Ramanujacarya and ISKCON


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Today is the appearance day of Sri Ramanujacarya (1017-1137) the great Vaishnava teacher and saint. Having recently been to southern India where his influence is all pervasive, I wanted to share some of my thoughts on his distant yet very real contribution to ourselves.

Firstly, as modern day Vaishnavas within ISKCON, we have a great deal for which to be thankful to Ramanuja. Although our spiritual lineage is traced through Madhva of the Brahma sampradaya who came into the world a century later (1238-1317) we should appreciate that much of the ground work for the spreading of Vaishnavism had been enacted previously.

Ramanuja worked tirelessly for decades, taking the timeless message of a Sentient Absolute to thousands of locations in south India. He wrote at least six very important books, defeated in public debate the greatest philosophers of the day, influenced kings, established or improved deity worship in thousands of temples, and left behind him an enormous and geographically widespread fellowship of Vaishnavas.

It is said that Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the incarnation of Radha and Krishna, came to harmonise all the four sampradayas, or disciplic successions, into one single lineage for the Kali Yuga. Accordingly he took elements of each and incorporated them into his teachings. Ramanuja comes in the disciplic succession from Sri, or Lakshmi, the eternal consort of Lord Narayana. The acarya particularly emphasised the ceremonial worship of the archa-avatara, the murti of the Supreme within the temple or the home. He also gave great importance to the service of the Vaishnavas, who themselves carry the knowledge and compassion of the Lord and who are therefore His divine instruments upon the surface of the Earth.

Sri Chaitanya’s desire for the harmony of the sampradayas resulted in one of Ramanuja’s disciplic descendants from Sri Rangam becoming his confidential follower. His name was Gopala Bhatta Das Goswami, one of the Six Goswamis of Vrindavan. He compiled a textbook of deity worship, now followed by present day Vaishnavas around the world.

Ramanuja saw no caste or gender distinction for Vaishnavas and upheldthe tradition that anyone can act as guru who knows the science of Krishna. Indeed, much of Ramanuja’s life, teachings and mission are revealing for us since nearly a millenium ago he faced and dealt with similar predicaments to ourselves.

Ramanuja had five major acaryas who taught and moulded him as a disciple. We in modern times also have multiple spiritual influences upon us, serving as we do in a movement where there are numerous elevated devotees, each of whom may present the philosophical conclusions in a slightly different way.

Ramanuja was bitterly disappointed with his first guru (not one of the five) whose followers even conspired to harm him. Perhaps some latter day Vaishnavas have also encountered such disappointment along the path of bhakti. He often had to preach in unfavourable circumstances during reigns of repressive rulers. He was dealing with a public under the sway of impersonalism and atheism. Part of his mission was to raise funds for temple construction or repair, and for the accommodation of new followers. Finally, in order to ensure his lasting contribution to the world, he developed a highly organised mission structure, leaving behind him a select number of initiating gurus (74) who could continue the disciplic lineage on his behalf.

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17 responses to “Ramanujacarya and ISKCON

  1. smitha

    Ramanujacharya’s contribution is limitless. He was, is, and will always be the greatest Mahapurusha ever to set foot on earth. He has contributed 9, not 6, works, that has clearly established the Vishistadvaita doctrine supremacy over the rest.

  2. Hare Krishna Prabhu,

    Wonderful article. I was born into a Sri Vaishnava family and my parents took up Krishna Consciousness when I was 3. My grandparents however are staunch Sri Vaishnavas, so my summer vacations as a kid were spent in Tirupati and Sri Rangapatnam (Haven’t been to Sri Rangam oddly!). Growing up in such a diverse background, I learnt to appreciate both the Sampradayas. Now, understanding more of the philosophy, I am so glad that my grand parents grounded me with the teachings of Ramanuja Acharya and the Alwars. I think that set my base for KC much better. Maybe thats why it was so easy for my parents to adopt KC when they moved from India. The core of all the Sampradayas is the same, to serve Vaishnavas and to love Krishna and realise that the only way to get out of this world is by totally surrendering to the Lord. Thanks for the wonderful article which brought back some fantastic memories.

    Side note: If you are interested in Sri Sampradaya writings, I would suggest Thirrupaavai to be read during Dhanurmaasa (December/Jan). Its equivalent of our Kartik.

