India has cradled several systems of philosophy. The tenets of all religions are tolerated, and even a man who denigrates God is allowed to have his say. Among the believers of God, there is plenty of scope to pursue paths of their choice.
Siva, vishnu, Muruga and other forms are worshipped and different shades of opinion prevail and this is the great spiritual heritages of this country. When confusion prevailed among people on account of the misrepresentation of the scriptures, Sankara gave hopes of revival of the Vedic thoughts but his teachings cold reach only a few at the elitist level because of the then circumstances.
Ramanuja appeared on the Indian scene about ten centuries ago and taught the simple philosophy of devotion ti God. he denounced religious practices on basis of of caste and embraced all sections into his fold. He introduced reforms in temple administration and advocated the path of surrender to reach God.
“There is no difference between man and man in the midst of f the Divine, but all the distinctions as high and low are due to His will; in this word of diversity and multiplicity, man should develop his mind to see oneness in all human beings and this can be achieved only by love of the heart and compassion to others,” was one of his messages. God’s mercy, grace and love are there for all beings. To obtain His grace, one should approach Him through a spiritual teacher. Temples are treasures left by our forbears where His grace can descend. His religion also lays a great deal of emphasis on humanistic ethics. Among the three means of reaching God, devotion is the principal one, action and Knowledge its auxiliaries.
Ramanuja’s philosophy explains action as that performed disinterestedly, without aiming at rewards. Knowledge consists in the correct understanding of the difference between the soul and the body. A man who follows the path of knowledge is firmly established within himself and is not disturbed by outward happenings. Devotion is saturated with love and “Surrender” is total giving to Lord. The act of completely flinging oneself on God’s compassion is called ‘Surrender’ or Prapatti.
Referring to some of the important events in Ramanuja’s life, Swami Asutoshananda in a lecture said, even while studying under an illustrious master, he could not agree with same of the latte’s interpretations of Vedic passages. His tender feelings to humanity was so extreme that he taught the masses, the significance of a powerful ‘Mantra’ normally kept secret.