Vrindavan, 2017.05.01 (VT): The 1,000-year anniversary of Sri Ramanujacharya’s birth is being celebrated throughout India today. At the Sri Rangji Temple in Vrindavan, the occasion is being marked by a beautiful ten-day festival in the South Indian tradition.
Sri Ramanujacharya was born in 1017 A.D. in the village of Sriperumbudur in Tamil Nadu. By the grace of Lord Parthasarathy, Ramanujacharya became one of the foremost theologians in history, and one of the great leaders of the Sri Vaishnava Sampradaya. His philosophy of Vishishtadwaita or “qualified non-dualism” helped shape the bhakti movement and indeed, Hindu religion as we know it.
Every morning throughout the festival, the abhishek of Ramanujacharya’s murti was performed by Sri Vaishnava Acharyas amidst the chanting of Vedic mantras in South Indian style. At four p.m., spiritual discources by Sri Jagannath Swamy and Sri Dharacharya Swamy Maharaj began, on the subject of the Sri Vaishnava Sampradaya’s “Vishisht Adwaita” philosophy. Upon completion of the discources, Sri Ramanujacharya’s image was taken out on procession.
A large entourage of Acharyas and Pundits followed the procession whilst chanting divine stotras and hymns from the Vedas. Shridharacharya Swami explained that in Treta Yug, when Sriman Narayana came in his avatar as Sri Ram, his eternal sevak Anant Shesh came as his younger brother Lakshman. In Dwarpar Yug, when the Lord came as Sri Krishna, Lakshman followed as Balram. And in Kaliyug, the Lord is here with us in the form of Sri Ranganatha Swamy, and he who came as Baalram and Lakshman has taken birth in Sriperumbudur as Ramanujacharya.