Wednesday, 28 November 2012

The Shastra Gooli of Uttradhi Matha

He had the shortest stint as the Peethadhipathi of the Uttaradhi Math. But his Keerti (fame) has outlived his lifespan and even today people talk about his expertise in shastras, philosophy and logic.
A terror to scholars of other streams of  philosophy, he was given the title “Shastra Gooli.” In Kannada, Gooli means a Bull and here, the title was a prefix to a Madhwa seer who was being compared by the people of his times to the redoubtable Jaya Theertha or Teekacharya who in his previous incarnation was a bull carrying the works of Madhwacharya.
Known as Sathyasanthustha Theertha, he had a very short period of just eight months and three days as head of this matha. Within this short time, he considerably improved the finances of the math and set it on a firm footing.
In his Poorvaashrama days, he was called Balachar. He was one of the Astana Pandita of the Wodeyars in Mysore. A keen learner, he was a student of another equally well-known scholar Patri Vedavyasachar.
The Wodeyar kings were patron of art and literature. They regularly conducted debates and lectures of scholars called Vidwat Sabhas. These sabhas became so famous that pandits and  scholars from India and abroad attended them.
The pandits who participated in these sabhas were felicitated. During one such Sabha, a scholar Chandramouli Avadhani challenged the gathering to a debate. While none dared to debate, Balachar agreed and then entered into a debate which went on or several days.
The arguments covered Shastra, Nyaya, Taraka and aspects of ontology. Chandramouli conceded defeat and the gathering were in awe of  Balachar who looked to them like a raging bull.
The Maharaja of Mysore, Krishna Raja Wodeyar (3), too noticed the ferocious manner in which Balachar defended the Dwaitha tenets and gave him the honorific “Shastra Gooli.” The Maharaja also conferred on him the honor of  leading the Vidwat sabha. He was also an expert in Vyakarana and Mimamsa apart from being well-versed in epistomology.
He entered Brindavana in 1841 in Mysore after initiating Satya Parayana Theertha as his successor. His Brindavana is next to the Brindavana of his guru, Sathyasankalpa Theertha. He was a contemporary of  Vidyanidhi Theertha of  Vyasaraja Matha, Sugynanedra Theertha of Raghavendra Swamy Matha and Raghunatha Theertha.
There is a story of his Brindavana. My parents and relatives in Mysore have seen holy water flowing from the Brindavana which was said to be Ganga. The flow of water after a woman who had menses touched the holy structure. This is what the priests in the Uttaradhi Matha in Hale Agrahara near Gun House in Mysore where the brindavana are located told my parents.

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