Kundalini Experiences of a journey for those on the blissful path of realization
Monday, September 5, 2016
RAGHAVENDRA SWAMI MIRACULOUS SAINT OF MANTRALAYAM
Sri Raghavendra Theertha - the patron Saint at Mantr alayam is verily the wishing tree (Kalpavruksha), the divine cow (Kamadhenu) and the divine jewel (Chintamani) all in one, fulfilling the righteous desires of all that visit Mantralayam and pray for his bening benevolence. No one has returned disappointed as the sage who is verily present to this date, in the holy Brindavan answers all prayers, grants all desires and makes the devotes happy here in this mundane world and the upper world, recommending to him "Moksha" (beatitude). Lord Sriman Narayana is the sole Moksha Data (giver of beatitude) and Lord Vayu Deva also functions as Moksha -Data with the permision of Lord Sriman Narayana. Raghavendra Theertha is an ardent devotee of Sri Vayu-Deva and his indwelling Lord Sri Ramachandra who is no other than Sriman Narayana Himself. Sri Raghavendra Theertha has access to this Moksha data and is instrumental in getting the Grace ofVayu deva and Lord Sri Hari to the devotees who approached him.
Every human being desires happiness only, when he lives in the world and wants the same
happiness in the upper world too, which is Janma rahithya or Moksha or a place of permanent happiness from which no-body would like to return. This is the abode of Lord Sriman Narayana who is supreme, as the greatest God of Gods, none to equal Him, in any respect. This true Knowledge is Vaishnava Bhakti propagated by Sriman Madhwacharya 13th century (Devotion of Lord Vishnu or Sriman Narayana). Sriman Madhwacharya is the incarnation of Sri Vayudeva himself a great devotee of Lord Sriman Narayana and his disciples spread his doctrine far and wide in this sacred land of Bharath and Sri Raghavendra Theertha is one such great devotee of Sriman Madhwacharya and Lord Sri Hari who established the Dualistic theory of Dwaitha Siddhanta.
Sri Raghavendra Theertha of present times in an incarnation of a celestial and though he is not visible to us now (He was visible to Sir Thomas Monroe, the then Collector of Bellary and Anantapur), He is very much present in the Brindavan alive at Mantralayam to this 324th year of entry into the Brindavan as on 16-8-
1995 showing all his mystic powers and blessings all those who come to him for solace and comfort in this
strife torn life. The saint has assured his presence for many many more years to come, not only at
Mantralayam, but all places where Brindavan is established containing "Mrithika" (scared soil) taken out from the original Brindavan at Mantralayam.
The mystic experience of devotees, the miracles of Sri Ragahvendra Theertha performed while bodily moving, prior to his entry into Brindavan and performing to this date are indesireable and the learned alone are capable of extolling the miraculous wonders of this wonder of wonders of the modern scientific era.
His charms baffle scientific probes. The Blind are restored their sight, the deaf hear, the dumb speak and he limping lame walk majestically after due benediction.
Raghavendra Theertha was a prolific writer. His lucid explanation in chaste sanskrit the most difficult abstract axioms in meta-physics, makes one master philosophy in general and Dwaita doctrine in particular. Learned scholars (Pandits) owe a debt of gratitude to the sage who is verily the walking encyclopedia then and now. Un-understandable passage in scriptures are rendered understandable by a flash as it were and the learned extoll"Sri Rayaru" (As Sri Raghavendra Theertha is affectionately called by (the multitudes) as the greatest preceptor of modern times.
Mantralayam draws huge crowds althrough the year, and the glory of Ragha vendra Theertha, the
saint at Mantralayam is a perennial source of hope for all the forlorn, believer’s and disbeliveers. "Raghavendra" is a household name is South India especially and the masses cherish his name as
Saviour, Savant and benefactor, yesterday, to day and tomorrow.
2. BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE OF AVATHAR (INCARNATION)
A Rigvedic prayer " NISHUSEEDA GANAPATHE GANESHU TWAAM AAHU; RVI PRATHAMAM KAVEENAM \ NA RUTHE TWAT KRIYATHE KINCHAARE MAHA MARKAM MAGHAVAN CHITRA MARCHA", attributes "SARVA KARTRUTVA (DOER OF EVERTHING) to Lord Sri Hari. Doing, undoing sustaining are all the sport of Sri Hari who is sarvagna (Omniscient) being present always (Omnipresent) and all powerful always (Omnipotent). He wills everthing and does everything being very very independent (SARVA SWATANTRA)
The universe is his creation and its entity is real (not unreal) as propounded by some and is an
Arena (Place) where the Sujeevis (Worthy) work for their salvation (Sadhana) and our sacred land of Bharath is one such Sadhana Kshetra (Workspot) for realization of ultimate truth, the supremacy of Lord Vishnu, which knowledge alone leads to Moksha (Beatitude).
As the age of Kali advanced, the righteous suffered a set back and unrighteous flourished and the worthy Sujeevis (Souls) were worried that the true knowledge necessary for salvation had become relegated to be of no use.
The celestials complained to Lord Vishnu, who assured them that he would send his deputy, Lord
Vayu-deva to spread the vedic messsage to enable the righteous to know the subtleties hidden in the vast texts of Vedas and arrive at the correct interpretation of the same to choose the path leading to Mukthi, the last of the four-fold desires (Dhamartha Kama Moksha) the abode of eternal happiness and freedom from the cycle of births and deaths.
Vayudeva thus sent, (who has taken the Avatar of Sri Hanuman in the days of Sri Ramachandra )
took the Avatar (Incarnation) of Sri Bhimasena of the fame of Mahabharatha, a warrior par excellent, who subdued the enemies, the followers of Kali and destroyed them establishing the supremacy of Lord Sri Krishna (Another incarnation of Sriman Narayana).
The same Sri Vayudeva re-incarnated as SRI MADHWACHARYA near Udipi and spread the Dwaitha doctrine to uplift those deserving and fitting souls to realise their lives ambition, the Moksha or (Mukthisthana) abode of perenial and permanent happiness.
The mission over, Sri Madhwa Charya disappeared on an auspicious day (Madhva Navami in the month of Magha), about eight centuries ago and his work of spreading ther divine Dwaitha doctrine was taken up be great Savants, his disciples and their disciples and their disciples (sishya and Prasishyas), a continuous process to the present times. They are the preceptors and Sri Raghavendra Swamiji is one such preceptor spreading the philosophy of the great master Sri Madhwacharya and it is rightly said that the task of path shown is now accessible to all who worship Lord Vishnu as the greatest amongs the greatest Gods, and who done bestows the much desired Moksha.
Sri Raghavendra Theertha belongs to the galaxy of luminaries, stalwarts in Madhwa philosophy like the ascetics of great eminence in the pontificate succeeded by Vibhudendra Theertha, Surendra Theertha, Vijayendra Theertha and Sudhindra Theertha, the immediate guru of Sri Raghavendra. All these great men were very very pious sages, and well wishers of the society. Contemporary kings Emperors, patronished them and the Mission of spreading Vishnava cult spread and attained the pinnacle of glory in the times of Sri Raghavendra Theertha.
A cursory glance of all events leading to the appearances of Sri Raghavendra Theertha in the
religious history of South India in an opportune time to uplift the masses, establishes that God wills his own
way, sends his own servants of picked choice to carry out his Will, his orders and help devotees who yearn for Him.
Sri Raghavendra is God's choice. He is born of His Grace. He did and does what God commands, having been in the merciful look of Sri Vayu Deva, who is his indweller along with his own indweller Lord Sri. Ramachandra.
An attempt will be made in the succeeding chapters how the God's mission befell on celestial "SANKUKARNA"A Karmaja Devatha, an attendant on Sri Brahmadeva, whose main duty was to furnish articles of worship like flowers. Tulasi (Basil) to Brahmadeva and assist him to worship Lord Vishnu.
It was a divine plan. One day Sankukarna was late in bringing the articles of worship to
Brahmadeva, who was not happy with the delay caused. A curse outwardly (a boon really) befell SankuKarna to be born as a human being in the mundane world. It was a blessing in disguise. Sankukarna had now a chance to go to the earth on a great mission of spreading the "SARVOTTAMATWA" (Supremacy) of Lord Sri Hari, with an assurance from Brahmadeva that in all his births in the mundane world, Sanku karna would be a devout Vishnu Bhaktha spreading vaishnava cult.
The first Avatar (incarnation) Sanku Karna took was that of Prahalada Raja, son of Hiranya Kashipu. The second was that of Sri Vyasa Theertha, the Raj Guru of Sri Krishna Deva Raya and the thrid is that of Sri Raghavendra Theertha, still in his Avatar (incarnation), living in the Brindavan for the last four centuries and contunues to be there invisible to us in the Brindavan for three more centuries. He manifests himself in all the Brindavans, wherever a Brindavan is established (Pratishte of Moola Mritika Brindavan by the peethadhipathis of Sri Rayara Mutt, with the Holy and sacred soil taken out from the original Brindavan at Mantralayam.
Blessed is that should who devotedly worships and sings the glory of Sri Raghavendra Theertha. Haridasas
(Bards) have sung his glory and have rules out that unless Sri Raghavendra wills an attempt to visit Mantralayam and His sacred Brindavan will fail, and the unfortunate (Manda bhagyas miss his Sevas (worship) such is the greatness of Sri Raghavendra Theertha.
