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The Life and Times of
Sri Raghavendra Swamy, Mantralaya
by G. Venkatesh Bookmark and Share

In the Kurnool district of Andhra Pradesh is located the shrine of the Madhava saint Sri Raghavendra Swamy. The river Tungabhadra flows close to the river. The saint attained “moksha” in the Brindavan in Mantralayam. It is believed that he walked into the Samadhi alive and is still seated in the ‘yoga nidra’ pose to bless the millions of devotees who throng his shrine.

The hymn of Sri Raghavendra Swamy is as below :

“Poojyaya Raghavendraya
Satya Dharma Radhayacha
Bhajatham Kalpavrikshaya
Namadham Kamadenave”.

Rajinikanth and Raghavendra Swamy

The South superstar attained a total transformation in his personality after he became  a devotee of Sri Raghavendra Swamy and Ramana Maharishi of Tiruvannamalai. Once Rajnikant was a hot-tempered superstar who did not flinch before slapping a still photographer. With advancing age, the superstar mellowed and attained equanimity. Rajinikanth produced and acted in the movie on ‘Sree Raghavendra Swamy’ in the 80’s. However, the crass and callow Tamil audience is known to favour more of sex and sleaze in Tamil movies and ogle at the buxom heroines from Mumbai. Not surprisingly, the movie on Sri Raghavendra Swamy bombed at the box office. Of course, this is no reflection on the glory of the holy saint.

How to Reach Mantralayam

  • Get down at  Raichur on Mumbai-Chennai rail route.From Raichur, cabs and buses are available to reach Mantralaya.
  • Some trains do halt at Mantralayam Road station but it is only for a minute or so.
  • Buses and trains ply from Chennai and Bangalore to Mantralayam Road.

The temple is located close to the bus station and amenities for the pilgrims are remarkable. The Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh Governments have built decent lodging facilities for pilgrims but please do not expect satellite TV connection or internet cafes at every nook and corner. Devotees are well advised to remember that Mantralayam is a holy place and not a tourist spot. Infosys founder Narayanamurthy and his wife Smt. Sudha Murthy have also contributed funds for building washroom facilities in Mantralayam at strategic points. A noble gesture indeed.

Raghavendra Swamy mutts in Mumbai

These are located in Jogeshwari (West) near Oshiwara and in Mulund West very close to the Mulund railway station.These temples have been built and modeled in exactly the same way in which the main temple at Mantralayam is designed.

The Brindavan

The Samadhi of Sri Raghavendra Swamy is more popularly called as the Brindavan. There is a walkway that leads to the temple. Alongside the walkway, you can see guest houses for special guests or VVIPs. Entry to the temple is free. Near the entrance of the temple is located a small temple dedicated to “Manchalamma” – another form of Goddess Parvati. After a darshan of “Manchalamma”, you enter the sanctum sanctorum to have a splendid darshan of the Samadhi of Sri Raghavendra Swamy.

In front of Brindavan lies a temple devoted to Lord Hanuman. It appears that Raghavendra Swamy was an ardent devotee of both Lord Venkateswara of Tirumala and Lord Hanuman. A few yards away from the Hanuman temple is located the deity of Lord Shiva called as “Sree Mrutyenjaswara Mahalingam”. Lord Shiva destroys evil and all else that needs to be destroyed ; Lord Vishnu protects all that that needs to be protected. Brahma is the creator. This explains the significance of “Brahma-Vishnu-Mahesh” in our Hindu mythology.

There is a classroom for teaching Sanskrit to young scholars, close to the Brindavanam. There is a library next door that is stocked with a plethora of religious books – some of the books are very old scriptures that stand testimony to the roots of our centuries old Hindu culture. The first floor houses a meditation hall. Then there is a dining hall where you are expected to have the ‘maha prasad’ seated on the floor. It is a simple and spartan “sattvik” meal that tastes divine like all ‘maha prasads’. Gents have to compulsorily wear a dhoti while partaking the Prasad.

