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AT) *" *. 










(Mysore Educational Service} S 

Author of the " Aryan Prayer-Book" & f 

Editor of the " NithiydnnsandAnum " Series), 

on the occasion of the Celebration of the 

Twenty- Fifth Anniversary { 

of * 

Sri Ramanujacharya's Birthday-Festivities > 

conducted in connection with > 

- [//? Srinivisa Mandiram fy Charities . ^ 

m Bangalore Lity. \ 

- * ' ' ^ ' * ^ 



1910. . > 

Price As. 2.] [Price As. 2. > 







BY . 


( Mysore Educational Service) 

Author of the " Aryan Prayer-Book " & 
Editor \of the " Nithiydnusand&num " Series), 

on the occasion of the Celebration of the 

Twenty-Pifth Anniversary 


Sri Ramanujacharya's Birthday* Festivities 

conducted in connection with 
{the Srinivisa Mandiram $ Charities 

in fiangalore City. \ 



Price As. 2.] [Price As. 2. 






Under the auspices of the Srinivasa Mandirarn, the 
twenty-fifth anniversary in connection with Sri Ramanuja- 

.charya's Tirunakshatram was celebrated on Tuesday 
evening (5th May 1908) in Doddanna's Hall, Bangalore 
City. Flags and foliage had been employed to make the 
hall look specially attractive, but the weather was cloudy 
and threatend heavy rain, and a slight diizzle probably 
kept some people away. The Hall was however full, 
being occupied mostly by Vaishnava followers and Stud- 
ents. The chair was occupied by Rajamantrapravina 
Mr. C. Srinivasiengar, an ex-Councillor of the Mysore 

/The Chairman introduced Mr. M. B. Srinivasa lyen- 
gar, M.A. of the Mysore Educational Service, who read an 
interesting address on the life and teachings of Ramanuja- 
charya, and explained several technical points of the 
Visishtadvaita faith. 

A peculiar feature of the Lecture was that for the 
first time in the History of Bangalore, native ladies 
attended a public lecture in English. The members of 
the Hindu Ladies ' Association were accommodated in 

. the rooms to the right of the dais ; and on the dais itself 
were seen, besides the Lecturer and the Chairman, 
Messrs. Kumarasami Naik, L. Krishna Rao, N. S. 
Tirumaliengar, C. B. Sheshagiri Rao, N. Venktesiengar, 
S. Krishnasami lyengar, K. Ramasarni lyengar and 

, several Officers of the Mysore state and non-officials. 

Soon after the Introduction, the Lecturer spoke as 
follows : 



Before commencing my brief address to this learned 
audience, I wish to say a few words regarding the unique 
position in which I find myself placed this evening, which 
is due entirely to the kindness of Mr. Gopala Charlu, to 
whose untiring efforts the Srinivasa-Mandiram and Chari- 
ties owe their existence and continuance. His kind letter, 
sent to me a month ago, requesting me to deliver this In- 
augural address, took me entirely by suiprise ; but having 
regard to his earnest appeal, I could not say " nay v to 
his request, though I knew full well that more competent 
and worthy persons than myself could have been thought 
of and requested to perform this important function, 
which I am now called upon to do on this auspicious 
occasion ; and my acceptance cf such a duty has to be 
regarded more as a DIVINE CALL- since every one of us, 
worldlings, who have the interests of humanity at heart, 
has to put his shoulders to the wheel to contribute his quota 
of service to the development and evolution of mankind. 

2. In these days of general awakening, only orga- 
nized work, and not individual efforts, will achieve per- 
manent or enduring results. These are not the days of indi- 
vidual greatness such as was achieved, in former days, 
by great personages like Buddha, Sankaracharyar, or Jesus, 
or Mahomed, orRamanjacharyar,or Madhva Charyar, with 
a large following of disciples. If any measure of 
success falls to the lot of any of us, we haye only to 
take shelter in these days under the v well-known adage 

" Sanghe saktih KalaujYuge (sra s?n%; ^^t gft) power ts 
vested in a multitude (an organisation}" 1 ', and act accordingly. 


3. A word or two, I wish to say, with your kind 
permission, regarding what potentialities for good lie in 
Institutions like the '* Srinivasa Mandiram and Charities/' 
under whose auspices this influential and remarkable 
gathering is, invited this evening. The sphere of useful- 
ness in which socio-reHgions Institutions like our " Man- 
diram," or the Branches of the Theosophical Society, 
established all over India, may engage themselves, is 
briefly indicated in the remarkable speech delivered at 
Calcutta by His Excellency the Viceroy, Lord Minto, on the 
occasion of the Jubilee celebration of the Calcutta Univer- 
sity. His Excellency, while commenting upon the entire 
absence of religious teaching in our Government Schools 
and Colleges as a defect in our present system of Education, 
was pleased to remark thus " Before the advent of Wes- 
tern Learning, secular and religious instruction went hand 
in hand. The Teacher wfcs also the Spiritual Guide ; and 
we cannot disguise from ourselves that this system, for 
which we are answerable, has to a large extent deprived 
the student of instruction in his own faith. It would be use- 
less now to speculate as to what proportion of the causes 
for any untoward results may be allotted to this system, or 
to the want of religious teachers, or to the students them- 
selves ; but I would ask the latter to assist, as far as it is in 
their power, to neutralize the evil. They and the Uni- 
versity authorites can justly look to the RELIGIOUS ASSO- 
CIATIONS throughout India for assistance," and concluded 
his speech in these memorable words : " Though the 
Government of India must, as I have recently said, hold 
the balance evenly bet ween all religions and sects, I cannot 
but feel that a System of Education which aims at the 


training :of youth, with no regard for religious truths, 
ignores the very foundations upon which all that is noble 
in a people should be built." - 

