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A very warm welcome to the blog of Madhwa Brahmins community.
We, Madhwa Brahmins are followers of Jagadguru Sriman Madhwacharya. We originally hail from places in Karnataka and the neighboring states of Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Kerala. Our main dialects are Kannada, Tulu, Marathi, Telugu and Konkani.

A brief background of Jagadguru Sri Madhwacharya:

prathamO hanumAn nAma dviteeyO bheema Eva cha |
pUrNaprajna tRuteeyastu bhagavat kAryasAdhakaH ||

As the above shloka from khila vAyustuti explains, Sri Madhwacharya (also known by the names Poornaprajna and Anandateertha) is the third incarnation of Lord MukhyaprAna Vaayu, after Lord Hanuman and Lord Bheemasena. He is the chief proponent of TattvavAda, popularly known as Dvaita. He was born on Vijayadashami day of 1238 CE at Paajaka Kshetra, a small village near Udupi. He is the 22nd commentator on the Brahma sutras of Lord Sri Veda Vyasa.

Kindly note that this blog contains important topics discussed in our Orkut community and some articles on tattvavAda philosophy. All the topics can be found in the BLOG ARCHIVE (right side)

14 June, 2009

Sri SreepAdarAjaru


Source:www.tatvavada.org

Overview:

Hare Srinivasa

shrI shrIpAdarAja is one of the most revered saints of dvaita. It is believed that he is the incarnation of dhruva. His contributions to dvaita, haridAsa literature, and the then existing social and political circumstances are considerable and well documented in the annals of history.

He is the eighth saint in the lineage started by shrI padmanAbha tIrtha, one of the principal disciples of AchArya Madhva. Such was the brilliance of his personality that after his rule, his maTha came to be known as shrIpAdarAja maTha.

ShrIpAdarAja was one of the pillars of the haridAsa movement. He popularized the practice of composing kannada devaranAmAs, soaked in devotion. Some of his famous devaranAmAs are: "nI ittahange iruvEno hariye ...", "kangalidyathako kAveri rangana nOdada..", "BhUshanake BhUshana ...".

His ankitha is "Ranga Vittala". Among his other kannada compositions, the most famous are Bhramara-gIte and "MadhvanAma" (which extols Hanuma, BhIma, Madhwa; the Phalasthuthi for this was composed by JagannAtha dAsaru). He authored one major sanskrit work called Vagvajra.

He was also the vidya-guru of shrI vyAsarAja and played a significant role in the spiritual development of shrI vyAsarAja. He was responsible for Vyasaraja’s movement to Chandragiri and Vijayanagara, where he eventually became the Rajaguru of Krishna Devaraya and other kings.

shrIpAdarAja maTha is headquartered at muLabAgal, near Kolar in Karnataka. The saint has his brindAvana at a place called narasimha tIrtha, which is located about 4 - 5 miles outside Mulabagalu..


Predecessors and lineage:


Many were the scholars who came to debate and sway AchArya Madhva but ended up in defeat like lumps of clod falling on a solid rock. ShrI Shobhana bhatta was one such great scholar. After getting a glimpse of the Acharya’s greatness, he lost interest in mundane matters and sought sanyAsa (asecticism) under him. He was accepted into the fold with the Ashrama nAma of shrI padmanAbha tIrtha.

After the departure of Acharya Madhva to Badari, shrI padmanAbha tIrtha became the head of the lineage (outside South Kanara District). He was in turn succeeded by shrI narahari tIrtha, shrI mAdhava tIrtha and shrI akshObya tIrtha. Many of the prominent maThas that we see today include them in their guru-parampara.

shrI padmanAbha tIrtha also set up a separate maTha to further propagate the philosophy of Acharya Madhva. This maTha was known as the shrI padmanAbha tIrtha maTha until the fifteenth century. In this lineage he was succeeded by ShrI lakshmIdhara tIrtha, shrI sankarshaNa tIrtha and so on. shrI svarNavarNa tIrtha was the seventh pontiff in the lineage (starting with shrI padmanAbha tIrtha as the first).

shrI shrIpAdarAja was the eight pontiff, and after his advent, the maTha became known as the shrI shrIpAdarAja maTha. That is the name by which the maTha is known today. This maTha was initially based in Srirangam but eventually moved to muLabAgalu, Kolar District, in the state of Karnataka

Birth and early childhood:


shrI purushOttama tIrtha, the pontiff of the pUrvAdi rAjendra tIrtha maTha (what we know today as shrI vyAsarAyara maTha), was based in Abburu near Channapatna in Karnataka, on the banks of the river Kanva. shrI svarNavarNa tIrtha was the pontiff of the shrI padmanAbha tIrtha maTha. He was based in Shrirangam in Tamilnadu.

