Two of the most famous and well-known devotees of Raghavendra Swamy or Rayaru are Appanacharya of Bichale and Krishna Avadootaru of Sandur.
Interestingly, both Bichale and Sandur are in Karnataka, while Mantralaya, the abode of Raghavendra Swamy, is in Andhra Pradesh.
All the three towns are on the banks of holy river Tungabhadra. Appanacharya and Krishna Avadootaru are believed to have been close associates of Prahalada during the Kruta Yuga.
Appanacharya was called Samhata and Krishna Avadootaru was known as Prahata. Both were close friends, associates of Prahalada and were devoted to him.
In his Ragavendra Tantra, Krishna Avadootaru beautifully describes the previous avatars of Rayaru, including that of Prahalada. He says,
“Pura Prahalada Naamabhoot Hirannyakashyapo Sutaha
Yadartham Sri Mahavishnuhu Nara Kantheeravatam Gataha”.
He also says during Treta Yuga, Prahalada was reborn as Vibheeshana during the Ramayana period and that he was one of the most outstanding devotees of Rama. Even the close association with Ravana failed to dim the love, affection, devotion and bhakti that Vibheeshana developed towards Rama.
Vibheeshana then had two devoted attendants or rather devotees of Rama. They were known as Sandhika and Prasandhika and they served Vibheeshana in Lanka.
Krishna Avadootaru says Sandhika was none else but Appanacharya and Prasandhika was Krisna Avadootaru.
So every time Prahalada took birth, his two associated were always with him.
He says in the Tantra,
“Tretayaam Rama Sevarthham Vibheeshana Tayaajani
Tatraapi Charow Tow Jaatow Sandhikascha Prasandhikaha”.
Appanacharya served Raghavendra Swamy for twelve to thirteen years. He ensured that Rayaru stayed on in his house in Bichale and personally cooked for him. He also discussed religion and philosophy with Rayaru at the Japada Katte in Bichale.
Thus we see that Appanacharya continued to serve Rayaru throughout ages and in different yugas.
Thus we see that the tale of everlasting friendship and devotion did not last one lifetime but it transcended several yugas. The moral here is that love, devotion and friendship are timeless and that they continue even after death or the disappearance of an avatar.
Rayaru ensured that the two close attendants of his were always near him in all his avatars. Today, both Appanacharya and Krishna Avadootaru have left us a fairly large body of literature on Rayaru. If the first ever shloka on Rayaru is by Appanacharya, the first ever authentic work on how to worship Rayaru and gain his blessings is by Krishna Avadootaru.
The Poornabhoda and Raghavendra Tantra will continue to enthrall devotees of Raghavendra and each is a gem of pure faith, devotion and sincerity.