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Life of Sree Raghavendra Guru (Page 4)

The greatness of Sri Raghavendra Thirtha is indescribable. On one occasion, the ruler of Thanjavur sent the swami an offering of a diamond necklace. The swami was at that time busy performing "Vysvadevam" (a kind of Homa with cooked rice.) So, the swami gave it as 'Naivedya' to Yegneswara the people at the place were astonished at this. Learning of this through hearsay, the king was angry and grieved that a necklace, worth thousands of rupees, was consigned to the fire. Two or three days later, the ruler visited the swami and said " O swami! I sent to you a diamond necklace I think you would have used it as an ornament to god. I want it now for some purpose. I wish to make another necklace of the same fashion. Please give it to me. I shall return it again " The swami once prayed to Yagneswara, the Lord of Sacrifices the god of fire appeared before him and gave him the necklace. The swami received it and gave it to the king. The king, who was witness to the greatness of the swami, was filled with wonder thinking that he had sinned against the swami, the king prostrated himself before him and begged his pardon. The swami was manifestation of mercy. He readily pardoned the king and blessed him.

Sri Raghavendra Thirtha carried on his work at kumbakonam, according to the Mutt traditions, worshiping the diety, Sri Mula Ramachandra and instructing his pupils. At one time, Sri Vijayaraghava, son of Raghunatharao, came to the gaddi . During his reign, there was terrible famine. Vijayaraghava made many efforts to put an end to the famine conditions. But, he could not succeed. At last, he came to Sri Raghavendra Thirtha at kumbakonam, prostrated himself before him and said " A famine has come over my kingdom. The people are suffering much. Be kind enough and put an end to the famine. Be merciful " The swami remembered the great devotion and regard which his father, Raghunatha Rao, had shown towards him to. He took pity on Vijayaraghava and said, " Yes I shall come to Tanjavur. "

The swami visited Thanjavur. He converted the king's palace into a hall of worship and worshiped Sri Mula Ramachandra and prayed, " God, protect the kingdom from the evils of famine." Sri Mula Ramachandra had great grace for swami. It looked as if the deity had answered the swami's prayer. The same day, there was a heavy down pour of rain throughout the kingdom. All the tanks and wells were full to the brim with the water. The land became once again green with fresh crops. Vijayaraghva praised the greatness of the swami in many ways. He gave many rewards to swami and gave him a respectable send-off. That year, the produce was plentiful and the country became prosperous. The swami's greatness was unrivalled.

Some days later, once, the swami was teaching his pupils. He suddenly rose up, looked up, asked some thing and sat down again. The disciples were perplexed. They said to the swami, " What is it? Kindly explain to us." The swami said to them, " The great sage Krishna Dwaipayana, was riding in a chariot and proceeding to vaikuntam. On the way, he appeared before my vision. I bowed to him and asked him, " How long yet am I to endure in this physical frame? By way of answer he showed two fingers and waved them thrice. I understood his purport and bowed and sat down. I shall live from now only for two years, two months, two days. Then I shall enter the Brindavan." The disciples had great devotion for and faith in heir guru. They were grieved to think that their guru would depart from them soon. They were pained beyond words.

After some days, the swami came to Adoni on his tours. The Dewan, Venkanna, who was blessed by the swami, prostrated himself before the swami and took him to home to the accompaniment of auspicious music. He prepared himself to entertain the swami in a grand manner. He narrated to the Navab Siddi Masud Khan the mysterious powers of the swami. He appealed to the Navab to see the swami without fail.


Siddhi Masud Khan thought to himself, " I shall see what powers this Brahmin priest has." As the swami completed the worship of Sri Mula Ramachandra and was about to offer 'Naivedya', the Navab had a salver covered with cloth brought by a servant and placed it before the swami. He did so in order to test the supernatural powers of swami. Dewan Venkanna was not aware of the Nawab's intention. The swami scented the Nawab's wicked plan. Immediately, he spelt out a prayer to Sri Mula Ramachandra and split some drops of water from his kamandal (drinking vessel) on the salver covered with cloth. He asked the Nawab to order the cloth to be removed. When the Nawab had the cloth removed from the salver, it was full of fruits and rose flowers. The Nawab was amazed. He realised how great were the powers of the swami. He regretted his own conduct towards the swami. He wished to make recompense for the sin he had committed. He called Diwan Venkanna and said to him, " Venkanna! Your Guru is great man of rare powers. I wish to grant him some jagirs ( group of villages free for rent) . I am ready to carryout any bidding of his. Go to your Guru and inform him of my intention " Dewan Venkanna went to the swami and conveyed to him the Nawab's intention. To this, the swami replied, " why do we, who have renounced all worldly ties, need any jagirs? But as you say that the Nawab is insistent, let him give me only one village, named Manchala, on the banks of the Thungabhadra River ." The village Manchala , which the swami had asked for, had already been given to a Fakir as a gift. But the Nawab exchanged it for another village and gifted it to the swami. It was the place sanctified by the performance of a 'Yagna' by Bhakta Prahlada that was why the swami had asked for the village. The Nawab gave the swami many presents, bowed to him and took his leave.

