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Ramdev and Ramanuja - A Study In Contrast

Discussion in 'Varalotti Rengasamy's Short & Serial Stories' started by varalotti, Jun 24, 2011.

  1. varalotti

    varalotti IL Hall of Fame

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    Baba Ramdev, the multi-millionaire Yoga Master is in the news both for the right as well as the wrong reasons.

    To be on fast to end corruption… that sounds quite noble and some even say that it is quite new. Even Gandhi fasted only to end British Rule and not to end corruption.

    I tell you ladies, the idea is at least a thousand years old.

    While seeing the holy Baba in his now famous yogic posture I can’t help thinking about another fast by another holy man, no the holiest man in the spiritual history of India, Saint Ramanujacharya.

    I have already written about that in my blog Rasam, Salt, Rumi and Ramanuja http://www.indusladies.com/forums/blogs/varalotti/rasam-salt-rumi-and-ramanuja-2553/

    I can’t help comparing Ramdev and Ramanuja.

    There is no need to talk about Ramdev and his fast. If you just type his name in Google you’ll get close to 18.3 million results.

    Ramanuja’s story is not well known.

    Ramanuja took charge of the administration of the Srirengam Temple and brought out many sweeping reforms. Many vested interests who were eating out of the temple money found Ramanuja a hindrance to their life of luxury.

    They gave 150 gold coins to a priest (a huge sum in those days) to poison Ramanuja. At the time of this story Ramanuja had taken sanyas and had to beg for his daily food from seven houses.

    On that fateful day Ramanuja stood before the house of the traitor-priest. Rice mixed with a deadly poison was ready for him. The lady of the house was carrying it to the door.

    Now this lady was the Saint’s ardent devotee. She emptied the food into Ramanuja’s bowl, looked at him pointedly with tearful eyes and then went around him three times and finally prostrated at his feet.

    She then ran away to her house sobbing.

    Ramanuja got the clue. One should not cry while serving food to a sanyasi. One should not prostrate while serving food.

    He now knew the food was poisoned. He threw it away and then declared a fast. Not against the traitor-priest but against corruption.

    Had he half-winked his eyes the traitor would have been burnt alive and those who instigated the crime would have met with even worse consequences.

    History says the fasting continued for 20 days. During the 20 days he did not lie on the beach with an air conditioner nearby. He continued his work in the temple.

    Other than the few drops of water he took as a prasadam after the daily pooja in the temple he did not eat or drink anything.
    700 Jeeyars (religious heads) and about 12000 people assembled.

    The whole Empire shook.

    Somebody ran to Thirukoshtiyur to bring Ramanuja’s teacher Thirukkoshtiyur Nambi as Ramanuja would not listen to anybody else.

    Nambi started running towards Srirengam. It was March-April and Srirengam was experiencing one of its hottest summers.

    As soon as Ramanuja heard that his Guru was coming he ran up to the Southern Banks of Cauvery to receive him.

    There was no water in the river. When Ramanuja saw his Guru he fell down before him. Remember it was peak summer.

    The river bed was like a massive oven with the sand being roasted therein.

    According to tradition the disciple should not get up from his prostration state unless his Master asks him to do so. Nambi’s face was as hard as the stone.

    Boils started to appear in Ramanuja’s body.

    Deprived of food and water, the holiest man on earth, was suffering from pain and heat.

    Ramanuja was more than sixty years old at that time.

    No one dared to speak against Nambi who was a religious authority.

    A puny man called Kidambi Achan rose against Nambi.

    “How dare you do this to our Ramanujar? What kind of cruel pleasure do you derive in placing a flower garland in an oven? Do you have a heart by any chance?”

    Defying authority he lifted Ramanuja. The saint was in a semi-conscious state. He leaned on Kidambi’s shoulders.

    People thought Nambi was going to pounce upon him. Instead Nambi hugged Kidambi Achan.

    “I’ve been waiting for you, my son. You are the right man to take care of him. Don’t let Ramanuja beg anymore. You will have to cook food for him.

    "I’ll make arrangements for rice and provisions. Let’s not take any more risks with this good man’s life.”

    That statement not only ended the fast but also ended the corruption in the Srirengam Temple.

    Now contrast that with the fast by Baba Ramdev.

    Ramdev is worth more than a thousand crores. Ramanuja lived the life of a pauper. He did not even own a house. Many times he had to beg for his food.

    Ramdev was given IV fluids to sustain his life. Ramanuja on the other hand had to do with just a few drops of holy water from the temple.

    When Police was about to act Ramdev dressed himself as a lady and escaped. Ramanuja stood firm till the end.

    Ramdev promptly convened a press conference and condemned the Police, the Government and everybody. Till the end Ramanuja did not even reveal the name of the person who wanted to kill him.

    Ramdev does not have a role in administration of the country. He is outside it and is fighting against corruption. Ramanuja had already started a war against corruption by being the Administrator himself and his fasting was only part of the war.

