(1) APPEARANCE AND DISAPPEARANCE:
APPEARANCE : In the year 1017 AD. Another source says that he appeared on 13th April 1017 AD.
DISAPPEARANCE : In the year 1137 AC
Father: Kesava Perumal Somayaji Dikhsitar
Mother: Kanthimathi Ammal at Sriperumpudur.
Named by one “Periya Thiru malai” as Ilaya Perumal or Ilayalwar.
(2) WHO IS SRI RAMANUJA?
The great philosopher, saint and a social reformer who preached SriVaishnavam .
He lost his father in his young age and was living with his mother at Kanchipuram under the protection of one ‘Tiruk kachi Nambi’ who was was believed to converse with Lord Varadaraja (Krishna) in the Archa form of the Sri varadharaja Temple,, kancheepuram
(3) Within 16 years of age, he had mastered all the Vedas and Sastras. At the age 17, he married Rakshakaambaal ( Tanjammal, in Tamil)
(4) Ilaya Perumal (Sri Ramanuja) did higher vedic studies from the Advaitic Sannyasi YADAVA PRAKASA at Tirupput kuzhi near Kancheepuram for training in Vedanta.
This Saivite Guru clashed with Ilaya Perumal (Sri Ramanuja) when the Guru Yadava Prakasa misinterpreted Vedantic statements. This enraged the Guru. Fearing that one day, Sri Ramanuja would demolish Advaita philosophy, he plotted to kill Sri Ramanuaja by drowning him in Ganga while on a pilgrimage tour of the country with his disciples.
(5) A MIRACLE:
Getting known of this plan through his relative Govindan, Sri Ramanuaja slipped out into the forest at dead of night. Miraculously, an aged hunter couple appeared and guided him. As Ilaya Perumal (Sri Ramanuja) who was in a trance, opened his eyes, he found himself at the outskirts of Kanchipuram and the couple had disappeared. He realized that it was Lord Varadaraja and Perundevi Mother who had come in the guise of the hunter couple.
(6) News came that Alavandar (Ramanuja’s Acharya who was living in Srirangam, near Trichy, Tamilnadu) was very sick and he desired to meet with Sri Ramanuja. Just as Tirukkachi Nambi and Sri Ramanuja arrived, they saw the funeral procession of Alavandar. Since he could not meet the acharya Alavandar, he returned to Kanchi without even going into the temple at Srirangam (PPM)
(7) Tirukkachi Nambi obtained from Lord Varadaraja the famous ‘ Six Words ‘ and passed them on to Sri Ramanuja. The six words provided the guidelines for Sri Ramanuja to follow. They were:-
( i ) that Lord Narayana is the Paramatma.
(ii ) that the individual souls were different from Paramatma.
(iii) that Prapatti is the means to attain salvation.
(iv) that the last remembrance of the Lord on the part of the departing soul was not necessary.
(v) that Moksha can be obtained only on laying off the mortal coils (Videha Mukti)
(vi) that Ilaya Perumal should take refuge at the feet of Periya Nambi.
(8) Accordingly, he met with Periya Nambi at Madurantakam, near Chennai. Periya Nambi performed Pancha Samskara to him. Both returned to Srirangam and did Kalakshepams on Brahma Sutra etc. for sometime. It was at this time that Lord Ranganatha (Krishna’s name in Srirangam) called him “Nammudaiyavar” (He is ours).
(9) Ilaya Perumals was not happy in his married life. His wife never understood either his greatness nor appreciated his catholicity and always acted on her own wavelength and there was no compatibility as between them. When he was about 30 years of age, Ilayalwar took Sannyasa with the name of ‘Ramanuja Muni’.
(10) A POPULAR INCIDENT:
When he was asked to accept the position of Acharya at Srirangam, he wanted to equip himself with the secrets of the three great Mantras. So, he approached “ Sri Tirukkoshtiyur Nambi” who made him come several times before actually instructing him. He cautioned Ramanuja that he should not give out the secrets to all and if he did so, he would go to hell.
Immediately on receiving the instructions, Ramanuja climbed up to the top of the temple and proclaimed to the large gathering of his disciples that he had found out the way to attain Moksha through the three great Mantras and invited those who sincerely wished to follow him and get initiated. His Acharya Tirukkoshtiyur Nambi was so enraged and demanded an explanation. Ramanuja replied that he did not give out the secrets and even if he had transgressed the specific warning of the Guru, only he himself would go to hell but people would get relieved and attain moksha.
The Guru was very much happy and he Embraced Ramanuja and appreciated him for his broad mindedness.
(11) Sri Yadava Prakasa, his Advaita Guru who taught him Vedanta higher studies and tried to kill Ramanuja, also became Ramanuja’s disciple assuming the name of ‘Govinda Yogi’.
(12) ANOTHER PLOT TO KILL RAMANUJA:
When Ramanuja was getting biksha, a person in a house mixed poison in the biksha. His wife indicated this fact to Ramanuja while serving the biksha by falling at Ramanujas feet with tears in her eyes. Ramanuja understood that there was something wrong.
To cleanse the mind of that person, Ramanuja observed a fast.
(13) SPREADING VISISHTADVAITA:
Ramanuja traveled throughout the country spreading the message of Visishtadvaita. During his period of 120 years, Sri Vaishnavam grew everywhere.
(14) BOOKS WRITTEN BY SRI RAMANUJA:
(i) Vedanta Sangraham explaining the various viewpoints of Sankara, Yadhava, Bhaskara and others, Vedanta Deepam, Geetha Bashyam etc.
(ii) Gadhyatrayam (comprising Saranagathi Gadhyam, Sriranga Gadhyam and Sri Vaikunta Gadhyam ).
(iii) A Grantha called Nityam detailing the Tiruvaradhana Kramam.
(iv) Brahma Sutram that was glorified by Sarasvati Devi and was renamed by her as “Sri Bhashyam
(15) SAVED BY KURESA FROM THE KING:
This incident has been given HERE as a story in our site.
(16) Ramanuja never entertained any caste distinctions and was conferring his benedictions even on the lowliest of the lowly whom he called ‘Tiruk Kulattar (Sri Kula People)’.
(17) MIRACLE OF LORD’s DEITY COMING TO RAMANUJA:
Sri Ramanuja went to a divya desh place in Tamil nadu namely “Tiru Narayana Puram” to collect white clay paste used for applying Tilak (religious mark). The deity of the temple there had been taken away by the Muslim invaders and was being used as a doll by the muslim princess in Delhi to play among themselves.
Ramanuja went to Delhi and lovefully called ‘Come on! My dear child”. The idol miraculously came onto his lap. Then, Ramanuja reinstalled it in the temple.
(18) POWER OF THE FEET OF ACHARYAS:
Once, a princess was relieved from demon’s actions. When the water touched by Sri Ramanuja’s feet was sprayed on her, she was cured from the grip of the demon. That king became a disciple of Sri Ramanuja.
(19) Ramanuja nominated 74 Acharyas to succeed him.
Keeping his head on the lap of Embar and his feet on the lap of Vaduga Nambi, Sri Ramanuja left this world 1137 AD listening to the recitation of the 4000 songs of Divya Prabandam.
He lived exactly 120 years, ie, two cycles.
His physical body is preserved even today in a sitting posture in the separate temple dedicated to him on the southwest corner on the fifth round within the Srirangam temple as ordered by Lord Ranganatha (Krishna) himself. Lord said that he Himself came as Sri Ramanuja.
Hope this glorious history of Sri Ramanuja has made you blissful and blessed.