Wednesday, 22 January 2014

The story of the Chakratheertha

This is the first of the 732 Hanuman idols that the venerable Vyasa Raja or Vyasa Theertha (1447-1539) consecrated. The idol is in Hampi or Vijayanagar and it has an interesting history.
Vyasa Raja was he Raja Guru of  Vijayanagar. He not only stayed in Vijayanagar and advised the Emperor, but also held the position of Chancellor of Vijayanagar University.
Vyasa Raja and his disciple, Purandara Dasa, were inseparable. Purandara was always at the beck and call of Vyasa Raja, whom he acknowledged as his guru. When Vyasa Raja preached, Purandara sang and danced.
Whenever Vyasa Raja stayed at Vijayanagar, he used to walk from the Virupaksha Temple to Chakratheertha where the Kodandarama Temple is situated. This temple is believed to be the precise spot where Rama crowned Sugreeva King of Kishkinda after killing Vali.
Vyasa Raja always had his bath at the Chakratheerta. He then meditated and prayed at a rocky hill adjacent to the Chakratheerta.
Chakratheertha had a special place in the heart of Vyasa Raja as the swirling waters here form the image of Rama. Lakshmana and Sita.   
One day, a monkey came and sat on a rock where ha had drawn it with angara or charcoal. It disappeared into a rock soon after Vyasa Raja completed his pooje. It vanished from the surface of the rock. This happened several times (Legend says it occurred twelve times over a period of twelve days) and for several days. One evening, Vyasa Raja prayed to Prana Devaru and requested him to stay back on the rock and bless people.
Vyasa Raja then composed the Yantrodharaka Hanuman stotra. He then encircled the image with yantra. This is called the Shatkona Yantra or Hexagon which is also known as the Vayu Yantra. Thereafter, the image of the monkey then remained on the rock.
This place is holy as it is here that Hanuman met Rama when he came with Lakshmana to Kishkinda searching for Sita, who had been kidnapped by Ravana.
Today, this area is better known as Yantrodharaka Hanuman. This is the place where Vyasa Raja meditated. This is also the place where Purandara Dasa used to give Hastodaka for Prana Devaru.
It was the Vijayanagar Emperor, Tammaraya, who constructed the Yantrodharaka temple on the rock. He also built the steps leading to the temple.
The temple has attracted Madhwa seers and Haridasas right from the time of  Vyasa Raja. One of the three sons of Purandara Dasa called Madhwapathi Dasa, worshipped it daily. In fact there is story that Madhwapathi Dasa as a child used to return home in Hampi only after the Yantrodharaka Hanuman took the Hastodaka prepared by his father.
Vyasa Raja has composed a song on Yantrodharaka Hanuman and it is called by the same name. This is one of the few temples of Hanuman in a sitting position.  
Raghavendra Swamy, the next avatar of Vyasa Raja, came to Chakratheertha and worshipped the Hanuman temple before proceeding to Nava Brindavana.  Vijaya Dasa, who is believed to Madhwapathi Dasa the son of Purandara Dasa in his earlier birth and also an amsha of Brighu Muni, has composed a beautiful poem on the Yantrodharaka Hanuman.
Surendra Theertha and Vijayendra Theertha of the Rayara Matha, Vadiraja Theertha of  Sode, Srinivasa Theertha and Rama Theertha of Sosale Vyasaraja Matha, Kanaka Dasa, Jagannatha Dasa, Gopala Dasa, Guru Jagannatha Dasa, Mohana Dasa have worshipped the idol at different points of time.

The composition by Vijaya Dasa on the Yantrodharaka Hanuman is a suladi and it goes like this:

Yantrodharaka Hanuma Surasarvabhouma
Yantradharaka Yenage Manasinolage
Yantravahakana Dayadindha
Sakalantaryamiyagi Characharadaliya
Tantravanu Nadesuva Mantri
Eetanu Kano Swatantrapurusha
Vijayavithalana Nijaa Bhakta
Antravilladae Thana Stutiparana Poreva.

One of the most famous disciples of Vijaya Dasa was Gopala Dasa. He too has written a beautiful song on the Yantrodharaka Hanuman.

Idu yeno Charita Yantrodhara
Idu Yeno Charita
Sri Padumanabhana Dhoota
Sada Kala Sarvara Hrudayantargatanagi
Varidhi Gospada Nerante
Dhira Yogasana Dhariyagipudu
Durula Kouravaranu Vara Gadeyali
Konda Karadali Japamale Dharisi Yenisuvudu
Hena Matagalanu Vanili Taridantha
Jnanavantane Hege Mounavagipudu
Sarvavyapaka Neenu Poorvika Devane
Sarvana Pitha Bandu Parvata Sereadu
Gopalavitalage Nee Pretiya Mantriyu
Vyapara Madade Ee Pari Kuli.

The Chakratheertha is one of the most holy spots for pilgrims in Hampi. It is this very place where Vishnu got his Chakra. Since the Tungabhadra flows nearby, it got the name Chakratheertha.
Near the Chakratheertha is the Purandara Mantapa and across the river is Nava Brindavana, which houses the nine brindavana of Madhwa saints. Nava Brindavana is also the place where the first ever Brindavana of a Madhwa saint was built and this is of Padmanabha Theertha, one of the four direct disciples of  Madhwacharya.
The Brindavana of  another of the four direct disciples of Madhwacharya-Narahari Theertha- is also located nearby. His Brindavana is not part of the Nava Brindavana complex. Narahari Theertha has ascended the Madhwa peetha after Padmanabha Thertha.
Chakratheertha has a number of smaller temples and many sculptures that are scatter across the rocks. Some of them include the small Kotilinga which is sculpted on a rock, avatars of Vishnu sculpted on a rock, sculptures of Lakshmi Narasimha and Anantha Padmanabha on boulders and a few paintings belonging to the Stone Age.   
Coming back to the Yantrodharaka Hanuman, Vyasa Raja travelled all over the Vijayanagar Kingdom and consecrated 731 more idols of Hanuman after this one at Hampi. Of the 732, he consecrated more than 360 in Penukonda itself.
Chakratheertha can be described as Hampi’s most sacred bathing Ghat and a point for crossing the swirling Tungabhadra on a coracle.
Nearby is the Vyasaraja Temple which once formed part of the famed Lokapavani University or Hampi University of which Vyasa Raja was the Chancellor. This University had 10,000 students.         
Today, we can see a majority of the Vyasa Prathistha Hanuman in the states of  Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. Some of the prominent Vyasa Prathistha Hanuman in and around Bangalore are the Gali Anjaneya on Mysore Road, the Kannaspatre Anjaneya or Hanuman in front of Minto Eye Hospital, the Kote Anjaneya in fort near City Market, the Hanuman Temple at Kengal on Bangalore-Mysore Road and the Anjaneya Temple at Honnenahalli near Yelahanka on the Doddaballapur road.

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