The Brindavana at Shenbakkam

One of India’s greatest philosophers and thinkers, Madhwacharya,  visited this place and he also wrote a Grantha on Vishnu Sahasaranama.

He is supposed to have visited this place when he toured many pilgrim places in South India between 1256 and 1259. A renowned philosopher, he was the first to treat all Hindu scriptures equally and give all of them equal importance.

While philosophers before him distinguished between Vedas and Upanishads, he treated them as one. He was the first philosopher to formulate a philosophical interpretation of the Rig Veda.

He is none other than Madhwacharya (1199-1278), the pioneer of the Dwaitha Siddantha.

Madhwachayra went on a pilgrimage to various places in south India, covering Rameshwaram, Kanyakumari, Madurai, Srirangam before coming to Rayavellore. It is at Rayavellore he stayed on for a few days and wrote a work on Vishnu Sahasaranama.

Today, Rayavellore is better known as Vellore and the place where Madhwacharya stayed is Shenbakkam.

Centuries after he visited the place, Vyasaraja or Vyasa Theertha (1460-1539), the preceptor of six Vijayanagar Emperors, including Krishna Deva Raya, and the pioneer of the Dasa Koota and Vyasa Koota visited Shenbakkam.

Vyasaraja consecrated an idol of Hanuman and this is one of his 732 Vyasa Prathistha Hanuman. He too stayed on here and made arrangements for the pooje of  the Hanuman idol.

In his next avatar as Raghavendra Swamy, he once visited this place and stayed at Shenbakkam for two weeks. He gave discourses and conducted pooje every day.

Raghavendra Swamy (1591-1671) is believed to have acquired a high level of scholarship on reading Kambalur Ramachandra Theertha’s  Granthas. Interestingly, Kambalur was a disciple of Vijendra Theertha of Kumbakonam who in turn was a disciple of Vyasa Raja.

Sripathi Theertha of the Vyasaraja Matha had chosen Shenbakkam to enter Brindavana in 1612. His disciple Kambalur Ramachandra Theertha (1575-1635) too entered Brindavana here. Apart from them, several other Madhwa saints choose to enter Brindavana. Today, the Brindavana of these Madhwa saints form an integral part of the Brindavana complex where there is a Mrithika Brindavana of Raghavendra Swamy.      

The Brindavana of Raghavendra Swamy was installed in June 1991. Thus, the Raghavendra Swamy Brindavana here in the Nava Brindavan complex and the Raghavendra Swamy temple is unique as it has been sanctified by the presence of several Madhwa seers.

Shenbakkam is near Vellore and it is located on Palar river. It is 139 kilometres from Chennai and 200 kms from Bangalore. 

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