Who was Jagadguru Ramānandacharya? Whose Incarnation was he?
सीतानाथ समारम्भां रामानन्दार्य मध्यमाम्। अस्मदाचार्य पर्यन्तां वन्दे श्रीगुरू परम्पराम् ।।
First of all today is very auspicious day of the appearance of Hindu Dharmoddharak Yatiraj Ānand Bhāshyakār Śrīmad Jagādgurü Ramānandacharya on Makar Sankranti. So greetings to you on this very special day. 🙌😊
Jagadguru Śrī Rāmānandācārya was appeared on 1299, was one of the most important Bhakti-movement saints, and regarded as the reviver of the eternal Śrī-Sampradāya which has been the largest Vaishṇava-Sampradāya.
रामानन्दः स्वयं रामः प्रादुर्भूतो महीतले। कलौ लोके मुनिर्जातः सर्वजीवदयाकरः॥ १ तप्तकाञ्चनसंकाशो रामानन्दः स्वयं हरि: ।२ प्रियानुरागदिव्यत्वकृते रामः कृपानिधिः ।३ हेमवर्णस्तदंर्थतैर्विख्यातनश्चमहीतले रामानन्दः स्वयं रामः प्रादुर्भूतो हरि स्वयं । ४
षट्कोणं पूर्व मालिख्यतदग्रेवृतमा लिखेत् बहिरर्कदलं पद्ममग्रे पार्थिवमण्डलम् । ५
एवंमण्डलमालिख्यशोभ नंव्यक्तमुज्ज्वलम् अस्मिन् यन्त्रेमहापूजां कारयेद्विधि पूर्वकम् ।६ तन्मध्ये पूजयेद्देवं रामानन्दं स्वयं हरिम् ।
(Nārad Panchrātra Vaishvanar Samhitā)
Jagadguru Bhagavān Śrī Rāmānanda is the incarnation of the supreme personality of Godhead Bhagavān Śrī Rāma himself who appeared on this earth in the form of a great Muni (sage) out of his causeless mercy and compassion on all Jivas. Bhagavān Ramanand was the Supreme Lord Śrī Hari Himself, having bodily lustre of molten gold in this Kaliyuga.
In Prayāgarāj, a Kāṇyakubja Brāhmaṇa couple Śrī Puṇya-Sadan and his wife Śrīmatī Sushīlā-devī used to live, they were great devotees of Bhagavān Śrī Śrī SītāRāma. With a wish to get a child like Bhagavān Śrī Rāma himself, they did a great Tapasya with devotion. Being pleased from their devotion and Tapa, Bhagavān Śrī Rāma who is present in the core of the divine Sun appeared before them, and blessed them to have a child like him, and at the end come near him in the divine world. Thereafter, an Aṁsha (part) of Bhagavān Śrī Rāma entered in the womb of Śrīmatī Sushīlā-devī.
Lord Śrī Rāma gave instructions to everyone to take Incarnation but he comes directly to propagate Bhakti in the best way.
भविष्यंति कलौ घोरे जीवा हरिबहिर्मुखाः॥ रामाऽज्ञया हनूमान् वै मध्वाचार्यः प्रभाकरः॥ शंकरः शंकरः साक्षाद्वचासो नारायणः स्वयम्॥ शेषो रामानुजो रामो रामदत्तो भविष्यति॥
(Śrī SadāShīv Samhitā)
In the terrible Kali Yuga, all living beings will turn away from God. Then, by the command of Śrī Rāma, Hanumān will surely take the form of Madhvächarya, Shankara will be Shankaracharya himself and Vyasaji will be Narayana himself. Sheshji (Laxman Ji) will be Sri Ramanujaswami and Śrī Ramaji himself (Ramadatta) will be Śrīmad Ramānandacharya.
As he promised after sometime, in the auspicious Chitrā-Nakshatra in the Kumbh-lagna on the day of Brihaspati (the day of Guru, Guru-vār) on Māgh-Krishna-Saptamī in Vikram-Samvat 1356 in Teerth-rāj Prayāg, as like Ravi (sun) appears on the horizon to remove the darkness and to spread the rays of Bliss (Prema-Ānand of Rāma, therefore called Rāmānand), Bhagavān Śrī Rāma himself appeared in form of Bhagavād Śrī Rāmānand(ācārya), the most compassionate universal Ācārya in true sense who accepted everyone under the umbrella of Śrī Rāma-Bhakti,to present again the greatest bridge to Jivas for attaining the Parmārth (ultimate-fruit) in the form of Śrī Rāma-bhakti. That time Sanātan-dharma was on decline in the Āryāvart (Northern India) due to the ruthless attacks and forcible conversions by invaders; Invaders used to look down upon Hindus the followers of Sanātan Vaidic-dharma; therefore Bhagavān himself appeared as an Āchārya, Śrī Rāmānanda to protect Sanātan-Vaidic-dharma, Bhagavad Śrī Rāmānanda saved Sanātan-Vaidic-dharma by reinstalling Sarva-Guṇa-sampanna Bhagavān Śrī Rāma in the hearts of the common people.
