Millions of people across the globe, irrespective of their caste, country, religion or sex, burst into a two-lined stanza almost everyday. The two lines are perhaps the most popular hymn and there is a crescendo of this every Thursday when people gather in large numbers in temples of Raghavendra Swamy.
The two line which encapsulate the place that Raghavendra Swamy holds in our life are so simple that even a child can utter it.
These lines are,
“Poojyaaya Raghavendraiah, Satyadharma Rathayacha
Bhajatam Kalpavrukshaiah Namatham Kamadhenuve.”
These are the lines from the famous Poornabodha Stotra that Appanchacrya composed in honor of Raghavendra Swamy.
The entire stotra came out extempore from Appanacharya as he frantically swam across the Tunghabhadra to Mantralaya from Bichele. That day was August 8, 1761 and it was well past noon. Thus this beautiful sloka can be dated to a particular day and even date.
Raghavendra Swamy and Appancharya had spent 12 years in Bichele. When the tome for entering Brindavana, drew near, Raghavendra Swamy knew that he would not be able to so if Appanacharya was near him.
Appanacharya had become totally devoted to Raghavendra Swamy. Though he was elder to Raghavendra Swamy by two years, he was totally involved in looking after the needs of Rayaru.
He prepared food for Rayaru, spoke and discussed philosophy and religion, listened to the scholastic discourse of Rayaru and even pressed his feet when Rayaru slept.
Rayaru sent Appanacharya on sanchara. He then decided to enter Brindavana at Mantralaya, just 14 kms away and on the other banks of the Tungabhadra.
When Appanacharya returned to Bichale, he was told about how Raghavendra Swamy had decided to enter Brindavana. A grief-struck Appanacharya plunged into the raging Tungabhadra which was in floods then.
Appanacharya had no concern about his safety. He had a prayer to Raghavendra on his lips and he decided to swim to the other bank of the Tungabhadra.
He then composed the 32-stanza Poornabodha Stotra of which these two lines are a part. The entire stotra was composed as Appanacharya battled the surge of water to be near his beloved Rayaru.
The commencement of the stotra is from the very Japada Katte which can still be seen in Bichele. The final wording of the stotra was in front of the Brindavana of Ragjhavendra in Mantralaya.
When Appanacharya completed the last but one line, the final slab was placed on the Brindavana of Raghavendra Swamy. A tearful Appanacharya was unable to complete the stotra and he fell onto the Brindavan, weeping inconsolably and calling out to his dear friend, philosopher and Guru.
The Poornabodha Sloka or Stotra had not been completed as Appanacharya had stopped singing after saying,
“Yobhaktya Gururaghavendra charanadwandam smaran
Stotram divyamidamsada nahi bhavaettasya asukham kinchan
kimtvishtartha samruddhireva kamalanatha prasadodayaat
kirti digvidita vibhutiratula”.
Raghavendra Swamy is believed to have shown himself to Appancharya and completed the stotra saying “Sakshee Hayastotra Hee”.
Raghavendra Swamy was so moved by the devotion of Appanacharya that he is believed to have helped Appanacharya navigate the Tungabhadra without drowning. This was his first miracle even as he was sitting in the Brindavana and his devotees were placing the stones to close the structure.
Thus the sloka, also called the Raghavendra Sloka or Guru Sloka, which began at Bichele, ended at the Brindavana of Rayaru in Mantralaya. The commencement of the sloka was at the favourite Japada katte in Bichele and it ended with Rayaru himself signaling the comnpletion of the Sloka.
The Japada Katte has suffered little damage during the October 2009 floods that ravaged Bichele, Mantralaya and several villages and towns of Kurnool.
If you happen to visit Bichele, you can meet one of the descendents of Appanacharya who will show you the place from where Appanacharya plunged into the raging Tungabhadra. This was the very place of the Skola.
The Sloka is so full of devotion and respect that it has become the most popular lines of all times. You can see it everywhere-in almost all the Raghavendra Swamy temples, in books on Raghavendra Swamy and most of all on the lips of million and million of people.
|The image of Rayaru
Thus this sloka is important for several things. First and foremost, it helped Appanacharya cross the river. Second, it showed that devotion could move even those who could not be seen. Thirdly, it was completed by Rayaru even when he was not physically not present. The voice from the Brindavana which completed the sloka shows us that devotion can move anybody.