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Sri Ramanujacharya

Context:

The Prime Minister will inaugurate the Statue of Equality,  216-ft tall statue of the 11th century reformer and Vaishnavite saint, Sri Ramanuja, at the sprawling 40-acre ashram of Sri Tridandi Chinna Jeer Swamy in Muchintal on the outskirts of Hyderabad .

  • India is celebrating his 1,000th birth anniversary as the ‘Festival of Equality’, upholding the view that the world is one family, ‘vasudhaiva kutumbakam’,”
Relevance:

GS I- Art and Culture, History

Dimensions of the article:
  1. About Statue of Equality
  2. About Sri Ramanuja
  3. About Bhakti movement

About Statue of Equality

  • It is being installed to mark the 1,000th birth anniversary of Sri Ramanuja.
  • It is a 216-feet tall statue and  was built of panchaloha, a combination of gold, silver, copper, brass and zinc, by the Aerospun Corporation in China and shipped to India.
  • It is the second largest in the world in sitting position of the saint.
  • The monument will be surrounded by 108 “Divya Desams” of Sri Vaishnavite tradition (model temples) like Tirumala, Srirangam, Kanchi, Ahobhilam, Badrinath, Muktinath, Ayodhya, Brindavan, Kumbakonam and others.
  • The idols of deities and structures were constructed in the shape at the existing temples.
  • The base building, which is 16.5 metres tall, has a meditation hall where a 54-inch statue of Sri Ramanuja made of 120 kg gold, representing the years he lived, will be inaugurated by President Ramnath Kovind by performing the first puja on February 13.
  • The deity at the inner sanctorum is meant for daily worship by people.

About Ramanuja (c. 1017 – 1137 CE)

  • Ramanuja, reformer and Vaishnavite saint was born at Sriperumbudur near modern Chennai.
  • He preached Vishista Advaitavada (qualified monism).
  • His philosophical foundations for devotionalism were influential to the Bhakti movement.
  • According to him, God is Saguna Brahman (with attributes) and the creative process including all the objects in creation are real and not illusory as was held by Shankaracharya. Therefore, according to Ramanuja, God, soul, and matter are real. However, God is the inner substance and the rest are his attributes. 
  • In Vishista Advaitavada, the universe and Brahman are considered two equally real entities, as in dualism, but here the universe is not separate from Brahman but is formed out of Brahman. The Brahman is considered as a personal god with omniscient qualities who has created the world out of his own self. Thus, the world bears to Brahman the relation of the part to the whole, or the relation of a ‘qualified effect’ to the base (hence qualified monism).
  • The difference between Dualism and Vishista Advaita is that “mankind enjoys higher status than in pure dualistic worship and is nearer to God”. In Vishista Advaita, both the world and Brahman are considered equally real; they are not considered to be two separate entities as in Dualism.
  • Ramanuja advocated prabattimarga or the path of self-surrender to God. He invited downtrodden people to Vaishnavism and advocated salvation by Bhakti.

Important writings include:

  • Vedarthasangraha (literally, “Summary of the Vedas meaning”),
  • Sri Bhashya (a review and commentary on the Brahma Sutras),
  • Bhagavad Gita Bhashya (a review and commentary on the Bhagavad Gita), and
  • The minor works titled Vedantapida, Vedantasara, Gadya Trayam (which is a compilation of three texts called the Saranagati Gadyam, Sriranga Gadyam and the Srivaikunta Gadyam), and Nitya Grantham.
Bhakti Movement
  • Bhakti movement took place in Tamil Nadu between the seventh and ninth centuries.
  • Bhakti saints looked upon religion as love between the worshipped and worshipper.
  • Bhakti was reflected in the emotional poems of the Nayanars (devotees of Shiva) and Alvars (devotees of Vishnu).
  • A more effective method for spreading the Bhakti ideology was the use of local languages. The Bhakti saints composed their verses in local languages.
  • They also translated Sanskrit works to make them understandable to a wider audience.
  • Examples include Kabir, Surdas , Tulsidas, Shankaradeva, Chaitanya Mirabai.

-Source: Indian Express

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