One of the most well-known and perhaps the most famous disciples of Raghavendra Swamy is Appannacharya.
Appannacharya was to Raghavendra what Purandara was to Vyasa Raja in his earlier avatar.
It was Appannacharya who drew upon Rayaru’s vast knowledge and taught the many hundreds of students who thronged his Gurukula at Bichale.
The Gurukula had no building but it was an open place at the Japada Katte. The students went around the small village of Bichale and collected alms.
During his lifetime, Appannacharya composed many slokas in praise of Raghavendra Swamy. All these slokas were originally in Sanskrit.
Not many know that most of the Sanskrit hymns that we chant today in honor of Rayaru such as the Raghavendra stotra, mangalashtaka, dandaka are all compositions by Appannacharya.
The most famous composition of all is Poojaya Raghavendraiah Satyadharma……. Which is a part of the Poornabodha Sloka that Appanacharya composed when he waded across the raging Tungabhadra on hearing that Rayaru was about to enter Brindavana.
Though Rayaru wanted to give Sanyasa to Appannacharya and make him the next head of the Matha, Appannacharya refused. There was a simple reason for this. Appannacharya was addicted to chewing tobacco and he could never get out of this habit. Though Rayaru had advised him many times to give up this habit, Appannacharya always laughingly told him he had become a slave to this. He thus did not become the next head of the Matha.
However, his devotion to Rayaru was unquestionable. Though he was two years older to Rayaru, he gave himself up totally to ensure that Rayaru did not face any problem during his stay in Bichale.
When Rayaru first set foot in the house of Appannacharya, he realised that Appannacharya and his first wife did not have any children.
Rayaru himself forced Appannacharya to marry a second time and this time the couple had children. The descendents of this lineage continues till today and one of them looks after the Japada Katte while the other looks after the house that is in ruins.
Today nothing remains of the old Bichale village. The entire village was swept away in the flash floods that drowned Mantralaya and other surrounding areas in October 2009. A new Bichale has come up atop a small hillock. Even today, we can see broken down homes and destroyed temples in the old village.
Miraculously, there was no harm to the Eka shila Brindavana on the Japada Katte. However, the main branch of the Gum tree where Appannacharya used to keep rice tied to a branch of the tree was washed away by the flood waters. Today, only a small tree of the old behemoth remains.
The river water even now inundates the Brindavana every year but only for a few days. The flash floods of 2009 are only a memory but they are a painful reminder of Nature’s fury.
There is however, not much damage to the Japada Katte. Apart from the Brindavana, the other structures too exists. Thus the legend of Appannacharya and Raghavendra Swamy lives on.