Padma Shree award for Sri Bannanje Govindacharya

Sri Bannanje Govindacharya has been awarded the Padma Shri for 2009 for his contribution to “Literature and Education”. This is a proud moment for all Madhvas. Sri Bannanje Govindacharya is one of the greatest Madhva scholars of this generation. His books and lectures are an outstanding source of information and inspiration to all Madhvas. He also has an excellent research mindset and has done amazing work in bringing out several unique facets of Sri Madhva’s philosophy.

He was also the consultant for the movie ‘Madhvacharya’ directed by Sri G V Iyer.

Truly a deserving award for Sri Bannanje!

The fall of Duryodhana

There are many incidents in the Mahabharata which, unfortunately, have not been brought forth correctly in today’s media (print, TV, etc). Consequently, wrong impressions are spreading about the great characters of Mahabharata. One of the favorite weapons of the bashers of the Pandavas is to note the methods used to kill Bhishma, Drona, Karna and others. People get great pleasure villifying Pandavas and projecting Duryodhana and his team as reasonable (even good) people. The fact of the matter is that Duryodhana was the avatar of Kali and he was “very” evil. Period.

In the original Mahabharata itself, there are clear references to many incidents which indicate that no  “tricks” were used by Pandavas to win the war. At least on two ocassions, the Pandavas approach Bhishma and Drona asking them how they could be defeated (killed). Bhishma indicates to them that he will not fight a non-male and Drona says that he can be killed if he is made to lose interest in everything. Bhishma and Drona are killed with their permission!

Another of the episodes highlighted very wrongly is the final battle between Duryodhana and Bhimasena.If one sees the incident in the popular TV serial Mahabharata, it will not be a surprise if first time viewers perceive Duryodhana as the great and honest hero who is deceitfully killed by Bhimasena. Sri Madhvacharya has once again brought out the truth in his Tatparya Nirnaya. Surprisingly, I was going through the original Mahabharata and many of the following points are mentioned even there! It is still surprising how wrong stories spread.

  • After Shalya is killed, Duryodhana runs away and hides in a pond. This technique is called Jala Sthambana
  • His goal is to complete some repetitions of mantras (thousands of them) learnt from Sage Durvasa. Success in this would have enabled him to revive his entire army and made him invisible.
  • Some locals watch Ashwathama, Kripa and Krutavarma having a conversation with Duryodhana and report this to the Pandavas.
  • Pandavas come and challenge him to come out and fight. He tries to fool them by saying he has lost interest in life. He actually wants to finish chanting the mantras.
  • Yudhisthira (quite unlike him), chastises and berates Duryodhana heavily. Finally, Duryodhana is left with no option and comes out.
  • Yudhishthira next makes a critical mistake. He offers several options to Duryodhana. Duryodhana can choose anyone to fight, any weapon of his. If he defeats even one Pandava, he gets back everything and Pandavas go to the forest once again.
  • Krishna expresses extreme displeasure at this. But Duryodhana chooses Bhimasena only. If he had chosen anyone else, Pandavas would have lost.
  • Sri Madhva has clarified that since the thinking ability of an individual is also completely controlled by Paramatma, Krishna ensured that Duryodhana chose Bhima only!
  • A very good battle ensues between the two. Duryodhana is beaten badly several times.
  • Bhimasena had earlier vowed to break both the thighs of Duryodhana and kill him.
  • Towards the end of the battle, Duryodhana tries to play a trick. He tries “Avasthana” – some sort of a somersault. Just when Duryodhana is in the inverted position, Bhimasena hits him right between the thighs below the back. Both his legs become dysfunctional.
  • According to the rules of engagement in mace-fighting during those days, one was not supposed to hit below the waist. Bhimasena never breaks this rule! Duryodhana foolishly turns upside down and brings about his own downfall.
  • Bhimasena crushes Duryodhana’s face with his legs. Yudhisthira objects to this saying he is the King of Kauravas. But Bhimasena insists on doing it as Duryodhana had used obscene language against Draupadi. Krishna fully agrees with Bhimasena’s actions.
  • Balarama is very upset with Bhimasena and challenges him to a battle. Bhimasena agrees! But Krishna steps in and stops Balarama. He tells him that Duryodhana has paid for his own bad karma and therefore nothing else counts. Balarama leaves the place unsatisfied with the response.
  • Sri Madhva has clarified that the extra Punya that Balarama had accumulated as Lakshmana by serving Lord Rama got washed away in this avatar with such disagreements.

