emparumanar, King of ascetics, Sri Ramanuja Acharya

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!!SrImatE rAmAnujAya nama:!!
srirangarAja charaNAmbhuja rAja hamsam
srimad parAnkusa padhAmbhuja brungarAjam|
sri bhattanAtha parakAla mukhAbhja mitram
srivatsachihnna saranam yathirAjameedE||

I pay homage to Sri Ramanuja, the swan who has chosen the Lotus Feet of Sri Ranganatha as his refuge;who is collecting the pollen and nectar from the flower-like feet of Parankusa (NammAzhwAr); who brightens like the sun the faces of Bhattanatha (PeriAzhwAr) and
Parakala (Thirumangai AzhwAr), and who is the refuge of Kuresa!

By the effect of kali, the people of this age are less intelligent, weak forgetful, and are incapable of extracting the original meaning of vedas. Out of causeless mercy Sri Badarayana has given us the the ephoric rules Brahma Sutras, the substance of vedas. By the advent of Budhism, Jainism, and Sri Shankara acharya's kevala advaitha philosophy in the 8th century AD,... many people became athiestic. They believed either complete non-existance of God or one-ness of God and the living entity. They denied vedas or gave incomplete meanings (kevala advaitha) of vedas. 
The alwar saints are great devotees of the Lord, infact confidential associates (hamsams) of Lord Himself. They composed many songs in glorification of the Supreme Lord, Sriman Narayana, and His divine incarnations. They propogated the true meaning of vedas in Tamil, famously called Sri Divya Prabhandam. Then, many great acharyas like Sri Nathamuni, his grandson Sri Yamuna Acharya and other great vaishnavas established the truth of Supremacy of Sriman Narayana over all living entities and devathas (demi gods). Although, the sampradaya that is originated by Sriman Narayana Himself and guarded by Sri Lakshmi thayar and is passing the true message of vedas in disciplic succession in an unbroken way, Sri Ramanuja Acharya takes the credit of bringing all vaishnavas under one umbrella and authoritatively commented on all the important scriptures of vedic literature. He personally visited the whole land of Bharata and propogated the Visishta-advaitha doctrine (qualified non-duality), the complete meaning of vedas.
Sri Ramanuja appeared in this material world to save the badda jIvatmas (conditioned souls) in the year 1017 AD, and has given his divine company for 120 years. This great acharya of Sri sampradaya has establidhed the path of bhakti to be superior to any other path scripturally. He defeated all the rival groups with his un-matched tarka (logic), viveka (discrimination), scriptural comprehension and devotion. He firmly established supremacy of Sriman Narayana with all the scriptural evidences.
The avatAra of rAmAnuja is predicted in the scriptures even before he appeared. Our sAmpradAya identifies rAmAnuja as an incarnation of the AdisEsha himself. The following are the scriptural evidences for the interpretation.

Is'vara-SamhitA 175-7

EkAntino mahAbhAgAh S'athakopa-purassarAh
KshonyAm kr*r-AvatArA ye lokojjIvana-hetunA
S'AndilyAdyAs' ca ye c-Anye PancarAtra-pravartakAh
PrahlAdas' c-aiva SugrIvo VAyusUnur VibhUshanah
Ye c-Anye SanakAdyAs' ca PancakAla-parAyanah

i.e "Sathakopa and others, great devout saints, became incarnate on earth to save creature. Sanaka and others, Sandilya and others, prahalAda, SugrIva, the Wind-Son (HanumAn), VibhIshana and others - the strict observers of the Five Timed Injunctions (PancakAla)- these are the Promulgators of the PancarAtra.

Next, after Sathakopa and others, comes RAmAnuja. For NArAyana tells Bala-bharads (or Bala-rAma, the brother of Kr*shna) thus (Is'vara SamhitA, xx, 278-80):

Asti te vimalA bhaktih Mayi YAdava-nandana |
Prathamam S'esha-rUpo Me kaimkaryam akarod bhavAn ||
Tatas tu Lakshmano bhUtvA MAm ArAdhitvAn iha |
IdAnIm api MAm yastum Balabhadra ! tvam arhasi ||
kalAv api yuge bhUyah kas'eid bhUtavA dvijottamah |
NAnA-vidhair bhoga-jAlair arcanam Me karishyasi ||

i.e. "O Son of Yadu-race (BalarAma) ! thou hast clean (or pure) devotion (or love) for Me. Thou, first as S'esha didst the great service for Me. Then next didst thou worship me as Lakshmana. Thou art now serving me as Balabharada. Thou shalt again in Kali age be born as a great BrAhmana (=RAmAnuja), and shalt worship me with many things of joy".

