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The little known mathas in Bangalore


In an earlier article, I had written about the Dwithieya Mantralaya at Honnalli which is near Shimoga. There is a Rayara Matha there and the adjoining village of Bidaralli is famous as the home of Bidarahalli Srinivasacharya.
There is one more village by that name and it is near Bangalore. It is near Krishnaraja Pura (KR Puram) on the outskirts of Bangalore. Bidarahalli is approximately four klilometres from KR Puram.
One has to take left at Aavala Halli. (KR Puram –Bidarahalli cross or Aavalahalli-Hosakote road) to reach the matha.
There is a Madhva Kanva Matha with a small function hall (can be used for  performing engagement or naming ceremony or similar small functions).
You can contact Girish (son of the archaka there) for any details:
9341073435  or Jayateertha Joshi – 9945541600.
Similarly, there is a Raghavendra Swamy Matha on Magadi Road in Bangalore whish is not all that well patronized.Bangalore has the maximum number of Raghavendra Swamy mathas in India. However, not all of them are well-known.
Some like the matha at Magadi road need more patronage.
Sevas and poojes are conducted at the Magadi Road matha  everyday as per Madhwa Paddathi. The Udupi Krishna idol is with Rayara Brindavana in the sanctum, which is very rare.
The Pratistapana of  the Brindavana was performed in 1982 by  Visveshvara Theerta of Pejawar Matha in 1982.
You can also have the Darshana of  Lakshmi Venkateshwara, Pranadevaru, Rudradevaru, Vishwambara, Parvathi and  Navagraha in the same temple.
If any further information is required, devotees and visitors may contact Mr. Rajendra T.J., 91-9886242922 or 080-23386463.

The Dwitheeya and Trutheeya Mantralaya


This small town in recent years had achieved fame as Dwithieya Mantralaya. The town has an interesting history. During the period of the Vijayanagar Emperors, this town was famous for selling gold and gold coins on its streets, Hence, its name Honalli.
Honalli today is a small town, 50 kms from Shimoga. It is located in Davangere district. The town has many religious institutions and maths but the most famous is the Raghavendra Swamy Matha.
The matha is set amongst picturesque surroundings on the banks of the Tungabhadra. Incidentally, Mantralaya too is on the banks of the Tungabhadra.
The matha has given Honalli the name Dwitheya Mantralaya as it is believed that Raghavendra Swamy himself came and did the pratisthapane of the Brindavana.
The Brindavana here is believed to be more than 300 years old.
The people who wanted to construct a Raghavendra Matha were coming in a procession from Mantralaya, carrying the Mrithike from the Moola Brindavana. The people saw an aged person in holy robes going into the matha and never returning. He is believed to be Raghavendra Swamy.
Even today, you can see the Thate (plate), Hanuman idol and other paraphernila that Rayaru himself brought to Honnali. All these things can be seen before 9 a.m., every morning.       
The contact mobile telephone number for Honnali matta  is 9880917328 (Sri Raghavendra). He is very helpful.
The matha has seven rooms and also a Kalyana Mantapa for performing functions. It is advisable to call up the matha if you want Theertha Prasada and accommodation. The matha will take care of all your pooja and seve arrangements.
Apart from the Raghavendra Swamy temple, Honnali has several religious structures. The Tuggalahalli Temple and Thirtha Rameshwar temple of Shiva are worth a visit.
The moola Brindavana of Bidarahalli Sreenivasa Theertha (1590-1640), a sanyasi of the Uttaradhi Matha, is also located here.  Bidarahalli Srinivasa Theertha was a contemporary of Rayaru and he was a noted Madhwa scholar. Raghavendra Swamy met Bidarahalli Srinivasacharya in Bidarahalli near here and appreciated his works. It is from the time of Srinivasacharya that the Rayaru Matha uses mustard during Chaturmasa. This story is too well-known to bear any repetition here.
It is believed that in his later avatar he became Jagannatha Dasaru, the author of  Sri Harikathaamrutasara.
Some of the important works of Srinivasacharya are Srimanyaayasudha, Tatvaprakashika,  Dashaprakaranateeka, Pramanapaddati, Bhagavatha and  Rugbhashya.
Honnali is noted for its holiness and its temples even before the establishment of the Rayaru temple. One of the Madhwa saints, Vadiraja Theertha, in his Theertha Prabanda says, “
 