The trick by Duryodhana is mentioned here as well. Still, it is such a popular misconception that Bhimasena unfairly killed Duryodhana.

Felicitation ceremony at Nellitheertha

Recently, the annual temple festival was conducted at Nellitheertha. The 5 day festival went off very well and thousands of devotees attended the festivities. One of the key highlights of this year’s festival was the felicitation held for Sri Subramanya Tantri, the “tantri” for our temple.

Tantris are a special class of Brahmins revered in Tulu Nadu. They are a small sect of Brahmins who hold the rights to perform/conduct Jaatres or annual festivals in temples. In addition, all the major religious events in the temple are conducted under their supervision. Tantris are extremely well versed in Agama Shastras and therefore know all the correct rituals and mantras in conducting temple worship. During the annual festival, the chief priest of the temple takes a backseat and works under the supervision/guidance of the Tantri.

Over hundreds of years, the families of Tantris has branched out and consequently, they take turns in every temple. Nellitheertha has always come under the supervision of the Tantris from “Yedapadavu” which is a small town about 10kms from the village. It is said that as soon as Lord Parashurama created the Western coast (Parashurama Kshetra), the Yedapadavu tantris were the first to hold the Kamandala!!

Sri Subramanya Tantri is one of the Tantris from the Yedapadavu clan and has been coming to our temple for over 30 years. Under his expert guidance, the temple has progressed immensely and is today considered one of the must-see places of Tulu Nadu. We decided to therefore hold a small ceremony to honor this great Guru!

 

Sri Subramanya Tantri and his wife

Smt & Sri Subramanya Tantri (my mother standing beside)

Sanmana Sabha (my dad on extreme left)

Sanmana Sabha (my dad on extreme left)

The chief administrator of the Ambalpadi Janardana temple, Sri Vijay Ballal, presided over the function. Sri Sri Lakshmi Narayana Asranna, the chief priest of Sri Kateel Durga Parameshwari temple, Sri Bhuvanabhirama Udupa, Sri Bhujanga Shetty and other dignitaries were present at the ocassion.

 

Sri Baggamajalu Subramanya Tantri

Sri Baggamajalu Subramanya Tantri

 

Sri NVGK Bhat reading the certificate

Sri NVGK Bhat reading the certificate

Yours truly got to propose the vote of thanks in the end!

 

Vote of Thanks

Vote of Thanks

Shishila – Temples of Tulu Nadu

Thanks to my friends Ananthu and Bharata, I was able to obtain information and photos of the Sri Shishileshwara Temple at Shishila near Dharmasthala. This article is with their kind permission.

Shishila is a small village about 32kms from Dharmasthala in Dakshina Kannada district. It has a beautiful Shiva Temple. It is believed that the idol, in the form of a Linga, surfaced on its own and was never established by anyone (Udbhava Linga). The temple is on the banks of the river Kapila (a small river which later merges with Netravati).

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Shishila Temple

 

Temple entrance

Temple entrance

The main deity here is Sri Shishileshwara. Along with this, idols of Sri Durga and Mahaganapati are also present. Due to Ananth’s visit during noon, the temple doors were closed and therefore the photographs of the idols could not be obtained.

 

Nandi

Nandi

 

Garbha Gudi

Garbha Gudi

The main bhootas in this temple are Pili Chamundi, Rakteshwari and Rudrandi.

Address: Sri Shishileshwara Temple, Shishila, Belthangadi Taluk, Dakshina Kannada – 574198

How to get there: From Dharmasthala, take the road towards Kokkada and travel 16kms. On the Kokkada-Shibaje road, turn towards Shibaje and travel a further 16kms to reach Shishila.

