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Sri Ramanujacharya is one name that glows within the Vaisnava Sampradaya like a crest jewel. Although 1000 years have passed by since the appearance of Sri Ramanujacarya, it has not reduced the brightness of his name and fame, not to speak of diluting the level of adherence to his teachings. And why not!
Acharya Sri Ramanuja, is a great revolutionary saint and divine incarnate of Sri Lakshmana, the younger brother of Sri Rama. He spread the message of equality of all the jivas in the service of the Supreme Lord, Sri Vishnu.
Bhagavad Sri Ramanuja exemplified Acharya Upasanam, Guru Bhakti, and instructed everyone to engage in devotional service to the Lord. It is remarkable that even though it is going to be 1000 years, the attraction to his most exemplary life continues to attract large number of people towards Sri Vaisnavism. Millions of people have based their spiritual practices and religious conceptions on his words in southern India, and in the western world as well.
Sadasivananda Prabhu, who heads the ISKCON center at Kanchipuram and Sriperumbudur desired to observe the appearance of the glorious Acharya in a grand manner.
Sri Perumbudur is the holy birth place of Sri Ramanujacharya and Kanchipuram the place of his learning and worship. His worshipable istadev Sri Varadaraj Swamy Perumal of Kanchi, awarded Him sannyasa and named Him “Yathiraja” – King of Sannyasis, here at Kanchi.
He approached HH Jayapataka Swami Maharaj, the GBC of the zone. So, His Holiness Jayapataka Swami Maharaj made a proposal to the ISKCON (International Soceity for Krishna Consciousness) Governing Body Commission in their recently held Annual GBC meetings at their world headquarters, Sridham Mayapur, West Bengal, for a “Global Observance of Sri Ramanuja Sahasrabdi” throughout ISKCON.
He mentioned how ISKCON always had a good relationship with Sri Vaisnavas, especially Sri Ramanujacharya. Also the great acharyas of Gaudiya Vaisnava Sampradaya including Srila Jiva Goswami, Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura and Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura have all referenced and commented on the teachings and life of Sri Ramanuja. In many parts of the world ISKCON is associated very strongly with the Sri Vaisnavas.
Although the proposal came in the last hour, the ISKCON GBC body, unanimously passed a resolution that ISKCON centers worldwide have a “Global Observance of Sri Ramanuja Sahasrabdi”, in over 1000 centers, farm communities, and educational institutions around the world, leading up to May 1, 2017, or anytime through the year 2017, with suitable events and glorification befitting the venerable and worshipable Vaisnava Acarya.
The resolution was passed during the chairmanship of Sesa Prabhu. Sri Ramanujacharya is an incarnation of Lord Ananta Sesa. Could it just be a coincidence? We believe, it is all His Divine arrangement.
Although April 1st is the appearance of Sri Ramanujacharya as per the tithi, the Sri Vaisnavas observe as per the Thiru Nakshatra which falls on the 1st of May 2017. Hence, it was decided that worldwide devotees would organize various events from April 1st, leading up to 1st of May and continue throughout the year.
It is suggested that the centers keep a picture of Sri Ramanujacharya in a worshipable place for guests and devotees, to offer flowers, lamps, fruits etc. Have Srimad Bhagavatam classes glorifying the Life and teachings of Sri Ramanujacharya. Have Harinam with picture of Sri Ramanujacharya. Wherever possible hold joint events with Sri Vaishnavas glorifying Sri Ramanujacharya and His contribution to Equality, Devotional Service of Lord Vishnu, Deity Worship and Temple Administration. Scholars could engage in conferences on these subjects and more.
ISKCON Kanchipuram under the leadership of Sadasivananda Prabhu began the inaugural series of the Global Observance of Sri Ramanuja Sahasrabdi on the 19th March 2017. The grand celebrations took place at Kanchipuram, in the Gracious Presence of
Srimad Paramahamsethyadhi VadhiKesari Azhagiya Manavala Jeeyar Swami, Kanchipuram
Proffesor Sri U. Ve. M.A. Lakshmithathachar, Melukote, (Swyam Acharya Purusha, Swamy Thirumalai Anandalwan Thiruvamsham)
Sri U. Ve. Thi. Ka Akaaragni Srinidhi Swami, Kanchipuram
Srimad Bhakti Nityananda Swami Maharaj, Sridham Mayapur
Srimad Bhakti DhiraDamodara Swami Maharaj, South Africa
Sri Revati Raman Dasa Adhikari, President ISKCON Tirupati and GBC, Andhra
and with the blessings of
Sri SrimadParamahamsaParivrajakacharya Jayapataka Swami Maharaj, GBC & Guru, South India
Sri SrimadParamahamsaParivrajakacharya Bhanu Swami Maharaj, GBC & Guru,
An elaborate Thirumanjanam (Abhisek) was performed to the panchaloka deity of Sri Ramanujacharya at His Thirumaligai (the place he resided, while at Kanchipuram).
Along with Panchamrta, many items and flowers were used for the abhishek. Thiruman kappu (anointment of Tilaka) was performed, followed by Mahaarati of Sri Ramanujacharya.
