Tuesday, December 30, 2008

God's Decree

"Swamy, do you wish me to assume Sanyasam and ascend the throne of Sarvagna Peetam? I'm not able to make a mere living, then how can I cross an ocean? Do you think it's possible by me?" Venkatanatha asked Theertharu innocently.

"You will definitely cross the ocean with my blessings and guidance. You need to have courage, should be able to sacrifice and should be self-disciplined." Venkatanatha was worried and said: "Swamy, my wife is very young, I have not performed Upanayana to my son yet. Sanyasa is not possible by me. Please leave me and find some one for Sarvagna Peetam. If you force me then I'll leave this Kumbhakonam and go elsewhere."

What are these excuses? What happiness does a man get in leading a family life?Did Venkatanatha, a great scholar, too fell in this trap? Already Sri Yaadavendra Theertharu(who was appointed in charge of Sarvagna Peetam when Sri Sudheendra Theertharu was not well) was on a country wide tour and Sri Sudheendra Theertharu was happy to find his successor in Venkatanatha. But why is Venkatanatha rejecting this offer? Theertharu smiled silently and remembered his dream. He thougt he should do his duty and leave the rest to God. 

"Venkatanatha, salvation should be the only destination for a human being. Who is wife to a scholar? Who is son to a scholar? A woman's company always leads to grief. This is the truth. Don't you know what consequences did great people like Vali and Yudhistir face? "

Venkatanatha bowed his head. 

"This is a world where only money has value. Can you live in this world by praising an illiterate as a scholar, a heartless man as sacrificer, for money? Din't you still understand this world?" Venkanna kept silence as an indication of acceptance. "There is nothing horrible than a family life. You would only come down the ladder if you lead a family life. You will never get satisfied with what you have or what you earn. And to earn money you will have to demean your character and hear words that you are not ought to hear from others."

While Gurugalu was advising Venkatanatha on renunciation, Venkatanatha's heart was hovering around family life. "To a scholar, all these relations are obstacles. Perform the Upanayana to your son as early as possible. Now get back to your house and give a thought on what I have said."

Venkatanatha pretended as if he heard everything and went back to his house as if he heard nothing. His mind was totally pre-occupied by his Guru's words. Swamygalu ordered two of his students to keep an eye on Venkatanatha. Venkatanatha thought that if he stayed back there then he would be forced by his Guru to assume Sanyasa. And if he moves to some other place, his Guru might be sad. Venkatanatha did not understand what to do. His mind was full of thoughts. For that day, he did not touch the books. 

Sri Raghavendraya Namaha !!!  

Monday, December 29, 2008

Life at Vidyapeetam

Soon Venkatanatha along with his family reached Kumbhakonam. They entered the peetam, washed their legs and went straight to Sri Sudheendra Theertharu for darshana. Swamygalu recognised Venkatanatha and inquired about his welfare. Swamygalu told him to stay back in the Peetam so that he could teach some lessons to the students. Later they were given a house to stay in and Venkatanatha's new life had begun. 

Every day morning, after bath he used to meet Swamygalu, participate in Moola Raamaru puja, teach Brahma Sutras and Sri Madhva Bhashyam to students, teach law to other students, then learn Nyaya Sudha from Swamygalu. Later he used to analyse what he learnt that day, along with Pathanjali's Maha Bhashyam, Tika Charya's Maha Bhashyam, Vachaspati Mishra's Bhamathi, Vyasa Raya Theertha's Chandrika etc. He used to spend time learning or writing till late night, slept for few hours, woke up early in the morning to start his routine. 

Swamygalu was more affectionate towards Venkatanatha. Venkatanatha was less involved in family life. He dedicated his life to God. Saraswathi used to get satisfied seeing her husband's happiness. She played with her son and looked after the house-hold work. 

Once Venkatanatha accompanied his Guru to a temple in Raajamannaru(Dakshina Dwaraka). At the entrance of the temple some Advaita students were learning lessons from their Guru. Venkanatha stood back and was listening to their conversation. The Guru had queried his students for which a student replied. But Venkatanatha argued that the student was wrong. When Venkatanatha was asked to justify his answer, without staggering he explained a few points from Maha Bhashyam which even their Guru was not aware of. Sri Sudheendra Theertha who was observing this was very happy to see his student's knowledge in Maha Bhashyam. For revealing great facts from the Maha Bhashyam, Venkatanatha was honoured with a citation "MahaBhashya Venkatanatha". 

In Tanjore too Venkatanatha won such citations from great scholars after proving his talent. He worte notes on Nyaya Sudha that was taught by Sri Sudheendra Theertharu. Once Gurugalu had a doubt in Nyaya Sudha and he happened to come across the notes written by Venkatanatha. His doubt got clarified by Venkatanatha's notes. This write-up was called "Parimala" and hence forth Venkatanatha was called as "Parimala Charya". 

Though Venkatanatha had excelled in the field of education, his personal life was worse. Poverty made him helpless. Being a scholar, he had no proper clothing. He wore a piece of cloth for a whole year. He couldn't even afford to buy a new colth. There was no oil in the house to have a head bath atleast. Some days they had to adjust by eating just once in a day. Some times they had no money to buy a plantain leaf to eat food and made the floor as thier plate. Alas! Sometimes getting alms was also difficult and the family had to starve. :(

There was no proper shelter, no clothing, no food, no good utensils. And to worsen this situation once thieves looted what ever they found in the house. All will have one Ekadasi in a fortnight, Venkatanatha's family had four or five in a fornight ! They starved for months together. Venkatanatha never revealed his pains to anyone. Always had a smile on his face. Saraswathi some how adjusted with this situation but when it came to her son, Laskhmi Narayana, she used to shed tears. Whatever she used to get as alms, she fed her son with that. And some times Lakshmi Narayana drank water when there was nothing to eat. Saraswathi's only wish and prayer was that her son went never starved. 

