Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Om Sri Raghavendra (Full Story)

Author: Smt Pushpavalli Srinivasan


Manthralaya Mahan Sri Raghavendra


Slokam

puujyaaya raaghavendraaya satya dharma rataaya cha
bhajataam kalpa vrukshaaya namataaM kaama dhenave

Meaning

Salutations to the respected Shri Raghavendra Swamy,who treads always in the path of truth and righteousness, who is like the divine wish-full-filling tree(kalpavruksha) for one who worships him, who is like the divine wish-full-filling cow(kamadhenu) for one who bows to him.


Prelude

Shanku karma was Lord Vishnu’s devotee and was doing service at His abode Vaikuntam. During Kritha yuga demons like Hiranyaksha and Hiranyakasipu were creating havoc. Lord Vishnu bade Shanku Karna to take birth on earth thrice to control the spread of anarchy and to spread Bhakthi and sadhachar.

As for the command of the Lord, Shanku Karna was born as Prahlad in his first birth. We are all familiar with Prahlad’s story in which the Lord appeared from a pillar as Narasimha with human body and lion’s face and put an end to the atrocities committed by Hiranyakasipu.

His second birth was as Vyasaraya Thirthar. He was the disciple of Sripada Rayar who was the guru for the Vijayanagara king Krishnadeva Raya and he also decorated Madhva Mutt as peetathipathi. After Sripada Rayar Vyasaraya Thirthar became the peetathipathi.

Vyasaraya worshipped and did puja personally to Lord Sri Venkatesa at Tirumalai for twelve years when there was no one to do puja at Tirumalai. Once King Krisnadeva Raya was advised by astrologers to step down from his throne for a specific period as an inauspicious time known as guhu would be bad for the king. During that period they had to choose someone to rule the kingdom. They had decided to send an elephant with a garland in its trunk as for the prevailing tradition and whoever was garlanded by the elephant would become the king.

The elephant roamed around the city and at last it went out of the city and stood in front of a cave and trumpeted. Vyasaraya who was meditating in side the cave came out to see what was happening. The elephant put the garland to him. Those who had accompanied the elephant told him about the king’s decision and took him to Vijayanagaram.

Thus Vyasaraya had become the king, but he was ruling just to save the king from the bad effect of Guhu. After some time one day when he was sitting on the throne, Vyasa Raya came to know through his njana dhrushti (fore vision) the approach of guhu. He through out his upper cloth upon the evil spirit and the cloth caught fire and burnt out. The people were shocked to see that and Vyasaraya told them that Guhu’s effect had been destroyed and Krishnadeva Raya could rule the country henceforth without any fear.

After that Vyas Raya went on a pilgrimage and he built many Anjaneya temples in the country and the temple built at Hampi is very famous. Madhwa peetathipathi Vadhi Raya, Purandara dasa and Kanaka Dasa were the famous disciples of Vyasaraya.

Vyasaraya attained his Samadhi at the banks of the river Thungabadra and that place is known as Thava Brindavan.

Thus Sangu Karna’s second birth had come to an end and he was born As Sri Ragavendra in his third birth.


Birth of Venkatanathan

Venkatanathan is the purvashrama name of Guru Pujya Sri Raghavendra.

His father’s name was Thimmanna Bhatta and he lived in Vijayanagara kingdom.

Thimmanna Bhatta was well versed in Veda sasthras and also was quite good at playing Veena. His wife’s name was Gopambika. They had a son named Gururaja and a daughter Venkatamma. Thimmanna Bhatta performed Gururaja’s marriage at a very young age. He was sent to gurukulam for vidyabyas. Venkatamma was also married off at a young age.

As both the children had left them Thimmanna and Gopambika wished for one more child. They prayed to Lord Venkatachalapathi to bestow them with one more son. The Lord appeared in their dream and told them that they would get a son with great wisdom and he would become a great spiritual guru.

In the year 1595 Gopambika gave birth to a son by the grace of Lord Venkatachalapathi. Thimmanna named him Venkatanatha as he felt that he was the gift of Lord Venkatachalapathi. Both Thimmanna and Gopambika loved their son very dearly. Thimmanna sent his son to patshala at a very young age. Venkatanatha was a brilliant student and grasped fast whatever was taught to him by his guru. His father taught him to play veena also. But alas! Venkatanatha Was deprived of his father’s love and care as his father died suddenly when he was quite young.

