By Dr. Padmavathi Narasimhan
Name : Bhagavad Sri Ramanuja
Direction : Raja Ravi Shankar.
Music : A.T. Ravish and P. Rama
Actors : Om Sai Prakash, Ram Prakash, Shashi Kote, Tirumalesha, Arati Kulkarni,
Bharat Kalyan and dancer Radhika Iyengar
Produced by : Kasturirangan
It is Ramanuja Sahasramanotsava, 1000th year of celebration of Sri Ramanujacharya’s birth and many music and dance features are being organised by various Sabhas and prominent personalities.
In this series, a film on Ramanujacharya titled ‘Bhagavad Sri Ramanuja’ involving prominent personalities like Kasturirangan, former IGP, starring Om Sai Prakash (in pic) and Bharat Kalyan (son of veteran actor Kalyan Kumar) in the leading roles. It is a Kannada movie directed by Raja Ravi Shankar. It is a must-watch movie of 100 minutes duration. It is produced by Kasturirangan and the story, dialogues and scripture by Raja Ravi Shankar. Sri Ramanuja’s unbelievable views and thoughts are beautifully depicted in the film.
It can be remembered that G.V. Iyer released the first movie on Ramanujacharya in 1985 in Sanskrit, which did not cover much of Karnataka. Raja Ravi Shankar has shot the film in Madhugiri, Kere Tonnur, Saligrama, Ramanathapura, in and around Chikkaballapur, Dhanushkoti, Srirangam and of course, Melukote, also called Tirunarayanapura.
Other shooting places — The Palace portion is shot at the Mahabharata Serial set at Kengeri, Bengaluru and G.V. Iyer studio. Raja Ravi Shankar has shot the movie in a record of 17 days. Ramanuja grew up in the Tamil culture, in a stable society during the rule of the Hindu Cholas dynasty. This period was one of pluralistic beliefs, where Vaishnava, Shaiva, Smarta traditions, Buddhism and Jainism thrived together. In Hindu monastic tradition, Advaita Vedanta had been dominant, and Ramanuja’s guru Yadava Prakasha belonged to this tradition.
Prior to Ramanuja, Sri Vaishnava sampradaya was already an established organisation under Yamunacharya, and bhakti songs and devotional ideas already a part of south Indian culture because of the twelve Alvars. Ramanuja’s fame grew because he was considered the first thinker in centuries that disputed Shankara’s theories, and offered an alternate interpretation of Upanishadic scriptures.
Ramanuja’s philosophical foundation was monism, also called Vishistadwaita. Ramanuja accepted that the Vedas are a reliable source of knowledge. He asserted, in his Sri Bhashya, that purvapaksin (previous schools) selectively interpret those Upanishadic passages that support their monistic interpretation, and ignore those passages that support the pluralism interpretation. There is no reason, stated Ramanuja, to prefer one part of a scripture and not other, the whole of the scripture must be considered on par.
One cannot, according to Ramanuja, attempt to give interpretations of isolated portions of any scripture. Rather, the scripture must be considered one integrated corpus, expressing a consistent doctrine. The Vedic literature, asserted Ramanuja, mention both plurality and oneness, therefore the truth must incorporate pluralism and monism, or qualified monism.
All the major incidents of Ramanuja’s life are brought in the film right from Ramanuja’s birth, leading onto Kolatunga’s daughter’s episode, Tirukacchinambi’s episode where Ramanuja miraculously heals his daughter, Guru Yamanacharya and his death followed by the three folded fingers leading to Ramanuja’s solving the riddle and agreeing to abide by his instructions, the episode of the dumb disciple, whom Ramanuja blesses by placing his sacred feet on his head, the episode of King Dhanurdasa and his wife Ponnachiyammal, the episode of Bibi Nachiyar, Ramanuja’s taking to Sanyasa and finally Ramanuja’s demise on the lap of his favourite disciple.
The movie is now running at DRC Cinemas in Habitat Mall, Jayalakshmipuram, at 4.30 pm.