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Re: Need advice and clarification.

From: Mani Varadarajan (
Date: Tue Apr 11 2000 - 15:28:50 PDT

Dear Sri Krishnamachari and Murali,

Yes, it is true that Sri Ramanuja is extremely selective 
in his sources.  Excepting a few taniyans that are ascribed
to him (not universally acknowledged as his by scholars),
he wrote entirely in Sanskrit.  Therefore he does not refer
directly to or quote Divya Prabandham anywhere. Sri Kanchi
P.B. Annangaracharya Swami jokingly says in a lecture
I have on tape, "Emberumaanaar never uttered a single word
in Tamil" (vay thiRandhu emberumaanaar thamizhilE onRum

Sri Ramanuja also never quotes from Srimad Bhagavatam, 
preferring Sri Vishnu Purana throughout. He praises
Sri Vishnu Purana to the sky in Vedarthasangraha as 
"being accepted in the north, south, east, and west
as a most authoritative Purana".  Among his successors,
a few do quote Srimad Bhagavatam, but only sparingly.
Parasara Bhattar, his (very) junior contemporary, uses
it here and there in his commentary on Sri Vishnu
Sahasranaama Stotra. Desika quotes here and there from
it. In the Divya Prabandha vyAkhyAnams, to my knowledge
Sri Vishnu Purana is quoted much more often, with a 
smattering of Bhagavatam here and there. By and large, 
the tradition prefers Sri Vishnu Purana when it comes 
to matters of 'tattva'.

In fact, Parasara Bhattar compares the authority of
Sri Vishnu Sahasranamam to the authority of Sri Vishnu
Purana, and not the Bhagavatam.

In Ramanuja's 'nitya grantha', there is a reference
to recitation of things described only as 'Sruti Sukha',
or pleasing to the ear.  Universally this is understood
as a reference to Divya Prabandham.

In fact, he concludes his description of daily worship
with a recommendation that one should recite 'those prayers
that are pleasing to the ear' (Sruti sukhaiH stotrair
abhishTUya).  This is understood to mean the 'saaRRumuRai'
that we now recite.

And as Murali writes, it is clear that Ramanuja lectured
on and constantly meditated on the Divya Prabandham, as 
we have a large number of his 'nirvAhams' or interpretations
recorded in the 'eedu' commentary on Tiruvaymoli and other
works.  Pillan's 'ArAyirappadi' reads like it could have
been written by Ramanuja himself, since Pillan uses 
Ramanuja's characteristic Sanskrit expressions constantly,
and also restricts himself to the same Sanskrit sources 
that Ramanuja did, i.e., refraining from quoting Srimad
Bhagavatam, instead preferring Sri Ramayana, Bharata,
Sri Vishnu Purana, and a select few other smritis.

mani ramanuja dasan

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