The two yatis were very great scholars with immense spiritual powers. Both were looking for a suitable successor to takeover the reigns of their respective maThas and spread the teachings of Acharya Madhva. “svarNa varNa” ('golden color') was a very apt name because the intensity of his spiritual aura was so much that his body literally had a golden hue.

shrI sEshagiri Acharya and Girijamma (some sources call them sEshagiriyappa and giriyamma) were devout mAdhvas settled in Abburu. They had a son called LakshmInArAyaNa.

“Look at the setting sun”

shrI svarNavarNa tIrtha decided to visit Abburu and meet shrI purushOttama tIrtha. Since the distance was large and the only means of transport suitable for an ascetic was a palanquin, the journey took a long time.

One evening his retinue reached the banks of the river Kanva. he was travelling in a palanquin. He looked out of the palanquin and saw a few boys playing, while their cows were grazing near by. He beckoned to their leader and asked him if Abbur was near by.

With a twinkle in his eyes, the boy replied in a very mystic manner “Look at the setting sun. Look at the grazing cattle and the boys playing near them. And then decide how far Abbur is!”. The saint had to ponder on the boy’s words for a few seconds to figure out what he was actually saying.


The answer hidden in those cryptic words was “If the sun is setting then obviously it is going to be dark soon. The cows and the boys need to get home before it gets really dark, because it is not safe to be roaming around in the jungle at night. So, if the boys are playing without a care even though the sun is setting, then it obviously means that Abbur is very close by!”.

The saint was overwhelmed by the boy’s intellect and his ability to express a simple answer in a very poetic manner, on the spur of the moment! In a flash he realized that this was the successor that he was looking for. The boy was none other than Lakshminarayana, the future shripAdarAjaru!

The meeting between the saint and the boy turned out to be a very momentous one, with far reaching implications. In a manner of speaking, it was not shrI svarNavarNa tIrtha who beckoned Lakshminarayana, it was his destiny beckoning him to his future role as a very great saint.

Similarly, it was not Lakshminarayana replying to the saint; it was his antaryAmi Lord telling him “svarNavarNa tIrtha, the sun of your life is setting! Your destination is near because you are looking at your successor!”.

From the riverbank, svarNavarNa tIrtha reached Abbur and met purushOttama tIrtha. He narrated the entire incident to him and its effect on him. purushOttama tIrtha agreed with svarNavarNa tIrtha’s assessment of the boy and his capabilities.

svarNavarNa tIrtha requested purushOttama tIrtha to speak to the boy’s parents and convince them to hand over lakshminArAyaNa to shrI padmanAbha tIrtha maTha. He was confident that the parents would not refuse a direct request from purushOttama tIrtha. This turned out to be true and eventually the 5-year old lakshminArAyaNa came into the custody of svarNavarNa tIrtha.

The services of purushOttama tIrtha did not go unrewarded. He too found his successor, who turned out to be none other than the cousin of Lakshminarayana from his mother’s side. This was Shri brahmaNya tIrtha, who was later succeeded by the great shrI vyAsa tIrtha.

Incidentally, it is said that shrI purushOttama tIrtha is still around, performing penance in a cave that the locals call ‘shri purushOttama guhe’.

Studies:

svarNavarNa tIrtha oversaw the initial education of lakshminArAyaNa and arranged for his upanayana. A short while later he was initiated him into sanyAsa with the Ashrama nAma of lakshminArAyaNa muni.

After this svarNavarNa tIrtha arranged for his further education and training under shrI vibhudEndra tIrtha, who was a very well regarded scholar and saint (the present day Raghavendra swamy maTha pays homage to shrI vibhudEndra tIrtha in its guru-parampara).

shrI vibhudEndra tIrtha was very happy to take such a gifted boy under his tutelage and took a lot of personal interest in his education and development. He took him with him while touring too.

Once while on tour, vibhudEndra tIrtha arrived at koppar along with lakshminArAyaNa muni. Coincidentally, shrI raghunAtha tIrtha (1444-1502) of uttarAdi maTha too arrived at the same place with his retinue. vibhudEndra tIrtha took lakshminArAyaNa muni with him to meet raghunAtha tIrtha.

The next day, lakshminArAyaNa muni gave a very scholarly discourse on ShrImannyAya sudha. raghunAtha tIrtha complimented lakshminArAyaNa muni on his erudition. lakshminArAyaNa muni replied that he was overjoyed and overwhelmed that a saint of raghunAtha tIrtha’s eminence was appreciative of his efforts.

raghunAtha tIrtha was so impressed by shrI lakshminArAyaNa muni’s humility and reverence for elders that he said, "We are mere shrIpAdAs (a popular term for sanyAsis), whereas you are shrIpAdarAja! (shrIpAdarAja literally means the king of sanyAsIs)". From then on, lakshminArAyana muni became known as shrIpAdarAja.

