Bhatta a Vedic scholar and a student of the pontifical head-
Surendra Theertha, the learned man and a great Guru. Lord Sri
Venkatesh at Tirupathi happened to be their family deity. In 1595
AD Gopikamba gave birth to a divine son, who was to become the
future Guru Raghavendra. Baby's father thimmannacharya's joy was of
no bounds. He offered thanks to God. He named the boy "Venkathanatha
(Venkanna)" in gratitude to Lord Venketeshwara by whose blessings;
this brilliant child had been born to him.
Thimmana Bhatta was
lucky man. He had a devoted wife, daughter, cultured son-in-law and
two sons one is the incarnation of the great Prahalad. Thimmana
Bhatta, got his son (Gururaj) married and he along with his wife and
Venkathanatha accepted the invitation of Sri Sudhendra Theertha to
stay in the matt. Sri Sudhendra Theertha was pleased with the
sincere devotion and cleverness of Venkanna. He said to himself that
he is going to be great person in life and congratulated Thimmana
for having gifted with such a son.
Days rolled on,
Venkathanatha grew up and went to live with Guru Sudheendra theertha
at Kumbakonam. Venkanna had finished the study of Amara Kosha.
Venkathanatha daily gave himself to constant meditation of god. His
behavior had also changed. He also wished to perform the worship of
god with all the paraphernalia as the swami did in the matt and he
was devoted to Mula Rama (The Moola Rama and Sita idols where
believed to be of the incarnation of Lakshmi and Vishnu due to
meditation of Bramha. These idols where latter worshipped many sages
and also worshiped by Hanuman, Bhimasena and also Madhava). He came
to know the story of Madhava and believed in the uncommon efficacy
of the idol.
married to Saraswathi Bai. For some time, Venkanna was happy living
in the village with his wife, but found himself in a financial
stringency at a latter stage in life. Venkanna after his marriage
had two-fold anxiety. He has to pull on and also take care of his
beloved wife. He had an ambition to become an extraordinary learned
man quite well versed in Vedas and was very eager to popularize the
teachings of Madhava. He keenly meditated himself on god but was
mercilessly nipped by the killing cares and worries of life of
poverty. Days and months rolled on. He thought of going to his
brother-in-law's house, but found his wife to be a heavy burden and
therefore left the idea.
Saraswathi Bai was
a beloved wife of Venkanna Bhatta and was totally devoted to him and
knew his likes and dislikes. She thanked god of giving her such a
wonderful husband and she had all eyes to see the needs of her
husband and cater to them. Both of them were highly sensitive.
Venkathanatha was suffering from the painful poverty and Saraswathi
soon conceived and gave birth to a child and the child was called
Lakshminarayana. Poverty life continued and baby boy starved too.
Saraswathi got an
idea, she told him to meet his Guru and take his refuge. They went
to Kumbakonam. Venkathanatha and his family were welcomed in the
mutt at Kumbakonam. Venkathanatha mastered all lessons at the Mutt.
Swamiji took him to the debates against Adwaita school of philosophy
at various King's courts (Chola, Pandian etc.). Venkathanatha began
to write commentary in all three Vedas following Acharya's Rig
Bhasaya, which was his ambition. But the circumstances did not favor
his fulfillment. Venkathanatha was the apple of Shri Sudheendra
Swami's eye. He was thought quite well worthy to succeed the Swamiji,
who was waiting for an opportunity to tell his disciple of his
intentions. Just by the time a disciple named Yadavendra sought the
blessings of Swamiji, as he was disgusted in worldly life. Swamiji
named him "Yadavendra Theerta " and he started on the religious
Swami was a genius of extraordinary and a soul of high spiritual
efficacy. One day, he dreamt that Shri Mula Rama ordered that
Venkathanatha alone could fit to rule the Mutt. One day he called
Venkathanatha and after preliminary discussion of worldly interest,
Swamiji began to reveal his intentions. Swamiji started with telling
Venkathanatha that god was pleased with him and he deserves a post
as the head of the Mutt. Venkathanatha could not understand the
intentions of Swamiji and requested Swamiji to be clear of his
intentions. Swamiji began to explain that there are many boats to
ferry us across the ocean. But to all these our blessings are the
sails which move the boats with great force and speed. Now why tarry
on the shore? What fear is there to cross the Ocean? Venkathanatha
could not understand. Shree Sudheendra Theertha knew that
Venkathanatha loved his wife. When he explained clearly of his
intentions, Venkathanatha expressed his inability and for
renunciation, detachment was essential. So Venkathanatha explained
about his wife, son and his shoulders were still young to take up
the administration and responsibility of the mutt. So he was not
inclined to take holy orders and take up Sanyasa. But was ready to
submit himself to the mutt and Swamiji.
