On the occasion of Sri Raghavendra Swamy aradhana, which is coming up on the 14th, 15th and 16th of August 2011, I have uploaded the Kannada and Devanagari transliteration of the Sri Raghavendra Mangalashtaka, which has been composed by his great devotee Sri Appanaacharya.
The same can be downloaded from the mantras page.
Wishing everyone a sadhana filled aradhana celebration!
Sri Raghavendra Swamy is known for his numerous miracles, both during his avatara period and even later. Even today, thousands of devotees experience the power of the great Saint’s blessings.
One of the most fascinating stories revolving around Swamiji was when he made himself felt to a British officer of the East India Company. The East India Company was planning to take over the area around Mantralaya under endowment, and in this regard some people belonging to the Mantralaya Raghavendra Mutt requested Thomas Munro, the British officer in-charge, to leave out Mantralaya. Thomas Munro was a believer in piety and he decided to visit the Mutt himself and decide what to do later. What happened next was amazing. The event is captured in the Madras District Gazetteer. I reproduce the relevant document below. The extract below simply highlights the miraculous powers of Sri Raghavendra Swamiji.
“MADRAS DISTRICT GAZETEERS”
By W. FRANCIS, Esq. I.C.S.
VOLUME NO. 1, BELLARY
Reprint 1916 by the superintendent Govt Press, Madras
Chapter XV-Adoni Taluk-Page No.213
Mantsala (Mantralaya):- A Shrothriem village with a population of 1212 on the bank of the Tungabhadra in the extreme north of the Taluk. The village is widely known as containing the tomb of the Madhva saint Sri Raghavendra Swami, the annual festival in August connected with, which is attended by large numbers of pilgrims, including even Lingayats, from Bombay, the Nizam’s Dominions and even Mysore. The tomb itself is not architectural interest. The grant of the landed endowment attached to it, is said in one of the Mackenzic MSS, to have been made by Venkannapant, the well known Dewan of Sidi Masud Khan, Governor of Adoni from 1662 to1687.
A quaint story of Sir Thomas Munro is told about the place. The endowment being threatened with resumption, Munro, it is said came to make enquiries. After removing his boots and taking off his hat he approached the grave. The saint there upon emerged from his tomb and met him. They conversed together for sometime regarding the resumption, but though the saint was visible and audible to Munro-who was himself the people declare, semi-divine, none of the others who were there could either see him or hear what he said. The discussion ended, Munro returned to his tent and quashed the proposal to resume the endowment. Being offered some consecrated rice, he accepted it and ordered it to be used in
the preparation of his meals for that day.
-Madras Review VII 280.
The extract is available as part of a document on Madhva Charitre and can be read online here.
The three days of Shravana Krishna Paksha, starting from Pratipat till Tritiya, is celebrated as Sri Raghavendra Aradhana. It is on the second day of this three day period that Sri Swamiji entered his Brundavana at Mantralaya, thus ending his stay on earth. This year, the Aradhana falls on the 7th, 8th and 9th of August.
To this day, Sri Swamiji continues to reside there, blessing countless devotees and granting their wishes. On this occasion, I am uploading the transliteration of Sri Raghavendra Stotra, the famous composition of Sri Appannacharya. In addition, I am also uploading the lyrics of the song “Tugire Rayara…”. These can also be downloaded from the mantras page.
In addition, I have written a small article on the life history of Sri Raghavendra Swamiji below. This article is mainly referenced out of the book “Sri Raghavendra Darshana” by Sri Vyasanakere Prabhanjanacharya. It also references the Wikipedia article on Swamiji. I hope the readers of this blog find this compilation interesting.
- Sri Krishnacharya, who was the great grandfather of Sri Raghavendra Swamy in his Purvashrama (pre-sanyasa life), was the music teacher (of the Veena) of the great Sri Krishnadevaraya, the Vijayanagara Emperor.
- Sri Raghavendra Swamy’s Purvashrama family was from the Gauthama Gotra
- Sri Raghavendra Swamy’s Purvashrama name was Venkatanatha, so named because he was born after his parents offered a lot of prayers to Lord Venkatesha at Tirupathi. He was born in the year 1595 A.D
- Sri Venkatanatha underwent the Upanayana ceremony when only 8 years old. Later, he went to Madurai to study all the Shastras under his brother-in-law Sri Lakshmi Narasimhacharya
- Sri Venkatanatha was so proficient in playing the Veena, that he was known as Veena Venkata Bhatta!
