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Ramanuja, bronze sculpture, 12th century; from a Visnu temple in Tanjore district, —Courtesy of the Institut Français d'Indologie, Pondicherry
(born c. 1017, Shriperumbudur, Indiadied 1137, Shrirangam) Indian theologian and philosopher, the most influential thinker of devotional Hinduism. After a long pilgrimage through India, he founded centres to spread devotion to Vishnu and Lakshmi. He provided an intellectual basis for the practice of bhakti in major commentaries on the Vedas, the Brahma-sutras, and the Bhagavadgita. He was a major figure in the school of Visistadvaita, which emphasized the need for the soul to be united with a personal god. His chief philosophical contributions follow from his conviction that the phenomenal world is real and provides real knowledge and that the exigencies of daily life are not contrary to the life of the spirit.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on Ramanuja, visit Britannica.com.
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