Maa yaahi pushkara mahee mathavaa
Prayaagam Kaasheem Gayaam
Badharikaashramamapya saadhyam
Sethu cha Raaghavakrutham
vara Thunga Bhadhraa Theera
Sthapippaalaham harimehi sidhdhai”
.
What Vadiraja means is that instead of going with difficulty to places like Kashi, Gaya, Prayag (Ahallabad) and Badari, you can come to the Tungabhadra and it will give you the same sanctity and holiness.
The Tungabhadra flows right in front of the Matha. You can take bath there and perform seve or pooje at the matha. Kooldi is near Honnali. This is the place where the Tunga meets the Bhadra.  
By the way, the Udugani Sri Raghavendra Swami Mutt, which is considered to be the Trutheeya Mantralaya is near Shikaripura in Shimoga district. Shikarapura is near to Honalli.
People will tell you that after Rayaru disappeared into the Garba Gudi at the Honnali Rayara Matha, he came next to Udugani with the same set of articles and once again disappeared into the Garba Gudi, never to be seen again.    
Udugani is also the birthplace of Akka Mahadevi, the famous Vachana poetess and a woman saint. The temple town of Balligavi is nearby.
It is just seven kms from Shikaripura.
There are Rayara Muthas at Shimoga, Bhadravathi, Hosanagara, Teerthahalli and Davangere ofcourse.

Honnali is taluk headquarters and reaching the town is easy. If you are going by road, go first to Shimoga and from there Hobnnali is nearby.
You can also take the railway route.Peole from Bangalore and Mysor will have to get down at Harihar and take a bus from there to Hoinnali. The bus stand at Harihar is adjacent t the Railway station and there are plenty of buses leaving for Shimoga via Honnali.
The distance from Harihar to Honnali can be covered in 45 minutes. The Janashatabdi Express and several other trains stop at Harihar.

 

The miracle of the Mrithike


There are innumerable instances of the miracles performed by Raghavendra Swamy or Rayaru as he is more popularly known. He has been performing miracles from the Brindavana too.
This is an article about the miracle that Raghavendra Swamy did when he was to touring Bijapur district. I do not know the place where this miracle took place. All I have read about it is that it took place in Bijapur district where a river was flowing nearby.
This miracle is narrated by a cook who used to accompany Raghavendra Swamy everywhere during his sanchara.
Needless to say, the cook was a Brahmin and he was an eye witness to this incident.
The cook was one day conversing with his neighbours in Kumbakonam and during the course of the conversation he mentioned how Guru Raghavendra managed to get one of his devotees married without even bringing the bride and groom face to face.
This is how the incident occurred.
During one of his visits to north Karnataka,  Rayaru halted at a place near Bijapur. Rayaru decided to take bath in the river and then offer pooje to the idol of Moola Rama Devaru.
The rest of the followers too decided to take a dip in the river. Among them was a simpleton called Venkanna. The followers came across Venkanna’s father and asked him why Venkanna was still not married.
Venkanna’s father replied that his son was mentally unsound and that nobody would gave their daughter in marriage to such a person. Some of the followers found that Venkanna was not in his right senses and that he was prone to talking nonsense incessantly.    
That day, Venkanna got an idea that he should marry. He then began broaching the topic of his marriage with the rest of the group. Several members on the group made fun of Venkanna while some humiliated him.
When Venkanna was told that there was nobody to give their daughter in marriage to him, he approached the Brahmin cook and sought his help.
The cook told his listeners that he too made fun of Venkanna. “When you  do not have any money to survive, who ill give you a bride?, he asked.
Venkanna did not know what to do and he innocently asked the cook to tell him the next course of action. The cook really did not have any answer and tried to wriggle out of the problem by asking Venkanna to approach Guru Raghavendra for help.
“Go to Guru Raghavendra and pose your problem to him”, the cook told Venkanna. The answer did not fully satisfy Venkanna and he once again asked the cook what to do if Guru Raghavendra too cannot help him.  The cook was irritated by the question and asked Venkanna to approach Rayaru himself.
Venkanna was so simple and pure at heart that he straightaway walked to the river where Rayaru was taking bath. He stood looking at Rayaru and then made up his mind to seek help from Rayaru.
Venkanna then walked upto Rayaru and said he wanted to tell Rayaru something. Rayaru smiled and told him to go ahead. Venjanna then revealed his wish, Rayaru smiled.
Venkanna appeared dissatisfied with the reaction and once again broached the topic of  his marriage. Rayaru then blessed Venkanna.
Venkanna still stood his ground. Rayaru understood his predicament and spoke to him. “I am a sanyasi. I have given up all worldly things. What can I give you”, he asked. Venkanna summoned courage and exclaimed, “Give me whatever you have.”
Rayaru then gave Venkanna the Mrithike he was holding in his hand when he had come out of the river. Venkanna was overcome with joy and reverentially put the Mrithike in a clothe and held on to it tightly.
Venkanna thought that the Mrithike was very powerful and that it would help him get married. He told everybody about the Mrithike and left the group to search for a women whom he could marry. Venkanna said he would return to the group only after he married.
He began walking and after some time he grew tired. He saw a house of a Brahmin and decided to sleep there itself. He saw that the house had a small balcony and he decided to make a bed for himself there.
He made his bed and was about to sleep when he heard sounds coming from within the house,  He could only sleep fitfully. During the dead of night, Venkanna woke up to find a huge figure standing before him.
Venkanna looked at the figure with sleep in his eyes. He ignored the presence of the figure and decided to go back to sleep. The figure shouted and woke up Venkanna again. It asked him to throw away the clothe as it had some fire in it,  The figure said it was not able to gain access to the house as the clothe was coming in the way. “Throw it away so that I can enter the house”, it said.
Venkanna then opened the bag and found that it contained the  Mrithike Rayaru had given him. As if in a trance, he took a little Mrithike in his hands and put it on the door step. The huge figure asked to be let in. “I am a demon and I have come here to eat the child that was born today”, it tells Venkanna.
The demon tells Venkanna that it will give him anything if he removes the Mrithike. Venkanna asks for gold and the demon brings it.
Venkanna then sprinkles Mrithike on the demon. The demon is freed of the Rakshasha dosha and obtains salvation.
Venkanna then goes to sleep. The next day, when the Brahmin comes out, he sees Venkanna who tells him everything that happened .
The Brahmin realizes that Venkanna has saved his child, He says his children used to die soon after his wife gave birth. Priests had informed him  that some evil spirits were talking away all his new born children.
Venkanna then narrated the reason for his halt. The Brahmin realised that his brother had a daughter Radhamma who was of marriageable age . He immediately decided to get Radhamma married to Venkanna.
Venkanna was overjoyed and he came back to the group and informed them of the events.  The cook then informed Venkanna’s father.
When Rayaru was informed, he merely smiled. He once again turned to Venkanna and smiled at him. This smile and the  Mrithike transformed Venkanna into a normal human being who got married and lived a normal life.
This is the power of Rayaru’s Mrithike. If you believe in it, it will always be there to help you.   

