Acharya bhakti

The guru-sishya parampara is a powerful link to keep the

generations of posterity connected to the spiritual

tradition. The sishya tries to imbibe the teachings of the

acharya by assiduous study and dedicated striving.

But it is seen that inexplicable are the ways in which

devotion, yearning to get initiated, and transmission of

jnana, etc, take root in the consciousness of disciples,

pointed out Sri M. V. Anantapadmanabhachariar in a

discourse. Though Alavandar and Ramanuja did not meet,

the Visishtadvaita philosophy that Alavandar had

consolidated found in Ramanuja a most capable sishya

who could establish it firmly on a strong footing.

Likewise, though separated from Ramanuja by a gap of

250 years, Vedanta Desika is steeped in Ramanuja bhakti

and he attributes all his knowledge and devotion to this

acharya. His reverence and admiration for Ramanuja,

whom he often refers to as Yatiraja, finds excellent

expression in his work Yatiraja Saptati. It is the tribute of a

disciple to his acharya, by whom he was inspired and

initiated into the vast ocean of Vaishnava tradition. As if to

make up for not having the privilege of direct discipleship

with Ramanuja, he creates a situation in his play Sankalpa

Suryodhaya, in which he takes up the role of a disciple to

the illustrious Ramanuja.

In the hymn Gopala Vimsati, he sings in ecstasy about

the efulgent form of Krishna. He seems to wonder how

this captivating form of the Lord got indelibly etched in his

heart. He attributes this undying love for the Lord as the

grace of the Ramanuja’s upadesa, which has not only

inculcated sastra jnana but also bhakti which gives mukti.

Sastra knowledge fails in its purpose if it does not generate

true devotion and God experience