This is my sincere effort to translate the Kannada version to English, please forgive my errors and omissions and may Lord Ganapati and Sri Guru Raghavendraswamy inspire and bless me to carry on this noble work.
ಕಲಿಯುಗ – ಕಲ್ಪತರು (The Wish-Fulfilling Tree)
ಮೊದಲನೆಯ ಉಲ್ಲಾಸ (The First Joy Introduction)
ಕಥಾಮುಖ (Introduction to the Story)
ರಾಘವೇಂದ್ರ ಹರಿಪಾದಕಂಜ ನಿಷೇವಣಾಲ್ಲಬ್ಧ ಸಮಸ್ತ ಸಂಪತ್ |
ದೇವಸ್ವಭಾವೋ ದಿವಿಜದ್ರುಮೋಯಮಿಷ್ಟಪ್ರದೋ ಮೇ ಸತತಂ ಸ ಭೂಯಾತ್ ||
By the grace of Lord Raghavendra, who is devoted to the lotus-like feet of Hari, may I gain all wealth that is obtained by devotion. May this divine tree, which by nature grants wishes, always flourish for me.
The scriptures, starting from the Vedas, declare that the salvation of all living beings is accomplished through the grace of the Supreme Soul. To obtain the grace of God, one must seek to please Him. To please Him, one must love Him, which means to cultivate devotion. Devotion is described as 'Strong, superior love, informed by the greatness of spirit; such love is devotion, and there is no other way to liberation.'
According to the authoritative scriptures, the Supreme Soul is the highest, the cause of creation, maintenance, and destruction of the world. The Lord is the one who dwells in the hearts of the assembly of celestials, including Lakshmi, Brahma, and Rudra. He is the Lord who manifests eternal happiness, the nature of blissful existence, to all living beings. He is free from faults, an abode of infinite auspicious qualities, possessed of unobstructed power, and of great glory. Knowing His playful and majestic characteristics is far more superior and steadfast than the love shown towards one's wife, children, relatives, and friends.
One must therefore love that merciful God with a love that is a thousand times greater and unshakable, win His favor, become eligible for His supreme grace, and attain the eternal happiness that is free from the causes of sorrow such as birth and death. This is the essence of the teachings of the Vedas and Upanishads.
In the lineage of gurus who teach the knowledge of Lord Hari, one must have devotion to them just as one would to Lord Hari Himself, since devotion to the guru facilitates devotion to God. This is instructed by the scripture which says, ‘ಯಸ್ಯ ದೇವೇ ಪರಾ ಭಕ್ತಿ ಯಥಾ ದೇವ ತಥಾ ಗುರೌ’ 'As there is supreme devotion to the Lord, so there should be to the guru.'
Who are these gurus? The term 'guru' is derived from 'gu,' meaning the darkness of ignorance of the disciples, and 'ru,' meaning the remover of that darkness. Thus, gurus are those who dispel the ignorance of the disciples by imparting knowledge. We must show devotion to all such gurus according to their merits.
Today, there's no need to specially mention that one should have devotion to Sri Raghavendra Swami, who is uplifting the world and is considered a guru of tremendous importance to the people of India. If one wishes to develop devotion to such a venerable figure as Sri Raghavendra Guru Sarvabhouma, it is essential to know who they are. What is their fundamental nature? What are the great deeds they have performed, their immortal story, how they endeared themselves to God, the extraordinary grace bestowed upon them by the Supreme Soul, the glories they revealed, and the blessings they granted?
Those who desire to become his devotees must truly understand these aspects. Similarly, we are committed to narrating the fundamental nature, incarnations, immortal tales, and supreme glories of this saintly sovereign for the joy of his infinite lineage of internal devotees.
The Jagadguru Sri Raghavendra Swamy, renowned as the Kalpatarus (wish-fulfilling trees) of the Kali Yuga, have recently showcased their divine powers, similar to the momentous year of 1947 (when India became Independent from British Rule). On the auspicious day of their holy worship, they fulfilled the desires of countless devotees by conducting the Silver Chariot Festival. From this auspicious background of their worldwide beneficence, we wish to translate the joyous verses of their life-nourishing story into English.
On the evening of the second day of the dark fortnight of Shravana, there is immense jubilation in Mantralayam, known as the land of mantra empowerment. Rumors spread that a Silver Chariot offering and festival would be held in honor of Sri Gururaja (Sri Raghavendra Swami). An unprecedented number of devotees, more than twenty to thirty thousand from various regions and countries, have gathered in Mantralayam. The devotees continue to arrive in groups, increasing with each passing moment.
