Udupi – RajathapeethaPura
LAND OF PARASHURAMA
Lord Vishnu, in his sixth incarnation as Parashurama, after making twenty. one assaults on kings who had deviated from the path of Dharma, performed a great yajna. Having donated all the land he won, he was left with no land for Himself. Reluctant to stay in the land already gifted, he reclaimed a strip of land from the Arabian Sea. This coastal strip of land, from Gokarna to Kanyakumari is known as Parashurama Kshetra.
Ramabhoja, a great devotee of Lord Parashurama was proclaimed the king of Parashurama Kshetra.lntending to perform a maha yajna, he got the site for the sacrificial fire ploughed up. A serpent got into the plough and got killed. Although the serpent was a demon in disguise, the king was worried, as it was a sin to kill a serpent. To atone this sin, he was directed by Lord Parashurama to build a big silver pedestal(Known as Rajathapeeta)as a seat to the Lord.
The place, where the Lord appeared in the form of Linga and occupied the silver pedestal is known as ANANTHESHWARA. It is believed that it was on the request of Lord Shiva that Lord Parashurama also enshrined in the Linga in the form Lord Anantha and hence the name Anantheshwara.The king Ramabhoja also built four Durgalayas(Durga temple) and Nagalayas (Subramanya temple) one each in each direction.
The Shri Anantheshwara Temple has been a seat of learning since time immemorial for the study of Veda, Vedanta, Upanishads. It was this place where Shri Madhwacharya obtained lessons from his Guru Shri Achyuthaprekshacharya. The details of Anantheshwara appear in the Shri Skandapurana.
It is said that Chandra (Moon God) was cursed by Daksha Prajapati. To ward off this curse, Chandra performed penance in propitiation of Lord Ishwara on the banks of a holy pond, Chandra pushkarini.Lord Ishwara being pleased, appeared and released Chandra off the curse. “This place has since been known a CHANDRAMOULEESHWARA and there is an ancient temple of this name. In Sanskrit, “Udu” means stars and “Pa” means lord. Udupa means lord of stars, which is Moon. Hence the place where Udupa(Chandra)performed penance and obtained grace is known as UDUPI.
Shri Madhwacharya and Pajaka Kshetra
SHRI MADHWACHARYA (1238-1317 A.D.)
Udupi emerged as a great centre of vedantic philosophy after the advent of Shri Madhwacharya.He was the exponent of ‘Dwaita Vedanta’
Shri Madhwacharya was born in a place called Pajaka at the foot of-a hill called Kunjarugiri or Durga betta, with a Durga temple on its top. The Acharya was born in fulfillment of the prayers offered by his parents at Ananteshwara temple with rigorous austerity for 12 years. He was initiated into ascetic order in his sixteenth year. He traversed the length and breadth of the country many times with his trusted disciples. Badrinath in the Himalayas was his favourite spot, where he is reported to have visited the hermitage of his Guru, the divine sage Shri Vedavyasa and received directions for writing his commentaries on ‘Brahmasutras’ and the Mahabharatha epic composed by the divine sage. In all he has written 37 works, 4 on Brahmasutras, 10 on Upanishads, 2 on Shri Bhagavadgita and the rest on various topics of philosophy. The ‘Dwaita’ philosophy highlights that the Lord (Paramathman) and the Subject (Jeevatman) are always different. Salvation (Moksha) is possible through pure devotion (Bhakti), which is eternal bliss. In several of his works the great Acharya has disclosed his identity as the third incarnation of Lord Vayu, the earlier incarnations being Hanuman and Bhima. He disappeared from human sight in 1317 . A.D. while delivering a discourse on Aitarey Upanishad at a particular spot in Ananteshwara temple.
It is at a distance of 12 kms from Udupi. It was at this place that Lord Parashurama created 4 ponds namely Gadathirtha, Parashuthirtha, Banathirtha, Dhanushthirtha and installed goddess Durga atop the hill. The house where Shri Madhwacharya was born at the foot of the hill. Even to this day one could see the spots where the Acharya spent his childhood and performed miracles.
