Sri Raghavendra Swami was one of the great proponents of the Madhva philosophy. For nearly 50 years, he was the head of one of the great pItha-s. His predecessors include such scholars like VijayIndhra Tirtha & SudhIndhra Tirtha. He excelled in many fields such as logic, mImAmsA, music, yoga, dharmashAstra, & all 64 arts. As an avatara of Prahlada, he chose as his Brindavan Manchaale(Mantralaya) on the bank of the Tungabadhra, where Prahlada had performed his yaj~na in kR^ita yuga. It is said that the stone used for the Brindavan was sanctified by the touch of Sri Rama and Sita in the treta yuga. His nephew, Narayanacharya, wrote Raghavendra Vijaya, which gives a full account of the life of this great saint.
Sri Raghavendra Swami was born in 1595 in Kaveripattana, Tamil Nadu to Thimmanna Bhatta and Gopikamba. His ancestors were of the Gautama Gotra. He was named Venkatanatha as he was born by the grace of Lord Venkateshwara. When his father was performing akSharAbhyAsa, Venkatanatha asked how a small letter like Om can explain the great God. The father was overjoyed that his son understood that the God cannot be fully explained by one small letter. Venkatanatha's Upanayanam was performed in chaitra mAsa, when he was 8 years old. Although his father passed away by then, Venkatanatha did not consider himself an orphan, as he considered Sri Narayana as his father and Gayathri, who reveals Him, as every twice-born's real mother.
Venkatanatha studied yajur veda, maNimanjari, and anumadhvavijaya at Madurai.His powers of meditation were shown when his water from doing sandyAvandan happened to fall on a dry seed, which sprouted. He also developed an expertise in playing the Veena, so he became known as Veena Venkata Bhatta. This is not surprising, since Venkatanatha came from a family skilled in music. His great-grandfather, Krishnabhatta, tutored the King of the Vijayanagar kingdom, Krishnadevaraya, in vina, and his father was skilled in music as well. Upon returning from Madurai, he was married to Saraswati, who was from a noble family. His marriage, just like his Upanayanam and schooling, was arranged by his brother Gururajacharya.
The Shastras say that for one who has control of his senses, wedded life does not hamper learning. For Venkatanatha, most of his learning occurred after marrying Saraswati, through the blessings of Goddess Saraswati. So Venkatanatha went to Kumbhakonam, the seat of learning at the time. There, he studied under Sri Sudindrateerta.He used to stay awake past midnight to write his own comments and notes on the lessons that had been done. Once, he engaged in a debate and defeated a mAyAvAdi at Rajamannar temple. Though his victory was not unexpected Sri Sudhindra tirtha was surprised at his scholarship in grammar, profound knowledge and rare debating skill, and called him "Mahabhashya Venkatanathacharya" Similarly he explained the significance of taptamudra dhAraNa quoting several smR^iti-s that the opponents had to accept his arguements were irrefutable. He had a son, Lakshminarayana. Although he and his family were in stark poverty, he was unaffected by it, being immersed in the sweet nectar of the Madhva philosophy. Not even once did he give up his teachings and learning; he was steadfast in his determination to live by whatever came to him unsought and unasked. Still, when his master asked him to take sanyAsA, he found himself in a grave dilemma. For one thing, he knew that if he took sanyAsA, he would eventually have to take control of the maTha. While trying to find a solution to this problem, Vidya Lakshmi herself appeared before him. She told him that if such great people like himself did not spread the right philosophy, that of Sri Madhvacharya, the maTha-s would fall into ruin. The light of Tattvavada would be extinguished by the darkness of Mayavada. Understanding where his true duty lay, Venkatanatha obeyed Vidya Lakshmi and took sanyAsA. Sri Sudhindra initiated Venkatanatha on the second day of the bright half of PAlguNa mAsa in the year durmati corresponding to the year 1621.He was given the holy name "Raghavandra Tirtha".