Now Gururaja had to take the responsibility of his sibling Venkatanatha. He was not well to do and was leading a poor life. With the help of some rich philanthropists Gururaja performed his brother’s upanayanam at the age of eight. He sent him to his brother in law Laksmi Narasmhachar for further studies. Venkatanatha learned the four Vedas and sasthra puranas under his tutelage.

When Venkatanatha completed 18 years Gururaja and his mother decided to perform his marriage. Venkatanatha was not interested in marriage and wanted to study further; but due to the pressure of his mother and brother he agreed for marriage. They chose him a girl named Saraswathi from Bhuvanagiri. Thus Venkatanatha started his grihasthsrama with Saraswathi. A son was born to them and they named him Lakshminarayan.

Even after marriage Venkatanatha’s thirst for knowledge was not wetted. He told his brother that he wanted to study further. Gururaja, after profound thinking decided to send Venkatanatha to Kumbakonam that was a learning center in those days. He decided to send him to Sri Sudhindra Thirtha who was the peetathipathi of Dvaita Madhva Peetam. Venkatanatha left his wife and son under his brother’s care and started his gurukula vasam in the mutt.
 
When his guru Sudhindra taught in the class, Venkatanatha used to pay attention with deep concentration. Thus he absorbed everything taught by his guru and so had become his favourite disciple. This became a cause for heart burn of other disciples. On and off they used to complain about Venkatanatha.

Every night before going to sleep Venkatanatha used to write the meanings of slokas in a book which were taught in the class. He had named the note book as Parimalam. Venkatanatha also used to read slokas that were to be taught on the following day. As he had proficiency in Sanskrit he was able to understand the meaning of the slokas even before the guru explained them.

One day it so happened that Sudhindra was unable to explain the meaning of a sloka in ‘Nyaaya sudha’ and he told the disciples that he would explain it on the following day. That night Venkatanatha wrote the meaning of the sloka in his book and went to sleep.

Sudhindra who was very much disturbed for being confused in deriving the meaning of the sloka could not get sleep. He was wandering through the place where the disciples were sleeping. He could not find Venkatanatha and he went in search of him. He found him in the garden sleeping under a tree trembling in cold. He saw the book which was lying next to Venkatanatha. He took it up and examined and he was surprised to see that Venkatanatha had explained the meaning of the sloka in‘Nyaaya Sudha’ very beautifully. He saw Venkatanatha sleeping without any sheet to cover himself in the piercing cold. He took his khashaya uthareeyam (upper cloth) and covered him with that.

Acharya Ramanuja’s guru Yadhava Prakasa could not accept his disciple’s explanation to the sloka,”thasya yatha kapyasam pundarika meva mashini,” and he was wild with anger,Whereas Sudhindra was enthralled and happy to see his disciple’s explanation to the sloka that he himself found a bit difficult to explain.This shows his magnanimity of accepting his disciple's superior knowledge.

The next morning one of the disciples saw Venkatanaha was covering himself with the guru’s uthareeyam. He broadcasted the news to others and they all surrounded Venkatanatha.

One disciple said, “you thief! You stole our guru’s uthareeyam and how dare you are covering your body with that? Don’t you think you have committed a great abacharam (sin) to our revered guru? We will go and tell our guru about your misdeed.”

Venkatanathan got frightened and he was not in a position to answer them. Even if he told them that he did not know who covered him with guru’s uthareeyam they were not going to believe him.

The disciples went and told the guru that the previous night Venkatanatha had taken his uthareeyam and used it for covering himself. Sudhindra just listened to them and he did not comment anything.

When the class started Venkatanatha went and prostrated before Sudhindra and said, “Swami! This morning I found your uthareeyam covered over me. But I do not know how it came there. But the other disciples think that I only stole it to protect myself from cold. If I have committed this sin unknowingly please forgive me.”

Sudhindra said, “You have not done anything wrong. Last night I came to the place where you were sleeping and saw you trembling in cold. I only took out my uthareeyam and covered you with that. I also saw your book Parimalam in which you have written the meaning of the sloka ‘Nyaya Sudha” very beautifully.”

Then he asked his disciples whether any one of them can explain the meaning of the sloka which he taught them the previous day. As none came forward Sudhindra took out venkatanatha’s book and told them that Venkatanatha had explained the meaning of the sloka very beautifully. He further said that he doubted whether he could have explained it better than him. He showed the book to other disciples pointing out that Venkatanatha had written meanings of all the slokas which he had taught them in the class and had given the name Parimalam to the book. He praised venkatanatha for his dedication and had given him the title “Parimalacharya.”