Fresh green festoons and various colored flags are shimmering with electric lights atop the grand entrance of Sri Gururaja’s magnificent temple, where the 'Pranava flag' gently sways on the flagstaff, seemingly welcoming the throngs of devotees rushing to Mantralayam, saying 'Welcome to you, oh devotees and friends! Those of you who are tainted by the impurities of Kali Yuga, who feel lost, weary, and confounded, come take refuge in the supreme lotus feet of the Guru. Come, come, seek the shelter at the feet of the 'Kalpataru of Kali Yuga', fulfill your heart's desires and become sanctified! Come, the sovereign of ascetics is arriving on the chariot to fulfill your innermost wishes.'
Observing the proudly fluttering 'Pranava flag', one can sense the Om symbol on it (the flag) pervading all worlds, just as the omnipresent Om worship makes one invincible and greatly honored. It appears as if I, with the indomitable glory of Sri Parimalacharya (Sri Raghavendra Swamy), am not only here but also spread across the three worlds. Who else can match the victory flag of these illustrious beings on this earth?
The flag of victory flies high in the sky, spreading the fragrance of Parimalacharya's fame everywhere. As a devotee sings this sweet melody, the flow of music from the loudspeakers captivates everyone around. The musical tribute to the Guru's glory, witnessing the beautiful scenes at the venue, fills the wise with awe and drives them to seek the vision of Sri Gururaja with a sense of devotion and surrender. The excitement and celebration of the people are indescribable. Everywhere you look, there are enchanting scenes of devotees, full of devotional fervor, singing and dancing in praise of the revered Gururaja, bringing immense joy to the eyes and hearts.
Behold, the festival of the illustrious Gururaja, the jewel of the ascetic community, is underway! Amidst the pleasant sounds of instruments, the harmonious Vedic chants, and the sweet hymns and devotional songs, the esteemed pontiff Sri Suyameendra Teertharu seems to be introducing Sri Gururaja (Sri Raghavendra Swamy) to the people, as if waving the ceremonial fans in reverence. With his natural and beaming smile, he is delighting the eyes and minds of the devotees, playing the role of a benevolent patron. The festival progresses towards the Silver Chariot, and the enthusiasm and joy of the people are boundless.
As the devotees intently gaze without blinking at that enchanting scene, the universally revered Jagadguru Sri Raghavendra Swamy adorned the silver chariot. Ah, what a delightful sight it is to behold, look, thousands of electric lights twinkling. The various colored lights shining like stars, and the new silver chariot, shining like the moon amidst the constellation of devotees, radiantly rescues the people of the Kali Yuga with hands in the gesture of blessing and assurance, fulfilling their wishes and shining with a commitment to uplift them. Seeing this vision of Sri Yatichandrama, the devotees are overwhelmed with joy, shouting 'Victory to Prahladaraja, Victory to Vyasa Muni, Victory to Raghavendra Yatindra! Victory to the Kalpataru of Kali Yuga!' The chants of victory pierce the heavens! Anyone who witnesses this unprecedented, beautiful, enchanting, and auspicious scene is indeed blessed! We are incapable of describing it with mere words.
The chariot festival, with all its grandeur, circled around the four courtyards and came to a halt. After the cries of joy ceased, with a voice both brave and deep, overcome with devotional ecstasy and tears of joy in their eyes, the devotees received the command from Sri Suyameendra Teertharu, who, as the embodiment of Sri Raghavendra's compassion, addressed the people.
Beloved devotees of Sri Gururaja! Today is indeed a blessed day! It is the most auspicious day in our lives, as our wish to glorify Sri Gururaja, who is worshipped by all in the universe, has been fulfilled. These esteemed ones, who once reigned in the palace of birthless, who have been brought down from the pillar of true devotion, who resonated the victory drum as the 'Royal Guru' of Vijayanagara, who have now taken their ultimate incarnation as the Guru of the twice-born, fulfilling the desires of the devotees, are now being celebrated on the silver chariot. Our heartfelt desire has been realized today! Look, through the devotion of Ramanatha Chettiar, a devotee standing here, Sri Gururaja has fulfilled our longing. The extraordinary grace and great glory that Sri Gururaja has shown in him is beyond description. How can we possibly express our deep gratitude and devotion for the blessings the Guru has bestowed upon us? When we prayed to them, we expressed our resolve to construct a silver chariot for Sri Rayaru. The wealthy and generous, who are the innermost devotees of the Guru, have undertaken this great service through them and prayed to be blessed. We agreed with joy. Today, you are all the reason to witness and delight in this auspicious festival. Therefore, we bless and pray that Sri Gururaja grants all kinds of prosperity and auspiciousness to Ramanatha Chettiar, who has been the cause of your joy, and may his wish-fulfilling tree of desires bear fruit.
As the people shout with joy and clap their hands to express their happiness, Sri Suyameendra Guruvarya blessed Ramanatha Chettiar with sacred offerings and addressed the gathering again.
