Posted by: raju0704 | December 21, 2008

Visit to Mantralaya Moola Brindhavan

Visit to Sri Raghavendhra Swami’s Moola Brindhavan at Mantralaya

Our Mantralaya trip was part of our Hampi, Nava Brindhavan, Mantralaya and Srisailam (in the order we have visited) trip and this is the last posting of that trip.

It is the place where the great Madhwa saint Sri Raghavendhra Swami (1595-1671) went into Jeeva Samadhi pre-planned in front of a huge crowd of devotees in the year 1671.  He is believed to live in the Jeeva Samadhi for 700 years. Sri Raghavendhra Swami advocated Vaishnavism and the Dvaita philosophy advocated by Madhvacharya.

Location

It is located in the Kurnool district of Andhra in the Karnataka-Andhra border. It is about 600 Km from Chennai and is easily accessible by train through the Chennai-Mumbai line. It takes about 10 hrs of journey in the Mumbai express via Renigunta-Cuddapah-Guntakkal-Adoni.

The Wikipedia link to Mantralaya is here.

Our Trip

After the Nava Brindhavan/ Hampi visit, we boarded the Haripriya express train at Hospet at 10 PM and reached the ‘Manthralaya road’ station by 4AM (this is not the route while coming from Chennai). During that early hour, there were plenty of share autos waiting outside the station. Mantralaya is around 16 kms from the station. At Rs 140 for 7 people for about 45 minutes of travel, you can’t compare that with the city auto fare here.

Accommodation

We took the room at Pankaja Paradise next to the Brindhavana entrance which was reserved through a friend. There are plenty of guest houses built by many charitable organizations but it looks like the internet reservation is not possible and you have to book the cottage after coming to Mantralaya only. But the local Raghavendhra mutts are also helping, it seems. So I recommend contacting your respective local mutt before the trip. The Raghavendhra mutt near Triplicane Parthasarathy Temple does it for booking on normal (non-festival) days. Though the private lodging we took was new and comfortable the cottages of the temple would have been the best.

Dharshan

Since our lodging was next door to the Moola Brindhavan, Raghavendhra Subrabath was emanating at 6AM from the temple which was wonderful to start the day. By 8AM, we got ready and started. There is about 100 meters of nice and clean straight pathway to the Brindhavan entrance which adds beauty to the environment. Brindhavan is just on the bank of the Tungabadra river. It was a wonderful atmosphere with the river, the shops, the long path leading to the Brindhavan and the front open space – all provides a wonderful ambiance of a pilgrimage place.

Inner Entrance Entrance IMG_3644 Thungabadra IMG_3638

Unlike Cauvery, Tungabadra is flowing on a rocky surface both here and Nava Brindhavan. Lot of pilgrims were taking bath in the Tungabadra and we too.

The Mantralaya place was previously called Manchala and Sri Raghavendra got this village through the blessings of the village deity Manchallamma. The shrine of Manchalamma is in front and the pilgrims are supposed to worship the amman first before entering the Brindhavan. Since it was a normal working day, the crowd was not huge and it took about 20 minutes in the queue to have the dharshan of Moola Brindhavan. It was a very quiet and peaceful dharshan.

The priest enquired about us and suggested to take the Mithrika (holy sand) which was being sold within the praharam. The Mithrika Brindhavans all over the world are built with the mithrika from Moola Brindhavan only. The holy sand from Moola Brindhavan is considered highly sacred and cures all our ailments and keeps the evil forces away. Don’t miss to buy this during your visit.

Some unexplainable peace and pleasure was there inside the Brindhavan and it could very well be the experience for anybody visiting the place.

After the dharshan, we finished our breakfast and took little rest. We then returned to the Brindhavan for a pooja to the Moola Ramar idol in a mandapam in the praharam. The pooja took about 45 minutes and after the harathi, we went to the dining hall for the free lunch.

There are many dining halls and the one which we went was a new, huge and clean dining hall donated by Infosys chairman Narayana Moorthy and Sudha Moorthy. Outside the hall, we were puzzled by many kids selling the plastic water cups. We didn’t buy since we had water bottles. Only later, we came to know that it is a practice that Madhwas will not give water themselves when you visit their places. You have to go and take it! I don’t know what the legend behind this is. The flooring and seating of the dining hall are of granite, being cleaned by floor cleaning machines. A large quantity of rice was being put in the first time itself and we thought it is for all – sambar, rasam and buttermilk but after finishing the sambar, we were told that separate curd rice is coming. I was little uncomfortable since wasting food at a sacred place like this is the last thing one would like to do.

IMG_3648 IMG_3651 IMG_3649 IMG_3645

Note: It should be appropriate here to give an account of dining at the Art of Living Ashram at Bangalore. Here also people in thousands take food on a normal day when Guruji Sri Sri Ravishankar is present in the Ashram. Some of the nice things there are:
a) there are only about 5 kitchen employees totally and the rest are all managed by the floating volunteers.
b) anybody visiting the ashram can do the kitchen sevas, if they wish. It is a sight to watch some top corporate executive doing vegetable peeling at one end, another big shot washing utensils etc., – an act which people (including me) might not have done/ will not do even at their homes.
c) The food is being served as self-service and the slogan “Take what you like – Eat what you take” sends out the clear message.
d) After eating, people have to wash their own plates and
e) most importantly not a single grain of rice will be wasted – remember I am talking about meals for thousands!

