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Ramanujacharya – The pioneer of Vishistha Advait Vedanta

Niranjan Bhombe

Prachi Athavale

13 June 2023

"Disclaimer: Considering the controversies between the Vedanta philosophies of various philosophers...."

.....we bring to the notice of readers of The Bharatiyan that we are trying to create awareness about Advaita Vedanta and its spiritual importance in fast pacing world which is the path to peaceful and healthy living in Bharatiya culture. We also want you to know that the sources taken from the internet can be the reason for any discrepancies. Kindly note that the writer has just tried decoding the depth of the real life of scholars who are greatly influential in ways that are difficult to discover in limited formats.

Ramanujacharya is one of the most prominent philosophers of the 11th and 12th centuries. He has made significant contributions to the Advaita Vedanta philosophies and spiritually diverged the classical Advaita Vedanta theories of non-dualism that existed before him.

Before beginning the blog on one of the essential theories established in Hinduism it is important to know the importance of Advaita Vedanta and other prominent and established philosophers discussed in the previous blogs by us.

Here are links to the blogs previously posted on The Bharatiyan for you to read and understand how the Advaita Vedanta philosophy gained importance in Bharatiya culture, history, and tradition, and how important it is to know what exactly is Advaita Vedanta and how the spiritual journey is incomplete without understanding the various philosophies established by the spiritual leaders and philosophers in The Bharat.

Here is a short list of blogs about the Vedanta philosophies and schools which you can refer to before entering the world of theories that provided counterarguments to the earlier established theories.

1. Adi Shankaracharya (Classical Advaita Vedanta).

Adi Shankaracharya: First Shankaracharya (

2. Gargi Vachaknavi (introduction to the term Brahman and the concept of spirituality).

Gargi Vachaknavi – The first female Hindu scholar of the Vedic period (

3. Maitreyi (taking ahead the theories which were initiated with Gargi Vachaknavi's arguments from the Era).

Maitreyi – The Philosopher of Vedic Bharat (

4. Shri Nrisimha Saraswati (Introduction to the concept of Guru and spiritual leader).

Shri Narasimha Saraswati : The second Avatar of Lord Dattaterya (

5. Sri Ramkrishna Paramhans (The philosopher and spiritual leader who was a pure devotee and spiritually awakened soul).

Unfolding the mystical life story of Ramakrishna Paramhans (

6. Sri Ma Sarada Devi (Devotee, philosopher, and humanitarian).

Maa Sarada Devi : The life story of a devoted wife (

Now let us understand the most diverse philosophy and know more about one of the most brilliant philosophers of all times who competitively argued and challenged his Guru and also Adi Shankaracharya's classical Advaita Vedanta school of thought.

Ramanujacharya was born in the 11th century and was an exponent of Vaishnavism. He was a very influential philosopher whose philosophies were of major importance in the Bhakti movement.

The work of Ramanujacharya and his life has inspired many for years. As we know recently his statue has been installed in Bharat and it is one of the most important steps taken by the Bharatiya government.

The life span of Ramanujacharya was approximately around 120 years and along with their long life, he also had a dynamic career as a philosopher. Ramanujacharya was born to a Brahmin family in the Sriperumbudur which was part of the Chola Empire.

Ramanujacharya began his journey of understanding Vedantic philosophies with the help of his first Guru Yadava Prakasa. He initially learned all the lessons of classical Advaita as Yadava Prakasa was a strong follower of Sri Adi Shankaracharya. Later Ramanujacharya started providing counterarguments to the classical Advaita Vedanta and the philosophy that everything in the world is non-existent and that everything in this world except Brahman is unreal.

The base of Ramanujacharya's theory is based on devotion to Lord Krishna and his theory emphasizes devotion as the ultimate path to salvation. It was his theories which pioneered the concept which led to the Bhakti movement and has influenced the generations for years.

Now lets us understand how Ramanujacharya paved the path to devotion and established the concepts of Bhakti and the importance of lord Krishna in Hinduism.

Starting with early age Ramanujacharya who was a brilliant scholar argued with his immediate teacher/Guru Yadava Prakasa and couldn't resort to the theory that the entire world is non-existent and that only Brahman is real. Later Ramanujacharya chose to follow the path of Yamunacharya and Nathmuni.

The basic philosophy of Ramanujacharya was about devotion to Lord Krishna and he considered Lord Krishna as the whole world while Brahman according to him was hardly a part of him.

Later Ramanujacharya also propagated his teachings throughout the country with the help of his students and institutions (Math). He established the philosophy of Vishishtha Advaita Vedanta meaning qualified non-dualism which incorporated specific facts from Adi Shankaracharya’s Advaita Vedanta and had certain improvisations which consisted of acceptance of the existence of personal gods.

Ramanujacharya who was born with talent and brilliance reflected the same through his arguments with Yadava Prakasa from a very early age. It was his intelligence that even made his Guru Yadava Prakasa insecure about him leading to attempts on the life of Ramanujacharya who later left for Kanchi after knowing the plans of Yadava Prakasa through Ramanuja’s cousin's brother.

It is said that Yadava Pakasa developed extreme ego and insecurity after the fame of Ramanuja took over and went on to places. It was then that Ramanujacharya went to Kanchi and met many amazing philosophers like Kanchipurna, Mahapurna, and his later Guru who couldn’t meet him personally. After leaving Sriperumbudur Ramanuja went to Kanchi and was about to meet Yamunacharya who had established Sri Vaishanvism and had learnt about Ramanujacharya. Yamunacharya and Ramanujacharya were about to meet but just a day before they could meet Yamuncharya was no more in this world.

This led to great disappointment for Ramanujacharya but he didn’t stop. He further went to Srirangam on the guidance of Kanchipurna and Mahapurna and also got himself initiated into Vaishnavism with the help of Panch Samskara.

The reason why Ramanujacharya was one of the prominent philosophers who became an important part of the Bhakti movement was not just because of Vaishnavism but because he reformed the concept of Bhakti by making it the same for all castes. He made it clear that the caste didn’t matter and also incorporated all castes into the temples and worship.

Ramanuja who was famous for his theory about Bhakti towards Lord Vishnu was also a follower of monism but he believed that the way to achieve spiritual liberation is through Bakti Yog and not just entirely Dnyan Yog. He strongly established and took forward Vaishnavism throughout the country and his philosophy of Vishistha Advait is also one of the 3 important theories other than Advait Vedant and Madhavacharya’s Dvait (dualism).

Ramanujacharya who was long-lived had strongly criticized the concept of ignorance (Avidya), illusion (Maya), and Nirguna Brahman. He said that if nothing is existent then even Maya and Avidya cannot exist. He also strongly believed in Saguna Brahman and said that despite the fact that God exists it is also important to note that oneness of the souls also exists. He believed that God is Omnipresent and is Kaal while Brahman i.e. Ultimate reality and Soul are related to God. The soul cannot experience Ultimate reality without the help of Bhakti Yog thus justifying the theory of liberation being incomplete with just knowledge or Dnyan Yog.

Ramanujacharya thus spread knowledge, and philosophy and gave a new approach to the world which was already filled with the theory of Adi Shankaracharya and paved a path to one of the major Yog in the Hindu religion without which understanding and following the path of devotion is just impossible. Thus, acknowledging the work of the greatest philosophers like him is another way of creating awareness about the wide scope of Vedanta philosophy in Hindu literature, culture, and religion present since years in Bharat.

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