Sunday 30 December 2012

The horse that inspired a stuti

Vadiraja Theertha was a frequent traveler. The most famous disciple of  Vyasa Theertha, he often visited Hampi or Vijayanagar.
When in Hampi, Vadiraja Theertha, Vyasa Raja. Purandara Dasa and Kanaka Dasa gathered either at the ashrama of Vyasa Raja or the University of Vijayanagar of which Vyasa Raja was the Chancellor. They all discussed Madhwa Siddantha and many a times Purandara needed just a gesture from Vyasa Raja to start composing extempore one of his innumerable Devaranamas.
Vadiraja visited almost all the pilgrim places in India and wrote about it in a book called Theertha Prabhanda.
Once Vadiraja visited Pandrapur which was under the rule of the Adil Shahi Kings of Bijapur. This visit was sometime in the 1550s. Vadiraja and his disciples came to the shrine of Panduranga Vittala.
They decided to stay back in the temple for a few days. A few days had passed when an angry resident of Pandrapur marched upto the temple and began berating Vadiraja Theertha. It took a little time for the seer and his followers to understand that the man was angry as a horse was eating away all his crops, particularly Bengal Gram (Kadale) and nothing he did could scare away the horse.
Vadiraja Theertha and his disciples were flummoxed when the man said the horse belonged to them. An astonished Vadiraja Theertha vainly remonstrated with the man, saying that the horse did not belong to him but to no avail. The man then decided to search the temple and the surroundings sure that he could find the horse.
The man searched for a long time and found no trace of any animal let alone a horse. He went back a deeply unhappy man, muttering to himself about people allowing animals to wantonly destroy crops.
Vadiraja Theertha then asked the man to show him the horse. The man readily agreed and took him to his field a little away from the temple. By then, a number of people had gathered and they all pitied the man. All of them along with the seer marched to the field.
When the group came to the field, all of them were astonished to see that corns of gold wherever the horse had grazed in the field.
While the entire gathering looked nonplussed, Vadiraja said it was Lord Hayavadhana or Hayagriva who had come to Pandrapur in the form of a horse and eaten the grains.
Variraja then turned to the farmer and told him how lucky he was to have seen God with his eyes in this Yuga. The farmer was overcome with devotion and he gave up the land to the Matha and he prostrated before the seer, pleading for forgiveness and seeking Vadiraja’s blessings.          
The story does not end here. Vadiraja Theertha composed the Dashavatara Stuthi in honor of the incident. This is set to Ashva dhaati and when sung it resembles a horse dance.
When Vadiraja began composing the song, a white horse came near him and began prancing about, keeping its steps in tune with the Raaga. When Vadiraja tried to come near the horse, it vanished into thin air.   
The stotra begins thus:
Om Mathsyaya namaha
Proshhthisha Vigraha Sunishthiva Noddhata Vishishtambuchari Jaladhe……”
Vadirajaru regularly offered Hayagreeva Naivedya to Lord Hayagreeva.  The sweet Naivedya was cooked mainly with ghee, jaggery, Kadale Bele (channa dal), almonds and grapes.  Every day Hayavadana would come in the form of the white horse, place its front legs on each shoulder of Vadiraja Theertha and eat.
Vaadiraja Theertha sang Dashavatara Stuti and the horse used to dance.
Today, the most common photograophs we see of Vadiraja Theertha is of a horse placing its front legs on his shoulders and eating Hayagreeva.  

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