Ramanuja, a great social genius

CHENNAI, MAY 8. Apart from questioning whether God exists at all, some go to the extent of even seeking evidence for certain outstanding and marvellous events which had happened in the lives of God's messengers when they were engaged in their Divine mission. The scriptural texts as well as the chronicles left by scholars should be taken as authentic. Besides such testimony there were incorporeal voices through which such luminaries were asked to carry out certain tasks. Sometimes, God, in the form of sanctified idols in temples, used to convey, directly or through the priests, His approval of the proposals of these guides. On some occasions God's accord was sanctioned through dreams.

Ramanuja, besides establishing an alternative system of philosophy (than Adwaita), revealed himself as a great social reformer. In his supreme sympathy for people who desired to reach the goal of salvation, he showed the path of surrender. He has thus been acclaimed as a great religious social genius. Many are the sacrifices he had made to promote devotion.

One of the extraordinary noble deeds that Ramanuja performed was to lead the so-called low caste men into the temples. In the stupendous work, he was involved in spreading the gospel of God, which included hard journeys to distant places, he obtained assistance from these men of ordinary level. During his tour in Mysore, Ramanuja, in appreciation of these lay-men's service, gave them the title of ``Thirukkulattar'' (or blessed descendants) and allowed them the privilege of entering the holy temples.

In a lecture, Sri R. Kannan Swamigal said on completion of his stay in Melkote, Ramanuja sought the permission of the Lord to return to Srirangam. There was no answer for a long time. When the saint repeated his request: ``Lord Ranganatha's command was that I should stay in Srirangam forever. But owing to unexpected calamities, I was forced to leave. Now should I not go back?'' The Lord's voice came ``Be it so, then''.

Another breath-taking incident was when he paid a visit to the house of a devotee whose wife, finding that there were no food articles in the house (her husband had gone seeking alms) was even prepared to ``accommodate'' a merchant who was making overtures to her, and obtained abundance of commodities. After food Ramanuja rested there.The couple adored the saint for his compassion. They later called on the merchant with the holy water and ``Prasada'' given to them by Ramanuja. Partaking it he felt a revolution within him. His attitude changed and he prostrated before her. He was later led to Ramanuja, who took him as a disciple.