4. Hence it will be seen that the iiiost pressing need 
of the hour is the hearty co-operation of these Religious 
Associations to supplement the work of Government Edu- 
cational Institutions with their philanthropic efforts with 
a view to remedy the evils of the purely secular system of 
education now imparted therein. Such a noble example 
of philanthrophy and unselfish devotion to duty is to be 
seai in the lyife of Ramanujacharya, whose birthday 
festivities are being celebrated torday all .over .India and 
Burma, and wherever Vaishnava followers of Ram'anuja, 
bearing on their foreheads the three distinguishing per- 
pendicular marks of the community, are found. In refer- 
ring to a few principal features of his noble career of 
usefulness, extending over a period of more than a. century, 
(for he lived over and above the full period of the patri- 
archal age of our ancestors., viz., one hundred and twenty 
years) it may pertinently be asked what was there any- 
thing special in this noble personage that calls forth that 
pious and faithful devotion of his followers and the unstint- 
ed admiration of the world, even after the lapse of nearly a 
thousand years. 

5, His Biography may be advantageously studied 
with a view to elicit information regarding the following 
principal points : 

(i) His Special Mission to the. world. 

(a) The History of the development of the powerful 
Vaishnava -organisation that he consolidated for continuing 
the moral and spiritual work after him down to. posterity 
on altruistic lines 

(3) His great message of peace and goodwill to man- 

(4) His universal love of mankind, irrespective of 
caste, creed or colour. 

(5) His scientific exposition of the Vedantic doctrine 
and plan of salvation in conformity with the traditional 
teachings handed over from the time of sage Bodhayana, 
and his successful reconciliation of apparently conflicting 
Vedic texts of equal authority. 

(6) His special reform in the temples on orthodox 

(7) His unbounded sympathy with the masses spe- 
cially the Panchamas. 

(8) His successful attempt at bringing to prominence 
the EMOTIONAL ASPECT of the Vaishnava Faith, and thus 
reviving the popular religion of the venerable Alvars(who 
preceded him) by scientifically propogating the doctrine 

of Love T^ and absolute renunciation 5IWT1% 0^0%) 
according to the needs and frame of mind of the devotee, 

6. Value af Biographical Study : One of the most 
interesting studies of literature in any language is the 
Biography of great men. Those that are written with 
scrupulous care for accuracy and truth will be still more 
instructive and interesting. Such Biographies are found 
in modern Literature ; those of former days have to be 
studied with great caution, and with an eye for historical 
research and accuracy, and with due respect for Truth and 
Probabilities ; for, in these Biographical writings, mytho- 
logy, and sometimes, supernatural agency, do come into 
play, giving rise to legendary tales introduced by later 
writers, with a view to enhance the importance of the in- 
cidents connected with the career of such saints or sages. 

Very often the so-called " pious frauds "^have also to be 
therein detected ; hence these writings have to be gone 
through with extreme care and with a great deal of un- 
biassed critical acumen. Bearing the above remarks in 
mind, the following works may be consulted with advan- 
tage, with a view to find out the most important incidents 
in the life of Ramanujacharya. 

i. Sri Guru parampara Prabhavam (Glorious Lives of 
the Ancient Acharyas) in Tamil prose, stayed 

MANIPRAVAXAM. Unfortunately, there are now two ver- 
sions of this, belonging to the "Tenkalai" and " Vada- 
kalai " sections of the Srivaishnavas (Southern and Nor- 
thern sections) 

2. Praparmamritam HHI nian, in Sanskrit. 

3. Visistadvaita Catechism (by Pandit Bhashyachar 
of the Theosophical Society, Adyar) in English. 

4. Palanadai Vilakkan UGog &GS>L- aSp<*u>. In Tamil 

5. I/ife of Ramanujacharya (by A. Govindacharlu, 
Mysore) in English. _ 

6. L/ife of Ramanuja (by the late S. Rangacharlu, 
Delta Superintendent, Rajamundry) in English* 

From the above, a few principal incidents of Rama- 
nujacharya's life, which are borne out by facts, and regard- 
ing which most of us are agreed, are noted below : 

* Subsequent to the delivery of this address, I had occasion to peruse 
the following, which may also be read by the readers with much advantage : 

(1) Life and teachings of Ramanujncharya by C. R. Srinivasiangar 
B.A, (R. Venkateswar & Co, Madras.} 

(2) A paper on Bamanuja, contributed to the " Wednesday Review * 
by Mr, S. Krishnasanai Jyengar M.A. Central College, Bangalore. 

