Saturday, 19 October 2013

Of gods and seers

One of India’s most favourite Gods, Krishna, was a master of all the 64 arts that is called Kala in Sanskrit. His mastery earned him the title Chausath Kala Devatha.
Apart from Krishna, another God who had mastered these arts is Ganesha. Another God who was an expert in these arts was Hanuman or Anjaneya. Thus, if we have Hanuman in the Ramayana period, we have Krishna during the Mahabharata as exponents of such arts.
Krishna is the eighth incarnation of Vishnu and today scholars have been able to approximately date the period in which he lived. Even the Kurukshetra war has been assigned a time line.
Krishna mastered 64 arts in 84 days in the ashrama of Sandipana in Ujjain or Avanti. He is, therefore, also called as Yogeshwar or the master of all arts or siddhis or subjects.
Krishna is supposed to have left the Earth on February 8, 3012 and that day was the beginning of Kali Yuga. Interestingly, Durga has 64 yoginis.
In Hinduism, many Gods apart from the above-mentioned ones have been invested with the mastery of 64 arts and some heroic figures in the Mahabharata like Bheema, Arjuna, Yudhistera, Nakula and Sahadeva were known or their mastery over a particular art.
Yudhistera was a proponent of dharma and he was known for his mastery over political maneuvering. He was a master spearsman.
If Arjuna was a matchless bowman, he was also an expert dancer. Bheema was a wrestler and mace fighter apart from being a master chef. Nakula was an expert horseman and he could treat any illness of horses. He was also an Ayurveda expert.
His twin brother, Sahadeva, was an expert astrologer.  During the Vanavasa, he worked as a cowherd as he was a master in the art of  tending to cattle.  
Madhwacharya (1199-1287) too was an expert in so many arts that it defies description. Apart from being a brilliant orator, he was also a man of immense physical strength and he had mastered the art of levitation or making oneself as weightless as possible and also becoming so physically strong that he could not be pushed let alone moved.
He was also an alchemist and this was proved when he gave tamarind seeds to a money lender which later transformed into gold coins. The tamarind tree still stands at Pajaka Kshetra. He was a writer par excellence and his Sarvamoola Grantha are perhaps the most scholarly work by a philosopher.
An excellent debater, he easily defeated all the pandits who preached other forms of siddantha such as Adwaitha. His prowess as a gymnast are too well-known to be elaborated here. 
After Madhwacharya, we come across a long line of Madhwa seers who were experts in the arts. While many of them such as Sripadaraja (1404-1502), Vyasaraja (1447-1539), Vadiraja (1480-1600), Vijendra Theertha (1517-1614), Raghavendra Swamy, Raghuttama Theertha (1537-1596) exhibited their prowess and expertise in these arts at different periods of time, there are many others like Purandara Dasa (1484-1564), Kanaka Dasa (1509-1609), Vijaya Dasa (1682-1755), Jagannatha Dasa of Manvi (1728-1809) and a host of others seers and holy men who could perform to perfection many of these arts such as magic, composing music, playing musical instruments, engage people in conversation, debate and also play the role of the Pied Pier of Hamlyn by ridding people of their sins and leading them on to the path of Sri Hari.
Madhwa seers and they are so many in number that it would be impossible to name them, were experts in Ayurveda, alchemy, palmistry, astrology, astronomy, theology, philosophy and magic.
The Uttaradhi Matha seers were known for their master over different arts. Satyavrata Theertha showed his prowess in the art of transforming matter when the then King of Golconda, Abdullah Qutab Shah, gave him a plate full of meat. The seer sprinkled holy water and the meat turned to flowers and fruits. (Raghavendra Swamiji too did the same with the Nawab of Adoni, Siddi Masud Khan sometime in 1658-59).
Another Uttaradhi Matha pontiff, Satyanatha Theertha, held on to his life for five more days and asked Yama Dootas to wait so that he could participate in Aradhana of his Ashrama Guru, Satyanidhi Theertha.
Another saint of the Uttaradhi Matha parampare, Satyabodha Theertha, could survive a poison conspiracy on him and also prolong the life of his successor, Satyasandha Theertha. He was a master of telepathy and this is attested to by an Englishman. A Trikalagyani, he was honoured by Hindus, Muslims, Christians and all others. Tipu Sultan, the tiger of Mysore, revered him as did other kings and nobles. It would take several pages to detail the miracles attributed to him. A lot of information on this saint even today can be gleaned from the Bombay Gazetteer, Karnataka Dharwad district Chapter III. Page Nos 58-59 edited and published by James M. Campbell, which was compiled in 1863.
His successor, Satyasandha Theertha, has the rare distinction of giving mudra Dharane to Lord Panduranga Vithala who had come in the form of an old brahmin to see him. During one of his discourses, the Brindavana of  Satyavrata Teertha moved to and fro, indicating its approval.   
Vijendra Theertha of Raghavendra Matha was an extraordinary man and he had mastered all the 64 arts in such a manner that he defeated experts in all the fields be it magic, theology, composition, singing, gymnastics, sculpting, oratory and debate among other things.
Raghavendra Swamy was an erudite scholar and an expert veena player. He was also a writer par excellence and his magnetic personality drew people to him. He was also an excellent debater. He has performed so many miracles that it would take thousands of pages just to mention them. He is blessing people even today and his Brindavana in Mantralaya in Andhra Pradesh draws lakhs of people.
So we see that our Madhwa Seers were exponents of the arts. Yet none of them were keen on publicising it. The seers, cutting across all mathas and sub sects, were experts in different arts and this is a subject that needs a deeper and comprehensive study.       

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