Srirangam Srimad Andavan Ashramam
Srirangam Srimadh Andavan Ashramam has been an institution for more than three centuries in nurturing and furthering Acharya Ramanuja's and Swami Vedanta Desika's doctrine of Vishishtadvaita. The institution traces its roots to Swami Vedantha Desika through Saakshaath Swami and to Acharya Ramanuja through Kidambi Aachaan and Kurukesha a.k.a. Thirukkuruhaipiraan Pillaan (direct disciples and Simhasanaadhipathis of Acharya Ramanuja). The head of the institution is known as "Andavan" or "Andavan Swamigal", a name that is believed to be given by Lord Ranganatha himself to the first seer.
Srirangam Srimadh Andavan Ashramam is among the organizations that follow Sri Vedanta Desika as the torch bearer of Sri Ramanuja's teachings. The others are Sri Parakala Matam, Ahobila Mutt and Sri Powndareekapuram Andavan Ashramam.
The main activities of the institution include conducting sacraments of Samashrayanam and Bharanyasam, Kalakshepams (higher spiritual lessons), Vedic and Western education through Patashalas and secular Colleges, managing and funding various temples and Divya Deshams, spreading Ramanuja siddhantham through its various centers.
Many Vadakalais who belong to the Munitraya sampradaya group are followers of Srimadh Andavan Ashramam. The institution is referred to as just "Ashramam" or "Andavan Ashram" or "Periashramam" by various people.
Centers / Physical Locations
The headquarters of the Ashramam (hermitage) is in Srirangam where most Acharyas of this lineage have spent most of their saintly lives. The institution has centers spread across India and the US. Most centers have temples and/or Patashalas. Some famous cities which contain what is called as "Andavan Ashramam" are Mumbai, New Delhi, Bangalore (2 centers), Calcutta, Chennai, Brindavan, Badrinath, Hyderabad (2 centers), Aurangabad, and Tirupati. The institution also runs an Arts and Science college in Srirangam.
The main symbol of worship and the central theme of the institution's philosophical approach is Lord Ranganatha's Padukas (divine sandals). The primordial deity of this Ashramam is Lord Venugopala swamy (Lord Krishna).
The Current Pontiff
The current pontiff is His Holiness Sri Rangaramanuja Mahadesikan (Andavan), a scholar (with traditional doctoral-equivalents) in Nyaya (roughly translates to Absolute Righteousness) and Tarka (Logic), with additional specializations and proven talent in Alankara Shaastra (worship and decoration of deities), Ayurveda, Astrology, Music, Sculpting, Poetry, Dramatics etc. He is also an expert in languages like Sanskrit, Tamil and Telugu. The official website of this Ashramam is http://www.andavan.org . http://www.ramanujamission.org is the official website of the American branch of this institution. His holiness initiated efforts to spread this message of Srivaishnavism and Prapathi margam founded and propagated by Sri Bhagavath Ramanuja and nurtured by Sri Nigamantha Mahadesika several centuries ago and performed samasrayanam and saranagathi to thousands of sishyas. His Holiness Offered Mangalasasanams to the Divya Dampathis of most of the 108 Divya Desams, imparted Grantha Chathustya Kalakshepams and Anugraha Bhashanams to countless audiences.
- http://www.ramanujamission.org/general1.php?id1=9&id2=0 - Lineage source: Sri Ramanuja Mission's Web Site
- http://www.pbase.com/svami/periyaashramam - Pictures of deities
- http://www.hinduonnet.com/fr/2002/12/13/stories/2002121301430800.htm Srimad - A sample story from The Hindu - 13 December 2002