'To ascend the greatest chariot in the world and to be glorified is a privilege of the exalted. Riding this silver chariot, which is simple yet offered with devotion, shows that Sri Gururaja needs nothing more from us than to be a symbol of compassion among the devotees. This is a testament that with love, even the impossible can be achieved, and anyone can be won over. Why, do you know? Who is it that graces this chariot today? It is none other than Sri Hari, the supreme ruler of all the worlds, here as the delightful Sri Rama for the welfare of the universe. To alleviate the immense struggles and fears of people and to protect his devotees, Sri Narasimha shines here in his glory. To those suffering for the joys of offspring, he has bestowed a son, lighting up homes with happiness and contentment as the beloved of the Yadu dynasty, Bhagwan Sri Krishna rejoices here. To those who are drowned in the terrible worldly ocean and seek eternal happiness, and who turn to the principles and knowledge as their solace, Sri Vedavyasa dwells here to bestow wisdom. Now, having realized that this transient world holds no permanent joy, and those who, having lost interest in worldly pleasures, seek the ultimate liberation and have taken refuge, Sri Lakshmi Narayana himself is resplendent here to uplift them. Thus, through the noble deeds of Sri Gururaja for the redemption of people and the welfare of the world in Kali Yuga, may Sri Hari in his five forms of Rama, Narahari, Krishna, Vedavyasa, Narayana always reside in and joyously bless Sri Gururaja. Given the presence of such great sanctuaries and the immense significance of the holy Sri Mantralaya Swamiji, you can only imagine their greatness!
Not only that, dear devotees, among us is the lord of the world, the controller of all life, the supreme being Sri BharatiRamana, also known as Vayudeva, who with his forms as Sri Hanuman, Bhima, and Madhwa, is always specially present with us and shining forth. The wise leaders like Sri Teekakrutpaadaru (ಶ್ರೀಟೀಕಾಕೃತ್ಪಾದರು) are always joyously dwelling within these great ones. Then, what can be said about the virtue of Ramanatha Chettiar, who has pleased Sri Raghavendra Swamiji, an incarnation of the revered Prahallada, Vyasaraja, and who has orchestrated the construction of the silver chariot and festival? What is the magnitude of your good fortune to have participated in the chariot festival service of the Kalpatarus of Kali Yuga? Indeed, you are all fortunate and blessed! There is no doubt that by taking refuge at the feet of Sri Mantralaya Prabhu, a symbol of the Bharata nation, your fortunes will rise! How can we, mere relatives and insignificant compared to these great universal Gurus, bless you? According to the Vedic saying ‘ಭೂಯಿಷ್ಠಾಂತೇ ನಮ ಉಕ್ಕಿಂ ವಿಧೇಮ’ 'bhūyiṣṭhāṃ te nama uktiṃ vidhema,' we are capable of offering only our devoted salutations. We pray to Sri Gururaja to accept our humble worship and to continue working for the welfare of the world and to protect the devotees.
On the fifth day of the dark fortnight of Shravana, by the banks of the Tungabhadra River, with its wide blue rocks echoing melodious sounds as the river flows vigorously, a gentle fragrant breeze from Vayudeva is delighting the people. The sky, clear and bright with the moon, sets a serene atmosphere where many people sit in groups, enjoying the moment. They are lost in the glory of the Rajatarathotsava (Silver Chariot Festival) of Sri Gururaja, his divine grace and love for the devotees. They are sharing with each other the blessings they have received from the lord of Mantralaya. At the same time, an Acharya of the Mutt, having bathed in the Tungabhadra and completed the evening rituals, sits on a nearby rock. Seeing the venerable and radiant Acharya, several nearby devotees approach to pay their respects. Among them, a person named Govindaraya respectfully requests the Acharya.
Govinda: Respected sir, we came here upon hearing the news of Sri Gururaja's Silver Chariot Festival. Oh, Swami, what a beautiful sight it was; is it even possible to witness such an extraordinary scene again in our lifetime? The speech blessed by the revered pontiff was heartwarming. The more we hear the sweet voice of that great person, the more we yearn to listen to it again. Sri Gururaja has shown immense compassion to Ramanatha Chettiar, as instructed by the Swamiji. But we did not understand what it was. Since you are from the Mutt, you might know. Could you please tell us about the glory and grace that Sri Rayaru revealed and the blessings he bestowed upon Ramanatha Chettiar?
Acharya: (smiling) Is there a better deed than this? Certainly, there could be.
A Young Man: (interrupting) Swami, excuse me, I have a doubt.
Acharya: (smiling) What's your doubt, my child?
Young Man: Acharya, I've heard that people from the Madras region, especially from Chettinad, are staunch Shaivites, devotees of Shiva, and also known to be against casteism. So, how did Ramanatha Chettiar, a Shaivite and a casteism opposer, become a devotee of Sri Rayaru, a Brahmin and a Madhva?