One night, Sri Sudheendra Theertha had a dream where in he had the darshana of Lord Sri Rama. The next day he called Venkatanatha and inquired about his welfare. Then he suddenly remembered his dream and thought that Venkatanatha would best suit the position of his successor. He then said to Venkatanatha: 
" Venkanna, to protect the holy Dvaitha Matha, you will have to assume Sanyasaashrama !" 

Hearing these words, Venkatanatha was shocked and astounded. He rememberd his marriage and his son. He stood bewildered !

Sri Raghavendraya Namaha !!!    

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Kumbhakonam - Succession

Sri Madhva Charya

Hari Sarvottama ! Vayu Jeevotamma ! Means Lord Sri Hari is the prime in this Universe and Sri Vayu is the prime among all living beings. Jeevotamma serves Sarvotamma with Bhakthi and enjoys His company, love and kindness. Sri Vayu devaru served Sri Rama as Sri Hanuman, Sri Krishna as Sri Bheemasena and Sri Veda Vyasa as Sri Madhva Charya. 

Sri Madhva Charya is also called as Sri Poorna Pragna and Srimad Aananda Theertha. He introduced a Vaidika Siddantha called "Dvaita" and gave birth to the Dviata Philosophy. He composed several articles on Brahma Sutras of Sri Veda Vyasa. He ordered all his followers to propagate Dvaita Philosophy. 

His disciple was Sri Padmanabha Theertharu. He composed some books(Satarka Deepavali, Sannyaya Ratnavali)which guides a right way of reading his Guru's books. He also composed a book that defines the principles of Panini.

Sri Narahari Theertha was the disciple of Sri Padmanabha Theertha. He came to know that Sri Moola Rama Vigraha(idols created and worshipped by Lord Brahma) were with Gajapathi Raja. He took the permission of his Guru, defeated Gajapathi Raja and took charge of those idols. They were dedicated to Sri Madhva Charya and were worshipped daily.

Sri Moola Rama Devaru:
Left: DigVijaya Rama Center: Moola Rama Right: Jaya Rama

His disciple was Sri Madhava Theertha and even he worshipped the idols of Sri Moola Rama devaru and propagated Dvaita Philosophy. Sri Akshobhya Theertha was his disciple and was a talented orator. He defeated Sri Vidyaranya with his oration on the topic of Tatvam. 

Sri Jaya Theertha(Sri Tika Charya)

His disciple was Sri Jaya Theertha who composed a glossary for all the texts of Sri Madhva Charya. Hence he was also called as Sri Tika Charya. Prior to assuming Sanyasa ashrama, it once so happened that he went out for a horse ride and was in the vicinity of Kagini river where Sri Akshobhya Theertha was in meditation. He was tired and went to the banks of river to drink some water. He drank water, turned around and saw Sri Akshobhya Theertha standing behind. He approached him and pleaded to give him Sanyasa. Sri Akshobhya Theertha understood his intention and gave him Sanyasa. Meanwhile his relatives walked in and scolded Sri Akshobhya Theertha for giving him Sanyasa. They took Sri Jaya Theertha by force to their house, only to see him transformed to a 14 headed huge snake. They were shocked to see this and immediately went back to Akshobhya Theertha and returned the snake. Again the snake transformed to Sri Jaya Theertha. The relatives fell at the feet of Sri Akshobhya Theertha and pleaded to forgive their foolish behavior. Even Sri Jaya Theertha performed the Moola Raama puja and propagated the Dvaita Philosophy. You can find his monastery in the village of Malkhed in Gulbarga. He handed over the idols to Sri Vidyadhi Raja. 

Then the idols were worshipped by his(Sri Vidyadhi Raja) successors in the following order: Sri Kavindra Theertha, Sri Vajista Theertha, Sri Rama Chandra Theertha, Sri Vibhudendra Theertha, Sri JitaMitra Theertha, Sri Surendra Theertha till Sri Vijayeendra Theertha. 

Successor of Sri Vijayeendra Theertha was Sri Sudheendra Theertha. He performed puja to the idols that he had acquired from his Guru. He defeated many great scholars with his command over literatures and won many accolades from Kings. Later he moved his peetam to Kumbhakonam in the Chola dynasty and settled there.

Venkatanatha, along with his wife and son started to Kumbhakonam to meet this Guru, Sri Sudheendra Theertharu.

Sri Raghavendraya Namaha !!!     

Utmost Poverty !

The family life of the newly wedded couple has started. It was all well at the beginning of the marriage life. But sooner Venkatanatha and Saraswathi realised their situation. At times they had no food for days together. Sometimes they could harldy have a square meal by luck. Saraswathi sat gloomy at a corner thinking about their dire poverty. 

Venkatanatha : "Why are you like that?"
Saraswathi : "What should I prepare for Naivedyam(offerings to God)?"
Venkatanatha : "Bhakthi(Reverence,devotion) ! Let Bhakthi be the offering for today!"

She controlled her tears. 

Saraswathi : "What about today's meals?" 
Venkatanatha : "Meditate Lord Sri Hari ! Perform His puja and chant His name. That's today's food for us and what ever we offer Him with devotion is accepted by Him. What did Kuchela offer Lord Sri Krishna? What did Dhruva offer? To get His mercy, the only way is devotion." 

Saraswathi was lost in his speech. He sang few Keerthanas(Songs) and listening to them Saraswathi fell asleep. He took his Veena, tuned it and started playing. Later he too slept with leaning his head on the Veena. This was a routine in Venkatanatha's house. :(

Though Venkatanatha knew to perform various pujas and karmas, to be successful, apart from being talented one should also have diplomacy and ostentation. Venkatanatha was not so. This quality of his was taken as an advantage by others. 

Some students came to him to learn scriptures. Along with them he went for alms and in that way few days rolled on. Saraswathi gave birth to a baby boy and he was named Lakshmi Narayana. He was fed mothers' milk for few days. But later there was no money to buy milk.       Some how Venkatanatha was managing to lead this life of poverty.

