Swami Shree Ramanandacharya

Hindi Text

Swami Shree Ramanandacharya, also referred to as Sant Ramanand or Swami Ramanand, was a Vaishnava sant, a Ramavat (devotee of Rama). He is considered to be the reviver of the Ramavat sect. His impact on the Ramavat sect was so much that the sect was named after him - the Ramanandi sect.He lived in the holy city of Varanasi, and was a pioneer of the Bhakti movement, as well as a social reformer in Northern India. He was known for communicating in vernacular Hindi, and accepting disciples of all castes. His 12 disciples are very famous-Anantananda, Bhavananda, Dhanna Bhagat, Kabir, Nabha, Naraharyanda, Pipa, Ravidas, Sain, Sukhanada, and Tulsidas (not the author of the Ramcharitmanas). Ramananda is generally considered to have been born around AD 1400,some opine that born in 1366 CE. although there is disagreement on the exact date and place of birth, due to the few texts regarding his early life. Birthplaces have been suggested as Triveni Sangam Allahabad, Prayaga. He was born to an upper-caste Brahmin family, and his parents were probably named Sushila and Punyasadan Sharma.He was spiritually inclined from his early childhood. Acharya Raghavnand who is also known as Dakshinayat Rishi (as he lived in Jagannath Puri which is always considered a southern city in hindu scriptures) included him in the Ramavat sect. Ramananda spent most of his life in Kashi(Banaras), where, as a mark of respect, people built a memorial that stands there to this day. When Ramananda was a child, he studied scriptures and showed great interest in spiritual thoughts. He received his early education in Kasi. A renowned philosopher and the prophet of the new Vaishnava religion, known for his downplaying the role of caste. Ramananda was particularly known for worshipping Lord Rama and his wife Goddess Sita. Ramanuja and Ramananda both believed that the human soul is distinct from the Supreme Spirit and retains its identity and separate consciousness. His footprints are visible at Srimath, Panchganga ghat, KASHI. Ramananda visited many places of pilgrimage, including Jagganath Puri, still has a memorial in his honour...... There is much controversy concerning the place and date of Saint Ramananda’s death due to the lack of information available about his life. Many historians believe that Ramananda died around AD 1470-80 yet there is no unanimity regarding the date. Ramananda’s name is read on the list of predecessors during the time of a religious dispute between Sikandar Lodi and his religious teacher, Sheik Taki. From this information Ramananda’s date of death can be fixed as late 15th century. However, there is a story about Ramananda which claims he escaped death altogether by entering a Samadhi stage, a yogic exercise, and remaining is laying as charanpaduka at Srimathin kashi.

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The institutional centrality of Ramananda has long been reflected in the 'guru parampara' that connects every Ramanandi through an unbroken succession of gurus with Ramanand himself and, eventually, Ramchandra. Ramananda taught his followers to pay special attention to Rama and his wife Sita. Because of political dangers looming on the horizon, Rama was a natural focus of worship due to his position as the faultless prince. As outlined in the famous Sanskrit epic, the Ramayana, Rama, while an incarnation of deity, was a successful warrior capable of defeating the terrible ten-headed demon-king of the Rakshasas. Ramananda defined his own studies with his dedication and self-surrender to the Supreme Soul. According to Saint Ramananda, Lord Rama was the Supreme Spirit and the human race was simply one large family. He was a skilled and impressive preacher who drew large crowds wherever he traveled, yet most of Ramananda’s poems and sayings were not preserved. The result is the lack of texts that modern scholars and historians can use to unearth the life of Ramananda. Ramananda was a learned man. Many of the books which are supposed to have been written by him such as Sri Vaishnava, Matanbuj Bhaskar, Sri Ramarachan Padhti are still available. Ramananda was an influential social reformer of Northern India.Ramananda played an important role in reviving a religious sect that provided a spiritual pathway to all people of all castes. He took a very radical approach to teaching and preaching through the inclusion of the poor and the people of low caste. After Ramananda’s death, the members of the Ramanandi sect led a social revolution in the Ganges basin by recruiting women and members of low castes into their sect.In addition, Saint Ramananda was the driving force of the popularization of the devotion of Lord Ram. In modern day society, the present Ramanandi school of religious teaching is the largest Vaishnava monastic order in North India today. It may also be the largest monastic order of a sectarian affiliation in the entire subcontinent of India. Monasteries of the Ramanandi sect are in many states such as Bengal, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Haryana, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh(Shri Hathiramji Mutt at Tirumala and Tirupati) the Nepal Valley, and the Nepalese Tarai. It is estimated that the Ramanandi sect competes with the Dasnami sect for the title of being the largest Hindu ascetic sect.


Posted By : Vinod Jindal on Dec 16, 2010


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