Contact: by snail mail

 

Bhutas

Bhutas

 

 

 

Inscription

Inscription

Sightseeing: There are many scenic places around the Shishila temple that is a nature lover’s delight. Kumara hill, Meena Gundi, Kavina Kana, Remnants of an old fort and other places are all very close to Shishila.

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Mundkur – Temples of Tulu Nadu

Along the river Shambhavi in Dakshina Kannada, an unbelievable number of ancient and beautiful temples exist. Most of these are thousands of years old and carry an amazing amount of historical significance. There are mainly a lot of Shiva and Durga temples along this line. Even after dedicating myself to just this stretch every time I visit Tulu Nadu, I have not yet managed to cover even half of them.

Sri Mundkur Durga Parameshwari Temple is another such wonderful temple. It is along the Shambhavi river coast and can be reached if one takes the Belmann-Moodabidri road from Udupi. Along with Inna-Muddanu, this temple also was established  by Sage Bharadwaja Bhargava. In fact, this temple along with Inna is the Kula Devata temple for many people in Tulu Nadu who have Bhargava  Gotra. On the day I visited this temple, a special alankara with Sandal paste was made to the main idol and Devi was looking resplendent in a golden hue.

Sri Durga Parameshwari

Sri Durga Parameshwari

Sri Ganapathi

Sri Ganapathi

The Ganapathi idol in the temple is fully covered with silver and looks very auspicious. This temple has a history of more than 1200 years old. The priest of the temple took me to the well used to draw water for the rituals. The rings of the well have not been changed over the years and stand as archaeological proof for the age of the temple. There are deep grooves on all the rings which stand as testimony to the fact that this temple has been in existence for thousands of years.

Very old well

Very old well

Theertha Mantapa

Theertha Mantapa

This temple, over the years, had been patronised by the rulers of Moodabidri. In fact, legend has it that the King and Queen of Moodabidri, when visiting the temple praying in front of the idol, the ear rings of the Queen dropped down. The Queen gave it as an offering to the idol. The ear rings are used to decorate the idol of Durga even today. Two wooden pillars were also carved on behalf of the King in memory of this event.

Wooden pillars

Wooden pillars

Garbha Gudi

Garbha Gudi

From one of the books available at the temple, I managed to obtain a photo of the idol without any decoration. It is an amazing carving!

dsc00812The annual festival in the temple starts from the 22nd day of Makara (Feb) and is held for 8 days. It is considered very auspicious to offer ‘Jaji’ and ‘Mallige’ flowers to Durga here. Hence, a lot of devotees visit this temple carrying these flowers.

Name: Sri Durga Parameshwari Temple

Location: Mundkur, Udupi District

Main deities: Durga, Ganapathi

Bhutas: Doomavathy, Varahi, Pili chamundi, Rakteshwari

Gopuram

Gopuram

Address: Sri Durga Parameshwari Temple, Mundkur, Karkala Taluk, Udupi district – 576121

Contact: by snail mail

How to get there: From Udupi, take the Karkala road via Padubidri. A few kilometres later, take the deviation to Belmann. Mundkur lies on this stretch.

Specialities: Mundkur is surrounded by the river Shambhavi on three sides (East, South and West). Around Mundkur, four Shiva temples are located – Posaral towards South-East, Inna-Muddanu towards North-East, Ulepadi towards South-West and Bola towards North-West.

More photos can be seen here.

The Laksya Gruha episode

One of the most interesting episodes of the Mahabharata is the wax palace incident where Duryodhana tries to destroy the Pandavas by burning them down. A literal reading of the Mahabharata can give wrong or misleading conclusions about the entire episode and the role played by each of them. Srimadacharya, in his Mahabharata Tatparya Nirnaya, has decisively laid down the actual incidents that took place, once again highlighting the greatness of Bhimasena.

