RAMANUJA Biography - Religious Figures & Icons


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Sri Ramanujacharya who lived between 1017 and 1137 was one of the foremost exponents of the Vishishtadwaita (qualified dualism) philosophy, which was based on the premise that God and soul were separate entities as opposed to Shankara’s philosophy of Advaita (Non duality). He was born at Sri Perambadur in Southern India and was given the name of Ilaya Perumal by his parents. After his father’s death at an early age, he and mother shifted to Kanchipuram, where young Perumal grew up and mastered all the Vedas by the age of 16.


He was married a year later. But the marriage did not prove to be very successful. His wife did not appreciate Ramanuja’s deep interest in the lofty ideals of Vaishnavism and had scant respect for the deeply religious Vaishnavites. Probably these difference made his task of taking to Sanayas easier. He renounced the worldly life at the age of 30 and got a new name as Ramanuja Muni. After being initiated into the secrets of Vaishnavism, he decided to help the people with the knowledge he gained. Soon his popularity grew. He acquired a number of followers. He traveled to various parts of India spreading the message of Vishishtadvaita and winning many people to his path.


He wrote Sri Bhashyam, a commentary on the Brahma Sutras, and also composed many other works. After a period of intense activity, during which he ensured the success of his movement, he left the mortal world in 1137. His body was said to have been  preserved within the temple presincts, at Sri Rangam, in a sitting posture.