Later, the deity was taken in procession on the grand and beautiful “Sri Ramanuja Vijaya Ratham” specially arranged for the occasion, from Sri Varadaraja Perumal Temple to the Program venue through the main roads of Kanchipuram. It was an ecstatic rathyatra along with Harinam sankirtan. It was visibly attractive to the common people on the roads as it also had participation of 200 international ISKCON devotees from about 40 countries.
At the program venue at Kanchipuram, the Sri Vaishnava Scholars and ISKCON sannyasis spoke glorifying Acharya Sri Ramanuja. Prof U Ve. Lakshmi Thathachar addressed the audience glorifying the Acharya and thanking ISKCON for holding this GLOBAL OBSERVANCE. He mentioned how ISKCON and Sri Vaishnavism are very similar in many aspects.
Following that, in the morning, on the 21st of March 2017, 200 International devotees performed worship, harinam and katha at the Sri Ramanuja Temple at Sriperumbudur, His birth place.
In the evening a grand pandal program was held, where a massive crowd of over 3000 public participated, graced by two Jeeyar Swamis and Sri vaishnava scholars, namely:
Srimad Paramahamsa Parivrajakacharya Embar Jeeyar Swami, Sriperumbudur
Srimad Paramahamsa Parivrajakacharya, Dhanvipura Matadeesha Sri Sri Sri Satakopa Ramanuja Jeeyar. (23rd Matadhipathi of Sri Manavala Mamuni Mutt, Srivilliputtur, presently Yadushaila Nivasa Sri Varavara muni Matadeesha)
Sri U. Ve. Pra. Bha. Rajahamsa Swami, Kanchipuram
In his welcome address at Sriperumbudur, Kanchipuram and Madurai HG Sadasivananda das mentioned about the GBC resolution and how the Gaudiya Acharyas from Srila Jiva Goswami to Srila Prabhupada appreciated the great contribution of Sri Ramanujacharya. Jiva Goswami quotes many references from the Acharya’s works. HH Bhaktivinoda Thakura wrote on the Acharya in 1896. He wanted gaudiya vaishnavas to follow the final instructions of the Acharya. HH Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur wrote on the Life and Teachings of Acharya. Some of these instructions and writings has been compiled into a souvenir and published by Sadasivananda Dasa. It was released at Madurai by HH Jayapataka Swami Maharaj and Sri Ranga Ramanuja Jeeyar swami on the 26th March 2017. It would be available as an ebook soon.
Later, HH Bhakti Dhira Damodar Swami Maharaj, HH Bhakti Nityananda Swami
and HG Revati Raman Prabhu spoke wonderfully glorying Sri Ramanujacharya.
It was followed by a wonderful performance of Ramayana by the Russian drama troupe, who were part of the international devotees visiting specially to attend this program. It ended with Prasadam distribution. The people of Sriperumbudur loved the program. The noble guests of honor were pleased by the efforts of ISKCON to glorify Sri Ramanujacharya. The event was a grand success.
It was Lord Chaitanya`s desire to unite all the vaishnavas. Through these series of festivities around the world, ISKCON hopes to unify the community of devotees, of the various bonafide Sampradayas, in the service of Lord Vishnu.
The inaugural series of ISKCON’s global observance of Sri Ramanuja Sahasrabdi continued at Madurai on the 26th March 2017 with yet another grand celebration. At the wonderful Raja Muthiah Mandram, there was an abhishek to the deity of Sri Ramanujacharya. Later this deity was carried in procession accompanied in Harinam to the nearby Gandhi Museum, by over 1000 devotees, who had gathered for two days retreat prior to this program.
It was a wonderful sight at the open air theatre that evening and the place was completely packed up with about 4000 people.
10 Day Festival at Sriperumbudur – 22nd April to 1st May 2017
ISKCON through drama, exhibits and distribution of literature, would mainly educate the visitors and pilgrims on the glorious Life and Teachings of Acharya Ramanuja.
ISKCON is planning to distribute over 100,000 plates of prasadam to the devotees visiting the 10 day festival at Sriperumbudur, apart from organizing a medical camp for emergency services, drinking water, rest room facilities.
If you would like to volunteer, donate and be part of the above devotional services, please write to email@example.com
Srila Prabhupada said:
“They are of the same conclusion, the Vaishnava acaryas. Just Like our Ramanujacarya, Madhvacarya, and Nimbarka and Visnuswami. They are all of the same movement.” – Lecture, Mayapur, February 19, 1976.
“We find great shelter at the lotus feet of Sri Ramanujacarya because his lotus feet are the strongest fort to combat the Mayavadi philosophy.” – Srila Prabhupada letter, November 22, 1974)
We request leaders at all levels (GBCs, TPs, to Bhakti Vriksha leaders) to observe the Sri Ramanuja Sahasrabdi to receive the mercy of the Acharya, please the Lord and all the Vaishnavas.
We would be happy to help and support you with ideas, materials etc. Also, please send us a report of events you organized as part of Sri Ramanuja Sahasrabdi at your yatra to firstname.lastname@example.org. Or Please contact the
ISKCON Sri Ramanuja Sahasrabdi Team
Sadasivananda Dasa, Mahavaraha Dasa,
Chaitanya Avatari dasa, Balaram Govinda Dasa.
Jai – Srimathe Ramanujaya Namah! Hare Krishna ! Thankyou.