Today a grand and jubilant celebration was held at Divya Saketam to mark the auspicious occasion of Bhagavad Ramanujacharya’s 999th birth anniversary.
Thousands of devotees, guests, scholars and saints alike, attended the mega event. Devotees thronged the ashram in large numbers today, in spite of heavy rains.
The celebrations commenced with HH Chinna Jeeyar Swamiji’s Theertha Goshti. The occasion was telecast live on Bhakti channel, the number 1 telugu devotional channel.
The Theertha Goshti was held for up to 45 mins, to accommodate each and every member present at the auditorium where the celebrations were held. Theertha Goshti was followed by Lord Ramanujacharya’s panchamrutha abhishekam.
HH Chinna Jeeyar Swamiji went on to explain that each ingredient used to perform the divine abhishekam of Ramanujacharya. He explained that water represents strong shraddha, milk represents Gyan or knowledge, yoghurt represents faith and honey represents sweet love. He enlightened the crowd about the fruits that were offered to the Lord symbolized the fruits of our actions or results, which we present to God to signify our complete surrender.
Swamiji spoke about Ramanujacharya’s public appeal as both an extremely compassionate social reformer and as an erudite scholar, highly revered for His knowledge and literary poweress. Swamiji explained how Ramanujacharya was respected by both the common man and the elite of society because of these qualities of knowledge and compassion.
HH enlightened the crowd as to why the word “Bhagavad” is used as a prefix to His name. This is because, Ramanuja was such a great man known for his knowledge, teachings, actions, humility, service, commitment, great thinking etc and had reached an almost God-like status.
Acharya is one who practices and make sure his pupils also follow those principles. Sri Bhagavad Ramanujacharya practiced, followed and implemented the very teachings He taught His own disciples and devotees, everyday of His life!. He was a living example of His teachings and practised them first before preaching them to His sishyas . Being both God and Acharya gave Him a divine status and Ramanujacharya’s selfless service to society can never be repaid or forgotten.
Swamiji also recollected to everyone the great story of Lord Tirumala Venkateswara Swamy of the seven hills. During the time of Ramanujacharya, there as a huge debate happening at Tirumala, regarding the true identity of the deity present at the Daiva Sannidhi. Some argued that the deity in the Archa form was of Lord Shiva, some claimed it belonged to Lord Kartikeya and some envisioned it to be that of a goddess or Shakti. People were not able to decide amongst themselves and there was a lot discord regarding the identity of the presiding deity.
To Ramanujacharya, this was very surprising, because the Alwars and Acharyas had been worshipping the presiding deity as Lord Vishnu since centuries. It was clearly stated in the Shastras that the presiding deity was Lord Srimannarayana and that He, the Lord had loaned His weapons to His devotee King Thondaman Chakravarthy to fight and win a great war. Thondaman Chakravarthy did not want to return and part with the divine weapons and the Lord agreed to let His favourite devotee keep the weapons. The Lord at Tirumala had already predicted and it was predecided by the Lord Himself, that another great devotee of His would entrust the weapon along with Shanku and Chakra back to Him in the Kaliyuga.
In spite of quoting the Shastras and other religious and ancient texts, the people at Tirumala were not convinced with Ramanujacharya’s literary proofs and evidences.
So, Bhagavad Ramanujacharya devised a foolproof plan to determine the true identity of the Lord of Tirumala. What better and truthful way, than to ask the Lord himself on His true identity? Bhagavad Ramanujacharya then placed the Shanku, Chakra along with Damarukam, Trishul, Vel and other insignia inside the Sannidhi (sanctum sanctorum) and prayed to the Lord to reveal His identity. Leaving the Lord alone with the various insignia overnight, Ramanujacharya fervently prayed to Srimannarayana to clear all doubts and confusions from the mind of the devotees regarding His true identity.Lo and behold! When the doors of the Tirumala sanctum sanctorum were opened the next morning, the Lord gave darshan adorning the royal insignia of Lord Vishnu- the Shankhu and Chakra in each hand proving He was Lord Sripati, the husband of Goddess Lakshmi Herself!
Answering the prayers and plea of His favourite devotee, Lord Venkateswara Swamy appeared next morning holding the Shanku and Chakra, thus establishing Lord Vishnu as the presiding deity of Tirumala.
