JIVA’s director of Research and Publications, and renowned Acharya, Sri U.Ve. Samudrala Venkata Ranga Ramanujacharya Swami was recently bestowed upon the title of Mahamahopadhyaya by Rashtriya Samskrit Vidhyapeeta, in Tirupati. This is a rarest of the rare honour and is bestowed upon only for a handful of people. Some stalwarts of Ramanuja Tradition like SriBhashyam Appalacharya Swami, Kanchi P.B. Annangarcharya Swami have also been bestowed the Mahamahopadhyaya honour in earlier years, and it is a matter of pride for JIVA and all of us that our own Ranga Ramanujacharya Swami has joined the galaxy of traditional scholars who have been bestowed upon this great honour.

Ranga Ramanujacharya swami was born in 1949, in a traditional acharya family, and he learnt the basics of the sampradaya from his father Nyaya Vedanta Vidwan Samudrala Lakshmanacharyulu swami. He completed Ph.D in Samskrit from Andhra University – Prior to that, he completed Sahitya Vidyapraveena Samskrit degree from SVJV Sanskrit college in Kovvuru, AP. In the same college, Swami served in the Samskrit department from the year 1973, and retired as the Principal of the college in 2007.

He learnt traditional education from several stalwarts – Poorva Meemamsa from Brahma Sri Remilla Surya Prakasa Sastry, Visishtadvaita Vedanta from Mahamahopadhyaya Sriman Sribhasyam Appalacharya Swami, Dravida Vedanta from Sriman U.Ve. Purihella Venkatacharya Swami and others.

Since 1997, Swami has been associated with Chinna Jeeyar Swami and several Jeeyar institutions, and has served in various capacities – as Secretary and President of Ubhaya Vedanta Acharya Peetham Trust, and as board member of JIVA and of course, as Director of Research and Publications Wing. Swami tirelessly serves the causes of Sri. Chinna Jeeyar Swami, and advises various projects.

He has published a monumental quantity of books – 12 of them self-authored , including Pranava Manjusha, that explains concepts related to the Pranava Mantra in Samskrit, Sri Krishna Tattva Madhurima – an exposition of Krishna Concept in Telugu. He has also written a poetic composition called Neela Madhavam, in samskrit. He has edited more than 19 books in addition to above, and is working on several important works for the future – including a grand book on Brahma Sutras with the commentaries of various acharyas.

He has been bestowed several honours – including Sribhashyam Appalacharya award, Gopala Desika Puraskara, Sastra Ratnakara, and recently the President of India Award in Samskrit.

In spite of his great expertise, and age, Swami can be seen every day, doing yeoman work – either in editing original works that are republished, or composing new books, or teaching several students – both in person and over the phone. Swami takes a special interest in passing on the knowledge he has accumulated to interested students, and does not mind the time of the day. In fact, for one of his students, swami conducted classes from 9:30 PM to 10:30 PM every day!. During a felicitation ceremony held in Osmania University Sanskrit Academy for Swami, it was amazing to see a galaxy of learned scholars talk about Swami. Several of Swami’s students have served the cause of Samskritam and even have retired and they were present too.

It is a matter of great fortune for all of us associated with JIVA/JET that we have such a great scholar and person who is willing to teach, is present. Let us all congratulate Swami, and take advantage of his presence in JIVA.