Thursday 1 November 2012

The Nava Brindavanas at Erode

The Nava Brindavana at Hampi is so famous that there is no need to write about it or the Madhwa saints who entered Brindavana there.  The first Madhwaq saint to enter Brindavana here is Padmanabha Theertha in 1324. The last saint who entered Brindavana here is Sudhindra Theertha, the Gurugalu of Raghavendra Swamy.
Apart from the Nava Brindavana here there are three other similar Navan Brindavanas in India. These place are not as well known as the Nava Brindavana. The Sripadaraja Matha at Erode (Pallipalayam) has the brindavana of nine of its pontiffs. They all belong to the Sripadaraja Matha. There are nine Brindavanas of Madhwa saints in Shenbakkam in Vellore.
The Vyasaraja Matha at Sosale near Mysore has also constructed a Nava Brindavana for pontiffs of its mathas. All the four Nava Brindavanas are located across rivers.
The Nava Brindavana in Hampi is on Tungabhadra, the Shenbakkam is across Palar, the Sosale Brindavana is at the confluence of the Cauvery and Shimsha and the Erode Brindavanas is at the confluence of Cauvery, Bhavani Sagar and an invisible river called Amudha.
Since I have already written about Nava Brindavana in Hampi, I will come to the Brindavanas at Erode.
The Brindavanas of Erode all belong to one matha-Sripadaraja Matha. This matha is is headquartered at Mulabagal, near Kolar. It is 108 kms from Bangalore.
Many pontiffs of this matha spent time in Erode and other places. Some of them have their Brindavana here. The first to enter Brindavana here is Lakshmi Manohara Theertha in 1715.

The nine saints are as follows:

1 Sri Lakshmi Manohara Theertha (1670-1708)
2. Sri Lakshmipathi Theertha (1700-1715)
3. Sri Srinidhi Theertha(1781-1787)
4. Sri Vidyanidhi Theertha (1772-1795)
5. Sri Sudhinidhi theertha (1888-1908)
6. Sri Sri Medhanidhi Theerth (1908-1926)
7. Sri Thejanidhi  Theertha (1770-1806)
8. Sri Thaponidhi Theertha  (1806-1838)
9. Sri Yashonidhi  Theertha (1840-1856)

Lakshmi Manohara Theertha

The first Brindavana here belongs to Lakshmi Manohara Theertha. He was the pontiff od the Sripadaraja Matha from 1670 to 1708. His Ashrama Gurugalu was Sri Raghunatha Teertha.
He has consecrated a temple to Hanuman in Hosur. He had come to Hosur during his visit to Mulabagal
He spent 38 years at Odapalli, which is the confluence of Cauvery and Bhavani Sagar. He gave Ashrama to Lakshmipathi Theertha and entered Brindavana on Pushya Shudha Poornoima.

Lakshmipathi Theertha

He succeeded Lakshmi Manohara Theertha as the pontiff of the Sripadaraja Matha.  He was the pontiff till 1715.
He was a scholar and also a well-known Ayurveda specialist. He himself distilled medicines from Ayurvedic herbs and treated people. His favourite vegetable for making medicines was Thonde Kai. People, therefore, also called him as Thonde Kai Swamy.
His Aradhane Thithi is Ashada Shudha Dwadashi. Even today, Thonde Kai is used here in his memory.
Srinidhi Theertha

Locals of Erode rate this Swamy highly. He is said to be one of the most popular Hindu pontiffs. He has written several slokas on the life of Sripadaraja.
He took over the matha in 1745 from Srikantha Theertha.
He handed over the reigns of the Matha to Vidyanidhi and entered Brindavana in  1772. His Aradhane Thithi is Ashwayuja Bahula Sapthami.
Vidyanidhi Theertha
He headed the Sripadaraja Matha till 1795. He was known for his extensive and scholarly discouses. He had an abiding interest in science.
His Thithi is on Vaishaka Shudha Padya.
Sudhinidhi Theertha
He was from Mulabagal and he has been immortalised by the great Kanada poet DV Gundappa (DVG) in his poem Mulabagilina Madhava Mahaniyaru.
His Poorvashrama name was Hariyappa Charya. He was given the name Sudhinidhi Theertha by  Sugnananidhi Theertha.
He entered Brindavan in 1908 on Phaluguna Bahula Ashtami on Vishwavasu samvatsa.
Medhanidhi Theertha
He was the brother-in-law of Sudhinidhi Theertha. He was given the name Medhanidhi by Sudhinidhi.
Medhanidhi Theertha was an Ayurvedic expert. His Brindavana Pravesha was on Karthika Amavasya of Vibhava Samvatsara.
Yashonidhi Theertha
His Aradhane is on Pushya Shukla Dashami. He was the predecessor of Taponidhi Theertha. He was the pontiff from 1838to 1840.
Not much is known of the other two pontiffs. I will try to obtain information from the Matha and post them as and when I get them.
Erode is a major railway junction in Tamil Nadu. It is easily approachable from Bangalore, Chennai and other places either by rail or by road. Erode has several tourist and religious places.
The next article will be on the nine brindavanas of the Vyasraja matha at Sosale.

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