Time came now for
Venkathanatha to succeed his Guru as the next Swamiji of the Mutt.
Venkathanatha had a blessing of Sharada Devi, the goddess of
Learning and that led him to realization of self and he narrated his
experience of Sharada Devi to Swamiji and decided to do Upanayana to
his son and accept sanyasa. He took sanyasa and Guru named him guru
Raghavendra theertha. Saraswathi was shocked to hear the news and
she fell into the well. She came as a ghost in front of Guru guru
Raghavendra. He sprinkled holy water on the ghost and it attained
Moksha by purification.
Raghavendra was great in every respect. He was siddha Purusha (God
realized person). He started performing miracles, Blind got their
eyesight, Deaf could hear. As the time approached for Swamij and he
was 78 years old. It was Thursday, the full moon, He announced to
all his disciples that he went by the orders of Shri Hari and he
decided to leave this world.
Devotees from all
over the world came to see him as the news spread. On the second
morning of Shravana, finished his morning religious rites and called
all his devotees and said. This is our last day. Don’t’ be grieved.
It is the order of Shri Hari that we should stay in this world to
safeguard the interests of our faith. But we cannot stay bodily
outside beyond a limit a certain limit as that would be against the
rules of the present age. There fore we are going to enter
Brindavana bodily. To the last be faithful and be loyal to your God
and religion. May God Bless you with all the things good. Thus he
It was now mid-day.
He distributed the theerta and blessed everyone. He called Venkanna
Diwan and a prime devotee and gave him a parting message."Venkanna-I
am going to enter the Brindavana in an yogic posture and continue to
do Japa (prayer) with a Tulasi Mala (Japa Mala/Chain of Holy beads)
in the hand. When I stop the prayer place the 1200 Lakshminarayana
Saligramas (Holy Stones) in a bronze container and Mrutike (Holy
Sand) on my head and close it with a lid and then place some
sand/mud. Venkanna was also entrusted by the Guru to build his
Brindavan at Manchala (now Mantralaya). Swamiji asked Venkanna to
put a stone on which Lord Rama had sat during thretha yuga as the
base. Nawab Sidhi Masudh Khan of Adoni granted Manchala village to
In the afternoon,
when the time was auspicious, Swamiji sat in a Yogic posture and
started prayers. The Brahmins were reciting Vedas and Shastras.
Venkanna and others were supervising the activities. All eyes shed
tears of joy and grief simultaneously. As per the Swamiji
instructions the stones were placed above his head as he sat in
yogic posture. Thus Swamiji entered the Brindhavan bodily. As per
Swamiji’s advice that very day was observed as Maha Samardhana Day.
He was to live in atma form in the Brindavan for next 700 years to
come. In the Year 1671 AD, Guru Raghavendra named Yogeendra as his
successor and entered the Brindavan. After Swamiji entered, his
disciple Appanacharya sang the praise of his Guru and seeing the
Guru's Brindavan, He could not speak, the last verse of the song was
completed by Guru in the Brindavan. Still Guru Raghavendra continues
to bless people who think of him in their troubles and happiness.
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Vijayeendra Teertharu & Shri Raghavendra Swamy