Shri Krishna Mutt
LORD SHRI KRISHNA
The idol of Shri Krishna installed at the Shri Krishna Temple is carved out of Shalagrama Shila. Legend has it that Rukmini herself was worshipping this idol at Dwaraka.When Shri Krishna disappeared from this world Arjuna deposited this idol in the spot called ‘Rukmini Vana’.The idol which lay buried inside the mud of Gopichandan, was mistaken for a lump of Gopichandan and loaded as ballast into a ship carrying merchandise from Dwaraka along the West Coast When the ship was approaching the Malpe Port, it got caught in storm and was about to sink. Shri Madhwacharya who was on the shore waved his upper cloth and quietened the storm, saving the ship from disaster.The grateful captain of the ship offered’ all the wealth in his ship to Shri Madhwacharya. But the great Acharya chose the lump of gopichandan which lay in a corner.
He carried the gopichandan to Udupi, a distance of four miles, singing the ‘Dwadashstotra’. The moment he immersed the gopichandan in the Madhwasarovara, a beautiful idol of Shri Krishna emerged. Sensing these chain of events by his aparoksha jnana or divine knowledge, the Acharya himself installed the idol. The idol represents Lord Krishna in his playful childhood posture with a curd-churning rod in the right hand and the churning rope in the left Thus Lord Krishna came to be worshipped by Shri Madhwacharya and later by the pontiffs of Ashta Mutts founded by him. The right of touching and worshipping this idol rests with the pontiffs of these eight mutts only who are the spiritual descendents of Shri Madhwacharya.
The Swamijis of the eight Mutts conduct the worship at Shri Krishna Mutt by turns, for two years each. This tenure of worship by rotation is known as “Paryaya”. The Swamiji in charge of worship at any point of time is called ‘paryaya Swamiji’ and his mutt called the ‘Paryaya Mutt’.The biennial transfer of the privilege of worship from one mutt to another is celebrated as a grand festival called ‘Paryaya Festival’. The handover of charge begins with a grand procession where all the swamijis are brought in decorated palanquins (Pallaki). The outgoing Swamiji receives the Swamijis and then handsover to the incoming Swamiji, the keys to the Shri Krishna Mutt and the Akshaya patra (a vessel given by Shri I Madhwacharya to the temple for the sake of never-ending Annadana.
SHRI KRISHNA MUTT
The Shri Krishna Mutt is situated in Car street or the RathabeedhiI along with the Ashta Mutts. Tenkapet from the South, Badagupetfrom the North, Padupet from the West are the main motorable approaches. Shri Chandramouleeshwara and AnantheshwaraI temples are also situated alongside Shri Krishna Mutt. In this Rathabeedhi are also situated Annayacharya Mutt, Mulubagilu Mutt, Bhandarikeri Mutt, Vysaraya Mutt,Bheemanakatte Mutt, Uttaradi Mutt and Shri Raghavendra Mutt.
On entering the Car Street through Kanakadasa Road and proceeding towards the North one turns towards the east There is the tower of the Shri Krishna Temple with what is known as Kanakana Kindi. The tower was constructed by the Krishnapura Mutt Swamiji. To the right of that is Maana Stamba. This is between the Anantheshwara & Chandreshwara Temples.
At the entrance we notice a huge Gopura, which was constructed by Shri lakshmivara Theertha Swamiji of Shri Shiroor Mutt in 1978. On entering the Shri Krishna Temple is a huge bronze bell, which is rung during pooja time. There is also a huge plate which is beaten with a wooden hammer notifying the beginning of each & every hour. The Seva Office is to the right Beyond that we descend into the Madhwa Sarovar.
Shri Kanakadasa was a great devotee of Lord Shri Krishna. He lived at around the same time as Shri Vadiraja Swamiji at Udupi and was carrying out his Bhajans in front of the temple regularly. The spot where he was able to obtain darshan of Lord Shri Krishna is now famous as Kanakana Kindi. As per custom, the Swamiji who takes over charge of the worship for 2 years (paryaya) is required to see the Lord first through this spot.
