SRI VYASARAJA PRADESHTA HANUMAN :
SRI MUKHYA PRAANA [ANJANEYA/HANUMAN] TEMPLE, BICHALE, RAICHUR DIST., KARNATAKA....
Guru Sri Rahavendra Entering Brindavan
On the day chosen (Virodhikruth Samvatsara Shravana krishna paksha dwitiya - 1671 A.D.), thousands of people had congregated in Manchale (Sri Mantralaya) to see this rare event of a person entering a Brindavan alive. Guru Sri Rahavendra first performed his daily pooja to the Moola Rama and then addressed his disciples.
Guru then took his veena and started to sing the famous song,"Indu Enege Govinda" set in Bhairavi raga. Just as in His previous avatara as Vyasaraja in this avatara also the blue darling of Brindavan in the form of an icon danced to the melodious of his darling who was going to enter the Brindavan. For some time he was in meditation, shining with a rare brilliance. His hands stopped moving the japamala. That was the sign and his disciples started arranging slabs upto his head. As per Guru’s earlier instructions they placed a copper box containing one thousand two hundred saligramas. Then they placed the covering slab over it and filled it with earth. Thus Guru left his mortal coil to enter the eternal bless.
Today live in Brindavan
An incident that has happened just after Guru entered the Brindavan is proof of his presence. Sri Appanacharya a beloved disciple who composed many poems was struck on the other bank of the Tungabhadra River and could not attend the ceremony. He came running singing in praise of his Guru only to see that the last covering slab in place. The poem he was reciting could not be completed by him on seeing that. But a golden voice from inside the Brindavan said that "sakshi haya syotra hi" (meaning that Lord Hayagriva is the witness to the statements made by Appanacharya in his stostra, and that He would make them all come true). Even today, anybody reciting this stostra with full faith and devotion gets all the grace of Guru Raghavendra.
Sri Appanacharya the great devotee of Sri Guru Rayaru was born in the village nearer to present Mantralaya by name Bhikshaalaya – presently Bichale. The village Bichale is on the bank of Tungabhadra River, on the other side of Mantralaya. Tungabhadra is moving with grace near this place and is a delight to the eyes. The place has a great historical connection with the Sri Madhvacharya. It is said that this great philosopher had established Sri Ugra Narashimha here in the banks of the river and performed pooja. Sri Vyasaraja -earlier incarnation of Guru Sri Raghavendra- had also visited this place and installed a Sri Hanuman vigraha and worshiped.
Sri Appanacharya who had served Guru Sri Raghavendra was born and lived in this village. He was born to Sri Ramasubbanacharya a great scholar, and the Jahagirdar of twenty eight villages. Wealthy Sri Ramasubbanacharya was well versed with the Dwaita philosophy of Sri Madhvacharya, and had taught his son Appanacharya also the necessity of the same. Sri Appanacharya turned out be a great master of the philosophy and a great scholar of his time. He started teaching the Dwaita philosophy to the pupil from nearby villages. He was so apt in teaching that his fame spread to other places also. So much so that his Gurukulam attracted pupil from many far off places.
The place Bhikshaalaya
As was the practice those days the students will go around the village for collection of rice for the pupils of the Gurukulam. This kind of collection is called Bhikshaa - the offering of house holds for the pupils of Gurukulam. The village was prosperous and the people were generous, so much so that they use to eagerly wait for donating the rice to the pupil. In the course of time the village itself assumed the name ' Bhikshaalaya '.
Wonder of Bhikshaa
The rice thus collected as bhikshaa from the village use to be washed in the river Tungabhadra in a towel used to be tied on the branch of the tree near the seat of the great master Sri Appanacharya. The classes for the students use to be conducted by this scholar seated on a platform – Japadakatte. When the meal time arrived, Sri Appanacharya use to sprinkle water 'prokshanam' to the rice tied in the tree branch. The rice will now be offered as 'naivedyam' to the deities. The rice will now be served to the students as food, to the astonishment of all the rice would have been properly cooked even without putting on fire. Guru Sri Appanacharya will share the food along with his students. The sacred platform from where he use to teach the veda and dwaita philosophy of Sri Madhvacharya had come to known as 'Japadakatte' (plank sitting on which 'japa' is made).
