Who gave the title “Sripadaraja” to Sri Lakshminarayana Muni?
“Sripadaraja”, the name which literally means – King of Sripaadaas, the sanyaasins, is the name given to Sri Lakshminarayana Muni, who headed the parampare of Sri Padmanabha Tirtharu.
Many people are not aware of the real ashramanama name of Sripadarajaru. Most of us read him as Sripadarajaru only instead of his real name. Many have thought that Sripadaraja itself is the ashramanama. But the real name of Sripadarajaru is Lakshminarayana Muni when he took sanyasa from Sri SwarNavarNa Tirtharu.
But how he got the title Sripadaraja? It is widely said that Sri Lakshminarayana Muni got the title “Sripadaraja” at Koppara in the gracious presence of his guru Sri Vibudendra Tirtharu and Sri Raghunatha Tirtharu.
Recently a debate is going on as to the question of who gave the title Sripadaraja to Lakshminarayana Muni. Even though there are many points, which have come out of the debate, I am sorting out only the documents which are presented with proper analyses like that of Mr NAPS Rao and others. But there are some other comments which are flowed in the internet with 100% biased to a particular Mutt formula. As such, I have not mentioned their names. However I have tried to analyze on their possible points as well.
This is not a conclusion, anybody could contribute for the discussion. Any healthy discussion is welcome to ensure that the unity of the Mutt is maintained and at the time history is not filtered.
The same has to be analyzed on various aspects which can be summarized as follows :
- Where was the title given?
- Who gave the title? whether Sri Vibudendra Tirtharu or Sri Raghunatha Tirtharu? or some body else?
- Who were present when the title was given?
- What was the circumstances under which the title was given?
- Whether the title “Sripadaraja” was famous during his period only or after his vrundavana pravesha?
- When was the title given?
- Whether Sri Raghunatha Tirtharu, Sripadarajaru, Sri Vibudendra Tirtharu were contemporaries?
- Whether Sri Raghunatha Tirtharu was the ashrama jyesta to Sripadaraja?
- Whether Sri Vibudendra Tirtharu was the ashrama jyesta to Sripadaraja?
- Whether only ashrama jyesta can give the title?
- Whether some mutt pontiffs should not give the title? If given, is it invalid?
- Whether moola swaroopa jnaana is required for ascertaining whether the title given to Lakshminarayana Muni is correct or not?
- If the moola swaroopa of Sri Raghunatha Tirtharu is not known, whether he can give the title?
- Whether any king was present during the honouring of the title?
- Whether Sri Raghunatha Tirtharu was a grantha kartha or was a Sudha pandit to honour other?
- Whether a junior seer can’t give the title to a senior title? or only a senior seer has to give the title?
- Whether there is any kakshya superiority is required for honouring another yathi?
- Whether there is devaranama which records the giving the title?
- Whether there is any reference in any grantha as to the record of honouring the title is available or it is just a verbal saying?
- Whether any Mutt is just saying that one gave the title to express their Mutt’s superiority over the other?
- Whether any yathi’s name is spoiled when another Mutt yathi offered the title?
- Whether the title given by Raghunatha Tirtharu is the judgement of the capacity of Sripadarajaru or simply a just of respect?
In this way, many questions can be analysed for finding out the issue of “Sripadaraja” Title given to Sri Lakshminarayana Muni. Now, we shall try to analyze one by one points.
Where was the title given? – For this there is consensus amongst all that it is given at Koppara in the Narasimha kshetra and there is no dispute.
Who gave the title? whether Sri Vibudendra Tirtharu or Sri Raghunatha Tirtharu? or some body else? – This point we shall discuss later, as this is the main topic, after studying all the other facts.
Who were present when the title was given? – As per the various documents it is said that Sri Vibudendra Tirtharu who was hearing the anuvaada of his shishya Sri Sripadarajaru, Sri Raghunatha Tirtharu who came on a visit to Koppara were present. There are some versions, which says that Sri Saalva Narasimha Devaraya (1485-1491), who was the king of Chandragiri. (He was the first king of Saaluva Dynasty) But it is said that he was commander in chief of the army of Chandragiri, and was the Mandaladhishwara of the Chandragiri dynasty even earlier to 1470AD).