He told his disciples that instead of complaining about Venkatanatha, they should try to study like him with dedication and concentration.

The disciples hung their heads in shame for their behaviour and from then onwards they gave respect to Venkatanatha.

After the studies were over Sudhindra went on desa yathra with his disciples. He went to Madurai, where as for his guru’s wish Venkatanatha had participated in a debate of Tharka Sasthra . The person with whom he had the debate was a very learned man and he was very proud. But Venkatanatha answered all the queries and won the debate. Sudhindra was very happy and adorned him with the title ‘Mahabhashyacharya’

Then Yadhindra went to Thanjavur where Ragunatha Raya was ruling. He was welcomed by him with great honour. There also he had a debate with a courtier of Ragunatha Raya whose name was Yaghya Narayan. Again Venkatanatha won the debate and his guru again bestowed him the title ‘Bhattacharyar.’

Now Venkatanatha felt that it was time for him to take over the responsibility of his family. He sought permission from his guru to return to Bhuvanagiri. Though his guru was hesitant to part with his most favourite disciple, he had to accede to his request.

Venkatanatha returned to Bhuvanagiri and was staying with his brother for some time. His brother was struggling to run his family and so Venkatanatha felt that it was not good for him to depend on his brother. He moved out and started living with his wife Saraswathi and son. He started teaching at his house. But the income was not sufficient to run the family, for the students were also from poor families. Venkatanatha had to live in abject poverty. His wife Saraswathi was very cooperative and had never complained to him even if they had to forego meals for a day.

But one day it so happened that she could not see her child crying with hunger. She told Venkatanatha that a Brahmin was having a puja in his house and that he was feeding the poor. She told Venkatanatha at least for the sake of the child they should go and eat there.

Venkatanatha half heartedly accepted her suggestion for the sake of the child. They all went to the brahmin’s house. When the Brahmins saw Venkatanathan with his wife and child they passed sarcastic remarks about him. As it was hot summer they told him to grind sandalwood and make paste to give to the Brahmins after meals.

Venkatanatha was very much humiliated and started grinding the sandalwood chanting Agni suktha unconsciously which reflected his mind’s turbulence. After the Brahmins had their meals chandan paste was distributed to cool their bodies from the summer heat. As soon as they applied chandan they felt a burning sensation. The person who ordered Venkatanatha to do the job told the others that Venkatantha was chanting some manthras and because of that only they experienced burning sensation.

The host asked Venkatanatha why he did like that. Then only Venkatanatha realized his mistake and said that he was disturbed by their remarks and in that state of mind started chanting agni sthothra unconsciously. He asked for their pardon and told that he would chant varuna manthra and would grind the remaining sandal wood. As soon as the chandan paste was grinded with chanting of Varuna manthra was applied to the bodies, they experienced the coolness of chandan. The people then realized Venkatanathan’s greatness and asked his forgiveness for their behaviour.

Saraswathi was very much upset and felt that she was the cause for Venkatanatha’s humiliation. She told Venkatanatha that the only way to get out of the clutches of poverty was to go and stay in the Mutt with guru Sudhindra where he could teach the students and she also could help by doing some cleaning the utensils and making garlands for puja. Venkatanatha also felt it was a good idea. So Venkatanatha returned to his guru and told him about his intention. and asked for his permission. Sudhindra was happy to have him back in his fold and gave him permission to come back with his family and allotted him a small place to live in.
 
Sudhindra was getting old and was becoming weak. He found it difficult to perform puja to Moola Rama who was the presiding Deity of the mutt. He felt that he had to initiate as peetathipathi some one young who was competent to shoulder the responsibility. He decided that Venkatanatha was the right person as he possessed all the qualities to decorate the peetam.

One day he broke out the subject when he was alone with Venkatanatha. He said, “Venkatanatha, I am feeling weak and worn out and could not perform puja and look after the administration of the mutt. I think you are the person to take over this responsibility. I am sure that you are the right person to become peetathipathi after me.”

When Venkatanatha heard these words from his guru, he felt it was like a bolt from the blue. He was a married man and he had to look after his wife and child. He loved his wife and child very dearly. If he agreed to become the peetathipathi he had to take over sanyashasram.

