Thuppul PiLLai: 16 – Ramanuja Darsanam

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SrI:

SrImathE Nigamantha Mahadesikaya namah:

SrImAn venkatanAthAryaH kavitArkika kesarI |

vedAntAcArya-varyo me sannidhattAm sadA hRdi ||

The principles of the Visishtadvaita philosophy and Srivaishnava religion are of course as ancient as the Vedas themselves, and have been handed over by Poorvacharyas, sages and rishis, among others and to name a few.. Badyana, Tanka, Dramida, Kuhadeva, et al. The essential truths of the darshana are indeed found summed up with sufficient clarity in the

Upanishads, the Gita and the BrammasUthras. These great sources of knowledge (the trio- called prasthAna thrayam) form the text as it were on which all the systems of philosophy namely Advaita, VisishtAdvaita and Dvaita were established- and have been interpreted differently by Sankara, Sri Ramanuja and Madhva.

Sri Sankara’s service consisted mainly in putting an end to atheism and re-establishing the authority of Vedas and restoring them to their pristine supremacy [though mentioned that few vedic truths were to be ignored when violating with the other sruthi statements]. His doctrine was from a purely idealistic point of view. He attracted many adherents to his doctrine, but the VisishtAdvaitic school held aloof, finding his theories inconsistent and irreconcilable with textual authority.

Sri Nathamuni who has been rightly described as the founder of ubhaya vedantha school and the first acharya (after NammAzhwAr] of Srivaishnavam and after hims came his grandson Sri YamunAchArya or Alavandhar who kept the light of our darsana glowing and growing from strength to strength, in the example of their own lives and by their works. But it was reserved to Bhagavadh Ramanuja the greatest thinker, to systematize the philosophy,faithfully interpreting the ancient knowledge according to the letter and spirit of the test, in the light of revelation and experience tested by stern logic as well. It would be out of place to enter into the details of his system now. He refused to subscribe to the view that Upanishads spoke in two voices, of two levels of cognition, two brahmans and of two different sruthis- negating each other.

Sri Ramanuja’s long life was a life of strenuous endeavour dedicated to the exposition and elaboration of the VisishtAdvaita philosophy. His Vedaarttha  sangraha, Sri Bhashya and Gitabhashya reveal the master mind at work in a supreme effort to reconcile the seeming differences in the Upanishad statements and to evolve a coherent, consistent, harmonious system where the needs of pure metaphysics and the eternal longing of the human soul meet in happy union- and where the statements of Upanishads do not vilate each other and co-exist. His penetrative commonsense could not accept an interpretation which postulates two species of truths, the real and the phenomenal, the higher and the lower. The Brahman of the Upanishads -the Sat, the one without a second, is none other than Sri Krishna, Sriman Narayana of Srimad Bhagawatha and Sri Vasudeva of Pancharathra. He is the All self, the Truth of Truths, the Creator, the Sustainer and the Master. He is the penetrating AntarAthmA and the NiyanthA of the entire universe of soul and matter which stands to Him in the relation of the body to the soul. He is the Home of all the eternal virtue of which is His Sowseelyam, Sowlabhyam, and Vaathsalyam are of special interest and value to we- the suffering souls caught up in the samsaaric affliction. The Jiva stands in the perennial, indissoluble relationship to the Sesha (Master- the Isawara- the Lord) who is the Sarva

Seshi- the master for everyone (other than Himself)..  The eternal Bliss of moksha is within reach of all, irrespective of sex, colour, creed, class, caste- because Sriman Narayana- the Only One Primordial Lord- the SarvasEshi- Sriya:Pathi has infinite mercy and compassion on us, and prompted by the Purushaakara (recommendation) of His inseparable Divine Constort Vishnu pathni- Sri Mahalakshmi  and the Dhiva Dampathi is ever ready to extend their hands to all aspiring souls without distinction, who endeavour to Them by means of either bhakti yoga (loving, uninterrupted meditation) or Prapatti (absolute self surrender), properly directed and duly performed. He, the Lord Sriya: Pathi- is the Praapya and the Praapaka, the Rakshaka and SiddhOpaaya, the effective means and the ultimate end- all in one. Moksha or liberation is not a mere arid negation, a sterile cessation of dhukka of life or the barren release from the bonds of Karma and miseries of Samsara; but is a POSITIVE, eternal, supreme Bliss of perpetual loving presence and in the company of mukthas and Nithysasooris.

Such in brief are the lines on which Sri Ramanuja expounded from Sri Natha, Yamuna muni’s doctrines- which were originally pointed out earlier by Sages, Rishis and others. Ramanuja thus reestablished the darsana which is associated with his illustrious name. He was not of course the founder of a school of religion or philosophy, but only the synthetic exponent of an ancient system, the only true system according to him, consistent with the revealed knowledge of the Upanishads, the mystic experience of AzhwArs and the requirements of the realistic logistic thoughts. [Some of the above statements are from the article written by Sri KS Krishnaswamy Iyengar, in 1944]

How was this Darshana developed and protected by our Swamy ? Thuppul PiLLai.. [in the next Series]

Swamy Desikan ThiruvadigaLE SaraNam

kavi-tArkika-simhAya kalyANa-guNa-SAline |

Srimate venkateSAya vedAntagurave namaH ||

Writeup by : Sri Madhavakannan

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