Sri Sri Sumateendra Theertha Sripadangalavara Aradhana Mahotsava 2015
• Period : 1692 – 1725
• Ashrama Gurugalu : Sri Sooreendra Teertharu
• Ashrama Shishyaru : Sri Upendra Teertharu
• Aradhana Tithi : Ashvija Krishna Dwadashi
पूर्णप्रज्ञमतांभॊधि पूर्णॆंदुमकलज्किनम् ।
सुजनांबुधि भास्वन्तं सुमतींद्रगुरुं भजॆ ॥
ಪೂರ್ಣಪ್ರಜ್ಞಮತಾಂಭೋಧಿ ಪೂರ್ಣೇಂದುಮಕಲಜ್ಕಿನಮ್ |
ಸುಜನಾಂಬುಧಿ ಭಾಸ್ವನ್ತಂ ಸುಮತೀಂದ್ರಗುರುಂ ಭಜೇ ||
పూర్ణప్రజ్ఞమతాంభోధి పూర్ణేందుమకలజ్కినమ్ |
సుజనాంబుధి భాస్వన్తం సుమతీంద్రగురుంభజే ||
In the succession of Sri Gururaja, it was Sumatheendratheertha who opened a golden chapter in the history of Mahasamsthana. Mudduvenkatakrishnacharya was his name prior to sanyasa. He was the grandson of Gururajacharya, poorvashrama elder brother of Sri Gururaja, and the son of Venkatanarayancharya. What is ostensible in the whole lineage of Sri Gururaja is that the women are pious, children excel their fathers and younger ones exactly resemble the qualities of their elder brothers.1 It was under Gururaja where Mudduvenkatakrishnacharya had his higher education.
Sri Gururaja had great affection towards Krishnacharya. He was extremely happy at his quick comprehension. He had foreseen that the right person to propagate his works would be Krishnacharya only. That was the reason why Sri Gururaja had ordered Yogeendra in solitude that Sooreendra should succeed Yogeendra; later on Mudduvenkatakrishnacharya should succeed Sooreendra; thus the tradition of Mahasamsthana to continue. Could the prophecy of such an ascetic become untrue? Sooreendratheertha entrusted Mahasamsthana to his brother Mudduvenkatakrishnacharya and aptly named him as Sumatheendratheertha. It was just a few days after the bestowal of sanyasa when Sumatheendra’s pre-eminence unfolded. Starting on a tour he reached Arani. It was a small Jahagir in Madras region. Its owner was a Madhwa, disciple of Uttaradi Mutt. One, Subhanuraya was the Jahagirdar of Arani during swamiji’s period. He had become a great scholar, matchless poet and had acquired great physical strength by consuming Jyothishmathi oil, a very popular Ayurvedic preparation. That oil meant to be consumed simultaneously by three persons has different effects on different persons. One among those who drink it dies, another would turn mad and the other would become intelligent. By drinking such an oil, the lucky Subhanuraya became not only intelligent but also acquired great physical strength. Infatuated by this acquisition, he went on a spree of challenging the scholars and abashing them. Subhanuraya who learnt that the swamiji had come to his place, invited and felicitated him. He initiated a debate choosing a very tough aspect of grammar. Theswamiji defeated him in the debate which lasted eight days. Further he challenged the swamiji to compete with him in composing poems. Instantly swamiji’s reply came thus That means “I did not worship Kali; have not drunk Jyothishmathi. Not indulged in witchcraft. Nor do I plagiarize. In spite of this I am quite competent to compose most fascinating poems. Let me see who equals my challenge”. These remarks provoked Subhanuraya.
The stormy competition of poetry kicked off. Before the poetical excellence of the swamiji, Subhanuraya’s paranoiac spirit of competition suffered a jerk. Startled Subhanuraya sat benumbed. The wonderful scholarship of swamiji aroused profound devotion for him in Subhanuraya. He exclaimed, “all the Mutts have sanyasis. But O’ Sumatheendra, who is there to come close to you in excellence!”1 He felt fulfilment by offering ‘Rahu-Kethu Vadya’ and a pair of ‘Chitrasana’ as a mark of his service to the swamiji. Thus the swamiji emerging triumphant in debates after debates all along, reached Srirangam by 1696. The most popular queen Mangamma (1689-1706), daughter-in-law of Vishwanatha was ruling Madurai, an educational centre. A conference in which the scholars belonging to all the three sects participated took place at Srirangam which was under her rule. The pontiffs of all the three Mutts representing Dwaithism assembled there. The high esteem, the queen Mangamma had for education was singularly responsible for the conference. When a scholar initiated the debate with a poorvapaksha on behalf of Adwaithis, the responsibility of replying him devolved on Madhwas. Sumatheendratheertha lost no time in sensing the silence of the aged Sathyapoornatheertha of Uttaradi Mutt and that of the swamiji of Vyasaraja Mutt, and pleaded with both of them to give him an opportunity. Then strongly refuting everything set forth by the Adwaitha scholar with a befitting reply, the swamiji put forth another poorvapaksha challenging him to come out with a reply. The opposite group failed to thrash out a reply. Sathyapoornatheertha of Uttaradi Mutt watching the proceedings all along nodded his head in appreciation of Sumatheendratheertha’s triumph. Then he presented to the swamiji, the seat on which he used to sit and praised him, “your scholarship is unmatched. Today here in this royal court, the reputation of Dwaithism has reached the zenith through the excellence of your scholarship. Or else a severe ignominy would have stared us in the face. Therefore it would be nice if you accept this seat. From now on in commemoration of the honour I have done to you, carry on the administration of Vedantha Samrajya using the two seats to sit on”. The pontiff of Vyasaraja Mutt too expressed his admiration for swamiji’s scholarship. From then on the custom of using the two seats for swamiji to sit on came into vogue in the Mutt. The queen Mangamma was no exception and she too became an ardent devotee of the swamiji. Greatly impressed by his charisma, she did special honours to the swamiji and gifted him a village Aayirdhama in Srivilliputtur region as also a Mutt there on the day of Pournima of Magha Shuddha in Eshwara Samvatsara of 1697. Also she gifted an idol of Vaikunthavasudeva studded withinherited from ancient days.