Sevas at Mantralaya and Sankalpa Seva

There are many sevas in the Mantralaya one can do and the Sankalpa Seva is the most popular among them. For some specific prayer/ wish, you can take a vow (sankalpa) for 1, 3, 5, 7, 21, 47 days at Manthralaya or any of the Mithrika Brindhavans around the world or at home itself. At Manthralaya, you have to take a ticket at the office the previous day evening and you have to be present before 6 AM very strictly, on the first day of sankalpa. During those days, you have to bath both in the morning and evening. You have to take 24 or 48 rounds of pradhikshana around the brindhavan. You have to take rice only during lunch and take only milk/fruits in the nights. The next day after the seva, you have to give ‘hasthothagam’ (offering food to Brahmins). If you take Sankalpa seva at Manthralya, the hasthothagam will be done for you as part of the seva itself. Clear details on this sankala seva are given at the end of this posting in a separate section. At the end of the Sankalpa, i.e., after the prescribed no of days, it is believed that a solution will be shown to you either through a dream or by some other means.

Aradhana at Mantralaya is very popular and numerous devotees come to Mantralaya at the time of Aradhana in the month of August.

While leaving the world..

In the year 1671, when Sri Raghavendhra decided to leave the world, he asked his devotees to construct a ‘Brindavan’ around and over him. In front of hundreds of devotees, he delivered his last speech and some excerpts from that:

  • Without right living, right thinking will never come. Right living is performing one’s ordained duties according to one’s station in life without hankering after the fruits of the actions and on the other hand offering all one’s activities to the Lord. This is real sadachara (right living). This is real karma yoga.”
  • “Social work done for the good of worthy people should also be considered as the Lord’s worship. In short, our life itself is a worship. Every action is a pooja. This life is precious. Every second of our life is precious. Not even a second that has gone will come back. Listening to the right shastras and always remembering Him is the highest duty.”
  • Always keep away from people who merely perform miracleswithout following the shastras and yet call themselves God or guru. I have performed miracles, and so have great persons like Srimadacharya. These are based on yoga siddhi and the shastras. There is no fraud or trickery at all. These miracles were performed only to show the greatness of God and the wonderful powers that one can attain with His grace. Right knowledge (jnana) is greater than any miracle. Without this no real miracle can take place. Any miracle performed without this right knowledge is only sorcery. No good will come to those who perform such miracles and also those who believe in them.”
  • Have devotion to the Lord. This devotion should never be blind faith. Accepting the Lord’s supremacy wholeheartedly is true devotion. Blind faith is not devotion. It is only stupidity. We should have devotion, not only for the Lord, but also for all other deities and preceptors in keeping with their status.”
  • Dharma should prevail in the world. Though it is possible for me to carry this physical body for more years, to obey the dharma, I am entering Brindhavan. I will be alive in the Brindhavan for 700 years more to take care of you and as a mark of it, 700 Brindhavans will appear throughout the world”.

He sat there playing the veena (he was a veena expert and was called veena venkatanathan during his gurukul) and singing the Kannada hymn ‘Indu enege Shri Govindha’ in raga Bhairavi invoking Lord Krishna to dance before him. It was an atmosphere of people not realizing in which world they were. After this Sri Raghavendra began reciting the pranava mantra and slipped into deep samadhi. At one stage the japamala in his hand became still. His disciples who understood this sign started arranging the slabs around him. They arranged the slabs up to his head and then, as per his earlier instructions, placed a copper box containing 1200 Lakshminarayana saligramas that had been specially brought from Gandaki river. Then they placed the covering slab over it and filled it with earth. They poured twelve thousand varahas (abhisheka) over the brindavan that they had built.

Some aspects of Sri Raghavendra’s Life

  • Sri Raghavendhra is considered by his devotees to be a reincarnation of Prahlada, the devotee who was saved by Vishnu in His Narasimha avatar. In his next birth he was Vyasaraja, the rajaguru of Vijayanagara empire and in his next birth was Guru Raghavendhra.
  • The place of Moola Brindhavan was selected by him because he conducted yagna at the very same place when he was Prahalatha.
  • Sri Raghavendhra got the boon from the Panchamukhi Anjaneyar for remaining on earth in non physical form for 700 years in his Brindhavan to bless people. 350 years have already gone and so we have another 350 years after which he is expected to merge with God. Even today it is said that the sound of Raghavendhra going for bath at the Tungabadra in the early morning hours and doing pooja for Moola Ramar is heard, especially in the month of Danur (Margazhi).
  • While going through Sri Raghavendhra’s life, it was interesting to know that he is more connected to Tamilnadu than to Karnataka:
    • He was born in 1601 in Bhuvanagiri near Chidambaram.
    • He studied under his guru Suseendhra Theerthar at Kumbakonam mutt and after marriage, he returned to the mutt and headed it.
    • Venkatanathan became Sri Raghavendhra, i.e., he got his Sanyasam at Tanjore in the year 1623-24 and stayed at Tanjore for 12 years.

