Sri Ramanuja Charyulu: India is a land of unique cultures and number of religions. Cultural and religious diversity has been prevailing in India from many centuries. The Southern Part Of India, with many beautiful temples ia the birthplace of many religious gurus.
One such holy guru is Sri Ramanujacharya, an Indian philosopher, social reformer and one of the most prominent exponent of the Sri Vaishnavism tradition within Hinduism. Sri Vaishnavism is s tradition where the Goddess Lakshmi and Lord Vishnu are revered in the highest order. For the Sri Vaishnavas, the depiction of Vedas also varies from others where the entire Vedas are dedicated to the worship of Lord Vishnu alone.
Ramanujacharya was the foundation of Sri Vaishnavism in the Hindu religion, initiated by another scholar, Periyanambi also called as Mahapurna. It was also believed that Ramanujacharya renounced his married life and became a priest at Varadaraja Perumal Temple at Kanchipuram, to continue his holy teachings about attaining Moksha with the help of Lord Vishnu.
Ramanuja revolted against the discrimination in the caste system and helped the helpless and untouchables, by encouraging them to achieve Spiritual enlightenment in the worship of Lord Vishnu. His liberal views led to many changes in the organization of many holy rituals in the temple of Sri Rangam. His main motto was to give access to even the lower class people in the society, to the concept of Sri Vaishnavism and the involvement of non Brahmin people in the Vaishnava worship.
He was the person responsible in reforming the Sri Ranganathaswamy temple in Srirangam and organizing a network for Sri Vishnu-Lakshmi worship. The theories and philosophies created by him , influenced many poet saints devoted to Bhakti Movement.
Many attempts were made on the life of Ramanujacharya, considering his widespread name and fame all over the nation, but the divine power he possessed and his pure devotion to Lord Vishnu always protected him and turned even enemies into disciples.
A separate shrine has been dedicated to Sri Ramanujacharya in Sri Ranganathaswamy temple also known as Srirangam temple. The temple is one of the most eminent Vaishnava temples and is rich in legend, history and heritage.
Sri RamanujaCharya spent 80 of his 120 years at Srirangam and was a chief priest for twenty years in the temple. He made the temple his headquarters and his Samadhi is within the premises of the temple.
When it was actually time for Ramanujacharya to leave the world, he informed his disciples about it. They requested him to live for few more days and he granted them three days. The disciples found three days to be very less, so a deity was made and he transferred all the power into it.
The most amazing and miraculous thing that happened was the mummification of Sriramanujacharya’s body. The mummification happened in its own original state without the use of any chemical preservatives as in the case of Egyptian Mummies. The body of the holy priest is not wrapped in cloths, but is kept in normal sitting position without any flamboyance and is open to all for viewing. Twice a year, a coat of camphor mixed with Kumkum (Vermillion) which produces an orange tint on the preserved body, and this tradition is being followed from the past 884 years.
The most surprising thing is that, the mummified body is sad to be the actual physical body of Sri Ramanujacharya and has solidified just as it is. It is called ” Thaanaana Thirumeni “, meaning self same body. A closer view of the mummified body gives a clear visibility of the eyes and even the nails. No abhishekam is performed, but as mentioned earlier, twice a year, it is washed with the natural herbs of Kumkum and Camphor.
This is the only occurrence in the history, where an actual human body is kept inside a Hindu temple for so many years.
This clearly proves the diving being, that he is, Sri Ramanujacharya is indeed a legendary priest in the history of Hinduism.