1 Birth at Sriperumbudur. . A.D. or A.C. 1017 (Salivahana 

saka 939) the naming- ceremony, he was 
styhd " lyakshmana " which was gradually 
changed to L/akshmanachar and Lakshma- 

2 His early education under Yadavaprakasa be- 

tween 8 and 16 years . . . . . .Cir. 1033 

3 First entry into Srirangam to see Alavandar 

T (Yamunacharya), age 25. . .. . . 1042 

4 Taking holy orders (his married life being a 

disappointment), age 32 . . . . . 1049 

5 Conversion of Yagyamurti, an Advaitic Teacher io8fr. 

6 King's Persecution of Vaishnavas (Karikala 

Chola, Kulothunga Chola I), age 78 . . 1095 

7 Flight to Mysore Territory, age 79, . , . 1096 

S Conversion of Bittideva, King of the Hoysala 
Country (Maisurj into the Vaishnava faith, 
and naming him Vaishnuvardhana . . 1099 

y Consecration and restoration of the Temple at 

Melkote (Tirunarayanapuram) . . . . 1098 

10 Building and consecration of the Temple at 

Belur . . . , . , . . . . . 1117 

11 Concessions granted to the Parichamas during 

the period of Car-festivals at Melkote and 
Belur (Mysore and Hassan Districts.) for ser- 
vices rendered, which are continued even to 
this day . . . . . . ... m8 

1 2 The establishment of a Mutt at Melkote, styled 

" Yatiiaja Mutt, 5 ' in charge of his trusted 
disciples, for the management of Temple 
worship and the propagation of the faith .. ..1-119 

i-3 Return *to Srirangam ... .. :': . .Cir. 1120 

14 His last days at Srirangarn; his powerful 
organisation for the future work of the 
Mission . . . . . . . . 1137 

7. As regards the date of the birth of Ramanujachar- 
ya, there has been no difference of opinion, unlike that 
of Sri Sankaracharya, which is wrapped up in obscurity 
even to this day. This is easily accounted for, since from 
the earliest days of his earthly career, Ramanuja's contem- 
poraries and admirers began to associate the periods of the 
incidents of his life with specific noble thoughts of some 
significance. Hence the traditional date of Salivahana 
Saka 939 (corresponding to 939 -j- 78= 1017 A.D.) has been 
taken advantage of by his Biographers, and has according- 
ly been made synonymous with the noble thought 

*The system of computation by which the consonants of the Hindu 
Alphabet represent numercal values from one to nine digits is a very old 
Aryan method, mainly resorted to by authors and poets, when they wish to 
insert in their own works the year of composition of their own productions. 
This system is also seen in Inscriptions, recording grants of land on auspi- 
cious or holy or special occasions, or in monuments raised in commemoration 
of great deeds, by Sovereigns and other high personages, This computation 

is known by the name of " WRCTI^TOT " KATAPAYADI SANKHYA, and 
is regulated by the following principle : 

(1) ^NvTsf . (Letters from T in the order of the 1st & 2nd Vargas 
denote the numbers i, 2, 3, 4 5, 6 7, 8, 9 respectively, the last in the 2nd 

Varga denoting zero.) 

(2) SIl^T (Similarly, letters from in the order of the 3rd and 4th 
Vargas denote the first nine digits respectively, the last in the 4th Varga 
denoting zero). 

(3) T Tfi^T3' (Letters from T denote respectively the first five digits in 
*T Varga) 

.(4) 3JM2T (Letters from T to f is the usual order denote the first 
eight digits respectively. 


Dhir I,abdha=Real knowledge attained), as if this year 
was particularly designed by Providence for the spread of 
REAI, KNOWLEDGE on earth through Ramanujacharya. 
So also is the saka year " 1059" corresponding to A. D, 
1137, designated as the WTTS: year (Dhaimo Nastah= 
I^awofthe Lord lost to the world), when the earthly 
career of Sri Ramanujacharyar closed. Hence these two 
important dates became fixed in the ancient chronicles of 
the land, and could not be changed. 

8. His works which have attained an immortal fame 
are mostly philosophical ; but the " Gadyatraya v (Three 
gadyas or Prose-pieces) is a very popular and highly-pathe- 
tic prose composition- especially the Saranagati Gadya 
(oil " Renunciation "). 

The Philosophical works are 

i. The Sribhashya (affamr). This is a flowing 
and natural Commentary on the Vedanta Sutras of Bada- 
rayana. This beautiful work is, in the words of the un- 
biassed and distinguished German Scholar, Dr. Thibaut 
"The oldest Commentary extant next to Sankara ...... 

The intrinsic value of the " Sri-Bhashya ", moreover, is a 
very high one ; it strikes one throughout as a solid perform- 
ance, due to a writer of extensive learning and great 
power of argumentation, and in its polemic parts, directed 
against the Adwaita School of Thought represented by 
Sankara ; it not unfrequently deserves to be called bril- 
liant even. And, in addition to all this, it shows evident 
traces of being not the mere outcome of Ramanu ja's indi- 
vidual views, but of resting on an old and weighty tradi- 
tion. This latter point is clearly of the greatest impor- 

2. Vedantasara (Essence of Vedanta)-summary of Sri 

'3. Vedanta Dipa (Lamp of Vedanta)-an Elementary 
Treatise on the Vedanta sutras. 

4. Vedartha Sangraha (An Elementary Exposition of 
the Texts of the Vedas and the Upanishads) 

5. Gitabhashya (Commentary on the Bhagavadgita.) 
His attainments in Tamil Literature were not known 

to be very high. Excepting a few special interpretations 
ascribed to his name in the " Bhagavadvishayam " (Com- 
mentary on the Tiruvoymoli;, and one stray Tamil stanza 
amongst the invocatory verses to " Periya Tirnmoli '' of 
Tirumangai Alvar, he is not credited with any works in 

