Saturday, April 18, 2015


SrI RAmAnujAcArya, the greatest AcArya of SrIvaishNavism has clearly upheld the sanctity of varNASrama dharma in his SrI BhAshya, the exalted commentary on Brahma sUtra. All the 74 AcAryas established by him uphold the  Vedic tradition  and are conforming to sAstras even today.

SrI RAmAnujAcArya at the same time strongly believed that we have to respect the great Saints and devotees belonging to other castes as well, as many AzhvArs are non-BrAhmaNas. While it is the duty of one person to follow his own varNASrama dharma, it does not make him automatically superior to others. In the considered view of SrI RAmAnujAcArya all VaishNavaites (tirumAl adiyArs) are one and the same in the eyes of the Supreme BhagavAn. Hence one has to be always polite and humble in spite of his caste.
The jIyars of SrI RAmAnujAcArya tradition wear yajnopavitam and perform nitya karma. SrI RAmAnujAcAyra fully knows what is varNASrama dharma and what is devotion (bhakti yoga) and Surrender (Prapatti).
Those vaishnavites who are not brAhmaNas do not wear yajnopavitam but are engaged in the service of BhagavAn are called as "sAttANi" . They render "pushpa kainkaryam" in a selfless manner. SrI RAmAnujAcAyra welcomed all for doing unconditional and selfless service to the Supreme irrespective of caste.
Vaishnavites never claim that they are superior based on birth. For them, it is the loving  devotion to the Supreme which is important. All devotees are verily equals. At the same time, Vaishnavites fully adhere to varNaSrama dharma.
SrI RAmAnujAcArya never advocated the supremacy of BrAhmaNas over others. One of his respected AcAryas was Swami Tirukkacchi Nambigal, who was a non-BrAhmaNa. Therefore, if only SrI RAmAnujAcAyra had considered BrAhmaNas as superior, there is some meaning in alleging that he could have converted non-BrAhmaNas into BrAhmaNas. For him, all SrI Vaishnavaites are indeed  equals. At the same time  he also emphasized that the SAstras have to be duly complied with based on one's VarNASrama dharma as determined by one's birth.
SrI RAmAnujAcArya brought many people into the fold of Sri VaishNavism without any change in their status of varNa. As they were disillusioned with the non-Vedic philsophies, mAyA vAdam etc, they voluntarily came into the fold of Sri VaishNavism.
All the sAtthAda mudalis of heritage temples like SrIrangam, still remain to date as sAtthAda mudalis only. Nobody was ever converted into the BrAhmaNa fold. Pillai UrangAvalli Dasar became a very close disciple of SrI RAmAnujAcArya at SrIrangam and he remained as a non-BrAhmaNa only.
SrI RAmAnujAcArya firmly believed in the supremacy of Vedic Scriptures. According to the SAstras, there are no rituals for converting the caste of the person into BrAhmaNa VarNa. Hence as a strong upholder of SAstras, SrI RAmAnujAcArya would not have even dreamt of changing the VarNas just like that.
SrI RAmAnujAcArya is far beyond the mAyA of caste supremacy and there is no need for him to convert non-BrAhmaNas into BrAhmaNa VarNa. He only openly welcomed all people with love and affection  irrespective of their castes into the fold of SrI VaishNavism  to cross the ocean of samsAra and  reach the abode of the Supreme.
श्रीमते रामानुजाय नमः।
जयजय श्रीराधे