The Anjaneya that Rayaru consecrated


It is a very small village in Andhra Pradesh but it has an important link to Raghavendra Swamy. It is here that Raghavendra Swamy sat for Chaturmasa and it is also in this place that he consecrated one of the two Anjeneya temples.
This is also the village where Teekachar, the great Madhwa scholar and an amsha of Arjuna, and Raghavendra Swamy himself appeared on the idol of Hanuman.  
This village is almost exactly between Chippargi and Alur in Andhra Pradesh. Its claim to fame is because of the small but beautiful temple of Anjaneya or Mukyaprana. This is Hattibelagall.
Hattibelagall is just a short distance from Guntakal and if one wants to visit this village it can be clubbed with a visit to Chippargi which is also near Guntakal and which houses the Samadhi of Vijaya Dasa.
This idol is very unique as it has images of Lakshminarasimha, Teekachar or Jayatheertha and Raghavendra Swamy on its upper side. If you look closely at the Hanuman idol, you can also make out the images of Bilpatrachar, a disciple Aralikatte Narasimhachar and Vadamudidare.
The temple is also known as Dewan Venkanna Panta Anjaneya Swamy temple. Dewan Venkanna constructed the large tank which is located adjacent to this temple.
The temple is generally open in the morning and towards evening. The temple priest stays in a house near by and you can approach him for details about pooje, seve and even Theertha Prasada.
This village is also known for Aralikatti Narasimacharya who is considered to be an amsha-sambhuta of Surya. This saint performed tapas here with his disciples and he was known as an ardent devotee of Raghavendra Swamy.
Aralikatti Narasimhacharya was a staunch devotee of Vayu  and he had immense faith in Teekacharya. He read Nyaya Sudha several times and was extremely fond of it. Teekacharya appreciated Narasimhachar’s devotion and appeared near the shoulder of  Hanuman idol here.
Lakshmi Narasimha has appeared near the forehead of  Hanuman. Villagers recollect a story of how an aged saint went into the temple never to come back. When this was brought to the notice of Narasimhachar, he said the saint was none other than Raghavendra Swamy.
Raghavendra Swamy has identified himself on the idol of Hanuman near the tail.
Narasimhachar is also the Adhyatma guru of Raghuprema Teertha of Akshoba Matha.  There is a small Brindavana here indicating the place where Aralikatte Narasimhacharya and his favourite disciple Bilvapathrachar left the mortal body.
Hattibelagall is approachable either by road or train. You can come to the village either through Bellary or via Alur and Guntakal. There is a train upto Guntakal from where you can hire an auto or a mini bus to the village.
It is on the Adoni-Bellary road. If you are motoring in your own transport, come upto Adoni and take the road to Alur. Once you reach Alur, take a left and Hattibelagall is just 4 kms away.
You can go to Chippargi after completing pooje at Hattibelagall. If you have time take in Kasapuram where there is a Vyasa Prathistha Hanuman temple.  
By the way, Raghupreme Theertha was the inspiration for the construction of the underground Rayara Matha in Bijapur. 

