Shri Jitamitra Teertharu

Sri Akshobhya Teertharu

Sloka : 
Sanskrit :
सप्तरात्रम् कृष्णवैणयां उषित्वा पुनरुत्थितं ।
जितामित्रगुरुं वंदे विबुधॆंद्र करोद्बवाम् ॥

Kannada :
ಸಪ್ತರಾತ್ರಂ ಕೃಷ್ಣವೇಣ್ಯಾಮುಷಿತ್ವಾ ಪುನರುತ್ಥಿತಮ್ |
ಜಿತಾಮಿತ್ರಗುರುಂ ವಂದೇ ವಿಬುಧೇಂದ್ರ ಗುರುಂ ಭಜೇ ||

Telugu :
సప్తరాత్రం కృష్ణవేణ్యాముషిత్వా పునరుత్థితమ్ |
జితామిత్రగురుం వందే విబుధేంద్ర గురుం భజే ||

HISTORY

He was a Shanubhoga and his name was Ananthappa prior to his sanyasa. Though he became a great scholar, may be owing to his past karma he was a block-head and was grazing cattle before sanyasa. For him the sacred thread did not mean any more than a mere thread. He thought it to be customary to wear it only during meals and used to hang it on a peg. Sri Vibudhendra came to the village Agnihalu near the confluence of the Krishna and the Bheema. He could not help laugh at the Shanubhoga’s son Ananthappa for finding him in such a state, yet his heart filled with sympathy. The resplendence steeped in Ananthappa could hardly escape the cognition of the intuitive swamiji. Pondering a while, he realised that Ananthappa was the most deserving and decided that he should be his successor. The swamiji smiling heartily beckoned Anathappa who wore rough daubs of Gopichandana.

Swamiji: “Oh Ananthappa, what is this? Is this how you wear Mudra? You sport a bare neck!"
Ananthappa: “Sir, yes it is bare”.
Swamiji: “Where is your sacred thread?”
Ananthappa: “Oh….that thread worn during meal, you mean? Sir, it is hung there”.
Swamiji: (Laughing) “No, not worn only during meals. But always”.
Swamiji: “Do you know how to perform Sandhyavandana?”.
Ananthappa: “No Sir, please teach it”.

Pleased by his devotion to guru, the swamiji preaching gurumantra, taught Sandhyavandana to him. Later giving him a Narasimha Saligrama, the swamiji fondly advised Ananthappa — “Have bath in the morning as soon as you get up, perform Sandhyavandana as taught by me, have this Saligrama placed in a plate and perform ablution with water. Then worship it with petals of Tulsi, feed it with rice before you have your meals, and leave for your work afterwards. By the time I visit again, you should have learnt to feed the God”. The heartfelt blessings of the Jnani who was a devout worshipper of Lord Narasimha were not without fruition. After this, the swamiji proceeded on his tour.

The very next day Ananthappa began his routine in accordance with the instructions of the swamiji. All went on well till things came to sacred offer. Ananthappa invoked God offering rice to Saligrama. The Saligrama did remain the same stone. The unrelenting Ananthappa insisted using such soothing words as a mother would to cajole her child. Yet he did not succeed. At last Ananthappa got angry. Unlike others, he had not thought it to be a mere Saligrama. He felt it to be like one sitting adamantly refusing food out of anger. Immediately picking up a boulder he stood up and threatened saying “Narasimha, if you disappoint me by refusing to eat, this boulder will drop on my head and I will die”.

It looked as if the effect of the curse of past life of Ananthappa known to be Rudramsha, was over. It is therefore, the open in the Narasimha Saligrama worshipped by Rudra widened. Ananthappa neither got frightened nor surprised at this. Instead he was overjoyed. Immediately he fed the Saligrama with all the rice in the vessel. It was incredible for the members of the family. They thought that it was unbelievable and did not give much credence to it.

From next day onwards Ananthappa was agog with his routine. He would get up early in the morning, have a bath, perform Sandhyavandana in great devotion, occupy himself for long performing ablution of Narasimha Saligrama. Than he would feed the Lord with a vesselful of rice. Other mundane aspects did not interest him. He was always immersed in the thought of Lord Narasimha. Everybody began admiring the divine powers of Vibudhendratheertha which brought revolutionary changes in the life of Ananthappa driving him into a state of obsession with God. Things went on like this for sometime and in 1412 (A.D.1490), the swamiji arriving back got a village as gift from Krishnadevaraya, the ruler of Vijayanagar. Then he did not forget to meet Ananthappa. He was astonished to learn from Ananthappa about all that had happened. He expressed his eagerness to watch Ananthappa’s method of worship of Lord Narasimha. In obedience, Ananthappa began his worship. Lord Narasimha who daily ate obligingly; did not, that day! Ananthappa exhausted all ways of prayer but to no avail. Ananthappa who was eagerly waiting for a long time for such an occasion was greatly disappointed over his not being able to bring before the eyes of his guru what routinely had been taking place. Feeling the hollowness of life, he was about to smash his head against the boulder and die. The swamiji was startled at this. But the beneficent Lord immediately opened His mouth. Ananthappa was exhilarated to feed the Saligrama as he would daily. The swamiji was bewildered. He developed great affection for Ananthappa. At a time when a different branch of the Mutt was taking shape and when Vibudhendra had decided to install a right person as his successor, his confidence in Ananthappa bloomed. Unhesitatingly, conferring sanyasa on Ananthappa in all ceremony, entrusting the Samsthana to him, Vibudhendra proceeded towards south where he attained eternal peace on the banks of the Tamraparni.

After sanyasa, Ananthappa was named Jithamitra. Jithamitra shone brilliantly as a scholarly seer. Even during such a time of religious pollution, people began looking upon him with great reverence influenced by his ascetic powers. Jithamitra was teaching his students under a gum tree on a mound between the Krishna and the Bheema rivers considered as sacred as Prayaga. Every day a Jangama used to attend his classes. The students were wondering who this Jangama was.

Once, when the Krishna was in spate, this Jangama spread a sash upon the water and reached his guru floating on it. The dismayed students realising the powers of their guru fell at his feet and begged for excuse. Once Jithamitra who had become immersed in teaching did not stir a little even when the Krishna was flooding. The students ran in panic. The flood submerged the entire mound. It did not recede till seven days. Later the flood receded. The swamiji had sat totally absorbed in meditation. Really there was no sign of water having touched his body. The students were amazed at this. Again once the flooding Krishna flowed over him. When the flooding waters receded, the swamiji wasn’t there to see. His devotees heard the oracular voice of the swamiji say that he had disappeared and the gum tree under which he sat should be worshipped and also there was no need for a separate Brindavan. Accordingly even now that gum tree only is being worshipped, and the devotees are also being blessed in their dreams. That spot is just fit for ascetics besides being conducively solitary. History has it that Jithamitra was a Rudramsha. It is said that when Sri Susheelendratheertha Sreepada went there, he had the manifestation of Jithamitra in the form of a Bairagi at Sangameshwara temple there and that Bairagi disappeared into the sanctum sanctorum of Lord Eshwara. It may not be wrong to say that such a great soul has ennobled the tradition of Mahasamsthana. 
 

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Source : Gurucharite

 

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