Once there was a Yagnam in a lawyer's house nearby. There was a feast given to all brahmins(Santarpana) whoever came in. Learning about this feast, Saraswathi ran to her husband and informed him. Venkatanatha along with his wife and son went to the lawyer's house for the feast. The place was filled with preists, family members and other scholars. The brahmins who attended the feast acted to be helping. And some were trying to dictate others. But Venkatanatha sat meditating at a corner because he was neither interested in such activities nor had any intentions of acting. Some of them noticed him not working and asked him who he was and why he was not working. The Chief of priests walked in and ordered Venkatanatha to make some sandal paste instead of sitting idle. Venkatanatha thought this to be a better job rather than others. 

So he started making sandal paste while reciting sacred hymns. Suddenly he remembered Agni Suktam(A hymn in praise of Fire God) and started reciting. While he was reciting he finished making sandal paste and he handed over that to the preists. That paste would be served to all the brahmins during the feast. Along with the Chief preists, everyone applied the paste to their body. Surprise ! All the priests and brahmins started yelling -"Burning burning  !" The paste that cools the body has now turned out to cause burning sensation ? Where's the mistake? The owner of the house was worried and furious that he had lost his face in front of so many guests. He came to know that the sandal paste was made by Venkatanatha. He shouted on Venkatanatha whether it was his job with a tinge of sarcasm. Then Venkatanatha realised that he recited Agni Suktam while making the paste.

He immediately took the stone on which sandal paste is prepared, started reciting Varuna Suktam(Hymn in praise of Rain God) and prepared a fresh paste again. He gave them this paste and asked everyone to forgive him for the mistake that had happened. When everyone applied this paste, this time their bodies turned cool. Astounded and dumbfounded by this incident, the owner fell at the feet of Venkatanatha for his actions and foolishness. He apologised for all that he had done and pleaded Venkatanatha to forgive him. All the others present there including the Chief preist also fell at Venkatantha's feet asking him to forgive. They expressed that he was born for a noble cause on this Earth. 

Venkatanatha kept silent through out, had lunch and set to leave to his home. But the owner of the house stopped him asking him to stay until the Yagnam was successfully complete. After the Yagnam completed, the owner offered Venkatanatha several gifts and sent him with satisfaction. Along with wife and his son, Venkatanatha returned home with those offerings. 

Like this, in some way, as if God had sent, they used to get some food or money. But still managing with students and a kid was rather very difficult for Venkatanatha in such village. 

In Kumbhakonam, there was MadhvaMatha Peetam, Sarvagna Peetam. Sri Sudheendra Theertharu was the Guru for that Peetam. Venkatanatha's father, Thimmanna Charya had touch with the Guru of the present Guru Sudheendra Theertharu. And he also had good reputation in the peetam. When Venkatanatha was young, he accompanied his father to this peetam several times. And Sri Sudheendra Theertharu treated Venkatanatha very kindly with special care and interest. He already knew that Venkatanatha would turn out great on one day.

Venkatanatha thought that if he moved to Peetam, his education could be continued. He could spend sometime with fellow students and learn various scriptures. Especially Nyaya Sudha, compiled by Sri Madhva Charya, could be learned from Sri Sudheendra Theertharu. Even family life would be better at Guru's place. 

Thinking so, he started to Kumbhakonam on a fine day along with Saraswathi and Lakshmi Narayana.

Sri Raghavendraya Namaha !!!   

Friday, December 26, 2008


Guru Raja decided to get his brother Venkatanatha married as he had finished his formal schooling and entered youth. So he had started searching for a girl. He came to know that there was a girl by name Saraswathi who belonged to an orthodox brahmin family in a near by agrahaaram. Guru Raja took the permission of Gopikamba, his mother and his brother-in law Nrusimha Charya. Venkatanatha also agreed for the marriage proposal. 

Soon there was a get-together of the two families, where in the bride-groom's family visited the bride's family, had an informal introduction between the two. Saraswathi was a very charming, young and beautiful girl with intelligence. She was humble, patient, brilliant and good-looking. Many may have these features but the beauty she had was just incomparable with others. Her name also suited her aptly ! Was it because she is blessed by Goddess Saraswathi or was it because she was marrying an erudite? 

The grooms' party arrived at the house of Saraswathi and her family cordially invited them as per the tradition. Looking at the handsome stature of Venkatanatha, the bride's parents and other family members felt happy. There was an informal conversation among them, each one of the family asking the welfare of the other. Later the groom's family had a sumptuous lunch at Saraswathi's house. In the evening they returned back to their home.

An auspicious day was fixed by the priests for the marriage. And the marriage was about to be held at Saraswathi's place. The most awaited day had come. The bride was well decorated and so was the groom. The parents of the bride worshipped(Varapuja) Venakatanatha as that was the custom. Then the nine astronmical planets were worhipped(Nava Graha Puja) by the priests. And finally the bride was given in hand by her parents to the groom(Kanya Daanam). The place was filled with the fragnance of jasmine flowers, wore by the women folk and the hall filled with relatives and friends of both the families. All pomp and show !

The newly wedded couple were given Haarati(an offering of lighted camphor) by the grand old ladies(whose husband is still living). Hymns from Rig Veda were chanted by scholars and priests of higher order and blessed the couple. But none of them knew how the future of this newly wedded couple would be. The priests blessed them to lead a luxurious life happily with a dozen children. They blessed them to lead a life like Brahma-Saraswathi, Lakshmi-Narayana, Shiva-Parvathi, Sachi-Indra, Arundhathi-Vasista for a hundred long years. None could imagine how the fate of these two.   

Later the priests were offered Sambhavana(amount given after such functions) and felicitated. Followed by this was a feast for all who have attended the marriage. 

After a four day long marriage ceremony, the bride was sent to the groom's house formally, as per the customs. She was received cordially by Venkatanatha's family.

Sri Raghavendraya Namaha !!!      

Thursday, December 25, 2008


Venkatanatha went to his brother-in-law, Lakshmi Nrusimha Charya and requested to teach him Shastras and other formal education. Nrusimha Charya agreed and made him his student. He used to hear to the Yajur Veda classes and grasp the content in no time. When the Guru puts some queries to his students, he popped-up first with an answer. The fellow students and the Guru were astonished at his brilliance. The same happened when his Guru taught SuMadhva, a literary work, where in he learnt the whole concept in few days and answered the questions put forth by his Guru with out staggering.

