Sri Ramanuja shrine at Tirumala gets a facelift
Ramanuja ... resplendent.
Seven Hills, also known by the names of Seshadri, Tiruvengadam and Tirumala, seat of Venkata Nayaka (Srinivasa), is believed
to be a manifestation of Adisesha — Ananta, the serpent bed of Sriman Narayana. The Azhwars assert that the Lord "jumped"
from Paramapada, his blissful abode, atop the Seshadri hill, and then came down to Srirangam to recline on His Seshasayanam.
is proclaimed to be an incarnation of Adisesha. He was closely associated with Srirangam and Tirumala. Born in Sriperumbudur,
he settled down in Kanchipuram after a study of the languages and Vedanta, and dedicated himself to the service of Lord Varadaraja.
Srirangam was then the pontifical seat of Sri Vaishnavism, and Yamunacharya (Alavandar) the pontifical chief. After the demise
of Yamuna, Ramanuja was invited by Sri Ranganatha to move over to Srirangam and carry on the mission of spreading the Vaishnava
faith and also look after His temple.
while in Srirangam, Ramanuja began to pay attention to Tirumala. He first sent Anantazhwar, an ardent disciple, to the hills
to establish a flower garden which would provide Tulasi and flowers for the daily worship. His maternal uncle and Acharya
Srisailapurna — Tirumalai Nambi, a disciple of Yamuna, was already there, serving Sri Venkatesa.
a few years, probably around 1050 A.D., Ramanuja undertook his first trip to Tirupati. Unwilling to tread upon the holy body
of Adisesha, Ramanuja crawled on all fours. While he paused to take rest on the steep `knee-breaker' hill (`mokalla mitta'),
Sri Tirumalai Nambi and Ananthazhwar, who were coming down to receive him with the Lord's prasada — holy tirta and fruits
— met him there. Ramanuja eagerly partook of the prasadams, consumed some mango fruits and buried the seeds there. In
course of time, trees grew out of these seeds.
the abode of Sri Venkatesa, Ramanuja was received with temple honours. Inside, he feasted his eyes on the lovely form of the
Lord and was delighted to see the verdant nandavana, established by Anantazhwar, with a tank. He fondly embraced the
disciple, blessed him by saying, "Valarthadhanal Payan Petren" (I have obtained the fruits of bringing you up). Ramanuja stayed
on the hill for three days and used the opportunity to deliver several discourses on the Upanishads. These were soon compiled
in the form of a book, "Vedanta Sangraha", Ramanuja's first work on the Vedanta.
stayed for a year in Tirupati, to study the significance of Valmiki's Ramayana under the guidance of acharya Tirumalai Nambi.
Since he thought it was a sacrilege to live on the holy hill, which he revered as the body of Adisesha, and Tirumalai Nambi
could not miss his service and worship of Venkateswara even for a day, they met at the foot of the hills everyday to study
did not want to miss the company of His ardent devotees, and joined them. The imprint of his Tiruvadi can be seen at the foothills
where they studied the Ramayana. Years later, Ramanuja had to go to Tirupati again, as he was summoned to establish that the
Lord atop the Venkata Hill was solely a manifestation of Mahavishnu. Ramanuja convinced the ruling chieftain at Tirupati,
quoting extensively from the Veda, Puranas and other sources that the deity was none other than Mahavishnu. He also restored
the Chanka and Chakra on the deity. The Lord had given them away to King Thondaman to help him win battles. Ramanuja established
the utsava idol of Govindaraja displaced from Chidambaram at the Vishnu temple in Tirupati.
for the extension of the temple and regular conduct of puja and festivals there. He introduced a number of reforms in the
worship of the Lord and in the temple administration at Tirumala. The reforms introduced by Ramanuja, called "Ramanujarya
Divyagna", have been recorded in detail in "Sri Venkatachala Itihasamala" and the "Tirupati Tirumala Itihasamala" (Tirumalai
of Ramanuja, after he shed his mortal coil, was consecrated in a shrine at the Tirumala temple. There is no other acharya
or Azhwar in `urcha form' at Tirumala. Several centuries later, Sri Manavalamamuni, a reincarnation of Ramanuja, visited the
Tirumala temple and strengthened the administration on secular and religious matters.
identified the spot where Ramanuja had rested, and wished to build a temple there. Kandadai Ramanuja Iyengar (Muni), a trusted
lieutenant of Mamunigal, built a temple there and consecrated a beautiful archa image (moolavar) of Ramanuja and arranged
for food offering every day at Tirumala.
had lovingly referred to this archa form as "Mambazha Emperumanar".
temple has now been renovated, thanks to the efforts of Srimad Chinna Jeer Swami, with the blessings of Srimad Periya Jeer
Swami. The mahasamprokshana of this renovated temple was performed on February 7, with a three-day preliminary function, according
to the Vaikhanasa agama under the supervision of the agama advisors to TTD. All the offerings for the "homam" and the prasadams
for all the days were brought from the main temple in Tirumalai and offered to Ramanuja.
mahasamprokshanam day, Baghavat Senapati Azhwar (Senai Mudaliar) from Sri Venkateswara temple was brought in procession with
the Lord's Sri Satakopan to the renovated temple and in the presence of both the Jeers, Acharya purushas and Srivaishnava
goshti, purnahuti, Samprokshanam and Sathumurai were performed.
was fittingly celebrated at the main temple of Venkateswara with a grand procession of Malayappaswami and Bashyakara Swami
(utsavar), with a full goshti chanting, "Ramanuja Nuttrandadi" round the four mada streets in the evening. The function concluded
with the offering of prasadam to the Lord and Sri Ramanuja, in the Ramanuja shrine, inside the main temple.
was carried out by Subbiah Stapathy and his son Swaminathan (Siva) Stapathy of Kanchipuram. The temple is located on the left
before the Mukkala Mita Mantap as one ascends the steps, and is about 1.5 km before the `toll gate'.