  3. Thanks very much Madhavi, you sound very fortunate to have such an upbringing! I will look into the possibility of reading the Tirupaavai.

  4. Narayana

    ~ Sri Sailesa Dayapathram Dhibhaktyadi Gunar Navam Yathindra Pravanam Vande Ramyaja Matharam Munim ~

    Bhagavad Ramanujacharya, known as Udayavar (Lord of the 3 Worlds; A title given to Him by Lord Ranganatha Himself) is the Ocean of Mercy. His Lotus Feet become the sole refuge for all Vaishnavas. Just like the way Devaki gave birth to Sri Krishna and Yashoda raised Him, Swamy Nammazhwar and the other Azhwars gave birth to the Divya Prabandham, which was then nurtured and made known to all by the great Lakshmana Muni.

    His 2nd Incarnation in Kali Yuga was Swamy Manavala Mamunigal. The Lord Himself took Sri Manavala Mamunigal as His own acharya and gave the Sri Sailesa Dayapathram Thanian, as a mark of respect.

  5. Jeevan

    Hare Krishna.

    It is stated in the book called Navadvipa Dhama Mahatmya that once Ramanuja Acharya went to Puri and decided to change the worship system of Lord Jaganath to the Pancaratra system of deity worship. The king agreed but not the citizens and Pujari’s. The day was fixed for the Pancharatra system of worship to be followed on but Ramanuja acharaya was not present. The King was waiting for him for a long time and he couldn’t wait anymore thus he ordered to continue the normal worship. What happened to Ramanuja acharya is that Jaganath sent him away to south India. That is the external reason, Jaganath was angry. But, the internal reason is Jaganath told him to go to Navadvip and take the darshan of Gauranga. When Ramanuja acharaya went to Navadvip he saw the form of Mahaprabhu and the acharya said that he will be preaching about Gauranga from now onwards. The acharya was in ecstacy as he saw his beloved Lord Ranga transformed as Gauranga. But Mahaprabhu told him:” Dont tell this secret to anyone yet. The pastimes of Gauranga will only be widespread after his lila has been concluded in Kali yuga. Ramanuja Acharaya was happy and by the Lords order he went back to South India with the help of Garuda. the place where Ramanuja Acharaya took Darshan of Lord Narayana as Gauranga is known as Vaikunthapura and is as non different from Vaikuntha. In the pastimes of Mahaprabhu, Ramanuja acharaya incarnated as ANANTA VIPRA. He witnessed the wonderful pastimes of Mahaprabhu as he propagated the Sankirtan movement and also especially witnessing the marriage of Lakshmi Priya and Mahaprabhu where they gave Him the Darshan as Lakshmi and Narayana.
    JAI ANANTHA KOTI VAISHNAVA VRNDA
    JAI ISKCON
    JAI HARINAM SANKIRTAN
    JAI BRHAD MRDANGA
    JAI YUGA DHARMA SRI MAHA MANTRA

  6. When I read the last comment from Jeevan about “Mahaprabhu saying something in secret to Ramanuja” I am not sure whether to take Gaudiya/ ISKCON devotees seriously or not. I remember reading that a translation/ book of Narottamadas Thakur saying “Mahaprabhu came in Madhva’s dream and saying something”. To me such things sounds dreamy in the mind of a mad man or statement of a cult.

    Please understand I have great respects for Mahaprabhu and many Gaudiya Vaishnavas I have met and interacted with. But when they start talking such statements it is hard for me not to switch off. How can one prove such hearsay statements. Such statements do not appear in the Vedas, Puranas, Ithihasa, 12 primary Upanisads, nor in the Madhva or Sri Vaishnava text. So Gaudiya’s expect us (Sri Vaishnavas) to believe it because they say so. Please note stala puranas cannot be taken too seriously in comparison to the above texts.

    The greatness of Mahaprabhu is well known. Gaudiya’s believe that He is directly Radha and Krishna. Good for them. I am happy that this brings them great happiness. Us Sri Vaishnavas and Madhvas disagree and that is okay. That is also okay.