The fellow students used to learn all the scriptures day and night without any rest. Still it was difficult for them to grasp the content and understand it. But this was not the same with Venkatanatha. It was an in-born talent that he acquired from his father. So analysing scriptures was not a difficult task for Venkatanatha. He also learnt from his fellow students performing sacrifices and daily performed the same. He went along with his friends to fetch the fire-wood which was required for performing sacrifices. He served his master faithfully.

All the students used to go to the river to learn swimming. Venkatanatha used to swim as swiflty as a fish. It strikes a mind as if he was swimming the depths of Vedas and Shastras swiftly with ease. When he attempts to reach the other side of the shore it seems as if he is desirous of attaining Moksha and reaching the abode of Lord Brahma. 

Goddess Saraswati, for Venkatanatha's brilliance and intelligence, Lord Brahma, for his following of strict principles and performing sacrificies and Lord Sri Hari for his lustre, all existed in Venkatanatha. Vidya Lakshmi made Venkatanatha's tongue as her abode and swinged and swayed when he recited the sacred hymns. In this way his schooling went on. 

He was about to enter into his youth now. He was humble and decorous yet smart and active. He was grave yet cheerful, firm yet caring. He is now enhancing the art of playing Veena which he had learnt from his father. He had mastered almost all the scriptures. Nrusimha Charya expressed his satisfaction to Guru Raja that Venkatanatha had grasped every aspect of Scriptures from him and that he had nothing left to teach. 

Sri Raghavendraya Namaha !!!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Father's Demise

GuruRaja Charya finished analysing and mastering scriptures. He also became a Veena Vidwan at the age of 7 years. Just like Subhadra to Sri Krishna and BalaRama, Venkamaamba was to Guru Raja Charya and Venkatanatha. She had mastered all the literary works at the age of 8 years. 

Thimmanna Charya  started searching a bride-groom for Venkamaamba. There was one Lakshmi Nrusimha Charya, son of Phani Sai, a highly scholared person in Madhura Nagar. They belonged to the clan of Kasyapa, i.e, their gotra was Kasyapa sagotram. Lakshmi Nrusimha Charya was a master in Scriptures. He was called as the son of Vidya Lakshmi or Sri VaagDevi ! So Thimmanna Bhattu thought him to be an ideal match for Venkamaamba. And fixed their marriage on an auspicious day and the marriage took place as per the customs and traditions. 

Thimmanna Bhattu performed thread ceremony for Guru Raja Charya and now he was eligible to pursue his education from Gurukul. But unexpectedly Sri Thimmanna Charya breathed his last. And the burden of the family had fell on Guru Raja Charya. As a result of which he had to discontinue his studies.

At this very time, Guru Raja's brother-in-law, Lakshmi Nrusimha Charya rescued the family. But still their financial status was poor. Some how Guru Raja managed to perform the thread ceremony of his younger brother Venkatanatha. 

By that time Venkatanatha finished reading small literary works. Due to poverty Guru Raja did not wish to see his brother's education coming to a halt. More over Venkatanatha was very much interested in education....

Sri Raghavendraya Namaha !!!  

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


Venkamaamba and Gururaja spent most of the time with their little brother Venkatanatha. They always played with him and had fun-time. Venkamaamba used to learn poetry from her father and Gururaja used to learn playing Veena apart from poetry. Once they finish their daily routine of learning they used to gather around Venkatanatha to play. 

Thimmanna Charya and Gopikamba too had a good time with Venkatanatha. He was a bliss to the entire family. Days rolled on and months rolled on. Venkatanatha started walking with his tiny and tender feet. Soon he started playing out doors. 

It was 6th month and and Thimmanna Charya held a ceremony for feeding food to the baby for the first time. Venkatanatha began speaking. He spoke so sweetly that every one wanted to hear his talks endlessly. He went to the people who recited the stories of Lord Sri Hari and listened to them with ardent interest. 

Venkatanatha was now 3 years old and it was time to start off with his education. Again there was a ceremony and all the relatives and friends were called in for the function. Thimmanna Charya took Venkatanatha into his lap, held a slate with one hand and a chalk in the other and made Venkatanatha to write his first letters -- "Om !" The very next moment Venkatanatha asked his father - "How can this one letter become the physical form of Sriman Narayana? HE is Omnipresent, present in all forms and knows no bounds !" 

Thimmanna Charya was spell-bound and delighted by this question. He embraced Venkatanatha with love and pride. His heart was filled with utmost pride when all the relatives and friends were astonished and praised his son. They acclaimed that he was very fortunate to have a son like Venkatanatha. One can imagine the happiness of a father when his son is praised by all. 
Unexpectedly Thimmanna Charya remembered his dream where in he saw the Lord  of Seven Hills.

Sri Raghavendraya Namaha !!! 

Monday, December 22, 2008

Auspicious Birth !

Nine months rolled on and the auspicious time has come. It was Manmatha Nama Samvatsaram, Phalguna Suddha Sapthami, Thursday, 1595 AD. The Eastern horizon gave birth to an orange colored Sun. While in Thimmanna's house, Gopikamba had a normal delivery and gave birth to a son who was even more lustrous than the Sun. 

The nature showered its' blessings by drizzling. The cool breeze of the early dawn spread this news all over. The oceans were pleased and stayed calm. Looking at his charming son, Thimmanna was overjoyed. He thanked Lord Srinivasa profusely. He decided to name his child after his God, Tirumala Venkanna. And Gopikamba was delighted seeing her son, took him into her hands, fondled him, kissed him and embraced him with happiness. 

The neighbors and relatives were amazed looking at the baby and expressed that the child had the brilliance and lustre of Lord Brahma ! 

