Wednesday 24 October 2012

Madhwacharya's Kanva

Kanva Theertha is a small village forty kilometers from Udupi. It is at this place that Madhwacharya is believed to have spent his last few months before disappearing from sight from the Ananthaeshwara Temple in Udupi.
This is the precise spot where Sage Kanva (Maharishi Kanva) meditated. He worshipped Rama.
Rama had come to this place and settled down for some time. Ravana’s brother Vibhishana heard about this and came here to attend on Rama. He stayed on for three years.
Vijayadhwaja Teertha, the sixth pontiff of the Pejavar Matha, has  installed an idol of Pranadevaru. There are two theerthas on either side of the idol-the Rama Theertha and the Kanva Theertha. Though the Pranadevaru temple the theerthas are located very nearthe sea, the waters if the theerta are sweet.
There is a big Ashwath Vrushka near by.  Madhwacharya observed chaturmasa vratha here and also gave Anugruhas to eight of his disciples who were being ordained to look after the Krishna Temple in Udupi.
The eight disciples and the mathas they headed are Hrishikesha Theerta (Palimar Matha),  Narasimha Theertha  (Adamar Matha),  Janardana Theertha (Krishnapura Mutt), Upendra Theertha ( Puttige Matha), Vamana Theertha (Kaniyoor Matha),  Vishnu Theertha (Sode Matha),  Rama Theertha (Shiroor Matha) and Akshobya Theertha (Pejawar Matha).
The Acharya’s younger brother, Vishnu Theertha, had been repeatedly requesting that he be ordained into the Sanyasa order. When the Acharya’s parents passed away, Vishnu Theertha came to Kavna Theertha and once again requested to be inducted into the Dwaitha order.
The Acharya obliged and handed over the responsibility of the Sode Matha to Vishnu Theertha. All these persons were ordained beneath the Ashwatha tree which can still be seen today. There is a Pejavar Matha here. The four main disciples of the Acharya-Padmanabha Theertha, Narahari Theertha, Madhava Theertha and Akshoba Theertha-were also ordained here. If we go to the Madhwa Vijaya and other contemporarty texts and the writings of  Hrikesha Theertha it would appear that Madhwacharya ordained these seers after coming back from Badari the second time.    
Another reason why this place is important for Madhwas is because the Acharya held a meeting of the eight seers he had ordained to talk about the Dwanda (two-fold) system or two matha system, of  Paryaya to look after the Krishna Temple. Under this system, if something happened to the Paryaya seer, the other seer could take over the worship. This system continues till today.
This meeting of Madhwacharya and  the disciples took place on a small platform under the peepal tree which is near the Kanvatheertha Matha. The waters of the ocean are calm and this is attributed to the Acharya who bathed there during the eclipse or Grahana (kannada word).
The Madhwa Vijaya tells us about the day Madhwa went to the ocean to take bath on a new moon day. On this day, both the sun and moon are supposed to be together.
The villagers of  Yekavata who were standing on the beach after taking bath visualize the ocean as prostrating before the Acharya. He then began giving a discourse on the Suktas of the Rig Veda and the Aithareya Shakha. Soon, the sonorous voice of the Acharya drowned the roar of the ocean and people began flocking around the Acharya.
It is natural for the ocean to have high tides when there is an eclipse. This was so then to but the presence of the Acharya appears to have calmed the ocean. Please check the Madhwa Vijaya for the almost lyrical description of this event.  

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