- Sri Venkatanatha was married to a lady called Saraswathi, after which both of them moved to Kumbhakonam so he could pursue his studies further
- At Kumbhakonam, Sri Venkatanatha was accepted as a student by Sri Sudheendra Tirtha Swamiji
- Along with philosophy and Shastras, Sri Venkatanatha mastered an unbelievable number of subjects including music, history, logic, grammar, Vedas, Vedanta, poetry, drama and others
- Sri Venkatanatha was a very famous speaker even before accepting Sanyasa. His talks on Brahma Sutra Bhashyas, Logic and Mimamsa were very popular
- Even before accepting Sanyasa, Sri Venkatanatha wrote a few works. The first such work was a commentary on the Anu Madhva Vijaya
- Appreciating Sri Venkatanatha’s proficiency in Vyakarana, Sri Sudheendra Tirtha gave him the title of “Mahabhashya Venkatanathacharya” after he defeated some Mayavadis during a debate on Vyakarana at Kumbhakonam
- Sri Venkatanatha always accompanied his Guru on his tours. Many scholars of opposite schools were defeated by him in Kumbhakonam, Tanjavur and other areas
- Sri Venkatanatha had a son named Lakshmi Narayana
- During his stay at Kumbhakonam, due to the intense focus on spiritual and religious pursuits, Sri Venkatanatha and his family had to put up with utter poverty – not that it deterred his focus
- Sri Sudheendra Tirtha Swamiji had a vision in his dream that Sri Venkatanatha should take over the reigns of the Matha. Consequently, he asked Sri Venkatanatha to accept Sanyasa
- Sri Venkatanatha, out of a sense of responsibility towards wife and family, showed some hesitation towards accepting Sanyasa.
- Sri Venkatanatha very soon had a vision of Sri Bharati Devi who instructed him to accept Sanyasa
- Sri Venkatanatha went back to Sri Sudheendra Tirtha Swamiji and consented to accepting Sanyasa
- Sri Sudheendra Tirtha Swamiji conducted all the rituals and gave the Diksha to Sri Venkatanatha. He was given the name of “Sri Raghavendra Tirtha” upon accepting Sanyasa.
- Saraswati, Sri Raghavendra Swami’s (now) former wife gave up her life unable to bear the separation from her husband. She became a Preta due to her prarabdha and approached Swamiji. By merely sprinkling some holy water on her, Sri Swamiji liberated her from her Pretatva. This was the first of many miracles performed by him
- Sri Sudheendra Tirtha Swamiji, having handed over the “Peetha” to Sri Raghavendra Swamiji, soon left this abode. His brundavana was constructed under the supervision of Sri Raghavendra Swamiji himself at Anegunde near Hampi. This was the 9th brundavana there. The place is even today known as “Nava Brundavana” and is one of the holiest places for Madhvas.
- Soon, Sri Yadavendra Tirtha, who was given Sanyasa by Sri Sudheendra Tirtha Swamiji many years earlier, came back to Tanjavur. Sri Raghavendra Swamiji offered him the idols and asked him to accept the Pitha. Sri Yadavendra Tirtha, sensing the greatness of Swamiji, refused to do so and returned to his Tirtha Yatre.
- Sri Swamiji made Kumbhakonam his headquarters and continued to enrich Dvaita Vedanta. A lot of students were accepted and were directly learning under Swamiji.
- The Tanjavur area was experiencing a terrible famine for over 12 years then. Not able to think of any solution, the local King approached Sri Raghavendra Swamiji. After patiently listening to the King, Sri Swamiji got some Yajnas conducted. Soon, the area witnessed good rains and the famine vanished. Once again, people wondered at the amazing Siddhi of Swamiji.
- Happy at the resolution to the problem of famine, the King gave a precious necklace to Sri Swamiji. Sri Swamiji accepted it and put it into the fire of the Yajna. Surprised and shocked, the King considered it as an insult and told Swamiji of his discomfort. Sri Swamiji replied that the real reason behind the rains was Yajna Narayana and hence he offered the necklace to the fire. In order to console the King, Sri Swamiji put his hand into the fire and brought back the necklace. The King’s surprise knew no bounds!
- Swamiji then undertook a tour of South India in order to spread the teachings of Sri Madhvacharya. This tour also provided a start to the writings of Swamiji. At Manishrunga, he wrote Pramana-Paddathi-Tippani, Vadavali-Tippani, Pramana-Lakshana-Tippani and others.
