Ramanuja

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Image of Ramanuja given a prominent place in a Hindu Sri Vasihnava temple

Ramanuja (traditionally, 10171137 CE), was a Hindu theologian, philosopher, and scriptural exegete. He is considered as the most important Hindu teacher, who followed Nathamuni and Yamunacharya, and the leading expounder of Vishishtadvaita.

Quotes[edit]

  • What an individual pursues as a desirable end depends upon what he conceives himself to be.
    • Attributed to Ramanuja in: Swami Vivekananda (1979) Awakened India. Vol. 84, p. 206
  • Entities other than Brahman can be objects of such cognitions of the nature of joy only to a finite extent and for limited duration. But Brahman is such that cognizing of him is an infinite and abiding joy. It is for this reason that the shruti [scripture] says, `Brahman is bliss’ (Taittitriya Upanishad II.6.) Since the form of cognition as joy is determined by its object, Brahman itself is joy.

Vedartha Sangraham, 11th century[edit]

Ramanuja. Vedartha Sangraha of Sri Ramanujacarya, English Translation by S.S. Raghavachar, 1978. with foreword by Swami Adidevananda.

  • The individual self is subject to beginningless nescience, which has brought about an accumulation of karma, of the nature of both merit and demerit. The flood of such karma causes his entry into four kinds of bodies — heavenly, human, animal and plant beginning with that of Brahma downwards. This ingression into bodies produces the delusion of identity with those respective bodies (and the consequent attachments and aversions). This delusion inevitably brings about all the fears inherent in the state of worldly existence. The entire body of Vedanta aims at the annihilation of these fears. To accomplish their annihilation they teach the following:
(1) The essential nature of the individual self as transcending the body.
(2) The attributes of the individual self.
(3) The essential nature of the Supreme that is the inmost controller of both the material universe and the individual selves.
(4) The attributes of the Supreme.
(5) The devout meditation upon the Supreme.
(6) The goal to which such meditation, leads.
The Vedanta aims at making known the goal attainable through such a life of meditation, the goal being the realization, of the real nature of the individual self and after and through that realization, the direct experience of Brahman, which is of the nature of bliss infinite and perfect.
  • p. 9-10
  • Men, unacquainted with Vedanta, do not see that all things and all individual selves have Brahman as their self. They think that all terms exhaust their significance by signifying the various objects by themselves, which objects are in reality a part and not the whole of the meaning of terms. Now by the study of Vedanta, they understand that all such objects are the effects of Brahman, that Brahman is the inner ruler of them all and that they are animated by Brahman as their very soul. Therefore they come to understand that all terms signify Brahman itself having as its modes the entities, to which latter alone the terms are applied in common usage.
    • p. 14

Quotes about Ramanuja[edit]

  • Ramanuja wrote nine works in Sanskrit on the philosophy of Visishtadvaita. Of these, the Vedartha-Sangraha occupies a unique place in as much as this work takes the place of a commentary on the Upanishads, though not in a conventional sense or form. The work mirrors a total vision of the Upanishads, discussing all the controversial texts in a relevant, coherent manner.
  • Rāmānuja (ācārya), the eleventh century South Indian philosopher, is the chief proponent of Vishishtādvaita, which is one of the three main forms of the Orthodox Hindu philosophical school, Vedānta. As the prime philosopher of the Vishishtādvaita tradition, Rāmānuja is one of the Indian philosophical tradition’s most important and influential figures. He was the first Indian philosopher to provide a systematic theistic interpretation of the philosophy of the Vedas, and is famous for arguing for the epistemic and soteriological significance of bhakti, or devotion to a personal God.

External links[edit]

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