Wednesday, 31 October 2012

The Nine saints of Nava Brindavana

Nava Brindavana is a small island in the Tungabhadra river near Hampi or Vijayanagar.
Hampi is in Bellary district and it is approachable from Bangalore by rail or road. The nearest airport is Bellary. The nearest train stop is Bellary. There are direct buses from Bangalore and other places in Karnataka to Hospet and even Hampi apart from Bellary.
This is one of the most holy spots for Madhwas as it contains the Brindavanas (final resting place of  nine Madhwa saints).
The Brindavana of Vyasa Theerta is at the centre while the Brindavana of other eight saints are in a rough circle. There is a yellow line drawn around the periphery of the Brindavanas.
Do not cross this line.
You have to go in a boat or Theppa from Hampi to visit Nava Brindavana. It is located east of Anegundi, which was the earlier capital of  the Vijayanagar dynasty before it was shifted to Hampi.
You can catch a ferry either from Gangavathi side or Hampi side (Talagarighatta Gate).
There are shrines dedicated to Ranganatha and Hanuman here.
Poojas commence around 10-30 a.m., Devotees and visitors are advised not to do pradakshina of  the Brindavanas in wet clothes. Try to time your visit in the morning.
It is on this island that Vyasa Raja in his earlier avatar as Prahalada had meditated to get rid of his dosha of  getting his father, Hiranyakashapyu, killed by Lord Narasimha. 
Some of the saints who have visisted Nava Brindavana are Raghavendra Swamy and  Raghottama Theertha among others and Purandara Dasa and Kanaka Dasa.    

Padmanabha Theertha

He is the first Madhwa saint to enter Brindavana at Nava Brindavana is Padmanabha Theertha.
Padmanabha Theertha was the first disciple of the redoubtable Madhwacharya. He also ascended the Dwaitha throne after Madhwacharya.
His original name was Shobana Bhatta. He was a well-known logician of his times and he lost a marathon debate to Madhwacharya after which he converted to Dwaitaism.
He was regarded highly by the fifth head of the Dwaitha Samrajya,
Jayatheertha or Teekachar, as the pioneer of Tatvavada literature.
He was the first to write a commentary on the Bhasya of Madhwacharya. This was called Sattarkadipavali.
Other works are Sanyaayarathnavali, Gitabhashya and Gitatatparya. He has also written commentaries on all the ten Nirnaya Prakshikaas. He headed the Dwaitha Matha for six years and nine months.
He took Sanyasa from Madhwacharya in 1263 and entered Brindavana in 1324 or 1325. He gave Deekshe to Lakshmidhara Theertha to set up the Sripada Raja Matha at Mulabagal.
His Aradhana Thithi is Karthika Bahula Chaturdashi (Nov-Dec).

Kavindra Theertha

The second Brindavana here is that of Kavindra Theertha. He is believed to be the brother of Rajendra Theertha, the founder of Vyasaraja Matha. He was earlier known as Vasudeva Shastry.
The first bifurcation of the Madhwa or Dwaitha Matha or Peetha took place when Vidyadhiraja handed over the reigns to Kavindra Theertha,
Vidhyadhiraja Theertha had appointed Rajendra Theertha as his successor. Vidhyadhiraja fell ill and he could not get in touch with Rajendra Theertha as he was away on Sanchara. He then appointed Kavindra Theertha as the successor and passed away. When Rajendra Theertha came back he found what had happened and he travelled further south towards Mysore and founded the Vyasa Raja Matha.
Kavindra Theertha is supposed to have entered Brindavana in 1398.
His Aradhane Thithi is Chaitra Krishna Tritiya (April-May)

Vageesha Theertha

His Poorvashrama name was Raghunathacharya. He was one of the greatest scholars of his time. He was the third Madhwa saint to enter Brindavana at Nava Brindavana.
He was the successor of Kavindra Theertha. This sait if ofgten confused with another seer by the same name who gave Deekshe to Vadiraja Theertha (of Sode Matha). His name tooo was Vagesha Theertha and he beelonged to the Sode Math. Deva Rama Bhatt and Saraswathi Devi were blessed by Vageesha Theertha to beget a son. The couple were told by Vageesha Theertha that they would have to hand over the son to the matha. When the couple expressed their appprehension, Vageesha Theertha said they would have another son.
He also told the couple that they could keep the first born if he is born within their house. But if he is born outisde, he must be handed over to the Matha. Vadiraja is born ina field outside his home. He is then handed over to Vageesha Theertha.
Both Vageesha Theertha and his relative Vidyanidhi Theertha (who became the Peetadhipathi after Ramachandra Theertha) took special interest in the education of  Vadiraja. It was Vageesha Theertha who named Vadiraja as Bhoo Varaha. Vadiraja mentions Vageesha Theertha with respect in his Theertha Prabhabandha. This Vagesha Thertha is different from the one who entered Brindavana in Nava Brindavana.