The recipient of honours from queen Mangamma, swamiji terminating his tour visited Kumbhakonam to stay there for some days. From there he proceeded towards north. One Uttamarangappawho was the chief administrator of Genji in the North, honoured the swamiji with gifts of estates in 1699. Starting from there the swamiji came to Mysore state. Touring all over the state, he installed the idols of Pranadeva at different places to mark his visit and moved towards the river Tungabhadra. Taking a holy bath at the Tungabhadra in Shimoga, the swamiji camped at a village Helavanakatte on his way to Harihar. As it had the shrine of Sriranganatha, the swamiji found it to be an enchanting place.One Giriyamma, daughter-in-law of the Shanubhog of that village was an ardent devotee of God. A sacred soul who had manifested the Lord. The swamiji, a divine soul had known the greatness of Giriyamma. After the pooja at the house of Shanubhog, the swamiji blessed Giriyamma with Theertha and Mantrakshata. Also she was the first to have Mudradharana. Giriyamma always enjoyed the bliss of cuddling the Lord as a child. History has it that the swamiji joined her in fondling the divine child. Giriyamma has extolled Lord Moolarama as Continuing his journey, the swamiji touring all over north completed his pilgrimage and returned to Srirangam after having a darshan of Sri Gururaja at Mantralaya. Then a sorcerer came to Srirangam and tried to draw the divine charisma from the idol of Lord Ranganatha. It being the Kaliyuga, to show to the ignorant how the evil powers acquired through the persistent appeasement of forces like Shakthi can play havoc, the sorcerer succeeded in his evil act. Gradually the sheen on the face of the idol began to wane. The stunned priests ran in panic and surrendered before the swamiji begging him to use his mystic powers at such a catastrophic moment. The all knowledgeable swamiji planned a counter strategy and made the sorcerer flee. To ward off the ill effects of evil forces, the swamiji installed the idol of Pranadeva in front of Lord Ranganatha. Ever since then, the Mutt began to get special honours at Srirangam.Shahaji (1684-1711) grandson of King Shivaji who had dedicated his life to the protection of Hinduism accorded a royal reception to the swamiji and doing special honours at his royal court, prayed for swamiji’s stay there. The swamiji who stayed there for sometime shone as a symbol of knowledge at the royal court. The swamiji who had been honoured by the king before attaining sanyasa had written several books about the king. Therefore the king who was very eager to provide all the facilities to the swamiji who adorned Mahasamsthana, gave special gifts of estates to him. Swamiji’s scholarship was xtraordinary. His literary prowess was equally great. The swamiji prior to his sanyasa itself had written Jayaghoshana, Birudavalee, Rajastuthi, Shahuvijaya,
Books on philosophy too are held in high esteem. It has been described in Raghavendravijaya that Sri Gururaja wrote his books foreseeing that ‘Sumatheendra’ in his family would be competent to understand their importance.1 Thus it is Sumatheendra who was renowned to be a popular litterateur after Sri Gururaja. He was not a mere litterateur. Also greatly learned and conversant indeed with the essence of Tantrasara. Besides a great ascetic. In his book Mantrarathnakosha’, he has compiled all Mantras useful for Ahneeka adapted from the methodology and Dhyanashlokas. Madhwas can never afford to forget this gift. He regulated all the age old customs of the Mutt and introduced a suitable system. It was the swamiji who set the standard for the unique system that is being followed even today in the Mutt. It may not be redundant to state that this has opened altogether anew chapter in the history of the Mutt. It is because of this, he became popular as a trailblazer. Even today, the Mutt is popularlyknown as Sumatheendra Mutt in Tamilnadu. From this it becomes evident how extraordinary the charisma of swamiji is. It is only in him can one conspicuously find the grit that Vijayeendratheertha displayed in the tradition of the Mutt. What gave rise to his obsession with scholarship was his student hood under Sri Gururaja.The swamiji has carved a permanent niche for him in the history of the Mutt. He spent his last days at Srirangam itself and reached his heavenly abode there only, in the vicinity of his most beloved and paramaguru Sri Yogeendratheertha.
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