The day Rayaru entered Brindavana


Raghavendra Swamy was teaching his disciples when he suddenly looked up and made a sign with his fingers. His disciples could not make anything of the gesture and they asked Rayaru the reason.
Rayaru smiled and told them that he had seen his friend Krishna Dwaipayana, a Madhwa saint, go to heaven. Rayaru said the departed soul asked him how long he (Raghavendra) would stay on as a mortal.
He said he had shown two fingers thrice, indicating that he would live on the earth physically for two years, two months and two days. The disciples were taken aback and looked dismayed.
Rayaru consoled them and he decided to prepare for his Brindavana Pravesha. He chose Manchale now in Andhra Pradesh as his final resting place.
Manchale then came under the jagir of Nawab Siddi Masoud, a Governor of the Bijapur Kingdom. Siddi Masood was headquartered at Adoni or Advani.
Raghavendra Swamy sent word to Diwan Venkanna (He was the same person who suddenly started reading due to the grace of Rayaru. Pleased by this, Masood had made Venkanna his Diwan) that he would becoming to his province along with all paraphernalia of the Sri Matha from Kumbokanam.
Though Venkanna wanted the Nawab to meet Raghavendra, the latter did not have any high opinion of  the seer. He decided to test the seer and sent mutton in a plate to Raghavendra Swamy. The Nawab sent word that the plate contained fruits and he wanted them to be offered to God
Raghavendra Swamy knew too well about the mischief of the Nawab. He meditated for a moment and took the holy Theertha from his Kamandala and sprinkled them on the plate which was covered with a clothe.
When the plate was uncovered, the Nawab was shocked to see that the mutton pieces had transformed into flowers. He immediately fell at the feet of Raghavendra and sought his forgiveness.
“Please let me know what I can do to atone for my sin”, he begged Raghavendra. The Guru only smiled. When Masood insisted, Raghavendra sought for land at Manchale, a small village across the Tungabhadra.
Masood was surprised and wanted to know why Raghavendra was insisting on a barren place of land. Moreover, he had already gifted the land to a fakir. When Venkanna said Rayaru would not accept anything but Manchale
Masood reluctantly agreed.
He gave the fakir another piece of land and gifted Manchale to Raghavendra Swamy.
Raghavendra Swamy then stayed at the house of  Appanacharya, a rich Zamindar, at Bichale near Raichur. Both Rayaru and Appanacharya became close friends and spent hours discussing Vedanta and other related subjects. Appanacharya lovingly cooked food for Rayaru and also for Naivaidya of Moola Rama and other deities of the Sri Matha which had been bought in the Devara Pettige (box which held the Samsthana idols of the Matha) from Kumbakonam.
 Rayaru knew that Appanacharya would not let him enter Brindavana. He, therefore, entrusted the task to Diwan Venkanna. Rayaru also pointed to a stone slab near Madavara village and said he wanted the Brindavana to be constructed from it.
Rayaru said Rama during his wanderings, had sat on this stone and that he wanted the Brindavana to be covered with it. Venkanna immediately set about preparing the Brindavana. Meanwhile, Rayaru also showed Venkanna and Masood the spot where he wanted the Brindavana to be built. He also specified the size of the Brindavana and how the pit should be dug.
Some time later, Venkanna showed the Brindavana to Rayaru. Looking at the exquisite Brindavana, Rayaru said this would be occupied decades later by one of his successors. “He is more suited than me to occupy this place,” Rayaru said and asked Venkanna to construct a much simpler Brindavan. This suitable man was none other than Vadeendra Theertha, the great grandson of Rayaru.
All this while Rayaru was still staying at the house of  Appanacharya. He decided to dismantle the ant hill in the house of Appanacharya where a cobra (sarpa) had made its home. Rayaru would give it milk every day and the cobra would come and drink it.
Rayaru ensured that the cobra moved away from the ant hill. This was because he realised that people would be scared of the snake after he entered Brindavana. He also wanted to protect the Sarpa from harm.   