    Quoting Narottama Das Thakur that if any one believes in Mahaprabhu as either (1) Radha Krishna Himself, (2) Great Devotee, and (3) Reformer, is okay. We Sri Vaishnavas believe (2) and nothing more.

    adiyen Ramanuja dasan.

    Venkatesh

  7. Dear Venkatesh, Namaste.

    As you will have read in my piece above, I feel indebted to Ramanujacarya and everything he accomplished in his life and all that has been accomplished in his name over the last 1000 years. His name can only be spoken with praise and awe.

    At the same time, I am a practising Gaudiya vaishnava. However, I do not feel that my appreciation of both the Sri Vaishnava line and the Gaudiya line are mutually exclusive. Neither do I focus much on the differences between us, although I am aware they are numerous.

    The Navadwipa Dhama Mahatmya is in the category of a sthala purana and as such the information contained within it may be regarded in a different way by those not specifically connected with the Gaudiya sampradaya.

  8. Srinivasan

    Srimathe rAmAnujAya namaha
    Srimath varavaramunayE namaha.

    Dear Swami,

    Please understand that a ‘sthala purana’ for any kshetram is actually a portion from any of the 18 recognised puranas (and a couple more, with some exceptions) that glorifies the kshetram. For instance, Sthala Purana for Srirangam is in Padma Purana, Thiruvallikeni is in Brahmanda Purana and Tirumala is in Varaha Purana. A work authored by a Gaudiya guru (no matter how highly he is regarded by your tradition) cannot be considered as a ‘sthala purana’, but simply his own explanation of the kshetram.

    Adiyen has respect for all traditions. We do not, of course, interfere in your anubhavams of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu as Krishna. It is your sampradayam and we acknowledge it. However, you cannot drag the name of our acharyan, Sri BhashyakArar, ie, Swamy rAmAnujar into one of your books, concoct a story and then say that it is your own take on the acharyan.

    No Sri Vaishnava would think of a writing a book, claiming Chaitanya Mahaprabhu as a covert Vishishtadvaitin who was just preaching Gaudiya Vaishnavism for the sake of the masses. Similarly, Gaudiya Vaishnavas must avoid resorting to fictional statements such as ‘sri rAmAnujarya was a a covert gaudiya but preached sri vaishnavam’. This not only is disrespect to Swami rAmAnujar and to Sri Vaishnavism, but is also an ignorance of sri vaishnava philosophy itself/

    You had mentioned, ‘Navadvipa Dham Mahatmayam’ can be read differently by different traditions, That argument would hold only if the contents are restricted to the Gaudiya tradition. But if you take the name of Swamy rAmAnujar and write stories about him which have no basis in fact, and then state that this is a ‘gaudiya traditional belief’, Sri Vaishnavas cannot accept it.

    The only way to resolve such a thing would be a philosophical debate as per the rules of VedAntA, with the loser accepting the winner’s siddhAnthA. If Gaudiya Vaishnava scholars or ISKCON really wish to impose such stories of SrI rAmAnujachAryA, please attend any sri vaishnava vidwat sadas and debate with a vidwAn to establish your points. Otherwise, such opinions that Swamy rAmAnujar was a disciple of Chaitanya, etc. are nothing short of slander and an aparAdham as well.

    Adiyen intends no offense.

    DAsan,
    Srinivasan.

    • Dear Srinivasan,
      Thank you for your considered comment. I can understand why you feel upset.
      Firstly, let me say that not all kshetrams have a sthala purana; not all the contents of a sthala purana are directly from the relevant Purana; and furthermore that some kshetrams alternatively have a kshetra-mahatmya so that pilgrims may understand the spiritual nature of the location better. The contents of any of these writings may contain sampradayic teachings in addition to a description of the avataras and relevant lila.

      I do not expect you to appreciate the writings of Srila Bhaktivinode Thakur who wrote in the latter part of the 19th century. That, as you rightly say, is a concern of the Gaudiya sampradaya. Why trouble yourself with what he wrote?

      But his reference to Ramanuja is not a canonical element of Gaudiya siddhanta, and is not included in our presentations to the public. It is a detail contained in just one short book out of the 100 books that he wrote. Please rest assured that no-one seeks to interfere with the good name of your acarya.