Bhagavād Śrī Rāmānand appeared to distribute the nectar of Bhakti of Bhagavān Śrī Śrī SītāRāma to all without any discrimination on the basis of caste, gender, religion, etc. He is seen as the reviver of the eternal Śrī Rāmāvat Sampradāya or the Śrī Sampradāya, and the chief-proponent of Vishishṭādvaita-Vedānt. He followed the all Vedantā teachings of his previous acharya Maharishi Bodhayan / Purushöttamāchārya and wrote Ānand Bhāshya (Brahmā Sütrā commentry). Seeing his beautiful commentry his deciple Saket Niwasacharya (Tilacharya) from 1514–1642 wrote first commentry on his Ānand Bhāshya called as Surdrum. And to praise the work of his Ācharya, to explain that in few words he wrote Ramanand Vedantsaar in 109 Shlokā explaining the Vishistadwāit Philosophy of Śrīmad Rāmanandacharya.
प्रणम्य भाष्यकृद् रामानन्दं, गुरुं च राघवम्।
श्रीरामानन्दवेदान्तसारं वक्ष्ये यथामति ॥1॥
तत्त्वज्ञानं च मोक्षे हि मुमुक्षोर्हितकारकम् ।
'तद्विज्ञानर्था' मित्येतच्छ्रुतेरर्ज्यं च तद् गुरोः ।।2।।
प्रमाणप्रतिपन्नोऽर्थ बुधैस्तत्त्वं प्रकीर्त्तितम् ।
तत्त्वं च द्विविधं प्रोक्तं द्रव्याद्रव्यविभेदतः ॥3॥
तत्र द्रव्यमुपादानमद्रर्व्य तद्विलक्षणम्।
जडाजडविभेदाच्च द्रव्यं द्विधा मतं बुधैः ॥4॥
स्वयम्प्रकाशमजडं जडं तस्माद्विलक्षणम्।
प्रकृतिकालभेदाच्च जडं तत्र द्विधा मतम् ॥5॥…..
The second commentry on Ānand Bhāshya was of Parivaracharya Śrī Mangalächarya (1785–1898) called Surdrum Manjari.
Śrīmad Ramānandacharya also wrote commentry on Major Upnishads and on Śrīmad Bhagwat Gitā called as Upnishad Bhāshya and Gitā Bhāshya. In Gitā Ānand Bhāshya he remembered his Ācharyas,
श्रीरामं जनकात्मजामनिलजं वेधो वशिष्ठावृषी योगीशं च पराशरं श्रुतिविदं व्यासं जिता शुकम् ।
श्रीमन्तं पुरुषोत्तमं गुणनिधि गङ्गाधराद्यान्यतीन् श्रीमद्राघवदेशिकं च वरदं स्वाचार्यवर्य श्रये ॥
Purushöttamāchārya was Maharishi Bodhayan's name, he was the one who gave Vishistadwait Siddhant in his Bodhāyan Vrittï which Śrīmad Rāmånujācharya followed in his Bhāshya.
Maharishi Bodhayan was 9th acharya of Śrī Saṁpradāya whose vedic lineage starts from Śrī SītāRām.
Jagadguru Śrī Rāmānanda is the Acharya who given this universal slogan ‘सर्वे प्रपत्तेरधिकारिणो — Sarvē prapattēr-adhikāriṇō : all are eligible in Prapatti’. He was the most generous and compassionate Jagadguru (the guru of whole world) who distributed the nectar of Bhakti of Bhagavān Śrī Śrī SītāRāma to all without any discrimination. Bhagavad Rāmānand preached universal acceptance of one and all under the umbrella of the love and devotion of Bhagavān Śrī Śrī SītāRāma. He preached - ‘जाति-पांति पूछै नहिं कोई, हरिको भजै सो हरि का होई jāti-pāṃti pūchai nahiṃ kōī, harikō bhajai sō hari kā hōī - Let no one ask a devotee’s caste. If a person is devoted to Hari, he becomes Hari’s own.’ What he preached, he shown it by accepting even Malechha (Muslim Śrī Kabir), Shudra (Śrī Raidās, a cobbler), and women (Śrī Padmāvati and Śrī Sursuri ji) as his direct disciples... who all became renowned Gurus, and Bhakti-movement saints. Thus, Jagadgurutva (being the universal teacher) is fully culminated in Bhagavad Śrī Rāmānanda in every way.