Acharya: My dear, your impression is incorrect. It's not right to label everyone from a region as casteism opposers just because a few are. Aren’t there such people in our Karnataka too? Moreover, our Sri Rayaru is not just a guru to Madhvas or Brahmins or Hindus; they are a divine incarnation who transcends all geographic, ethnic, and linguistic boundaries, embodying the principle of ‘ವಿಶ್ವಮಾರ್ಯಂ’ 'Vishwamaryam' – universal nobility. The concepts of Shaivism and Vaishnavism are not new; they have been around for ages. As Madhvacharya says, ‘ಅನಾದಿಕಾಲತೋ ವ್ಯತ್ತಾ ಸಮಯಾ ಹಿ ಪ್ರವಾಹವಃ’ 'Anadikalato Vyatta Samaya Hi Pravahavah,' meaning the philosophies of Vaishnavism, Shaivism, etc., have been flowing since time immemorial. Shaivism and Vaishnavism, except for a few exceptions, have never hindered social, religious, and cultural interactions. A person's piety, wisdom, renunciation, and commitment to the welfare of the world are what truly define their respectability. Then, why can’t Shaivites and Vaishnavites worship and receive blessings from the wise, regardless of their beliefs or philosophies? Sri Rayaru blessing Ramanatha Chettiar for his pure devotion, despite being a Shaivite, is not surprising. Rayaru's greatness lies in transforming even atheists into believers. That's the specialty of Sri Rayaru! Generally, disciples of a particular Mutt or members of a community follow their respective gurus. But Sri Gururaja is different. Not just the Brahmins, Hindus, or spiritual disciples, but people of all castes, religions, sects, and even from foreign lands worship them. That's why our Mantralaya Prabhu is revered as 'Jagadguru' (Universal Guru). No matter who they are, if they serve Gururaja with pure devotion and righteousness, Gururaja does not discriminate based on caste, religion, or sect, and blesses them. Even the ailments that science and medicine cannot cure are effortlessly healed by the mere glance of our Yatiraja. Despite the decline of righteousness in Kali Yuga, people who may not believe in heaven, hell, sin, virtue, God, or afterlife, and who call God a mere figment of Brahminical imagination, are now witnessing Gururaja as a living deity. As instructed by our revered Sri Suyameendra Teertharu, it is the divine will of the Supreme Soul that the welfare of the world must be achieved through this 'Kalpataru' in Kali Yuga. The true-willed God himself is present in Gururaja, conducting the welfare of the world. Therefore, it's not surprising that Ramanatha Chettiar, though a Shaivite, became a devotee of Sri Gururaja.
All devotees: Truly, Swami, what you said is absolutely correct. Please, grace us by telling about the blessing that Gururaja bestowed on Chettiar.
Acharya: Ramanatha Chettiar hails from "Kottaiyur" in the famous Ramnad district of Madras region, a place renowned for its wealthy Chettiar community. Ramanatha Chettiar, a sibling of the well-known Dr. Alagappa Chettiar, is a wealthy businessman with a widespread reputation in places like Malaya. About ten years ago, Chettiar developed a heart condition due to his past karma. The disease quickly worsened, making his survival seem impossible. Despite consulting experienced doctors and undergoing tests, the physicians concluded that only surgery could save him, but there was no guarantee of survival. Chettiar was left bewildered. His wife refused surgery, preferring medication, which unfortunately did not help. Chettiar struggled with severe heart pain.
Krishnacharya, a devout follower of Sri Gururaja, visited Kottaiyur for a religious purpose and learned about Chettiar’s condition. He suggested that worshipping Sri Rayaru could cure the disease, a task that even the best doctors could not achieve. Chettiar was skeptical. Could a miracle happen through a Madhva sanyasi? Krishnacharya convinced him by narrating instances where Sri Rayaru had cured incurable diseases and advised him to try worshipping with pure devotion, promising that there was nothing to lose.
That night, Chettiar dreamt of Sri Rayaru appearing as a sage with a staff and water pot. Sri Rayaru assured him, “No one who believes in us ever suffers, Ramanatha. You are part of our devotee family. Follow what Krishnacharya advised, and you will be blessed.” The dream profoundly impacted Chettiar, changing his attitude. He realized the unique and miraculous nature of Gururaja’s grace. Unlike other deities who bless upon being worshipped, Gururaja spontaneously comes to the aid of his devotees. This characteristic is a true mark of a great soul, a divine compassion towards devotees.
