Mystics have always taught that the Divine must be sought thought Self-surrender and loving meditation. In very every times the Alvars, who were steeped in God-consciousness, betook themselves to serve God by self-surrender and meditation. Among them the greatest and meditation. Among them the greatest and the most attractive is Nammalver. Many seekers of God, who came in the same path of self-surrender and meditation for union with God. The Alvars were succeeded by the Acharyas, who were essentially mystics of active. The Acharyas showed great Zeal and fervor in organizing communities of devotees for preserving the vision, ecstasies and doctrines of the Alvars. Sri Yamunacharya, the grandson of Sri Nathamuni, the first Chary, was born in about 916 A.D. He has exercised a vast and varied influence on the history of Vaishnava mysticism and Visishtadvaita philosophy
Sri Yamunacharya had already achieved honor and fame as a scholar and dialectician when he vanquished the court pundit in the learned assembly of the Chola King. The story of his ‘conversion’ has very few parallels. He was living the luxurious life of a prince. When his old teacher Ramamisra informed him of the valuable patrimony bequeathed to him by his grandfather. As soon as he was shown the holy shrine of Srirangam as his bequest, he realized his mission in the life and became a Sannyasin.
Sri Yamunacharya was a worthy predecessor of Sri Ramanuja in every respect. He combined within himself the fervid mystical experience of the Alvars with a prodigious knowledge of Vedanta. In his Siddhitraya, he explains the cardinal tenets of Visishtadvaita. In his Agamapramanya, he establishes the orthodoxy of the Pancharatra system. In his Gitatha-sangraha he summarizes the main teaching of the Bhagavad Gita that had come down to him through a succession of ancient teachers. In praise of Sri, the Divine Mother of the universe, he composed a small poem of four stanzas which furnishes the basis for the cult of Sri.
Sri Yamunacharya’s Stotraratna, as the name indicates, really a jewel of a hymn’-a lyrical masterpiece of devotion. If has rarely been surpassed by works of its class either in the melody of diction or loftiness of concepts. But stotraranta cannot be judged by the conventional standard of literary criticism, though and litterateurs like Jagannatha -panditaraja and Appayyadikshita have testified to its poetic qualities. It is written in the divine language of those who have travelled up the mystical ladder. Each stanza gives us a glimpse of the passionate outpouring of his heart in his attempt to obtain union with the Supreme. Unless the spirit of devotion and self-surrender, which is conveyed through every word in it, enters the spirit of the reader, he will not be able to appreciate the esoteric content of the great hymn fully. Even an uninitiated chanter of the hymn will be struck by the faith, conviction and freshness with which it reveals the spiritual moods of the saint.
Another characteristic feature of it is its one-pointed devotion, the fruit of inner realization, expressed in a pregnant verse that touches our heart: As you yourself have awakened in me this consciousness of being eternally yours, So too, O Lord, grant me out of compassion, that Bhatia which is of the nature of enjoying you and you alone. (54). Even a drop of pure devotion is sufficient to destroy the evils of transmigratory existence; ‘A drop from the nectar-ocean of love to your lovely lotus-feet extinguishes the blazing forest-conflagration of transmigratory existence in an instant and bestows supreme bliss’ (29). ‘When shall I see with my eyes the lotus-feet of yours, my dearest treasure? These express the unquenchable longing of the poet-saint, thus repeatedly he prays with intense and earnest ferrous for the realization of the Divine.
The doctrine of self-surrender- the supreme mystical idea- is reflected thought the hymn. The outcome of true self-surrender is the annihilation of the and ego. The aspirant, who renounces all thingh for God’s sake, lives for Him alone. The Lord reveals His from to such a devotee. This great idea of self-oblation to the Divine finds itself best expressed in the closing lines; ‘O Lord” He who begs for shelter in you praying but once saying, I am yours, becomes worthy of your mercy.
Sri yamunacharya, Steeped as he was in that great scripture specially dear to Srivaishnavas, must taken for his keystone and picot this sentiment contained in the of quoted verse of Valrico expressing Sir Rama’s assurance of safety given to Vibhishana;
May this high and holy sentiment be ever the guide and solace for all who turn to this great psalm for spiritual aid and joy of devotion!
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