The Mantralayam town also boasts of a temple of Lord Venkateswara where the idol was consecrated by Sri Raghavendra Swamy himself. The crowning glory of the shrine is the pristine Tungabhadra river. Sadly, the river is polluted. When miscreants have not spared the Ganga, what can we say about other Indian rivers?
10 miles away from Mantralayam is located the world famous temple of "Panchamukhi” (five-faced) Lord Hanuman.The temple is located atop a steep hill, so those with a heart ailment or a history of hypertension – please take care. The fame of “Panchamukhi” Hanuman has spread far and wide in India and the world. Having a photograph of the “Panchamukhi” Hanuman at home is known to bestow health, wealth , courage, strength and happiness.

Who is Sri Raghavendra Swamy

Born to Thimmanna and Gopambika, Venkadanathan was fondly called as “Venkanna”. He was born in a village called “Bhuvanagiri” after his parents prayed for a third child to Lord Balaji of Tirumala. Venkanna began learning the scriptures right from a young age from a guru called Acharya Lakshmi Narasimha. At the appropriate time, Venkanna was married to a pious woman called Saraswathi. Even after his marriage, Venkanna continued to learn. The Madhava scholar Sree Susheendra Teertha took Venkanna under his tutelage.

Transformation of Venkanna was dramatic mainly because of his diligence and sincerity of purpose. He surpassed the expectations of his guru who consistently encouraged him. But like the religious scholars of those times, Venkanna lived in dire poverty. He moved to the Ashram of Sree Susheendra Teertha swamy along with his son and Saraswathi.

Once Saraswathi goaded Venkanna to attend a religious ceremony organized by a wealthy man in the village. After entering  the mansion, Venkanna occupied a corner of the mansion and began his meditation and chanting of the hymns. One of the priests, through his ignorance, gave Venkanna the task of grinding Sandalwood paste for all the Brahmins who were attending the ceremony. As soon as the Brahmins smeared the sandal paste, they started complaining of a burning sensation and irritation. When the merchant questioned Venkanna, the latter replied that he was chanting the “agnisooktham” while grinding the paste and so this could have caused the burning sensation. He started reciting the “karunasooktam” and offered fresh sandal paste to the Brahmins. This provided a cooling effect and Venkanna received lot of praise for his knowledge of the Vedas.

After his guru passed away, Venkanna was anointed his successor and rechristened “Sri Raghavendra Swamy”. Unable to bear the fact that her husband had acquired sanyas, Saraswati jumped into a well. It is said that Saraswathi’s spirit came to meet Sri Raghavendra swamy to seek salvation and the latter sprinkled water and fulfilled her wish. To this day, the Madhavas commence all their religious ceremonies by carrying out a  Saraswati pooja first.

In the subsequent years, Sri Raghavendra Swamy became immensely popular and his healing powers cured many people of their ailments. Then, one auspicious day, the Swami attained Samadhi.
Chanting of the hymns of Sri Raghavendra Swamy is believed to cure you of all your depression, fears and anxieties. As he grants the wishes of his devotees, Sri Raghavendra Swamy is called as “Kalpa vriksha” (the wish-fulfilling tree that thrives for generations) or “Kamadhenu” (the cow with a woman’s face that was nurtured by Sage Vasistha).

So, friends, do visit this holy shrine at least once in your life and experience the transformation Sri Raghavendra Swamy’s grace brings in your lives. This is not one of those shrines in South India where the avaricious priests hanker after you to burn a hole in your pocket. Rather, this is the shrine of a simple man who renounced all desires to become a saint and spread the message of divinity and peace to the world. In the process, he became a tool of the Almighty to perform miracles to cure the miseries of mankind. Millions of devotees (including this writer) have benefited after they visited Mantralayam. So, what are you waiting for ?

More by :  G. Venkatesh
Views: 7752
Article Comment I was being prevented by the former landlords from starting construction at my site in Bangalore. A few attempts resulted in failure. I simply placed Sri Raghavendra swamy's photo at the site, prayed to him and started work. The landlord & his henchmen stopped me and I called the police. The police took 3 hours to come. But before the police could arrive, a cow that was peacefully grazing got wild and gored the landlord violently. The landlord was shaken and never returned to trouble me. To this day, I believe that it was Sri Raghavendra swamy who made the miracle happen.