The great merit of his works is his noble and success- 
ful attempt at the reconciliation of the various apparently- 
contradictory Texts of the Vedas and Upanishads, relied 
upon by the various Schools of Thought as of supreme 
importance, and giving each of them equal authority in 
their philosophic interpretation. While the Adwaitic as 
well as the Dwaitic Theologian finds it necessary, with a 
view to maintain his special doclrine or school or thought, 
to treat certain Scriptural Texts as of PRIMARY (sRFTPra- 
dhana) importance, and certain others as OF SECONDARY 
?fK Gauna) CONSIDERATION, the Visistadwaitic Teacher 
Ramanuja regards no such artificial distinctions neces- 
sary in a Divine Work like the Vedas or Upanishads 
(sTCRfa) 5 and interprets each set of them as of equal au- 
thority and of necessary importance, and reconciles both 
the interpretations as being in conformity with the tradi- 
tional and hoary teachings of the Ancient Rishis and 
Aryan Teachers, for his wording on this point is 


Purvacharya Surakstii tarn = The interpreta- 
tion that has been carefully guarded or maintained and 
handed down to posterity by Ancient Teachers.) This 
fits in very well with his doctrine and teachings; as is 
occasionally pointed out by Dr, Thibaut in the course of 
his Translations of the Commentaries on the Vedanta 
Sutras. (Vide Sacred Books of the East Vols. XXXIV 
Introduction ; and XXXVIII). 

9. The Visistadwaita School of thought has been a 
recognised Vedantic doctrine held by Aryan Rishis and 
Teachers from time immemorial, as is evident from Rama- 
nuja's reference to a number of Acharyas or preceptors 
who maintained this doctrine from Bodhayana down- 
wards, and what Ramanuja did was only to give this 
system of thought an impetus to its spread by his lucid 
exposition of its salient points in a popular and easily 
understandable way. Its chief doctrines may be briefly 
summarised in the following terms : 

(i) The Eternal Essence, styled the Parabrahman, 
is the One Truth or Verity Infinite, Omnipresent, Omni- 
potent, Omniscient. To this Substance or Reality are 
attached, in an inseparable union, the two other verities 
CHIT (individual soul), and ACHiT(Prakriti). These three 
Veritiesico-exist in all conditions either in the *sp Sthula, 
or manifested form, or in the $*$t Sukshma> or unmanifest- 
ed form . They are generally expressed by the compound 
ISVARA = Spirit, Matter (Non-spirit) and Lord) ; and the 
relationship that subsists between the Lord and the other 
two verities is similar to that subsisting between substance 
and attributes, the sun and the ray of light ; Metal and its 
lustre &c). " v 


(2). The Lord (Paramatman) is endowed with all 
essential auspicious (WFTSFT) attributes, and is free from 
inauspicious (|s[3?r) ones. 

(3) THE; ARCHITECT AND ENGINEER, who wields this 
huge and complicated Universe, is a Being, sufficient unto 
Himself, and capable of its Creation, Preservation and 
Transformation. He is the SAVIOUR of its innates. He is 
styled " Narayana." 

(4) That the highest duty of man as a son of God, is 
to fear the Lord, the Great Father, ancl walk righteously, 
with an unceasing desire to reach the highest stage of 
existence, from which there will be no rev.ersipn to the 
physical or material planes. This last point establishes 
the grand principle of Visistadvaitic Faith, viz. The 
Fatherhood of God and the Brotherhood of man. 

As this system of Thought recognises " Vishnu '' or 
" Narayana '' as the Supreme Essence, this is known as 
" Vaishnava Visistadwaitism." 

There is another system, known sometimes as the 
11 Saiva Visistadwaita/ promulgated by "Nilakanta Siva- 
charya, a later Theologian than Ramanuja, in which the 
name of " Siva " is substituted in place of Vishnu as the 
Supreme Lord. In other respects the treatment of the 
subject appears to be the same. 

10. Now, let me briefly recount a few incidents in the 
Life of Ramanuja within the short space of time available 
for us, and see how far we can follow in his footsteps so as 
to deserve his discipleship. 

11. Our sage Ramanujacharyar the propounder of 
qualified Monism, was born in 1017 A.D. nearly nine hun- 
dred years ago in Sriperumbudur, 10 miles from Trivellore. 
Hi? father was Kesaya Asuri, a respectable Brahman, who 


had performed several Yagas, and his mother was known 
as Kantimati. His career was full of vicissitudes. In 
his time the Vaishnava faith was at a low ebb ; and ex- 
cept in certain Vaishnava .centres such as rirangam 
and Kanchi, it was not much in evidence. It is 
this circumstance probably that gave rise to an erro- 
neous impression, even to the Tamil scholar of 
high attainments I mean Dr. Caldwell, who wrote 
that Ramanujacharya propounded a new doctrine styled 
" Visistadvaita philosophy". Monier Williams, who 
had a personal knowledge of India, also deplore in 
his "Indian Wisdom " that he could not come in contact 
with Indian scholars who could well explain to him the 
noble tenets of this system of Philosophy. Even to this 
day the tenets of the Visistadvaita School of Thought 
are not so well known as the Advaita system of philo- 
sophy. The apathy and indifference of such of our 
Vaishnavafollowers as would command leisure and conve- 
nience to enlighten the public, is mainly responsible for 
this state of things. What is wanted is an organised effort 
to give publicity to the embedded truths of this system of 
philosophy, chiefly written in Tamil not to speak of the 
Voluminous writings found in Sanskrit written by the 
predecessors as well as by the successors of Sri Ramanuja. 
Those works which are written in Tamil are styled 
Prabandha Literature,* which is, in the words of the 