The Kadambas and Chalukyas were rulers of parts of South India in the days of Yore. They patronised vedic religions and held Brahmins in high esteem and gave them high posts. The vijaynagar kings also extended the same support to the Brahmin Community.
Fourteen Gotras (Section of Community) were of fame among the original sixty families
(Sashtika Vamsas) and " BEEGAMUDRE" family of Gauthama gotra was renown, and one Sri Krishna
Bhat amongst them was a man of great learning. Adept in playing Veena Krishna Bhat. Sri Krishna Deva Raya, the greatest king among the Kings of Vijayanagar was the contemporary monarch of those days. He was a great patron of art and architecture. Artists flourished in his regime. He sent for Veena Krishna Bhat gave him royal support and kept him in the Royal; Court. His son Kanakachala Bhat, and Grand son Thimmanna Bhat continued the family tradition of being Vainikas (adept in playing Veena) besides being orthodox Vedic Pandits.
The year 1565 A.D. was fateful year. It saw the decline and downfall of the Vijayanagar Empire,
the champions of a Hinduism and Hindu Culture. Aliya Rama Raya, the son-in-law of Sri Krishna Deva Raya, commander - in - chief of Hindu forces fell to the Muslim sword in the battle of Rakkasi - Tangadi on the shores of river Krishna and the aggressing Muslim forces of the five sultnates in the Deccan (break- away kingdoms of Bahamani Empire) chased the retreating Hindu armies and put everything to sword and fire, proof of which can still be in the ruins of Hampi on the banks of river Tungabhadra, the then capital of the great Vijayanagar empire. The glory of Vijayanagar kings had been crushed and deserting the capital, the then kings field to safety shifting the capital to Penukonda in the present Anantapur district of Andhra Pradesh. Royal patronage having been lost, the artists and poets in the Royal Court also field to places of safety to eke out a living. Veena Thimmanna Bhat was one such migrant who sought Ashraya (Refuge) in the pontificate at KUMBHAKONAM under the charge of Surendra Theertha enjoying the patronage of the ruler Sri ranga Raya of those parts, keeping up the traditions of Vijayanagar empire in supporting art and architecture.
Thimmanna Bhat thus settled down with his wife Gopikamba and lead a life of peace and comfort in the new environment. The couple undertook a pilgrimage to Tirumala and had the blessings of Lord Venkateshwara (lord Sriman Narayana himself in the age of Kali) and returned to his "Agrahara" a colony of Brahmin settlement in the Tundeera Manadala of Tamil Nadu, and was blessed with a daughter"Venkatamba and a son "Gururaja".
Sri Vijayendra Theertha and next to him Sri.Sudheendra theertha had taken over the pontificate at Kumbakonam in Tundeera Mandalam and one CHEVVAPPA NAIK of the Naik Dynasty held his sway at Tanjore and he too extended the patronage to the pontificate and he learned pontiffs and Pandits of contemporary period.
Thimmanna Bhat and Gopikamba were not content with a daughter and a son. They wished one
more son who would make them still happier, more so if the son to be born was an extra-ordinary gifted
Vaishnava Bhaktha. That was God's plan. Motivated by His plan (SANKALPA) the orthodox couple,
Thimmanna Bhat and Gopikamba left for Tirumala to worship again Tirumalesha the KAMITARTHA PRADAYAKA (fulfiller of desires) praying His grace in the form of a jewel like som, a Vaishnavagrani who would spread Vishnu Bhakthi.
4.THE FUTURE RAGHAVENDRA IS BORN
An adage in Telugu says that a flower spreads its perfume of fragrance the moment it blossoms. (POOVU PUTTAGANE PARIMALIN CHUNU). Here was a flower spreading its fragance even before it blossomed. Gopikamba was in the family way and the joy of Thimmanna Bhat and Gopikamba, his wife, knew no bounds. The couple were sure that a baby boy would soon join them as a Vara Prasada (fruit of a boon) to spread his effulgence eternally to his own people and the community at large. How could it be otherwise, especially when Lord Venkateshwara Himself has blessed the couple?
Raghavendra Vijaya an authentic classic of Ten cantos penned by Lakshmi Narayana Charya, son
of Venkatamba (nephew of future Raghavendra Theertha) records events chronologically from the childhood, early education, higher education and still higher education youth, marriage, and his mastery over philosophy with special reference to the doctrine of Madhwa's preaching and learning’s besides a matchless adaptation in playing Veena, the family art and finally ascension to the pontificate to succeed Guru sudheendra Theertha to take up the mission of his life-preaching and spreading of Vaishnava cult and Vishnu Bhakthi.
The fetus in the womb of Gopikamba was to be the future Raghavendra, once again SankuKarna
to be re-born a third time to carry out the great mission for which he was ear-marked. Pregnant women long for so many delicacies when they are pregnant in their pregnancy For example, pregnant ladies develop a strong desire for sour fruits etc., But Gopikanba's longings were not for the ordinary things of desire of common ladies, but they were in consonance with the divine child that was in. She liked colour indicating the child to be in the womb would be an individual who would adorn saffron robes of a Sanyasi in the days to come. She desired to hear only stories of God's benevolence and his care for the devoted souls who would cling to the lotus like feel of the Lord. What a noble lady indeed! to bear a world Master (JAGATHGURU) in her pretty womb. Blessed are the noble souls who become the parents of such world Masters, this is reminiscent of Jagat Guru Madhwa Charya to Madhyageha Bhattaru and Vedavathi devi in PAJAKA KSHETRA, near Udipi. Great should chose great souls to be their parents in this world, So were Gopikamba and Thimmanna Bhat, chosen by the God to bear a noble soul.
5. BIRTH OF SRI RAGHAVENDRA
Gopikamba was now in an advanced stage of pregnancy. An auspicious time came. All the planets were in their ascendancy by a divine plan and they were all benefic in nature seeing the Janma (Ascendent). A divine baby boy was ushered into this world in 1595 A.D. Gopikamba had given birth to a son who was to become the future Raghavendra. Thimmanna's joy, was of no bounds. He had a pure factory bath and offered thanks to God. His fore-fathers (Pitru devathas) would now go to the better worlds as a very very worthy son had been from born to the pious couple Gopikamba and Thimmannarya.
The baby boy was a synosure to the gazers. His brilliance was superb. The customary rituals over, Thimmannarya named the boy"VENKATANATHA", in gratitude to Lord Venkataeshwara, by whose blessings this brilliant son had been born to him.
The child was supper natural. All its actions of infancy would indicate extra-ordinary happenings in the days to come and when the child was about six months old"ANNAPRASANA" a function to mark the first feed to Solid food was celebrated fittingly.
Third year came off. Venkatanatha had his tonsure ceremony, (first hair cut). Aksharabhyasa
(initiation to write alphabet) followed and young Venkatanatha amazed all with his capacities to learn anything he was taught. By this time, Venkatamba, his elder sister came of age and had to be married soon. With no royal patronage then, Thimmannarya began to brood over as to how a poor man like him could afford to celebrate the marriage as it costs a lot. His worry would disappear as son as Venkatanatha would near him with his bewitching smiles and endearing addresses of affection. Brilliant children are a source of perennial joy to parents in pecuniary troubles. Poverty is forgotten. Thimmannarya never minded his poverty.
The first days of Aksharabhyasa were astounding. Young Venkatanatha would perplex his father
by asking how a pervading God would limit himself in a tiny alphabet "AUM" when he was asked to practice writing "AUM" in sand (This system of practicing writing in sand is not in vogue now. It is giving way now a days with the advent of pens and pencils ruining the handwriting. Good handwriting is a rare commodity now a days.) Thimmannarya could see the divinity in the child. He would like to prostrate but dared not as he was reminded of another father, Madhyageha Bhattaru, prostrating to his son Vasudeva Unawares took as permission from his father to take Sanyas. So Thimmannarya dared not offer a Pranam (obeisance) to the child prodigy Venkatanatha. Venkatanatha a prodigy was very precocious. His preciosity was a subject matter of all who visited them.
Days rolled on. Thimmanna got his daughter married to a learned man one Lakshminarasihacharya of Kasyapa gotra. He wanted his sons Gururaja and Venkanna (Venkatanatha) to come up well in studies. Thimmannarya performed the Upanayana (Threa ceremoney of Guru Raja).
Thimmannarya now went to live with Sri. Sudheendra Theertha at Kumbakonam in his Vidya
Mutt. Sudheendra Theertha saw Venkanna, the little boy as his future successor. Venkanna was as brilliant lad. Thimmanna's concern was that Venkanna should progress very well in studies. But destiny snatched his away soon. He was not destined to see Venkanna's progress in studies. He died and the responsibilities to educate Gururaja and Venkanna to higher levels befell to the lot of his Brother-in-law Lahsminarasimhacharya. Soon Gururaja was married and an affectionate Sister-in-law of Venkanna joined the family which now consisted of Widowed Gopikamba, elder brother Gururaja and his wife KAMALADEVI and Venkanna, the youngest in the family circle.
6. EDUCATIONAL PROGRESS AND MARRIAGE
Visit to the Mutt at Kumbakonam has a salutary effect on Venkanna. His primary education was almost over. He had mastered Amarakosha which had sharpened his lexial knowledge and the future writer had endowed himself a vast treasure of Active and Passive vocabulary in Sanskrit Grammar had been mastered and young Venkanna's mind turned towards God. He liked performing pooja (Worship) like the Swami at the Mutt, and felt attrached towards Moola Rama (the unique idol worshipped in the Mutt by the Swamiji).
