Ramanandacharya was a fourteenth century saint, one of the greatest devotees of Sri Rama, Vishishtadvaitin and the founder of the Ramanandi Sampradaya (a sub-sect in Sri Vaishnavism). Kabir, the famous poet-cum-saint who promoted communal harmony, is said to have been one of His disciples. Now my question is whether or not Ramanandacharya is considered an incarnation by His followers?


Ramanandis consider Ramananda to be an incarnation of Rama, whom they consider supreme. Here is what the Ramanandi Acharya Nabhadasa says in his Bhaktamala:

The magnificence of the approach (devotion) of the Śrī-sect of Jagadguru Bhagavad Śrī Rāmānandāchārya towards Bhagavan Shri Rama appeared on this earth as a pure nectar in the form of Mantra-Raaj (Rama-mantra Parampara started by Bhagavati Sri Sita Ji). In that parampara, Hariyananda appeared after Devanandacharya, and his disciple was Sri Vaishnavacharya Raghavananda who lived in Kashi (Varanasi) and had great reverence for all devotees of Bhagavan. Then, Bhagavad Śrī Rāmānandāchārya appeared in front of Sri Raghavananda with a divine form of ascetic for the welfare of world. Devotion (of Bhagavan Shri Rama) was again strenghthened in Kaliyuga by Bhagavad Śrī Rāmānandāchārya among all four Varnas (Brahmin, Kshatriya, Vaishya, Shudra), and four Ashrama-s (Brahmcharya, Grihasta, Vanprasth, Sannyasa).

Bhagavad Śrī Rāmānandāchārya, who is Bhagavān Śrī Rāma himself appeared in Kaliyuga, built such a great bridge which became the means for the deliverance of Jivas, to bring them across the ocean of mundane existence, just as in the past (in the Treta-yuga) Bhagavan Raghunath had constructed a bridge over the mighty ocean, and thus, innumerable Jivas were delivered and brought to supreme abode by him, (and innumerable Jivas are still being liberated by following Shri Ramanand-Padhati, Sri-sect). He proclaimed everyone has right in Prapatti, and Bhakti of Shri Rama. The twelve Mahabhagavats appeared as his twelve disciples, they are : (1) Śrī Anantānand, (2) Śrī Kabīr, (3) Śrī Sukhānand, (4) Śrī Surasurānand, (5) Śrī Padmāvatī , (6) Śrī Naraharyānand, (7) Śrī Pīpā (8) Śrī Bhāvānand (9) Śrī Raidās (10) Śrī Dhanā (11) Śrī Sēna and (12) Śrī Surasurī (Wife of Śrī Surasurānanda). His disciples, and the disciples of his disciples were illustrious and greatly renowned in the world. They championed (became the abode of) the Dashadha-Bhakti (the ten (10) forms of Bhakti, the 10th form is Prema-Bhakti, Rasika-Bhakti), and thus, they became the cause of the happiness and welfare of this world ! Bhagavad Śrī Rāmānandāchārya remained present in this world for a long time, and whoever surrendered to him, He brought everyone in the supreme abode.

I discuss this Parampara and how it traces its origins to the Sri Vaishnava sect here. By the way, the Ramanandi sect is not a sub-sect of the Sri Vaishnava sect, but it's part of the Sri Sampradayam of Vaishnavism, which also contains the Sri Vaishnava sect.

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