*In this direction, an attempt is being made since 1898, under my editor, 
ship, to publish the " NitySnusadhana series in three Languages Tamil, 
Telugu and Kannada, in separate Parts, for the benefit of all Sri Vaishnavas 
of Southern India and Burmah. The first Six Parts (Tiruppallandu, Tirup- 
palli Yeluchchi, Tiruppdvai, Amalanadipiran, Kanninun Siruttambu, and 
Tirumalai are now available, either, as one bound volume (linen), or as 
separate Parts. The Anglo- Vernacular editions contain not only the word- 
for-word meaning and paraphrase for each stanza in each language, but also 
a biography of the author, a Critical review of the work, and a Trnnslation 

late lamented Dewan Bahadur V. Krishnamacharyar 
of Madras " a perfect treasure-trove of pious and philo- 
sophic thoughts, and of household hints on moral 
conduct and purity of life." The same learned scholar 
adds :'' A faithful presentation of the contents of such 
sacred literature in English is therefore an effort of no 
ordinary interest to all who are concerned in the diffusion 
of such Literature all over Upper India as well as in 
Europe and America, where the Adwaitic utterances of 
Swami Vivekananda are the only things known. Our 
countrymen in the North admittedly understand little or 
nothing of the Visistadvaita philosophy, and the scienti- 
fic thoughts of South Indian authors (like Ramanuja and 
Vedanta Desikar), their logical conception of Religion 
and plan of Salvation, and our youths in the Tamil, 
Telugu and Kannada lands know even less than foreign- 
ers, and therefore need a stimulus to study the Hymns 
and I/yrics in praise of God, and the morality taught .by 
religious leaders in the Tamil region. 1 ' 

12. His personality and example \ 

That he was born a genius, and a person of extra- 
ordinary ability, is evident from the fact that, before he 
was five-and-twenty, he was able to make an impression 
upon all with whom he came in contact, that he was cut 
out for a noble mission. When he went from Kanchi, 
(Conjeevaram) one great seat of learning, to Srirangam, 
another great centre of Vaishnavaism, to confer with the 
great sage, Yamunacharya, who was on his death-bed, and 

of each stanza in English for the use of all those gentlemen who are conver- 
gent with the latter language ; whereas pure Vernacular editors issued sepa- 
rately, also contain similar facilities as well as explanatory footnotes in 
place of the English Translation for the benefit of all Sri Vaishnavas (ladies 
especially), who may be ignorant of English. 

who waited for him sufficiently: long, it was found too 
late; for on the day on which he reached the northern 
banks of the Cauvery overlooking Srirangam, he saw 
the rising streams of smoke emanating from the funeral 
pyre of the great Teacher with a large concourse of 
Vaishnava Brahmins and others around the spot. This 
upset all his plans, and he was greatly disappointed at 
this unfortunate crisis. He returned to Kanchi, and 
he repaired to Srirangam under the orders of the Al- 
mighty, which he duly ascertained from a consultation 
with the intimate devotees of God, (for in those golden 
days the temple servants were holy men of devotion and 
piety, bent upon contemplation and spiritual advance- 
ment ; and they did not resort to such holy places merely 
for the sake of paltry lucre, as is the case in the present 
degenerate days). 

13. To give you only one instance of his universal 
L,ove for mankind, the story of his initiation into the 
import of the sacred eight-syllabled Mantram called the 
" Ast&kshara " by one of his teachers may be mentioned: 

His five Teachers were : 
Sanskrit name. Tamil name. Remarks. 

1. Srisaila Purna ... Tirumali Nambi ... Initiator into the esoteric 

Mysteries of the Ramayana. 

2. Maha 1 Purna ... Periya Nambi ... First Teacher and Guide. 

3. Gosthi Purna ... Tirukkottiyur Nambi ... Initiator into the eight, sylla- 

bled Holy Mantra styled Astakshara. 

4. Kanchi Purna ... Tirukkatchi Nambi ... His Teacher and Friend. 

5. MSlSdhara ... TirumSlaiyandSn ... Initiator into the Mysteries 

of Tiruvoymoli (Prabandha Literature). 

He went to Tirukkottiyur (near Pudukota) from 
Srirangam not less than eighteen times to receive the due 
initiation into the Mysteries of the Holy Mantra; each time 


he went there, he got disappointed, for the sage Gosthi- 
purna would not part with it for any thing in the world. 
Under various pretexts he delayed the INITIATION, testing 
the recipient's patience, forbearance, and temper in many 
ways. On all occasions of disappointment, Ramanuja 
used to blame himself and his Karmic bonds ; and never 
reflected upon the unseemly conduct of his Guru, for 
such a procedure would be regarded as blasphemy. At 
last, at the intercession of the Almighty Himself, he is 
said to have divulged the special import of the MANTRA to 
Ramanuja under a- special solemn promise of not revealing 
it to any body else, under pain of suffering. eternal torments 
in the Hellish Regions for any undeserved divulgation 
of the Mysteries. Only the very next day after this Initia- 
tion, he made up his mind to proclaim such a holy mantra 
to mankind in general, from the top of a gopuram hard by, 
on the plea that, though he may become guilty of a 
serious sin by such a revelation he was sure of securing 
salvation for a number of deserving and persistent souls, 
and that his personal sacrifice in the interests of humanity 
was a worthy act. Such was his love of mankind, irres- 
pective of caste, creed, or colour. Hence the story that he 
encouraged the persecution of Jains and others of different 
persuation should -be regarded as a "Myth/ On the 
other hand, many joined his faith out of conviction. For 
want of time now, I cannot dwell upon the other incidents 
of his life, which are already briefly indicated. 