Pilgrimages of Raghavendra Swami (& miracles)
Sri Raghavendra Tiirta started his services by teaching all the works of Srimadacharya to his disciples. He propagated right knowledge and vanquished several opponents. Apart from imparting knowledge and guiding his disciples,he composed works for the benefit of future generations
Soon after becoming the pIThAdipati, he began a series of piligrimages that took him to several places. After visiting Dyupuri and Paripurnadevanagara( Paripurnadevanagara in Sanskrit means "place where God, who is complete in every way, resides"). At Manishrunga, he taught works such as pramaaNa paddhati and realized that it would benefit the public, if sub-commentaries were written on these major works, to make it easier to understand them. So it was here, that Raghavendra Swami wrote glosses on pramANa paddhati, vaadaavaLi, pramaaNa lakshaNa and many other works, many of which are known as bhAva dIpas.
He visited Rameshvaram and Madurai. Madurai was the seat of learning in those days, and one of the experts there was Neelakanta Dikshit. After seeing the lucid yet powerful style with which Raghavendra Swami debated, he was convinced that Raghavendra Swami's master was really pUrNaprajna. When Neelakanta tried testing Raghavendra Swami on various sutras, Raghavendra Swami showed him the work he had just finished-Bhatta Sangraha. Neelakanta was so thrilled by the depth of this work and how well it propounded Sri Madhvacharya's philosophy, that he had it placed on an elephant and taken on a ceremonial procession.
At Srirangam, he gave extensive discourses on upanishads especially the Ishaavaasya upanishad. His disciples requested him to write a book, explaining the meanings of all the mantras, as well as their commentaries and glosses, of all the Upanishads. He wrote glosses on the Ishaavaasya, thalavakaara, kaataka, ShaTpraShNa, mundaka, maanDukya, taittarIya, bR^ihadAruNyaka, and chanDogya Upanishads. He was about to write one for the aitareya, as well, but he wanted to give the honor to his disciple, Smrutimuktavali Krishnacharya, who had already completed the work. Raghavendra Swami wanted to keep his oath of writing a gloss on all the Upanishads, so he wrote a gloss on only the mantra part of the Upanishad-aitareya mantraartha sangraha
He visited Vishnumangala,where Trivikrama Panditacharya had debated Madhvacharya for fifteen days,and finally had become an ardent worshipper of Madhvacharya. Sri Raghavendra,then visited Subramanya and then Udupi,where he started giving discourse on Sarvamula Granta. He wrote a gloss for the Vyasaraya Tattparya Chandrika, called Chandrika Prakasha. Seeing his students struggle to understand this tough text, he wrote the meanings of the Sutras, called Tantradipika and the meanings of adhikAranas, known as Nyayamukthavali. At Udupi, he sang his famous "Indu Enage Govinda" song upon seeing Udupi Sri Krishna.
At Bidarahalli he met Srinivasacharya who was a unique householder. The glosses that he had written were already well known. Sri Raghavendra examined his works and was filled with admiration for Srinivasacharya, who, though being a householder,dedicated himself completely to the spreading of knowledge and learning. Raghavendra Swami bestowed upon him the name Srinivasa Tirtha, as a mark of his high learning.
After leaving Bidarahalli, he went to Pandarapur, Kohlapur, & Bijapur defeating Mayavadins, spreading Tattvavada philosophy, and giving Taptamudhradaran, thus initiating them into Vaishnavism. While residing on the banks of river Krishna, he wrote a tippani for Tattva Prakashika called Bhavadipa. He wrote a direct commentary on Anubhashya, called Tattva Manjari
At Malkhed he celebrated the Suddha Mangala of his teachings and discourses. Malkhed is situated on the Kagini River and is the place of Sri Jayatirtha's Brindavan. Raghavendra Swami explained that, just the way Kagini River joins Bhima river, then Krishna River, and finally the ocean, Sri Jayathirtha's work explains Bhashya of Sri Madhvacharya, who in turn tells us of Lord Krishna, who is an ocean of auspicious qualities.
