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Who was Bhagavan Ramanuja?
Sri Ramanuja (1017-1137) is one the most important figures in Indian religious history. He is one of the three great classical philosophers of Vedanta and is worshipped by the Sri Vaishnava tradition as their foremost acharya. He was a mystic, a philosopher, a reformer, and a social organizer. He was a charismatic yet humble leader who swayed others to his point of view not merely through argument but also by the sheer force of his personality.
Through his actions and written works he rejuvenated ancient Vedic teachings that in his day had been shrouded in confusion. He taught that an auspicious, blissful, worshipful Being was the source, substratum, and sustenance of the Universe; that loving contemplation and service of this Being was the heart and goal of spiritual practice; that the world around us was real, and an extension of God; that daily life can and should be integrated into worship; and that all of this was clearly the way of the Veda. His reach was broad and through his life he sought to address every human being. We see his influence in every aspect of Hindu religious life today. Read more on Sri Ramanuja....
About the Speaker:
Mani Varadarajan is probably best known as the originator of the "bhakti-list" an Internet discussion group for the philosophy of Sri Ramanuja. This list functioned for 10 years and its archives of this list are a popular source of information about Ramanuja and the Sri Vaishnava tradition.
He has been fascinated by the life and works of Bhagavad Ramanuja ever since he read a brief biography of him in his family's Encyclopedia Britannica at the age of 15. He first explored the works of the saint as a student at UC Berkeley. He spent hours lost in the library shelves, reading all he could about Bhagavad Ramanuja, his contemporaries, predecessors, and successors. On subsequent visits to India he was fortunate to have sevā of many Perumāḻs of the great temples of the Sri Vaishnava tradition. There he also had chance to imagine life as it was in the day of the great saint.
Mani is a disciple of Sri Sri Rangapriya Swami, whose guidance has proven invaluable in helping him mature spiritually.
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