In the night, Chettiar was deeply impressed by the radiant and majestic form of Sri Gururaja he saw in his dream. Tears of joy welled up in his eyes. He sat meditating on the divine form he had seen in his dream, with his eyes closed and hands joined in prayer. His wife, coming to wake him up, was astonished to see his deep state of meditation. She gently shook him and looked at him questioningly. Ramanatha, with a smile, began narrating the dream to his wife. As they were talking, a messenger arrived to inform them that Krishnacharya had returned. The couple welcomed him and shared their experience. Krishnacharya was surprised and joyfully said, 'See, the greatness of our Gururaja! Now, let go of all your worries. You are blessed and will receive Gururaja’s grace. Without further thought, continue to worship Sri Rayaru.'
From the next day, Ramanatha and his wife devoted themselves to the service of Sri Gururaja. They cleaned a room, placed Sri Rayaru's picture on a silver pedestal inside a mantapa, lit ghee lamps, and adorned the picture with flowers to start the worship. They made sure that no one else entered the room, making it a private space for their devotion. Chettiar practiced solitary worship of Sri Rayaru. The news spread, and some friends and relatives mocked Ramanatha for worshipping a Brahmin sanyasi and ruining his life. However, this only strengthened his devotion.
One night, in a dream, Sri Gururaja appeared with a gentle smile and said, 'What’s this, Ramanatha? Everyone is saying you’re ruining yourself by believing in me, a Brahmin sanyasi. Look, it’s not too late. If you wish, you can stop; there’s no compulsion from me.' This deeply pained Chettiar. In the dream itself, with tears, he appealed, 'Gurudeva, I am your humble servant, surrendered at your feet. Let the world say what it wants, it doesn’t hurt me. But you must not leave me. I have offered my body and mind to you. Their preservation or destruction is in your will. I cannot ask for more.'
Sri Gururaja chuckled, 'Do you really have such faith in me, Ramanatha? Then listen, prepare for surgery immediately; we will protect you.' He disappeared after speaking. Chettiar’s wife also had a dream where Gururaja instructed her to agree to the surgery without fear, assuring her of his protection.
Moved by these dreams, the Chettiar couple decided to proceed with the surgery, trusting in the divine protection of Sri Gururaja.
The next morning, Ramanatha Chettiar and his wife shared their dreams with each other and rejoiced in the reassurance given by their guru. Within ten days, arrangements for the surgery were made, and several experienced doctors arrived. The doctors again expressed uncertainty about Chettiar’s survival during the surgery. Chettiar reassured them with a smile, 'Do your duty. My Gurudev is capable of protecting me.' He was ready for the surgery, which went successfully. The surgeons were astonished to see Chettiar conscious and smiling, and they acknowledged that it must be due to the divine intervention of his guru. This deepened the couple's devotion to Sri Rayaru. Within a few days, Chettiar completely recovered from his illness.
After some time, Chettiar experienced heart pain again. Distressed, he prayed to Sri Gururaja. That night, he dreamt of the guru reassuring him, 'Don’t worry, you will need to undergo surgery a few more times, after which your illness will be completely cured.' Over the next three to four years, Chettiar underwent several surgeries. Despite doctors' doubts about his survival each time, Gururaja protected him. Even a renowned surgeon expressed disbelief at Chettiar's survival, calling it a miracle and attributing it to the grace of his guru.
Chettiar fully recovered within a couple of months. After being saved multiple times by Sri Gururaja, the couple’s devotion to him grew even stronger. They committed to every action with guidance from Sri Gururaja. When World War II began, and Japan occupied Malaya, Chettiar's fortunes were affected. People who had mocked him for worshiping a saint instead of following his family traditions saw this as an opportunity to ridicule him further. They sarcastically suggested that the saint should now restore his wealth.
When Chettiar and his wife heard about these comments, they remained calm. 'Fools, they do not understand the greatness of Gururaja and criticize without knowing his capabilities. What could Sri Rayaru do about our past karma? Moreover, we don’t even know the exact situation of our wealth in Malaya due to the war. Wouldn’t the saint who granted us life also grant us some wealth?' With this faith, the couple found solace.
One day, in a dream, Ramanatha was told by Gururaja, 'Won't you come for my darshan?' He mentioned this to his wife, who excitedly responded, 'I have been saying for so many days that we should go for the darshan of those great souls. Why are you indifferent? Now that the guru himself has called, we shouldn’t delay any further. Are you worried about what people will say? Can we ever stop people from talking? We must do our duty. Let's go to Mantralayam.' Chettiar smiled and said, 'Indifferent towards those great souls? How can you say that? Will I heed the words of a few people? Let’s leave for Mantralayam tomorrow.'
