Archive | October 2013

A pictorial visit of Ibhramapura

IMG_4041 IMG_4040 IMG_4034 IMG_4033 IMG_4030 IMG_4029 IMG_4028 IMG_4027 IMG_4024A pictorial visit of Ibhramapura

Ibhramapura is a small village near Mantralaya. Ask anyone in Mantralaya about directions to this holy spot and they will guide you. If you are confused, go on the road towards Mantralaya bus stand and continue onwards. This is the road to Adoni which is about 43 kms away from Mantralaya.
When you travel for some time, may be a couple of miles, you come to a small village on your left Ask the way for Ibhrampura. Beware, the road is bad and the ride bumpy. We took an Innova and it was difficult to negotiate the small road, which was full of huge craters and slush,
Ibhrampura is the home of one of the most famous of Raghavendra Swamy’s disciple called Ibrahampura Appa. He is believed to be an associate of Prahalada, the first avatar of Raghavendra Swamy. Even today, there is a belief that when Rayaru wants a change , he heads to Ibhrampura to have a talk with Appa.
Appa performed many miracles due to his proximity to Rayaru. He exuded such fragrance that  it preceded him.
Ibhrampura is the place where he lived,This is in Andhra Pradesh.
The photo will take you to the house of Appa. Unfortunately, since we had gone there on an Ekadashi, we could not see the interior where there is an idol of God. The sanctum had been locked up and we had to be content photographing the exterior.
So, here goes the photo story.

The house where Rayaru was born

The house where Rayaru was born

This is the house in Bhuvanagiri where Raghavendra Swamy or Rayaru was born sometime in 1595. There is a signboard here by the district administration testifying to this fact.
Bhuvanagiri is near Chidambaram in Tamil Nadu.
By the way, there is some controversy over the birthplace of our beloved Rayaru. While many say it is this house in Bhuvanagiri, others say it is Kumbokanam and still a few others say it is Cauverypattinam where Rayaru’s parent’s Thimanna Bhatta and Gopikamba lived.
By the way, Rayaru also stayed for several years at Srimusham at a house. This house too, like the one at Bhuvanagiri, has been transformed into a Raghavendra Swamy Matha.

Remembering Rayaru on Pushya Nakshatra

This Sunday, October 27, was a highly auspicious day both astrologically and for devotes of Raghavendra Swamy or Rayaru.

Sunday saw the rule of the Pushya Nakshatra. By the way, 2013 has so far seen eleven such days and two more are in the offing.

The first Pushya Nakshatra was in January this year and the last is slated on December 21. The other days on which Pushya Nakshatra rules were on February 23, March 23, April 19, May 16, June 12, August 6, September 2 and again on September 30, October 27, November 23 and December 21.

However, of all these, when the Pushya Nakshatra falls on a Sunday, it is highly regarded and it is considered to be more auspicious. This day, Pushya on s Sunday, is also called Ravi Pushya Yoga. Ravi is another name for the Sun God.

The Ravi Pushya Yoga is considered to be highly auspicious for people to conduct marriages, buy gold, enter into new and fresh transactions. This is so as the general belief is that Goddess Lakshmi comes home during this period and she prefers to reside in such houses.

Another unique character of such a Nakshatra is that it happens only for a few times in an year. Pushya Nakshatra is reckoned to be among the most favourable alignment of stars.

Pushya is a Sanskrit word, meaning “to nourish”. The ruler of Pushya is Saturn or Shani and its deity is Brihaspati or Jupiter, the Guru of wisdom. When the Pushya Nakshatra falls on Thursday or Sunday, astrologers and religious minded people consider it as favourable and call it Pushya Amrit Yoga.

If  Pushya Nakshatra comes on a Thursday, it is called as Guru Pushya Nakshatra and if its falls on Sunday, it is called as Ravi Pushya Nakshatra.

Pushya is also called as Pushyami or Pusya and it is one among the 27 nakshatras in Indian astrology.

This year, the October 27, 2013 day was highly auspicious. It was on a Sunday and the Pushya Nakshatra time was from 2:59 p.m., on October 26 to 5:30 p.m., on October 27, 2013.

The symbol for Pushya Nakshatra is the udder of a cow. In Hinduism, cow is revered as a sacred animal and there is a story about how Gods and Goddesses have dwelt in the animal. It provides milk and cowdung, both of which have religious significance.

Thus, cow is associated with the Pushya Nakshatra and it is known for nurturing people. Brihaspati, the presiding deity for Pushya Nakshatrai, is translated as Guru. In Hinduism, Guru is a teacher or preceptor. Moreover, the prefix gu- translates as darkness and the suffix –ru translates as light. Thus, Guru is someone who can make darkness vanish or enlighten us.