Bikshalaya

After the heavy lunch, we then started for Bikshalaya and Panchamukhi in a share auto from the dining hall itself. First we went to Bikshalaya which is about 20 kms from Mantralaya that took about 45 minutes. This is the place of Sri Appanacharya, the prime sishya of Sri Raghavendhra. Sri Raghavendhra stayed here with Appanacharya for about 13 years and the house where Sri Raghavendhra stayed is still there nearby (we couldn’t  visit). Bikshalaya is a garden place just on the bank of Tungabadra with plenty of big trees. A fantastic and serene atmosphere indeed.

Tungabadra2 Tungabadra1

When we went, a Swamiji from Sri Appanacharya’s generation who is managing the affairs of Bichali now, just came out from his room and it was an exact coincidence of us entering the place and his just coming out from his ‘kudil’. He said, “Go, see all the places and come back – I will explain you in details”. When we came back after seeing all the places, he started explaining about the place and its connection to Sri Raghavendhra and Sri Appanacharya. After a few minutes, he just closed his eyes and talked for about 20 minutes. I can say that he didn’t talk, words streamed from inside without any break/ disturbance like the adjacent Tundabadra river in a fluent high standard English. Initially, it was only our group listening but by the time he finished, it was a group of around 30 around us. What a flow of words!

Swamiji

Unfortunately, our auto driver was complaining that we were taking too long and so we had to rush through, though we wanted to spend little more there.

Information Board Sri Devi and Bhoodevi with Sri Narasimhar Snake Gods protcting the Bikshala

Note: This is a place not to be missed when you visit Manthralaya, Also, this has to be visited without any hurry. Take bath at the Tungabadra, visit the house of Sri Appanacharya also, enjoy the ambiance and relax totally.

  • Ek Shila Brindhavana of Sri Raghavendhra is present here as per the wish of Sri Raghavendhra himself. This is without any roof and is the only Brindhavan in the world open to the Mother Nature (naturally, no one would like to be locked in a room in this beautiful atmosphere). It is said that Sri Raghavendhra appears every night here in the form of light. This Brindavana is on top of the Japadakatte(platform) where Sri Raghavendhra and Sri Appanacharya used to sit and discuss.

Ek Shila Brindhavana 1 Ek Shila Brindhavana 2

  • The idol of Sri Ugra Narasimhar installed by Sri PadaRajar, the Guru of Sri Vysa Rajar who is the previous birth of Sri Raghavendrar.

Sri Ugra Narasimhar 1 Sri Ugra Narasimhar

  • Lord Hanuman installed by Sri VyasaRajar. Sri VyasaRajar used to take the ash from the Homa and draw the sketch of Hanuman on the rock. After a while the sketch used to become the real Hanuman carving.

Lord Hanuman installed by Sri Vyasa Rajar

  • The grinding stone which was being used by Sri Appanacharya to grind dal for the Naivedhya to Sri Ramar and also Dal Chatni to Sri Raghavendhra which was liked very much by him.

Grinder used by Sri Appanacharya

  • Appanacharya, a great scholar, though well off with three hundred acres of rich fertile land, was having a Gurukula with large no of sishyas from all parts of the country, on the sacred bank of Tungabhadra under the Ashwath Vruksha. The Gurukula was nothing but an open university amidst the abundant mother nature’s gift. He used to bake rice without the help of fire. The washed rice in the sacred Tungabhadra water will be tied in a big cloth and hung up to the branch of the Ashwath Vruksha and he will start teaching under the Shadow for 2-3 hours. After that Appanacharya praying Sri Annapurneshwari will do Prokshana and by that time, the rice would have been baked properly, ready for meals.
  • The Holy Madhwarayara Gundu and Sannyasikatti where Sri Raghavendhra used to sit, meditate and ponder the rich philosophy of Sri Anandateertharu and chat with Bichali Sri Appanacharya are in the sacred flow of Tungabhadra like an island today and mark the glory of the past.

Raghavendhra Sthothram

When Sri Raghavendhra decided about his Brindhavana in the year 1671, he purposely sent Appanacharya away from Mantralaya because he knew Appanacharya could not bear that very moment. But the news of Raghavendhra’s Brindavana spread like a wild fire and on hearing the shocking news, Appanacharya rushed to Bichali. He had to cross Tungabadra but the river was in full spate. But he didn’t care and remembering his Guru, crying and weeping, Appanacharya started crossing the Tungabhadra reciting the Gurustotra that starts with “Sri poorna bodha guru theertha pyopthi para…. “. Appanacharya’s devotion, faith, firmness made Tungamma to pave the way for him. But by the time Appanacharya reached Mantralaya the last slab was already placed and he could not see his Dear Guru. Tears gushed out from his eyes and his voice choked. The stotra had reached its final stanza but he could not utter any word while crying and weeping beyond:

YoBhaktya Guru Raghavendra Charana Dwandam Smaran YahaPathet
Stotram Divya Midam Sada Nahibhavetassya Asukham Kinchana
Kimtvishtartha Samruddhireva KamalaNatha Prasadodayaat
Keerti Digvidita Vibhutiratula (stopped)…        (Verse 31)

Then Sri Raghavendra completed the stotra with “SAAKSHIHAYASTOTRAHI” from inside the Brindavana itself.