Ramanatha and his wife, along with a small entourage, set out and arrived here. They felt purified by the darshan of Sri Gururaja. At the same time, they also met Pujya Suyameendra Teertha Swamiji who was there and followed his instructions to perform service for three days. They offered their services and made donations to Sri Rayaru, and also hosted a feast for thousands of Brahmins and married women. They were delighted to learn about the unfathomable glories of Sri Rayaru from Swamiji. The Chettiar couple didn’t know how to render permanent service to the great being who had saved their lives. Finally, they expressed their dilemma to Swamiji, who suggested that they commission a silver chariot for Sri Gururaja. Hearing this, the overjoyed Chettiars bowed to Swamiji and said, 'Swami, I have all the comforts due to Sri Gururaja’s grace. He has given me life. I must be the one to commission this silver chariot. Please allow me to serve in this way forever.' Swamiji happily agreed and the couple promised to arrange for the chariot as soon as possible and returned to their town.
Back home, even after a month or two, Chettiar didn’t mention the chariot's construction, so his wife questioned, 'Haven’t you promised to offer a silver chariot to the young Swamiji of Mantralayam? Why are you sitting idle?' He smiled and replied, 'True, I made a promise. But we didn’t know the status of our business and assets in Malaya, did we? I will commission it once Sri Rayaru blesses us.' His wife, slightly upset, said, 'Is this a joke? We shouldn’t test the guru or forget our promises.' Ramanatha laughed and reassured her, 'Did you take my jest seriously? I will make all the arrangements.
Don’t worry," Ramanatha was reassured by his wife. The next day, he commissioned skilled artisans to design the chariot and arranged everything needed for its construction, including wood and silver. Thus, the construction of the silver chariot began.
Meanwhile, the World War also came to an end. In about four months, the silver chariot was ready! That very night, in a dream, Gururaja appeared to Ramanatha, saying, "You are my true devotee, Ramanatha. You have built this chariot for me, but what can I give you in return? I have fulfilled your wish. May you be blessed." Ramanatha shared this dream with his wife, but its significance wasn't immediately clear to them. Within a day or two, news arrived from Malaya: "When the Japanese occupied Malaya, the Chettiars' business wealth, which was in British currency, was converted to Japanese currency. Post-war, the British Government agreed to exchange these Japanese currencies back to British ones." The joy of the couple was indescribable! Gururaja appeared again in Ramanatha’s dream saying, "I have fulfilled your wish, Ramanatha! Are you happy now?" The meaning became clear to Chettiar: "Ah, what compassionate beings the Gurus are!" The people of Chettinad were amazed by the miracles of Sri Gururaja, and many became his devotees.
"Look at the glory of our Guru!" the devotees exclaimed. Despite what people said, the Chettiars firmly believed in and devotedly worshipped Sri Rayaru. Sri Rayaru, in turn, blessed them with his grace. Thus, they brought the silver chariot as ordered by Sri Gururaja and celebrated its offering. You all have seen and rejoiced in this celebration. This is the glory of Sri Rayaru as commanded by Sri Suyameendra," explained the head of the Matha to the devotees.
The head of the Matha spoke of the wonderful miracles shown by Sri Rayaru, and everyone was moved to tears of joy, praising the compassion of Sri Rayaru. Then, a person named Rama Shastri commented, 'Swami, Acharya, you have given us the nectar to drink.' Varadaraja Iyengar, a middle-aged man, stepped forward and said, 'Acharya, Shastri is speaking the truth. As you mentioned earlier, great souls have no boundaries of sect or creed. Look, we are from the Mysore region, where many followers of the Tattva-Vishishtadvaita philosophy reside. Your teachings have never hindered us in showing respect to great people. Not only that, but we all worship Sri Raghavendra Swamy with devotion and have been receiving our desired blessings. We are aware of the immense respect our Guru Peethas show towards Sri Rayaru. Not just that, the root place of Sri Raghavendra Swamy's Matha is the renowned Nanjangud in our Mysore region. In Nanjangud, not only the Smarta and Sri Vaishnava communities but all Hindus of various sects consider the Matha as 'our Math' and conduct themselves accordingly. Indeed, Sri Rayaru, as you said, is not just a Guru for the Matha, Brahmins, or Hindus, but a universal Guru.'
Then Govindaraya and others nodded in agreement, saying, 'True, true.'
At that moment, a person named Sadashiva said, 'Acharya, see, we have come from different places. We knew that Sri Gururaja was a great soul, a magnanimous and devotee-loving person. While some may know his entire history and the extent of his miracles, many of us are unaware of it. It would be very helpful if you could enlighten us.'
Just then, the sound of drums, trumpets, and wind instruments was heard, and thousands of electric lights illuminated the temple of Sri Gururaja. Observing this, the head of the Matha smiled and spoke.
The Acharya said, "Oh! It seems like the 'Sarvasamarpanotsava' of Sri Gururaja is about to begin. Devotees of Sri Rayaru, you have asked me to narrate the charitamrita (nectar-like story) of Sri Rayaru, and it's your good fortune. Today, as every year, the highly revered Sri Suyameendra Teertha Swamiji will be teaching the immortal story and the magnificent virtues of Sri Gururaja to the devotees. You can become sanctified by listening to the teachings of this wise sage, who is the propagator of the greatness of Sri Gururaja, born from the sacred lineage of Gururaja's previous life, and who now resides on the holy seat. Come, let us all witness the festival of Sri Rayaru, listen to the Guru's teachings, and be sanctified."