    You need to pay Rs. 50000 if you want front row seat in Ramdev’s group. With Ramanuja all seats are free. You need not even go to him. Just think of him. And he’ll fill your mind with love.

    Ramdev is all about big money, media popularity and costly political stunts. Ramanuja is all about love. Nothing but love.

    I beg of you ladies whenever you read anything about Ramdev utter these lines

    Ramanujasya charanau saranam prapathye


    I take refuge in the feet of Ramanuja.

    May he protect us from corrupt rulers and Baba Ramdevs.

    Note: This blog is inspired by my revered teacher Dr.Arangarajan who spoke on Baba Ramdev and Bhagawath Ramanuja at the Triplicane Temple in Chennai recently. The entire credit for this comparison goes to him.
     
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  2. Malar2301

    Malar2301 Gold IL'ite

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    Dear Sridhar Uncle,

    I'm not aware of Ramanujar before and really happy to know his life. And very recently came to know about Baba Ramdev.

    Nice comparison uncle. Initially people who became the yogis and gurus have become so because of the true love and faith they had in god. So they were in the path of justice and bold as they do not have anything wrong on their part.

    Later, now many of the people started using this devine thing also as a money making initiative. Very painful...

    I do not deny that still we have good and kind hearted people...but they are not much known to the external world...those people do not need publicity. Still they continue to do what they were been doing since years...


    Thanks for this eye opener and I have learnt some thing new today. To be frank I learn so many things that was there in our olden days but faded away as the years passed from you blog uncle...thanks!
     
  3. SARASVADIVU

    SARASVADIVU Silver IL'ite

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    Dear Sir,

    A beautiful comparison between the contemporary Yogic Guru ..and the greatest Saints of all times..only you can conjure up something like this sir!

    My reverence for 'Ethirajar' has grown into leaps and bounds after reading about his selfless sacrifices soaked in Divine Love.

    Thanks for enhancing the divinity of the already auspicious Friday!

    Regards & love,

    Saras
     
  4. rgsrinivasan

    rgsrinivasan IL Hall of Fame

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    That was touching Sridhar. Any day, it is great to read about the life of saints. And you are at your best when writing about them. Thanks. -rgs
     
  5. vjbunny

    vjbunny IL Hall of Fame

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    Hi Sir,
    I didnt knew the story of Ramanuja which is very apt for today......
    Nowadays its very hard to find one like Ramanuja....but is it not better that someone influential does show the black side of our leaders? I do agree fully Ramdev himself may not be fully clean but what he took up was good yes black money need to be brought back how many have raised voice against this we salaried class are taxed right left and centre in name of this development and that (Only God knows many of which are not needded) while many rich and influential are left to park their money outside....
     
  6. kelly1966

    kelly1966 Platinum IL'ite

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    Shridhar.. politics.. power.. corruptions..... they all are like siamese triplets!!!!... all this farce and publicity by Ramdev is pathetic...
    your info about Ramanuja is very enlightening... what has the country come to after producing such greats...
    sad
    kerman
     
  7. sreemanavaneeth

    sreemanavaneeth Gold IL'ite

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    Hello Sir,

    [JUSTIFY]
    [JUSTIFY]Wow""" Very eye opening topic to be known to everybody and a good comparison.Olden days saints were narrow minded and gave much importance to the Guru Bhakthi and always closer GOD eyes. As you have mentioned if we want to know about Baba Ramdev we will get allt he details from Google.If anyone in the world would like to do good thing it should be done with most faith and not with too much of publicity.It always proove their dedication totally to eradicate the bad evils.Nice article on Friday. Waiting to hear from you more sir.[/JUSTIFY] :bowdown:bowdown:bowdown
    [/JUSTIFY]]
     
  8. iniyamalar

    iniyamalar Gold IL'ite

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    Like RGS says you are unbeatable for posts like these.

    I had always liked Sri Ramanuja but never had the chance to read hid full story and now i got a glimpse of it through your words.

    Thankyou for that.

    And coming to saints of today...Oh please..

    I can never call someone as closer to God if he wants money to take us there near him.

    It is as simple as that and people always fall for the wrong people.

    Though some so called sages do the good things like bring about the nice things in our vedas and scriptures to the general public - a job of a mere scribe and nothing more- i cannot take most of them seriously.

    This new age saint culture is really making a very bad impression about hinduism itself for many.

    I am a regular in a western forum and there often we get this topic for discussion. I can't get more to argue agianst the people who blast all those who say anything at all about hinduism.

    God help us from people like these really they are worst than vultures.
     
  9. sureshmiyer

    sureshmiyer Silver IL'ite

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    Beautifully said Sir, Can I share what you have written in my blogs

    cheers
    suresh
     
  10. vidchakra

    vidchakra Platinum IL'ite

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    Dear Sridhar sir, that was so wonderful!!!
    I have read about the great sage Ramanuja but was not aware about this.
    It was good to know this...

    I agree with you that people like Ramdev are after money and dont care about people welfare. There is absolutely no news about him now... I keep wondering why did he stop fasting if he was doing it for a good cause
     

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