More on Bikshalaya here…

Panchamuki Anjaneyar Temple

Sri Raghavendhra was an ardent devotee of Sri Moola Rama and Sri Panchamukha Anjaneya. He performed penance here for 12 years and got the dharshan of Hanuman in the form of Sri Panchamukha Anjaneya, an incarnation of Lord Hanuman, amalgamating within him the avatars of Varaha, Garuda, Anjaneya, Narasimha and Hayagreeva. The anjaneya is a swayambu inscription on the rocky cave.

Temple Entrance 1 Temple Entrance 2
Legend IMG_3671 IMG_3672a Side View Temple

From Bichali, Panchamukhi is about 20 minutes of travel by auto and we had a peaceful dharshan. While going around the temple, there is a natural rock formation of bed & pillow and aerial vehicle.
Rock of Bed and Pillow 2 Rock of Bed and Pillow 1 Viman 2 Viman 1

Manthralaya by night

We returned back to Mantralaya in the evening and our people wanted to do some shopping around the Brindhavan.

Entrance by night IMG_3643 IMG_3692

Sambar rice and Curd rice were being served for 2 Rs (yes, just two rupees only) and two plates of food were more than enough for each. We sat in the open space in front of the Brindhavan and relaxed with our food. What a day it was!

Other places around

There is a Venkataramanar temple installed by Sri Raghavendhra himself.

There is a place called Madhavanam, 5 kms from Manthralaya where Ramar sat on a rock. The stones for the construction of Moola Brindhavan were brought from this place only. This is also a sacred place to visit but unfortunately we came to know about it only after our visit.

By the 10 PM KSRTC bus we started off to Srisailam and the rest is in my Srisailam travelogue, posted already.

Some useful links

http://www.srsmutt.org/
http://www.mantralayam.com/
http://www.gururaghavendra.org/
http://www.appanacharya.org/
http://www.bichali.org/

FAQ on Sankalpa Seva

Author: Raghunandana. Translated in English by Hunsur Sriprasad

As the scriptural authority says “apyachuto guru dvaaraa prasadakRut” it is very easy to please the Supreme Lord (Narayana) using guru as the channel. The very venerable Srimat Sushameendra teertha, the present pontiff of the Matha, has reassured devotees on innumerable occasions that coming to Mantralaya is not mandatory to obtain Rayaru’s grace, it is enough if one performs devout service in one’s home by going around Rayaru’s picture while reciting Raghavendra Stotra. Even reciting “Sri Raghavendraya namah” with intense devotion is good enough to obtain his total grace.

There are many popular ways of serving Rayaru. One of the most common but very potent advices that you get from Rayaru’s devotees while seeking solutions for life’s numerous problems is, ” Go to Mantralaya and perform the Sankalpa Seva, Rayaru will definitely bless you”. Sankalpa means an oath or a resolution to do something, Seva is the service performed to a celestial being. In this case Sankalpa Seva involves the following steps:

1. going to Mantralaya at a convenient time
2. obtaining darshana of (or viewing) Rayaru’s Brindavana
3. taking the oath to perform Seva in the prescribed manner
4. performing the Seva while following some strict rules.

The number of devotees who have performed Sankalpa Seva in this manner and benefited from it is so huge that listing them is next to impossible.

We are listing below 15 of the most frequently asked questions about Sankalpa Seva.

1.Who should take the oath to perform the service (Seva)?
Anybody who wishes to benefit from Sri Rayaru’s grace is eligible to take this oath.

2. Who will administer the oath to perform the Seva?
One of the archaks or volunteers will do this.

3. Is there any fee for administering the oath?
Since this is a major service that the Matha is performing for devotees, nothing more than a symbolic token of Rs. 5 is expected. This should be tendered at the offices of the Matha.

4. What are the ingredients that the devotees should bring for the oath taking ceremony?
a) Utensils to perform Achamana
b) A small plate
c) One new, unpeeled coconut
d) One coconut as a symbolic offering
e) Loose change as dakshina

5. What is the correct time for performing Seva?
In the mornings between 5 and 8 AM, and in the evening between 4 and 5, are the most appropriate times for performing Seva.

6. How many times should the pradakshina (going around the Brindavana) be performed?
Based on one’s ability, one can choose from 5, 11, 14, 28, 54 times.

7. For how many days should the Seva be performed?
Based on one’s endurance, one can choose from 1, 3, 5, 7, 14, 21, 42 days.

8. What are the regulations governing the actual Seva?
a) The person taking the oath should bathe in the river twice, taking care to wet the head. A woman need to do it once only.
b) One should not use soap while taking bath.
c) One should not use cloths which have been dried in Madi for performing the Seva, and not use wet cloths.
d) One should dress in a traditional manner, using a pancha-kache (five folds)
e) One should not use hair oil or any type of ointments; one shold also not do any kind of make up or decoration
f) One should not have a haircut or shave in the days on which seva is being performed
g) One should not adorn one’s hair with any flower, other than what has been offered to Sri Hari-Vayu-Guru
h) One should eat only once a day. In the night, milk or fruits can be consumed in moderate quantities.
i) Foods that have been cooked or fried or prepared in hotel should be avoided.
j) After the pradakshina is completed one should spend time by going through religious, pious works and avoid wasteful activities like idle gossip. Ladies should sing the compositions of Haridasas.
k) One should not sleep on a bed; however a chaape ( a thin mattress made of fibre) can be used.
l) On Dwadashi and during the Dhanur masa, one can continue pradakshine after taking food.

