Pathway to Paramapadham – Post 7

Srimathe Ramanujaya Namaha
Sri Rangapriya Divya Padukabhyam Namaha
Swami Emperumanaar Thirumanjana kattiyam:
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Sri Ramanuja had a charismatic personality. People who saw him immediately felt that he was worthy of veneration. Srivaishnavas who sought refuge at his feet admired his soft feet with tender toes. The sacred ochre robes added to his already radiant personality. Yagnopaveetham served as a reminder to his followers to do their daily duties. Urdhvapundram added unusual beauty to his thirumeni. Tridandam powerfully communicated the victory of Vishishtadvaita philosophy. He was tall and handsome. The Thulasi mala rested well on his mighty shoulders.  Being an incarnation of Adisesha, he was of fair complexion. His beautiful shikhai with a thick tuft of hair framed his glowing face. His eyes sparkled with intelligence. He was an embodiment of love and compassion. With Anjali mudra, he connected with Perumal. With a serene face and an enigmatic smile, he influenced everyone around him. In fact, he looked like the rising sun…
Sri Ramanuja was a synoptic thinker and he wrote nine Sri Sookthis (divine works) in sanskrit:
1. Vedartha Sangraha: Using stern logic, Sri Ramanuja examined different schools of thought. Then he enunciated the relationship of the supreme being with the individual self and the non- sentient world according to Vishistadvaita in this work.
2. Vedantha Sara: This is a brief commentary on the Brahma sutras that was written before Sri Bhashya.
3. Sri Bhashya: This is Sri Ramanuja’s magnum opus. It is a commentary on Veda Vyasa’s Brahma sutras. He clearly expounded the concepts of Tatva (Supreme being), Hita (Jivathma) and Purushaartha (Moksha) in this exceptional work.
4. Vedantha Deepa: This is an abbreviated version of Sri Bhashya to assist people to get the essence of Sri Bhashya which is terse in nature.
5. Geetha Bhashya: This is a commentary on Bhagavad Geetha, where in Sri Ramanuja extensively used nyaya (rules) and tarka (reasoning) to interpret Bhagavad Geetha. He quoted Vedas, Upanishads and Puranas to substantiate his interpretations.
6. Sharanagathi Gadyam: In this prose, Sri Ramanuja first appealed to Mahalakshmi and then asked her to recommend to Lord Narayana to forgive all the sins that were committed in the past, present and future by the Jeevathmas and grant moksham to those who have surrendered.
7. Sriranga Gadyam: In this second prose, Sri Ramanuja emotionally described Lord of Sriranga’s kalyana gunas (auspicious qualities) and Jeevathma’s weaknesses and then sought emancipation from this materialistic existence on our behalf.
 8. Vaikunta Gadyam: In this composition, Sri Ramanuja described the eternal beauty of Vaikunta in great detail. He also vividly described Thaayaar, Perumal, Nithyasuris and Jeevathmas’ seeking Perumal’s grace to offer them the pleasure of nithya kainkaryam.
9. Nithya Grantham: This is a manual that stipulate the daily rituals (like Thirivaradhanam) to be performed by Sri Vaishnavas.
The Philosophical texts Vedartha Sangraha, Vedantha Sara, Sri Bhashya, Vedanta Deepa and Geetha Bhashya were written in a very scientific manner. It is difficult to even fathom the depths of his works. Although Sri Ramanuja completed writing his Sri Bhashya in his forties, he made finishing touches in his seventies. These books are meant for us to read and experience divine bliss.
The Gadya Thrayams (Sharanagathi Gadyam, Sriranga Gadyam and Vaikunta Gadyam) are proses that touch our soul. On the day of Panguni Uthiram, when Sri Ramanuja experienced Serthi Sevai of Perumal and Thaayaar in Srirangam, he was overwhelmed by the beauty of the Divya Dampathis (divine couple) and their kalyana gunas (auspicious qualities). Normally, when we are shaken by an experience, we become speechless. But Sri Ramanuja was full of speech. He spoke for his entire spiritual protégé. He sought forgiveness on our behalf and requested Divya Dampathis to grant moksham to all prapannas.
Sri Ramanuja advised Srivaishnavas to study and preach Sri Bhashya and Divya Prabandham, serve Perumal and Bhagavathas, offer services in Divya Desams, reflect on the esoteric meaning of Rahasya Thraya. If all this is difficult, one should live under the loving umbrella of a Srivaishnava.
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To be continued… Next