  • On the pretext of a festival, Dhritharashtra sends the Pandavas and Kunti to Varanavata. 
  • Duryodhana sends his minister Purochana to the same place. Purochana mentions to the Pandavas that he has quit Duryodhana and wants to side with them.
  • As soon as the wax palace is ready and the Pandavas enter it, Yudhisthira tells others about the real state of the palace.
  • Sri Madhva has revealed that Purochana is actually the Daitya called Prahasta, who was the minister of Ravana in the Ramayana. Here, he is the minister of Kali (Duryodhana)
  • Purochana keeps on waiting for an appropriate moment to burn the palace and the Pandavas. He wishes to ensure all the Pandavas are asleep so he can be sure they get burnt. But, he never gets to see Bhima asleep. Its not a surprise as (Mukhya) Prana never sleeps!
  • The original Mahabharata talks about a nishada lady coming to the palace with her five sons and the Pandavas using her and her sons as substitutes so that Duryodhana is deceived. At the outset, it appears very wrong as innocent people are sacrificed by the Pandavas  in order to escape.
  • Sri Madhva has once again given the perfect Tatparya to this question. The nishada lady is actually an evil Rakshashi who performs penance and obtains a boon from Lord Rudra that she needs to get the position of Aditi (mother of the devatas). Lord Rudra grants her the boon under one condition – that she should not die together with her five sons in this life. If she ensures that, she will obtain Aditi’s position. Bhima is aware of this and in order to keep Rudra’s boon, waits for the lady and her sons to arrive at the palace which happens after six months. Then, he sets fire to the palace when the lady, her sons and Purochana are all drunk and fast asleep.
  • Carrying Kunti and his brothers on his shoulders, Bhima escapes through the tunnel prepared with the help of Vidura’s men.

Inna Muddanu – Temples of Tulu Nadu

Inna Muddanu is another beautiful Shiva temple on the banks of River Shambhavi in Tulu Nadu. I was told by the priest of Posaral temple that there are 11 Shiva temples just on the banks of the river itself. Inna is one of them. The main deity of this temple is Sri Mahalingeshwara. As found in almost every other temple in Tulu Nadu, there is also a Ganapathi idol here towards the South West corner of the temple.

 

Sri Mahalingeshwara

Sri Mahalingeshwara

 

Ganapathi

Ganapathi

According to the legend of the place, the great sage Bhargava performed penance of Lord Shiva at a nearby hill. Pleased with the penance, Lord Shiva blessed Bhargava and granted a boon that he would come down and stay in the form of a Linga nearby. That is how the Inna temple came into being. Even today, Inna Mahalingeshwara (along with Sri Durga Parameshwari of nearby Mundkur, also established by Sage Bhargava) is the Kula Devata for a majority of families from the Bhargava Gotra in Tulu Nadu.

 

Prangana

Prangana

Ganapathi Gudi

Ganapathi Gudi

The garbha gudi and theertha mantapa are also built in typical Dakshina Kannada temple style. The main Bhuta worshipped in the temple is Varahi (Panjurli).

 

Garbha Gudi

Garbha Gudi

 

Theertha mantapa

Theertha mantapa

The mantapa also has beautiful carvings on the pillars. The Nandi idol in the mantapa is also very beautiful.

 

Statue

Statue

 

Statue 2

Statue 2

Name: Sri Mahalingeshwara Devasthana.

Location: Inna Muddanu, Udupi District.

Main deities: Mahalingeshwara, Ganapati

Bhutas: Panjurli

 

Entrance

Entrance

Address: Inna Muddanu Sri Mahalingeshwara Devasthana, Karkala Taluk, Udupi District – 576 146

Telephone: 08258 – 268108

How to get there: On the Udupi Mangalore highway, turn right at Padubidri towards Karkala. After about 8 kilometres, you will reach Adve. Turn right here and travel about 3kms. You will find a board for Inna. Turn left here and travel a further 3kms to reach Inna.

More photos can be found here.

Specialities: The temple was recently renovated in 2006 and is in excellent condition. There are lots of facilities to take care of travelers here. This place has a recorded history of more than 1300 years. It is certainly worth a visit the next time you are around Udupi.