Days passed by and Thimmanna Charya held a ceremony for naming the baby. Thimmanna and Gopikamba took bath in the holy rivers. The house was filled with relatives and friends. Priests walked in to commence the ceremony. Thimmanna Charya lit up the sacrificial fire and prayed to the Fire God. The baby was named as VenkataNatha. The priests blessed the child as well as the parents. And in turn the priests were well felicitated by the family... 

Sri Raghavendraya Namaha !!!      

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Gopamma's Pregnancy

One fine morning, Sri Thimmanna Charya had a dream. He saw Tirumala Sri Venkateshwara Swamy glowing with a broad smile in his dream. It was dazzling all over and an aura of spiritualness filled in. Astonished Thimmanna Charya uttered - "Appa Venkanna ! At last you have shown some mercy on this lay man and appeared before me ! I'm grateful and thankful to You." Thus said, Thimmanna Charya started singing some songs and prayed with hymns. He then expressed his dearest wish of having another son. The Lord blessed him and disappeared from his sight with a enormous lightning. Thimmanna Charya was still in a state of surprise filled with happiness. He woke up and saw all around. The same old house and world. Gopikamba was in deep slumber and seemed unusually different to Thimmanna Charya. He sensed some signs of delightful omen around. After Gopikamba woke up, Thimmanna Charya learnt that she was pregnant again.

Gopikamba's countenence was pleasant like an Eastern horizon that gives rise to Moon. Her countenance was as fair as Thimmanna Charya's fame. Thimmanna Charya pounced with joy, remembering his dream and seeing Gopikamba. As days passed by there were remarkable changes in Gopikamba. Her countenance and her entire body glowed like a Sun. This could have been the glow of the foetus that was taking shape in Gopikamba's womb. Probably it must have been the asceticism of the foetus that made her to dislike what ever was offered.

Her gestation seemed to be atypical. She wanted to drink river waters and not purified water ! She ate food that was absolutely undelicious and tasteless! And the gossips that she had with the women folk was the stories of the devotees of Lord Sri Hari and His miracles. Though she had colorful sarees in the wardrobe, she always wore crimson colored sarees, implying, she was about to give birth to another Sun or Moon! The women folk around were surprised to her unusual pregnancy symptoms.

On the other hand, Thimmanna Charya dreamt of begetting a son who would be a great scholar. He performed all the rituals for the foetus as per the Shastras. And eagerly waited for the day to come...

Sri Raghavendraya Namaha !!!

Family Background !

Sri Guru Raghavendra Swamy was born to Sri Thimmanna Bhattu and Smt Gopikamba in the Chola dynasty. But before that let's talk something about their family background. Their gotra was Guatama which means Gautama Rishi was the first prime of their clan. Sri Krishna Charya was born into this clan. He was a great Veena Vidwan. He was Sri Krishna Deva Raya's Veena Guru. He had many titles in Vijaya Nagara court, possessed a necklace made of Pearls and a Crown made of precious stones.

Son of Sri Krishna Charya was Sri Kanakachala Bhattu. He was an orthodox brahmin, very courageous and strong hearted person. His son was Sri Thimmanna Bhattu(Thimmanna Charya). He dedicated his life for studying Vedas. And he worshipped Lord Sri Venkateshwara with lot of devotion and respect. He was a great scholar and mastered the Shastras(Scriptures). Even he was a great and very talented Veena Vidwan. He lived in Vijaya Nagara along with his parents and relatives. Thimmanna Bhattu, one who performed yagnas(religious sacrifice) and who offered charity, married Gopikamba, a beautiful and charming lady.

Bad days started to this family with the fall of Vijaya Nagara Empire. They lived happily under the shelter of Rayas. After Sri Krishna Deva Raya, Aliya Rama Raya ascended the throne and he lost the Tallikota war against Bahmani Sultans. Alas! There was no more scope for great scholars and Vidwans to prove their potential in the Kings' court. But Chola dynasty was still good at Law, Order and Justice. So Thimmanna Charya along with his wife started to Chola dynasty. On their way, they visited Tirumala, Lord Sri Venkateshwara temple, performed special pujas and expressed their wish of having children.

From Tirumala, they headed towards Kanchipuram. Though, even in this place Thimmanna Charya had no scope to perform well under the King, he at least had a scope for mere living. Days passed on. Gopikamba gave birth to a daughter and a son, one after the other. They named the first born beautiful girl as Venkatamma and the smart and intelligent son as Gururaja. Looking at their two children, Thimmanna Charya wished he could have another son and worshipped Lord Venkanna for the same.

Sri Raghavendraya Namaha !!!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Sri Vyasa Raya Theertha

Nava Brindavana at Anegonde

Those were the days where Sri Krishna Deva Raya's father Nrusimha Raya was ruling the Vijaya Nagara Empire. Sri Sri Sri Brahmanya Theertharu was propagating Dwiatha Sidhantha in his ashrama in those days. He was in search of a successor to him for his ashrama.

At the same time, on the banks of Kaveri river, lived a couple Rama Chari, Lakshmi Bai in Bannuru village. Once Rama Chary had a severe health problem and the situation turned out to be critical. Lakshmi Bai thought of suttee( the act or custom of a Hindu widow willingly being cremated on the funeral pyre of her husband as an indication of her devotion to him) following the foot steps of her husband. So she went to visit Sri Brahmanya Theertharu for the last time. 

She paid her tributes to Theertharu who was in meditaion, from far off and stood with utmost respect. He opened his eyes and blessed her as "Dheerga Sumangali Bhava !" which means her husband would have a long lasting life. The people around there were astonished and revealed all that had happened to Rama Chary. Then Theertharu, with a smile on his face blessed her that she would be a mother of a child soon. But he laid a condition that as soon as she gives birth to a child, the child should be donated to the ashram. 

Puzzled Lakshmi Bai returned to her home only to see that her husband healthy and fine. She pounced with joy and only then she could understand the blessings of Theertharu. 
After few days, Laskshmi Bai was pregnant and after 9 months she gave birth to a charming baby boy(22/4/1447 AD, Prabhava Nama Samvatsaram, Vaisakha Masam, Suddha Sapthami, Sunday, 1369 SS). As soon as she gave birth, the boy was taken to the ashram and was given to Theertharu. Probably God was pleased with this action of the couple and sooner than later blessed them with another boy. 