Under the leadership of Sri Suyameendra Teertha, the beautifully adorned Sri Gururaja was placed in a silver chariot, accompanied by musical grandeur, Vedic chants, cheers from the devotees, devotional dances by Haridasas, and bhajans. The procession proceeded to the temple where Sri Gururaja was placed in the 'Kalyanamantapa', beautifully decorated in every aspect, and seated in a swing. The Dolotsava (swing festival) was performed by the holy hands of Sriyaru. After the Swastivachana (benedictory speech), adorned Sri Suyameendra Teertha Swamiji of the Digvijaya Vidya Peetha began addressing the gathered thousands of devotees, commencing his discourse.
"Today, Sri Sri Raghavendra Tirtharu of Shrimantralaya is recognized as a universal Guru, whose glory transcends the boundaries of India and is celebrated in every corner of the world. Regardless of caste, creed, sect, color, nation, language, poor or wealthy, believer or non-believer, everyone worships and seeks refuge in this noble soul, resolving all their troubles and obtaining their desires. Sri Gururaja looks only at the pure hearts and devotion of those who worship him, irrespective of who they are, and fulfills their every wish and desire! Thus, he has been relieving millions of their sins, diseases, and troubles, granting their every aspiration. We need to ponder how Sri Gururaja obtained such immense power to uplift everyone and endlessly bestow blessings. What's the secret behind his inexhaustible grace? The more we contemplate, the more we realize his profound power, wealth, and grandeur, leaving us utterly astonished. Devotees of Sri Gururaja, before we delve into the immortal story of this great soul, we must understand who they are, their original form, what led to such immense power, why the Lord is always present with them, how they obtained such boundless wealth to grant wishes - these are some of the aspects we need to explore. Only then can we fully appreciate their unique personality, significance, and glory, and by understanding their immortal story, our devotion and faith will grow stronger.
We annually impart to you the immortal glories of Sri Gururaja. Inspired by Sri Gururaja himself, today we wish to explain all the aspects I mentioned earlier, including the origin and unique characteristics of Sri Gururaja’s incarnations and their magnificence. We regard this as a command from Sri Gururaja himself. He inspires us and speaks through us as per our capabilities to convey these truths to all of you.
In the Sri Guru Stotra, Sri Appannacharya states ‘ಶ್ರೀರಾಘವೇಂದ್ರೋಪರಿಪಾದಕಂಜನಿಷೇವ ಣಾಲಬ ಸಮಸ್ತ ಸಂಪತ್’ 'Sri Raghavendra Uparipadakanjani Sevana Labha Samasta Sampat' - meaning that Sri Gururaja, who is the supreme and the cause of the universe, has attained the fourfold Purusharthas - Dharma (righteousness), Artha (wealth), Kama (desires), and Moksha (liberation) - through the service of the lotus feet of Sri Narayana. This answers all our questions. Sri Lakshmi, the custodian of all wealth, is favorable to Sri Hari, and hence Sri Gururaja’s treasury is so profound. It’s not just a treasury, but an 'inexhaustible treasury', enabling Sri Gururaja to bless countless devotees with their desired fortunes. It’s not just that Sri Gururaja has amassed this great wealth by serving Sri Hari in the form of Sri Raghavendra; it's also important to know that this great soul has worshipped Sri Hari for many ages, thus accumulating this inexhaustible treasury of the four Purusharthas. So, who are they? What is their original form? What are the forms and incarnations through which they have served Sri Hari over the ages? We must first understand these aspects.
The answers to these can be found in the Narasimha Purana, which provides insights into these questions. In Narasimha Purana, it is mentioned
ಶಂಕುಕರ್ಣಾ ದೇವರು ಬ್ರಹ್ಮಶಾಪಾಚ್ಚ ಭೂತಲೇ |
ಪ್ರಹ್ಲಾದ ಇತಿ ವಿಖ್ಯಾತೋ ಭೂಭಾರಕ್ಷಪಣ್ ರತಃ ||
ಸ ಏವ ರಾಘವೇಂದ್ರಾಖ್ಯಯ ರೂಪೇಣ ಸರ್ವದಾ |
ಕಲೌಯುಗೇ ರಾಮುಸೇವಾಂ ಕುರ್ವನ್ ಮಂತ್ರಾಲಯೇಭವನ್ ||
Shankukarna, cursed by Brahma, became renowned on Earth as Prahlada, devoted to alleviating the world's burdens. In the form known as Raghavendra, he is always present, serving Rama in the Kali Yuga, dwelling in Mantralaya.