Guru also can mean as heavy and this is a quality attributed to Kapha dosha in Ayurveda or the Indian system of medicine. Moreover, Pushya nakshatra is considered the most humanitarian of all the 27 Nakshatras or constellation.   

This day (Pushya Nakshatra) is an auspicious day to see, take blessings and remember your Guru or spiritual teacher. It is in this manner that Pushya has an auspicious link with spiritual and religious matters.

One of the greatest devotees of Rayaru was Appanacharya. He brought out the benefits of remembering Rayaru on such a day or on Pushya Nakshatra.

In his Raghavendra Ashtotra, Appanacharya says,


              “Soma surya parogo cha pushyarkadhi samagame,

              Yo anuthamam idham stotramashtothara satham japeth,

              Bhootha praetha pisachadhi peeda thasya na jayathe”                                                


What this means is that when there is a lunar or solar  eclipse or during Pushya Star on Sunday, any person reciting the shlokas of Raghavendra Swamy or remembering him, will not have any kind of trouble.

No ghost, devil or/and any evil will trouble a person who recites the Raghavendra Stotra 108 times or performs the japa 108 times.

Having mentioned the importance of  the Pushya Nakshatra, I would like to add that Rayaru is Kalpavruksha Kamadhenu and he will help his devotees and believers at all times. However, remembering him on such an auspicious day is one of the few small things that we can do to Rayaru from our side.


The mystery of the unscheduled train halt

The last post has information on how Rayaru has stopped a train on its tracks near the Mantralaya Railway Station. This was sometime in 1945-46 and the train was Madras Mail which was proceeding from  Madras to Bombay.

The train had come to an abrupt stop though the Railway authorities had decided against stopping it either at Adoni or Mantralaya Road stations.

This is the reason for the strange phenomenon. Please read on…..

It was August and the Mantralaya Matha was making all preparations for the Aradhana celebrations of Rayaru. The Aradhana at Mantralaya is a well-known affair and even way back in 1945-46, people thronged to Mantralaya to participate in it.

The then Seer of the Mantralaya Matha, Suyamindra Theertha, (1933-1967), was busy in getting the celebrations ready.

However, that year, Andhra Pradesh had seen an outbreak of cholera. The British administration had decided to ensure that pilgrims and visitors would not be allowed to disembark at Railway stations of Adoni and Mantralaya.

They felt that if they prevented a large congregation of people, the outbreak could be controlled. They had also decided to impose quarantine.    

The health officer of Yemmiganur had recommended to the Collector of Bellary to impose quarantine and thus isolate pilgrims coming to Mantralaya. He had also recommended that people wanting to come to Mantralaya be prevented from reaching the temple town as a precautionary measure.

Since Mantralaya and its surroundings came under the jurisdiction of the health officer, the Collector had accepted the recommendations and he had instructed that no person be allowed to alight by train or bus to and at Mantralaya.

The Collector had also made arrangements to send back pilgrims who alighted at Adwani or Adoni, Mantralaya and other places back to their native.

When news of this arrangement reached Suyamindra Theertha, he felt sad. He realised that the Aradhane would not be what it was without the participation of devotees. He sent a temple official, Venloba Rao, to meet the district officials and persuade them to lift the quarantine and also allow pilgrims into Mantralaya.

Mr. Rao first met the health officer at Yemmiganur who, however, said since cholera was widespread in and around Mantralaya, he could not do anything. He then suggested to Mr. Rao that he meet the Collector at Bellary.

Mr, Rao then came to Bellary and met the Collector.

He then spoke to the Collector. He pointed out that the Aradhane is a religious event that is attended by thousands of people. He also pointed out that till date there had not been any disturbing event or incident during and after the Aradhana.

He sought to know how the administration could justify its action in preventing people from attending a religious function. He said Rayaru would safeguard the lives of the people and also ensure their safety.

Mr. Rao said Rayaru himself had performed several miracle and many of them were unheard of even in medical science. “When such is the case, how can Rayaru harm his devotees”, Mr. Rao asked the Collector.

He said the quarantine was unfair as it barred people from visiting and staying at Mantralaya. If cholera was widespread in the area, the quarantine should be imposed in Adoni, Yemmiganur and surrounding areas as residents from these areas too could spread cholera. Therefore, the quarantine should be imposed all over and not only at Mantralaya, he said.

Mr. Rao then appealed to the Collector to be fair and see reason but when the Collector made no answer, he left in a huff, telling him that Rayaru would have his way, come what may.     