He was in a dilemma as he could not refuse outright.

He said, “Gurudev! I am not well versed with pujapaat and other rituals. I am afraid that I am not fit enough to decorate this prestigious post which was held by the most revered persons like Sri Madhwa, Brahmanya and Jayathirtha. Further if I become a sanyasi what will happen to my wife and child? How I can I desert them who are solely dependent on me?”

Sudhindra said, “Why do you get upset? After considering all others I came to the conclusion that you are the fittest person to shoulder this responsibility. You are a very wise and learned man. A person like you who possess the spiritual knowledge was sent in this world by the Lord to spread spiritualism and uplift the people. Don’t you know that only the Omnipresent is the saviour of all jeevathmas in this world? I hope the Moola Rama will help you to understand who you are and what for you took birth in this world. Do think it over and take the decision.”

Venkatanatha said, “Please give me some time. I am afraid to broach the subject to my wife. If she hears it, I do not know what she will do.”

Venkatanatha went home with a turbulent mind. He was sitting alone in a pensive mood without even talking to his wife. Seeing him in that state of mind his wife also lost her peace of mind. She failed in her attempt to get out of his mind what was troubling him. They both went to sleep with the troubled mind.

Venkatanatha’s wife came to know from the people at the mutt that Yadhindra wanted to make Venkatanatha as peetathipathi. She told Venkatanatha that if he would leave her and the child and became a sanyasi, the very moment she would sacrifice her life. Thus Venkatanatha was forced to abjure his guru’s wish.

Sudhindra had fallen sick and so he had to initiate someone in his place to look after the mutt. Hence he decided to initiate Yadhavendra, who he thought was the next capable person after Venkatanatha. Though Sudhindra had initiated him, he still had hopes that Venkatanatha would take sanyas and become the peetathipathi. His health started improving and Yadhavendra told him that he wished to go on thirtha yathra and would be back after finishing the yathra.

After Yadhavendra left for thirtha yathra again Sudhindra had fallen sick. His thoughts were concerned about puja to Moola Rama. He prayed to him that He only should change Venkatanatha’s mind and prepare him for taking the responsibility. That night he had a dream in which Ramachandramurthi appeared and said, “Sudhindra! You need not worry about my puja. Venkatanatha is getting ready to take over sanyas and I feel he is the fittest person to perform puja to me.”

Here Venkatanatha was feeling guilty for not fulfilling his guru’s wish. He felt that a good and dedicated disciple’s foremost duty was to fulfill his guru’s desire. At the same time it was the duty of a husband to look after his wife and offspring. Thus he felt that he was in a quagmire and the Lord only could show him the way to come out of it.

That night Raghavendra had a dream. In his dream he saw a garden in which he saw Devi Saradambal sitting with a smiling face with veena in her hands. He fell at her feet with tear filled eyes and deep devotion.

Devi looked at him with her kind and merciful eyes and said, “Venkatanatha! I have appeared before you to tell you about the secret of your birth. The Lord had sent you to this bhoolok thrice to control the spread of anarchy and to spread Bhakthi and sadhachar. You took birth as Prahlad and Vyasaraya and now as Venkatanatha. You have been ordained to take sanyasashram in this kali yug and spread Bhakthi and sadhachar. I will be always with you to help you in this noble cause.”

Next morning when Venkatanatha got up his face looked like a freshly blossomed lotus and his mind was clear like a crystal. After his morning ablutions and puja he left for the mutt taking leave from his wife. He did not even look back once. His wife Saraswathi noticed the change in his behaviour and felt a sudden pang of grief.

Venkatanatha went and prostrated before Yadhindra and said,

“ Gurudev! I have decided to follow your footsteps. Yet I have the feeling of guilt thinking about my wife and child. What will happen to them? This question is nagging my mind.”

Sudhindra was very happy to hear these words from Venkatanatha and he tried to pacify him.

He said, “Venkatanatha, Moola Rama Himself had told me that He wants you to do the puja for His archa Moorthy. You need not worry about your wife and child. The mutt will take care of them.”

Venkatanatha was surprised to hear those words from his guru. He asked in disbelief, " Is it so? Then I am really blessed to perform puja to him. Now I am all for Him."

Thus Venkatanatha was initiated into sanyashram by his guru Sudhindra. After performing the samskaras for the sanyashram he christened him as Raghavendra Thirtha. Venkatanatha abandoned all his worldly ties and became Raghavendra.
 