9. Are there any regulations governing the pradakshine and namaskaara (prostration)?
Yes, the the pradakshine and namaskaara should be performed in the manner prescribed by religious scriptures. Devotees should keep the following aspects in mind while performing pradakshina during the Seva.
a) One should perform pradakshina 5 times around the Hanumanta icon in front of the brindavana
b) During each pradakshina, one should perform namaskaara 4 times, one on each side of the brindavana, with utmost devotion towards Sri Rama, Narahari (Narasimha), Krishna and Vedavyasa respectively.
c) One should do one namaskaara in front of Sri Vadeendra teertha’s brindavana too.
d) During the pradakshina time one should recite pious religious compositions like Sri Raghavendra stotra, Vayu Stuti, Dashaavatarastuti, Krishnaashtakam, Vishnu Sahasranama etc.
e) After performing the pradakshine in the main courtyard, one should also perform one pradakshine of the brindavanas of Sri Sudharmeendra teertha, Sri Suvrateendra teertha, Sri Suyameendra teertha, Sri Sujayeendra teertha and the banyan tree.
f) Ladies should not peform sAshtanga namaskara wherein the entire body touches the ground. They should kneel and perform the namaskara.

10. Are there other ways of performing Seva to Rayaru?
Yes. As stated before, if one is sincere and devoted to Hari, Vayu and Rayaru, there are many ways of performing Seva to Rayaru. The following section lists some of the main ones:
a) Sitting in one place and reciting Sri Raghavendra stotra 108 times.
b) Hejje namaskara (going around the Brindavana advancing one foot at a time and performing namaskara for each stride)
c) Urulu Seva – rolling on the body and going around the brindavana. This is forbidden for women.
d) Reciting Sri Raghavendra stotra 108 times while performing abhisheka for Rayara Brindavana with cow’s milk.
e) Going through religious works composed by great gyaanis; some of the popular ones are Sudha, Parimala, Sri Madhva Vijaya, Sri Raghavendra Vijaya etc.
In all of the above cases, the main ingredient is sincerity, pure heart and intense devotion.

11.   One of our relatives is handicapped. Can we take the oath in his name and do the pradakshina?
Certainly. This is also acceptable to Rayaru. However, the person on whose behalf this Seva is being undertaken should be around.

12.   One of our acquaintances told us that during the Seva period, Sri Rayaru appears in our dream and blesses us. Is this true?
Even though not many people can prove with absolute certainity that it was Rayaru himself who appeared in their dreams and blessed them, there is no doubt whatsoever that serving him with a pure heart and intense devotion will fetch his grace, maybe in a dream and sometimes even directly!

13.   What is meant by ‘Poorna phala”?
As stated earlier, at the beginning of the Seva the devotee should set aside a new, unpeeled coconut. After the completion of the Seva, this coconut is symbolically offered to Rayaru and returned with mantrakshate. This is called Poorna phala.

14.   What should be done with Poorna phala?
After receiving the holy coconut from the priest, one should handle it with great care and respect. It should not be kept on the ground or made impure in any way. It should be brought home and worshipped with devotion as it represents Rayaru’s blessings. Later it should be consumed (without cooking) in the company of close relatives.

15. What should be done after performing the Seva?
Since it is absolutely certain that Rayaru will bless you with fruits appropriate to the level of service performed, one should be patient until the desired result is obtained. In addition, all the discipline and devotion displayed during the Seva should be retained as much as possible, as long as possible. This is a sure way of obtaining Rayaru’s grace.

Sir Thomas Munroe

In 1800, the British Govt enacted an act to take over the lands that were donated by the kings. Manthralaya also came under this act and Thomas Manro was the Collector of Bellary then.  When the revenue officials were unable to comply with this order, Sir Thomas himself visited the Math for investigation. He knew about Sri Rahavemdhra before and so entered the Brindhavan after removing his shoes and hat. He went near the Brindhavan and he was conversing with “Sri Raghavendhra from within the Brindhavan” in the presence of other officials. While others can hear only what Thomas manro was talking they could not hear the “other voice”. Then he did a sashtanga namaskars to the Brindhavan and took back the Akshathai (yellow sacred rice) and ordered to mix it with the rice for his food to be prepared for the day.

All the priests in the Math were much annoyed, because in spite of their long and sincere service, he did not give them dharshan. That night, Sri Raghavendhra appeared in the dream of the chief priest and told him that as Prahaladha, he and Munroe were class-mates in Kritha Yuga and he was destined to perform this noble deed of solving the Math’s problem. Hence the unique privilege.

Thomas Manro was just a settlement clerk at that time and so he could only recommend to cancel the take over act of Mantralaya but the final decision/act should come from Chennai Governor General. Sri Raghavendhra played his miracle there also. Yes, Sir Thomas Manro was  elevated to the Governor General of Chennai and he signed his own recommendation of cancelling the take over of Mantralaya. He became then a staunch devotee of Sri Raghavendhra. His statue of  sitting on a horse is still there in the Chennai Mount road near the Island grounds.