The boy in the ashram was named as Yathi Raj and the Swamy himself took care about the welfare of the baby. The boy was very charming and his intelligence was even more appreciated by everyone in the ashram. At the age of four, Swamy held the Upanayanam ceremony (ceremony of investiture with the sacred thread) to the boy. And at the age of 8, Yathi Raj took up Sanyasam(asceticism) and was named Sri Vyasa Theertha. 

Sri Vyasa Theertha mastered Dwaitha Sidhantha(philosophy) from Sri Brahmanya Theertha. Sri SriPada Raaya was considered as the incarnation of Dhruva. Sri Vyasa Theertha learnt all the Shastras from him. Vyasa Theertha was a born genious and above that he mastered all the Shastras from experts. Sri Brahmanya Theertha had a great confidence in Vyasa Theertha and so happily made him his successor of the ashram and attained salvation.

Under the control of Sri Vyasa Theertha, the ashram had progressed drastically and soon became a Matam. He travelled across the country and visited many sacred temples across India and propagated Dwaitha Philosophy. 

By this time Sri Krishna Deva Raya became the emperor of the Vijaya Nagara dynasty and he bacame the disciple of Sri Vyasa Theertha. He too propagated the Dwaitha Philosophy in his dynasty. 

Once so happened that the Vijaya Nagara astrologers warned Sri Krishna Deva Raya that "Kuhu Yogam" is yet to come and that period is fatal to the then crowned King. The Prime Minister of Vijaya Nagara, Thimmarasu, was worried about the fate of the country. But he knew the fact that stars will not affect the people who have extraordinary will powers. So Thimmarasu approached Sri Vyasa Theertha and asked him to ascend the throne till the bad period passed. As the welfare of the country was the prime factor for the rishis, he accepted to ascend the throne. He became Sri Vyasa Raya Theertha from Vyasa Theertha and ruled the dynasty of Vijaya Nagara. During his reign, Sri Vyasa Theertha installed 7322 idols of Lord Hanuman all over the country. And most of them were installed in and around Adoni. He developed the temple of Lord Sri Venkateshwara at Tirumala. He also endorsed the Daasa culture and met Purandara Daasa and Kanaka Daasa(Musicians). The Kuhu Yogam came in and passed too. But it showed no impacts on the King. 

Later Sri Vyasa Theertha gave some advices to Sri Krishna Deva Raya related to Justice in the dynasty and moved over to the banks of Tunga Bhadra where his ashrama was located. He compiled several books to promote Dwaitha Philosophy, lived for 92 years in this materialistic world and attained salvation in 1539 AD(Vilambi Nama Samvatsaram, Shalivahana Shakam 1461, Phalguna Bahula Chaturdasi, Saturday - 8/3/1539 AD). 

His Brindavana is called as Nava Brindavana and is now present in Anegonde at the banks of TungaBhadra river. 

Sri Raghavendraya Namaha !!!               

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Bhakta Prahlada

The Demon King Hiranya Kashyapa went to perform a wild penance in favor of Lord Brahma. His enemies took this as an oppotunity to attack his kingdom. In those days, the Gods and the demons had frequent wars among them. Lord Indra, the King of the Gods, decided to wage a war against Hiranya Kashyapa's Kingdom. Some demons were killed in the war and some were captured alive. Among the captured was Leelavathi, the wife of Hiranya Kasyapa who was pregnant. Narada, the son of Lord Brahma, observed Leelavathi being captivated, went to the Indra and released Leelavathi from his clutches. He took her to his ashram where she gave birth to a baby boy after nine months. This boy was named Prahlada. Narada advised Prahlada Sriman Narayana Mantra.

This boy had turned out to be a genious. His movements were weird, his eyes seemed to be meditating Lord Sri Hari always. Mean while Hiranya Kashyapa returned with rare and incredible boons from Lord Brahma. He became the Empire of the three worlds and defeated Gods with ease. He thanked Narada profusely and returned to his kingdom along with his wife and son.

Hiranya Kashaypa was overjoyed at the sight of his son. He wished his son to surpass him in all aspects and sent Prahlada to the Gurukul(school) of the demon clan. One day, Hiranya Kashyapa summoned Prahlada to know about his education. He made Prahlada to sit on his lap and asked him to tell something that he had learnt so far. Surprise !

"Sri Hari is the Supreme being. This is the knowledge imparted by education. Lord Sri Hari is the ultimate destination to all the living beings. Meditating Lord Sri Hari is the best known path to attain salvation. A soul and a life that does not serve Lord Sri Hari are a mere waste." Prahlada in a transcendeantal state was delivering this, without noticing his anguished father.

Alas ! Has his son turned out to be a devotee of Sri Hari? Hiranya Kashaypa detests even the thought of Sri Hari, then how can his son become a devotee of his enemy? Lord Sri Hari had killed Hiranyaaksha, the brother of Hirana Kashyapa. More over his(Hirana Kashyapa) enemies, the Gods are all under the control of Sri Hari. Prahlada had become a follower to an enemy of the entire demon clan. He thought this to be taught by the tutors at the Gurukul. Hiranya Kashyapa decided to punish Prahlada and change his mind.

But Prahlada did not show a single sign of change even after being punished severely. He never deviated his heart from the feet of Lord Sri Hari. Finally, two demons were instructed to kill Prahlada by some means. They took this boy to be crashed to death by huge elephants, tried to kill by poisonous snakes, threw him from the cliff of a mountain, tried to kill him brutally with swords, but all their efforts went in vain. Prahlada did not suffer a single injury on his body and he kept chanting Sriman Narayana Mantra with a smile.

Tired and annoyed, demons returned back to Hiranya Kashyapa along with Prahlada and said the entire episode. Hiranya Kashyapa was spell-bound.