Gururaja, the elder brother performed the Upanayana of Venkanna and both left for Madura i to be
with their Brother-in-law Lashminarashimha charya for advanced studies. Venkanna was an all round. Good at play he was equally good in studies. His chanting of Vedas, efficiency in music revealed the celestia; in him. He was now in his youth and very very handsome. Humble, modest, he was all a model for personified virtues. Words cannot describe his virtuous personality. Parents of eligible girls would deek him as a befitting Bridegroom for their adolescent daughters, and brides of beautiful countenance would very much desire a Bridegroom like Venkanna to be their life partner-matchless in any quality. Venkanna was indeed a cupid come down to earth.
Gururaja the elder brother selected a befitting girl from a learned family "Saraswathi" by name for
Venkanna and had the marriage performed in all pomp and pleasure.
Venkanna was now a Grihasta, a family man. Saraswathi was an ideal wife and Venkanna was happy.
7. DOGGING POVERTY
Venkanna and Saraswathi lived a happy life in their village. Days plied fast and the couple were blessed with a son "LAKSMINARAYANA" soon.
Indian mythology attributes kith and kin relationship amongst Gods and Goddesses in the above
world as in vogue amongst human beings in this world below. Goddess Lakshmi, the consort of Lord Narayana is Mother-in-law and Goddess Saraswathi is her daughter-in-law. In the human world Mothers- in-law are opposed to their daughters-in-law and do not agree with each other generally. Venkanna was a man of letters in charge of wealth would not prefer to stay with Venkanna where her daughter-in-law has established herself. That is to say learning and wealth do not co-exist generally.
Venkanna was well learned. One can easily infer the aloofness of wealth. With no patronoage to his learning, he was poor and not able to make both ends meet. He could as well go the rich, impress them with his learning and make a decent living. But he preferred poverty to pelf. He preferred pursuit of Vedantic studies still and made a living with whatever he earned, often too meager to meet the demands of the oven. The dripping miseries of the poor are only to be experienced to know the severity of the intense suffering, the poverty brings in Dejection, depression, defeatism dog the person inflicted with poverty and it is a hellish suffering to be poor. Even kings like "NALA" deserted their wives in utter dejection in a temporary phase of poverty, they suffered. Venkanna's poverty beggars description. The orthodox Madhwa Brahmins observe the eleventh day of each fortnight (Bright or dark) in the calendar month of the year as "Ekadashi" on which day even water is not sipped. It is ritual (Vratha) observance to please Lord Sri Hari (Haridina) and strict observed of fast during the Thirtythree to Thirty five hours from Dasami
(Tenth day) night to Dwadashi, (12th day) early hours is a must. venkanna and Saraswarthi observed fasts not only on Ekadashis of the calendar month but also Ekadashis thrust on them on and often for want of food materials in the house. Many were the days the couple ate their lunch or dinner on the ground after cleaning the ground.
That was due to short age of dining leaves even. More often than not Venkanna adorned himself with
Angara and Akshinte (caste markes) on the forehead signifying he had his food. This he did though he was starving for want of provisions. He did this lest his students return without their lessons thinking the Master was yet to dine. Oil bath (Abhyanjana) was not known as Venkanna clad not afford, and the robes he clad were reminiscent of the sky with innumerable stars, as the holes in the cloth appeared conveying the sense that what he wore were pretty old and fit for being thrown away. New clothes he could not afford to buy and the ritualistic spoon full ghee (Abhigara) was never served as where could he afford? (Ghee is a luxury to the poor) Annadata to the crores of people his devotees, bhagyadata to the many now as Raghavendra,
poor Venkanna lead a life of misery but contentment. God loves the poor. Venkanna necessarily must have had God's love and grace as Lord Krishna is quoted as telling.
"Yasya Anugraham Iakchhami, tasya vittam Haraamyaham" ( I shall relieve him of riches, whom wish to extend my Grace)
Saraswathi was highly devoted to Venkanna. She was thankful to God for having given her a pious husband. She did not despise his poverty and ran the home as best she could with whatever resources she had. Each sacrificed for the other and they lived happily in harmony in spite of a dogging poverty haunting them.
Baby Lakshmi Narayana too starved. He was stark naked, having nothing to put on.
Day to day living was a problem to the couple. Each day was a day testing and Saraswathi found herself at her wits end always. She hardly went out-she had only one saree to dress herself and that too was torn everywhere. Food was scarce. It is not exaggeration it is said that Venkanna and Saraswathi had tasted ghee on their marriage days only.
Hardship made Saraswathy very patient and Venkanna never minded his poverty but prayed to
On a certain day, Venkanna found that nothing had been cooked. On saying why nothing had been prepasred, his wife told him that their ill luck would not permit her to cook anything in the house. Venkanna said that God always wanted devotion to Him and if nothing was available, even water could be offered. Saraswathi could not contain herself. She broke down and started weeping. Venkanna consoled her and told that constant meditation on God and inward worship was a panacea for all the miseries in the world. He was highly devoted and his words made an indelible impression on Saraswathy who realised that Venkanna, her husband was not an ordinary person and that he was a noble soul. Such was their attitude to face their poverty.
Mis-fortunes do not come singly. One night there was a housebreak by the thieves and whatever
utensils they had, even those were stolen. Saraswathi told everything to Venkanna. Venkanna was unperturbed and expressed his desire to study more and more about God. Saraswathi then told him that if she was not mis-understood, she would suggest him to go to the Swamiji nearby and proceed with his learning. Venkanna welcomed the suggestion and thanked her for the apt suggestion and both left for Kumbakonam with their only child to take refuge in the Mutt as they had nothing left with them in their village. The thieves had indirectly helped them to take a right decision in their abject poverty.
8. AT KUMBAKONAM
Venkanna, Saraswathi, and little Lakshmi Narayana were most welcome in the Mutt at Kumbakonam. The Swamiji had made the arrangements for Venkanna's stay in the Mutt with family and he was well looked after. The swamiji began to give him lessons in philosophy and taught Venkanna what all he had known in philosophy. Venkanna mastered the teachings of JAYA THEERTHA, VIBUDHENDRA THEERTHA, VYASA THEERTHA and got well trained. Guru Sudheendra Theertha was very happy that a fitting student Venkanna had joined him. Soon Venkanna was an adept in all Shastras. Grammer was one of the subjects taught. Thelessons were bound not by any syllabus nor time factor. Proficiency in the subject was alone the criterion. Those were the days when the teacher taught their students to such a level that they would not mind their defeat in any debate with them (Shisyath Ichheth Parajayam).
Venkanna in turn taught what he had learnt to different groups of students which made him very
efficient in the subjects he had learnt. Venkanna was a born Master and loved teaching. So Venkanna spent his time happily learning and teaching at Kumbakonam.
It is customary for the peethadhipatis to tour and spread Dwaitha Sidhanta and whenever Sudheendra Theertha, undertook a tour, Venkanna followed him. It was Chola country and people were well read in the Agrraharas, the settlement of Brahmins. every house was an abode of learning and housed pandits of good character and conduct. Fire worship was a must and the skies in all the Chola country had become dark as smoke emanated from each house.
Sudheendra Theertha and his disciples were welcomed to this part of Chola country whole heatedly. Rajamannargudi was a place where they were challenged by an Adwaitha Sanyasi. Adwaitha school of thought is different from the Dwaithas' School of thought. The former says that jeeva and Brahma (Soul and God) are one and the same. The Dwaithas say that God and Jeeva (Soul) are tow different entities and not one and the same. The souls are the servants of God and his servants. Venkanna silenced the Adwaitha group with his expert debating capacities. Grammer was ti his finger tips. They were not able to answer the delicate points in grammar. Sudheendra Theerthea was very happy that Venkanna has mastered whatever had been taught to him so well. Venkanna's Dialectical acumen was something to be seen than described. He called his affectionate student to him and honored him by pronouncing him to be a " Mahabhashya Charya from thenceforth, Venkanna became "Maha BHashya Venkanna Bhatt or Mahabhashya VenkataCharya.
Venkanna's fame spread far and wide as Maha Bhashya Venkata Charya. The fame of the Mutt also increased as the Vidya Mutt of the local area. Kings and Rulers were favourites of learning, so, soon there was an invitation to Tanjore by its Ruler. One Yagna Narayana Dixit was a pandit of great learning at Tanjore Court. The Dixit met Venkanna as he came to see the Swamiji and engaged himself in a courtesy talk during which he said that he was happy to meet such a man of great learning and used the word "Kakataliay" meaning that it was a meeting of co-incidence. Venkanna took the word "Kakataliay" for discussion and made him understand that he possessed a great knowledge in everything.
The next matter of discussion was about the Tapta Mudrankana ritual in the Madhwas where in Peethadhipatis imprint the weapons of Lord Vishnu by a heated metallic peace which is called "Mudre". Dixit argued that Tapta Mudrankana was opposed to vedic practices. But Venkanna refuted his arguments and argued that Tapta Mundrankana was a necessary item of Mukthi and drew many examples from " Chakra Mimamsa", an authoritative book by Shri. Vijayendra Teertha. Venkanna had once again proved that his scholarship was very great.
