SRI VADIRAJA THIRTHA
Tapo Vidya Virakthyadi
Sadgunuoughakaran aham !
Sri Vadiraja thirtha occupies a very eminent place in Madhwa philosophy. He can be ranked next to the founder. His contribution to the Dvaita Vedanta , Kannada sahithya and Sanskrit literature is of a very rare and high order . He occupies as important a place as Sri Tikacharaya , Sri Vyasa rayaru or Sri Raghavendra in the exposition of Dvaita philosophy . All devotees believe him to be a Rijuganastha , an avatar of god Latavya and one destined for the post of Brahma in the next kalpa .
Sri Madhwar installed the idol of Sri Krishna at Udipi . He appointed eight bala sanyasies to perform the pooja by turns of two years for each mutt . Sode mutt is one such dedicated for the worship of Sri Udipi Krishna . Sri Vadiraja Thirtha was the head of the Sode mutt in the 15th and 16th Century .
Sri Vadiraja was born at Kumbhasi near Udipi in a village called Huvvina Kere . In the year Sarvari in 1480 Sri Vadiraja was born to Ramacharya and Saraswathi . It was the blessings of the then pontifical head of Sode mutt Sri Vagisha thirtha , under a contract with the swamiji that the child , If a male , should be handed over to him when desired . He was born near the parental lands outside the house and was named Varahacharya .
As a boy he exhibited his rare skill and uncommon devotion to god even in play with children of his age and at school. After some time the swamiji asked the parents to hand over the boy to the mutt. With great sorrow and reluctance, the poor parents handed over the boy. The swamiji while consoling the parents said that the services of the boy where required for the propagation of Madhwa tenets and that he would be remembered for years for the important role in the religious hierarchy of Dvaita mata .
The boy learnt veda , vedanga and sahitya and became efficient . After satisfying himself the vairagya , viveka of the boy , his intelligence etc.. , he was duly given the holy robes of sanyasi and he was renamed as SRI VADIRAJA THIRTHA , befitting to the future services he would be doing in establishing the reign of realism and Dvaita siddhantha . He was also known as Sri Gururaja and also as Rajaru by his admirers. He had the best education from his guru and after pilgrimage to holy shrines etc , he wrote THIRTHA PRABHANDA .
From Sethu to Himalachal and from East to West he toured many places and saw many religious temples. By going through the slokas in the Thirthaprabhanda, one can understand the vast knowledge and minute description of the each God as he saw. I should rather say that it is an excellent Kavya written in a simple style with variegated meters, bringing forth the mysteries of the shrines he visited and at the same time embodying in the work the principles and tenets of Dwaita philosophy. Wherever he sojourned he summoned Vidwat Sabhas wherein he conducted Vakyartha Vicharas and religious debates and established beyond doubt to the entire satisfaction of his opponents the supremacy of Madhwaism.
During his visit to Tirumala hills, he ascended the hill and covered the entire route, to and fro not by walking, lest he would desecrate the place, but on all fours with his knees and hands, The hill looked as if it was full of Saligramas. The Saligram garland worn by Srinivasa was a humble offering made by Sri Vadirajar.
He visited Vijayanagar empire reigned by Venkatapathyraya and in the Sabha he was given the title Prasangabharana Thirtha ( Jewel of a Speaker). During his stay at Poona, he wrote Rukminisha Vijaya which excelled all the compositions of Kalidasa and others.
His philosophical commentaries were Sudha Tippani, Tatwaprakshika Tippani , Bhagavadgita Tippani , Mahabharata Tatparyanirnayatika and Tantrasara Teeka.
Independent works were Guruvrata Deepika , Prameya sangraha , Yuktimallika , Sarasa Bharati Vilasa , Pashadamatha Khandana.
Other works were Ekadashi Nirnaya , Sankalpa Paddati , Geography , Upanyasa Ratnamala , and other stotras in Sanskrit.
Kannada works were, Tatparya Nirnaya ,Vaikunta Varnane, Gundakriya , Swapna Pada , Suladhigalu , Lakshmi Shobhanepada , Bhramaragita and hundreds of Krithis in Kannada. He wrote in TULU language also.
His master piece is Yuktimallika. It is philosophical treatise, critical study of Bramha sutras .divived in 5 parts in 16 chapters .
Lakshmi Hayagreeva was the Ishta devatha for Sri Vadiraja. A sculptor wanted to cast a Vinayaka idol with an alloy of 5 metals. After casting, when it was taken from the mould, the idol appeared with a horse's head with four arms, holding a conch, a rosary, a book and gnana mudra in the fourth hand. The sculptors idea to destroy and his attempt to try again and again to get the required idol went in vain and at that night he had a vision in his dream to hand over the idol to the great Yati who was at that time in that village . Accordingly the idol was presented by him and the yati had also a dream to accept and worship . After worship, he would closet himself in a room with a plate full of cooked bengal gram and Jagerry ( Hayagriva - also called muddy ) held over his head. Hayavadana would emanate from the idol , come in the form of a pure white horse, put its fore legs on his shoulders and eat the Neiveedya , leaving a small portion as prasada for the Rajaru .Some people doubted , if this was true and wanted to test the same. Poison was mixed to the food and the Yati offered it without knowing the fact. Hayagreeva gulped the whole lot that day without leaving a morsal on the plate, assumed a greenish color all over the body and stood aside in a morose mood. After discussion by yati with God Vadiraja Gulla, a type of Brinjal was cooked and offered to the Lord and the green color vanished leaving a streak of green at the neck reminding posterity of this miraculous incident.
There are so many incidents that took place about his Mahma and these columns are not sufficient to explain in detail. His association with great Sri Vysarayaru , Sri Kanakadasaru , Sri Beluru Vaikuntadasaru , Sri Purandara Dasaru , Sri Vijayeendra thirtharu , had great impact on Madhwa philosophy. He made several reforms at the Udipi mutt . He was Chatushasti Kalavida.
In the year 1600 Sarvari year Phalguna Bahula thritiya, a great Vadiraja terminated his divine mission on this mundane plane and entered the Brindavanam with life and body . He was taken in a golden car to heaven .His spirit is still in that Brindavan , and even today his mrithikas are taken from the Brindavanam and seem to have mysterious powers and miraculous healing effect of all ailments of body and mind.
Sode has become a Tapovana and thousands of devotees throng at His shine and get blessed according to their Bhakti.
Thus Sri Vadiraja occupies an elevated place in Dwaita Siddhanta. By his divine abilities of body and mind he had endeared himself to the layman and learned .
He lived for 120years and saw five Paryayas .The mortal coil of Sri Vadiraja might have vanished into the stone Brindavanam at Sode, but his Spirit is still living in our midst guiding us through our dark days by the luster scintillating from his immortal works.
His Aradhana falls on 16th march and we pay our respects to this great Saint .
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G R Raghunatha Rao
Retd Deputy Registar ( Academic ) Indian Institute of Technology , Madras , India
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