It is stated that the original form and incarnations of Sri Gururaja are Shankukarna, a deity who was cursed by Lord Brahma and incarnated as Prahlada Raja, devoted to the alleviation of Earth's burdens and devoted to Lord Narasimha. Later, he incarnated as Vyasaraja and Bakaraja, revered in devotion to Lord Krishna for the relief of Earth's burdens. These incarnations reveal that Shankukarna, as Vyasaraja, again incarnated in the Kali Yuga at Mantralaya to serve Lord Moolaramachandra. This knowledge of Shankukarna becoming Raghavendra in Mantralaya is clear to us. The immortal words of Haridasas, who are direct knowers of God, clarify this.
ಮಹಾತ್ಮಾಜ್ಞಾನಪೂರ್ವಸ್ತು ಸುದೃಢರ್ವತೋಧಿಕಃ |
ಸ್ನೇಹೋ ಭಕ್ತಿರಿತಿಕೊ ತಯಾ ಮುಕ್ತಿರ್ನಚಾನ್ಯಥಾ ||
‘Great knowledge is indeed the foremost and strongest foundation. Love and devotion are its paths. Only through these can one attain liberation, and not otherwise.’
This passage emphasizes the importance of understanding the greatness and extraordinary feats of the deity we worship. By knowing them well and offering unwavering, superior devotion beyond the love or attachment we have towards our own possessions, relatives, and self, we attain eternal happiness. Apart from such devotion, there is no other way for salvation, fulfillment of desires, or eternal bliss. This speaks about the kind of devotion that must be offered to God. As the Vedic saying goes, ‘ಯಸ್ಕ ದೇವೇ ಪರಾ ಭಕ್ತಿರ್ಯಥಾದೇವೇ ತಥಾ ಗುರ’ 'Yaska deve para bhaktir yatha deve tatha guru', which means just as we devote ourselves to God, we should also show equal devotion to our guru, who imparts us with scriptural knowledge and helps us in receiving the grace of God. Today, as the auspicious guides for the world, Sri Guru Sarvabhouma radiates as a guru to all people, encouraging everyone to seek their grace in Sri Raya. We wish for everyone to offer steadfast devotion in Sri Raya, guided by the great knowledge of Sri Guru Raja, and thereby attain the four primary human goals - righteousness, wealth, desire, and liberation. Understanding who Sri Guru Raja is, their original form, their incarnations, and their significance is crucial. Therefore, all followers of these great beings should know about their original form, incarnations, and immortal stories. It is essential. We are now beginning to impart these details, as much as we know, with Sri Guru Raja's grace." The gathered crowd, filled with utmost joy, expressed their happiness with cheers and applause.
Compassionate Sri Suyameendra Guru Charan, deeply immersed in devotion, eloquently narrated for about four to five hours the history of the divine form of Sri Shankukarna, the curse that transformed them into Prahlada, their incarnations as Bahlika and Sri Vyasaraja Sarvabhouma, and the final incarnation as Sri Raghavendra Guru Sarvabhouma. He detailed their unique attributes, wisdom, devotion to God, renunciation, penance, and the extraordinary blessings bestowed by the deity in each incarnation. This sacred discourse, flowing uninterruptedly like the lofty waves of the holy Ganges from the lips of Sri Padangal, filled thousands of devotees with supreme joy. They sat spellbound, shedding tears of bliss, completely absorbed in the divine narrative, their bodies thrilled with devotion, forgetting all worldly concerns. The scene of their joy was unprecedented, and the memory of that pure and holy scene remains indelibly etched in our minds. The powerful discourse of Sri Galavaru, their nectar-like words, continue to echo in our ears even today.
The lecture given by Sri Padangal that day, the unprecedented subjects they revealed, the multifaceted portrayal of Sri Gururaya's character and his extraordinary feats, are things we can never forget! The idea struck us that the glorious history of Sri Gururaya's original form and incarnations, as narrated by Sri Padangal, should be written down in book form. Wouldn't that be a great service, inspiring devotion in countless devotees and bringing them immense joy? This thought took strong hold in our minds, and our desire to undertake this noble task grew.
Upon expressing our intention to Sri Padangal and seeking their blessing, they joyfully and emotionally said, 'Ah, what an excellent idea. Sri Gururaya will surely accept and bless this grand endeavor from you. Try your best; may your wish be fulfilled.' They blessed us wholeheartedly with mantra-akshata (sacred grains). From that day, we began the work of collecting material and references for this book. The fruit of many years of contemplation and effort is now in your hands, the book 'Kaliyuga Kalpataru.'
O devotees of Sri Gururaya! Now enjoy reading 'Kaliyuga Kalpataru,' the timeless chronicle of Sri Gururaya's original form and incarnations.