10. LITERARY SERVICE
Venkanna had now established himself as the greatest disputant in Polemics. He was happy that he was slowly establishing the greatness of Madhwa philosophy and wanted to contribute more and more. His disputes with the followers of other Schools of Thought was not sufficient for his ambition to spread more and more the doctrine of Dwaitha Siddantha. He thought that by writing books, he could contribute more to the spread of Dwaitha Siddantha, to remove what little doubts the readers could have. Thus originated commentary on ANU MADHWA VIJAYA or Prameya Nava Malika. This is almost a precis writing of the great book Sumadhwa Vijaya by Narayana Pandit Acharya. Every canto has been summarized into a couplet. His lucid bringing of the entire text into the couplet is remarkable. Contemporary Sanskrit writers were agog with this mastery in Sanskrit. It is believed that the later writings of Venkanna as Raghavendra Teertha came of after he took to Sayas. Guruguna Stavana composed by Shri Vadeendra Teertha,Raghavendra Swamiji's great grand son whose Brindavan also exists in close proximity near Raghavendra Teertha"s Brindavan at Mantralayam eulogized Venkanna that Shri Madhwa Charya was so pleased with Venkanna that he had made him reign the empire of Vedantha samrajya as a celebrated pontiff. Vagdevi (Bharathi Devi) in-charge of speech was also happy that Venkanna was match-less scholar and Blessed him suitably. Many more books were to come but it is believed that all the books were written after Venkanna became Raghavendra Teertha.
11. SANYASA AWAITS VENKANNA
Venkanna's ambition was to write commentaries of all the Vedas just as Jagathguru Madhwachara wrote "Rig Bhasya". But the ambition remained unfulfilled. Sudeendra Teertha felt that Venkanna would be a worthy successor to him in the pontificate after him. But destiny made him intiate an other disciple of his who came to him and requested him to grant him Sanyasa. Sudheendra Theertha had this disciple initiated and named him Yadavendra. The new disciple Yadavendra undertook the religious tours and left the Guru on a long tour.
Days began to roll. One Day, Sri Moola Ramachandra came in the dream of Sudheendra Te ertha and hinted that venkanna alone would be his worthy successor in the Pontificate. Sudheendra Theertha broke the subject to venkanna one day and he told Venkanna that Lord Sri Ramachandra was pleased with venkanna and wanted him to see a Sanyasi in the Mutt-offering worship to him. Venkanna was very modest and said that he was a very insignificant individiual compared to the stalwarts in the line of pontiffs who had passed before him. He told the very idea to succeed a galaxy of such pontiffs of great fame like Jayatheertha. Vibhudhendra Theertha, Vijayendra Theertha and Sudheendra Theertha, sent a cold shivering in his spine. He questioned his Guru how could one not knowing the art of swimming attempt to cross a boundless ocean? Guru Sudheendra was very happy at his repartee. He harped on the word "Ocean" and said that boats like Self restraint, courage and generosity were there to ferry across the ocean with his blessings functioning, as "SAILS" Venkanna was non-plussed. He did not know what to do. His Guru was asking him to renounce the world, his dear wife and son and take to Sanyasa. Venkanna begged the Guru to excuse him as he had a young wife and a son to be cared for an his renunciation would leave them in lurch. The Guru was sorry that he was dinning into the ears of his disciple something which was not a happy thing. Venkanna was still young. His wife too was still young and Venkanna was pleading to the guru that he did not like to be initiated as sanyasi. The Guru impressed on him at length the futility of worldly pleasures, desires and attachments to one's family (Samsara) and exhorted him to take Sanyasa when alone he would be free from all the bondages in the Mundane world and render true service which was expected to him to Lord Sri Hari. He asked Venkanna to perform the Upanayana of his son and come ways to take Sanyasa. Venkanna found that the earth below his feet was giving way. His head was reeling and he could not for once, think of leaving his very affectionate wife and son and dedicate himslef to God. The swamiji disturbed the Hornet's nest. A storm blew in his mind and poor Venkanna tossed up and down in the whirl wind of thoughts. Was he to uphold his Guru? or give away to his own views of life continuing to be a good "Grahastha", a fond husband and a fond father? He was in a great dilemma. He was not able to any
conclusion. Family life bound him to disown responsibilities but renunciation was equally enchanting. The words of Guru were ringing in his ears that Samsara was a great ocean of difficulties and miseries and dedication to God renounciating everything was the only panacea for all the miseries of the world. He even felt that the Guru would curse him if he did not hear him and if heard him Sanyasa would stare him. "To be or not to be was his question". It was a great test for a noble soul. It was Hari's plan only. Being learned, Venkanna thought that he was too insignificant a soul and whatever Sri Hari decided would automatically happen, whether one liked or not. He traced his feet home, sweet home as Saraswathi, his sweet heart would be looking for him. Sullen and sunken in spirits, his dejection was noticed by Saraswathi She knew that some catastrophe was in store for her. She felt sorry that her suggestion to her husband to be in the service at Mutt had created a more severe problem that would dash to pieces her happiness or happy life away from the pangs of poverty, if Venkanna became a Sayasi..............Oh! No! she would say to herself. Sanyas means separation from her husband for ever and she could not brood a single moment without him. Her happy days with her husband flashed in her mind as a Panorama of sweet recollections. Those days were coming to an end.
The husband knew the storm in the wife's mind and she knew the storm that was raging in his mind. They were not able to talk with each other as the silence was the only answer to the question each had to put to the other. Venkanna was a learned man. All the teachings in the Bhagwat Geeta, the song celestial preached by Lord Krishan to Arjuna in the great battle field at Kuru Kshetra flashed his mind. He was almost making up his mind to act upto the words of his Guru. He had not slept well. Some where in the Wee-hours priors to the dawn, he saw a wonderful light. It was a dream. He saw Goddess Saraswathi and she was addressing him. She said that she was "Vahdevi", the Goddess of learning created by Veda and Madhwa Charya had given the right interpretation to the oft misinterpreted vedic thoughts. She said that Brahma sutras were like a celestial cow " Kamadhenu" and she had been nurtured with the nourishing milk and she had come to tell him that people belonging to the different schools of thought would one day ruin the very vedic message refuting the supremacy of Lord sri Hari. She expressed her ardent desire that Venkanna rose to the occasion and set right things which had caused confusion amongst the Sujeevis. She suggested that it would be good on his part to hear his Guru's words and take up Sanyas to uphold the tenets of philosophy. She said that he would best serve his mission in Sanyas than what he would being in a family life. She even told that God's decrees. Were indelible and disappeared. Venkanna was now clear that he had a great mission to do and on the next day fell into a trance and Hari appeared to him in his manifestation as Rama, Narahari, Krishna and Veda Vyas. Venkanna now felt that he was ear marked for
service as Sanyasi in spreading the supremacy of Vaishanava cult. He offered his gratitude and made up his mind to act up to the words of his guru. Venkanna looked at his wife. Melancholy was largely writ on her face as she was sleeping. Tears rolled down but it was momentary. He never looked at her lest he should again eaver in his mind.
Soon it was day break, Saraswathi noticed in her husband's face no longer any worry. The face had become serene and calm. Venkanna was firm as he had made up his mind. Daily routine over, Venkanna hurried to the Mutt and met the Swamiji. He told Swamiji that how Goddess Saraswathi had appeared to him in a happy at last. The disciple was toeing the line of the Guru. He asked Venkanna to prepare for the upanayana of his son Lakshmi narayana and come away. Venkanna performed the upnayana with great pomp and piety. It was the last act as a Grihastha and the only hinderance was the attachemtn of Saraswathi, his wife to him. The Guru also knew this. He planned the initiation of Venkanna at Tanjore instead of at Kumbakonam. And Raghunatha Bhupal, the ruler at Tanjore would extend all his support and arrange the intiation ceremony in befitting manner.
12. VENKANNA BECOMES RAGHAVENDRA THEERTHA
Guru Sudheendra Teertha had though well in going to Tanjore to initiate Venkanna into sanyas as Tanjore would be better place for the function. The king Rghunatha Bhoopala welcomed the swamiji and his disciple Venkanna and made elaborate arrangements to mark the function.
News of the Swamiji coronating Venkanna to the pontificate had spread far and wide and many Pandits and
men of later of all disciplines began to arrive at Tanjore to witness a great event in the Mutt. A new pontiff was being initiated. It was the month of phalgun, and the second day of the month in 1621 A.D. was an auspicious day.
The most important day dawned. Venkanna hence forth would not be Venkanna but a Sarva Sanga Parityagi, an ascetic, from that day onwards. Venkanna went through all the rituals before the initiation. The auspicious moment came. Venkanna was given "Sanyasa" in the presence of a huge gathering in the Raja Prasada (Stately Mahal) Sudheendra Theertha named the young Sanyasi "RAGHAVENDRA THEERTHA" as had been directed to him also in a jumped into it and died to become a ghost in which form she appeared before her Lord Venkanna now Raghavendra Teertha. The Swamiji sprinkled holy water on the ghost and released her from the pretatva (Life of a Ghost). People remember her in all pretatva functions where all Mutt aides (Married women with husbands alive) are honored (in functions called Hoovilya).
Yadavendra who was on tour heard the ascension of Raghavendra and returned to Kumbakonam. Raghavendra received his Senior Sanyasi with due respect. Yadavendra spent his last days on the banks of River Krishna and breathed his last at Mudumal.