There is also another version as to how he got this name. According to this, raghunAtha tIrtha personally witnessed the revival of a dead boy by lakshminArAyaNa muni and in admiration gave him the title of shrIpAdarAja.

Ascension:

After completing his education under vibhudEndra tIrtha, shrIpAdarAja returned home to svarNavarNa tIrtha, who had already heard reports of his disciple’s brilliance and was eagerly waiting to receive him.

Around 1420 svarNavarNa tIrtha entrusted the administration of the maTha to shrIpAdarAja and entered his brindAvana. After a few years shrIpAdarAja moved the maTha from Srirangam to Mulbagal.

Contribution to Haridasa movement:

AchArya Madhva started the glorious tradition of singing before the Lord with utmost devotion. Shri narahari tIrtha continued this further and brought it within the grasp of the common man.

However, with the passage of time, this practice diminished considerably and by the beginning of the fifteenth century it was totally dead. It needed a dynamic and divine personality to revive it and make it long-lasting. This personality was none other than shrIpAdarAja.

shripAdarAja revived the practice of singing and dancing in devotional ecstasy. Initially, he encountered a lot of opposition from more orthodox followers who could not tolerate his act of singing songs in the local language, attaching anklets (gejje) and dancing in public. But he eventually prevailed because he was convinced that this was the only way the nectar of pure devotion could reach the masses.

His lead was followed by his immediate disciple shrI vyAsarAja, and others like shrI vAdirAja, shrI Purandara dAsa and shrI KanakadAsa. After this there was a hiatus for several decades. It received one more breath of life from shrI VijayadAsa and flourished from then on.

'dAsa sahitya' is the term used to denote compositions of this genre. They are enormously popular, both with the masses and with scholars, because of two main reasons. First and foremost is the fact that they are in the local language - kannada, putting them within the reach of the common man. Second, they are beautiful compositions with an appeal that is both universal and timeless. They would be popular irrespective of language, time or place.

Content-wise, compositions by haridAsas are usually devotional pieces, steeped in intense and passionate devotion which would melt anybody's heart. Sometimes, they incorporate a social or moral message, that is relevant even today. Or, they underscore a philosophical or metaphysical concept in simple terms.

shripAdarAja is considered as 'haridAsa pitAmaha' (the grandfather of haridasa movement). Most traditional harikatha exponents recite the following stotra with a lot of reverence at the beginning of a discourse to express gratitude for the contributions made by 4 great individuals - shrIpAdarAjaru, vyAsarAjaru, purandara dAsaru and vijaya dAsaru

namaha shrIpAda rAjAya namaste vyAsa yogine |
namaha purandarAyAya shrI vijayAryAya te namaH ||


shrI purandara dAsa, who in addition to being dAsa-par-excellence is also regarded as the founding father of the karnAtik school of music.

Important Incidents

ShrIpAdarAja cures brahma-hatya dosha of Saluva narasimha:

Saluva Narasimha was the ruler of a small province, falling under the Vijayanagar empire. He was a devout VaishNava and ruled his province wisely from his capital in Chandragiri, close to Tirupati.

Around 1485 Saluva Narasimha deposed VirupAsksha the ruler of Vijayanagar and became the emperor himself, but continued to stay in Chandragiri. He learnt that the SriVaishnava priests in Tirupati were abusing their power and committing atrocious acts like using the clothes, ornaments and chariot of the Lord for their personal use.

Infuriated by this, he went to Tirupati and in a fit of anger destroyed their entire clan. He made some temporary arrangement for the puja and went back to Chandragiri. He was then overcome with remorse for having committed "Brahma-hatya-dosha" (a very horrendous sin got by killing a Brahmin) and sought refuge under Sri ShrIpAdarAja.

shrIpAdarAja, who knew the inherent noble nature of the king, and also the circumstances that led to the killing, performed many yagnAs and pUjas on behalf of the king and wiped out his bramha hatya dOsha.

The king was overcome with relief and gratitude. As a token of gratitude, the king requested shrIpAdarAjA to sit on the throne so that he could perform kanakAbishEka. shrIpAdarAjA told the king that as a sanyAsi he was least interested in such ceremonies. The king begged him repeatedly and finally shrIpAdarAjA acceded to his request. The king performed kanakAbhishEka of Sri ShrIpAdarAja in Chandragiri.

