A commemorative postage stamp on the 1000th Birth Anniversary of Ramanuja, an Indian theologian, philosopher and exponent of Sri Vaishnavism (Vishishtadvaita Vedanta) tradition within Hinduism :
Issued by India
Issued on May 1, 2017
Issued for : Department of Posts is pleased to release a Commemorative Postage Stamp on Ramanujacharya on the occasion of his 1000th birth anniversary.
Stamp/FDC/Brochure/Cancellation Cachet : Sh. Subir Das
Type : Stamp, Mint Condition
Colour : Multi Colour
Denomination : 2500 Paise
Stamps Printed : 301590
Printing Process : Wet Offset
Printer : Security Printing Press, Hyderabad
Name : Ilaiyalvar
Born on 1017 CE at Sriperumbudur, Tamil Nadu, India
Died on 1137 CE at Sri Rangam, Tamil Nadu, India
- Ramanujacharya occupies a central place in India’s spiritual and bhakti tradition. He was born in Sriperumbudur near modern-day Chennai in 1017 A.D. He revitalized Indian philosophy and popular religion. For over a thousand years, he has been the spiritual guide for millions, who have looked upon him as a guide and philosopher. From his life and teachings, waves upon waves of inspirations have flowed, influencing many religious movements under the broad umbrella of the Vaishnava dispensation.
- Ramanujacharya was revolutionary who did not shy away in pursuing creative departures from the beaten track for the greater good of mankind. He is credited for having formalized the tenets of the Visistadvaita Vedanta and having laid the foundations for a sound system of philosophy envisioned by his predecessors Nathamuni and Yamunacharya. His ‘Sri Bhashya’ – an elaborate gloss on Badarayana’s Brahma Sutras, has been celebrated by independent observers like George Thibault as accurately reflective of the original author’s intentions and is considered a hallmark in exegesis and theological hermeneutics. But what sets him apart, his scholastic contributions notwithstanding, is his transcending caste and social barriers, and professing an all-encompassing attitude to spirituality that is true to the ethos of the Vedic religion. His limitless compassion led to breaking the tradition that expounded the teachings of the scriptures to only one person at a time after examining a student’s candidacy. By enjoying seventy four disciples to propagate the dispensation of his faith, Ramanujacharya ensured that the esoteric teachings of the Vedas reached everyone interested in pursuing them. He lived his mission by reaching out to tribals and graduating them progressively from their animist faiths to one anchored in the soundness of the Vedas.
- Ramanujacharya was cosmopolitan in his views and opened up the portals of temples to all people alike irrespective of caste and creed. A majority of the changes he brought about to temple administration are in vogue even today in the temple of Srirangam, Tiruchirapalli, where the downtrodden class render uninterrupted service to Lord Ranganatha round the year. The Srivaishnavite hagiographical accounts are replete with incidents related to how Ramanujacharya professed and practised a liberal attitude towards people who were marginalized in the name of caste. Pillai Urangavilli Dasa, one of Ramanuja’s principal disciples, and a member of a marginalized caste, was held in such high esteem by Ramanujacharya. He placed the devotees of the Lord on a supreme pedestal to those well-versed in the Vedas, opining that physical birth into a class should not come in the way of serving the true devotees of the Lord.
- Ramanujacharya espoused that service to humanity, and not birth into a higher caste, elevates one to the spiritual abode of perennial happiness. His devotion to the feet of Parankusa, a poet-saint belonging to a backward caste, was so immense that it fetched him the name ‘Parankusa-pada-bhakta’ – one who is devoted to the feet of Parankusa. The fact that Ramanujacharya drew extensively from the compositions of Parankusa’s Tiruvaimoli to support his theological conclusions is evidence that he was inclined to learning from everyone, cutting across all impositions and socially-drawn boundaries. Ramanuja’s social engineering assumes special significance considering the cultural milieu and political climate under which he rung in these changes. He stood firm in his resolve to fulfil his mission despite his life being put under threat by those offended by his methods.
- According to scholar-philosophers, Ramanujacharya’s appearance in this world is akin to the rising sun, to dispel the darkness of ignorance and to make the lotus of knowledge, virtue and righteousness bloom in this world.
- Text : Based on the material received from proponent.
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