      As far as debating with one of your vidwans, I think that we would much rather sit at their feet and learn…

  9. Sri:

    After thinking about the topic of the above posting I have come to the following conclusion. Sri Ramanuja, Sri Sankara, and Sri Madhva all have a unique perspective of the Shastric Text.
    Each one of them follow a path that is clearly theirs. The Gaudiyas do not have the same distinction. Their parampara is quite confusing for non-gaudiyas because of the following ways:

    ========= phylosophy ============

    1. They do not follow the Tattvavada but achinta-beda-abeta tattva which is none other than Vishishtadvaita. It is confusing that Gaudiya claim to be in the Madhva parampara but reject Tattvavada.
    2. Conclude that Krishna is the source of everything rather than Narayana. When all other schools believe Narayana’s expansion is Krishna. It is true Narayana’s avatara Krishna shocked Himself.
    This is a sweet pastime to elaborate the fact that his mercy astonishes Himself.
    3. In some sense, similar to the Muslim believing that Prophet Mohamed is the last prophet, Gaudiya’s belief Sri Gauranga is the avatara of Kalki that is come to resolve all prior disagreements.
    4. Putting Sri Radha over Sri Lakshmi. Including the Nimbarkars none of the other sampradhya do this.
    5. Claiming Sri Gauranga is the avatara of Krishna. Some even go to the extent of mis-interpreting Vishnu Sahasranamam verse “Suvarna varno hemango varanga shchhanda-nangadee |
    Veeraha vishama shoonyo khritashee rachala shchalah || ” as being Sri Gauranga. The actual translation states that Narayana’s form is so effulgent and spotless like gold that it radiates a golden hue.
    6. Sri Gauranga did not establish an organizational structure while the others did.
    7. Gaudiya’s claim that Sri Gauranga came in the dream (and some times initiated) Sri Tukarama, Sri Ramanuja, Sri Madhva, and Sri Vallabhachrya. The only person that Sri Gauranga is claimed to not have initiated in Sankara.

    ========= practice ============

    8. They follow pancharatra when it is not theirs. None of the goswami’s are known to have followed pancharatra
    9. They follow tridandi sanyasa when they should be following madhva’s ek-danda
    10. Guru instead of the Father giving brahmana deeksha
    11. Claim that “what acharya states is shastra even when it contradicts”. All other sampradayas state that “the acharya does not contradict the shastra and one who does it must be rejected”.

    The backing for points 1–7 is usually from a text or translation that is not well accepted by all other sampradayas.

    Given this backdrop, when Gaudiya start talking about the acharya of another sampradaya they must not be shocked to receive not so favorable response from the other sampradaya.

    To the question, “Can the Gaudiyas hold such views nevertheless”. Answer: “Definitely”.

    To the question, “Is it right?”. Answer: “Depends on who you ask”.

    This is contrast to the question: “Q: Is Sriman Narayana the original source of everything”. From all sampradaya “A: YES YES YES!”

    adiyen does not want to offend any one. Please let me know if any of the above statements where incorrect or harsh. I will retract or clarify with pleasure and an apology.

    adiyen Ramanuja dasan,

    Venkatesh

    • Thank you Venkatesh for this extended post. I trust that you had not given up on my replying to you. Of course, there are verses upon which the Gaudiyas establish the position of Sri Krishna with respect to Sri Narayana. I suppose you might say that our main focus in life is mission: to share Sri Krishna with others, particularly in the more than 100 countries where Srila Prabhupada’s followers now live and teach, and although we worship the Lord in His eternal and varied divine forms every day, we hold the ascendancy of Sri Krishna due to the teachings of the mediaeval saints known as the ‘Six Goswamis’ most of whom originally hailed from the south of India. Indeed, Gopal Bhattar Goswami was from Sri Rangam and was raised in the agraharam there.

      Our Madhva lineage can be traced through Madhavendra Puri, yet we would also hold that the Gaudiyas are defined as a lineage because of the Vedanta Sutra commentary of Baladeva Vidyabhusana. There are only slight differences of our ontology from Visisthadvaita and I personally feel that they are not so large as to come between us or impede our friendship.