The tank is amongst the most sacred of ancient Theerthas in our country. It is believed that qince in 12 years Mother Ganga flows into this Theertha filling it with her bounty. This was stressed repeatedly by the Saint Vijayadasa in his kritis.
To experience the full realization of this theertha a comprehensive reading of the SKANDA PURANA – SAHYADRI KHANDA – Section is advised. This theertha is named Madhwa Sarovara from the original PAAPA NASHINI (washing away of sins) after the period of Acharya Madhwa.
In the South West corner of the Madhwa Sarovar is a beautiful idol of Bhagirathi seated on a crocodile. In the middle of the tank is a beautiful mantapa. The deites of the Ashta Mutts are specially worshipped (Ksheerabdi Pooja) on the evening of Utthana Dwadashi every year. During Rathosthsava Nights, floating festival or Teppothsava takes place. This mantapa was constructed by Shri Raghavendra Swamiji of Puthige Mutt in the 16th century.
Opposite the Sarovar is the entrance to the Shri Krishna Mutt, where the statue of Chennakeshava greets us on our entrance. Only on Vijadashami Day now is the door opened and the Swamijis distribute the newly harvested holy corn(Kadiru) grown in the Mutt premises. 9 sacred Corns are brought into the shrine on this day for the fresh harvest feast.
On turning left we come across a small room known as Anuyaaga shale, the hall of oblation to the fire-God. Priests make oblation to the fire as puja is performed inside the Sanctum sanctorum.
A golden palanquin is kept in the room in front of that. The golden palanquin was donated by the pontiff of Shri Krishnapur mutt ShriVidyapurna Thirtha Swamiji. Further on we reach the Surya Shale. Here, scholars recite Veda, Purana, itihaasa and have religious discourses on the works of Shri Madhwacharya. In the evening pipers and musicians play on musical instruments.
To the right is a mantapa in front of the shrine. In between this mantapa and the sanctum sanctorum there is a small passage and a window through which pilgrims can obtain darshan of the Supreme being. This window with nine square openings is called NAVAGRAHA KINDI or window of the nine planets. It is believed that darshan through all nine openings will ensure prosperity. (Navavidha Bhakthi). The window is decorated with the carvings depicting the ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu.
In front of the Navagraha Kindi on either side of the Chandra Saale are the shrines of Lord Mukhyaprana on the North and Lord Garuda in the South. Both these idols were obtained at Ayodhya by Shri Vadiraja Swamiji. Lord Mukhyaprana is worshipped with groundnut floor after the Ratri puja of Lord Krishna. It is called Maharangapuja. All offerings to Lord Krishna are later on brought here and offered to the Lord.
Moving further we encounter the platform for sacred Tulasi plant and a big lamp post, it is well decorated during the bright fortnight of the lunar month of Karthika. The Tulasi plant is worshipped with recitations and dancings for twelve days during this period.
At the steps of the sanctum sanctorum a small shrine can be seen at the Southern side. It is of Shri Madhwacharya. Shri Vadiraja Swamiji installed the beautiful little idol draped in a loin cloth,holding a stick in one hand and the mudras of knowledge and fearlessness in the other.
To the North, a narrow passage leads towards the left to the throne, kitchen and dining hall known as Chauki. The entrance at the right leads to the sanctum sanctorum.
The Garbhagudi consists of 2 rooms. In the bigger room the. Swamiji’s perform the daily tarpana. There is also silver mantapa with the golden cradle where the shayanothsava of the Lord takes place. It is in the inner room that the idol of Lord Krishna installed facing west. There is a churning rod in the right hand and rope in the left and is the only one of its kind in India. The unique aspect of this idol is that it is etched with Chakrankitha. Only during ksheera Abhisheka is the beauty of this decoration evident.
