An actor plays the part of Ramanujacarya in a modern movie from southern India.
Today is the birthday of Ramanujacarya, the great teacher and organiser of the Sri Sampradaya, the human vehicle of Laxmi Devi’s teachings within this world. Actually, today is his 999th birthday, which means that next year will be his millennial celebration. For someone’s teachings to endure for a thousand years and to be an unfailing source of inspiration for millions of people after all that time – means that what he wrote, and what he did, are of perennial use – practically and spiritually.
Ramanuja is remembered for his contributions to an already-existing tradition; contributions that rendered it possible for that tradition to endure through many generations. The world does not always care for spiritual thinkers and leaders. In fact, it is because spiritual leaders often present intellectual challenges to political leaders of the day that they are first to be persecuted.
Ramanuja had to go into hiding for several years when the king of the region saw him as his biggest threat. His followers were persecuted and cruelly tortured. Thousands were slaughtered in one city, years later, in a religious ethnic cleansing that it would serve us well to remember more often.
The great saint wrote books of amazing clarity and logical argumentation, poetry and devotion. He re-organised and upgraded temple worship in hundreds of towns, and created an India-wide human network of teachers and spiritual preceptors. Above all, he was an affectionate guardian to those who took shelter of him; who served him with dedication and love for many years until his passing in 1137 at the grand age of 120.