The Brindavana was constructed and the date that Rayaru had mentioned to Krishna Dwaipayana was drawing near. Rayaru realised that he would not be able to entre Brindavana as long as Appancharya was near. He then sent out
Appanacharya on Sanchara and decided to enter Brindavana.
Rayaru decided to enter Brindavana on August 11, 1671. This day was Friday. He made all the arrangements himself. By then the Brindavana was ready.
His friends and relatives, devotes and other people began pouring into Manchale. By this time, Rayaru had already made Yogendra Theertha, his successor. Yogendra Theertha was the grandson of  his brother Gururaja.
Both Raghavendra Swamy and Yogendra Theertha stayed for some time and prayed at the Venkatarama Temple in Manchale to observe Chaturmasa. Rayaru then prayed to Manchalamma and told her of his plan to enter Brindavana. 
Rayaru sang “ Namosthu Varade Krishne Kumari Bramacharini Baalrka Sadrushaakaaye Purnachandra Nibhaanane Yam Kaamaye Tam Tamugram Krunomi Tam Bramanaama Tamrushini Tam Sumedhaam” and Manchalamma was pleased. 
A day before Rayaru entered Brindavana, that is on Thursday, (Shraavana Bahula Pratipada) Rayaru performed the Pooja of  Sri Moola Ramadevarau and other deities. It was a normal day for him, while all others had a heavy heart. Raghavendra Swamy held discussions on Acharya Tatva.
After having his daily frugal meal, Rayaru gave a  thought to the next day’s programme. He called the Matha officials and also his successor and gave them instructions.
The next day dawned and Rayaru spent his time in ritualistic bathing in the Tungabhadra as was his normal routine.  He then prayed to his beloved Moola Rama one last time and performed other pooje.
Then began his final discourse on the Brahma Sutra of Madwacharya and its interpretation by Jayatheertha. However, none of the devotees and disciples had the heart to understand the lecture. They were heartbroken as it was the last lecture of Raghavendra.
Soon after his Patha, Raghavendra then took the hand of  Yogendra Theertha and walked towards the Brindavana. The Brindavana was constructed on a platform with steps. Rayaru was taken in a proceesion on the temple elephant Mahendra.
Rayaru had his Danda and Kamandala with him.
He appeared calm and blessed the devotees along the way.
When the procession came near Garbalaya where the Brindavana was constructed,  Rayaru alighted from the elephant and took out his Paduke and handed them over to Yogendra Theertha. Meanwhile, Yogendra Theertha had constructed a Pranadevaru temple opposite the Brindavana as per Rayaru’s wishes.
Even on the last day, Rayaru performed three miracles. A dumb youth got back his power of speech and a lame person got back his limbs. His last miracle was to cure a youth of leprosy.
Rayaru’s son, Lakshnimarayana, Rayaru’s nephew Narayanachar, Diwan Venkanna and others watched with a heavy heart as Rayaru was moments away from entering the Brindavana. Vadeendra Theertha then was just two years old when Rayaru entered the Brindavana. (He became the head of the Mantralaya matha five swamijis after Raghavendra. He wrote Gurugunasthavana, a composition of  of 36 verses).
Rayaru then raised his hands in blessing to the assembled crowd and made his last speech. He asked people to be righteous and follow the path of Dharma. He entered the Brindavana with his Kamandala and Japa mala. He held the hand of Yogendra Theertha and walked into the Brindavan enclosure. He entrusted the Matha to Yogendra Theertha and once again commended the people to follow the path of  righteousness.
Rayaru then began meditating and he had asked Venkanna and others to close the Brindavana once the Japa Mala fell from his hand. The moment came and the Brindavana was closed forever.
An interesting fact is that Raghavendra Vijaya does not contain any details of  the Brindavana Pravesha. Much of the details can be culled from other books, articles and the matha. Another fact is that Appanacharya was not there when Raghavendra Swamy entered Brindavana
When Appancharya swam across the swirling waters of the Tungabhadra when he heard the news of Rayaru entering Brindavana,  it was too late. Rayaru had already entered the Brindavana and Appanacharya sorrowfully sang Purnaboda.
A sobbing Appanacharya could not finish the song and Raghavendra Swamy completed the Shloka from within the Brindavana by singing“sakshi haya stotra hi.”
                  Credit-Blog Samyuktha Harshitha