What was the circumstances under which the title was given? – The version goes on like this – Once Sri Vibudendra Tirtharu, was staying in Koppara Narasimha kshetra for chaturmaasya. He was doing Srimannyayasudha paata to Sri Lakshmi NarayaNa Tirtharu. Sri Raghunatha Tirtharu came there on tour and had decided to stay for Chaturmasya at the same place, where Sri Vibudendra Tirtharu had stayed. Daily paata by Sri Vibudendra Tirtharu was going on to his shishya Sri Lakshminarayana Tirtharu. During this Sri Raghunatha Tirtharu also had the presence. Sri Lakshminarayana Muni had the opportunity of presenting the anuvada of Srimanyaya sudha in front of vidya guru Sri Vibudendra Tirtharu and in front of another seer Sri Raghunatha Tirtharu. He was daily observing the paanditya of Lakshminarayana Muni. Overwhelmed with joy, Sri Raghunatha Tirtharu felt happy and praised Sri Lakshmi Narayana Tirtharu and gave the title “Sripadaraja” in front of Sri Vibudendra Tirtharu. That was the vidyaa pakshapatitva of Sri Raghunatha Tirtharu.
Whether the title “Sripadaraja” was famous during his period only or posthumously ? – Yes. The title was famous during Sripadaraja’s period itself and was famous during his period itself.
- Sri Vyasarajaru in his kruti “vaadigajamastakaamkusha sujana budhagEya mEdinIsuravaMdya shrIpaadaraya” has used the word Sripadaraya.
- Sri Vyasarajaru in his Sripadaraja Pancharathnamaalika, has said “vaMdE shrIpaadaraajaM ruchitamahRuyaM pUjita shrI sahaayaM “.
- Sri Vadirajaru in his Sripadaraja stotraM starting from “dwaipaayanOttama…… says shrIpaadaraajavarashaapaayudhaM….”
- Sri Vadirajaru in his devaranama “srIpaadaraayara divya shrIpaada bhajisuve” also mentioned Sripadaraja
- Sri Vyasarajaru in his devaranama “paramata Ganavana paavakane sharaNu bhUsurasuta siri naaraayaNa yOgi”. has mentioned the name naaraayaNa yOgi instead of Sripadaraja.
- Sri Vyasarajaru in the charamashloka of Sripadarajaru says ” ಜ್ಞಾನವೈರಾಗ್ಯ ಭಕ್ತ್ಯಾದಿ ಕಲ್ಯಾಣಗುಣಶಾಲಿನ: |
- ಲಕ್ಷ್ಮೀನಾರಾಯಣಮುನೀನ್ ವಂದೇ ವಿದ್ಯಾಗುರೂನ್ಮಮ || “jnaana vairaagya bhaktyaadi kalyaaNaguNashaalina: | lakShmInaaraayaNa munIn vaMdE vidyaagurUnmama” – has used the word Lakshminarayana Muni.
Note : All the above quotes are from the contemporaries of Sripadarajaru. The above quotes do not disclose whether he was famous as “Sripadaraja” during his life time or posthumously. Sri Vyasarajaru himself has quoted Lakshminarayana Muni and Sripadaraja in several of his krutees.
When was the title given?
Some have analysed and taken into account many possible dates of Raghunatha Tirtharu and Sripadarajaru. Mr NAPS Rao has considered two possible dates, i.e., 1444-1502AD and the other date 1479-1527. He has based for the second that about Sri Vidyanidhi Tirtha’s charamashloka effect which may drag him to 68 years of moola raama pooja. This even UM itself can’t accept as Sri Vidyanidhi entered vrundavana in 1444AD itself as per UM Records. Even if Mr NAPS Rao suggest that Vidyanidhi were in the peeta for 68 years, then he has to drag the period of Vidyanidhi to 1503AD (but he suggest 1479-1527 for Raghunatha Tirtharu, which also can’t tally). As such, I feel that the second (1479-1527 for Raghunatha Tirtharu) is not acceptable. It cannot be taken into account while analyzing the dates of Raghunatha Tirtharu as there is no supporting evidences. Only some sources have taken those dates, without satisfactory documents. Whereas the first date 1444-1502AD or 1444-1504AD seems to be correct as it has more documents.
