Srirangam Srimadh Andavan Ashramam has been an institution for more than three centuries in nurturing and furthering Acharya Ramanuja’s and Swami Vedanta Desika’s doctrine of Vishishtadvaita. The institution traces its roots to Swami Vedantha Desika through Saakshaath Swami and to Acharya Ramanuja through Kidambi Aachaan and Kurukesha a.k.a. Thirukkuruhaipiraan Pillaan (direct disciples and Simhasanaadhipathis of Acharya Ramanuja). The head of the institution is known as “Andavan” or “Andavan Swamigal”, a name that is believed to be given by Lord Ranganatha himself to the first Seer.
Srirangam Srimadh Andavan Ashramam is among the Srivaishnava Acharya Lineage that follow Sri Vedanta Desika as the torch bearer of Sri Ramanuja’s teachings. Srirangam Srimath Andavan Ashram has a huge following in India and has an unbroken lineage of acharyas since its founding almost 300 years ago, who dedicated themselves to spread the teachings of Vaishanavite Saint, Sri Ramanuja(1017 AD – 1139 AD). Sri Ramanuja’s teachings stresses on absolute surrender to the supreme being Lord Sriman Narayana for one’s soul to break the cycle of repeated births and deaths and to attain Moksha at the end of this birth to eternally serve Lord Sriman Narayana. The main activities of the institution include conducting sacraments of Samashrayanam and Bharanyasam, Kalakshepams (higher spiritual lessons), Vedic and Western education through Patashalas and secular colleges, managing and funding various temples and Divya Desams, spreading Ramanuja siddhantham through its various centers.
Background and Following
Munitrayam is a sect among Vadagalai Iyengars and all but people that belong to Parakaala Matam or Ahobila Matam are a part of the sect. A vast majority of people from this Munitrayam sect are followers of Srimadh Andavan Ashramam. Demographically, people are spread across the world with a higher concentration in the states of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra. The institution is referred to as just “Ashramam” or “Andavan Ashram” or “Periashramam” by various people.
Centers / Physical Locations
The headquarters of the Ashramam (hermitage) is in Srirangam where most Acharyas of this lineage have spent most of their saintly lives. The institution has centers spread across India and the US. Most centers have temples and/or Patashalas. Some famous cities which contain what is called as “Andavan Ashramam” are Mumbai, New Delhi, Bangalore (2 centers), Calcutta, Chennai, Brindavan, Badrinath, Hyderabad (2 centers), Aurangabad, and Tirupati. The institution also runs an Arts and Science college in Srirangam.
The main symbol of worship and the central theme of the institution’s philosophical approach is Lord Ranganatha’s Padukas (divine sandals). The primordial deity of this Ashramam is Lord Venugopala swamy (Lord Krishna).
The Current Pontiff
The current pontiff is His Holiness Sri Rangaramanuja Mahadesikan (Srimushnam Andavan), a scholar (with traditional doctoral-equivalents) in Nyaya (roughly translates to Absolute Righteousness) and Tarka (Logic), with additional speciliazations and proven talent in Alankara Shaastra (worship and decoration of deities), Ayurveda, Astrology, Music, Sculpting, Poetry, Dramatics etc. He is also an expert in languages like Sanskrit, Tamil and Telugu. The official websites of the Ashramam are http://www.andavan.org and http://www.ramanujamission.org