When Saraswathi got the news she felt like thunder struck. She cried and cried till her tear glands dried up. Then she had taken the extreme step. Saraswathi who had already told Venkatanatha that she would sacrifice her life if he took sanyas kept her word. She committed suicide by jumping into the well. Due to unfulfilled wishes and untimely death Saraswathi turned into a ghost.

One day when Raghavendra was meditating in the mutt the ghost of Saraswathi came there and started crying. Though Raghavendra was helpless to bring her back to life, her heart rending wail made him sad. Even though he felt that unnecessarily she shed her life, His heart was filled with mercy and sympathy. He took up his kamandal and chanting some manthras he sprinkled water upon the ghost. The power of his penance was such, that immediately she was relieved of her ghost form and attained mukthi.

Raghavendra was teaching his disciples, as well as writing meanings to Dwaitha granthas. He was propagating bhakthi margam wherever he went on thirtha yathra.

Once he visited a place called Savanur. It was a hot day and he was resting while the people who accompanied him were preparing meals.

A person who was looking after the place came and said, “The place you are sitting is not suitable for you to rest.”

Raghvendra asked, “Why are you telling like that? What is wrong with the place?”

He replied, “This is a Samadhi. The nawab’s only son died this morning and he was laid to rest here.”

Then Raghavendra said, “I am very sorry to hear this. What happened? How did he die?”

“The child was bitten by a snake,” said the man.

Then Raghavendra said, “Take him out and I’ll bring him back to life.”

The person was surprised to hear those words.

He said, “I am sorry. I could not take the decision. I will go and tell the Nawab.”

When the man went and told all that had happened Nawab was hesitating to open the grave and take out his son’s body as it was against the religion. But his bibi who was grieving on the death of her only child begged and beseeched him.

Nawab came and took out the body of his son and laid it out before Raghavendra. Raghavendra prayed to the Lord and chanted amritha manthra and sprinkled water over the body.

Lo! The child opened his eyes as if he was awake from sleep. The Nawab’s joy knew no bounds. He saluted and praised Raghavendra and also gave him a village named Krishna.

During his pilgrimage Raghavendra created many miracles like this. When he visited a place called Kreetagiri , the headman of the village Venkata Desai made arrangements for him to stay at his house. He requested him to perform puja to Moola Rama at his house. He arranged for a feast to the villagers who came to see the puja.

When Raghavendra was performing the puja, the cooks were making many tasty dishes as prasadam. In a big vessel they kept seekarane (thick mango juice) to serve to the devotees. Desai’s child while playing fell into the vessel and drowned, but no one noticed it.

After the puja was over Raghvendra started distributing prasadam. Desai’s wife went in search of the child and found him dead in the vessel. She was shocked to see her child dead, but was afraid to tell the people assembled for the puja. Secretly she told her husband and then they both decided not to tell any one till they had their meals.

Raghvendra called the couple to receive the prasadam.

When he saw them not bringing the child he said, “Where is your child? Bring the child also.”

Desai’s wife said, “He is playing outside.”

Raghavendra said, “Go and bring the child.”

She went and brought the dead child and laid him before him.

Desai said, “Swami! Please forgive us for lying to you. We did not want the people to go without having food.”

Raghavendra already knew about the tragedy. He sprinkled water chanting Dhanvantri manthra and the child’s life was restored. The people who were watching this were wonderstruck. Desai and his wife rejoiced to see the child alive.

Once Raghavendra was going through a forest area near Adoni in Andhra. There a brahmin boy named Venkanna met him and he fell at Raghavendra’s feet and said, “Swami! I am a dull head, illiterate and very poor boy. Though I want to study, I am not able to grasp anything. So I have been given the job of grazing the cows. Can I ever come out of this poverty and become a learned man?”

Raghavendra said, “Don’t worry. When you are in difficulty you remember me and call out my name and I will help you.”

After some years when the boy grew up he was looking bright and intelligent in appearance. As usual when he was roaming in the forest a representative of Mohamad Sultan named Asatulakhan was also passing through the forest with his guards. He was administrating the Sultan’s state. He received a letter from the Sultan and he was also an illiterate. When he saw Venkanna he stopped him and requested him to read the letter for him.

Venkanna told him that he did not know to read or write. Asatulakhan did not believe his words.