This order is still preserved in Fort St. George, Chennai and the full text of the order is here:

Thomas Munroe

More interesting news on Thomas Munroe, though deviating slightly from the center subject:

Mr. Muthiah, the famed historian of Madras, quotes Sir Thomas’ comments on British rule:

“Your rule is alien and can never be popular. You have much to bring to your subjects but you cannot turn India into England or Scotland. Work through, not in spite of, native systems and native ways, with a prejudice in their favour rather than against them; and when in the fullness of time, your subjects can frame and maintain a worthy Government for themselves, get out and take the glory of the achievement and the sense of having done your duty as the chief reward of your exertions.”

The Thirupati Thirumala Devasthanam still holds a huge cauldron gifted by him called Munro Gangalam, in which food for Lord Venkateswara is prepared, even though Sir Munro never visited the temple.

Miracles of Sri Raghavendrar

No writeup is sufficient to list Sri Raghavendhra’s miracles and here are a few glimpses of some popular miracles of his life:

  • It once so happened that a prince was bitten by a poisonous snake and the prince died immediately. And when Rayaru came to know about this, he revived the prince by removing the venom of the snake from the body of the prince by summoning the same snake which had bitten the prince.
  • In another miracle of his, his devotees arranged a special puja in his house, and a kid who was playing in the kitchen fell into a huge cauldron of juice and drowned and Guru Raghavendra revived the dead child by sprinkling holy water from the kamandalu on to the child.
  • The Badshah of Bijapur, who had great reverence for Rayaru, presented him with a rare gem-studded necklace. Rayaru offered it into the homa-kundam, annoyed by which the King asked back his necklace. Rayaru put his hand in the fire and retrieved the necklace back for the King.
    The miraculous healing powers of Sri Raghavendraswami spread far and wide. Some mischievous boys wanted to test Rayaru. On his pilgrimage route, one of them lay down pretending to be dead fully covered by a white cloth. The understanding was that the boy should not get up when Rayaru sprinkled water and asked him to rise but should get up when the command was given to him by his friends. When Rayaru passed by that place, the drama was enacted as planned by the boys. One of them asked the Guru to revive the boy who was lying on the ground. But the guru simply said that the lifespan of the boy was over and he could not do anything to help the boy. His friends, with a view to mock Sri Raghavendra Swami, asked the boy lying on the ground to get up, but to their utter shock, they realised that he was really dead.
  • In Sirasangi, another gentleman, with an intention of testing Guru Raghavendra, gave him a dry wooden pestle and asked him to make it sprout new leaves. After Rayaru sprinkled water from his kamandalu, the dead wood started sprouting.
  • In another incident, Sri Guru Rayaru was proceeding to Adoni. Venkanna a cow-herd boy prostrated before him and sought his blessings, upon which Rayaru blessed and advised the cow-herd boy to pray to him at times of difficulty. After a few days, the Nawab of Adoni, who was passing by, stopped and asked Venkanna to read a message as he was not himself literate. The illiterate Adoni could not comply with the Nawab’s order, which infuriated the Nawab. Venkanna earnestly prayed to Sri Guru Rayaru to save him. Surprisingly, the illiterate cow-herd could then read the entire text which contained very good news, due to which the king made him the Diwan of Adoni.
  • The Nawab decided to test the Guru’s powers and brought a plate of meat covered with a cloth and offered it to Rayaru. Rayaru sprinkled some water on the plate and when the cloth was removed, the meat had turned into fresh fruits. The Nawab fell at the Guru’s feet begging for pardon, and he requested the Swami to ask for any favour or gift that he wished. Guru Rayaru asked for the Manchala village, which later came to be known as Manthralaya. It is said that it is at this holy place that Bhakta Prahlada performed a great yaga.

Responses

  1. Realy cleared dbts regarding sankalpa seva. . .a vry nice appreciation to ur neat n good presentation.

  2. Will be visiting mantralaya on 09/26.. Very useful information.. thx Thulasi

  3. A very useful information on sankalpa seva and about sri Raghavendra swamiji. Good work. Keep it up.
    Regards seshasayana Bangalore

  4. Nice and Neat Presentation. it is a guide as well as nice presentation of Mantralaya.Thanks for your good job

  5. HELLO RAJU 0704. THANK-YOU MY FRIEND. YOUR INFORMATION IS VERY VALUEBLE. THANKS A LOT

  6. Great devottee of this guru, however in 2010 we spend lot of money to get shaswath pooja done and until now we have not recieved any prasada as promised. This is a shame . I have all reciptes for this and I am in US , the office people said thatw ould not be aproblem . Can any one give me some contact information ? No wonder youths today are digressing from our customs

    • Although it is frustrating to be in a situation like this, I don’t agree that this has anything to do with the attitude of the youth in respect of our customs. They get beaten by the police at a cricket match venue and they don’t lose interest in the game. They pretty well know that the matches are fixed, yet they don’t lose interest. They sacrifice food and bunk classes to be at the release of a movie. They pay for the ticket in black, yet sometime don’t get to see the movie. Still, they don’t lose interest in either the movies or the so called stars. When it comes to spirituality and religion (which actually add value to their lives in sharp contrast to what a cricket match or a movie does) their attitude stinks. I feel sorry to note that our dear friend chooses to claim having SPENT a lot of MONEY. Please don’t forget that Shashwat pooja is a seva which cannot be weighed in terms of money.

