Archive | October 12, 2013

The Seer who saw both Vyasa Raya and Rayaru





He was a master of all the 64 arts or Kala as they call it in Sanskrit.  He was also the most prolific writer not only of his times but for all ages to come.

The only other person who could master all these arts was God himself and in our religious texts we have Lord Krishna and Hanuman being endowed with mastery of all these arts.

This seer holds a very important position in the Madhwa way of life as he is perhaps one of the few persons who saw two avatars of Raghavendra Swamy. He saw both Vyasa Raja or Vyasa Theertha whose disciple he was and he was also the Paramaguru of Raghavendra Swamy, the next avatar of Vyasa Raja.

This seer, thus has the rare distinction of seeing both Vyasa Raja and Raghavendra Swamy. What is more he was a favourite Shishya or disciple of  Vyasa Raja and it was he who directed his Shishya, the redoubtable Sudheendra Theertha, to give Deeksha or Sanyasa to Venkatanatha who later came to be known as Raghavendra Swamy.

He lived almost a hundred years and though his exact date of birth is unfortunately shrouded in the realms of mystery, we know from contemporary texts that he was a favourite disciple of Vyasa Raja and that he had learnt shastras and Vedas from the former at the magnificent Vijayanagar University n Hampi or Vijayanagar sometime in the early years of the 16th Century.

This seer also inherited the love of Krishna and complete devotion to the Lord of Dwaraka from Vyasa Raja who composed several songs on Krishna. Not only did this seer compose songs on Krishna, but he was in the habit of crafting all by himself idols of Krishna and gifting it to devotees.

He wrote over one hundred works and all of them are masterpieces and show us the depth of his knowledge, his deep insight and his sharp mind.  He is considered to be an incarnation of Vibhudendre Theertha (1435-1490), the Vidya Guru of Sripadaraja of  Mulabagal.

The matha that Vibhudendre Theertha headed was called Vibhudendre Theertha matha till Raghavendra Swamy took over as the pontiff of the Sri Matha.

He was born as Vittalacharya and he was given the name Vishnu Theertha by Vyasa Raja himself. He was also given Sanyasa by Vyasa Raja and taught the Vedas, Shastras, Puranas and other religious texts. Vyasa Raja knew about the extraordinary intellect of this disciple.

This seer, after completing his education under Vyasaraja, engaged himself earnestly in the study of Vyasathraya comprising the three main works of  his guru- Chandrika, Nyayamrutha and  Tarkathandava.

Soon,Vishnu Theertha began debating Madhwa siddantha with scholars from other schools and he easily defeated them. A proud Vyasa Raja permitted this Shsishya to also debate with scholars and other seers in his University. He watched with pride as this disciple humbled everyone who tried to argue against Madhwa Siddantha.

Even the then reigning Emperor of Vijayanagar, Krishna Deva Raya, was awe struck at the scholastic ability and vast knowledge of the young Vishnu Theertha. He, however, credited Vyasa Raja with the intellectual development of this disciple.    

This disciple was none other than Vijendra Theertha. One of the front ranking disciples of Vyasa Raja, he was a contemporary of  almost all the leading Madhwa saints and Haridasas of his life and times including, Vadiraja, Srinivasa Theertha (successor of Vyasa Raja), Rama Theertha (successor of  Srinivasa Theertha), Purandara Dasa, Madhwapathi Dasa, Kanaka Dasa, and several others.

Vijendra Theertha and Vadiraja were great friends and each respected the other’s scholarship and knowledge,

Very few know that when Venkatanatha came to Kumbakonam, Vijendra Theertha quickly recognised his holiness and also realised that Venkatanatha was none other than Prahalada, Bahlika and his Guru Vyasa Raja.

Vijendra then was sitting in the Sri Matha alongwith Sudheendra Theertha and he pointed out Venkatanatha to his Shishya and asked him to confer the pontificate of the matha on him.

Vijendra Theertha also realised the unique position that he had been placed in. He had seen Vyasa Raja and now he was seeing a budding Rayaru.

Vijendra Theertha entered Brindavana in Kumbakonam after a long and successful tenure. He was born sometime in 1517 and he entered Brindavana in 1614.