Hiranya Kashyapa : "Who saved you?"
Prahlada: "All are saved by Sri Hari only!"
Hiranya Kashyapa: "Where is He, if He had saved you? "
Prahlada: "He is Omni-present !"
Hiranya Kashyapa: "Is He present in this pole?"
Prahlada: "Yes"
Hiranya Kashyapa: "Then where is He, show me !"
Prahlada: "Call Him, He will come in front of you."
Hiranya Kashyapa: "Hey Hari, Hey Hari, where are you, come forward."

When no one appeared before Hiranya Kashyapa, he took his weapon and hit the pole hard. The pole broke with a massive noise. With the face of a lion, a human form came out of the pole with terrific roar that shook the entire world. He was Sri Hari in Naarasimha incarnation. Hiranya Kashyapa had no time to even think what was happening. Sri Naarasimha jumped over him, took him on to His laps and walked striaght to the threshold of the Palace. Hiranya Kashayapa had a rare boon from Lord Brahma that, he cannot be killed by human beings, demons, Gods and Animals. But Naarasimha was none among the above mentioned. He cannot be killed during the day or during night. The time then was Sandhya which is neither day nor night...it was the time when the Sun sets at West. Hiranya Kashyapa cannot be killed within the house or outside the house. But the place selected was the threshold or the doorstep of the house. No weapon can kill him, but the weapon used were mere nails. His stomach had been tored off with nails, his intestines were wore around the neck... And he ultimately attained salvation at the hands of Lord.

Evil was killed in the Universe, the good were saved and the bad punished. Then Sri Hari fondled Prahlada and disappered from there. Later Prahlada became the King. Dharma(Justice) was re-established and it walked on four legs. Which means no where and at no time can you find injustice in the world. Prahlada became a father to his people.

Prahlada performed many Yagnas in his country. The country witnessed good rain-falls, good crop and the animals were healthy. He performed these yagnas at the shores of Tungabhadra river in Ahobilam. King Prahlada's love to his people, his country and to the needy had never diminished. This could be justified when we observe the lives of Sri Vyasa Raya Theertha and Sri Raghavendra Swamy.

Sri Raghavendraya Namaha !!!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Sri Shanku Karna !

Sri Shanku Karna was one among the servants of Lord Sri Hari. Lord Sri Hari existed before, at the time and after the creation of this entire Universe. He is the Paramaathma or the Supreme Being. Sri Maha Lakshmi is His consort, and they both are the Parents of this entire Universe. Their abode is the Vaikuntam which is the ultimate destiny to all the living beings.

In Vaikuntam, Lord Sri Hari has Sri Maha Lakshmi to His service apart from others servants. Sri Maha Lakshmi also has several maids who are charming and beautiful. Shanku Karna is one among the servants of Lord Sri Hari. He was once appointed by Lord Sri Hari to serve Lord Brahma, the Creator.

Lord Brahma took birth from a beautiful lotus that evolved from the navel of Lord Sri Hari. His consort is Goddess Saraswathi Devi. Once Lord Brahma wanted to know where exactly this lotus evolved from. So He followed the stalk of the lotus flower to find it's beginning, only to His vain. He came back and sat in His seat. Yet, His heart was eager to know where the lotus evolved from. Suddenly He heard two alphabets "tha" "pa"(Thapas) from somewhere. He turned around to see who uttered these words and could not find any one. So He decided to do Thapas(Deep Meditation) itself to find an answer. Goddess Saraswathi Devi gave Him a Mantra to recite without any distractions. And Brahma had done it with utmost devotion. Suddenly, the Vaikuntam(abode of Lord Sri Hari) with the Lord Himself, along with His consort Sri Maha Lakshmi appeared in front of His eyes. Ah ! Ultimately He found His birth place(Vaikuntam) ! And He was satisfied. Lord Sri Hari spoke to Brahma and educated Him about the creation and the nature of this Universe. He gave Brahma the Gayatri Mantra and appointed Sri Shanku Karna as Brahma's servant.

Though Shanku Karna was serving Lord Brahma, his heart was totally pre-occupied by Lord Vishnu(Sri Hari). What ever his job was, his heart revolved around the feet of Lord Vishnu. The petals of the lotus seemed like the beautiful eyes of Sri Maha Vishnu to him, the lotuses as the countenence of Sri Hari, their stalks as the beautiful hands, and every part of the lotus seemed to be a part of Lord Sri Hari to Shanku Karna. The swans moving there seemed like Sri Maha Lakshmi Herself. To Shanku Karna's eyes, Sri Vani and Lord Brahma seemed like Sri Lakshmi Narayana. 

Once it happened that one day, Shanku Karna was enthralled by the Veena recital of Sri Vani while his heart was meditating about Lord Sri Hari. Lord Brahma noticed this and thought that Shanku Karna was not paying proper attention to His needs. He was angry with Shanku Karna's behavior and cursed him to take birth on earth as a human being. At that time, it was Krutha Yuga in the Bhuloka(Earth). The demon king Hiranya Kashyapa was performing a great penance in favor of Lord Brahma. His wife Leelavathi was pregnant and Shanku Karna entered her womb. 

In fact, Lord Brahma was not angry with Shanku Karna but was very happy with the devotion Shanku Karna showed towards Lord Vishnu. The Mother Earth was mourning with the sins that were increasing drastically. To reduce these sins, one such true devotee of Sri Hari was required on the Earth. That was the reason why Lord Brahma had to curse and send Shanku Karna to the Earth. 

Whatever might be the reason, Shanku Karna had to leave Vaikuntam and come down to the Earth for a good cause. 

Sri Raghavendraya Namaha !!!     

Prior to this Incarnation !

Prior to the incarnation as Sri Guru Raghavendra Swamy, if we analyse and compare to the life of Sri Vyasa Raya Theertha, we can  find some similarities. Also, when we compare these two incarnations with that of Bhaktha Prahlada, we can conclude that there are many similarities in the lives of all the three. The Puranas say that Bhaktha Prahlada was an incarnation of Sri Shanku Karna, who served Lord Sri Hari in Vaikuntam(the abode of Lord Sri Hari).

