Name of the Temple

Shri Raghavendra Swamy Mutt

Period of origin

16 th century

Name of deity

Moolavar: Guru Raghavendra Swamy

Sthala Theertham: Thungabhadra

Sthalapuranam:

Mantralayam is associated with the famous saint Sri Guru Raghavendra Swamy. Located at a distance of 80 km from Kurnool and 253 Km from Hyderabad, Mantralayam is the place where the saint took Jeeva Samadhi (tomb). Situated in Kurnool district of Andhra Pradesh, this place is also known as Manchale. Sri Guru Raghavendra Swamy lived between 1601 and 1671 was an influential saint in Hinduism. Followers of the saint consider him to be an incarnation of Bhakta Prahallada, who was saved by Vishnu in the avatar of Narasimha. Shri Raghavendra Swamy is said to have performed many miracles during his lifetime and has a large following even today. Mantralayam is a small and peaceful town situated on the banks of the River Tungabhadra, and gets thousands of devotees from all over the country.

History of Raghavendra (1595–1671)

Sri Venkatanatha proved to be a very brilliant scholar from a very young age who learnt to play the Veena very proficiently thanks to his father and grandfather. After his father’s demise, Venkatanatha was brought up by his brother Sri Gururaja Bhatta and completed the initial portion of his education under his brother-in-law Lakshminarasimhacharya’s guidance in Madurai.

After his return from Madurai in 1614, Sri Venkatanatha married Smt. Saraswathi Bai in the same year and had a son Sri Lakshminarayanacharya. After his marriage, Sri Venkatanatha and his family went to Kumbakonam where he studied the Dwaita vedantha, grammar and literary works under his guru, Sri Sudheendra Theertha.

Sri Venkatanatha was already very well versed in bhashyas and consistently prevailed over renowned and reputed scholars, irrespective of the complexity of the debates. He was an ardent devotee of Sri  Rama and Sri Panchamukha MukhyaPrana Devaru (the five-faced form of Hanuman – Pancha meaning five, mukha meaning faces). He spent a large part of his Poorvashrama life teaching Sanskrit and the ancient Vedic texts to children.

Once while he was touring Kumbakonam along with his wife, Sri Venkatanatha and his family were invited to attend a function. Unfortunately, the hosts did not treat him well and wanted him to earn his food by running a chore. So they asked him to make some sandalwood paste for all the invitees. Sri Venkatanatha per his habit was chanting stotras and mantras while preparing sandalwood for Tilaka. When the guests applied this paste, it induced a burning sensation all over their bodies. Surprised by this, the hosts sought a clarification from Venkatanatha. He replied that the burning sensation was due to the Agni Suktam (hymn for the worship as defined in the Esoteric Vedas) that he was chanting while preparing sandalwood and thus eternal power of Vedic Mantras revealed it. This happens only when chanted with absolute dedication and devotion. The power is enhanced since it was chanted by someone as virtuous and devoted to Bhagwaan Hari as himself. Upon realizing his devotion and power, the host apologized profusely to Sri Venkatanatha and sought his forgiveness.

Sri Venkatanatha then prepared the paste again but chanted the Vedic Mantra to Varuna (Vedic rain gods) this time. It has been recorded that when the guests applied this paste, they were awash with a sense of being drenched in rainwater, reaffirming Sri Venkatanatha’s power of devotion.

He never demanded any money for his services and endured a life of poverty along with his wife and son. They went without food several times a week. On occasion, his wife did not have change of clothes. This forced her daily change of wear to be dependent on when the clothes dried. She would wear 1/2 the saree, wait for the other 1/2 to dry and wrap it around her. But he was so devoted in his quest for a higher spiritual plane that these obstacles never deterred his faith in the Lord. Poverty life continued and baby boy starved too.

Saraswathi got an idea, she told him to meet his Guru and take his refuge. They went to Kumbakonam. Venkathanatha and his family were welcomed in the mutt at Kumbakonam. Venkathanatha mastered all lessons at the Mutt. Swamiji took him to the debates against Adwaita school of philosophy at various King’s courts (Chola, Pandian etc.). Venkathanatha began to write commentary in all three Vedas following Acharya’s Rig Bhasaya, which was his ambition. But the circumstances did not favor his fulfillment. Venkathanatha was the apple of Shri Sudheendra Swami’s eye. He was thought quite well worthy to succeed the Swamiji, who was waiting for an opportunity to tell his disciple of his intentions. Just by the time a disciple named Yadavendra sought the blessings of Swamiji, as he was disgusted in worldly life. Swamiji named him “Yadavendra Theerta ” and he started on the religious tour.

