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Regarding the vaishnava philosopher rAmAnuja and his life, we find some stories,

We find that he had conflicting views with his wife in some areas. But were they so severe enough to abandon his wife?

On what grounds did he actually abandon his wife? (as per his biography)

Is it a righteous deed as per dharma?

What were the other reasons (if any) ?

  • Caste bias is such a vague umbrella term for wide variety of rules and regulations. Some may not believe in untouchability but believe in only intra-caste marriage. Most modern Hindus do not believe they need to follow their caste professions but believe they need to marry intra-caste. Did Ramanujacharya support belief of bathing and washing house in case of contact with sudra in vedanta sutra or did he just support absence of Veda study authority for sudras? These two are independent beliefs. – Aks Nov 16 '17 at 6:57
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    I think there is a punishment for shudras for listening or uttering vedic riks @aks – Rakesh Joshi Nov 16 '17 at 14:43
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    I am saying it is possible for Ramanuja and others to believe in caste bias when it comes to some issues and not believe in it regards to others. For example Ramanuja may believe shudras are forbidden to hear or say Vedas while believing it is not forbidden for dwijas to eat with shudras or to entertain them at one's house. Does his vedanta sutra bhashya support prohibition on dwijas and shudras eating together or on entering each other's house? – Aks Nov 16 '17 at 15:27
  • @Aks so.whats new in this ? Evejryone believes to some extent some believe more and some believe less. I dont think it was a meaningful.comment btw .. – Rakesh Joshi Nov 16 '17 at 15:29
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    @SonaParivraj initially i posted that way but edited my question because i was looking for authentic info from.his. biography. – Rakesh Joshi Nov 17 '17 at 15:05
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Ramanujacharya abandoned his wife because she was obstructing his religious practices and spiritual progress.

Ramanujacharya's wife contradicted him multiple times and she created obstacles in religious progress. There were majorly three incidents which made him to do that. Most important one was his wife having a quarrel with his Acharya's wife which made his Acharya leave him suddenly.

On a certain morning, two Sri Vaishnavas came to Ramanujacharya, and did him the service of anointing oil. They asked for some food as they were hungry. He asked his wife if they had some food cooked overnight. She said "No, not so much of a grain of it."; but Ramanujacharya suspected her sincerity bidding her to another business, entered into the kitchen. He found food hidden away. He called his wife and angrily spoke to her thus: "Thou art capable of this, when two hungry souls are waiting at the door, thou liest? Is there worse meanness than, in this wise, refusing food to those who come in dire need? And a lie added to the meanness! Oh!sin!"

On other day, Ramanujacharya was out of morning oblations. His wife and his Guru's wife met at a well for drawing water. An altercation ensued between them as the purity of the pots they held. Purna was observing this from a distance and as soon as his wife returned home, he said to his wife that it's wise to pack up immediately and left to Sri Rangam, after soundlt chastising his wife for unpleasant occurance, of which he held her to be the cause. Ramanujacharya returned home and as usual went to visit his Guru but they were not there. He asked people about the place of sudden absence. They replied "Sire, your lady and your Guru's lady had a quarrel near the well over a pot. The Guru took his wife to task for giving occasion for this, and thinking that if he stayed longer under your roof, her conduct might again give rise to unpleasantness, he considered it expedient to leave that place forthwith." Ramanujacharya was white with rage on hearing this. On recovering, addresses his wife thus :- "Thrice art thou sinner, base woman! My Guru Kachipurna came and took his food under my roof in my absence, and thou lookest the very leaf from which he ate as unholy and polluting. This was thy first guilt. Hungry souls came craving for food. Thou didst deny it and thou didst lie. This was thy second guilt. Now thou hadst had the andacity to pick a most unseemly quarrel with my venerable teacher’s consort. This is thy third and crowning crime. No more art thou fit to remain with rue. Thou art a worldly woman, blind to spiritual interests. Take all this money, for that ii thy meet share. That is the stuff that well suits a shrew and a scold like thee.’ Well do the SAstras say :—“ Woman is at the bottom of all crime.” They further declare :—“ When house-keeping suits not., enter the monastery” for that. is the true house where strangers and guests find a ready welcome; but thou hast defiled my roof by thy unworthy conduct offensive to my sense of propriety and decency. It is meet therefore that thou shouldst return to where thou camest from.’ So saying he swiftly despatched her to her parents’ abode.

From The life of Ramanujacharya : the exponent of the Visishtadvaita philosophy by Govindacharya, Alkondaville

Is it righteous deed per dharma?

As I discuss in this answer of mine, the dharma shastras allow to abandon one's wife under some circumstances. One of them is lack of harmony.

From Manu Smriti,

saṃvatsaraṃ pratīkṣeta dviṣantīṃ yoṣitaṃ patiḥ |
ūrdhvaṃ saṃvatsarāt tvenāṃ dāyaṃ hṛtvā na saṃvaset || 77 ||

For one year the husband shall bear with a hating wife; after the year he shall wrest her property and cease to co-habit with her. [Manu Smriti 9.77]

From Narada Smriti,

Let him not dignify with his love a barren wife, nor one who only bears daughters^ nor one who deserves blame, nor one who is constantly at variance with him; if he does, he partakes of her faults. [Narada Smriti 12.94]

From Parāśaramādhava, the commentary of Madhava (Vidyaranya) on Parashara smriti whose source is said to be in in Brahma Purana,

If the wife is one that puts obstacles in the way of the performance of religious acts, or is unchaste, or is very much diseased,—the husband shall abandon her, for the; preservation of his righteousness;—if she is harsh of speech, he shall not abandon her, but supersede her; nor shall he give up having intercourse with her.

So, what Ramanujacharya did was righteous according to Dharma.

  • How old was he when he took sanyasa – Rakesh Joshi Nov 18 '17 at 19:46
  • "For one year the husband shall bear..." - so did he wait at least an year? “Woman is at the bottom of all crime.” - I don't think a lot of folks will agree with that :P – sv. Nov 18 '17 at 23:08
  • Did you edit tags as well @sv. – Rakesh Joshi Nov 19 '17 at 2:37
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    @sv. Yeah. It was more than one year. Some sources say, he took Sannyasa around 30 years whereas he was married at 17. It was a Garuda Purana verse which he said. There is a verse like that which refers some women with bad qualities as bottom. The book gives foot notes too. You may check the book and footnotes. – Sarvabhouma Nov 19 '17 at 2:50
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    @RakeshJoshi Is leaving wife directly Vedanta? I don't know how. It's not how the questions are tagged. The question is mainly around Ramanuja and not about the Vedanta. You have removed the details and edited the question which made Vedanta and Vishishtadvaita unnecessary. As the question is about a historical event, I felt tag Vedanta is not needed. – Sarvabhouma Nov 19 '17 at 3:04

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