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Ramanuja is obviously known to be the proponent of Vishistadvaita philosophy.

Now, I would like to know the other Vishistadvaita philosophers before and after Ramanuja.

Also, their most important works on this Darshan.

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Ramanujacharya did spread Vishistadvaita philosophy across India. Also, he wrote commentaries to Brahma sutras based on Vishistadvaita. Before Ramanujacharya, acharyas like Nathamuni and Yamunacharya have authored several important works on Vishistadvaita. Some of the works of Yamunacharya are

  1. Agama pramanya, proving the validity of pancharatra agama
  2. Sidditrayam, describing the relation between soul, god and universe from Vishishtadvatia point of view
  3. Maha purusha nirnayam, showing that Lord Narayana along with His consort Goddess Lakshmi is the ultimate reality.

Post Ramanujacharya, great scholars like Parasara Bhattar, Pillai Lokacharya and Vedanta Desika have authored important works on Vishistadvaita. Works of Pillai Lokacharya can be found here and that of Vedanta Desika can be found here.

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Broadly Ramanuja's school of Vedanta identifies two traditions:

  1. a tradition of personal education including spritual initiation, and
  2. a tradition of Vedantic exegesis.

The most important pre-Ramanujan Acharyas in the tradition of personal education are Nammazhvar, Nathamuni and Yamunacharya. Thir works are well known:

  • Nathamuni's works are lost but some fragments are available in quotations and citations.
  • Yamunacharya's works are partially available; the Siddhitrayam and the AgamaPramanyam being his most important works that are extant.
  • Nammazhvar's works which are in Tamil are completely available with a flourishing tradition of post-Ramanujan commentaries. The correspondence between the Upanishadic verses and those of Nammazhvar are striking and it is most fitting that his verses are called Tamil Upanishads or Tamil Vedas.

As to the tradition of Vedantic exegesis, Sri Ramanuja says the following in the beginning of the Sribhashya commentary on the Brahmasutras:

bhagavadbodhāyanakṛtāṃ vistīrṇāṃ brahmasūtravṛttiṃ pūrvācāryās sañcikṣipuḥ। tanmatānusāreṇa sūtrākṣarāṇi vyākhyāsyante।

The venerable Bodhayana has written an elaborate commentary on the Brahmasutras. This was abridged by the earlier acharyas. In accordance to these views, we expound the meaning of the Sutras.

In the Sribhashya, the VedarthaSangraha and other texts (both in the Vishishtadvaita tradition and other traditions), we find references to some of these earlier Acharyas. From the works of Ramanuja we enumerate their names:

  • Bodhayana the author of the Brahmasutravritti
  • Upavarsha (Vedanta Desika in the Tattvatika suggests that this is the same as Bodhayana)
  • Brahmanandin aka Tanka the author of the Vakya
  • Dramida the author of a Bhashya
  • Kuhadeva (sometimes spelled Guhadeva)
  • Bhāruci
  • Kapardi

The views of the above Acharyas are considered orthodox in the Ramanujan tradition.

Additionally there are references to the following pre-Ramanujan vedantins whose views are at least partially* if not completely accepted in the Ramanujan tradition

  • Devasvamin (who further abridged Upavarsha's abridged commentary on Bodhayana's Brahmasutravritti)
  • An unamed author of the Kritakoti commentary on the Brahmasutras (referred in the Vaijayanti)
  • There is a commentator known as Atreya who is identified by Nrisimhashramin with Brahmanandin but this contradicts the word-of-mouth accounts preserved in the Srivaishnava tradition that identifies Brahmanandin to be of Vadhula Gotra.
  • Srivatsanka Misra - a vedantin referred to by Yamuna in the Atmasiddhi.

* I mention 'partially' because Vedanta Desika in the Tattvatika says that Sri Ramanuja did not consider some of these pUrvAchAryAs to be fully representative of the genuine orthodox tradition which can be inferred from His statement that He follows the teachings of Bodhayana and not the summaries of the other purvAchAryas.

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  • I found this answer very informative. I would also like to know from where can i buy the unabridged Sri Bhasya in sanskrit to english. – Balaji Aug 7 at 7:15
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    The unabridged Sribhashya in translation will be very difficult to read mostly because the translations are not satisfactory (at least for someone who wishes to learn themselves). The translation of Rangacharya/VaradarajaAiyangar can be read here: archive.org/details/… The translation of Thibaut can be read here: sacred-texts.com/hin/sbe48/index.htm – hashable Aug 7 at 8:28
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    For a summarized translation, you can read archive.org/details/… And if you want detailed (Tamil) exposition, you can check out the online class here (videos on YouTube): ramanuja.org/sri/SribhashyaClass/SribhashyaClass – hashable Aug 7 at 8:30

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