Prof. Madabhushi Sridhar,
Former Central Information Commissioner &
Dean, School of Law Mahindra University, Hyderabad
Thousand years ago, one person broke the laws of secrecy and revealed sacred mantras from top of the Gopuram to all, rebelled against caste based hierarchical anarchy and respected non-Brahmin personalities as Gurus and Shishyas, and opened the doors of temples for dalits and tribals. He is Ramanuja, a highly revered Jagadacharya, the teacher for the universe, one of three recognized paths of realization – a) Advaitha- Mono Theist of Adi Shankaracharya, b) VishishtaAdvaita, refined dualistic by Ramanuja, and c) Dwaita, dualistic by Madhvacharya.
Ayurveda says complete life of a human is 120 years. Born on 4th April 1017, Ramanuja (1017-1137AD) had poornayus. He believed in and practiced the principle of sharing the knowledge honoured the right to information/right to knowledge of all equally, by openly explaining the secretly guarded important mantra and its inner meanings to facilitate the liberation of all from mundane bondages.
MaryadaPurushottam Ram is the Avtar of Narayana through the lineage of Raghu Vamshi King Dasaratha and Kousalya through divine Putra Kameshthi Yajna. It was considered that Putra Kameshthi was performed by Keshavacharya and Kantimati in Sri Perumbudur, near Chenna in 1016, for a son and obtained Lakshmana, the brother (Anuj) of Rama. Considered incarnation of Adi Shesha, who can answer many with his thousands of heads at a time, Ramanuja was also considered to have symbolic qualities of Sudarshana (Disc), Shankh (conch), Gadha (mace), Sharnga (Bow) and Khadga (sword) to win the wars in intellectual debates.
Ramanuja was born in Smartha(BC caste), but grew as Vaishnava and became the pioneer of Vishishtadvaithaphilosophy, qualified non-dualism, now called as Ramanuja School. Sri Rangam, Kanchi, Tirumala and Melkote were his focused working places through which his preaching, practices, and conventions are being observed even today. During eleventh century the Muslim invaders were at their peak destroying temples, throwing away the principle deities and stealing away the UtsavaVigrahas, besides forcing the conversions. Without wielding any weapon, he rebuilt the temples, re-consecrated the sanctum sanctorum, and collected back the idols from Nawabs and Muslim emperors in south and north. His real weapons were humane compassion, simple language, communication skills and effective reasoning. After Adi Shankaracharya (788 to 820AD), he is another great intellectual warrior who waged successful wars on ignorance and rival religions, with the force of nonviolence and knowledge.
Ghajni Mohammad (971-1030) was wrongly quoted as example of perseverance for his repeated invasions to destroy Hindu kingdom. The right model is Ramanuja, because he made 18 attempts to convince Acharya Goshthi Poorna to impart him the Asthakshari –Tirumanthra, (of eight syllables, =Om NamoNaryaanaaya) and Dwaya(dual) mantra (SrimannaarayanaCharanouSharanamPrapadyeSrimatheRaamaanujayanamaha) and their inner meanings. Every time Acharya of Tirukosthiyur in Tamil Nadu used to return Ramanuja saying “Not now, come next”. He was testing his patience and ego-less-submissive-humbleness. He used to walk around 50 kilometers from Sri Rangam to that village and back disappointed. At his 18th attempt, Guru finally melted and mercifully granted the knowledge with a strong condition that he should not reveal to all and sundry without testing the abilities and qualities.
యోగో జ్ఞానం తథా సాంఖ్యం విద్యాశిల్పాది కర్మచ
వేదాశ్శాస్త్రాణి విజ్ఞానం ఏతత్సర్వం జనార్దనాత్
None owns Knowledge except Janaardana
Sage Veda Vyasa says: “The Yoga, Jnaana, Saamkya, sciences, arts, works, Vedas, scriptures, spiritual illumination — all these have originated from Janaardana”. (Vishnu Sahasra Nama Stotram) This means that entire knowledge belongs to Him and His universe. Nobody has monopoly over it.
Kofi Annan says: “Knowledge is power. Information is liberating. Education is the premise of progress, in every society, in every family”.
Bede Griffiths says: “God had brought me to my knees and made me acknowledge my own nothingness, and out of that knowledge I had been reborn. I was no longer the centre of my life and therefore I could see God in everything”.