Raghavendra Swami undertook extensive tours, under so many odds, visiting Tirupati, Srisailam, Kumbakonam, and Kanchi. He neither stopped teaching his devotees nor did he stop writing books. He took a vow to write Tippanis for all the Tikas of Sri Jayathirtha. When he had completed tippanis for 17 of the 18 Tikas of Sri Jayatirtha, Lakshminarayanacharya, his son, shows him his work on Rig Bhashya, written along Raghavendra Swami's line of teaching. This great saint felt that his disciple's teaching should be shown to the rest of the world, so instead of writing a Tippani, he wrote a Rigartha Manjari, a vivritti, which gives the meaning of the first 40 suktas. He wrote Mantroddhara, which gives details of all mantras according to Tantrasara.. By understanding the mantras according to Tantrasara, it is possible to perform many impossible tasks, through the grace of Sri Hari, by leading an austere life.
During his pilgrimages, Raghavendra Swami not only covered a vast area geographically in the days when road conditions were poor and travel was arduous, but also wrote several works covering a vast area of the Tattvavada philosophy. He convincingly defeated many Advaitin pandits, through the grace of bhArati ramaNa mukhyaprANAntargata srIlaxmInArAyaNa.
Although Raghavendra Swami performed various miracles, the most significant miracle lies in the vast literature he left behind & his contribution to the philosophy of Sri Madhvacharya. He wrote extensive commentaries on the upanishads, bhagavad gIta, vedAs, as well as several granthas that Madhvacharya wrote.
The Tanjavore district was under a great drought at that time. Raghavendra Swami made the ruler perform appropriate rituals and ceremonies. Soon afterwards, rain once again fell upon the lands. The king, to show his gratitude offered Raghavendra Swami a priceless necklace, which Raghavendra Swami in turn put into the Yajna as an offering to Lord Vishnu, who had really brought the region out of the drought. The king grew angry at what he thought was an insult. Raghavendra Swami immediately brought back the necklace from the fire. The king, realizing that for one who renounced the world a necklace meant nothing, asked for Raghavendra Swami's forgiveness.
Raghavendra Swami visited Bijapur, where the scorching heat was unbearable. One brahmin was overcome by the heat and fell down, unable to get up. Raghavendra Swami recited a mantra, and water sprung up from the scorching sands, which saved the Brahmin's life. In another instance, a child was traveling with an entourage, through a desert. The heat was so unbearable that the child started to cry. Raghavendra Swami threw his upper cloth towards the child. Flying through the air, it gave shade to the child for the rest of the journey
At that time there was a Desai who had no faith in God or the Vedas. He would challenge scholars to make a twig sprout, using Vedic mantras. No one was able to do this. So then the people called Raghavendra Swami to prove to the Desai the power of the Vedas. He sprinkled some water on the twig while reciting a Vedic mantra. Right before the Desai's eyes, the twig began to sprout. This incident instilled deep faith in the hearts of many scholars who were present. They had heard that Raghavendra Swami, in his earlier days, had made the cool sandalwood paste burn, by reciting the Agni Sukta, then made it cool again by reciting Varuna Sukta. After witnessing the twig sprout with their own eyes, they believed that such miracles were possible through the grace of the Lord. The Desai, himself, who used to scoff the Vedas, became a true believer in God and upheld the Vedas, with Raghavendra Swami as his guiding light.
Raghavendra Swami, while performing miracles clearly stated that what he did was not magic or sorcery or witchcraft. It was not Patanjali's yoga, but the yoga of the Bhagavad Gita. The aim of his miracles was to remove the suffering of those who seek refuge in him and thus draw them towards God and religion.
