was the sole book available compelled by his disciples to leave Srirangam, Ramanuja went to Melkote and stayed there for a long time spreading Vaishnavism. Since he cured the illness of the king’s daughter, the king became his ardent follower.
Ramanuja retrieved the deity which the Muslim filler took away from Melkote. At the request of the devotees, he agreed to make two bronze replicas of himself and installed them in Sriperambudur and Melkote. Living till a ripe age of 120 years and carrying out all his spiritual duties, he departed in 1137 AD.
Apart from spelling out 72 spiritual injunctions, he made 74 disciples spread his philosophy. Vaishnavism gained its stature in his days In the North it had taken roots through men like Vallabha, Ramananda and Nimbarka. For Ramanuja, God is not soulless but possesses auspicious qualities and is free from reprehensible traits. Devotion is open to all and so he propagated Saranagathi or surrendering is the best and easiest method to reach God.