Archive | September 6, 2013

Aradhane in Bangalore: A story in pictures

The aradhane of Raghavendra Swamy was celebrated in Bangalore with pomp and gaiety. Apart from the three Nanjangud Mantralaya mathas of Jayanagar 5th Block, Seethapathi Agrahara and Chickpet, the other mathas which are controlled by trusts and private members, too celebrated the three-day event.
All the Raghavendra Swamy temples saw a huge crowd and people from all walks of life came forward to participate in this unique event. Here are pictures of some of the mathas: Jayanagar 4th T Block, Jayanagar 5th Block, Seethapathi Agrahara, N.R. Colony and Vyasaraja Matha. These pictures were clicked on all three days of the Aradhane.

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The making of Raghavendra Tantra

Krishna Avadoota (1836-1909) who was earlier known as Muddukrishna, has composed what is arguably one among the finest compositions on Raghavendra Swamy, the bard of Mantralaya.

He has composed Raghavendra Tantra, the inspiration for which was the Raghavendra Swamy himself.    

Krishna Avadoota is one of the favourite disciples of Raghavendra Swamy and he was inspired to take up the Seve of Rayaru by Appanacharya and Raghavendra Swamy himself.

Today, Krishna Avadootaru is ranked alongside Appanacharya as a devotee of Raghavendra Swamy. If Appanacharya wrote Guru Shotra, Krishna Avadoota is known for his Raghavendra Tantra.

The Tantra is invaluable as it tell us the secret of Raghavendra Swamy and how to ensure that we get his blessings. What makes this all the more amazing is that Raghavendra Swamy himself came in the dream of Krishna Avadoota and ordered him to write the Tantra.  

Krishna Avadoota was a Sanskrit pandit and he had won great acclaim due to his scholarship. He was honored as far as Trivandrum where he had composed 100 Slokas in a jiffy-24 minutes. This earned him the name Ghatikashata.

He had two wives and four children. One day, he was sitting in his house in a pensive mood. He had not been able to get a good night’s sleep and he was ruminating over his miseries and tribulations.

Overcome by anxiety and tired, he fell asleep. At midnight, Krishna Avadoot had a dream. He saw a golden bell belonging to Mukya Prana Devaru. There were four Brahmins behind the Prana Devaru and behind them was a venerable old man who was none other than Raghavendra Swamy.

Raghavendra Swamy walked into the house of Krishna Avadoota in Sundur, Bellary and sat next to him. He then gently asked Krishna Avadoota to write a Grantha. Raghavendra Swamy then blessed Krishna Avadoota, handed him Mantrakshethe and vanished.

When Krishna Avadoota woke up, he found a handful of Mantrakshethe in his wrist and a Grantha or book near the pillow on his bed where he was sleeping. Another legend says Raghavendra Swamy gave him a copper plate which was inscribed with slokas, Sanskrit alphabets and a mandala.

Raghavendra Swamy then told him how he should be worshipped and asked him to write it down. This is the reason the Grantha is called Tantra.  

When the bewildered Krishna Avadoota opened the Grantha, he found to his amazement the history and life and times of Raghavendra Swamy and two others. The two others who figured in the Grantha were Appanacharya and himself-Krishna Avadoota.  

Krishna Avadoota read the Grantha and he was spellbound. The story of Raghavendra Swamy started with Prahalada.     
The Grantha revealed to Krishna Avadoota that Rayaru has got five incarnations. The first is in Kruthayuga where Prahalada is born. The two disciples that Krishna Avadoota saw in his dream were incarnation Somika and Urmika.

The Grantha then said that in Dwapara Yuga, the incarnation was of Bahlika Raja (He was a master of Gada Yudha or mace and he fought against Bheema during eh Kurukshetra war. Balika fought for the Kauravas against the Pandavas and this was against his will) and in Kaliyuga he was reborn as Raghavendra Swamy.

The other two Brahmins in the dream were Appanacharya of Bichale and Krishna Avadoota . The Grantha also says in his previous incarnation, Raghavendra Swamy was Vyasa Raja or Vyasa Raya, the Rajguru of six Vijayanagar Emperors. Surprisingly, the grantha also says that Raghavendra Swamy reincarnated as Sathyasandha Theertha, who was the pontiff of the  Uttaradhi Matha from 1784-1794. The Brindavana of  Satyasandha Theertha is in Mahishi in Shimoga on the banks of Tungabhadra.
The Grantha or Raghavendra Tantra, therefore, is also called Prathyaksha siddiprada.

The Grantha is in fifteen chapters or sections. At one point, the sloka is known as Guru Dasha Stotra where he says he was overwhelmed when Raghavendra Swamy blessed him and accepted him as his son when he submitted the work before the Brindavana in Mantralaya.

Krishna Avadoota spent several years-eight years- meditating on Raghavndra Swamy at Hampi. This was at the place where Hanuman met Rama for the first time and Vyasaraja has immortalized this by installing the Yantrodharaka Hanuman at Chakratheertha. It is here that Raghavendra Swamy gave his darshana to Krishna Avadoota.  

Krishna Avadoota then decided to go to Adwani or Adoni where he set up a Sanskrit college.