      You are right that Sri Gauranga formed no organisation, neither did he write any commentaries. However he certainly left instructions for others to do so. The ‘Six Goswamis,’ especially Jiva and Rupa and Sanatana Goswamis all wrote voluminous masterpieces of theology and credited all they wrote to Sr Gauranga. And of course, you will know that five hundred years after the life of Sri Gauranga there is a large international organisation, also based on his orders for such.

      I do not know who has told you that the Gaudiyas do not refer to the Pancharatra-agama. Firstly, it belongs to all Vaishnavas, and secondly, it is referenced within the Hari-Bhakti-Vilas of Sanatana Goswami, which I think you would like very much. Please continue to read more if you are interested, as I am also reading about your acaryas and their divine teachings. Please let me know what you would like me to read if you feel I need to be directed.

      Adiyen

    • Niladri

      We don’t consider Mahaprabhu to be Kalki avatara. We think him to be KALI YUGAVATARA as has been stated in the Atharva Veda that the Kali yugavatara is golden in colour (Satya-White,Treta-Red,Dwapar-Black,Kali-Golden). Yugavataras initiate the yugadharma of that particular yuga as did by Mahaprubhu when he started Hari Naam Sankirtanam. There are many references to it in many Vedic literatures. I am not asking you to agree to it but I am telling you what we Gaudiyas think and it is even given in Vedic scriptures

  10. Narayanan

    Srimathe rAmAnujaya namaha
    Srimath varavaramunaye namaha.

    Dear Swami,

    I am fully aware that not all kshetras have sthala puranams and that some sthala puranams do not adhere to puranas at all. That is why Sri Vaishnavas rely only on those sthala puranas that have been referred to by our acharyas. For instance Hastigiri mAhAtmyam has been referred to by Vedanta Desikan, Sriranga mAhAtmyam by Manavala Mamunigal and Thiruputkuzhi sthala purAnam by Thirumangai Azhwar. JagannAtha MAhAtmyam (Puri), which is a non-sri vaishnava sthalam, has also been referenced by Nampillai (VaradAchAryA) in his commentary on ThiruvAimOzhi. Some, like GuruvAyoor, have been handed down by tradition.

    Our reasoning is that during the time of Vedantic debates, only authentic material will ever be referred to by an acharya that is accepted by other traditions as well. I believe Advaita and Dvaita have a similar principle, although admittedly, they do not give as much emphasis to divya kshetrams as sri vaishnavas.

    So, we are quite aware of the nature of some sthala purAnams and we do not give authenticity to everything. However, many of them have been referenced in the stOtras and works of our acharyas and those are accepted.

    It is quite true that the writings of Sri Thakura are of no concern to Sri Vaishnavas. And indeed, we are not concerned with all his 100 works, but just the one detail about Swami Ramanujar, which, of course, is of interest and relevance to sri vaishnavas, as you yourself admitted that it is present in his works.

    If Gaudiya works are of no concern to Sri Vaishnavas, then, is it not right that Swami Ramanujar must also be of no concern to Gaudiyas, unless it is to quote his works or to criticise his philosophy? Please do not take this the wrong way. Adiyen simply means that Gaudiyas are welcome to draw inspiration from his works or to refute them, but his divya charitram (life history) cannot be of any concern to them.

    I am very glad if this story is not being propagated by Gaudiyas. It would reflect their intellectual honesty. But in reality, adiyen was responding only to a post that did reference this story and propagated it as though it was real. It is very important that while we respect each other, we must also clarify such details.

    You might also be interested to know that Sri BhaktivedAnta Swami in his ‘Bhagavad Gita As It Is’ ascribes some quotes to SrI rAmanujar and SrI yAmunAchAryA, but those quotes cannot be found anywhere in their works. This could be because SrI BhaktivedAnta Swami may not have been aware that these things were not mentioned by SrI rAmAnujar or SrI yAmunAchAryA, but they need to be clarified as they are in a legitimate publication. Some of our vidwAns, I believe, is aware of this.

    Regarding debates, adiyen did not intend that remark in a belligerent manner. Debates are a part of the Vedic tradition and are recommended by Sriman nArAyaNa in the Gita. Adiyen simply stated that if you wished to establish that this story is true, then it must be in the presence of sri vaishnava scholars.

    I understand if you feel the need for this post to be moderated, but please be assured that I have the utmost respect for sri chaitanya mahAprabhu and his followers. It is only these few details that needed clarification.