Prasanna V
Article Comment Jai Guru Raghavendraya Namaha,

I am always pray raghavendra swamyji, he is shows that he can able to solve all the problems, i was having a financial problems, kids school fee payable, credit card paymetns, personnel loans etc.

I am praying every day to lord raghavendra swamy, he is the only power for solving all my problems.

Jai guru raghavendraya nama

Poojaya raghavendraya satyadharma rathayacha bhajatham kalpavrikshya namatham kamadhenuve.

jai guru deva, jai jai gurideva.
Article Comment Hi dear brothers/sisters, i am telling u my true personal experience about god guru raghavendra swamy. When i was in age 13, typhoid occured me 3rd time, doctor said no hopes of getting survived 3rd time typhoid.My mother took me to mantralaya,even i got typhoid mom told me to do urolu seva(i.e. floor seva), i did it., after that typhoid gone dat same day within 10 mins.I didn't took even single tablet prescribed by dat doctor. It was all raghavendra's grace. Doctor said it's miracle. Chloramphenicol is the drug given for the typhoid, but i didn't took dat.! I started believing my guru raghavendra, later at the age of 18, i started listening to someone dat der is no god! I am science student, started believing in science and not in god! But later, i failed in 2nd PUC, my mom adviced me again in guru raghavendra, i believed and passed with good marks, completed bsc, mca, I was very good at studies. Again raghavendra swamy make me to trust him lot.My brother was missed , i prayed to god, i only searched my brother , i got him. i got love failure, now i got a good caring, loving wife, raghavendra swamy given whatever i need in my life. Now i want to give good to this world, i plan to build a cattle especially for old cows which won't give milk, retired one,because old cows will be slaughtered, i would like to protect old retired cows in the name of god raghavendra swamy. I didn't lost my faith till now.. so many things happened in my life, guru raghavendra swamy didn't left me and my family. My family is the one who is suffering in life, it may be animals, humans,any creature created by god.I love u guru raghavendra swamy
Article Comment My Brother facing difficulties in his studies. Every day i am praying raghavendra swamy for my brother studies. Now he is able to study well comparing before. Om Sri Raghavendraya Namaga!!!!!
G Ambika
Article Comment Even i am facing a lot of problems IN MY life. I chant Our GURU mantras with full of BELIEVE and CONFIDENCES. Whatsoever problems i am facing, after a moment or later, i feel like the problems are moving away and also HE is giving the solution and the way to solve it (through someone). It my EXPERIENCE, which i should share with everyone in this world. HIS Blessing and Grace always be there.
Retnamurthi Muniandi
Article Comment I was born in mumbay. When I had to get married a good soul raghavendra mama asked me to do chanting of guru raghavendra powerful sloka every Thursday by going round a lit the fourth Thursday I got engaged and then married.I am in Chennai and raghavendra swamy temple is very near my house.have also visited mantralayam with my the huge crowd my son was called to hold the divine deity of the lord. Lot of miracles have taken place in my life.raghavendra Swamy is very much alive.just thinking of Him makes Him appear in front of my eyes.all must visit mantralayam ar least once in their life
sesha Kalyan
Article Comment dont know what will be my future lift, seems my working co is closing or shifting, need the help of Raghavendra swamy ashirwad to over come from this tension,
Article Comment I am facing so many problems in life..... career is declining...parents opposing my love.... mental torture from long time I am praying to lord raghavendra swamy but still prob are increasing ....Raghavendra swamy please listen my voice I beg you ...I really need your help....
Article Comment om sri raghavendraya namo namaga.
my life is running only through the blessings of guru sri ragavendra. he done so many arputham in my life. i have no words to share about my god my tears will explain how my ragavendra swami is with me. guruva saranam
subbulakshmi v
Article Comment Those who have His blessings will sure have the 'braabtham' to go Mantralayam.Guruve Sharanam.
Article Comment yes, it is true, me tooo felt lot of favors by him, namo raghavendraaa.vinod Hyderabad,
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