This idol was brought from Malpe & immersed in the Papa Nashini theertha (Madhwa Sarovar) by the Acharya himself. Although his fourteen disciples tried to lift and carry the idol for installation, it was not possible for them together. But the Acharya alone was able to carry it and install the same and it stands there till this very day. This was possible for the Acharya to do so himself as he is the third incamation of Lord Vayu. ,
The lamps also have a long history behind them, Lit by the Acharya they burn to this very day, prominent among them, Bhadra Kaludeepa. There is a platform on either side of the Lord, when lamps are lit on this platform the ambience that is created is one of pearls flashing in all glory. To the right of the main idol is another of Shri Venugopalkrishna which is worshipped daily.
SARVAJNA PEETA (SIMHASANA)
Coming out of the Garbagudi is a narrow passage leading to the Sarvajna Peeta (Simhasana). This being the seat of Dwaita philosphy enthrones the Paryaya Swamiji.
On the left is a small dark room reserved for cooking special offerings for Lord Krishna’s Naivedya.
Moving ahead leads to the Chauki. The door at the left leads us I to the kitchen. The big hall of the Chauki, with seating capacity of : about 400 is the place where the Swamiji takes food in the form . of prasada of Shri Krishna along with scholars, guests and other pilgrims.
North of the Chauki is the Bhojana Shala. In the dining hall thousands of people are fed every day since the beginning of the . Madhwacharya era. The Bhojana Shala was constructed by the27th Poniff of Shri Shirur Mutt,Shri Lakshmi Samudra Thirtha Swamiji in 1915 AD. It is because of this that Udupi is known as Anna Brahma Kshetra with Tirupathi being known as Kanchana (Gold & Money) Brahma Kshethra and Pandarapura, Nada (music) Brahma Kshethra.
At the end of the passage we can notice the Vasanth mahal – a stage where recitations, lectures, discourses and other cultural programmes take place in the evenings. During the spring festival ! of Vaisakha month the ritual of Vasantha puje takes place here. , Formerly the paryaya congregation also used to take place here.
BADAGU MAALIGE – ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE
West of this building is the Badagu Maalige. The Administrative Offices, Treasury, Granary, etc., are found here. Since the days of Shri Vadiraja Swamiji upto the Second half of the 19th century the Paryaya congregation also used to take place in a hall inside the building. Continuing the ancient tradition even now the Swamiji sits on a decorated platform alongwith other Swamijis, exchanging Sandal Paste and other objects on Paryaya eve.
The Ganesha festival is celebrated for 4 days here in the month of Bhadrapada with the Paryaya Swamiji himself performing puja to the specially decorated idol of Shri Ganesha.
LORD SUBRAMANYA GUDI
East of the Vasanth Mahal is the shrine of Lord Subramanya constructed by Shri Vadiraja Swamiji. It is believed that Lord Subramanya is guarding a great treasure underneath donated to ShriVadiraja Swamiji by a Moghul Sultan.
To the right side of Shri Subramanya Gudi is the Navagraha gudi.. installed by Shri Lakshmivaratheertha Swamiji of Shri Shiroor Mutt in 1995.
Further to the East is the Cow shed (Goshala). Since cows are rendered very dear to Lord Krishna, Go puja is also is one of the sixteen pujas performed by Paryaya Swamiji. It is also a custom that the Paryaya Swamiji personally feeds the cows in the Goshala. after the Mahapuja. Beyond that is the stable for the elephant. . There are two elephants “Lakshmeesha_’ and “Subadhra”.
Behind Vasantha Mahal on the northern side is Vrindavana. There are 43 Vrindavanas and a very old Ashwatha tree. Aswatha Pradakshina is one of the duties of the Swamiji in charge of the Krishna mutt.
From there we can notice a vast level ground known as Rajangana. Paryaya assembly is arranged here. Mass feeding and cooking takes place here at festival time.
On one side of the Rajangana is the Shiroor Mutt Guest house. On the other side is the Guest house called Birla Choultry. To the side of Birla Chowltry is Shri Krishna Dhama, a Choultry constructed by Shri Vishwesha Thirtha Swamiji of Pejawar Mutt.Facing the Rajangana is the celebrated Gita Mandir constructed by Shri -Sugunendra Thirtha Swamiji of Shri Puthige Mutt which comprises of a meditation hall with all the eighteen chapters of the ShriBhagavad Geetha inscribed on the walls.