    DAsan,
    Srinivasan.

    • Dear Srinivasan, thank you for your letter. You wrote as follows:

      Dear Swami,

      I am fully aware that not all kshetras have sthala puranams and that some sthala puranams do not adhere to puranas at all. That is why Sri Vaishnavas rely only on those sthala puranas that have been referred to by our acharyas. For instance Hastigiri mAhAtmyam has been referred to by Vedanta Desikan, Sriranga mAhAtmyam by Manavala Mamunigal and Thiruputkuzhi sthala purAnam by Thirumangai Azhwar. JagannAtha MAhAtmyam (Puri), which is a non-sri vaishnava sthalam, has also been referenced by Nampillai (VaradAchAryA) in his commentary on ThiruvAimOzhi. Some, like GuruvAyoor, have been handed down by tradition.

      And of course, Sri Ramanujacarya himself visited all the holy places mentioned by Sri Parasara Bhatta in his Ranganatha Stotra:

      srirangam karisailam anjanagirim tarkshyadri-simhachalau

      sri kurmam purusottamam ca badarinarayanam naimisam

      srimad-dvarati-prayaga-mathura ayodhya gaya puskaram

      salagramagirim nisevya ramate Ramanujoyam munih

      Our reasoning is that during the time of Vedantic debates, only authentic material will ever be referred to by an acharya that is accepted by other traditions as well. I believe Advaita and Dvaita have a similar principle, although admittedly, they do not give as much emphasis to divya kshetrams as sri vaishnavas.

      Yes, correct.

      So, we are quite aware of the nature of some sthala purAnams and we do not give authenticity to everything. However, many of them have been referenced in the stOtras and works of our acharyas and those are accepted.

      Of course, as a Gaudiya vaishnava, I can understand why you would not give such importance to other places such as Sri Mayapura in Bengal. But I could also appreciate if you did, since that is the birthplace of the person whose modern day followers have taken a particular form of Vaishnavism to practically every city in the world. Such a phenomenon is at least worthy of note, and that is why Chaitanya and his teachings have captured the interest of many. As you can imagine, most of those who are interested do not accept him as anything other than a saintly teacher of a form of Vaishnavism which can easily be understood by the Sri Vaishnavas. And you would be correct in pointing out that Sri Vaishnavism is the historical antecedent of Gaudiya Vaishnavism. That is why the Gaudiyas offer all respects to it and its acaryas.

      If Gaudiya works are of no concern to Sri Vaishnavas, then, is it not right that Swami Ramanujar must also be of no concern to Gaudiyas, unless it is to quote his works or to criticise his philosophy?

      Well, we would not dream of criticising his philosophy. Rather, we place it upon our heads.
      Not only that, we also recognise within the teachings of Nammalwar – specifically the Tiruvaymoli and the Tiruviruttam – the exact same sentiments as taught by Chaitanya. When we read of his descriptions of the levels of consciousness such as manasa-saksatkara, bahya-samslesa, vislesa, samslesa – we recognise that descriptions of this mystic awareness of God were given to the world even before Chaitanya.

      So this at least one reason why the Gaudiyas might be very interested in not only the teachings of the Sri Sampradaya but also the divya caritram of its most famous acaryas.

      However, you will be aware that the Gaudiyas have some important philosophical elements that are significantly different. That can only be expected as history moves on and God Himself moves to reveal Himself in different ways. That is His compassionate nature.

      There are philosophical differences even within the community of those who follow Sri Ramanuja. Yet whatever kalai one belongs to, he would still say that he scrupulously follows the teachings of Ramanuja. The respective interpretations differ, but the allegiance is the same.

      Similarly, you would find many Gaudiyas who would say that indeed, they follow the teachings of Ramanuja by following Chaitanya. Of course, I am not asking you to agree with that viewpoint.

      Regarding the quotes of Ramanuja and Yamunacarya in the Bhagavad-gita by Srila Prabhupada; you may be referring to the verse: yadavadi mama ceta krishna padavinde nava nava rasa..
      ? Please let me know. I know of quotes from Sri Kulasekharalwar…

      My apologies if anything I have said has offended you indirectly.

