The ancient city of Madurai visited by pilgrims year-round witnessed a rather unique event on the 26th of March, 2017. More than 5,000 people from different walks of life gathered together in one of Madurai’s biggest outdoor auditoriums, Gandhi Mandapam, eager to celebrate the 1,000th Anniversary of a Stalwart Saint, Acharya and Guru, Srimad Ramanuja Acharya.
ISKCON Madurai, under the inspiration of Jayapataka Swami and leadership of Balaram Govinda Das and Shanka Dari Das Temple President of ISKCON Madurai, organized the grand event.
Ranga Ramanuja Jeeyar along with many other senior Shri Vaishnava priests were the guests of honor. Seen along with the guests of honor on the dais was a murti of Srila Prabhupada, Jayapataka Swami, Bhakti Purusottama Swami, Bhakti Nityananda Swami, Bhakti Vinoda Swami and Bhakti Mukunda Swami.
The event began with an abhishek to the deity of Ramanuja Acharya. The Jeeyar spoke about the glories of Sri Ramanuja Acharya and his eminent role in spreading Vaishnavism all over the Indian subcontinent and now practically all over the world. He thanked ISKCON for organizing such an extravagant event and was very pleased that the followers of Vaishnavism celebrated the 1000th Anniversary in unison.
“All over the world, in different cities Ramanuja Acharya will be glorified”, Jayapataka Swami highlighted in the lecture. Maharaja went on to explain that Lord Chaitanya took two main principles from Sri Vaishnavism, which included the importance of deity worship and Vaishnava Seva, which were both established by Sripad Ramanuja Acharya. “Ramanuja Acharya is from the spiritual world and he came to preach Krishna Consciousness. So we are very happy that we could unite today in the glorification of him”, Jayapataka Swami added. Maharaja began his talk by offering respects to ISKCON’s Founder Acharya, A.C. BhaktiVedanta Swami Prabhupada; explained his significant position and that ISKCON was based on the transcendental literatures that he has written.
The event was deeply appreciated by the residents of Madurai and countless devotees from the Sri Vaishnava tradition. The event reinforced the importance of unity and left people with a sense of gratitude for the magnanimous Sripad Ramanujacharya.[ ramanuja ] [ vaishnavism ]