There is no conclusive dates as to the date of giving the title. No one, whether it is UM or RM or SRPM has suggested any possible dates for the date of the title given to Lakshminarayana Muni.Whether Sri Raghunatha Tirtharu, Sripadarajaru, Sri Vibudendra Tirtharu were contemporaries?
The ashrama period of the yathees are as follows (as per mostly accepted data) :
- Sri Sripadarajaru 1412 – 1504 AD
- Sri Vibudendra Tirtharu – 1435 – 1490AD
- Sri Vidyanidhi Tirtha’s period – 1436-1444 AD
- Sri Raghunatha Tirtharu – Period 1444 – 1502AD
- Sri Vyasarajaru – 1447 – 1539AD
Note : Sripadaraja’s Vrundavana date also differs from various analysis. a) Sri BNK Sharma says in his book “Dwaitha Vedantha Vajmaya & Itihasa – in Page no 397 (Kannada Version) as 1420-1487; whereas in the same book in page no 494 as 1420 – 1486. According to him, Sripadaraja’s Vrundavana is in 1486AD or 1487AD b) Sri Naps Rao says it is in 1502AD (Ashrama period 1412-1502) c) Sripadaraja Mutt Panchanga says it is 1504AD (Ashrama period 1412-1504) d) Sripadaraja Mutt Website says it is in 1504AD (Ashrama period 1412-1504) e) Sri Aralumallige Parthasarathi in his book “Sripadaraja Samputa “says. 1502 (1412-1502AD) Sri Raghunatha Tirtharu’s ashrama period is said to be from 1444-1502AD as per Uttaradimutt Panchanga. But based on the charama shloka of Sri Vidyanidhi Tirtharu, said to be composed by Sri Raghunatha Tirtharu, some section of people are saying the ashrama period of Raghunatha Tirtharu as after 1503AD only. But none of the records suggest the Sri Vidyanidhi Tirtharu was there in the peeta upto 1503AD. May be some different meaning for the charama shloka as to the 68 years, which UM has to clarify. “This 68 years, may be 60 years + 8 years =68 years. What is wrong. If he was sanyasi for 60 years in Taulava parampare, and 8 years in Ramachandra Tirtha parampare. But just based on the charama shloka one can’t pull the date beyond 1503 for Raghunatha Tirtharu. Some said that since he is from Taulava parampare, Sri Vidyanidhi can’t be accepted. Acharya Madhwa is from Taulava parampare only. Sri Narahari Tirtha has come from Kalinga kingdom. Sri Padmanabha Tirtha has come from Godavari. Sri Akshobhya Tirtha is from Gulbarga. Sri Jayatirtha is from Gulbarga region. Sri Vyasaraja is from Mysore. Sri Rayaru came from Tamilnadu. As such, just because he is from Taulava parampare one can’t rule out his ashrama. There are many pontiffs from Taulava parampare who are recognised as great for Madhwa philosophy like Satyatirtharu, Sri Hrisheekesha Tirtharu, Sri Vijayadhwaja Tirtharu, whose we are honoring. Even in the latest parampare, Sri Pejawara Seer, Sri Phalimaaru Seer, Sri Bhandarfakeri Seer, Sri Puttige Seer, Sri Vidyamaanya Tirtharu are all from Taulava parampare only and are all recognised as great for Madhwa Philosophy. If one tries to reject Sri Vidyanidhi just basing his Taulava, then we have to reject Acharya Madhwa also. Can we do that. Our Madhwa philosophy is not based just on a particular place basis. This does not have any impact on the Madhwa culture. In view of the above all the three Sri Vibudendra Tirtha, Sri Raghunatha Tirtha and Sri Sripadaraja are all contemporaries. Whether Sri Raghunatha Tirtharu was the ashrama jyesta to Sripadaraja? Whether Sri Vibudendra Tirtharu was the ashrama jyesta to Sripadaraja? Sri Sripadarajaru was ashrama jyesta to even his vidya guru Sri Vibudendra Tirtharu, then the question of ashrama jyestatva (seniority) against Sri Raghunatha Tirtharu does not arise at all. Sri Vibudendra Tirtharu is said to be in the peeta since 1435 AD (as per Gurucharite). Sri Raghunatha Tirtharu took