Swami Speaks – On The Day of Chaturmasya Deeksha Samapanam
We are particularly fortunate that we are present to witness the time period during which falls the 1000thbirth anniversary of our beloved Bhagavad Ra:ma:nuja:charya. Neither our past nor future generations have been presented with this unique opportunity to do something historic to grandly commemorate such a benevolent, venerated A:cha:rya. From 2017, the 1000th year of Bhagavad Ra:ma:nuja:charya. we will make it our mission to carry forward His legacy for at least the next thousand years.
We can have the darsan of Bhagavad Ra:ma:nuja in many Sri: Vaishnava temples throughout the world. However, there are four very unique locations in which we can have the special darsan of Bhagavad Ra:ma:nuja:cha:rya’s thirume:ni – divine form. This is because Bhagavad Ra:ma:nuja himself consecrated these four vigrahams in His likeness. These are in Sri:rangam, Melkote, Sri: Perumbu:du:r, and Thirumala.✿Know More✿
The first of the four is officially known as Tha:na:nathirume:ni, which is located in Sri:rangam. Bhagavad Ra:ma:nuja spent most of his lifetime in Sri:rangam reforming the temple rituals and practices as per the scriptures. His instructions are still diligently followed even today. After Ra:ma:nuja:charya left for the divine abode of Paramapadam, Lord Rangana:ttha instructed through the head priest to place Ra:ma:nuja’s mortal body on the north eastern side of the temple where Vasantha Mandapam is located. Even today, we can have the darsan of Ra:ma:nuja:charya in his original form. Hence this form is called Tha:na:nathirumeni.
Thamarugandathirumeni – the form as desired by the devotees, is present in Melkote. Here, Bhagavad Ra:ma:nuja:charya stayed for 13 years, the longest period of time that he was outside Sri:rangam. During the rule of the Cho:la king Krimikantta, there was strong opposition to Ra:ma:nuja’s teachings. He passed a law for the immediate arrest and execution of Sri Ra:ma:nuja. Bhagavad Ra:ma:nuja:charya was not in Sri:rangam at that time. The king’s royal guards came to Sri:rangam for his arrest. Ra:ma:nuja’s dear A:cha:rya Maha:purna and his disciple Kuratha:lwan gave the remaining disciples strict instructions to tell Ra:ma:nuja to escape and ordered them to accompany him to Melkote, for his safety. Kuratha:lwan then disguised himself as Ra:ma:nuja, and along with Maha:purna presented themselves to the King. Under questioning, the king came to realize their true identity and burned their eyes with molten iron. On their journey back to Sri:rangam, Maha:purna left his mortal body and attained Paramapadam. Kuratha:lwan was blinded for life. Meanwhile, Sri: Ra:ma:nuja escaped with a few disciples and headed to Melkote, which was not under the rule of the Cho:la king. He reformed the temple there, and re-instated the proper temple worship. When Bhagavad Ra:ma:nuja heard that Sri:rangam was no longer in danger, he made plans to leave for Sri:rangam. However, the devotees cried and protested. They didn’t want their beloved A:cha:rya to leave. Hence, Ra:ma:nuja instructed them to build a statue, transferred some of his Pra:na Sakthi into it, and left it in the care of the devotees in Melkote. Hence, this form of Ra:ma:nuja is known as Thamaruganda Thirumeni, the form desired by devotees.
Ra:ma:nuja was originally born in Sri Perumbu:du:r. After Ra:ma:nuja’s form was established in Melkote, the devotees in Sri Perumbu:du:r protested. How can Melkote have the form of Sri Ra:ma:nuja not Sri Perumbu:du:r? Accordingly, Ra:ma:nuja ordered the construction of an Archa form in his resemblance, hugged it, infused his divine Pra:na Sakthi into it, and installed it in the temple of Sri Perumbu:du:r. This form is known as Tha:nugandathirume:ni.
There is a fourth place where Ra:ma:nuja’s divine form can be seen. However, for some reason, it has not been recognized. Anantha:lwan, a beloved devotee of Ra:ma:nuja, went to Thirumala as ordered by Ra:ma:nuja, and made beautiful flower garlands for Lord Sri:niva:sa every day. Ra:ma:nuja visited Thirumala and stayed there for three years, overseeing the construction of Govindara:ja Swami temple. When Ra:ma:nuja was leaving, Anantha:lwan felt very sad that he was being separated from his A:cha:rya. When he expressed his sorrow, Ra:ma:nuja again instructed the construction of his divine form, transferred his Pra:na Sakthi into it, and told Anantha:lwan to take care of the vigraham as if Ramanuja himself was living in Ananthalwan’s home. Accordingly, Anantha:lwan took great care of this form of Ra:ma:nuja:charya, established in his home, and prayed to it everyday. Some years later, news of Ra:ma:nuja:charya’s demise reached Anantha:lwan in Thirumala. Out of his grief and anger, Ananthalwan refused to go to Lord Venkate:swara’s temple, and stopped making flower garlands for him. After some time, Lord Venkate:swara sent for Anantha:lwan. Deeply upset, Anantha:lwan went to Thirumala temple and stood before Lord, with his head bowed down and tears running down his cheeks. Lord Srinivasa then said, “I am also very sad that Ra:ma:nuja is no more on this Earth. After all, is he not my beloved A:charya also?! However, birth and death are the laws of nature, and cannot be changed. But there is a solution to end both of our sorrows. Bring the divine form of Ra:ma:nuja you have in your home, and install it here in the temple facing me, so that his lotus feet are at the level of my heart.” Anantha:lwan followed Lord Sri:niva:sa’s instructions. Even today, we can see Bhagavad Ra:ma:nuja in Thirumala temple, in the position that Lord commanded. As Bhagavad Ra:ma:nuja is the divine a:cha:rya of Lord Sri:niva:sa, all the prasadam offered to Lord first goes to Sri Ra:ma:nuja:charya, before being distributed elsewhere throughout the temple.
Ra:ma:nuja identified 74 Simha:dhipathis in Sri:rangam to carry forward our sampradayam for future generations. Now, 1000 years have passed, and some of our sampradayam and traditions have been lost to time. We strongly believe that Ra:ma:nuja:cha:rya Swamy’s charana sannidhi and divine name have the power to revive the glory of our heritage. We will be at Sri: Rangam, the place most associated with our A:cha:rya, praying for that revival. Such a prayer will certainly quicken A:cha:rya anugraham.
There are many families of his gurus, disciples, and scholars still living in that city. HH has put forth a formal invitation to those families, as well as the descendants of the 74 simhadhipathis to meet in Sri:rangam on October 14 for two purposes:
Recognize and honor these families
Proudly recollect the roles and functions that Ra:ma:nuja:cha:rya Swamy has given the a:cha:ryapurushas of these families and make sure that we pass on that precious heritage to the next generation.
These two, we must all do together for our A:cha:rya.
We invite all those who appreciate any sambandham with Ra:ma:nuja:cha:rya Swamy to gather together under the name of Sri: Vaishnava Sango:shti at Sri:rangam from 14th to 16th October 2016 to rejuvenate ourselves and humbly offer our gratitude to the A:cha:rya. We wish to do parikrama to the Lord and His pariva:ram at the Rangana:ttha temple and pray together for the continued grace of Ra:ma:nuja:cha:rya Swamy.
Let us join in the parikrama on October 14th at 9:30 A.M and reaffirm our commitment to the a:cha:rya samprada:yam after getting mangala:sa:sanam from the a:cha:ryapurushas. We offer our mangala:sa:sanam for Peruma:l and the go:shtti.