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I just came back from a trip to India, and one of the temples I visited was the famous Ranganatha temple in Sri Rangam. The temple has a shrine called the Udaiyavar Sannidhi, which contains the preserved body of the Sri Vaishnava Acharya Ramanujacharya. But the Udaiyavar Sannidhi contains one more statue, depicting Varadaraja Perumal, the Vishnu deity of the Kanchipuram Varadaraja temple. This was Ramanujacharya's Aradhana Devata, the statue he would worship on a daily basis wherever he went.

I found some interesting information about this statue from the Yatiraja Vaibhavam, a poem by Ramanujacharya's shishya Vaduga Nambi summarizing Ramanujacharya's life. Here is what verse 89 of the Yatiraja Vaibhavam says:

Receiving Hayagriva [from Saraswati] after prostration and offering worship daily to Him and (the idol of) Varadaraja whom he obtained from his family, [Ramanujacharya] defeated (the followers of) other systems and again reached (on his return journey) Venkatadri.

And here is what verse 112 says:

May [Ramanujacharya] the lord of ascetics remain victorious, a storehouse of glory acquired through Yamunarya, and Mahapurna, Goshtipurna, Srishailapurna, Ranga, and Maladhara who were great through his grace - he who gave to his spiritual son (the idols of) Varada worshiped (by his ancestors) from ancient times and Hayagriva got by him from [Saraswati] the goddess of learning and who became the ornament of the three worlds.

The Hayagriva statue was given to Ramanujacharya by the goddess Saraswati when she blessed his Sri Bhashya. But my question is, what is the origin of Ramanujacharya's Varadaraja Perumal statue? It says his ancestors worshiped it since ancient times, but where did they get it?

Ramanujacharya belonged to Harita Gotra, and from the time of Harita himself, Ramanujacharya's ancestors lived in Sri Perumbudur and worshiped the Vishnu deity of the Adi Keshava Perumal temple there. So then why did their Aradhana Devata depict Varadaraja Perumal of Kanchipuram?

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    "which contains the preserved body of the Sri Vaishnava Acharya Ramanujacharya." @keshav srinivasan - is there ANY reference to this in a written document either by an acharya or as part of temple records? – S K Apr 7 '18 at 13:44
  • Who is the propagator of harita gotra? The same of harita smriti ? – Rakesh Joshi Apr 7 '18 at 14:05

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