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Life of Sree Raghavendra Guru (Page 2)

At that time , Raghunatha Rao was the ruler of Tanjore. He was highly proficient in music and literature. He could appreciate and enjoy the nuance of poetry. He sent an invitation to Sri Sudhindra to visit his city. The Swami accepted the invitation and paid a visit to Tanjore. The ruler showed the Swami great respect and requested him to spend a few days in Tanjore. The Swami agreed to do so.

Raghunatharao had a minister ,by name GovindaDikshita.The latter had a son,named YegnanarayanaDikshita,who was well-versed in the Adivaita philosophy and who had acquired much fame .He expressed to Sri Sundhindra his desire to engage in a disputation with Sudhindra and his pupil ,Venkatanatha ,on the coparative merits of Dwaita and Advaita.Sri Sudhindra agreed gladly and asked him first to contest with Venkatanatha.


Venkatanatha and Yagnarayana Dikshita made arguments and counter - arguments to prove their respective view -points.Very many distinguished scholars watched them carefully.Both interpreted "Tatvamasi" and "Aham Brahmasmi"as propounded by the sastras. Both being great scholars ,advanced arguments ina distinguished manner so as to amaze the listeners .the disputation between the two stalwarts went on for 18 days .On the ninteenthday , Venkatanatha established beyond dought thatdwaitism was correct one . He vanquished his rival thoroughly and latter also conceded the victory.


In appreciation of Venkatanatha's supremacy in argumentation,Sri Sudhindra conferred on him the title of " Bhattacharya".Ever since , he addressed Venkatanatha as "Venkatabhatta"out of boundless affection. He appointed Venkatanatha as the poet -laureate in the Mutt.

After completing his studies and training in"Tarka" and "Vedanta" under the turelage of Sri Sudhindra ,Venkatanatha returned to his native village of Bhuvanagiri. He enjoyed the pleasure of family life in the pleasing company of his wife ,Saraswathi.

The pious couple had a son.As Venkanna had suffered from poverty ever since his
Boyhood .He named the child "Lakshminarayana"in the hope that he may not have to suffer from the same.

It was universally known that Venkatanatha was a great scholar . Disciples from various parts of the land came to receive education at his hands.

In those days ,the prevailing custom was for the teacher to feed his pupils free of charge. Venkatanatha had to bear the burden of feeding his pupils in addition to maintaining his family. He was from birth , poor .How could he shoulder the burden

It was beyond his power to meet the expences day after day.

At this time , Venkatanatha came to know that a rich man in a neighbouring village was celebrating a happy event. His wife , Saraswathi said to him, "Please attend the


auspicious function in the rich man's house. He will honour you as great scholar and give you some money. Venkatanatha accepted the advice and started for the village. Hundreds pf Brahmins had come to rich man's house to partake of the feast. Venkatabhattu sat in a corner of the rich man's house and was reciting some verses of prayer. The family priest of the rich man was a greedy and thoughtless person. It was his duty to prepare the sandal paste and distribut it among the Brahimns. But , as he was busy ,he ordered Venkatabhattu, who was reciting the verses in a corner ,to grind the sandal paste and went away .Taking it as a divine ordainment, Venkatanatha prepared the sandal paste and gave it to the priest. The priest distributed it among the Brahmins who had come for the feast .They applied the paste to their bodies. No sooner had they done so than they began to feel a burning sensation all over their persons. The rich man enquired of the priest how had made the paste and why it was creating the burning sensation. The priest pleaded ignorance and showed Venkatanatha the person responsible for grinding the paste.

The rich man enquired of venkatanatha the reason for the curious occurrence. Venkatanatha calmly replied, "I was reciting 'Agnisukta' while grinding the paste perhaps that made the sandal paste give out a burning effect". He later recited "Karuna sukta" and ground a fresh paste, which was distributed to the Brahmins.

When the Bhrahmins used it over the bodies, they got over their burning sensation and felt the paste very cool and pleasing .The rich man realised the divine power and greatness of Venkatantha . He treated Venkatanatha to a rich feast and gave him a reward of a hundred rupees.

Venkatabhattu returned to his village and the amount of hundred was spent away in a few days.

It was miserable for Venkatabhattu to meet the demands of his family. To make matters worse, some thieves broke into his house, one night, and got away with few things he had.According to the saying "Yasyanugraha michchamitasya vittam haramyaham" perhaps God divested Venkatanatha of the remnants of his belongings to make him fit to earn his grace and acquire greatness in the life at future date.

Venkatantha became disconsolate with grief and unable to find a way out of his misery, started for his Guru's abode with the members of his family. He prostrated himself before Sri Sudhindra and poured out his tale of woe. He wept in grief and sought his Guru's protection. The swamy had great regard for Venkanatha's scholarly attainments and affection for his qualities of virtue. So he assured Venkatantha of help, desired him to live with his family in the Mutt itself and spoke to him words of comfort ever since Venkatanatha had lived in the Mutt along with his wife and children.

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