13. RAGHAVENDRA AND HIS DAILY ROUTINE
The name Raghavendra itself brings back one to remember the greatest in Raghava Kula i.e., Ramachandra. Sudheendra had extolled as "Raghavednra Iva Bhadra Bhajanam Tat Krupena Jagatham Hite rathaha"- meaning- Raghavendra was klike Ramachandra in wishing the world all well by the grace of sri. Ramachandra. The word Raghava means "Sins having been got rid, the desired things are granted" and Haridas's like Gopala Das have explained this fact giving meaning of each letter in his name and Appanna Charya, the most loved disciple of Raghavendra has sung the eficiency of the Mantra "SUM SRI RAGHAVENDRA NAMAHA" consisting the miraculous eight lettered mantra " Raghavendraya Namaha" as capable of granting the desired thing.
Raghavendra was great in every respect. He was a Sidda Purusha (God realised person). His writings were as eloquent as his speech and Vadeendra Teertha, the fifth descendent and great grand son compares the tongue of Sri. Raghavendra as the stage on which Goddess Saraswathi danced while the perfumed flowers from her hair-do fell on the tongue (the stage) rendering his speech and writing filled with perfume entitling him to be known as Parimala Charya, Raghavendra could install faith in those who looked at him and were sure of his guidance to "Mukthi".
Raghavendra was a celestial come down to earth. Every inch he was a Bhagavotattama ('A' Class Vishnu
Bhaktha) and having got rid of his PRARABDHA (the unerasable sufferings) in the form of severest poverty, he was now on the path to gain punya to be given away to those who would approach him. Raghavendra's day would start long before the dawn to the sweet songs of PRAISE BY HIS DEVOTEED.
Swa miji would wake up and pray to God and come out for giving darshan to the devotees waiting outside. He would chant the morning Stotras and bathe in the Cauvery. He would systematically utter the Ashtakshara, Shadakshara, Dwadasa Akshara mantras and take a mud bath and purify himself with a purifying bath in the waters of Cauvery. He would offer the Arghya to Gods and then putting on the saffron robes, he would decorate his body with "Gopi Chandana Nama (caste marks all over the body and wear the impressions, the weapons of Lord Vishnu (Mudra Darane) and chant the pranava mantra and participate in
purana sravana (hearing the spics). He would prostrate before the Brindavan of his Parama Guru (Guru's
Guru) Vijayeendra Teertha and reach the Mutt bowing to Lord Kumbeshwara.
He would then given lessons on Brahma Sutra in a most acceptable form to Lord Sri Hari. These Brahma Sutras are often wrongly interpreted by other Schools of thought not acceptable to Lord Sri Hari. His proficiency in mastering the knowledge contained in the Brahma Sutras was the result of Raghavendra's sincere study of scriptures in the light of Acharya Madhava's teachings explained by jaya Teertha and made easy by Sri. Vyasa Teertha his own incarnation years ago. Therefore, Raghavendra Teertha's hold on the subject was excellent.
One day a Pandit of eminence came to the Mutt and challenged Raghavendra in metaphysical
argument trying to establish that God and the Man was the same entity and the Madhva School of thought that God and Man are two different entities and man was always inferior and servant of God was wrong. Raghavendra with his uncanning supremacy in the vedic knowledge defeated his opponent with all logical conclusions and established the supremacy of Lord Vishnu as enunciated by Vyasa Teertha or Chandrika Acharya described Hari as in his sloka Sriman Madhva Mathe Harih Para Taraha (Sri Hari is the greatest and jeevo Bheda Ganaha, Hareranucharaha (Souls are different and followers of Hari). The opponent belonging to the opposite School of thought accepted his defeat and went away. The disciples in the Mutt who witnessed the great debate were all praise for the Swamiji. He was the very "Vagdevi" in the form of Raghavendra.
The Swamiji would give lessons till the mid-day and prepare once again for bath and pooja. He
would worship Moola Rama, Garuda Vahana, Lakshmi Narayana and Digvijaya Rama and jaya Rama along with Sri Krishna prepared in gold by himself. The wroship would go on as prescribed in sashtras. After daily worship, he would take the Teertha (Holy water) and take his Bikhsha (alms in the form of meals). He would next attend to the teachings of Grammar and logic and later discuss matters of Vedanta with Pandits and offer everything at the end of the day to Lord Sri Krishna as the piece of worship of the particular day.
In the evening, he would take the evening bath and offer the evening prayers to his most beloved Moola Ramachandra offering him milk and fruits and give Arathi in a golden plate. His attachment to his God Moola Rama Devaru was so great that often he would go into a trance. He would sing the Lord (s) glory with an emotion and with his composition "Indu Enage govinda - Ninnaya Padaravindva Thoro Mukundane" (Oh! Lord Govinda show me your lotus like feet. Hey Mukunda"). The song is full of devotion praying His support and sustenance and succor as none could save him. He compiled the song by
praying to Venugopala to see him safely across the shore. One should hear that song set to 'Bairavi' Rag to know the depth of his knowledge in music and rapturous sweetness in the song. It was very difficult to describe his devotion Blessed were the people of those times who heard him, saw him and who is second to none in devotion in the world of devotees.
14. TANJORE TOUR
As the days passed, chola Mandala experienced political unrest. Internecine wars started and the king experienced hard times. The Kingdom experienced plunder and accession and a terrible famine followed. The king spent his money from his own coffers. But the famine did not abate. He approached Raghavendra Teeratha and prayed for his kind indulgence in the welfare of his subjects. The Swamiji readily consented and stayed at Tanjore for 12 years and came to the succur of the people and the king. The Swamiji with his miraculous powers was able to save the people. The king who was all gratful offered a jewelled nacklace to Swamiji and the same was put by Swamiji in the Fire of Sacrifice as the Swamiji was a great Viragi person of great renunciation. The king felt insulted when he saw his presentation thrown into fire. TheSwamiji knew his (King's) disturbances in mind and prayed to Parasu Rama, the indsweller of Fire God, and showed his amazing powers by getting it back. The king realised that Raghavendra Swami was not an ordinary ascetic but the one who possessed divine powers. Swamiji returned to Kumbakonam.
15. MIRACLES CONTINUED
It is one of the injunctions of Sanyasis to move constantly and spread the gospel of truth, greatness of God and duties of human beings to God and Community. So travelling was a must. Raghavendra Swamiji also undertook a tour and the first tour was towards the East.
Even on torus, the daily routine of the Swamiji was not changed. His lessons in the scriptures would continue and in big Metropolises, these would be religious debates and the Pandits would flock and carry on religious debates and show their knowledge in the Vedas and other allied topics in the Religion and philosophy. These are referred as Vakyarthas and the explanations one renders is termed Anuvada. Each Pandit exhibits his depth of knowledge and in recognition to their proficiency, the Swamiji would grant them suitable rewards and honors and cash awards called Sambhavanas. He visited the Paripurna Nagara, Kamalalaya and Ardha Nareeshwara and finally reached the spot where Cauvery joins the sea. He returned to Rameshwar, bathed at the Sethu Bandhan, Darba Sayana and Sethu Madhawa of hallowed glory as the last point on the South India from where Rama crossed the sea and fought Ravana. Anantha Padmanabha Swamy and reached the banks of Tamraparni. There lived a Brahmin, who was harassed by the co- members of the Community and the Brahmin was ex-communicated by them. Swamiji purified him by
sprinkling the Sankhodaka (water from the conch shell) and made him to join the other Brahmins, who were happy to welcome him amongst them.
Swamiji's next visit was to Madhurai. It was a great education centre in those days. Tirumalai Naik was the Ruler of the place (1623-1659 A.D). Neelakanta dixit grand son of Appayya Dixit, a very well learned man and a contemporary of Vijayendra Teertha, Swamiji's Paramaguru, was the Minister of Tirumalai Naik. He was also a very learned and a top Adwaitee, opposed to the School of thought
preached by Madhwacharya. All Adwaitees are followers of Bhatta Mimamsa Sashtras and
Neelakanta Dixit tried his best to test Swamiji's hold on Mimamsa Sashtra. Raghavendra Swamy was a scholar. He had compiled Bhatta Mimamsa. Neelakanta Dixit was surprised at the learning and had the book written by Swamjiji, seated on the Howdah of the State elephant and arranged a devoted procession in the streets of Madhurai. The swamiji paid his respects to Sundareshwarar and Meenakshi Amman and proceeded to Sri Ranga, the abode of Ranganatha from where he began his Northern tour.
16. AT VELLORE (Tamil Nadu)
Raghavendra Swamiji worshipped Sri Narasimha at Namakal and reached vellore. Vellore was the then capital of the latter Vijiayanagar kings, Venkatapathi Raju and Ramadeva Raju. Veerabadra and Bairava Bhatta were two Shiva Pandits who were there, were known for their scholarship in Adwaitha Sashtra. Naturally a religious debate followed between the Scholars and Raghavendra Swamiji was as usual successful in establishing the Madva School of thought as supreme. The king felt very happy and having been impressed with the erudition, he made a grant of villages and lands in the particular part of the country. With this, the tour of South India, was almost over.