He said, “You are a Brahmin and you are looking bright and intelligent. You do not want to read this as you want to go fast somewhere. I am the ruler of this place. If you do not oblige me I will kill you.”

When Venkanna had this he trembled with fear. He suddenly remembered Raghavendra’s words and prayed to him. He heard Raghavendra saying to him, “Do not get frightened. Whatever I say you repeat those words.”

Venkanna took the letter and Raghvendra read the letter for him which Venkanna repeated to Asatulakhan. The message was that the Nawab was pleased with Asatulakhan’s administration and so he was assigning some more territories under his administration. Asatulakhan was very happy to hear this and then there he told Venkanna that he was appointing him as diwan for his place. Thus the poor cowherd had become diwan through Raghavendra’s grace. After that Venkanna learned to read, write and he also became a good administrator through the grace of Raghavendra. From then onwards Venkanna had become a staunch devotee of Raghavendra.
 
Through out his life Raghavendra visited punya shethras like, Kanchi, Tirupathi, Madurai, Rameswaram, Udupi, Bidarahalli, Pandarapur, Kohlapur, Bijapur, Malkhed and other places.

Wherever he visited he was spreading the message of Madhvacharya. He was teaching his disciples and also people who were interested in studying the Dvaitha philosophy.

At Bidarahalli One family man Srinvasachar used to come to Raghavendra’s religious discourses. He was very much impressed with Raghavendra’s great knowledge and used to visit the mutt frequently and used to have meals at the mutt.

One day when he was with Raghavendra a dalith came to the mutt. He prostrated before Raghavendra and told that he came to know from people that a great mahan had come to the city and so he came to pay his obeisance.

He told that being a poor man he could bring only some mustard as offering which he got as wages from his master.

Raghavendra accepted it from the man and he called out to one of his disciples and told him to give it to the cook and use it for tempering. Srinivasachar did not like Raghavendra accepting the mustard from a dalith and also using it. Srinivasachar who had the intention of taking food in the mutt had changed his mind.

He said, “Swami! Please give me Mathrakshadai. I want to go home.”

Raghavendra said, “Please take your meals and then go home.”

Srinivasachar said, “I am not feeling hungry today. I’ll go home and have meals after some time.”

Raghavendra Said, “As you wish. I am not forcing you. Here take the manthrakshadai.”

Before leaving Srinivasachar said, “Somehow I feel it was not proper to take the mustard from a dalith and then using it in cooking.”

Raghavendra replied, “I do not give importance to one’s caste. I see only the athman which is pure and has no colour, caste or creed. Lord Krishna himself had said in Bhagavad Gita that all athmas are pure and sacred. Now please open your hand and show me the manthrakshadai.”

When he opened his hand he was surprised to see instead of akshadai gingili was in his hand. Then Raghavendra told him the manthrakshadai had turned to gingili because he had impure thoughts.

Srinivasachar had realized Raghavendra’s greatness and apologized to him. Then once again Raghavendra told him to close and then open his hands and see. The gingili had now turned back to akshadai.

As years rolled on Raghavendra had become old. He wanted to stay at one place and also wanted to choose a place for his brindavanam. He remembered diwan Venkanna and thought that he would go and settle at Adoni. Venkanna was very much pleased to welcome Raghavendra. He made him stay at his place and arranged for puja. Raghavendra told him that he wanted some land for his brindavan.Venkanna was very happy that he could do something for his mentor and guru for what he had done for him. But he thought that before giving him the land he should obtain permission from the Nawab.

All along he was telling Nawab about Raghavendra’s greatness and the miracles he had created. He put up Raghavendra’s request for land to Nawab. Nawab was wondering why Venkanna was so much mesmerized by Raghavendra and whether he really possessed the qualities for so much praise. He wanted to test Raghavendra.

One day he came to see the puja. He brought three plates covered with silk cloth in which he kept meat. He told Raghavendra that he brought fruits and flowers for puja and kept them in front of him. Raghavendra accepted them with a smile and then he sprinkled water from his kamandal upon them. Then he told his disciples to remove the cloth. What a surprise! There were only fruits and flowers in the plates. Nawab had become dumbfounded to see the miracle. He could not believe his eyes.

Nawab prostrated before Raghavendra and told him that without realizing his greatness he wanted to test whether he had really possessed any Divine power for Venkanna was all in praise of his miracles. He told that he was very much ashamed for his conduct. He beseeched him to forgive him.

