19 September 2011

Sri Padaraya Compositions

Brindavanam of Sri Padarayaru , Mulbagilu , Karnataka
Birth of Sri Padaraya:

Abbur, a remote village of Chennapatna taluk of Bangalore District, is a place of abundance in Nature's gift and a sacred place too. A hermitage in the midst of a dense forest close to Kanva river where devotees throng to bathe in the river and get the blessings of the saint Sri Brahmanyateertha. The brindavan stands gloriously. He was a great ascetic and a brahmarishi, who had siddhi in tapas and chastity in speech. He is a depository of manthras and had control over senses, pure in practices and earned the love of lord Krishna.
Five centuries ago Abbur a village with a picturesque surrounding was a part of a natural forest, very rich in greens, full of colours and fragrance. Pious brahmins who led a simple life lived in those small villages dotting the forest place. The river Kanva, the crown of Vanadevi, with all serenity has made this place great !
In the midst of a natural beauty there runs white waters of kanva river appearing as a bisecting mark in the lush green forest.

The Intitutive Lakshminarayana:

In this serene atmosphere, there lived a pious couple by name Sheshagiri and Giriamma, looking after their limited land. They were virtue rich devout couple. They were blessed with a boy. His name was Lakshminarayana. The boy Lakshminarayana had his early education under his father. His daily routine was to take the cattle to the nearest lush green forest for graze and to get back in the evening before sunset. He had a sharp intellect with a reflective nature. His brightness had an appreciation of the entire village.
One fine evening, in a twilight, Lakshminarayana was returning with his herds back home. He heard a noise from his back, as he turned back he could observe a palanquin approaching him. He learnt that a sanyasi by name Sri Swarnavarnathirtha belonging to Sri. Padmanabha Thirtha samsthana coming from Srirangapatna was in that palanquin. No sooner that he saw the swamiji, he prostrated and stood with all reverence. Sri Swarnavarna thirtha swamiji, anxious to know the distance of the village made an enquiry with the boy.
Lakshminarayana answered the question intelligently by saying "see me, see my herds and gaze at the sky and realize the distance" and stood calmly. Swamiji was wonderstruck at his intelligence and was pleased at his presence of mind. Once again Swamiji looked at the boy and affectionately enquired his name. Spotting the radiance on the boy's face, he endearingly told him to come with him in the mene so that he could show them the way. Lakshminarayana replied it by telling " If I sit in a mene I may also become a sanyasi as my cousin. One yathi has already given sanyasa and taken him to his mutt. "When Swamiji asked who had given sanyasa the boy replied that it was Purushothama threertha of huligudda, his words were vedavakhya to the people of this village. Swarnavarna muni appreciating the boy, put manthrakshata on the head and proceeded towards the village, the boy also walked with his cattle home.
Swarnavarna muni was the seventh in the lineage of Sri Padmanabha Theertha, the direct disciple of Madhwacharya, Shriranga was his centre. He was coming that way to see Sri Purushothamatheertha in Abbur. The meeting of two yathis were like Vasishta & Vamadeva's meeting. Seeing the radiant bala yathi Sri Brahmanyathreertha, Sri Swarnavarna muni was thrilled and he expressed his desire to have a disciple like him. Sri Purushothama theertha enquired all about Sriranga kshetra, since he was anxious and worried over the ills that had begotten due to Yavanas. "The entire Bharatha was under the control of Yavanas. They had conquered southern kingdoms too. Hindu dharma and culture in southern belt suffered a terrible onslaught by those yavanas. In that pitch dark night Vidyaranya built an empire in 1336 AD and had fought against Muslims. He was wedded to protecting cows and brahmins.

At that time Bukkaraya was the king. His first task was to get rid of yavanas from Madurai and Sriranga. The idols kept safely in Thirupathi were brought back and Sriranganatha pooja started again. His daughter-in-law Gangadevi in `Maduravijaya' described about the invasion.
Sri Swarnavarnatheertha knew all this. Sri Purushothama theertha was happy to hear about peace and dharmic stability in Sriranga, Sri Swarnavarnamuni also said that the much needed shishya for him had been sighted. He narrated about the intelligent conversation he had with the boy Lakshminarayana while coming to Abbur. Sri Purushothama yathi sent words for Seshagiri acharya and Giriamma to come with their son and see him.