The Collector thought out the whole issue and the next day. He rescinded the quarantine order and called Mr Rao to his home at 10 p.m., and informed him of the issue. When Mr. Rao realised  the import of the order, he decided to rush back to Mantralaya and gave the seer and the matha officials the good news.

He reached Mantralaya at 6 a.m., the next day and conveyed the good news to them. However, the news was yet to be conveyed to the Railways, Roadways and other authorities.

The Madras Mail had on that day not stopped at Mantralaya Road Railway Station as the Railways were unaware that the quarantine had been withdrawn and that trains could now stop at Adoni and Mantralaya Road.

When the train had not stopped at Mantralaya Road, Rayaru had ensured that it had stopped to ensure that people who had come to see him and participate in the Aradhane did not go back disappointed.

When the Railway authorities realised that the quarantine had been withdrawn, they unlocked the doors of the locked compartments and permitted the passengers to disembark. As far as the train was concerned, it chugged its way to Mumbai without experiencing any hitch.

\When the locomotive and the coaches were examined, no defect was found. The Railways closed the inquiry into the abrupt stopping of the train. However, the devotees on the train and others knew the reason. It was Rayaru who had stopped the train for the benefit of his devotees.        



When Rayaru stopped a train

There are so many miracles of Raghavendra Swamy or Rayaru that it would take several books and thousands of hours to details every one of them.

This great Madhwa saint has been performing miracles even after he entered Brindavana in Mantralaya in 1791 and they range from curing people of diseases, helping them achieve their goals, giving solace to the people and in this case stopping a running train.

This story goes back to almost 70 years when India was still under the British. The freedom movement was at its peak and the second World War was casting its dark shadow over the country.

Many parts of India, including Andhra Pradesh, were reporting increasing cases of Cholera and other infectious diseases. The British had put in a strict and rigid system of quarantine to ensure that the diseases did not spread.

One of the means by which the British controlled the spread of epidemics was by regulating and monitoring the transport system. Since air transport was in its nascent stage, the most popular means of communication was either by road or by rail.

This story goes back to 1945-46 when the Madras Mail operated between the cities of Madras, now Chennai and Bombay, now called Mumbai. This train was highly popular and it was the most reliable means of  transport and communication between the two cities.

The Madras Mail was one of the many long distance trains introduced by the British. The train passed through Adwani or Adoni, Kosigi before touching Mantralaya Road. Since Mantralaya did not have a railway station, pilgrims to the temple town had to alight either at Adoni or Mantralaya Road.

The train used to leave Madras at night and reach Mantralaya Road the next morning. (Today, the same train leaves Chennai around 10 p.m., and reaches Mantralaya Road around 10-30 a.m., the next day).    

Many people had boarded the train to Mantralaya. The aradhane of Rayaru was in August and just eight days were left for the three-day celebrations at the Rayara Matha.

In those day, there were not much facilities for travelers and tourists and of course for pilgrims. People came well in advance to such religious events. As the Aradhane was just around the corner, people had started coming to Mantralaya by road and rail.   

When the Madras Mail reached Adoni station at around 10 a.m., the train did not stop. This left the passengers bewildered and those who wanted to make the town their base for Mantralaya were left high and dry.

Even as the devotees were left cursing their fate, the train touched Mantralaya Station. But here too, the train did not stop. When the passengers requested the Railway authorities to halt the train, their request was turned down and they were asked not to disembark.

The train had slowed down when it had approached Mantralaya Road but it began picking up speed. Scores of passengers were left wringing their hands in despair and many among them wept at not being able to see Rayaru in his Brindavana at Mantralaya.

Even as the Mantralaya bound passengers began beseeching Rayaru for intervention, the train came to a grinding halt just a little after it left Mantralaya Road station. Pilgrims and visitors to Mantralaya quickly alighted and some of them began walking to the temple town even as the vigilant Railway staff stopped the rest from alighting from the train.

When the Railway Station staff noticed that the train had stooped on the tracks despite no signal, they became worried They quickly contacted the train driver who himself appeared to be puzzled. He found that the engine had sufficient quantities of  coal and that the furnace was in working condition.

The engine driver found that the engine was in perfect working condition. The brakes too had not been applied. Then how did the train come to a sudden and unscheduled stop, he wondered. Neither the driver nor the guard of the train could come up with a convincing explanation on how and why the train stopped.

The mechanical and electrical systems were thoroughly checked but to no avail. The train just refused to move and finally the driver gave up.

The train stood on the tracks, letting out bucketful of steam and vainly trying to move. The train did move but it was only after Rayaru intervened and how ?. This mystery will be unveiled in the next post. Till then, happy reading.