All glories to Srila Ramanujacharya, the acharya of Sri Sampradaya, who defeated the atheistic adwaita philosophy of Shankaracharya and preached loving devotion to the lotus feet of the Supreme Lord. Born in Shriperumbudur in 1017 A.D. in the house of Asuri Keshava and Kantimati, Ramanuja was married at the age of 16 to Rakshakambal. Soon after marriage and the unexpected departure of his father from this world, Ramanuja moved to Kanchi with his family, where he started studying the adwaitavad philosophy under the guidance of Yadav Prakash. However, the impersonal and offensive explanations of Yadav greatly distressed the heart of Ramanuja, who was a pure devotee of the Lord. Once, when his teacher gave an offensive explanation of the eyes of Lord Vishnu, he was so deeply hurt that he disagreed with Yadav and corrected him. This greatly angered Yadav. When he continued to refute the mayavad philosophy, Yadav told him to leave his school and start his own, if he so desired to preach about theism. Ramanujacharya then started his own school in his own house and soon became very well-known. People would come daily to listen to his spiritual discourses which described the beautiful personal form of the Lord and the eternal relationship of the Jivas with the Supreme Lord. Seeing his growing popularity, Jadav Prakash and his disciples, being jealous and envious of Ramanuja, tried to kill him. However, the Lord kindly saved him and he continued preaching the glories of the Lord. Soon Yadav and his other disciples also surrendered at the lotus feet of Ramanujacharya and he accepted them as his disciples.
While living in Kanchi and teaching the shastras, he was once visited by a great Vaishnava named Yamunacharya. Seeing this exalted personality, Ramanujacharya accepted him as his Guru and took initiation. After Yamunacharya went back to Sri Rangam, from where he had come, Ramanujacharya started preaching with even more vigor and spread the glories of the personal form of the Lord far and wide, destroying the mayavadi philosophy. After some time, he received news of his Guru’s imminent departure and he immediately proceeded towards Sri Rangam. However, his Guru had already departed the world before his arrival. Upon arriving there, he went and sat next to the divine form of his Guru, whose one hand was in a Yoga a mudra, with three fingers open and the thumb and forefinger touching each other, and the other hand was clenched in a fist. His disciples were unable to understand the meaning of this. Seeing the position of the hands of his venerable Guru, he proclaimed that he would give shelter to the people in general and bestow upon them the shelter of the lotus feet of Lord Narayan; he would write a commentary on the Vedanta Sutra establishing the Supreme Lord as the ultimate truth; and he would name one of his disciples Parashar in honour of the great sage of the same name. With each of these three proclamations, a finger of the Guru’s clenched fist opened, indicating that these were the desires and instructions of his Guru. Thereafter, he was accepted as the acharya for the Sri Rangam temple and he preached far and wide the glories of the Lord, fulfilling all the three proclamations. He eventually gave up householder life and took sanyas, donning saffron clothes and carrying a tridanda. He continued performing many amazing pastimes through out his life and was the savior of the world from atheism. After living on this planet for 120 years, he decided to go back to the spiritual kingdom and continue his service to the Lord there. Thus, on this auspicious day, the shukla dashami tithi in the month of Magha, he brought his pastimes to a close and entered the transcendental realm. May Ramanujacharya bless us all with unflinching faith and loving devotional service to the lotus feet of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Sri Krishna.
This auspicious day also marks the appearance day of Sri Sri Radha Damodar, the most wonderful deities of Srila Jiva goswami, who were carved by the lotus hands of Srila Rupa goswami. Although the original deities are in Jaipur, the Pratibhu deities are worshiped in the Radha Damodar temple in Vrindavan, where Srila Prabhupad spent many years preparing for his journey to the west to deliver the conditioned souls in this age of Kali. May Sri Sri Radha Damodar bestow their mercy upon us all.