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Commandments of Sri Ramanuja

On his death bed Sri Ramanuja is said to have articulated 82 statements to his disciples. It is not an exaggeration to present these statements as the essence of Sri Vaishnavam. I give below excerpts of these, translated from "Sri Ramaanujar," pi. sri, sudhEsamitthiran, pp. 250 - 259, aagaStu 1964 . I apologise for the lack of lucidity of my translation. (written by Sri Parthasarathy Dileepan).

1. Serve God and God's devotees. Serve all devotees without regard to their status.

2. Have faith in the teachings of AchAryAs.

3. Do not succumb to sensual pleasures.

4 & 5. Do not put your conviction on trivial saasthraas, have conviction on the saasthraas that deal with God.

6 - 8. Protect yourself from the five senses.

9 & 10. Praise the name of the Lord and AchAryAs.

11. All the knowledge you may have will not protect you if you choose sensual pleasures.

12 & 13. It is not enough to control your sensual desires, you must surrender to the Lord.

14 - 17. Do not be disrespectful of sri vaishnavaas for any reason, including age, caste, etc. You must show respect to them all.

18. When you rise from your bed meditate upon your ancestral line of AchAryAs.

19. In front of the sanctum of our Lord, amongst sri vaishnavaas utter the words of dvayam. (mentally' Do not utter loudly, as they are rahaysyams)

20. Praise the auspicious qualities of our Lord and AchAryAs.

21 and 22. Welcome sri vaishnavas with open arms and praise. Do not praise ordinary people for the sake of material gain.

23. Pay respect when you see the gOpuram of a temple.

24 - 25. Have undying faith in Lord Vishnu.

26. Do not find fault with praise of the Lord or devotees.

27 - 29. Pay at most respect to sri vaishnavaas.

30 & 31. Among sri vaishnavaas do not discriminate between poor and rich.

32. Ignore the faults and praise the virtues of sri vasihnavaas.

33 - 35. Consume Sri paadha theertham with respect.

36. Do not consider yourself as equal to other devotees. Think of yourself as their servant.

37 - 39. To purify your sins consume the sri paatha theertham of great saints. For this, do not consider the caste of those saints.

40 & 41. Duties of families. (Not described in the text)

42 - 44. Visiting temples and securing prasaadam is important.

45. Do not boast about your virtues.

46. Do not scorn a devotee.

47. Do not ignore serving devotees.

48. Praise the auspicious qualities of the Lord daily.

49. Recite prabhandams like thiruvaaymozhi daily.

50 - 58. Do not associate with the ones who only pretend to be sri vaihnvaas. Do not associate with the ones who find faults with others. Do not even look upon those who belittle devotees. Associate with those who wish to surrender to the Lord.

59 & 60. Ignore the harsh words of other sri vaishnvaas. Always do good to them.

(From this point onwards I am unable to give numerical listing as the original text does not give the numerical ordering.)

Do not think of the deities of the Lord as just stone or wood. (my note: In as much as we give respect to the cloth (the flag of a nation) as the nation itself, we need to consider the Divya mangaLa vigraham as the transcendental form of Emperumaan Sriya:pathih Sriman Narayanan Himself.)

Do not think of your guru (AchArya) as just an ordinary person. Even simply saying out loud the caste of a sri vasihnavaas is a sin.

Do not consider anything related to our Lord as ordinary. There is nothing greater than making our Lord and his devotees happy. Insulting a devotee is a greater sin than not praying to the Lord. Your duty is to surrender to our Lord. Try to live in Thiru naaraayanapuram (mElkOte) at least for some time. If you are unable to, where ever you are, live with dvayam in your tongue. If you are unable to do even this, serve other srivaishnavaas.