Rāmānuja Ācārya – biography and legend

Śrī Vaiṣṇavism
Qualified Non-Dualism
qualified Monism
attributive Monism
Rāmānuja Āchārya
1017 Sriperumbudur,
Tamil Nadu
Mahā Samādhi:
1137 Śrī Raṅgam,
Tamil Nadu
Commentaries on Brahma Sūtras, Bhāgavad Gītā & Upaniṣads
devotional worship of the divine couple Śrī and Nārāyaṇa as One Supreme God
Works Online:
1. Commentaries on
Brahma Sūtras

2. Commentaries on
Bhagavad Gītā
About Rāmānuja:
1. Rāmānuja Ācārya | Life | Short
2. Rāmānuja Ācārya – biography and legend
About Viśiṣṭādvaita:
1. Philosophy of Rāmānujācārya
2. Rāmānuja Philosophy of Viśiṣṭādvaita

Rāmānuja Ācārya – biography and legend

Rāmānuja is well-known as the great philosopher and ācārya of the Śrī Vaishnava sampradāya and expounder of Viśiṣṭādvaita Vedanta or philosophy of qualified non-dualism, the famous author of Śrī bhāṣya - the legendary commentary on Vedanta Sūtras and several other classical works on Vedanta, including Rāmānujācārya’s commentary on Bhagavad Gītā already made available on our website.

However, it should not be misunderstood that he was the founder of the Śrī Vaishnavas. Originally started by Lakṣmī Devī Herself, the Śrī sampradāya contained many exalted devotees prior to Rāmānuja's appearance to whom he admits his debt in his writings.

In their expressions of devotion to the Supreme Lord, all South Indian devotees were influenced by the nine Alvars, who lived several hundred years before the birth of Rāmānuja.

Despite some minor philosophical differences, it is plain that the themes of devotion and surrender to God, which are essential to Rāmānuja’s teachings, are based to a large extent on the writings of the Alvars.

In the south of India many great devotees have appeared to spread the glories of the Lord. Of all these devotees, perhaps the most famous is Śrī Rāmānujācārya, whose life is the subject of this book.

However, just before Rāmānuja there lived another great Vaishnava whose life and teachings had a tremendous influence on Rāmānuja, although in fact the two of them never met. This was Śrī Yamunacharya, also known as Alavandara - "The Conqueror" - you will read about him too in this story.

Here, in the chapters below, you can read the full text of what is known as hagiography of Rāmānujācārya.

It is not just a collection of some rough biographical facts. It is description of the saintly life of one of the greatest Vaiṣṇavite saints of the 11th century with many detailed stories from his life – to be taken as an example, as a role-model for our own lives, to read, read again, to be inspired on our own spiritual path and learn from.

As for the facts presented in the story – we believe so or in a similar way they have taken place. We are aware we are talking about India in 11th century and that Indian’s have never been too worried about history and especially dates. We understand that the most important part in this legendary story about Rāmānuja lies in its morals. Yet, since Rāmānujācārya has been one of the greatest men in the Indian history and written many books and commentaries on the Vedic scriptures – we can know quite a lot about him.

Have a nice reading!

Part 1.

- Rāmānuja’s early life
- Meeting with Kānchīpurna
- Moving to Kānchīpuram
- At the school of Yadavaprakasa
- The first confrontation
- More conflicts at school

Part 2.

- Yadavaprakasa's plot
- Danger in the forest
- Meeting with the hunter
- The lord protects his devotee
- Rāmānuja's return

Part 3.

- Studies resumed
- Yamunacharya's prayers for Rāmānuja
- Deliverance of the princess
- Rāmānuja's expulsion from school
- Kānchīpurna
- Instructions from Kānchīpurna

Part 4.

- Yamunacharya's illness
- Lord Ranganātha saves his devotees
- Mahāpūrṇa is sent to Kānchī
- Demise of Yamunacharya
- Meeting with Mahāpūrṇa

Part 5.

- Arrival in Śrī Rangam
- Rāmānuja's three vows
- Return to Kānchī
- Raksakambal's folly
- Kānchīpurna's visit to Tirupati
- Lord Varadarāja's instructions to Rāmānuja

Part 6.

- Mahāpūrṇa is sent to Kānchī again
- Rāmānuja’s initiation
- Raksakambal's pride
- Departure of Mahāpūrṇa
- Rāmānuja's plan

Part 7.

- Taking sannyāsa
- Rāmānuja begins his teaching
- Yadavaprakasa becomes a Vaiṣṇava

Part 8.

- Āchārya at Śrī Rangam
- Departure for Śrī Rangam
- Deliverance of Govinda

Part 9.

- Initiation from Gosthipurna
- Revealing the secret mantra
- Gosthipurna's anger

Part 10.

- Instructions to Kureśa
- Dāsarathī’s request
- Dāsarathī's humility
- Learning from Maladhara
- Learning the science of dharma

Part 11.

- The great devotee Tirumangai alvar
- Tirumangai's visit to Śrī Rangam
- Adopting the ways of robbers
- Construction of the Ranganātha temple
- The robbers' anger
- The high priest of the temple
- The priest's repentence

Part 12.

- The debate with Yajnamurti
- Yajnamurti's conversion
- The humility of Devaraja-muni

Part 13.

- Instructions to disciples
- Travelling and preaching
- Lakshmi's dilemma
- The potency of mahā-prasāda
- Yajnesa's repentance

Part 14.

- Arrival in Śrī Saila
- Meeting with Sailapurna
- Govinda's unusual behavior
- Returning to Kānchī
- Sailapurna's dealings with Govinda
- Return to śrī rangam
- Govinda's service
- Govinda's sannyāsa

Part 15.

- Journey to Kashmir
- Kureśa's wonderful ability
- Writing the Śrī Bhāṣya
- Travels throughout India
- Jagannātha puri
- Return to Śrī Rangam

Part 16.

- Instruction to disciples
- Kureśa's renunciation
- The purity of Kureśa's devotion
- Birth of Kureśa's sons
- Parāśara and the paṇḍita

Part 17.

- Lord Ranganātha's procession
- Dhanurdasa's meeting with Rāmānuja
- Deliverance of Dhanurdasa
- The envy of the Brahmin disciples
- The Brahmins learn a lesson
- Criticism of Mahāpūrṇa
- Mahāpūrṇa and Rāmānuja
- Gosthipurna's instruction

Part 18.

- Exile from Śrī Rangam
- Kureśa at the court of king Koluttunga Chola
- King Koluttunga's cruelty

Part 19.

- Yatiraja in the forest
- Meetings with Vaiṣṇavas
- Conversion of king Vitthaladeva

Part 20.

- Discovery of śrī Yadavadri-pati
- Recovery of śrī Rāma-priya
- The princess's distress
- Bibi Lachimar finds her lord
- The devotion of Kuvera

Part 21.

- Kureśa's mercy
- Kureśa and lord Varadarāja
- Final days in Śrī Rangam
- Parinirvana of Kureśa

Part 22.

- Andhrapurna's devotion to his guru
- Anantacarya in Śrī Saila
- The pious brāhmaṇa
- Installing deities
- Preaching in Śrī Rangam
- Final instructions
- Parinirvana of Rāmānujācārya