Thus,Bhagavad Ramanujacharya became the Acharya to Lord Venkateswara because it was Ramanuja Swami’s prayer and pleas that lead the Lord to adorn the Shanku and Chakra in each arm. Thus, Lord Venkateswara Himself, established His own true identity as Lord Vishnu or Srimannarayana in the form of Lord Venkateshwara, on the behest of Ramanujacharya, His great devotee and Acharya. He also became the acharya to Lord in Thirukkurungudi, a divya desam in Tamilnadu.
Further into the discourse, HH spoke about life,other stories, various journeys, trials, tribulations, success & social contributions of the beloved Sri Vaishnava saint. HH provided the latest updates on the progress of the establishment and consecration of the Ramanuja Sahasrabdi 216 feet world’s largest sitting statue called the Ramanujacharya Statue of Equality. HH called for one and all to join hands in contributing and being part of this eagerly awaited mega celebrations, marking the 1000th birth anniversary in 2017.
HH Sri Sri Sri Tridandi Chinna Jeeyar Swamiji announced yesterday that all the clearances required for the construction and consecration of the Bhagavad Ramanujacharya Statue of Equality had been sanctioned and approved. This great achievement took place on the 9th of May 2016, a day before the Thirunakshatram of the great Acharya Himself.
HH Swamiji spoke about the 120 kgs gold statue consecration, to mark the 120 golden years of Bhagavad Ramanujacharya’s life on earth. He explained how each kilo of gold represents our gratitude towards each year of Bhagavad Ramanujacharya’s life and selfless service and devotion to God and mankind.
He called for all devoted Bhagavad bandus to come forward and donate the gold required for the construction of such a unique gold statue. He said “What’s the use of gold sitting away in lockers? What’s the use of gold that you never get to see or wear? What’s the use of paying such high monthly rental fees and rent lockers to safely lock away gold that is never used or even touched? Instead why not use some of it to form the divine body of the great acharya which will be worshiped everyday for thousands of years to come. It was a great way to express our gratitude towards the greatest saint to have walked the earth. The statute would stand for equality, to represent and most importantly, remind us of the importance of equality,humility and the teachings of Ramanujacharya that we need to practice in our everyday lives. HH reminded us on how we are on a deadline of just 1 year, till the next Thirunakshatram marking the 1000 years of our belovedBhagavad Ramanujacharya’s life.
To this, a lot of devotees reacted by immediately donating the gold they were wearing on their body! Especially a lot of elderly ladies were seen enthusiastically donating their ear rings, nose rings, bangles, chains and other jewellery.
HH also spoke about the next upcoming project of having all of Bhagavad Ramanujacharya’s literary works translated into various languages and uploaded online for the benefit of all mankind. He explained to the crowd present, the works of Veda Vyasa’s Brahma Sutras and the words of his great, great, great, great prodigal grandson Bodhayana Maharishi’s works. He spoke about Ramanujacharya’s Sri Bhashyam and the magnum opus commentary on the Brahma Sutras. He recalled the story of Ramanujacharya’s journey and Padayatra to Kashmir from Tamil Nadu in South India, with His devoted disciple Kurathalvan wrote the magnum opus Sri Bhashyam, that was named and blessed by Devi Saraswati, the Goddess of learning Herself!
The grand translation and publication of Ramanujacharya’s works, is just another one of our Swamiji’s projects. It requires immense dedication, research, designing, development, execution and implementation. His past projects have been on a great scale, projects which were humanitarian, national, international etc. However the project of having all 9 of Bhagavad Ramanujacharya’s words translated and uploaded online to the internet, for the benefit of the society and the world, is the magnum opus of HH Swamiji’s never ending contributions and blessings to society.
After the thirumanjanam, Archa murthy of Bhagavad Ramanujacharya was placed on a beautifully carved, ornate throne. It was placed in front of a beautiful golden coloured Gopuram. It symbolised the Gopuram a top which Ramanujacharya climbed and selflessness gave the message of the divine, secret and sacred mantra to attain the lotus feet of Lord Srimannarayana, for the benefit of the common man and anyone or everyone who was interested and listening.
The beautifully decorated and adorned statue of Bhagavad Ramanujacharya was a divine, spiritual and truly blessed sight to the eyes of all the devotees, followers and admirers of Lord Ramanujacharya.
The crowd read the Ramanujacharya Ashtotram under the aegis of both the Jeeyar Swamiji’s, scholars and saints present at the grant event. The celebrations concluded with the blessings of HH Sri Sri Sri Tridandi Chinna Jeeyar Swamiji and Sri Sri Sri Tridandi Ahobila Jeeyar Swamiji followed by a grand lunch banquet -Thadiaradhana.