- Swamiji then reached Rameshwaram. He clarified to all there that the Rameshwara idol was established by Lord Rama before he went to war with Ravana, and not later. He also explained to all that Lord Rama did not incur any “Brahma Hatya Dosha” for killing Ravana. The Supreme Paramatman is beyond all such possibilities. Further, Ravana was actually a Rakshasa and not a Brahmana as caste is determined by one’s mother and not father.
- Swamiji later visited Kanyakumari and Ananthashayana (Thiruvananthapuram) and finally reached Madurai. There he was greatly honored by the King and scholars of Madurai. He also met his Purvashrama brother-in-law, under whom he had learnt the Shastras earlier.
- At Madurai, a debate on Purva Mimamsa took place. Sri Raghavendra Swamiji displayed his mastery over Purva Mimamsa as well and won the debate. He also unveiled his work “Bhatta Sangraha”. This work was liked so much by the gathering there that they hosted it on top of an elephant and took it on a procession!
- Swamiji later visited Srirangam. There, he wrote many works such as Ishavasyopanishanmantrarthasamgraha, based on the Upanishads. In these works, Swamiji explained the true meaning behind many of the mantras in the various Upanishads.
- At every place he visited, Swamiji defeated numerous scholars in debates and strongly defended the philosophy of Sri Madhvacharya
- Swamiji later visited Vishnu Mangala, Kukke Subramanya and reached Udupi. He stayed at Udupi for several days and wrote many important works such as Chandrika-Prakasha, Tantra-Dipika, Gita-Vivrutti and Nyaya-Muktavali
- Swamiji then wrote a commentary on the Nyayasudha (by Sri Jayatirtha) called as “Parimala”
- Once Sri Raghavendra Swamiji visited Bidarahalli. There, he met Srinivasacharya, one of the great Dvaita scholars. Profoundly impressed by the latter’s works, he gave him the title of “Tirtha” though Srinivasacharya was a Gruhastha. Since then, he is known as Bidarahalli Srinivasa Tirtha
- Some of the other notable holy places which Swamiji visited included Pandarapura, Kolhapura, Bijapura, Godavari and Krishna basins, Malakheda, Tirupathi, Kanchi, Vruddhachala and Srimushna. Needless to add, he defeated a number of scholars of other schools at every place, convinced them to accept Srimadacharya’s philosophy and thus massively contributed to the growth of Dvaita Vedanta
- Sri Raghavendra Swamiji desired to write Tippanis (works in the form of notes) on the 18 commentaries of Sri Jayatirtha. When he had finished 17 such works and was about to commence his work on the Rig Bhashya Tika, his (purvashrama) son Lakshmi Narayanacharya came to him with a Tippani on the very same work. Hence, Swamiji did not write his Tippani on the Rig Bhashya Tika. Instead, he wrote a work called “Rigartha Manjari” which was a collection of the meanings of the first 40 suktas of Rig Veda as given in various Bhashyas and Tikas
- Sri Swamiji also wrote “Prata Sankalpa Gadya” and “Prameya Samgraha” which provided valuable information on the meanings of the various activities/rituals undertaken daily. He also wrote many other works on the epics such as “Sri Rama Charitra Manjari”, “Sri Krishna Charitra Manjari” and others
- Once when he was on a tour, Swamiji was invited to a house where Sri Rama Puja was being conducted. The son of the householder fell into a huge vessel full of water and died. To everyone’s surprise, Sri Swamiji arrived there, sprinkled some holy water after chanting the Mrutasanjeevini mantra and the small boy came back to life.
- The people of those times were witness to numerous miracles performed by Sri Swamiji. Swamiji revived many people, cured severe diseases, brought rainfall to dry places, made an illiterate read and so on. The fame of Sri Swamiji spread far and wide
- Once Sri Swamiji visited the Nawab of Adoni. Just to test Swamiji, the Nawab presented him a plate full of non-vegetarian food covered with a cloth. Sri Swamiji saw the plate once, meditated a bit, sprinkled some holy water on it and opened the plate. Lo and behold, the plate was full of fresh fruits! The Nawab surrendered to Swamiji and became a big of devotee of him
- The Nawab of Adoni was very keen on offering something to Swamiji. Sri Swamiji was not interested in any material grants. Relenting to the repeated requests of the Nawab, Sri Swamiji instructed him to hand over the village of Manchale to the Matha. The Nawab was very surprised that Swamiji asked for a very barren and dry area.