The time of Sri Raghavendra's entering the samadhi at the Brindavan, approached. The devotees became aware of it. Hundreds of people came to see the swami and were blessed by him. The swami sent for Dewan Venkanna and asked him to build a beautiful Brindavan. He laid out the beautiful Brindavan. The devotees were filled with grief because the swami's end was nearing. Venkanna informed the swami of the completion of the Brindavan. At once the swami said to him, " Venkanna! This Brindavan will be useful to another great saint. There is a big rock in the village of Madhavaram . Make a Brindavan with its help." Venkanna could not understand the reason for such an order. So he said to the swami, " O swami! You have asked me to make a Brindavan by using the rock in the village of Madhavaram . Kindly tell me if there is any special reason for it " The swami replied, " Venkanna ! Sri Ramachandra, while traversing the forest, sat on that stone for seven 'ghadias' the stone is sanctified by the contact of his holy feet and has to be worshipped for seven hundred years. That is why I asked you to use it for making the Brindavan." So saying, he cleared the doubts that had troubled Venkanna's mind. Venkanna made the Brindavan as ordered by the swami. Various scholars, poets and musicians came to see the sight of the swami entering the Brindavan alive. On Thursday, the second day of the bright fortnight, in the month of sravan, in the year of Virodhikritha, the great saint, Sri Raghavendra Thirtha, entered the samadhi in the Brindavan, alive. The event was marked by great festivity. As ordered by the swami, they kept 700 saligrams ( natural manifestations of god) in the Brindavanam and covered it with large stone and consecrated a place in front of the Brindavan. Even to this day, worship is offered, with vedic rites, to the Brindavan as well as to the image of Sri Anjaneya.

Among the disciples of Sri Raghavendra Swami, Appalacharya was the most notable. The swami had sent him to another village on some business. He was, therefore, not present at the event of the swami's entry into the Brindavan. On his return journey, he heard the news of Sri Raghavendra's entry into the Brindavan. Regrating that he could not have the last glimpse of his guru, he ran to the place, praising Sri Raghavendra swami. As he neared the Brindavan, the sloka in praise of the swami was incomplete with the words." Vibhutiratula" instantly, Sri Raghavendra Swami, who is well known for his affection for his disciples, completed the verse with the words ".sakshihayasyotrahi." Even this day, this panegry of Sri Raghavendra Swami, written by Appalacharya, is recited by scholars and lay men. This verse, beginning with the words "Sripurnabodha guruthirtha payobdhipara " if recited 108 times, will help a person to get his desire fulfilled. All baneful conditions will disappear. All sins will be recompensed. This need not be mentioned separately, these effects of worshipping at the Brindavan, are known to the devotees by their own experience. It is mentioned that Sri Raghavendra had himself announced to the devotees, from the Brindavan, that Lord Hayagriva will himself be witness to the efficiency of this sloka in his praise. Sri Appalacharya has written the Sri Raghavendra Mangalastakam in addition to the Sri Raghavendra Stothram" for which people are much indebted to him.

mong the successor to the Sri Raghavendra Guru peetham, Sri Vadindra Thirtha is one. He was great scholar and poet. He knew quite intimately the miraculous powers and spiritual excellence of Sri Raghavendra Thirtha. He composed the "Guru Guna Sthuti," delineating the greatness and versatility of Sri Raghavendra Swami. Sri Vadindra stood before the Sri Raghavendra Brindavan and recited melodiously the verses of "Guru Guna Sthuti." The Brindavan, it seems, shook to signify Sri Raghavendra Guru Sarvabhauma's appreciation of those verses. Oh! How fortunate Sri Vidhindra Thirtha was.

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