      • I think you are jumping into conclusions, if I gave money for a service to be performed I would expect that duty to be fuilfilled . That is waht was promised by the poeple there . Never did I say I doubt the god. So how would I know they even did the pooja , we give it becuse we want it to be done on the special days which are significant days in our life. Is expecting a simple kumkum prasada too much after SPENDING all that money ? Just because I am a hard working COMMON person I dont get what was promised however if I was related to trustees or knew some one who worked there or was a minister I would not even have to ask .
        So please dont give horrid examples of youth and corruption , it has affects the youth when they see this partiality and the distinction between rich and and commom man . So stop defending , I have been wronged and there is nothing wrong about demanding whether if the pojas were done or not

      • dont be so harh to vina instead try to give the contact of the concerned official. This would solve the issue

  7. Thanks for the information about Sri Raghavendra and Mantralaya…
    shanti

  8. very useful information

  9. A really useful information and people visiting Mantralaya can use this as gide

  10. History of Rahavendra/ Manthralaya:

    The ancient name of Manthralaya was Nivarthi Sangamam., (Nirvarti sangamam means a place where Sanyasis attains Siddhi ) this place was under the rule of Kakadheya king Prathapa Rudra , who had constructed many Siva Temples (Sangameswara temple) in this area, and entrusted the maintenances of these Siva Temples to Ahobala matha at Changalamari Taluque, KanadanavÕlu (Karnool)Talukka These temples had many valuable Jewels, golden ornaments and gold and silver coins.

    In saka 1317 (A.D.1395) Harihara constructed a mantapa and King Krisna Raya handed over the jewels to Ahobala matha .

    This Mantralaya was given to Vibhunendra svami, the 11th Pontiff of Udupi Matha by Krishnaraya as Sarvamanya, this was with drawn when Rama Raya an officer under Siddhi Masood Khan and again returned to 12th Pontiff Jitamitra swami.

    In Saka 1541 A.D.1619 Muhamadians, headed by Munavar Khan Subordinate of Mohmaed Ali of Hydrabad , destroyed all the temples and looted jewels and gold.
    At this time the head of Ahobalam was Sriman Sathagopa.

    By the mean time, Hyderabad Nizam sent Muzafur Jung to Kurnool to seize this area from Munavar Khan. This Muzafur Jung appointed one Muhammed Alam to lead the army to attack Munavar Khan.. Munavar Khan went to Kadapaha, obtained a loan from a Sowkar a sum of Rs 3 lakhs, thro Nawab Mucha Miya and hired army men.

    Mohmad Alam, asked for assistance from on Rama Rao of Gadwal, to attack Munavar, who asked that he, the Muhamed Alam should give back his ancestor’s village. Muhammed agreed and Rama rao sent one Sambhaji to assist Muhammed Alam..

    The trio Muzarfur Jung. Muhammed Alam and Rama Rao, captured Karnool and at this time Muzafur Jung left for Hydrabad to bring more army to attack Munavar Khan.

    Munavar approached Rama Rao through an agent and negotiated, terms were accepted and signed. The ancestral properties, the 19 villages were given back to Rama Rao. Rama Rao honored Alam and sent him back to Hyderabad .

    The political changes affected the life of a common man and he was running from pillar to post, moving from forest to hills, hidden himself in pits to save himself, and he had no time to educate himself.

    This innocence was utilized by Rulers who robbed the public and their valuables.

    The temples collected the taxes on behalf of the kings, and acted as sub treasury which was looted by many including Mohals.

    In Saka varusha 1500 (A.D. 1578), when Gopala Raju was ruling Ahobala matha,
    jeer of Ahobala was Srivan sadagopa

    Ibrahim Qutab Shah of Kurnool navab Munvar Khan ,entered the Kurnool Dist, destroyed all the Siva Temples, pulled the entire structure down to earth, looted the jewels and started ruling this Village . The Jeer of Ahobala was Sri Mann Satagopa Jiyyar. This jeer moved to Kumbhakonam with his disciples and on the way he was wandering in Thondai mandalam.

    In A.D. 1500, Due to Muslims penetration in Andhra Country, The Ahobala Matha Jeeyar Sri sashta Parankusa Yatheendra Maha desikan left for Tamil Country and reached Kancheepuram, with his disciples and settled in Neervaloor.(The Sthala Purana of this Neervaloor mentions about the visit of this jeeyar who constructed a Lakshmi Narayana Temple in Neervaloor) This jeer Constructed Sri Lakshminarayana Perumal Temple in this Village and declared open (Kumbhabhishagam) on Dundhubhi Varusham, Thai 13, Thiru Ãdhirai Nakshatra, Navami Thithi. ( 09th Jan 1503)

    There were two occasions that Vaishanavites immigrated to Neervaloor, first at A.D.1500 and second in A.D.1578, along with them Sri Rahavendra’s Great Grand and grand fathers might have moved in.

