We have all heard and read about how Raghavendra Swamy or Rayaru (1595-1671) has spoken to the British officer Thomas Munroe and how he also spoke regularly to Jagannatha Dasa of Manvi and other Haridasas.
We have also read about the poems that Vijaya Dasa (1682-1755) composed on Rayaru and the mahime of Rayaru he has described. It was Vijaya Dasa who led the second renaissance of the Dasa sahitya and he was am ardent devotee of Rayaru.
However, very few people know that apart from seeing Rayaru sitting in the Brindavana, Vijaya Dasa is perhaps one of the very few who spoke to the two avatars of Vyasa Raja or Vyasa Theertha (1447-1539) and Raghavendra Swamy.
If Vijaya Dasa saw Rayaru in the Brindavana in Mantralaya, he not only saw but also spoke to the venerable Vyasa Raja at his Brindavana in Nava Brindavana near Hampi.
This is how the incident happened.
Vijaya Dasa, who is believed to be Madhawapati Dasa reborn, was in Hampi or Vijayanagar to participate in the Purandhara Dasa Aradhane. The Aradhane of Purandara Dasa was important to Vujaya Dasa as he was Madhwapathi Dasa, the son of Purandara, in his previous avatar.
As Madhwapath Dasa, he had not only performed the pooje of Yantrodharaka Hanuman at Chakratheertha in Hampi but he had also taken deekshe from Vyasa Raja himself as a Dasa.
Vyasa Raja had granted him and his brothers a village near Hampi and this inscription can still be seen today. More than anything else, Vyasa Raja was the guru of his father, Purandara Dasa and the founder of both Dasa Koota and Vyasa Koota.
Vijaya Dasa always performed the Purandara Dasa Aradhane and whenever possible he made it to Hampi where he sat and meditated at the Purandara Mantapa in the Tungabhadra. He also spent time at the Nava Brindavana which houses the nine brindavana of Madhw saints – Padmanabha Theertha, Vageesha Theertha, Kavindra Theertha, Raghuvarya Theertha, Vyasa Raja, Govinda Odeyar, Sudhindra Theertha and the two direct successors to Vyasa Raja to the Vyasa Raja Matha-Rama Theertha and Srinivasa Theertha.
One day, Vijaya Dasa came to Hampi and Nava Brindavana along with his friends and followers to participate in the Purandara Dasa Aradhane. Gopala Das, Mohana Dasa and several other disciples had accompanied Vijaya Dasa.
After the three-day Purandara Dasa Aradhane was over, all the Haridasa led by Vijaya Dasa came to Chakratheertha where they worshipped Yantrodharaka Hanuman which was the first of the 732 Hanuman idols consecrated by Vyasa Raja.
They then came to Nava Brindavana where they prayed before the brindavana of the nine saints. Vijay Dasa then took Mohana Dasa before each of the Brindavana and sought their blessings after offering Hastodaka.
Vijaya Dasa then took Mohana Dasa to the Brindavana of Vyasa Raja. Both of them stood in front of the Brindavana of Vyasa Raja in reverence.
Even as both Vijaya Dasa and his adopted son, Mohana Dasa, stood lost in deep thought, a voice started coming from the Brindavana. Both the Haridasas realised that it was the voice of Vyasa Raja.
The voice said it was happy to see Vijaya Dasa accompanied by his adopted son. It said Mohana Dasa was being brought up in a befitting manner. It forecast that Mohana Dasa had a bright future and that he would carry forward the Dasa parampare.
But the voice wanted to know why Vijaya Dasa had not given deekshe to Mohana Dasa. “You did not fulfill your duty in giving Mohana Deekshe”, the voice said.
All other Haridasas, including Gopala Dasa and Mohana Dasa were stunned to hear the voice. It dawned on them that Vyasa Raja and Vijaya Dasa were men of extraordinary merit and scholars par excellence.
Vijaya Dasa replied that he had come with Mohana Dasa for the purpose of giving him Deekshe at Nava Brindavana. So saying he prostrated before the Brindavana and made immediate arrangements to give Deekshe to Mohana Dasa.
Both Vijaya Dasa and Mohana Dasa had bath in the Tungabhadra and Vijaya Dasa then offered Deekshe to Mohana Dasa and gave him the ankita Mohana Vittala.
This incident was revealed by Mohana Dasa himself in one of his compositions on Vijaya Dasa. Mohana Dasa has written seven poems in memory of Vijaya Dasa.