Shri Sripadaraja is blessed by his guruThe details of Sripadaraja's life are mainly culled out from the songs of Shri Vyasaraja, his illustrious disciple and his Sanskrit composition Pancharatnamala stutis. The Vyasa Yogi Charitam of Somanatha kavi gives the picture of Sri Sripadaraja, Vidya Guru of Sri Sripadaraja.After becoming a Sanyasin, Lakshminarayana Yogi continued his studies under Shri Vibhudendra Tirtha
The Sripadarajashtakam talks about the considerable influence Shri Sripadaraja wielded over the King Saluva Narasimha at Chandragiri. The King, after his return from the Kalinga campaign (in 1476) honored Shri Sripadaraja. Shri VyAsa Tirtha also visited the court of Saluva Narasimha at Shri Sripadaraja's behest.
Sripadaraja had "SUKHA PRARABDHA" i.e., he was destined to lead a regal lifestyle even though he was a saint. Needless to add, he was at heart a total ascetic whose mind was pegged at the lotus feet of Gopalakrishna, but his Prarabdha forced him to enjoy Rajavaibhoga.
It is said that he once gave up his regular ways when some misguided persons objected; then, so many untoward things happened that the same persons begged him to go back to his regular ways. A haridAsa has humorously remarked that little dhruva's penance was so rigorous that the Lord ordained that he would not undergo any hardship in any of his next incarnations. Above all he was a devout bhakta of the Lord.
Once he asked his disciple Vyasaraja to conduct the daily Puja in his absence. Shri Vyasaraja saw that one Sampusta (box containing divine Vigrahas) had had never been opened so far. Out of curiosity, he tried to open it, and succeeded immediately. He was astounded when a beautiful Vigraha of Lord Gopala Krishaa Vigraha came out of the box and began to dance in front of him. He was so engrossed that he used the Saligrama as Tala.
When Sripadaraja entered the Puja hall, Krishna froze in the middle of the dance. Sripadaraja presented this icon to Vyasaraja and told him "I could not open the box, only you were destined to open it. So this Vigraha morally belongs to you". Even today, this miraculous Vigraha, with its unusual pose, is worshipped by saints of the Vyasaraja MaTha.
The King of Vijayanagara was a pious ruler. Once, due to unavoidable circumstances, the king became indirectly responsible for the death of the Priests of the Tirupati Temple and got Bramha hatya Dosha (an extremely heinous sin).
The King came to Sripadaraja and surrendered at his feet, asking for relief from the sin. Sripadaraja, who knew the inherent noble nature of the king, and also the circumstances that led to the killing, performed many Yagnas and Pujas on behalf of the king and wiped out his Bramha Hatya Dosha.
The King was overcome with relief and gratitude. As a token of gratitude, the King requested Sripadaraja to sit on the throne so that he could perform Kanakabisheka. Sripadaraja told the king that as a Sanyasi he was least interested in such ceremonies. The King begged him repeatedly and finally Sripadaraja acceded to his request.
The King performed Kanakabhisheka. The king of Vijayanagara continuously requested Sripadaraja to settle down in his kingdom, and become his Raja-Guru. Sripadaraja declined to do so due to old age, but agreed to send his beloved disciple Shri Vyasaraja instead. Thus Shri Vyasaraja became the Raja-Guru of the Vijayanagara empire.

