The Brindavana of Raghuttama Theertha, the renowned pontiff of Uttaradhi Matha, is massive. Apart from its size, its importance lies in the fact that Raghuttama Theertha entered Brindavana at the age of 39 years.
The Brindavana, located near Tirucoilur in Tamil Nadu, is uncovered either by a roof or any other material. This is because Raghuttama Theertha belongs to the Surya Vamsha and seers belonging to this lineage want the sun to shine directly on their Brindavana.
There are only a handful of such Brindavanas which do not have a roof or covering over them. The first such Brindavana belongs to Bramanye Theertha, the seer of Vyasaraja Matha and Guru of Vyasa Raja or Vyasa Theertha.
The Brindavana of Bramanye Theertha is in Abbur which is near Chennapatna. The Brindavana too is uncovered. Similarly, the Brindavana of Sripadaraja in Mulabagal too is uncovered. He to belonged to the Surya Vamsha.
The Brindavana of Sripadaraja is just off the national highway at Mulabagal and it is called Narasimha Theertha. Sripadaraja and Bramanye Theertha were cousin brothers and their mothers were sisters.
Coming back to the Brindavana of Raghuttama Theertha, this Brindavana is unique in another way. Raghuttama Theertha entered the Brindavana alive. He is one of the four Madhwa seers to have done so the others being Vadiraja, Raghavendra and Satyavrata Theertha.
The Brindavana of Raghuttama Theerts is different from other Brindavanas in that it has the image of his mother Gangubai carved on it. You can see the image on top of the Brindavana.
This shows Raghuttama Theertha’s love and devotion to his mother. There is an interesting story about the mother-son relationship.
Gangubai was accustomed to watch the pooje of Moola Rama and other deities by Raghuttama Theerta. These idols were given to the Matha by Madhwacharya several centuries ago.
When Raghuttama Theertha performed the pooje and offered Naivaidya, Gangubai saw to her amazement that the gods themselves would walk up to partake the offerings.
Among the Gods that came down to earth and accepted the offerings by Raghuttama Theertha was Yama. While Gangubai could easily see and admire the other Gods, she grew particularly afraid of Yama, the God of Death.
The very form of Yama frightened Gangubai and she would become restless and nervous after seeing his form. When Raghuttama Theertha came to know of this, he prayed to Yama to become invisible and accept his offerings. Yama readily agreed to do so and from that day, he remained invisible to all except Raghuttama Theertha.
Gangubai then happily watched all the other Gods “coming alive” and accepting the offerings with the sole exception of Yama. Years later, when Raghuttama Theerha decided to enter Brindavana alive he had an image of his mother carved on top of the structure.
There is a belief that because of her presence on the Brindavana, childless couples who pray with devotion and sincerity will get children. The seer, Raghuttama Theertha, adds to her blessings and this makes it doubly holy.
The Brindavana is left open to the skies even today. It is never covered either by flowers or even clothes. Even if flowers are placed on the Brindavana, it is blown away by a strong wind. The branches of the nearby tamarind tree too cannot cast its shadow on the Brindavana. The moment its leaves or branches reach out towards the Brindavana, they get burnt.
It is only during the aradhana of Raghuttama Theertha every January that clothes and flowers are kept on the Brindavana for a short period. Otherwise, the Brindavana is generally shorn of all decorations barring certain times when special pooje is conducted.