Tomorrow is the 1,000th anniversary of the appearance of Sripada Ramanujacarya, the principal acarya in the Sri, or Lakshmi, sampradaya. Srila Prabhupada wrote that “We find great shelter at the lotus feet of Sri Ramanujacarya because his lotus feet are the strongest fort to combat the Mayavadi philosophy.” (letter 22.11.1974) And in the early days of ISKCON in India, before we had Srila Prabhupada’s Bhagavad-gita As It Is translated into Hindi, he would refer people to read the Hindi edition of the Gita with Sri Ramanujacarya’s commentary.
Prabhupada often told a story about Sri Ramanujacarya’s merciful, compassionate nature. As he related it in Ahmedabad in 1972, “The servants of Krishna take all risk for Krishna’s sake. Just like Ramanujacarya. Sri Ramanujacarya’s spiritual master said, ‘My dear son, the mantra which I am giving, you chant silently and you will be delivered. It is so powerful. Don’t chant this mantra loudly so others can hear.’
“Ramanujacarya thought, ‘If this mantra is so powerful that if others hear it they’ll also be delivered, then why not?’ He immediately went to the market and began to chant the mantra. So his spiritual master became very angry, that ‘I told you not to chant loudly, so others may not hear.’ And Ramanujacarya replied, ‘My Lordship, I have done offense unto you. That’s all right. For this I am prepared to go to hell. But if this mantra is so powerful, I must speak it to everyone.’ ”
In this mood, following in the footsteps of Sripada Ramanujacarya, Srila Prabhupada broadcast the Hare Krishna maha-mantra and the teachings of the Bhagavad-gita everywhere, to everyone.
We pray and aspire to follow in their footsteps.