ashrama only in 1444AD as already discussed. But Sripadaraja took sanyaasa in 1412AD. That means Sri Sripadarajaru is quite senior to both Vibudendra Tirtharu and Sri Raghunatha Tirtharu in his ashrama sweekara, and as such he is ashrama jyesta only. Here even Sri Vibudendra Tirtha’s sanyasa period may be guessed much earlier to 1435AD. It was in 1435AD that Sri Ramachandra Tirtharu entered vrundavana. He would have given early also. But when? No records are available. Even RM history (Gurucharite) is silent on the date of sanyasa. It clearly says that Sri Ramachandra Tirtharu (1406-1435AD) handed over the Sri Raamachandra idol for worshiping to Vibudendra Tirtharu. It further says when Sri Vibudendra Tirtha went for extensive tour for Madhwa dharma prachaara, the idol was kept with his guru only. It is an indication that Sri Vibudendra Tirtharu was a sanyasi before 1435AD. But the exact date of his ashrama sweekara is unknown from any records. Even though Sri Vibudendra Tirtharu was the Vidya Guru of Sripadarajaru, one can’t rule out that Sri Vibudendra Tirtha must have taught in his poorvashrama itself. There is no rule that only a sanyasi must teach sanyasi. There are many instances where a gruhastashrami is the guru of a sanyasi. What are the documents which narrate that Sri Raghunatha Tirtharu gave the title “Sripadaraja” to Lakshminarayana Muni?
- 1) As per Karpara Narasimha Dasa’s Kruti –
Some said – Sri Sripadarajaru has not only a single grantha – Vaagvajra. He may not have been so much qualified? REPLY – It is baseless. Sri Sripadarajaru deserves more than that. He was the vidya guru of Sri Vyasarajaru and many others. One can’t give him anything. It is only a part of respect which Sri Raghunatha Tirtharu has shown on him and it will not judge the capacity of Sripadarajaru. He has done everything in devaranama itself. By virtue of number of krutees one can’t judge the capacity of any yathi or pandit. There are many scholars like Sri Brahmanya Tirtha, who has not given any grantha. But the shishyas which are his contributions can’t be ruled out. That is an indication as to their “vidya”.
Please note : The section of people who are telling that Sri Vibudendra Tirtha has given the title or Sri Saalva Narasimha has given the title or those whose are rejecting Sri Raghunatha Tirtha from giving the title to Lakshminarayana Muni have not given any proof for their saying. It is just simply based on assumptions. Some have tried to assume that the Raghunatha Tirtha name should not be coming just because he is from UM. One person who is so fond of creating the other Mutt said “those who are telling Raghunatha Tirtha has given the title are frauds”. But had he given any proof for his stand for his stand, one would have appreciated. This is nothing but prejudiced statement by some section of people. Such an attitude should be condemned
It is not the judgement that Raghunatha Tirtha gave the title. I have extracted and collected those information from various investigative article. If any body provides the other way also, we should be ready to accept, provided, it has some proof, without bias and without any MUTT sentiment.
I am ready to correct myself, if anything proved wrong in my above analysis. My main intention of analysing is just to make sure that the history is not modified to MUTT politics. The next generation should not have mutt based politics, which are being prompted by some section of people.
Source –a) Sri Chikkerooru Mukkundi Srikantacharya’s book “Sri Raghunatha Tirtharu haagu Sri Sripadarajaru” released in February 2009 b) BNK Sharma’s book c) Various devaranamas d) Various articles.