Works WRITTEN by Sri Raghavendra Tiirtha
Here are the works available for downloading dasha prakaraNa-s (6): Commentaries on six of the ten PrakaraNa-granthas of Madhva Suutra-Prasthaana -- works on the brahma-sUtra
nyAyamuktAvaLii (Brief exposition of the adhikaraNashariiras of the Brahma-Sutra) tantradiipikaa (A vrtti on the Sutras) bhaavadiipa (Exposition upon the commentary of Sri Jayatiirtha upon the viShNu-tattva-vinirNaya) prakaaSha (Commentary on the taatparya chandrikaa of Vyaasa Tiirtha) tattvamanjari (Exposition of the aNubhaashya) (*) nyaayasudhaa-parimaLa (Commentary on nyaayasudhaa of Jayatiirtha) (*) (*) -- These may have been written before he was given sanyaasa-diiksha.
Rg and upanishad prasthaana-s
mantraarthamanjari (Commentary on the first three adhyaayas of the Rg Veda (the same portion as touched upon by Madhva) khandaartha-s (lucid expositions) on nine out of the ten upanishad-s commented upon by Madhva -- all except aitareya Up.) gItA prasthaana
Commentary on the prameyadiipikA (itself a commentary on Madhva's gItA-bhAshhya) Commentary on the nyaayadiipikA (itself a commentary on Madhva's gItA-taatparya nirNaya) gItaarthasangraha or gItA-VivR^itti (Original work on the Gita) gItaarthamanjari (Not widely extant, but attrib.) Other works
Commentary on pramaaNa paddhati of Jayatiirtha bhaavadiipa (Commentary on vaadaavaLii of Jayatiirtha) nyaayadiipa (Commentary on tarkataanDava of Vyasa Tiirtha) bhaaTTasangraha (Commentary on the entire miimAmsa suutra-s of Jaimini) shrI rAmacaritramaN^jari shrI kR^iShNacaritramaN^jari prAta.h sankalpa gadya sarvasamarpaNagadyam nandiitAratamyastotra tarkatAnDava tippaNI dhhyAnapadhdhhati gUDdhaBhAvaprakAshikA (vyaKhyana to 'aNumaDhvavijaya') Miscellaneous works
Detailed commentary on the Rg Veda (not widely extant, but attrib.) Commentary on the yajur veda Commentary on the saama Veda Short gloss on the purusha-suukta Short gloss on the ambhraNii-Suukta Short gloss on gharma Short gloss on the baLitthA -suukta Short gloss on hiraNyagarbha-suukta
Directions to get to Mantralaya Brindavan and general info about Seva times, etc.
Sri Raghavendra Swami Moola Brindavan
The original Raghavendra Swami Brindavan is located in Mantralaya, which is in Western Andhra Pradesh, in the district of Kurnool. Routes from Hyderabad, Bangalore, Raichur, and Bellary, are shown on the map. It is possible to get there by rental van, bus, or train. The colloquial name for the place, Maanchale, has been sanskritized into Mantralaya. Under the grace of Sri Raghavendra, Mantralaya has become a pilgrimage center, where devotees flock to view a glimpse of the Brindavan of this great saint.
The following information was believed correct at the time of writing, but is not guaranteed to be accurate. Verify, and use at your own risk. We regret that we do not have more information, and cannot provide any assistance in planning your trip.
Buses Many South Indian cities are connected to Mantralaya by bus--Bangalore, Tirupati, Mangalore, Madras, Hyderabad, Bellary and Mysore. The most convenient bus from Bangalore leaves at 9:15 pm & reaches Mantralaya at 6 am, the next day. The conducted tours from Hyderabad are typically 7 hours long (one way), leaving every Saturday at 9.30 am and returning on Sunday at 9.00pm. They usually cover the Brindavan as well as the Raghavendra Swamy Temple.
Train The nearest Railway station is MANTRALAYAM ROAD, which is about 12KM from Mantralaya. Most of the trains stop here except for the super fast trains. From Bombay convenient trains are Dadar Madras Mail, which leaves Dadar at about 2PM & reaching Mantralaya Road at about 4AM next day, and Bombay Mail. After reaching Mantralayam Road, a bus or rental van can be taken to Mantralaya (about a 1 hr ride).