Sanyasa :
Upanayana of Shri Sripadaraja The couple anxious and astonished, came to the mutt and bowed down before the yathis. Sri Swarnavarnatheertha looked at the boy and smiled at Sri Purushothamatheertha who told the couple that he was very proud to hear his son's sharp intellect and abilities. It was time to do upanayana and brahmopadesha. If he consents Sri Swarnavarnamuni of Sriranga would take that responsibility. His son had all the lakshanas of becoming a famous personality. The idea of making him his successor later was also there. His blessings were there for the child.
Giriamma was full of sorrow. Sheshagiri acharya, understanding the farsightedness of yathivarya consoled his wife. For their son's future, they made up their minds to entrust him to Sripadaru. Sri Swarnavarna muni left for Sriranga along with the boy, Lakshminarayana and his parents.
The boy was none other than Druvamsha. Sri Swaranarna yathi was a great tapasvi and the radiance arising out of bramacharya resulted in the form of Sri Swarnavarna that brightened up the surrounding like the golden hue spilling out a brightly polished gold prathima which lights up the area around.
The sacred presence of such a tapasvi guru worshipping Lord Gopinatha given by Madhwa muni caused the boy's intellect to bloom. His scholarly capabilities surfaced. Upanayana was performed within a short time. Lakshminarayana muni became a treasure trove of spiritual knowledge. The boy was given diksha in accordance with scriptural dictates.The guru felt extremely happy about bala yathi Lakshminarayana who was like Sanathkumara. Lakshminarayana theertha was sent to Shri Vibhudendra threertha for studying Vedanta. Vibhudendra yathi true to his name was a powerful scholar.
Originating from Hamsanamaka Paramathma the monastic order came to Achutapreksha from there to Madhwacharya the divine bhashykara. Then Padmanabha, Narahari, Madhava, Akshobya theertha ascended the peeta, Jayatheertha, the "mangalakalasha" of Madhwa parampara was famous as Teekacharya. Next it was Vidyadhiraja. It was at this stage, the mutt branched out, Rajendratheertha who created Harisarvothamathva wave in north upto Bengal and then Kaveendratheertha who got ashrama at the time of Vidyadhiraja's brundavana pravesha. These two set up their own independent mutts. Rajendratheertha's lineage became shri Vyasaraya mutt and that of Kaveendratheertha's was Shri Raghavendra Swamy mutt (After Sri.Raghavendra Swamy). Vibhudendra belonged to Kaveendratheertha parampara. He was an ocean of knowledge. Lakshminarayana muni who came to learn under Vibhudendratheertha was a radiant seed of a rich stuff. He studied entire vedanta and stood there holding a great promise.
After completing studies under Vibhudendratheertha and assimilating knowledge of Dwaitha Vedanta in toto, Shripadaraja returned to Swarnavarnatheertha.
Swarnavarna Parashuramatheertha's joy knew no bounds, seeing his dear shishya returning after acquiring knowledge and titles. For sometime Swarnavarna theertha was with Shripadaraja, as he was engaged in pravachana, japa tapa, guruseva. Reposing full confidence in his shishya, Swarnavarna muni handed over to him his samsthana with all its grandeur and entered the brindavana there at Srirangam.
Shripadaraja became the pontiff of the mutt. The fortune of worshipping Shri Gopinatha was his, after sometime he set out on travel. He came to Mulubagilu and made up his mind to stay there knowing well its Historical, Educational and Dharmic background. Mulubagilu was under the control of Vijayanagar kings.
Shri Padamanabha theertha was the direct disciple of Shri Madhwacharya and was blessed with Shri Gopinatha vigraha. He was the first to write notes (Sanyayarathnavali & sattarkadeepavali) on Madhwacharya's great works like Brahmasutra bashya and other 37 works.. He paved the way for dwaitha sidhanta to scale new heights. Narayana pandithacharya has lot of praise for Sri Padmanabha theertha ( detailed history can be had from Sripadmanabha theertha, to be published) "as a lion critic . Jayatheertha has described him as a pure person who lives in the ocean of chaste knowledge.
Sri Padmanabha muni saw to it that his monastic order remained wedded to propagation of dharma. This mutt was called as Padmanabhatheertha mutt before Sripadaraja, after him, because of the alluring personality of Sripadaraja became famous as Sripadarja mutt.