14. In all popular religions, which have largely in- 
fluenced mankind, there will generally be found two 
aspects (i) The Intellectual , which is the most philosophic, 
suitable to the highly-cultured development of the edu- 
cated classes, and (2) The F^MOTIONAI,, which strongly 
appeals" to the feelings and emotions of the masses. This 

lUi^'i ': .> r->2Qc r.UC'>;UJ- i '-;*! vU'J... 1 :.':iVJ >M I S iJ '.i ! ^\ ^ k ^ ; ' * --V 

latter aspect is prominently brought out in his temple-re- 


form, while in his philosophical writings such as the Com- 
mentaries on the so-called TOiiiM Prasthanatraya (Upa- 
nishads, Vedanta-sutras, and Gita), his polemical excel- 
lence and superiority of argumentation are patent even to 
the casual reader. Ie accordingly revived the ancient 
Vaishnava doctrine, in accordance with the Pancharathra 
Agama worship, the popular side of which represents the 
Almighty as occupying a Divine seat in Paradise with his 
Consort, surrounded by myriads of celestials, as immortal 
as Himself, who minister to Him in all manner of ways, 
and whose sole duty consists in chanting halleluiahs in 
praise of the Supreme Being, and in the perfect enjoy- 
ment of eternal bliss. This view is in conformity with 
that which has been held by the Venerable Alvars or 
Vaishnava Saints who preceded him, as well as by % the 
Holy Acharyas who followed him. The special belief 
which swayed these inspired Beings in this connection 
was that on this mundane universe, the same prototype 
of the paraphernalia and glory as characterised the illi- 
mitable and indescribable Celestial Regions which are 
no doubt beyond the comprehension of poor worldlings 
like us, of limited sense is to be seen in a miniature 
scale, in these holy spots, such as Srirangam and 
Tirupati; and in that view the construction of temples 
(Vaishnava) has been effected. Similarly the Saiva Temples 
of Chidambaram, Madura, have been built in accordance 
with the Agamas of the Saiva cult. For all along, from the 
early prehistoric times, two streams of religious thought 
the Vaishnava and the Saiva, have been flowing parallel 
to each other in the Indian soil prior to the advent of 
Buddhism, and have swayed their respective votaries who 
happened to be powerful sovereigns, and who, as such, 
commanded much influence ; and with the support and 
patronage of such potentates, the religious aspect of each 

stream of thought progressed, putting down its brother 
stream or streams for the time being; but the Indian 
Sovereigns, when left to themselves, were more inclined to 
tolerate the existence, continuance in their dominioiiSj of 
different systems of religion as suited the tastes and feel- 
ings their subjects, though they would naturally show ,a 
slight leaning towards their own faith by special favours or 
grants to such Institutions. But special persecutions, like 
the one to which our sage Ramanujacharyar was subject, 
was the exception rather than the rule. Toleration in 
religion and domestic concerns appears to have been a 
well-recognised cardinal Principle, of Hindu Faith, in 
accordance with the celebrated Teaching of Lord Sri 
Krishna in the Celestial Song, Bhagavadgita : 


" In whatever manner men worship Me, in the self-same 
manner do I accept them; whatever (righteous path) men 
follow, O Arjuna, that path leads them . to Me in every 

Whosoever wishes to worship, with entire devotion, 
whatsoever Form (of God), in that Form of God I render 
his devotion steady." 

It is this SPIRIT, it will be seen, that pervades the 
mind of the Indian community, and it is this SPIRIT of 
tipn and Universality of Faith that accounts for the exis- 
tence of so many varieties, or shades of belief, in Religion, 
or in different systems of Thought.. 

15. The ideal of a Vaishnava. The ideal to which a 

Vaishnava follower of Ramanuja is expected to reach is 

c ; 

1 8 

beautifully illustrated in the sacred writings. Once it 
happened that a Vaishnava devotee wished to know how 
he should conduct himself, and he approached his revered 
teacher for instruction in the matter. He referred him 
to Saint Anandalwar of Tirupati Hill for advice, to which 
he proceeded. This model teacher thereupon desired him 
to stay with him for sometime. One day while meals were 
to being served after worship to all, he was asked to take 
his place in a corner at a spot far below his rank to which 
he would be entitled by virtue of his learning and social 
status ; but he never got offended at the arrangement ; 
and he immediately sat at the place allotted to him. The 
next occasion he was pointed out a seat in the front ranks 
of Vaislmavas at the time of serving meals. He was in 
no way elated with joy at this procedure. Everyday he 
use to bathe, and have his clothes well cleaned, and kept 
neat and white ; and in his conduct he was exemplary. 