Address of the Mantralaya Temple Sri Raghavendra Swamy Matha Mantralayam 518 345 Kurnool Dist Andhra Pradesh, India. The Administrative Officer to contact is Mr. Rama Rao. Telephone number: 59429 and 59459. STD code: 8512
If calling from the US, dial 011-91-8512-59429 or 59459
Detailed picture of the Brindavan in Mantralaya
The padukas are those actually worn by Sri Raghavendra Swami. The Vigraha at the top is Moola Rama Vigraha.
Sri Vysaraja was the son of Ballana Sumati also called Ramacharys and Lakshmidevi, a brahmin couple of Bannur near 9 kms from Mysore city.They were great devotees. They had no issues for a long time. They were praying to God for progency. It is in this place and environment that Sri Vysaraja who is believed to be an avatar of Prahlada was born. (1447 AD) This brought a sense of fulfilment to the aged couples through the grace of saint Brahmanyathirtha of Abbur near Channapatna town. The saint took a promise, as usual in many cases that the boy should be given to the mutt. The boy was named Ethiraja and brought up by parents. After performing upanayana, he was sent to the mutt for higher education. After four years he returned home and later learnt kavya,nataka, vykarana. Then the sage Brahmanayathirtha sent for the boy ,as agreed. Though the parents were reluctant to part with the boy, they had to submit themselves to the promise and the boy was left under the custody of the saint who treated him with greater affection than the parents. The saint was impressed by the wide range of the boy’s intellect, his great eloquence, his graceful form and his commanding personality. He gave him sanyasahram with the name Sri Vyasa Thirtha.
Sri Vyasathirtha then undertook a tour of India . At Kanchi his extraordinary learning evoked profound admiration of the pandits there . There were jealous pandits also, who tried to poison him. But by divine grace was unhurt. He proceeded to Mulabagal, then a centre of learning. Sri Sripadaraj welcomed this young yati. Sri Vyasathirtha learnt all the secrets of vedantic lore. Sri Sripadaraja found in him extraordinary merit and said:
He was sent to the court of Saluva Narasimha of Chandragiri. He performed pooja for lord Srinivasa at Tirumala hills,for 12 years. Later he went to the court of Vijayanagar. Sri Krishnadevaraya was the king who looked upon him as his kulaguru and was always ready to carry out his wishes. It was not the power, but he was all the time making profuse benefactions in the cause of learning and for the maintenance of Dharma. He was founding Agraharams to foster learning and Dharma.
When he was made kulaguru, it created a feeling of great jealosy. Learned men from different parts of India came and disputed the position. Sri Vyasaraj easily vanquished his opponents. His elequence was a spiritual and intellectual treat. He strengthened and adorned the Madwa school of thought and brought it in to the highest pinnacle of temporal recognition.
After the victorious battle at Raichur by Krishnadevaraya, he conducted a Durbar in which he seated Sri Vyasaraja on a seat of GOLD when men of learning and warriors prostrated themselves before Sri Vyasaraja. He performed Ratnabhisheka with all precious stones. Sri Vyasaraja did not take any of them .They were distributed to the men of learning, warriors, and even mussalman chiefs who were serving the king. Vyasa samudra was built at Kandakur near Madanapalli village
Sri Vyasaraja averted the danger to Krishnadevaraya from KUHUYOGA. An inauspicious combination of planets- by himself sitting on the throne during that time and overcoming it with his Tapashakti.
He lived for a glorious life of 93 years full of extraordinary achievements. Sri Vyasaraja left this world on Saturday the 8th Mrach 1539 (Vilambi Nama samvatsara Phalguna bahula Chathurthi).
