Ramanujacharya: A Glimpse into the life of 10th Century Vaishnava Saint, Philosopher, Social Reformer

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Ramanujacharya was born in the year 1017 to Kesava Somayaji and Kanthimathi, in Chitra month and on the day of Arudra star. He mastered the Vedas at the young age of 16 years. In his 120 years of life span, he systematically explained philosophical truths and synthesized Bhakti and Jnana, the two folds of characters possessed by the Alwars and Acharyas, the saints and the sages in his philosophy Vishistadwaita. He is also regarded as an incarnation of mythological 1000 hooded Adishesha by devotees.

CRUSADER OF SOCIAL EQUALITY:

Ramanujacharya is considered to be the champion of social justice and equality and did remarkable contribution to the downtrodden sections and oppressed classes some 1000 years itself. In a society which strongly practiced social discrimination based on caste and wealth, Ramanujacharya fought for the rights of oppressed and backward castes. He stood for social equality and declared all people to be equal in the eyes of god. His bold stance on social evils gathered him a lot of enemies and opposition but he overcame all the hurdles with his compassion and penance.

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FORTIFIED KAINKARYAMS:
He pioneered in streamlining the puja tradition in the temples which were irregular and in doldrums in those days. The first and foremost being the shrines of Lord Venkateswara and Adi Varaha Kshetra in Tirumala, where he reformed the puja procedures, restored and fortified archana, kainkaryams, rituals, and festivals. Some of the important festivals initiated by the great Acharya includes Bhag Savari Utsavam, Tanniramudu Utsavam, the introduction of the first puja, first nivedana and first darshan to Lord  Bhu Varaha Swamy in Tirumala.

RAMANUJA IN TIRUMALA:
Sri Ramanuja firmly believed that lord Venkateswara took the form of Saligrama statue in Tirumala and he himself reborn as Vikhanasa Maharshi and formulated his own puja kainkaryams. Hence, Ramanuja decided that all puja kainkaryams in Tirumala temple should be done in the tradition of Vaikhanasa Agama Shastra.

Ramanuja learnt Ramayana from his uncle and guru Tirumala Nambi at Alipiri-the first step to Tirumala. His discourses to his disciples and devotees were compiled in Vedanta Sangraha in Tirumala Hills only.

Ramanuja is believed to be in the Guru position even to lord Venkateswara and therefore he is worshipped along with the lord in Tirumala during every festival and religious celebration. MILLENNIUM CELEBRATIONS:
As the year 2017 is going to be the millennium birth anniversary of the great master, the temple management of Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) is set to observe yearlong birth celebrations of the great Vaishnava Saint. The celebrations will commence from May 10 of this year and conclude on May 1 of 2017. 

DIFFERENT NAMES OF RAMANUJA:
Sri Ramanuja is being worshipped by many names. Ilayavarulu, Ramanuja, Ramanujanambi, Yatiraju, Lakshamanamuni, Godagrajar, Tiruppavai Jeeyar, Yatirajulu, Shatakopaponnadi, Koilannan, Bhootapurusha, Desikendra, Emberumannar, Bhashyakara, Udayavarulu etc.
Among these names, Desikendra is the name blessed by none other than Lord Venkateswara, Bhasyakara by Vagdevi in Kashmir and Udayarulu by Lord Ranganatha after “Gadya Trayam” written by him.

Special Programmes by TTD from Ramanujacharya Millennium Celebrations:
TTD has designed several special programmes to match the auspicious occasion. The most important one being the “Ramanuja Sancharam” wherein a specially decked vehicle carrying the utsava vigrahams of Lord Sri Malayappa Swamy, Sridevi, Bhudevi and Sri Ramanujacharyulu will cover all the 106 Vaishnava Divya Desams located across the country in the next one year.

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