V -'..* * J 

being the same in thought, word, and deed. After 
noticing his behaviour . for sometime, the teacher at 
Tirupati exclaimed in terse Tamil thus " Kokkuppol iruk- 
kam ; Kolipol irukkam, uppuppol irukkam, ummaippol 

@u>. "A Vaishnava will 
be like, a swan (in his dress and neatness), he will belike a 
fowl (in picking up the valuable substance from amidst a 
heap of rubbish) ; he will be like salt (being of the same 
quality, externally or internally) ; and he will be like 
yourself," With these remarks, he wished him God- 
speed. He brought this news to his own teacher ; and great 
was the joy of all in the assembly, when they heard of this 
beautiful illustration. How much do we fall far short 
of this standard of a Vaishnava ! How altruistic, sympa- 
thetic, noble, and exemplary is the ideal! It is hoped that 
we shall, hereafter at least, regulate our lives so as to 

approach this ideal. It is clear from the given illustra- 
tion that a genuine Vaishnava should be a living example 
for purity of conduct, and should be a mirror of greatness, 
nobilily of character, like a swan. The comparison of a 
FOW in relation to his daily life 'is intended to illustrate 
his attitude towards the Shastras and standard works of 
authority amidst the vast store of religious Literature, 
He is expected to use his best discrimination to select 
the essentials from the non-essentials like the F(*wx, which 
is wont to take out the SUBSTANCE from amidst a heap 
of RUBBISH. The illustration that he should act the part 
of 'salt' in his dealings with the world, indicates his 
genuineness of character in relation to the external world, 
as well as to the internal, with a view to show that what 
was aimed at as the ideal was NO IMAGINARY BEING, but 
that living examples could be had in those days. The 
teacher points out to him that the person addressed was 
himself one of such examples, though rare to find. 

- Any ho\v, with such noble examples before us for our 
guidance, we should-not despair. This being a period 
of transition, we have occasions to notice many an 
instance of deviations from the righteous course, many a 
course of conduct undeserving of the former social dignity 
and status of the delinquents. 

16. The need of the hour. 

As a measure of practical reform along the line of 
least resistance, I would strongly advocate the entire union 
of the two important sections of Sri Vaishnava Brahmins 
which is partially carried out, and would earnestly appeal 
to them to sink their minor differences, and really follow 
the footsteps of Ramanujacharya, and approach the 
ideal already referred to. To the thoughtful and un- 
biassed Vaishuava follower of Saint Ramanuja, I 

would appeal for his consideration, and ask him to 
ponder over these so-called differences. In his learned 
Introduction to the Mysore Census Report of 1891, Mr. 
V. N. Narasimhaiengar incidentally refers to these eigh- 
teen differences between the Vadakalai and Teiikalai 
section of Sri Vaishnavas. They are mostly philosophi- 
cal, and two or three of them appear to be very puerile, 
and based upon mere sentiment.* With a spirit. of broad- 
minded and sympathetic toleration with which our edu- 
cated classes ought to be credited, (else our boasted educa- 
tion on wefctern lines is not worth much), we should not 
despair of effecting a compromise, and work as a united 
band in common brotherhood as Ramanuja's true 
followers, who are expected to be alike in word, thought, 
and deed LIKE COMMON SALT. To carry out this desirable 
reform, let Aryan Lodges be established in different cen- 
tres with the main object of effecting this compromise, so 
that all Ramanuja's followers may stand upon a common 
platform, and work out our salvation. To these institu- 
tions, Hostel arrangements can be attached, where the 
rising generation of Vaishnava students may be taken 
care of with regard to their spiritual advancement. 

The differences referred to are: 

(1) Whether Laxmi, the consort of Vishnu, is, co- 
omnipresent and coillimitable with Vishnu. 

(2) Whether Laksmi is only the mediatrix or the co- 
bestower of "Moksham" or final beatitude. 

(3) Whether there is any graduated Moksham attain- 
able by the good and blessed according to their res- 
pective multifarious merits. 

-* These differences are noted below f 01- easy reference. 


(4) Whet her -PRAPATTI, or unconditional surrender of 
the soul to God, should be performed once for all. , 

(5) Whether it (Prapatti) is open to all, or is pres- 
cribed only for tTiose/ specially prepared and apprenticed. 

(6) Whether tlie 'hid i visibly atomic human soul is 
entered into or permeated or not by the Omni present 
Creator. , 

(7) Whether God's mercy is exerted with or without 
cause*? r ;'' ''"' -.''''' ' .- .-', 

*. > 

(8) Whether the same (Divine mercy) means the over- 
looking-(doshadarsanam), or the enjoyment (dosha-bhogy- 
atvaiii) of the soul's delinquencies. 

(9) Whether works (karma) and knowledge (guana) 
are in themselves Salvation-giving, or only lead .to faith 
(Bhakti), by which final emancipation is attained. 

(10) Whether the good of other (unregenerate) castes 
should be tolerated according to their graduated social 
statuses, or should be venerated without reference to caste 

(ti) Whether Karma (works, ritual) or should not 
be bodily and wholly abandoned by those who have 
adopted prapatti. 

Besides these, there are minor differences regarding 
(i) Performance of " Sraddiia" on "Bkadasi" da>,or 
the next day (2) The bell should be rung with the left 
hand, or it should be done away with, during worship, 
(3) whether Hastodakam (purifying the hand with water 
after " Pranayamam ") should, or should not be re- 
sorted to). 

17. In conclusion, Ladies and gentlemen, I beg to 
thank you for the kind patience with which you listened 
to my poor performance, for I am fully conscious of my 

inability to do justice to the great " Hero " of today*s 
address. I am glad to find that signs are not wanting 
which indicated that several native scholars, imbued with 
Western scholarship and with an eye for historical re- 
search, will soon come into the field to explore the un- 
known regions of Visistadvaitic school of thought, Slid 
give the benefit of their researches to the world. 

iS. I am particularly glad to congratulate Mr. Go- 
palacharlu on the success that has attended his efforts to 
open a " Ladies" section for the delivery of lectures in 
Kanarese, in connection with the Sfinivasa Maridiram 
Library ; and may there be many more occasions of such 
gatherings, as years roll on, in commemoration of Birth- 
day festivities, anniversaries of our noble sage Sri Bhaga- 
van Ramaiiujacharya is my fervent prayer, the prayer of 
one of his humble and unworthy disciples and followers. 