      Adiyen, Kripamoya Dasan

  11. Srinivasan

    Srimathe rAmAnujAya namaha.
    Srimath varavaramunaye namaha.

    Dear Swami,

    Adiyen will conclude my observations with just a few observations.

    All Vedantic traditions are independent of each other, no matter what modern historians say. Advaita, Vishishtadvaita and Dvaita are independent traditions, and hence, one can say that Sri Vaishnavam need not be considered as a ‘historical antecedent’ of Gaudiya Vaishnavism in anyway. Except for the fact that it was the azhwars and acharya rAmAnuja who revived the temple culture in Kali Yuga, and certainly did influence even the Haridasas (who composed in Kannada only after seeing how Tamil was used as a medium by Sri Vaishnavas) and Gaudiyas to some extent, the philosophy varies greatly.

    Adiyen never said that I did not give importance to Mayapur. We too consider Sri Mahaprabhu as a parama vaishnava, even if he is not an acharyan for us, and we rank him in the same category as Meerabhai, Namadeva, etc. In that sense, we fully recognise the mangalatvam of a sthalam like Mayapur which was his birthplace.

    So, as far as considering Mahaprabhu as Krishna or your gurus as avatarams of Bhagavan’s ayudhams, abharanams, etc….we have never objected, nor concerned overselves with it.

    All we object to is the inclusion and consideration of SrI rAmAnujar as a covert disciple of Mahaprabhu, etc. Such things are not sthala purAna and have no authenticity. If that portion belongs to a book that you consider as a sthala purAna, then we object *only* to that portion and nothing else.

    Regarding the differences within Sri Vaishnava tradition, there aren’t any that even remotely causes a major impact. Minor differences were exaggerated by some people as early as the 18th century only.

    Regarding the quotes from Bhaktivedanta Swami, I do not have his commentary with me. However, I remember the following in English:

    1) “Sri rAmAnujar says that Sanatana means that which is without a beginning or end”. Regardless of whether this is true or not, such a quote is not present in acharya’s works anywhere.

    2) YAmuna Muni states, ‘Whenever I think of loukika kAmam (sexual gratification), I spit on it”. Something similar to that. Our acharyas have never used the word ‘spitting’ or anything like that even to describe the most repulsive acts done by samsArIs. In all their works, their words are full of sweetness and majesty. It seems a bit crude to talk of spitting.

    Those are two I can remember. I might also add that its strange how Bhaktivedanta Swami tries to interpret Mukunda Mala, a stOtram describing the philosophy of Vishishtadvaita VedAnTA in a Gaudiya manner. But that’s ok, since it was only because he liked that stOtram.

    Mukunda Mala was not written by Kulasekhara Azhwar, but by a Kulasekhara King who came after the azhwar. This has been proven by research. Azhwars never used sanskrit, but only tamil to convey Vedantic tenets.

    Apologies for any offense. This is my last post.

    Dasan,
    Srinivasan.

    • Dear Srinivasan, I sincerely hope that this will not be your last post. I have enjoyed our dialogue. Thank you for the time being…

    • jaya Krsna Dasa

      Dear Bhakta Srinivasan,

      It might be after 5 years i am reading this content, but it is so interesting to read this subject. It seems that you have very good knowledge in Sri Vaishnava philosophies. Please clarify if you have some time and same spirit :).

      1. What is the source of Jiva. In Bhagavad Gita Krishna says that Jivas are his amsa. How Sri Vaishnavam is interpreting this statement.

      2. Who were before alwars? After Thayar, please mention the prominent acaryas names before alwars.

      3. You mentioned that Mukunda Mala stotra was written by king, not alwar. Please give some authentic words from sampradaya acaryas. Please not to share some research workers result, that might be disproved after sometime.

      4. If Ramanuja Acarya went to Purushottama kshetra, why he was not establishing Sri Vaishnava in the temple. He established “embar madam” there, but not tattva. This was something different in his visits to other holy places. why he didn’t try there or what happened? is there any information about that.

      5. I heard that Andal Nachiyar addressed Sri Ramanuja as “Anna”. Is there any evidences in the puranas or kshetra puranas which are supported by puranas?

      6. Whose disciple Sri Ramanuja is?

      please start your reply again.

      dasanudasa
      Jaya Krsna Dasa

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