Light of Rāmānuja’s School | Śrīnivāsa

Śrī Vaiṣṇavism
The Light of Rāmānuja’s School
Śrīnivāsa Āchārya
17th century

The Light of Rāmānuja’s School |

This is a very detailed and lucid compendium on all most important tenets of Viśiṣṭādvaita or “Qualified Non-Dualism” school of understanding as founded by great Āchārya Śrī Rāmānuja and transmitted and practised in Śrī Vaishnavism.

The name of the present work is “The Light of Rāmānuja’s School” or “Yatīndra-Mata-Dīpikā” by Śrīnivāsa Āchārya, who lived probably in the beginning of the 17th century.

Very few biographical data of the author are preserved, but we know that his teacher’s name was Mahā-Ācārya, otherwise named Doḍḍay-ārya and this was a lineage of transmission stemming up from Dāśarathī or Mudaliyāṇḍān – the son of Śrī Rāmānuja’s sister.

This important branch of Śrī Vaishnavism was settled in Tamil Nadu, in Ghaikāchala, near the town Sholinghur, also known as Chola Simhapuram. Sholinghur is very famous for the Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy Temple.  Ghaṭikāchala is a station on the railway track linking Chennai and Bangalore.

The father of our author Śrīnivāsa has been Swāmi-pukariṇī Govinda-āchārya, - servitor at the Holy Hill Vekaa-Giri (Tirupati).

According to the Invocatory verse – this author of “The Light of Rāmānuja’s School” has seen a vision

where he saw Veṅkaṭēśa (the God of Tirupati), Devarāja (the God of Kāñchī), Nrisimha (the God of Ghaikādri ) along with Krishna (= Yāmunācāryā) and Yatirāja (Rāmānuja),

and that seems to be the inspiration quickening him to the composition of an authoritative text-book, embodying in it all the quintessence of the doctrines of the Viśiṣṭādvaita philosophy and religion, promulgated by Śrī Rāmānuja, which he fitly titles as the  “Yatīndra-Mata-Dīpikā” or “The Light of Rāmānuja’s School”.

As original works on Viśiṣṭādvaita philosophy became many, also commentaries and theses pro an contra became multiplied and so vast as to beyond the range of a clear conspectus of the subject-matter, - necessity for compendia arouse:

Of such kind compendia is “The Light of Rāmānuja’s School” which purports to be a manual devised in order to present a lucid outline on the Viśiṣṭādvaita philosophy and religion, based on the voluminous literature extant, most of which the author, Śrīnivāsa, mentions by name in the Conclusion Chapter.

Chapter 1 -  Perception (Pratyakṣa).

Chapter 2 - Inference (Anumāna)

Chapter 3 - The Word (Śabda)

Chapter 4 - Matter (Prakṛti)

Chapter 5 - Time (Kāla)

Chapter 6 - Spiritual Universe (Nitya- Vibhūti)

Chapter 7  - Attributive Consciousness (Dharma-bhūta-jñāna)

Chapter 8 - The Soul (Jīva)

Chapter 9 - God (Īśvara)

Chapter 10 - The Non-Substance (Adravya)