The place or platform from where Sri Appanacharya use to teach, near to that there existed a vigraha of Sri Ugra Narashima. Sri Vyasaraja during his days had come to this holy place and had performed yagya. He use to draw the sketch of Sri Hanuman with the 'homa raksha' (ashes from homa kunda) on a stone. In course of time the Hanuman had curved out in the stone itself. Sri Appanacharya use to conduct the classes in presence of these vigrahas. It is said that this Sri Narashima was installed by Sri Madhvacharya and Sri Mukhya Praana Devaru (Sri Hanuman) installed by Sri Vyasaraja were witness to the conduct of teaching by Sri Appanacharya. It was no wonder then that the rice had backed itself without fire, and a testimony of the devotion with which Sri Appanacharya had been teaching.
Visit of Guru Sri Raghavendra
Guru Sri Raghavendra decided upon settling down at the village Manchale (Mantralaya) as his last resting place. Sri Venkkanna the Dewan of Adoni had with the permission of Nawab had donated the village for Sri Rayaru's use. During Sri Rararu's stay in these surrounding Sri Appanacharya a great devotee of Sri Rayaru had visited his Guru many times and he has to cross the river Tungabhadra. Sri Rayaru had also visited the village Bhikshaalaya, for devotion with which his devotee called him. The place had been visited by Sri Guru Rayaru and he had performed many yagya there, during his earlier birth as Sri Vyasaraja. The place had a tranquilising effect on him. Now Guru was offered the seat on the platform (Japadakatte) by his devotee Sri Appanacharya who use to squat on the foot of the platform (Japadakatte) and discuss many things on Dwaita philosophy. And some time they also use to sit on the rock in the mid stream of the river Tungabhadra for discussion.
Guru Sri Raghavendra stays in Bhikshaalaya
The stay of Sri Rayaru at Bhikshaalaya had been taken care of by his adorn devotee Sri Appanacharya. Sri Rayaru had accepted the hospitality offered by his devotee and stayed in the house of Sri Appanacharya. All arrangement for the pooja of Moola Rama was taken care of by him. During Sri Rayaru's stay in Bikshalaya Sri Appanacharya himself use to cook food for Sri Rayaru. Even today the place where Sri Rayaru had performed the pooja in the house of Sri Appanacharya can be seen.
The holy stone
The stone in on which Sri Rama and Sita Devi had sat during their vanavasa was identified by Sri Rayaru at the village Madhavaram. The sanctified stone thus identified by Guru Sri Raghavendra was to be his seat of rest in Mantralaya. A small portion of this stone was chiseled out and Lord Prana Devaru (Hanumantha) was curved and installed just opposite to the Sri Rayaru's Brindavan in Mantralaya. From the same stone another idol of Sri Mukhya PraanaDevaru was also made and installed at Bikshalaya.
After Sri Guru Rayaru's Brindavan entry
On the appointed day Guru Sri Raghavendra had entered the pre decided Brindavan at Mantralaya. He had held Sri Appanacharya's devotion in high and had pronounced so sitting inside the Brindavan. Sri Appanacharya was shattered by the absence of his Sri Guru Rayaru; use to visit Mantralaya quite often. Age was catching up with him; Guru Sri Raghavendra gave a divine direction to his devotee Sri Appanacharya to install a Shila Brindavan on the Japadakatte where they had discussed many nicety of Dwaita. Sri Rayaru held that he will give darshan to him there, in the form of divine jothi.
Sri Appanacharya the true and absolute devotee of Guru Sri Raghavendra had installed a Shila Brindavan on the Japadakatte in Bichale. Regular poojas are being conducted to the Shila Brindavan of Sri Guru Rayaru, Ugra Narashima installed by SriPadaraja, Mukhya Praana Devaru (Sri Hanuman) installed by Sri Vyasaraja. The descendants of Sri Appanacharya are taking care of the holy place.
One should visit this holy place to realise the true effect of the place. With beautiful Tungabhadra River flowing on the background and with the Sri Ugra Narasimha (installed by Sri Madhvacharya, Sri Mukhya Praana (Anjaneya) - installed by Sri Vyasaraja- and Sri Hanumantha made of the same stone as in Mantralaya is an experience worth millions of words and more.
[Ed : April 2010]