Soiled, dark cloth becomes white:

Once, a poor brahmin who had inadvertently committed brahma-hatya dOsha approached shrIpAdarAja and sought refuge under him. Through his mystical powers shrIpAdarAja realized that the brahmin was inherently a very good soul who had committed the crime due to factors beyond his control. He decided to help the brahmin and asked him to be present when the daily puja was performed.

At the end of each day’s puja, he would sprinkle some holy, specially consecrated water from a conch on the brahmin. This happened for a few weeks and later shrIpAdarAja told the brahmin that his sin had been wiped out. Some detractors in the maTha did not believe that a heinous sin like brahma-hatya dosha could be wiped out by merely sprinkling water from a conch. They thought that shrIpAdarAjA had deceived the brahmin.

When shrIpAdarAjA heard this, he summoned them and asked them to take a white cloth and dip it in black linseed oil (called 'gEru yeNNe' in Kannada). The cloth became totally black. ShrI shrIpAdarAjA sprinkled some water from his kamanDalu (a vessel carried by saints), and the cloth became spotlessly white! The detractors realized the amazing powers of shrI shrIpAdarAjA and were overcome with remorse for having suspected such a noble soul. He forgave their sin with a smile.

VyAsarAja uses sAligrAmas as tALa:

Once shrI shrIpAdarAja asked Sri vyAsarAja to conduct the daily pUja in his absence. ShrI vyAsarAja saw that one sampusTa (box containing divine vigrahAs) had had never been opened so far. Out of curiosity, he tried to open it, and succeeded immediately. He was astounded when a beautiful icon of Lord gOpala krishNa came out of the box and began to dance in front of him.

He was so engrossed that he used the sAligrAma as tAla. When shripAdarAja entered the puja hall, krishna froze in the middle of the dance. shrIpAdarAjA presented this icon to vyAsarAja and told him "I could not open the box, only you were destined to open it. So this vigraha morally belongs to you". Even today, this miraculous vigraha, with its unusual pose, is worshipped by saints of the vyAsarAja maTha.

Adi-sesha blesses Sri vyAsa tIrtha:

Sri vyAsarAja used to visit a small cave in the vicinity of the Ashrama and spend his time in meditation. Once when he was in deep trance, a big snake entered the cave and wound itself around his body. Other disciples of Sri ShrIpAdarAja saw this and ran away in fear. Sri ShrIpAdarAja came to investigate this and spoke to the snake in its own language.

The snake told him that he was Adi-sesha and that he had come there to bless Sri vyAsa tIrtha. Sri ShrIpAdarAja was delighted to learn this for two reasons. Firstly, he was happy that his favorite disciple was destined for fame and renown. Secondly, he was very happy to have met the founder of his maTha, Shri padmanAbha tIrtha (who is believed to be the incarnation of AdisEsha).

He prostrated before the snake with deep devotion and performed its worship. The snake went away after a while. When Sri vyAsarAja emerged from his trance and learnt about the event, he was ecstatic at the special grace showered on him by Adi-sesha.

VyAsarAja becomes Rajaguru in Chandragiri:

shrI shrIpAdarAja had a long standing invitation from king Saluva Narasimha to come and stay at Chandragiri as his rajaguru. However, he foresaw the leading role that vyAsarAja would play in the Vijayanagara empire and wanted him to get some vital experience in a similar environment.

So he declined the invitation citing old age as the reason but sent vyAsarAja instead. VyAsarAja was very reluctant to leave the divine company of ShrIpAdarAja and enter the hustle and bustle of court-life, but ShrIpAdarAja convinced him about the desirability of such a move. So very reluctantly VyAsarAja set out for Chandragiri.

sukha prArabdha:

We suffer the consequences of our actions; in formal terms it is called karma phala. When a jIva gets apraroxa gyAna, all its past and future karmas are wiped out; the only one left is that portion of karma which he was experiencing at the time of aparoxa gyAna. This karma is called prArabdha karma (i.e, karma that has already begun to act on the jIva).

Even though the Lord has the power to wipe out prArabdha karma He does not do so out of mercy towards other souls (Imagine the problem that would occur if each soul went to liberation immediately after getting aparoxa; there would be no one to guide other souls!). The only way a jIva can erode its prArabdha karma is by experiencing it.

An aparoxa gyAni gladly accepts prArabdha karma as hari-prasAda and undergoes whatever consequences that the prArabdha karma prescribes. For most people, prArabdha karma is negative in nature and jIva has to go through suffering and anguish. But in the case of shrIpAdarAja, it was the opposite.