Which implies that the one who served Lord Sri Hari had took birth as Bhaktha Prahlada in this world, followed by Vyasa Raya Theertha and ultimately as Sri Raghavendra Swamy. Just as Lord Sri Hari incarnated Himself in 10 different forms, His disciples too follow His path to save the needy.  

Let's now know about the incarnation of Sri Shanku Karna and His life.

"Sri Raghavendraya Namaha !!!"       

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Sri Guru Raghavendra !

Samyameendra Sri Raghavendra Guru Sarva Bhoumulu - there you see, glowing with a sheen, which is equivalent to a crore Suns, with those bright Kaashaaya clothes, sat in an intense meditation !

A broad fore-head bearing the Narayana Mudra applied with the Chandana(Gopi Chandana), eyes resembling the petals of a lotus, a nose that's well-crafted, lips that have ripened due to the Japa and a delightful countenance that brings bliss to every heart !

A throat resembling the conch, expanding below to a wide chest and broad shoulders, with the kaashaya clothes running all over... Gurugalu is in a deep meditation !

Equals Lord Indra in Power, Sri Dattatreya Swamy in Yoga Shakthi. An ocean of milk amongst the oceans, who is as bright as a Sun, as cool as a Moon and as tall as a Meru Mountain !

My devoted salutations to the One who spent life amongst the layman for 76 years and then who entered alive into the Brindavana, blessing all the needy and helpless people at the time of distress.

Sri Raghavendraya Namaha !!!


A complete Autobiography of Sri Guru Sarva Bhouma:  "Sri Raghavendraya Namaha !"

  1. Sri Guru Raghavendra
  2. Prior to this Incarnation
  3. Sri Shanku Karna
  4. Bhaktha Prahlada
  5. Sri Vyasa Raya Theertha
  1. Family Backgorund
  2. Gopamma's Pregnancy
  3. Auspicious Birth
  4. Childhood
  5. Father's demise
  6. Education
  7. Marriage
  8. Utmost Poverty
  9. At Kumbhakonam
  10. Life at Vidyapeetam
  11. God's Decree
  12. Directive from Vidya Lakshmi
  1. Assuming Sanyasam
  2. Theerthayatralu
  3. Back to Kumbhakonam
  4. At Dawn
  5. Spiritual Meetings
  6. Sri Moola Rama Archana
  7. Prayers at Dusk
  1. The Layman
  2. Womenfolk
  3. Businessmen
  4. Scholars
  5. Kings
  6. A Friend In Need
  7. The Saviour
  8. Lesson to Atheists
  9. Adieu to Kumbhakonam
  10. The Forgiver
  11. The Fortunate
  12. In Adoni
  13. Story of Venkanna
  14. Nawab's Arrogance
At Manchala:
  1. A Forest - A Holy Place - Manchala
  2. At the shores of Tungabhadra
  3. Entry into Brindavana
  4. Brindavana Charithra
  5. Sri Vaadindra Thirthulu
  6. Sir Thomas Manro
  7. Mallappa Sindhe
  8. To the Readers
  9. Other Miracles
  10. Darshanam in Dreams
  11. Miscellaneous  

Saturday, December 13, 2008

In Brief !


I will start with a brief introduction of Sri Gurugalu:
  • Previous Incarnations : 
Sri Shanku Karnudu
Bhaktha Prahladudu
Sri Bahlika Rajulu
Sri Vyasa Rayatheerthulu
  • Dynasty : Chola dynasty
  • Gotra : Gautama
  • Family : 
Great Grand Father - Sri Krishna Charyulu
Grand Father - Sri Kanakachala Bhattu
Father - Sri Thimmanna Bhattu
Mother - Smt Gopikamba
Elder Brother  - Sri Gururaja
Elder Sister - Venkatamma
  • Birth Date : 1595 AD, Sri Manmatha Nama Samvatsaram, Phalguna Masam, Sapthami,   Thursday
  • Birth Star : Mrigashira Nakshatram
  • Birth Place : Bhuvanagiri, Kumbhakonam, Tamil Nadu
  • Name : Venkatanatha
  • Aksharabhyasam : 1597 AD
  • First Tutor : Sri Lakshmi Narsimha Charya(Brother-in-law)
  • Upanayanam : 1602 AD (@ 7 years)
  • Higher Education : At Sri Sudheendra Theertha Ashramam
  • Marriage : 1614 AD (19 years) 
  • Wife : Smt Saraswathi Bai
  • Son : Lakshmi Narayana
  • Assumed Ashramam on : 1621 AD, Phalguna Masa, Sudha Vidiya, Durmathi Nama Samvatsaram 
  • Ashramam Name : Sri Raghavendra Theertha
  • Assumed Ashramam from : Sri Sudhindra Theertha
  • Compiled Books : Parimala, Sriman Nyaya Sudha and 48 other books
  • Accolades : Maha Bhashya Venkata Natha Charya, Parimala Charya
  • Brindavana Pravesham : 1671 AD, Virodhikruth Nama Samvatsaram, Sravana Masam, Krishna Paksham, Vidiya. 
  • Successor : Sri Yogindra Theertha
  • Brindavana Moola Sthala : Manchala gramam, Mantralayam, Andhra Pradesh. 
Source : Sri Raghavendra MahimaAmrutham.

Tried to produce the accurate details here. However, by any chance, if you feel the details here are incorrect, then please do let me know.    

Friday, December 12, 2008

Om Gam Ganapataye Namaha !

Om Gam Ganapathaye Namo Namaha |
Sri Siddhi Vinayaka Namo Namaha ||
Asta Vinayaka Namo Namaha |
Ganapathi Bappa Moraya ||

Vakrathunda Mahakaaya |
Surya Koti Samaprabha ||
Nirvighnam Kurumedeva |
Sarva Karyeshu Sarvada ||

Vaathapi Ganapathim Bhajeham | 
Vaaranaasyam Varapradam Sri ||
Vaathapi Ganapathim Bhaje |

Hay Vinayaka, Mooshika Vaha... Bless me so that this blog runs successfully and I complete this Guru Charithra with utmost devotion and without any Vighnas...!