It is really unfortunate that the blog has taken so much time to focus on one of the most outstanding Madhwa saints of all times. Herein, we place a write up on this saint who was also a writer and an educationist.
An avatar of Dhruva, this saint was known as Lakshminarayana Muni during his poovarshrama days. He was given the honorific Sreepadaraja Theertha when the Madhwa world came to know of his holiness and scholastic bent of mind.
A true yogi, Sripadaraja is considered to be the bard of Mulabagal.
He has several firsts to his credit. He is the Bheeshmapeeta of Haridasa literature in
. He is also the first saint of the Dwaitah order to sing compositions in Kannada and also use them in his daily worship. India
He spoke, wrote, sang and even composed in Kannada-the language of the people. He also started a Veda Patashala in Mulagabal which during his times reached a preeminent state in the realm of education.
Sripadaraja took Vyasa Theertha under his care and tutored him. It is to him that Vyasa Theertha owes his scholarship. Sripadaraja also set Vyasa Theertha on course to become the Rajaguru of Vijayanagar when he declined that invitation himself and sent Vyasa Theertha instead.
Not many know that Sripadaraja was also a man who could perform miracles. Once he performed one of his many miracles before a huge gathering of Madhwa saint.
was known for its patronage to Hindu religion and culture. The kings were all patron of arts, architecture and learning. Vijayanagar Kingdom
It was sometime in the mid 1500s that then Vijayanagar King decided to organise an assembly of saints and holy men in Koppara in Devdurg taluk of Raichur district.
This is how the miracle unfolded.
Koppara was known for the Aswatha Narasimha temple on the banks of the
Krishna. The Vijayanagar King invited many Madhwa scholars and saints to observe Chaturmasa here.
Vibhudendra Theertha, accompanied by Lakshminarayana Muni, camped here begin their four month long Chaturmasa programme.
Lakshminarayana impressed everyone with his knowledge and his lecture on Nyaya Sudha was well received.
Unfortunately, the crown Prince drowned in the
Krishna and a tearful King placed the body before the saints and requested them to revive his son. As the saints looked at each other, Vibhudendra Theertha, pointed to Lakshminarayana and asked him to proceed towards the body.
Lakshminarayana first invoked Aswatha Narasimha and poured holy water from the Kamandala into the mouth of the dead prince.
The youngster stunned the entire audience when he prayed to Narasimha saying that if Nyaya Sudha was really the Srikara Grantha and if the holy gathering had performed Sudha Mangala correctly, all the merits accrued should go to the God and from him to the price so that he can be revived.
The Prince jumped up and became alive. The king prostrated himself before Lakshminarayana and ordered his throne to be brought to the spot. He wanted to do Kanakabhisheka to Lakshminarayana nut he said the honor should first go to his Guru.
Vibhudendra Theertha and al the assembled saints urged Lashminarayana to allow the King to perform Kanakabhisheka.
A modest Lakshminarayana foirst placed Nyaya Sudha on the throne and performed Mangalarti. He then held it onto his lap and sat on the throne.
By then he had been named as Sripadaraja Theertha and he decided to settle down at Mulabagal. It was Narasimha Theertha near Mulabagal that he built his ashrama.
He then went on to become the Raj Guru of the Vijayanagar Kings, a task which he later handed over to Vyasa Theertha, his favourite disciple. He was the first among the Madhwa saints to be honored with Ratnaabhiskeha.
(This is the first in a series of articles on Sripadaraja Theertha. The others will follow soon.)