Br*had-Brahma-SamhitA makes this clear, thus:

Dvija-rUpena bhavitA yA tu SamkarshanAbhidhA ||
DvAparAnte kaler Adan pAsanda-pracure jane |
RAmanuj-eti bhavitA Vishnu-dharma-pravartakah ||
S'riranges'a-dayA-pAtram viddhi RAmAnuja munim |
Yena sandarsitah panthA VaikunthAkhyasya sadmanah ||
PAram-aikAntiko dharmo bhava-pAs'a-vimocakah |
Yatr-AnanyatayA proktam Avayoh pAda-sevanam ||
KAlen-AchhAdito dharmo madIyo 'yam varAnane ! |
TadA mayA pravr*tto 'yam tat-kAl-Ocita-mUrtinA ||
Vishvaksen-Adibhir bhaktair S'athAri-pramukhair dvijaih |
RAmAnujena muninA kalau samsthAm upeshyati ||

i.e. " 'My Samkarshana part (O Sri),' says NArAyan, 'is the form of a BrAhmana, by the name RAmAnuja, which it is going to take, after the DvApara age and in the kAli age, to expound the Vishnu-dharma (=BhAgavata Religion), when the world will be full of heretics or renegades (pAsanda). Know that RAmAnuja will be the specially favoured of S'riRanga (-natha) and he will show the way to the Realm known as Viakuntha. The One-pointed Religion exclusively to be rendered to Thee and Me (=Sriman NArAyana) the religion which delivers (creatures) from the bonds of samsAra (material existance) becomes dimmed by age, O fair faced one ! According to the requirements of the age, I take many forms, and act by means of My devotees such as Vishvaksena, Sathakopa, etc., and RAmAnuja in the Kali age.".

BhAradvAja-SamhitA iv, 92, teaches -
Abhyarthito jagad-dhAtryA S'riyA NArAyanas svayam
UpAdis'ad imam yogam iti me NAradAt s'rutam,
i.e "Prayed to by Sri, the Universal Mother, NArAyana Himself taught (Her) this yoga. So did I hear from NArada".

From the above it will be seen how the hierarchy (Guru-paramparA) if the S'ri-Vaishnavas or Sri-Sampradhayam came to be constituted thus:

(1) NArAyana
(2) S'ri
(3) Vishvaksena = Senes'a = the Lord of the Hosts (the Eternals)
(4) S'athakopa or S'athagopa (the Mortal-Immortal)
(5) The others between (4) and (6)
(6) RAmAnuja
(7) Succession after (6), up to one's own Holy Preceptor.

Sri Ramanuja's views on the following....
Works of Ramanujacharya
(Nava rathnangaL- Nine Gems)

    1. Vedartha-Sangraha
      - A treatise presenting the tenets of Visistadwaita, a reconciliation of different conflicting srutis.

    2. Sri Bhasya
      - A detailed commentary on the Vedanta Sutras .

     Magnum Opus of Our Acharya : This is a voluminous work critiquing the interpretations on the BrahmasUtras of Sage Badaraayana ( Vyasa ) by Adhi Sankara's advaitha , Bhaskara's BhedAbhEdhA and other schools of Vedantha .The lengthy commentary on the first sUtrA lays the foundation for the Sri VisishtAdvaitha darsanam firmly and clearly.

    3. Gita-Bhasya 

      - A detailed commentary on the Bhagavad-Gita.

    This is a Substantive commentary on the Bhagavad Gita based on the shorter grantham ( GithArtha Sangraham ) by his Acharya's Acharya ( ALavanthar/Yaamuna Muni). 

    4. Vedanta-Dipa

      - A brief commentary on the Vedanta Sutras.

    A brief commentary on the purport of each of the Brahma sUtrAs . It is shorter than Sri Bhasyam because it does not include the criticisms of the rival systems.

    5. Vedanta-Sara

      - Another brief commentary on the Vedanta Sutras and meant for beginners.

     This grantham is for those , who might find Sri Bhaashyam and VedAntha DeepA too terse and tough . It brings out the essence of Brahma sUtrAs and the AdhikaraNAs . Our AchAryA did not want to frighten away those , who might have difficulty scaling the intellectual heights of Sri BhAshyam .

    6. Saranagati-Gadyam 

    This deals with the most important SaraNAgathi ( Prapatthi )doctrine , which is cardinal to Sri VisishtAdvaitham.

    7. Sri Ranga-Gadyam

    This grantham is in the form of a soul-stirring prayer to Sri RanganAthA.

    Sri Vaikuntha-Gadyam 

      - Describtion of Sri VaikuntAdhi Divya lOkam and the position of the liberated souls.

    A glowing description of the celestial abode ( Sri Vaikuntam ) of Sriman NaarAyaNA and the supreme bliss ( MokshAnubhavam ) of the Muktha and Nitya Jeevans.

    9. Nitya-Grantha

      - A short manual intended to guide the Sri Vaishnava devotees for Nitya karmaas.

     Bhagavdh AarAdhana PrayOgA :Following the instructions given by GeethAchAryA in the twelfth chapter of GitA , AchArya RaamAnuja insists on the need for a VishNu BhakthA to engage in the religious observances enjoined in the VedAs , Smrithis and PurANAs . Through these nine granthAs in Sanskrit , AchArya RaamAnuja built on the foundations laid by his predecessors ( natha Muni and ALavanthAr ) and built the citadel of Sri VaishNavam . His successors (74 SimhaasanAdhipathis) interpreted the above nine granthams and created the Vast Sri VaishNavite literature that we are blessed to possess as our sampradAya Dhanams today .  

    Most of these works are available in this website. Please check scriptures section.


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athAto "brahma" zignAsA - Then thereafter be inquisitive to enquire about "the Absolute"