A Indian Post Stamp featuring Shri Ramananda
Shri Ramananda Stamp released by Indian Post

Sri Ramanandacharya (or simply Ramananda) was a 14th-century Vaishnava poet saint. He lived in the Gangetic basin of northern India, an area between Prayagraj and Varanasi.

He is recognized as the founder of the Ramanandi Sampradaya, which is also known as the Bairagi Sampradaya. In this tradition, Lord Rama and Lord Vishnu are worshipped in directly or indirectly in their other incarnations.

Ramananda was one of the pioneering figure of the Bhakti movement and some of his disciples includes later Bhakti movement poet-sants such as Kabir, Ravidas, Bhagat Pipa and others. His verses are mentioned in the holy Sikh scripture Guru Granth Sahib.

He was known for his liberal ideas and never discriminated on the basis of birth or gender, which set a precedent and attracted people from all walks of life. He composed his works and discussing spiritual themes in vernacular Hindi (Awadhi) and made the knowledge accessible to the masses.

Some of his most popular works by Ramananda are

  • Gyan-lila
  • Yog-cintamani
  • Vaisnava Mata Bhajabhaskara
  • Ramarcana paddhati
  • Nagari-pracarini Sabha

He was said to be inspired by the South Indian Vedanta philosopher Ramanuja, however, his work also shows influences of Nathpanthi School of Hindu philosophy.

Twelve most influential disciples of Ramananda included 10 men and 2 women poet-sants. These were

Men scholars:

  •     Anantananda
  •     Sursurananda
  •     Sukhanand
  •     Naraharidāsa
  •     Bhavanand
  •     Bhagat Pipa
  •     Kabir
  •     Sen
  •     Dhanna
  •     Ravidas

Women scholars:

  •     Sursuri
  •     Padyawati

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