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1595 or 1598 or 1601 CE
Bhuvanagiri, Gingee Nayak kingdom
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'Śrī Rāghavēndra Svami (1595–1671 CE), born Venkanna Bhatta, was a renowned Hindu saint, philosopher and proponent of Dvaita philosophy proposed by Sri Madhvacharya. He served as the head of the matha in Kumbakonam from 1624 to 1636. His Brindavan in Mantralayam in the present-day Andhra Pradesh is an important place of pilgrimage. The numerous miracles he performed have led to him being worshipped even today as a Guru and he is believed to be the saviour for those who placed faith in him. He is the avtar of Prahlada, who is famous as one of the best bhaktas of Lord Narayana.
Raghavendra was born as Venkanna Bhatta in the town of Bhuvanagiri in Tamil Nadu to Kannada Brahmin parents, Thimanna Bhatta and Gopikamba, in 1595, 1598 or 1601. He was also known as Venkatanatha or Venkatacharya in honor of Venkateswara.
After his initial education under his brother-in-law Lakshminarasimhachar in Madurai, Venkatanatha was admitted to the Sri Mutt in Kumbakonam where he took sannyasa and adopted the name Raghavendra Tirtha. In 1614, after he returned from Madurai, Venkanna Bhatta married Sarasvati Bai. Their son, Lakshminarayanacharya, was born in the same year, after which the family moved to Kumbakonam.
In Sri Mutt, Raghavendra Swami studied under Sudheendra Theertha. He quickly emerged as a talented scholar and consistently won debates over scholars older than him. He was also known as a teacher of Sanskrit and the ancient Vedic texts.
In 1621, Raghavendra succeeded his guru Sudheendra Theertha as the head of the Sri Mutt and served from 1624 to 1636. He travelled all over South India expounding Madhvacharya's Dvaita philosophy and is attributed with a number of miracles.
In 1671, after assuring his disciples in a speech that he will be in spirit with them for the next seven hundred years, Raghavendra attained Samadhi at Mantralayam.
Raghavendra and Sir Thomas Munro
An incident concerning Raghavendra Swami and Sir Thomas Munro has been recorded in the Madras Districts Gazetteer. In 1801, while serving as the Collector of Bellary, Sir Thomas Munro, who later served as the Governor of Madras is believed to have come across an apparition of Raghavendra Swami. Sir Thomas Munro recorded as having spoke with Raghavendra Swami in English over an endowment proposal which he ultimately quashed as per the Swami's advice.
Raghavendra wrote many spiritual compositions and one devotional song that was dedicated to Krishna (Kannada: ಇಂದು ಎನಗೆ ಗೋವಿಂದ ನಿನ್ನಯ ಪಾದಾರ ವಿಂದವ ತೋರೋ ಮುಕುಂದನೇ... "Show me your feet today, oh Lord Krishna").
List of some of his works:
- dasha prakaraNa-s (6): Commentaries on six of the ten PrakaraNa-granthas of Madhva
- Suutra-Prasthaana—works on the brahma-sUtra
- Rg and upanishad prasthaana-s
- gItA prasthaana
- Other famous works
- shrI rAmacaritramaN^jari
- shrI kR^iShNacaritramaN^jari
- prAta.h sankalpa gadya
Literature on Sri Raghavendra Swami
Sri Raghavendra Vijaya
There are many literatures on the life history of Sri Raghavendra Swami but the most authentic of them all is the his biography called Sri Raghavendra Vijaya penned by his nephew and ardent devotee Sri Narayanacharya. His work was endorsed by Sri Raghavendra Swami himself.
A 32-stanza hymn, sung as a prayer by Sri Appannacharya an ardent devotee of Sri Raghavendra Swami to his beloved Swamiji.
One of the more recent publications is an 8-volume anthology titled "Sri Raghavendra Mahatmyam". Originally brought out in Tamil, it has also been translated into English. It covers devotee experiences, etc.
- Vol. 1 of Sri Raghavendra Mahatmyam ("The Saint of Mantralaya" in English) is available at http://www.scribd.com/doc/96876717/Raghavendra-Mahatmyam-Vol1
- Vol 2 is available at http://www.scribd.com/doc/96959113/Raghavendra-Mahatmyam-Vol-2
- "Shri Raghavendra Swami : A Great Devotee of Shri Vishnu". hindujagruti.org.
- "Life Story of Guru Raghavendra Swamy". gururaghavendra.in.
- "History of Sri Raghavendra Guru". www.SriRagavendra.com. 2009-08-05. Retrieved 2013-04-09.
- Proceedings - Indian History Congress. 1945. p. 331.
- Giriraj Shah (1999). Saints, gurus and mystics of India, Volume 2. Cosmo Publications. p. 473. ISBN 8170208564, ISBN 978-81-7020-856-3.
- "Indu yenage Govinda". Song Indu yenage Govinda from Kannada film 'Raghavendra Mahime'. Retrieved 2013-03-17.
- Official website of Sri Raghavendra Swamy Mutt Mantralayam
- Sister website maintained by Mutt
- Details on Appanacharya
- Details about Sri Ragavendra swamy's Guru
- Website dedicated to GuruRaya
- Mantralaya Series
- PURUSHASOOKTA explanatory definition written by Sri Raghavendrateertharu
- Raghvendra Vijaya composed by Sri GuruJagannath Dasaru
- life story about Jaiteertharu,sixth pontiff of Sri Madacharya Peetha
- A page on Sri Raghavendra at Dvaita.org
- Article about Mantralaya
- Bichali's official website
- Sri Lakshmi Nrsimhar Guru Raghavendra Trust, Kanchipuram, TN, India