Sri Padarayaru

Speciality in teaching :

During his life time Sripadaraja taught sarvamoola granthas for forty times together with teeka. He used to take lessons himself paying full personal attention to students in dwaitha vidyapeeta at Mulubagilu so that the students absorb Madhwa's tatvajnana completely, Sripadaraja guru's style of teaching is explained through the following story.
One paricharak of the mutt used to attend classes. It was surprising to see him present daily and in all batches of students. Once all the old students gathered to celebrate annual day of Vidyapeeta. "Mangala" of the "paata" taught for the 40th time was arranged on that occassion. That paricharak was present then also as usual. All the old students making fun of him commented "poojya this shishya is there now also. He is junior to those who pass out and senior to those who come in. In future also he would be sitting like this only. For what use a person like this would be?" Guruvarya smilingly picked up one teeka vrutha and told "scholars, interpret this line". All of them more or less replied in the same way giving only one meaning. Sripadaraja has given one new special meaning to that vakhya every paryaya-pravachana time, in addition to the ordinary meaning. All that the shishya has stored in the mind Guruvarya asked him" can you interpret this vakhya?" That paricharak shishya prostrated infront of his guru and explained in all humility those forty types of rare meaning. The scholar students nodded their heads in appreciation. Some hung their heads down in shame. Sripadaraja muni endearingly blessed that shishya and advised the rest that one should never look down upon any one. One should have hearty respect to one and all.
As per the direction of Sripadaraja, Vyasaraja studied tathparyanirnaya grantha in full and in depth. After a lot of critical contemplation on Tatparynirnaya,Vyasaraja offered the gist-essence at the feet of Sripadaraja. Sripadaraja enjoying that, remarked that " The theertha offered by Vyasaraja has uncommon taste due to the study of tatparyanirnaya, persons who have tasted the sweetness of Sarvajnacharya's shasthras can only know what others can not know. All the granthas of Acharya have unique significance. How much ever small it may be it is full of sweetness and unfailing power. "Nirnayam sarva shastranam Bharathaartha nirnaya" Mahabharatha Tathparyanirnaya has this fame. Srimad Anandatheertha has made shri Haripada theertha tastier still" with these words Sripadaraja blessedVyasaraja.
Sripadaraja was both a brilliant scholar as well as a great author. He was guru made for Vyasraja in the field of authoring granthas. He had captured the far limit of vedantha and composed a lovely, all encompassing work called Vagvajra. Vagvajra grantha does full justice to its name. The style is classic, it resembled quite a lot with "Sanyayarathnavali". Mastery over words, variety in meaning, soulful narration vibrantly manifested. In this work many prakriyas of Sriman Nyayasudha have been collected and put forward in both prosaic and poetic way. Yukthis are not repeated, instead "anumanas" are used. Before putting up doctrine, comprehensive and extensive churning have taken place. Sripadraja taught the heart of Teeka-grantha in an attractive manner, has laid a new royal path for the future heirs of Madhwa siddhanta samrajya. A part of Vagvajra runs like this. "Sri manyaya sudha granthath......tharka sangraham" and Sripadaraja shataka says yadvagvajroktha yukthi...... Sreya senaha. The eminent scholars says. "The name of this grantha is "vagvajra" or "Nyaya Sudhopanyasa Vagvajra" containing 3500 shlokas. Clarity is the hall mark of this soul capturing vyakhyana grantha. It is complete in propagation of postulates".

Ganga comes to Narasimha Theertha:

Sripadaraja has his brindavana at a place called Narasimha Theertha, about a mile from Mulabagilu, on the Bangalore and Madras national highway. There is an interesting anecdote about Narasimha Theertha which goes as follows: It is said that when he was at his old age, he wanted to have Ganga-snana, but could not travel all the way up north. Ganga then appeared before him and said that she herself would come to Narasimha Theertha and stay there for ever. From then on, a dip in Narasimha Theertha is considered to be equivalent to a dip in Ganga.
The following stotra in honor of Sripadaraja was composed by Vyasaraya
Tham vande narasimha theertha nilayam Sri vyasaraja poojitham
Dhayantham manasa nrusimha charaaam SrIpadarajaram gurum.
Pada Vakya Pramatabhyam Vikreedana Visharadam
LakshmiNarayana Muneem Vande Vidya Gurunmama. 

E-Book on Sri Padaraya Compositions:
Sripadarayara Krutigalu in Kannada


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