Vageesha Thertha, the sucesor of Kavindra Thertha entered Brindavana sometime in 1406. His Aradhane Thithi is Chaitra Krishna Tritiya (April-May).

Raghuvarya Theertha

He was the Guru of  Raghottama Theertha (of Tirukoilur).
He travelled all over the country to spread the message of Madhwacharya. Once when he reached the banks of Bheema river in north Karnataka, the river gave way for him.
Lord Rama appeared in his dream and asked him to bless a couple in Swarnavadi village in the then Hyderabad state of Nizam  with a child. Rama said this child should be brought up in the Uttaradi Matha and that the child should succeed him. This child grew up to become one of the greatest scholar of its times and was called Raghottama Theertha.
Raghuvarya Theertha was with his Guru Raghunatha Theertha at Nava Brindavanaalong with Vyasa Raja and Krishna Deve Raya, the Vijayanagar King, when one of the Vyasa mustis fell into the Tungabhadra. Lord Narayana came in the dream of the Raghunatha Theertha and told him that the Mustio would reappear when some tortoises would swin. This incident happened a few days later after and even to this day it is in the cutody of the Uttaradi Matha.   
Vyasa Theertha

A renowned scholar, Vyasa Theertha or Vyasa Raja was the Raja Guru of six Vijayanagar Emperors, including Krishna Deve Raya. He had a large number of disciples including Vadiraja Theertha.
He encouraged Purandara Dasa and Kanaka Dasa in penning Haridasa Sahitya. He was the Chancellor of  the Vijayanagar University which had 11,000 students.
He consecrated 732 idols of  Hanuman in India. His guru was Brahamanye Theertha of Abbur, while his Vidya Guru was Sripadaraja of Mulabaga.
Vyasa Raja was the earlier avatar of Raghavendra Swamy. His works are considered to be among the most significant in Madhwa literature.
Some of his works include  Nyayamritam  Tarkatandava  Tatparya Chandrika.     
He entered Brindavana in 1539 when Achuta Deve Raya was the Emperor of Vijayanagar.
Srinivasa Theertha
He succeeded Vyasa Theertha to the Vyasaraja Matha. He was also the Raja Guru of Achuta Deve Raya.He has written a book on Vyasa Theertha. This book along with accounts of Portuguese travelers to Vijayanagar and a biography by Somanatha, a Smartha Brahmin during the period of Krishna Deve Raya, give us a lot of information about Vyasa Raja.
Rama Theertha
He followed Srinivasa Theertha to the Peetha of  Vyasaraja Matha.

It was during the period of Rama Theertha that the first split of the Vyasa Raja Matha took place. Both Lakshmikantha Theertha and Sridhara Theertha took Sanyas from Rama Teertha.
Thus the Abbur Matha or Kundapur Matha and Sosale Matha came into existence. In Bangalore, the Abbur Matha has its premises in Hanumanthnagar and the Sosale Matha at Gandhi Bazar.
Sudhindra Theertha
He was the Guru of  Raghavendra Swamy. He was also the “Shishya” given to Vijayendra Theertha by Vyasa Raja himself. He was an unmatched scholar and he shared a close relationship with  Vijayendra Theertha. Some of the books written by him are: Sadukthi Rathnakara (Tarkathandava Vyakhya), Apastamba Shulbasootrapradepa,
Commentary on second and 11th  Skandas of Bhagavatha Literary Books, Subhadra Parinaya, Vyasarajabhyudaya,
Amruthaharana, Dayalu Shathaka,
Vairagyatharanga, Alankara Manjaree,
Alankaranishaka and Sahitya Samrajya.
He was the Raja Guru of Raghunatha Bhoopala of  Tanjore.
Raghavendra Swamy himself made arrangements for the Brindavana Pravesha of Sudhindra Theertha. His Aradhana Thithi is Phalguna Krishna Dvithiya (Feb-March).     
 Govinda Odeyar

 He was a disciple of Vyasa Theertha. He was an Advaitha scholar and he entered into a debate with Vyasa Theertha and lost. He accepted the Dwaitha way of life and joined the large number of disciples of  Vyasa Theertha.
He entered Brindavana at Nava Brindavana much earlier than Vyasa Theertha. He did not belong to any Matha but he was a Bidi (Independent) Sanyasi.
Apart from these Brindavanas, the final resting place of Narahari Theertha, the second pontiff of the Dwaitha Samrajya after Padmanabha Theertha is at Chakra Theertha in Hampi.

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