17. AT UDUPI (South Canara District)
Raghavendra Swamiji finished Southern tour and started his tour in South Canara district. This was the place formerly ruled by king jayasimha who had worshipped Sri Madhvacharya. Raghavendra Swamiji went to Vishnu Mangala and form there to Subramanya, another celebrated pilgrim centre in the part of the country. Swamiji's next halt was at Udupi, the abode of Lord Sri Krishna. Here his Paramaguru, Sri Vijayendra Teertha had acquired a small Mutt in front of the Temple in those days. The Swamiji stayed there. He was very very happy to see Lord Krishna installed by Madhvacharya. His devotion increased and he danced in devotion Sri Krishna. He had a very special liking to the form of Sri Krishna Akruthi. One of the manifestations of Lord Narayana, Krishna is the God worshipped in the present Kaliyuga, Swamiji took a pen name of "Venugopala" and composed songs of devotion. Here in Udupi, he took to the task of writing books which are a part of his mission. He started writing a commentary on Chandrika called Prakasha on
Chandrika. But changed over to write Nyaya Mukthavali which tries to summarise the discussions of theological matters. He later wrote Tantra Deepika and "Parimala" was the next book. This Book is a Gloss on "Sriman Nyaya Sudha" the magnum-opus of Sri Jaya Teertha. If Sudha is the divine nectar, the Parimala is the fragrant perfume of the celestial elixir. There is a saying in Sanskrit "Sudhava Pathaneeya, Vasudha waPaalaneeya" meaning that one should either sutdy Sudha or rule the land if one lived a life of a human being in this world. Such is the greatness of that book, Sriman Nyaya Sudha. To write a gloss on that great book is not possible to ordinary scholars. Raghavendra Swamiji alone could do it as ae was en erudite scholar and the name "Parimalacharya" befits him. He now completed prakasha and Chandrika and dedicated all his works to Udupi Sri Krishna. The Swamiji made a golden idol of Sri Krishna holding churning stick hanging in his hand and worshipped by the successive Peethadhipatis who have come in his line.
18. MYSORE VISITED
Further tours saw Raghavendra Swamy in the precincts of Mysore and the Ruler then was Doddadeva Raja, the ruler from Srirangapatnam, his capital nearby. Vibhudendra Teertha a former pontiff had been honoured by the kings of Mysore. The Swamiji stayed at Srirangapatnam, the capital of his Chaturmasya Deeksha that year. The king gave two villages as gift to Swamiji. They are Nallur and Devearajapura. The swamiji finished his Chaturmasya deeksha and then went to the North. He passed through Chirtradurga this was the place where a worthy "anecdote" is recorded. One of the attendants of Swamiji would often request for "Mukthi" or final liberation. The Swamiji who had stayed there for sometime, asked the attendent whether he was serious about "Mukthi which he often asked. The Attendent was overjoyed and then the Swamiji asked him whether he would do what he asked of him. The attendant replied in affirmative. The Swamiji asked him to bathe and come after Sandhya Vandanam, a daily ritual. He did like-wise and the Swamiji gave him Pancha Guava, a purifactory liquid. Then he got a fire erected and initiated Beejakshara Mantra and asked the attendant to plunge into the burning fire. The attendant reverentially bowed to Swamiji and took the dust from his feet in great devotion on his head and plunged into the blazing fire without any hesitation. The fire engulfed him and he was reduced to ashes. The critics of Swamiji had killed actually an innocent attendant wrongly making him believe that he would attain Mukthi. They thought that it was devilish pleasure of the Swamiji. But all their criticism was silenced as they heard a bell ringing when the attendant seated in a brilliant heavenly plane was moving towards other worlds - the moksha; he had desired. The world came to know that Swamiji was capable of recommending one to go to the Moksha, (Mokshadata is Sri Hari only and Vayudevaru also a Mokshadata with the
permission of Sri Hari). So the fame of Sri Raghavendra Teertha spread as he could show to the world of his brilliant capacity.
Raghavendra Teertha toured North Karnataka latter. He worshipped veera Narayana at Gadag and reached Kiritagiri. A rich landlord at Kiritagiri named Venkata Desai invited Swamiji for the Bhiksha in his house. It was a mid summer, the season of mangoes in abundance. Mango juice was extracted and kept in a sump to be served as a dish of delicacy at the time of serving the food. The pooja was over and the devotees were entertained to Teertha Prasada the devotional lunch, When the Swamiji visits a Grahasta. Unfortunately, the young son of Desai slipped and fell into the sump and died. The agony of the Grahastha, the desai, was indescribable. But he kept quiet lest the invitees for Teertha Prasada would go away without food. So after their lunch was over, the Garhastha and his wife were called for teertha, the holy water. He broke into a great sorrow and wept. The Swamiji ascertained the cause of his grief. He bade him to bring the dead child and sprinkled holy water over the dead body of the young lad. He brought back, the young lad to life. The Desai was greatly elated with joy. He made over the village of Kiritagiri in the Swamiji's name and uttered the words "Krishnarpanam" (Let Lord Krishna be pleased with this offer). Kriritagiri thence forth became the property of the Mutt. A similar revial of life was performed by the Swamiji when one of his attendants had died on the day of his nuptials. It was apamruthyu (accidental death). The Swamiji has powers to restore life when people died of accident. Another example is the revial into life the son of the Nawab of Savanoor who had died of a snake bite. The Nawab greatfully offered Krishnapur and other villages as gift to the Mutt.
Veera Saivas are the worshippers of Shiva. They hate Vaishnavas. They wanted to test Raghavendra Swamy. The Desai of Shirasangi a Veera saiva, was troubling the Brahmins. The Swamiji came to that place on a tour. He placed a long dry deadwood piece (Musalam) and said to the Swamiji that if he made it sprout by his Mantras, then he would believe that Brahmins were not hypocrites. Swamiji wanted to show the high efficacy of vedic mantras. He made ti sprout into a green plant. It was a miracle. From then onwards, Veera saiva Desai changed his attitude towards Brahmins.
19. AT PANDARIPURA
The miracles performed by the Swamiji are many. On the way to Pandaripura, the wife of one of his attendants was delivered of a child where no shed and water were available. The Swamiji provided both and the mother felt very happy.
During this tour, he met another Scholar Shesha and defeated him in a reilgious debate. A book called "Vag Vaikhari" by his paramanguru, Sri Vijayendra Teertha was made use of by Sri Raghavendra
Teertha to silence Sesha. The Swamiji visited Pandaripura and worshipped Sri Panduranga. Visited Kolhapur and then Nasik. Swamiji bathed in the Godavari river and on the way saved a Brahmin who was almost going to die on the way bereft of food and water.
His next place to visit was Bijapur. It was ruled by the Muslim king lbrahmim Adul Shahll. The
Nawab had a great religious tolerance. He worshipped the Swamiji and gave him the title "Jagath Guru" and gave a Royal emblem of "White Umbrella".
The next place of religious tour was allur on the banks of River Krishna. There, he wrote a
commentary on TATWA PRAKASHIKA and Tatva Manjari, a gloss on Sutra Anu Bhashya. He reached Mandavi in Raichur district. The days of chaturmasya diksha had commenced then and he was writing a book, while writing a book he saw a low caste (Harijan) standing aside. Swamiji spoke to him and after a chit-chat with him, he asked him to do some service to God. Next day, the Harijan brought a handful mustard seeds and offered the same to Swamiji so as to offer the same to Lord Sri Hari. Those were the days when mustard seeds are not used in cooking. But his devotion made the Swamiji to accept it and ordered the cooks to use in the food, the left over food was given to the Harijan who ate it and died. This was Kanaka dasa in his previous birth in the times of Vyasa Teertha, the Swamiji's former incarnation. The Swamiji released the Soul of kanakadasa in the form of a Harijan in this incarnation.
One day a learned man called Srinivasa charya Bidarahalli came to Swamiji. He was asked to par-
take the Teertha Prasada and there he found mustard seeds in the food preparations. Since mustard seeds are not to be used, Srinivasaharya did not take his food. The Swamiji ordered special food preparations without mustard seeds. Srinivasa Charya then took leave of the Swamiji receiving Mantrakshethe (special particles of coloured rice given by Swamiji when the devotees take leave). He went home but his face showed no brightness and his elder brother Yadavaraya felt that he had done something to invite a sin. On enquiry, he found that Srinivasacharya had refused to take the mustard seeds contained in the food preparations. His brother told him that he had offended the Swamiji and hence lost the facial brightness and on observing Mantrakshathe brought by him, both found that they had turned black. The elder brother impressed on the younger Acharya that he had offended the Swamiji. He said that he ought not to have rejected food preparations containing mustard seeds as they had been offered to Moola Rama. So he asked him to take his steps back and apologize to Swamiji who could excuse him. Swamiji pardoned him and asked him to partake food once again in the Mutt, Moola Ramachandra Prasada and be done away with his sin. Srinivasacharya did it and got the blessings of Swamiji.
This episode brings home that the customs and practices of the learned are to be followed by us and take the ways of learned people as our guides in life. We should not create our own rules and regulations as we are too insignificant and will definitely invite the anger of the noble souls if we follow the ways of our own in observing rituals, customs and traditions. The incidence of Srinivasacharya should remain an "Eye-opener" to all vain orthodox people who care more for outward exhibition of their orthodoxy going to the extent of insulting the noble sages like Raghavendra Teertha. We often find that one Section of Brahmins disagreeing with the customs and conventions of an another section of the same community often coming to sorrow by wending the feelings of noble men. Greatness is to be respected wherever it is present as God likes nobility and teaches a lesson to all those who try to insult sage like persons.
