CHENNAI: Scriptures regard the Acharya (teacher/guru), along with the mother and the father, as one of the most venerable individuals. The tradition of revering the preceptor is the nucleus around which the learning system has thrived to successfully impart valuable knowledge through the ages. Guru Bhakti has thus become a way of life in the spiritual path of an aspirant.

Sri M. V. Anantapadmanbhachariar pointed out in a discourse that just as rain bearing clouds absorb the salt water from the ocean and distribute it as pure rainwater for the benefit of people, great preceptors such as Ramanuja, believed to be an incarnation of Adisesha, have been able to sift the essence of the recondite Sastras from the maze of theories and impart it to their disciples in the most palatable form. For being able to recite the Vedas without knowing their true import leaves one in a state of being a mere dead weight, similar to a box that is unaware of the valuables inside it. Moreover the preceptor practises the tenets with sincerity thereby setting a personal example for his disciples.

Ramanuja's advent heralded the auspicious dawn of a preceptor who rose to become a great Acharya in the Vaishnavite tradition. His exposition of spiritual truths in the system of Visishtadvaita has had far reaching influence in shaping the spiritual and philosophical outlook of succeeding generations. He displayed extraordinary intelligence during his Gurukula training under the renowned Advaita teacher Yadavacharya who was struck with this boy's sharp intellect and devout nature.

Once when Yadavacharya explained a particular Sutra (describing the Lord's eyes) with a simile that was ungainly and inappropriate to the context, Ramanuja, by nature tender hearted and deeply devoted to the Lord, broke into tears. When the preceptor wanted to know the reason for the disciple's sorrow, Ramanuja had to explain the cause and later give his interpretation. Since the teacher thought the boy to be a threat to the teachings of Sankara, he plotted to kill him. Later it came to pass that Yadavacharya became a disciple of Ramanuja.