He had "sukha prArabdha" and was thus destined to lead a regal lifestyle even though he was a saint. Needless to add, he was at heart a total ascetic whose mind was pegged at the lotus feet of gOpalakrishNa, but his prArabdha forced him to enjoy rAjavaibhOga (regal grandeur and glory).

Some people around him found it hard to accept that an ascetic could lead such a regal life. They accused shrIpAdarAja of using the sukha prArabdha as an excuse to indulge in his whims and fancies. Once, when he was about to embark on a tour, they decided to prove their conclusions decisively.

They decided to misguide the retinue so that it would land up in the middle of a forest where no amenities would be available; this would then force shrIpAdarAja to avail of whatever meagre facilities were available in the forest, thus disproving the concept of sukha prArabdha. They did this and shrIpAdarAja was stranded in the forest with his retinue.

Just then a merchant arrived at the scene with cartloads of provisions and utensils. He told them “I am a merchant from a nearby town. I was on my way to Tirupati, to offer these provisions to the Lord. I lost my way in the forest and spent last night under a tree. The Lord appeared in my dream and told me that He had accepted my offering in the forest itself and that there was no need to go to Tirupati.

He said that his great devotee would come here the next day and asked me to hand over the provisions to him. I followed his instructions and here I am. Please accept these provisions on behalf of your Lord and Master.” Everybody in the retinue was wonderstruck at the turn of events. ShrIpAdaraja contemplated on the Lord’s leela (playfulness) with tears in his eyes.

He instructed his followers to prepare naivedya to the Lord using the provisions given by the merchant. That day, by the grace of Lord Srinivasa, the variety of food prepared was much more than normal! He kept His promise “yogaxemam vahAmyaham (I am responsible for your welfare and wellbeing)!”. The evil machinations of the wicked followers were vehemently rejected by the Lord, thus proving the validity of the statement “hari chitta satya (the Lord’s will always prevails)”..

Another time, shrIpAdarAja decided to teach the doubting followers a lesson. He gave up his regular ways and followed the normal practice of an ascetic. Then so many untoward things happened to everybody that the same persons begged him to go back to his regular ways.

Ganga comes to narasimha tIrtha:

Some of his devotees were depressed that they could not travel to Kashi and bathe in the holy River Ganga. shrI shrIpAdarAja told the devotees to come next morning near the narasimha tIrtha (a small pond near Narasimha’s temple). shrI shrIpAdarAja meditated on Lord gOpinAtha and requested Ganga to shower her blessings.

All of a sudden, the sky became gray and it started raining heavily. After a while people saw crystal clear water emanating from one of the corners of narasimha tIrtha. The whole atmosphere erupted with jaya-jayakAras, hailing the Lord, Acharya Madhva, Ganga and shrIpAdarAja.

The devotees thus got the holy bath of Ganga at muLabagal itself, thanks to the mahima of shrIpAdarAja. This belief persists even to this day that Ganga is present in narasimha tIrtha in a subtle form.

Brindavana:

After handing over the reigns of the maTha to his disciple shrI hayagrIva tIrtha, shripAdarAja entered his brindAvana at narasimha theertha on Jyeshta Shukla chaturdashi. He continues to bless devotees from there.

Here is the shloka composed by Sri VyAsarAjaru in praise of Sri SreepAdarAjaru

Tham vande narasimha theertha nilayam Sri vyAsarAja poojitham
DhAyantham manasa nrusimha charaNam ShrIpAdarAjaram gurum.

Pada Vakya Pramatabhyam Vikreedana Visharadam
LakshmiNarayana Muneem Vande Vidya Gurunmama.


ShrI krishNArpaNamastu

Works of Sri SreepAdarAjaru

The only major sanskrit work ascribed to him is a commentary on the nyAya sudha of shrI jayatIrtha called vAgvajra or nyAyasudhOpanyAsa-vAgvajra . It is a lucid and attractive commentary, in the lecture style, in 3500 granthas. The exposition is exhaustive and the style graceful.

Among his other compositions, the most famous is "madhvanAma" (which extols the 3 avatArAs of vAyu - hanuma, bhIma, madhva). The phala sthuthi for this was composed by shrI jagannAtha dAsaru. He also wrote bhramara gIte, and hundreds of other devaranaranAmas.

Some of his famous devaranAmAs are ni iTThange iruvEnO hariyE... kangalidyAthako kAveri rangana nODada.. bhUshaNakke bhUshaNa idu bhUshaNa...

May Lord Sri Hari, Lord Vayu and Sri SreepAdarAjaru bless the readers who read this information on account of Sri SreepAdarAjaru's aarAdhane

BhAratIramaNa mukhyaprANAntargata Sri Gopalakrishna PreeyatAm.

Sri KrishNArpaNamastu

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