Printed at the " Brahmavadin Press/' Madras, E. 


The Chairman then spoke as follows ; -. 

Ladies and gentlemen, In accordance with the time^ 
honoured custom and with the programme before me,; I 
rise to say a few words before the close of this evening's 
proceedings. But if you expect a speech from me, you 
must be prepared for a disappointment. When a few 
days ago Mr. A. Gopalacharlu asked me to preside at this 
important function, I begged hard to be excused ; for I 
felt that there was nothing in me adequate to the obliga* 
tion which the acceptance of this high honour involved. 
But he was inexorable. Under no circumstances would 
he spare me and take a refusal. I had accordingly to sub- 
mit, lest I should be considered hostile or indifferent to a 
movement which had my entire sympathy, and into which 
Mr. Gopalacharlu had thrown himself, heart arid soul, 
with phenomenal enthusiasm. (Hear, hear.) 

It was at first my intention to give you a brief 
summary of the address, when my turn came to speak. I 
accordingly took some notes when the address was in 
course of delivery. But I soon found that this was a 
hopeless task, and therefore abandoned it. I shall now 
content myself with making a few general remarks, as 
any attempt to do anything more might take me beyond 
my depth, and make me flounder. 

The Srinivasa Mandiram and Charties is an Institu- 
tion with many-sided activities, not the least important 
of which is a Free Library, which is a storehouse of 
useful knowledge, and in connection with which lectures 
are occasionally delivered on subjects, chiefly religious. 
The Anniversary of the propounder of the Visistadwaita 

" . . 24 .-.' -. , '.- ;'.- ; 

- v 

faith is also being celebrated in the Mandiram with much 
eclat. This is what has hitherto been done. But this 
year there is .a new departure, as evidenced by the present 
gathering. I congratulate Mr. Gopalacharlu on his 
happy idea, and on its successful accomplishment. I 
also congratulate Mr. M. B; Srinivasa lyengaf on his 
masterly handling of the subject. For a thorough grasp 
of the subject, clear marshalling of points, lucidity of 
exposition, and choiceness of diction, his address leaves 
nothing to be desired. Lastly, I congratulate the audi- 
ence on the able, interesting and instructive address to 
which they have had the privilege of listening. (Hear, 

Mr. Srinivasa lyengar has told us who Sri Ramanuja- 
charya was, and what he did for us. We have .in the 
life, teachings and work of this revered saint a glorious 
heritage- -moral, spiritual, arid intellectual a heritage, of 
which we have every reason to be proud. He was the 
chosen instrument of God, charged with a divine mission. , 
How well he fulfilled that mission has been fully brought 
home to you by Mr. Srinivasa lyengar's address. He 
travelled far and wide, preached indefatigably the gospel 
of Visistadwaita faith, propagated, consolidated, re-affirm- 
ed and re-established that faith, and placed it on a per- 
manent stable and intelligible basis. He was cosmopolitan 
in his views, as evidenced by the fact prominently mention- 
ed in the Address; he opened the portals of our temples to 
all people alike, irrespective of caste or creed. (Hear, hear). 
In his time there was unity among his followers. Schisms, 
however, have since arisen for some reason or other. The 
fact nevertheless remains, that notwithstanding sectarian 
differences, his followers continue to admire, adore, and 
venerate and worship him in every Vaishnava Temple. 
Such then was the remarkable personage who has formed 


the subject of to-night's Address. The life and doings of 
a deified Saint like him are well worth pur study. But to 
be able to appreciate him properly, you must understand; 
him aright. Such an understanding requires effort, which 
in its turn presupposes "will." If to-night's Address has 
stimulated such "will.'' and aroused a spirit of enquiry, 
Mr. Srinivasa lyengar's labours will have been amply 
repaid. (Hear, hear.) This inauguration ceremony is, as 
I have already said, the first of its kind here ; but. with 
a sponsor like Mr. Gapalacharlu, I am sure it will not be 
the last. I wish it continued success and ever-increasing- 
usefulness. It only remains for me, before resuming my, 
seat, to propose a hearty vote of thanks to our learned 
Lecturer, and I have no doubt that this will be carried 
with acclamation. (Continued applause.) 

Mr. Gopalacharlu then rose, and spoke in a few 
felicitous words, expressing his great obligation to the 
Lecturer; and, in doing so, he observed that Mr. M. B. 
Srinivasaiyengar, had to come all the way from Hassan 
for -the occasion. It was a matter of great inconveni- 
ence for him to come ; but he knew how great and deser- 
ving was the cause; and, as such, it was natural that 
all other considerations did not prevail on him. Mr. 
Gopalacharlu also paid a high tribute to Mr. C. Sri- 
nivasaiyengar, retired Councillor of the Mysore State, . .. 
who presided at this important function. Further, a 
happy reference was made to the President of the City 
Municipal Council, Bangalore, for the Municipal aid, 
rendered on the occasion. Janopakari Doddannah Chetty 
was also thanked for giving the use of his Hall for that day. 

Thus the Inauguration-day came to a close. 



Copies can he had of (1) Mr. A- Gopalacharlu, Founder 
and Manager, Srimvasa-Mandiram and Charities, 
Bangalore City- (2) The Manager, Granthasa la 

Buildings, Ramvilasa Street, Mysore City, and (3) 
The Manager, Brahmavadin Press, Madras, E.