He called Venkanna and said, “You told me that your guru wanted some land. I am offering him the whole Kurnool district.”

Raghavendra told him that he only wanted a small village to set up Manthralaya where he could build a temple and brindavan for all the Madhwa mutt Peetathipathis.

Nawab told Venkanna to offer whichever village his guru wanted. Raghavendra asked for a village called Manchalam at the banks of the river Thungabadra. Venkanna told him that it was a hilly place and not so fertile and he wanted him to offer a fertile land. Raghavendra told him that fertile land would be useful for people to grow crops and that Manchalam was good enough for him.

Once Ragahvendra went to the banks of the river Thungabadra with the Nawab and Venkanna. He pointed out a place and told Nawab’s men to dig up that place. When they dug up, they saw a Bali peetam below 20 feet from the ground. All the people were surprised and asked him how he knew that the Bali peetam was there.

Raghavendra told that When Pandavas performed Aswamedha Yajna, Arjuna fought with Anusalwan in that place. But he could not defeat him and so he asked Lord Krishna the reason for not conquering him. Then Krishna told him the place where Anusalwan was standing was the place where Prahlad had conducted a yajna and so it was sanctified. Then he made Anusalwan move from that place and Arjuna defeated him.

Raghavendra got settled at Manchalam. One day when he was teaching his disciples suddenly he got up and looked up towards the sky and after asking some questions, he saluted towards the direction with folded hands and resumed the class. The disciples were perturbed at his behaviour and were inquisitive to know what he was doing.

He said, “Dear children, I saw Mahan Krishna Thvaipayana going to Vaikuntam in a palanquin. I asked him how long I have to remain in this world. He showed his thumb and index finger three times. I understood that I have to remain in this world for two years, two months and two days. I thanked and paid my obeisance to him.”

When the disciples heard this they were bewildered and also felt very sad thinking that their guru would leave them after two years.

Raghavendra told Venkanna to build a brindavan for him where he would enter physically. Venkanna as for his guru’s wish built it, but Raghavendra had changed his mind. He told Venkanna to keep it for some other Peetathipathi and showed him a place where there was a black rock and told him to make his brindavan there. When Venkanna asked him why he wanted it there, he told during Ramavathar Lord Sri Ram sat on the rock for seven seconds and so puja should be performed there for 700 years. Accordingly Venkanna made the brindavanam there and he planted trees and flowering plants. A temple was also built there for Moola Rama. The place was then called Manthralaya.

There was an old temple for Manchalamman in that place. Before building the brindawan Raghavendra went to the temple and sought permission from Manchalamman after praying to her.

The Amman appeared and said, “Raghavendra! I am very happy to grant you permission to build the brindavanam here. After visiting my temple people will visit your brindavanam.”

In the year 1671, In Tamil month Avani, on Krishna Thvithiya thithi , which fell on a Thursday Raghavendra decided to enter his brindavanam. His disciples and the devotees were all assembled in Manthralaya to have a last glimpse of the great mahan with a grief stricken heart. His most favourite disciple Appanna was away form Manthralaya. When he came to know the news he became very much upset and sad. Chanting his guru’s name he walked fast to reach the place. But he had to cross the river Thungabadra and when he came to the banks of the river, the river was in spate. But that did not deter him and though the water was up to his neck, meditating and chanting Raghavendra’s sthothra he started his walk. The water started receding and he hurried to have his guru’s darshan for the last time. But before he reached the last brick was placed and the brindavan was covered. Appanna had chanted the Raghavendra Sthothra up to ‘Vibhuthu rathula’ and Raghavendra himself completed the sthothra by chanting the last part ‘Sakshihaya sthothrahi.’ Thus Raghavendra blessed his favourite disciple Appanna by chanting the last part of the sthothra.

It is believed that Raghavendra would be fulfilling his devotees’ prayers till seven hundred years after entering brindavan.

Pujya Sri Raghavendra had written many books.

Some of them are:

Purusha sukthathi pancha suthra vyakyai, Nyaya mukthavali, Thathva Manjari, Vedathriya Vivruthi, Manthrartha Manjari, Parimalam, Thathva prakasa Njana Deepika, Githartha Sangraham, Rama Charithra Manjari, Krishna Charithra Manjari, Prameya Deepika Vakyam and many more.

Sri Raghavendra’s name and fame will be eternal. His true devotees’ wishes would be fulfilled through his grace.

Om Sri Raghavendraya Nama  !!

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