जगमंगल आधार भक्ति दसधा के आगर॥ (श्रीभक्तमाल पद - ३६)
Bhagavad Śrī Rāmānanda was the first Jagadguru who started Hari-Naam Saṁkirtan movement, he distributed the name of Rāma and loving-devotion (dashadhā Premā-bhakti) in the lotus feet of Bhagavān Śrī Śrī SītāRāma to one and all without any discrimination.
He declared emphatically:-
सर्वे प्रपत्तेरधिकारिणो मताः शक्ता अशक्ता पदयोर्जगत्पतेः। अपेक्षते तत्र कुलं बलञ्च नो न चापि कालो न विशुद्धताऽपि वा॥
“O’ Śrī Rāma, the supreme master of all the worlds! Irrespective of one's age, gender, caste, social status, physique, time, purity etc., Everyone is rightfully eligible for Prapatti in [Sharanagati - to take refuge of] your lotus feet in my opinion ! Nothing is expected from Jivas for Prapatti.” (~ Śrī Vaishṇava Matābja Bhāskar, Jagadguru Bhagavān Śrī Rāmānanda)
Whether a Jiva is competent or incompetent, strong or weak, rich or poor, of higher or lower class, pure or impure, in all states he is rightfully eligible to take Sharanagati [refuge] of your lotus feet, O’ Śrī Rāma. Nothing is expected from Jivas for Prapatti [surrendering into lotus feet of Bhagavān Śrī Rāma].
Jagadguru Śrī Rāmānandācārya was very generous, and accepted disciples from all walks of life, irrespective of gender, caste, religion or social status. First time, He broke the orthodox traditions prevalent those days, and accepted even women (Padmāvati Ji, Sursuri Ji), Shudra (Raidas Ji who was a cobbler) as his disciples. Glory of Śrī Rāmānandācārya was so spread that even a King (Pipa ji) left his family-life & kingdom and surrendered to Bhagavad Śrī Rāmānand, and he became one of the 12 disciples of Jagagduru Ramanandacharya. The divinity of Bhagavad Rāmānanda attracted the hearts of 25 lacs (2.5 million) Muslims, they followed him to Ayodhyā where they came back again into their original faith of Sanātan-Vaidic-dharma after taking bath in Sarayu river, and thereafter they accepted Rāma-mantra and followed Vaishṇavism whole life. Which has been even mentioned in scriptures, it is also universally accepted that Śrī Rāmanandacharya initiated the process of purification of Hindus who had been forcibly converted to Islam by chanting Rama Mantra and sounding the conch in Kashi. In Bhavishya Purana 3/21, Swami Anantananda, a disciple of Sri Ramananda Swami, describes the re-purification of Hindus in Ayodhya after their conversion. So we can say Śrīmad Jagādgurü Ramānandacharya was the father of Ghar Vapasi who regardless any boundaries converted Muslims to Sanatan Dharma who were early converted forcely.
रामानन्दस्य शिष्यो वै चायोध्यायामुपागतः ।
कृत्वा विलोमं तं वैष्णवांस्तानकारयत्।।
भाले त्रिशूलचिह्नं व श्वेतरक्तं तदाभवत्।
कण्ठे च तुलसीमाला जिह्वा राममयी कृता ।।
म्लेछास्ते वैष्णवाश्चासन् रामानन्द प्रभावतः।
संयोगिनश्च ते ज्ञेया रामानन्दमते स्थिताः ॥
आर्याश्च वैष्णवा मुख्या अयोध्यायां बभूविरे ।
Bhavishya Purān 3/21
Following our ancestors we can also propagate vaisnavism to let a normal human live a Bhagwat Life that will lead him to the Supreme Personality. Acharya Charan has always gave mantra on unity of Hindus so now it's our turn to unite Akhand Hindu samajh in one thread.
Please Chant SitaRam SitaRam SitaRam
Hail to Priya Pritam Sarkar ❤️
Hail to Ānand Bhāshyakār Śrīmad Jagādgurü Ramānandacharya 🚩