Sri Vyasaraja was born to further the work of elucidating the divine and subtle doctrines of Dwaita philosophy propounded by the great Sri Madhwacharya and commented upon by Sri Jayatheertha. In his three great works known as VYASATRAYA, viz., Nyayavali, Tatparya chandrika, and Tarka Tandava, he has besides giving his own original teachings , given his explanations and commentaries very clearly on the original texts of Sri Madhwacharya and the teekas of Sri Jayathirtha. Hence he is included among the three original thinkers. You will remember that every Madhwa , sitting before the food that is served,before taking the Aposhana, utter the slokas on Sri Madwar first, next Sri Jayathirthar and thirdly Sri Vysarajar.
He has condensed in a nutshell the important prameyas contained in the 37 works of Sri Madhwar in a single stanza. This was an answer to a question by a pandit at Kanchi asking to tell about the imporatnce of Madhwa siddhanta in a nutshell.
Thus his works are still a living fount of thought and inspiration to all students af Dwaitha-nay of Indian Philosophy. He composed in Kannada many Keerthanas, Suladhis and Ugabhogas,. In these also, he has expounded the highest philosophical truth in easy language. His songs contain beautiful description of Sri Krishna Leela, Krishanee Begane Baro, in raga Yamanakalyani is a rare masterpiece sung in every house.
Sri Vysaraja toured all over India,and established that Dwaita Siddhanta was the right and faultless Siddhanta. Pakshadharamisra, of Kashi who accepted his defeat respectfully admiring the wide learning and loigical arguments by Sri Vyasarajar presented the Pachhe Linga which is worshipped on Mahashivartri day even now at Kundapura Vysaraya Mutt. It is in recognition of this triumphal march that Sri Purandaradasar has said.,
Esu munigalu Iddu Yenu madidaru/ Vyasamuni Madhwa matavanu Uddharisida/
Sri Vyasaraja was the chancellor of the Imperial University of the Vijayanagar Empire. He sat on the Saraswathi peeta. He was the Guru of a distingushed galaxy of shishyas, Sri Vijayendra, Sri Purandaradasa, Sri Kanakadasa and so on. These sishyas kept the light of Indian philosophical thought shining with all brightness for a long time and even after their guru had left this world.
He went on trumpeting the fundamental philosophical truth of HARISARVOTAMATWA. His unfailing conviction and fervor about this knew no bounds, so much so that he throws a challenge
Ukkuva Tuppakke kai Ikkuve/ Chakaradhara paramatmanobbanalldillavendu//
Is this not an echo of Sri Madhwar’s call in the Sri Dwadasha Stotra?
When Hindu India appeared to be crumb, bluing down, Sri Madhawacharya fought the doctrine of illusion, raised the value of the individual, and gave an impetus to the ideals of faith and hope and progress, He was followed by Sri Jayathirtharu and Sri Vyasarajaru. It was Sri Vyasaraja’s insistence of the reality of the world that gave new life, as it were, to the world. He was no mere doctrinaire. His intelligence was as high as his love and Bhakti were deep. Sri Vyasaraja was the greatest man of his age, in scholarship and renunciation and was the embodiment of Hindu Dharma. Here is the encomium by Sri Srpadarajar on Sri Vyasaraja:
Januma Janumadalli Kodukandya hariye/Animatta Bandhu Sri KRISHNA dayadinda yenage//
This is the boon for which everyone of us should pray.
The two outstanding personalities among Vaishnav pontiffs. Sri VADIRAJA and Sri VYASARAJA passed away , in the Phalguna Bahula, on two consecutive days, i.e. on Trtiya and Chaturthi of different samvatsara , respectively
Sri Vysaraja’s brindavanam is at Nava Vrindavan , in a small island near Bellary washed away by the Tungabhadra river, who left his mortal body on 8-3-1539.
His Aradhana falls on Tuesday the 17th March 1998
We pay our humble respect to him on this day and may Sri Vyasarajar bless all Haribhaktas!