The bard of Mantralaya has always extended a helping hand to his devotes and scores of people, cutting across countries, race, religion and caste have experienced it.
If in some cases, Rayaru has come in the dreams of his devotees, in other cases he has appeared in person and helped people in distress. If he helped Appanacharya cross the Tungabhadra in 1671 on the day he entered Brindavana in Mantralaya, he has repeated that miracle several times and one such well documented incident occurred just a century ago.
In this post, I would like to detail how Raghavendra Swamy himself saved one of his most ardent disciples from the swirling waters of the Tungabhadra.
Ananda Dasa or Surpur, who is better known under the pen name Kamalesha vittala, was an ardent devotee of Raghavendra Swamy. He is among those Dasas who have composed innumerable songs on Rayaru. Several decades ago, he was in Gandhal where he was praying at the Panchamukhi Hanuman temple.
As he was praying to Hanuman, he realised that the next day was the aradhane of Rahghavendra Swamy. He decided to go to Mantralaya and have the darshan of Raghavendra Swamy.
When he came to the Tungabhadra, he found the river in spate (this was in August) and the waters were overflowing the river banks. No boatman was willing to ferry the Haridasa to Mantralaya.
All the boatsmen pointed to the swirling waters of the Tungabhadra and said that their theppas (bamboo boats which are circular in shape) could not safely cross the river. They all advised Ananda Dasa to wait till the waters receded and then cross the Tungabhadra.
Ananda Dasa then managed to persuade one boatman to row him to Mantralaya. The boatman was initially reluctant but gave in to the sincerity of the Haridasa who made it clear to him that he to be present in Mantralaya at any cost at the Aradhane celebrations.
The boatsman and Ananda Dasa took off to Mantralaya in the Theppa. Even as the boat had sailed a little distance, water began entering the boat and it slowly began sinking. The boatsman tried hard to push out the water and ensure that the boat remained steady. Unfortunately, the swirling waters made it difficult for him to steer the boat.
Ananda Dasa, even at this critical juncture, remained calm. He prayed to Raghavendra Swamy and expressed his desire to be near his Brindavan during the Aradhana Mahotsava. By then, the boatsman had given up all hope of steering the boat to safety.
All of a sudden, Ananda dasa and the boatsman saw two Brahmins in the Tungabhadra. They were wearing Pance (cotton clothe tied around the waist)and Vastra and they had Gopichandana on their head and upper part of the body which was visible to Ananda Dasa and the boatsman.
The Brahmins came up to the boat which was rocking violently and toed a rope and then began pulling the boat towards the shore.
Both Ananda Dasa and the boatsman offered heir thanks to the two people and asked them their names.
The older of the two Brahmins said his name was Raghappa, while the younger said he was Vadappa. Both said they were from Mantralaya village itself.
Ananda Dasa said he had come to Mantralaya as he wanted to participate in the Raghavendra Swamy Aradhane. Raghappa replied that Ibharampura Appa and other devotes had gathered near the Brindavana and he urged Anand Dasa to hurry.
A little later, both Raghappa and Vadappa had disappeared and ananda Dasa, after thanking the boatsman, made his way to the RaghavendraSwamyTemple.
Even as he began walking towards the Brindavana, Ananda Dasa soon realized that Raghappa was none else but Raghavendra Swamy himself and Vadappa his great grandson, Vadeendra Theertha. (The Brinadavana of Vadeendra Theertha is next to the Brindavana of Rayaru in Mantralaya).
Ananda Dasa realised that both seers had come to his rescue and it was because of them that he had survived.
When he reached the Brindavana, Ibharampura Appa turned towards Ananda Dasa and smilingly told him that he had escaped a watery death only due to the munificence of Raghavendra Swamy.
Ananda dasa was stunned to hear the words of Appa as he had never revealed his ordeal to anyone on his way from the river to the temple.
Ananda Dasa realised that Appa was no ordinary man and that he always had the blessings of Raghavendra Swamy with him. He once again thanked Rayaru and began singing his compositions, hailing him as Kalpavriksha Kamadhenu.