    There is a manuscript mentions that Venkatanatha born in Thondai mandalam, (Kanchi) in a riverbed village in which located a shrine for Lakshmi Narayana.

    So the place of birth of Rahavendra Svami must be Neervaloor.

    In Neervaloor, there was a river which went up to Poondy, and the path of this river is shown in Annanda Vikatan of 1970 , Chingleput Dist.

    It seems Rahavendra Svami was the 17th Matathipathy of Udupi., succeeded Sudanendra svami .

    Sri Rahavendraa returned to this place, and at that time he was known as Sathya Nidhi Tirtha Svami and he under took the maintenance of Sangamesvara shine. This place was given as a honor to the Madhva Guru in Saka 1572 A.D 1650 for the work he carried out . A matha was constructed and the Madva Guru attained Siddhi in S 1582 (A.D. 1660), a brindhavanam was opened for him in the village .

    The river Tungabadra often flooded and destroyed all the Siva temples.

    In 1712, a sanad / Sassana was given by Abdul Masood Khan. In A.D.1759, another sasana was was given by Mustafur Jung.

    The Subhanendra svami matham (16th Pontiff of Udupi) is in mangale on the banks of River Thungabhadra., was given as Sarvamaya to Udupi matha.

    • Dear Mr Ramachandran, What ever you have written is fully wrong. Please do not confuse people with wrong information.

  11. Hi.. Thanks for sharing so much of information of Guru Raghavendra’s life, past life, teachings, Mantralayam and places around. Kudos!! A very useful blog for anyone visiting Mantralayam.

  12. Sir,
    We are planning our trip to Mantralaya and Nava Brindavan could you please guide me with regard to hotel and taxi bookings. FYI we are a group of 20 members mainly ladies.

    • Madam, I don’t have any information on hotel and taxi booking since we stayed in a private lodge. As i said in the blog, please contact Raghavendhra mutt in Triplicane where they will be able to guide you.

  13. I love ragavendra swamy by the god grace with my family and my personal life thanks a lot………………

  14. Thank you very much for providing an excellent wealth of information needed for a devotee who intends to visit mantralayam

  15. dear sir,
    super place in mantalaya. and swami tharisanam.

  16. EXCELLENT

  17. Really very good experience in my life also…. very helpfull in my office for quality matters … I love ragavendra swamy by the god grace with my family and my personal life thanks a lot………………

  18. Thx for ur helpful article and i wish to go next month, by the gods grace with my family, thanks a lot for ur guidance…………………….

  19. it is helpful article

  20. thank’s for the guidence

  21. Hi, thank u very much for all your information & the photos, i felt that i been to Mantralaya.

    i’m planning to visit Mantralaya shortly.

    once again thank u ver very much

    Regards,
    Gopi

  22. Raju,

    Please check the information in Some aspects of Sri Raghavendra’s Life. You have mentioned that Guru Raghavendra was born in 1601 and your very third line specifies a different year. As far as i know guru was born in 1595.

    Thanks
    Kanchana

  23. thank you sir for the wonderful coverage.

    you are a true devotee of the gerat Guru

  24. Thank you for this well written article about Mantralayam.I am planning to visit it soon.
    Keep posting!

    Regards,
    Dr.Madhavi Rao

  25. Thank you sir, Really we have planned to visit Manthralaya, after we read your article I hope this is very good useful information for me.You have done a great service to the devotees whoever willing to see Mantralaya, god bless you.
    Regards
    LAKSHMIKANTHAN.C
    SAUDI ARABIA.

  26. a job well done. keep it up

  27. Would like to know indepth history of Sri Moola Ramar idol in mantralayam.

    Can anybody provide ?

  28. As I was reading this blog my memories to Mantralaya trip became live. Very well presented and very good information.

    Om Guru Raghavendraya namaha.

    Thanks,
    Venkat Mavram

  29. Excellent Post, Tommorrow I’m visiting Manthralayam and Nava Brindhavan and your post has given me complete idea of what should i plan for,
    Thanks you so much..
    May Guru Raja Sri Ragavendra Bless us..

    Regards
    Prabhu

  30. Very useful information. Very good work done by You. I am visiting Mantralayam 0n 23/01/2010. Thank you for your guidelines.

  31. Great work Mr.Raju. I happened to see your blog while I was searching for something else on Google.

  32. I am very happy to see mantralaya

  33. Om shri Guru Raghavendraaya Namaha!
    I am an avid devotee of Sri Raghavendra Swamy. I live in the US however everytime I visit India I make it a point to visit Mantralaya however busy I am. My only regret is that I did not go to Mantralaya on my last trip to India.

    The article that you have written is excellent and very informative. Hats off to you.

  34. Thanks for all the information on Sri Guru Raghavendra. I have been his devotee for almost ten years now. I have taken a vow that I will perform the bramhopadesham of my son in Mantralaya. Could I get some information on some halls in mantralaya were we can perform the Bramopadesham. I live in the UK and plan to visit Mantralaya next year. Any information given will be highly appreciated.

    Thank you

    Regards

    Supriya


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