Shri Sudheendra Swami was a genius of extraordinary and a soul of high spiritual efficacy. One day, he dreamt that Shri Mula Rama ordered that Venkathanatha alone could fit to rule the Mutt. One day he called Venkathanatha and after preliminary discussion of worldly interest, Swamiji began to reveal his intentions. Swamiji started with telling Venkathanatha that god was pleased with him and he deserves a post as the head of the Mutt. Venkathanatha could not understand the intentions of Swamiji and requested Swamiji to be clear of his intentions. Swamiji began to explain that there are many boats to ferry us across the ocean. But to all these our blessings are the sails which move the boats with great force and speed. Now why tarry on the shore? What fear is there to cross the Ocean? Venkathanatha could not understand. Shree Sudheendra Theertha knew that Venkathanatha loved his wife. When he explained clearly of his intentions, Venkathanatha expressed his inability and for renunciation, detachment was essential. So Venkathanatha explained about his wife, son and his shoulders were still young to take up the administration and responsibility of the mutt. So he was not inclined to take holy orders and take up Sanyasa. But was ready to submit himself to the mutt and Swamiji.

Time came now for Venkathanatha to succeed his Guru as the next Swamiji of the Mutt. Venkathanatha had a blessing of Sharada Devi, the goddess of Learning and that led him to realization of self and he narrated his experience of Sharada Devi to Swamiji and decided to do Upanayana to his son and accept sanyasa. He took sanyasa and Guru named him Raghavendra theertha. Saraswathi was shocked to
hear the news and she fell into the well. She came as a ghost in front of Guru Raghavendra. He sprinkled holy water on the ghost and it attained Moksha by purification.  Guru Raghavendra was great in every respect. He was siddha Purusha (God realized person). He started performing miracles, Blind got their eyesight, Deaf could hear. As the time approached for Swamij and he was 78 years old. It was Thursday, the full moon, He announced to all his disciples that he went by the orders of Shri Hari and he decided to leave this world.

Devotees from all over the world came to see him as the news spread. On the second morning of Shravana, finished his morning religious rites and called all his devotees and said. This is our last day. Don’t’ be grieved. It is the order of Shri Hari that we should stay in this world to safeguard the interests of our faith. But we cannot stay bodily outside beyond a limit a certain limit as that would be against the rules of the present age. Therefore we are going to enter Brindavana bodily. To the last be faithful and be loyal to your God and religion. May God Bless you with all the things good. Thus he advised them.It was now mid-day. He distributed the theerta and blessed everyone. He called Venkanna Diwan and a prime devotee and gave him a parting message.”Venkanna-I am going to enter the Brindavana in an ogicposture and continue to do Japa (prayer) with a Tulasi Mala (Japa Mala/Chain of Holy beads) in the hand. When I stop the prayer place the 1200 Lakshminarayana Saligramas (Holy Stones) in a bronze container and Mrutike (Holy Sand) on my head and close it with a lid and then place some sand/mud. Venkanna was also entrusted by the Guru to build his Brindavan at Manchala (now Mantralaya). Swamiji asked enkanna to put a stone on which Lord Rama had sat during thretha yuga as the base. Nawab Sidhi Masudh Khan of Adoni granted Manchala village to Swamiji. In the afternoon, when the time was auspicious, Swamiji sat in a Yogic posture and started prayers.

The Brahmins were reciting Vedas and Shastras. Venkanna and others were supervising the activities. All eyes shed tears of joy and griefsimultaneously. As per the Swamiji instructions the stones were placed above his head as he sat in yogic posture. Thus Swamiji entered the Brindhavan bodily. As per Swamiji’s advice that very day was observed as Maha Samardhana Day. He was to live in atma form in the  Brindavan for next 700 years to come. In the Year 1671 AD, Guru Raghavendra named Yogeendra as his successor and entered the Brindavan. After Swamiji entered, his disciple Appanacharya sang the praise of his Guru and seeing the Guru’s Brindavan, He could not speak, the last verse of the song was completed by Guru in the Brindavan. Still Guru Raghavendra continues to bless people who think of him in their troubles and happiness.

Route:

Mantralayam is on the banks of Tungabhadra River, a major artery of the Krishna river that functions as a border between Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, in this region. Many South Indian cities are connected to Mantralaya by bus–Bangalore, Tirupati, Mangalore, Madras, Hyderabad, Bellary and Mysore. The most convenient bus from Bangalore leaves at 9:15 pm & reaches Mantralaya at 6 am, the next day. The conducted tours from Hyderabad are typically 7 hours long (one way), leaving every Saturday at 9.30 am and returning on Sunday at 9.00pm. They usually cover the Brindavan as well as the Raghavendra Swamy Temple.

Temple Timings:

06:00 am and 02:00pm and 04:00 pm to 08:00 pm

Temple Telephone Number:

8512 –  59429, 59459, 279429, 279459

Temple Address:

Shri Raghavendra Swamy Mutt,
Mantralayam, Kurnool District,
Andhra Pradesh