Raghavendra Teertha had blessed but Srinivasa Charya had insulted not the Guru but Moola Ramachandra who showed his wrath on him. It is said that if the God is angry, the Guru can come to our rescue but if the Guru is angry with us, even the God will not save us. Therefore, it is a matter of prime importance that the Guru always be pleased with our conduct. Here Ramachandra took it into his head that Srinivasacharya should disgraced and it was Guru Raghavendra Swamiji that came to his rescue. That is why Raghavendra Swamiji is extolled as "RAGHAVENDRA GURAVE NAMOATYANTADAYALAVE". He is the kindest sage one can think of in this world now.
Swamiji touched a place called Kandanathi and an orphan brahmin boy called Venkanna by name became very devoted to Swamiji. The boy had none to look him after. He was eking out his living by being a cow-herd. Swamiji blessed him and asked the boy to remember him in times of difficulty.
That time soon came to the orphan boy Venkanna. In those days, Advani (Now Adoni) was ruled by one Siddi Masood Khan a feudatory Lord subordinated to Bijapur Sultan. He came to Venkanna's village. He received a letter which he could not read. He asked Venkanna, the cow-herd, to read the letter. But Venkanna could not read as he was an illiterate boy. The feadatory Lord commanded him to read because he was a Brahmin Boy-He also threatened him that he would kill him if he did not know what to do. He could not read and he could not escapethe wrath of the Nawab of Adwani. So he remembered Raghavendra Swamiji and prayed for his help. Lo! he could read and the letter contained good news for the Nawab of Advani. His men had been victorious in a siege in the neighboring region and the Nawab was over whelmed with joy. Guru Raghavendra Swamiji's blessings had started pouring on the orphan the Brahmin boy. The Nawab invited Venkanna to be his Diwan. Orphan Venkanna who was cowherd became
Dewan Venkanna, or the trusted counselor of the Nawab of Adoni. He was happy. He waited once again to see the Swamiji person and tell him how he had risen to the great status in life.
The Swamiji visited many places of pilgrimage and finally visited Srimushna, the place had been visited by Madwa Charya and a lake by name "Danda Teertha" is still there to commemmorate the visit of Madhvacharya to that place. At last, he reached Kumbakonam. The people of Kumbakonam welcomed the Swamiji in the traditional way of offering "Purna Kumba". Every house offered the Arasthi and the Swamiji was happy that he had an abundant grace of Lord Sri Hari. The administration of Chakrapani and Sarangapani temples were given to Ahobala Mutt and gave away the administration of Kumbheshwar for Nava Brindavan and worshipped his own Guru Sudhindra Teertha in the Brindavan there and returned to Adwani.
20. AT ADWANI (Now Adoni)
Siddi Masood Khan was a feudatory Lord of Adwani. The former cow-herd by name Venkanna was the Diwan of Adwani. Venkanna was over joyed that his Guru was coming. The Nawab knew that Raghavendra Swamy had been honoured by the Nawab of Bijapur and the feudatory Lord was presented to the Swamiji by the Nawab of Bijapur in great devotion. A mischievous idea entered into the head of Siddi Masood Khan, the feudatory Lord of Adwani to test the capacities of Guru Raghavendra Teertha. Guru Raghavendra Swamiji was welcomed on a grand scale and after the usual inquiries of welfare, Venkanna told the Swamiji that he was very grateful to Swamiji for up-filling him to a great status in life. The swamiji hinted to Venkanna that Venkanna would be required to do a great service in the days to come to him. The Swamiji was happy that Venkanna was a very sincere devotee who remembered him with a great gratitude. The next day the Nawab visited Swamiji. But he came with a mischievous intention of testing the capabilities of Guruji. He brought silver plates consisting of plates full of mutton covered by an artistic cloth to conceal the contents and requested the Swamiji to offer the food brought by him to God. The Mutton is a 'Taboo' for Brahmins. How could it be offered to Moola Rama, the Greatest God of Gods worshipped by the greatest celestials. He being the Supreme of the Supremes. Could the Swamiji do this great umbrage to his lord?
The Swamiji smiled. He knew the mischief. He sprinkled holy waters on the cloth covered and
asked the attendants to remove the cloth. The whole contents had been converted into flowers and fruits fit to be offered to the deity of his worship. The Nawab was crest fallen. He could see the divine powers vested in Sri Raghavendra Swamiji and prostrated on the feet of the Swamiji and begged for a pardon for
his willful act. The Swamiji being the kindest in heart, pardoned the Nawab and blessed him. The pooja programme of the day was conducted in a grand manner by the offering given by the Nawab.
21. GRANT OF THE VILLAGE MANCHALA TO SRI RAGHAVENDRA SWAMY
The Nawab of Adwani wanted to give a permanent gift to the Swamiji in all his devotion. He
thought that grant of a village exclusively to the Swamiji would be the fittest honour he could do to the Swamiji and asked his Diwan, Venkanna if he could do so. Venkanna was very happy and when told the Swamiji about the desire of the Nawab, the Swamiji was also equally happy. The Swamiji asked the village Manchala or Mantralayam as it is called now on the banks of the river Tungabhadra to be give to him. It was a useless village and had been given away to a Kaji. Venkanna begged to Swamiji to opt for a better village but the Swamiji insisted that he prefered village Manchala only as he was not bothered about the fertility or otherwise of the village. He expressed that he would be very happy in the village Manchala. Venkanna in turn informed the Nawab that Swamiji prefered the grant of Manchala village only. The Kaji who had been given the village of manchala was to surrender the village Manchala and the same was given away to the Swamiji. Venkanna himself supervised the gifting process according to religious rites and Manchala from thence-force came into the possession of Raghavendra Teertha Swamiji.
22. SASAREERA BRINDAVANA PRAVESHA
(ENTER INTO BRANDAVANA BODILY IN 1671 A.D.)
Raghavendra Swamiji chose Manchala or Mantralayam as his last place to leave as the days of his incarnation slowly came to conclusion. He built a temple for Lord Venkateshwara by whose blessings he had been born. Venkanna paid frequent visits to Manchala to enquire the welfare to Swamiji. One day, Swamiji took Venkanna, the Diwan, to the banks of Tungabhadra and asked him to dig at a particular place. Venkanna did so and found a "Homakunda" (a sacrifical fire place). Venkanna was amazed. The Swamiji told him that this place he had performed a sacrifice in the days of Krithayuga in his incarnation as Prahalada and Manchalamma or Mantralayambike was their family deity and he had chosen manchala as he loved it so much all these years. And this was the place where in the Dwapara Yuga, there was a bitter fight between Anusalva and Arjuna during the Aswamedha Sacfice. Arjuna could not defeat Anusalva as his chariot was on the Homakunda. On Krishna 's advice. Sri Krishna made Arjuna to move a little backward when Anusalva's chariot too left the point and become vulnerable and Arjuna defeated him. Such was the importance of the place, the Homakunda. Venkanna was very happy to know the Swamiji's previous incarnation and at the same time he was sorry to know that the Swamiji was soon to complete the present incarnation.
Soon the month of Ashada in the particular year Virodhikrit came off and it was the time for
Chatur Masya Diksha. Days rolled on. Month of Srawan set in and the Swamiji worshipped Mantralayam bike, the village deity, who was no other than Goddess Durga. She appeared herself before the Swamiji and blessed the Swamiji. She also promised that she would stay in Manchala and carry on her work as ordered by Sri Hari through Swamiji. She suggested sculptures in the pillars in the sanctum sanctorum even now and Manchalamma or Mantralayam bike is worshipped even now in the village and pilgrims offer worship to Goddess Durgadevi in the form of Machallamma to get easy access to Raghavendra Swamy's favors and blessings.
The Swamiji chose the second day of the dark half of the month of Srawan for his disappearance from this world. But meanwhile, he was educating his followers about the great event. He sent for his near relatives, the grandson of his elder brother Gururajachar in his day before intiation. His name was also Venkannachar. He was vairagi (not interested in wordily life). So, the Swamiji chose him to be his successor and initiated him into the Sanyas and called him 'Yogindra Teertha' and he was to function as the Supreme Pontiff later and we commanded Venkanna to do what all necessary to see that Yogindra Teertha remained the Head of the Pontificate and serve God and Community. The Swamiji next commanded a
masonary piece of work called 'Brindavan' to be his abode. Diwan Venkanna did get one prepare as desired by the Swamiji. But the Swamiji said that it be reserved for a later Swamiji coming in the same line of his and bade Venkanna to procure a stone lying in the fields at Madhwaram, a village, nearby. This stone was of special significance to him as Lord Ramachandra had sat on that stone, in his wanderings in Dandakaranya searching Seethadevi his consort. The stone was brought, chiselled suitably and a beautiful Brindavan was thus made. A part of the same stone was made use of to prepare the figure of Lord Vayudevaru, the trusted servant of Lord Ramachandra.