- Sri Swamiji later revealed the reason behind choosing Manchale village for his Matha. It was in the Manchale area that King Prahalada had performed his Yagnas back in the Kruta Yuga. Further, Lord Rama, along with Sita and Lakshmana had visited this place. Hence, it was an extremely sacred location.
- Once Swamiji was giving a discourse. Suddenly, he turned towards the sky, folded his hands to do a Namaskara and resumed the discourse. His curious students requested him to reveal the reason behind the gesture. Sri Swamiji indicated that his dear friend Sri Krishna Dwaipayana Tirtha had passed away. He conversed with the departed soul who was enquiring when Sri Swamiji would end his stay on earth, to which Swamiji replied that he would do so 2 years, 2 months and 2 days later!
- On a suitable day, Sri Raghavendra Swamiji gave Sanyasa deeksha to Sri Venkannacharya, who was the grandson of his (Purvashrama) brother. He named him Yogindra Tirtha and appointed him as the successor of the Matha
- Sri Swamiji instructed that his Brundavana be prepared from stones obtained from a nearby village called Madavara. It was on this stone that Lord Rama and Sita had stepped while visiting this area. Accordingly, his followers prepared a Brundavana
- On the auspicious day of Shravana Krishna Paksha Dvitiya in the year 1671 A.D, Sri Raghavendra Swamiji finished all his morning rituals, gave a discourse of Srimadacharya’s Bhashyas and gave a impressive speech on the philosophy of Srimadacharya. He also extolled his followers to lead life on the path of Dharma, always worshipping Vishnu, Lakshmi and Mukhyaprana. Then, he entered the Brundavana alive, sat down there and started meditating. As per his instructions, his followers waited for the Tulasi Mala in his hand to slip. Once that happened, the followers covered Swamiji with 1200 Lakshmi Narayana Saligramas got from Gandaki in Nepal. Later, the Brundavana was covered as per scriptural procedures
- One of the foremost disciples of Sri Raghavendra Swamiji was Sri Appannacharya. Sri Appannacharya, upon hearing the news of Swamiji’s Brundavana entrance, rushed towards the Matha. Due to heavy overflow of the Tungabhadra river, he found it difficult to cross the river. He instantly started composing the (now famous) Raghavendra Stotra. When he reached the Brundavana, Swamiji was already being covered. Sri Appannacharya was immensely disasppointed. His stotra was only 7 syllables away from being complete but due to immense grief, he could not come up with the last phrase. At that time, he heard a voice from inside the Brundavana pronouncing the last phrase. Sri Swamiji himself completed the Stotra by saying “Sakshee HayaasyOtra hi”!
- The village Manchale, over time, came to be known as Mantralaya. Even today, thousands of devotees visit Mantralaya every single day. Sri Raghavendra Swamy continues to bless all his devotees. Even today, there are tens of miracles that people experience daily. Only intense devotion to Vishnu and the philosophy of Srimadacharya is the criterion that pleases Sri Raghavendra Swamiji
|| Sri Raghavendraya Namaha ||
When, in the 18th century, the British Government decided to take away the land belonging to the Mantralaya Matha, the locals appealed to them to not do so. A committee under Sir Thomas Munroe took over. Sir Thomas Munroe decided to visit the Brundavana himself. After spending a few minutes inside, he came back a completely changed man saying he actually spoke to Swamiji and received his blessings.
The British did not touch the land after that, an event recorded in the official Madras gazeteer!
Yesterday, the 337th Aradhane (anniversary) of Sri Raghavendra Swamy concluded. Every year, in Shravana Masa Krishna Paksha, the aradhane is celebrated on the first, second and third day of the Paksha (fortnight). In 1671 A.D, Sri Raghavendra Swamy entered his brundavana alive on the second day of this Paksha. That ocassion is remembered through the Aradhane.
There are many stotras that have been composed in praise of this great Dvaita Saint. Sri Bichale Appannacharya was a great devotee of Sri Raghavendra Swamy and has composed numerous stotras. One such very famous work is the Raghavendra Ashtotthara Shathanamavali which contains 108 names (descriptions would probably be a better word) of Swamiji.
On the ocassion of the aradhane, I am uploading the Ashtotthara Shathanamavali, in Kannada script, to my mantras page. Feedback, corrections and comments are welcome!
Sri Raghavendra Swamy declared to his followers once that he would remain with them for a further period of two years, two months and two days. On that exact date, he entered his Brindavana (final resting place) alive!