The fixed date for the entry into"Brindava n" bodily came off. It was an exciting time. The devotees would not be able to see the Swamiji in person as they were used to hitherto, grief largely writ on every face because one cannot imagine to be living without seeing the gracious looks of Swamiji which brought peace and prosperity and comfort. The Swamiji's entry into Brindavan would deprive every-one all the real treasure in their possession all these days. But the divine decrees of God go on whether one likes it or not and Raghavendra Swamy a true servant of Lord Sri Hari was just obeying God's decrees. The second day of the dark half of the month of Srawan (Sravana Bahula Dwithiya of the year Virudhikruth in 1671
A.D. dawned. That was the last day of the appearance of Sri Raghavendra Swamy. Sri Raghavencra Swamiji went through the daily rituals that day and set in his " Asana" and spoke to the desiciples telling them that it was his last day and asked his listners not to grive or feel anxious when he would disappear in the Brindavan. He told them that he was not going to part with his body and he would physically be present to safeguard the welfare of all. He would stay there not to be seen but carry out the mission to which he had come as ordered by Sri Hari. "God be with you" he blessed them. He asked Venkanna to cause 1200
Saligramas put in the Brindavan and the day's worhsip of Moola rama Devaru being over, the Teertha was given to all and all the devotees were given Mantrakshate. He talked to Vemkanna and ordered him to cause the stones kept all around him in the Brindavan and when they reached his head, he asked all the 1200
Saligramas to be kept over the head and close the Brindavan with some earth. In the afternoon as the
auspicious time tickled, the Swamiji set in Yoga and controlling his breath went into Dyana Samadhi thinking of God Sri Venugopala Krishna, all through, as the Brahmins around him chanted Vedic slokas and Hari Dasa sung the glory of Swamiji. It was a very emotional time. Each devotee was found in his tears. People hardly talked as their throats had choked. The stones all around Swamiji went up and 1200
Saligramas were placed on the head and over that earth was spread and the final lid was put on. The
Swamiji thus entered the Brindavan bodily" SASAREERA BRINDAVANA PRAVESHA" exactly 324 years ago as on 12-8-1995 as these lines are written in this book. Praise to the Holy Saint Raghavendra
Teertha, glory to Raghavendra Teertha, the helper of all, the protector of all. May he be with us all the time and shower his blessing on all of us.
That day was celebrated as "Maha Samaradhane". The Brahmins were fed sumptuously and Yogindra Teertha gave "Sambhavana", cash awards to Brahmins and worshipped his Guru Raghavendra with a charama sloka last words): which are as follows.
DURAVAADI DHWANTA RAVAYE VAISHAVENDI VARENDAVE SRI RAGHAVENDRA GURAVE NAMO ATYANTA DAYALAVE"
obeisance to Sri Guru Raghavendra Swamiji, the kindest, the dark dispelling Sun of the bad systems of
Philosophy and the Moon of Vaishanava devotee lotuses.
What a be-fitting charama sloka to the most noble clestial who had come down to the uplift of man kind!
23. SRI SWAMIJI IN THE BRINDAVAN
HIS UNABATED CONTINUANCE OF ANUGRAHA (BLESSING)
Three centuries have rolled away since the swamiji's entry bodily into the Brindavan and the four- undredth year has begun in 1971 A.D.
Devotees visit Mantralayam all through the year, worship Sri Swamiji in the Brindavan and get their wishes granted and return happily. Miracles as they are, the Swamiji's Grace continues un-abated. He is in and though is invisible to us, answers all our Prayers and continues to do so for many more years to come as He Himself has declared that fact to the astrologers who calculated his longevity. Evidences are many and are recorded.
Bichhale is a small village on the other shore of River Tungabhadra a couple of miles away from Mantralayam APPANNACHARYA, one of the residents of that village was a very pious Brahmin deeply attached to Sri Rayaru (Swamiji). It is said that he is an attendant incarnating along with Sri Rayaru. He knew that Sri Rayaru would be entering the Brindavan and wanted to see his Guru for the last time. He started for Mantralayam, but the river Tungabhdra in full floods had to be crossed to reach Mantralayam. No bridge was there. He started swimming extolling the glory of his Guru composing a paneygric (Stotra) in sanskrit extempore. The stotra is a mantraraja capable of pleasing Sri Rayaru which the devotees chant even to day. He reached safe the shore this side and rushed to the Brindavan. Alas! The last stone had just been laid. He was just late by a minute and missed seeing his Guru. His agony being indescrible his stotra stopped abruptly as his voice chocked with deep emotion. But Lo! the composition got completed with a loud testification from the Brindavan 'Saakshi Hayasyatrahi' meaning that what all had been eulogized assuring the worshippers their desires fulfillment would materialize, Lord Hayagriva witnessing the Panegyrie.
Appanacharya reconciled and completed the stotra telling that his composition was by the Grace of Sri Rayaru only, and that Sri Rayaru would be a Kalpa Vruksha to his worshippers and a Kamadhenu to those who prostrated to him in the Brindavan. It is a great prophecy and it is verified to be true even to day and continues to be so for times immemorial.
Appanacharya composed a further eight verses later termed Mangalashtaka' and offered worship
and got blessed.
Every devotee, learns by heart this mantraraja and is blessed by Guru raja our Swamiji in the
24. SRI VADEENDRA THEERTHARU
Sri Raghavendra Swamy desired a Brindavanam to be made for him, and Diwan Venkanna got one made. But the Swamiji ordered it to be reserved for a future pontiff that would come to the pontificate.
He asked Diwan Venkanna to use the stone at Madhwaram fields for making a Brindavanam to
him as the stone had been hallowed by a touch of Sri Ramachandra who had sat on it searching Sri
Sitamata, This we see even to day as Moola Brindavanam at Mantralaya.
Adjacent to the Moola Brindavan we see another Brindavan the Brindavanam of Sri Vadeentheertharu, a great grand son of Sri Rayaru, fifth descendant after Sri Rayaru in the Pontificate. He belongs to 18th Century. He was a great scholar and was as ardent devotee of his great grand father Sri Rayaru, His 'Gurugunasthavana' of 36 verses composed in sanskrit is a master piece composition and he sand it near the Brindavan. The whole Moola Brindavan nodded in appreaciation of the scholartic work. Sri Rayaru had been immensely pleased.
Sri Rayaru has given a special place of recongition to Sri Vadeendraru, by keeping him by his side. Devotees worship Sri Vadeendraru also as they offer Pradakshina (going in circles) simultaneously when they go to round the Moola Brindavana, Sri Vijayadasaru great devotee of Dasapantha opines that Sri Vadeendra Theertharu as the incarnation of Devaguru Sri Brihaspathi Acharya and Sri Vadeendratheertharu functions are as the minister, almost a P.A. to the Swamiji in the Brindavana.
Blessed is Sri Vadeendraru. He was just a boy of about 2 years when Sri Rayaru entered Brindavana. But Sri Rayaru knew his capabilities and earmaked a special position of favour to him in the years to come.
25. SRI VIJAYA DASARU
Sri Vijaya Dasaru is another great devotee of Sri Hari, who appeared in our religious history much later. Born in poverty, bread in poverty, he was personified Poverty begging every meal. But he was sage "Bhrigumaharshi" incarnated now (Bhrigu Maharshi had established the supremacy of Lord Vishnu when he was commissioned by an assembly of rishis to report who was the greatest God of Gods.)
One of the pontifs in the lineage of decendants of Sri Rayaru, Sri Vasudhendra Theertharu was Vijaya dasas's contemporary. Dasa movement which had declined was revived by Vijaya by Vijaya dasa. He was inspired by Sri Raghavendra Swamiji to effect the revival and the Moola Brindavan at Mantralaya was his source of inspiration. He eulogized Sri Rayaru as a great Bhagavatottama and sone the glory of Sri
Rayaru by a intution which is being experienced now. Vijaya dasa disclosed the extraordinary Powers of
Moola Brindavana and the greatness of Sri Rayaru ever present there in.
26. SRI JAGANNATHA DASARU
Jagannatha Dasaru, is another celebrated Hari Dasaru who has spread the name and fame of Sri Rayaru, in
Jagnnatha Dasaru went by the name Srinivasacharya, a profound scholar, but a vain Pandit. He offended Vijayadasa only to be blessed by him to get a further lease on his longevity. His life had come to an end and Vijaya dasa caused him a transfer of 40 years of life from the life of his disciple Gopal dasa. Sri Hari Kathamrutasara is a magnum opus, and encyclopaedia of the doctrine of Sri Madhwa, all in vernacular- Kannada the common man's understandable language.
It is said that he was no other than the younger brother of prince Prahaladha, who could talk to Sri
Rayaru in his Brindavana. He has sung the glory of Sri Rayaru and His Grace to the multitudes.
27. SIR THOMAS MUNORE
The English had come to trade in Bharath, and they held a sway throgh their East India Company. Sir Thomas Munore was one of their officers, who was asked to resume Mantralaya an endowment village granted to maintain the Mutt and temple at Mantralaya.
He came on his duty to resume. He was a noble soul. Sri Rayaru emerged from the Brindavan
and convinced him about the irrevocability of the endowment and disppeared into the Brindavan giving him
'Mantrakshate' Sri Rayaru was visible to Mr. Munore only and not to other. This episode is recorded in the Madras Gazatteer in the First quarter of 19th Century, copy of which can be persued even to day in the records at the Collectorate at Anantapur.
Such is the greatness of Sri Raghavendra Thirtha Swamiji and words fail to describe his greatness.
A foreigner, a follower of another religion had the good fortune of being blessed by Sri Rayaru.