Krishnashram

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Swami Krishnāshram
Religion Hinduism
Philosophy Shaivism
Vedanta
Personal
Born Paramēshwar Nāgar
Vitthal, Karnataka
Died 1863(8th day of the month of Mārgashīrsha)
Shirali, Karnataka
Guru Swami Vāmanāshram
Honors Seventh guru of the Chitrapur Saraswat Brahmin community

Swami Krishnāshram (Devanagari: कृष्णाश्रम्, Kṛ.sh. nā. śram) was the seventh guru of the Chitrapur Saraswat Brahmin community. He was the seventh mathādhipati (head of the community or guru). His reign lasted for 24 years from 1839 to 1863.[1]

He was an administrator and Sanskrit scholar.[1] Under his reign several infrastructural developments were brought about which included construction of temples and the renovation of existing ones. He added several land assets to the Chitrapur Math.[1] Under his regime the Rathōtsav ("Car Festival") was introduced. (See topic below.)

Krishnāshram was succeeded by his disciple Pandurangāshram as the head of the community after he died in 1863. He was considered the "Patron Saint" of the Shirali and its adjoining villages.[1] His samādhi (shrine) is located at Shirali.

Taking charge[edit]

Krishnāshram was born Paramēshwar Nāgar[2] in the tiny hamlet of Vitthal in Karnataka. He took charge of the affairs of the community after his guru Swami Vāmanāshram attained mahā-samādhi (died) on the 9th day of the month of kartik in 1839.[3] Thus he became the seventh Guru Parampara.

He was a learned Sanskrit scholar[1] who had gained mastery over the scriptures while under his guru. Devotees flocked from different parts of the country to hear the āshirvachans (spiritual discourses) of Krishnāshram. He was able to bring around many devotees from their Dvaita Vaishnava practices.[1]

After Vāmanāshram gave up the administration of the matha over to his shukla bhat managers (See Relinquishing responsibilities), the affairs of the matha were in disarray.[4] The administration of the matha was taken care of Krishnāshram who was an able administrator. With the help of his trusted assistant Lajmi Venkatarāmanayya, the affairs of the matha were set right.[1] Many reforms regarding the collection of vantiga (donations), the allocation of funds for developmental projects etc. were introduced.[1]

Infrastructural development[edit]

Krishnāshram was keenly interested in establishing temples and mathas and renovating already existing ones. Under his leadership, the Shri Subramanyeshwar Temple at Nilekani (Sirsi) and the Shri Anantēshwar Temple at Vitthal were some of the temples that were renovated.[5]

The Umā-Maheshwar Temple at Mulki was constructed after the residents of that panchayat requested Krishnāshram for a temple. Krishnāshram himself installed the Umā-Maheshwar deity in the temple.[6]

Rathōtsav ("Car Festival")[edit]

See Rathotsav[6]

Under Krishnāshram's auspices, the Chariot or Car Festival known as Rathōtsav was introduced, the first in 1862.[7] In this week-long festival, Lord Bhavānishankara adorns the ratha (chariot) which hundreds of devotees pull around the entire village. The mathādhipati (head of the community or guru) sits on the ratha. An integral part of the festival is the pālki utsav (Palanquin festival) where the Lord Bhavānishankara adorns the pālki (palanquin) and travels a different route every day to "visit" his devotees. Devotees offer their prayers and seek blessings from the Lord on these days. Each day, the Lord takes a different route. The route taken is always marked by glowing lights and crackers to welcome the Lord.

This festivity is marked by chanting of Vedic mantrās (hymns) along with bhajans (devotional songs). Prasād bhojan (food served as prasad) is served to each and every devotee. This food is prepared by the voluntary work of the devotees, including the cutting and chopping of vegetable to the serving of the food. Any small work done towards the betterment of the festival is considered as seva (selfless service) to Lord Bhavānishankara. The Rathōtsav is the time when the entire community unites to take part in the festivity.

Miracles[edit]

There are famous stories about miracles that Swami Krishnāshram has been attributed to.

Un-earthing Umā-Maheshwar[edit]

Once Krishnāshram had a dream in which the Lord Bhavānishankara guided him to the jungles of Gersappe in Shimōga. There he was shown an idol of Umā-Maheshwar hidden in the deep jungle. Krishnāshram guided his followers to the place as shown in his dream. At exactly the same location as in the dream, an exquisite sculpture of Umā-Maheshwar was unearthed.[8]

In the traditional way, this idol was installed near the shrine (samādhi) of Ādi Parijñānāshram Swamiji at the Bhandikeri Math (Ādi Matha) in Gokarn.

Fire at Shirali[edit]

One year during the pāliki utsav (Palanquin festival: See Pālki Utsav) in the month of Kārtik at Shirali, the people ignored the festival. They did not light lamps nor offer flowers and ārtis to the Lord. They shunned and turned their backs onto Lord Bhavānishankara.[6]

Krishnāshram wanted the people to believe that whatever they offer to the Lord was not theirs but belonged to the Lord in the first place. The good life that people enjoyed were because of the grace of the Lord and selfishness and ignorance does not play any role in success. So that night, as if by divine will, a devastating fire swept across Shirali that resulted in wanton destruction. How much ever the people tried, the fire would not extinguish. The people realized their folly and sought forgiveness at the Krishnāshram's feet. As if by divine intervention, the fire was extinguished and further losses were prevented.

Shishya Sweekār[edit]

The devotees of Krishnāshram asked him to accept a shishya (disciple) so as to continue the holy Guru Parampara. Krishnāshram graciously accepted. So the search was on to find a suitable successor to Krishnāshram.

The successor was found in Kālappa Shāntapayya, a smart and intelligent boy from Mangalore.[9] So on the auspicious Shuddha Poornima day (15th day) of the month of Kārtik in 1857,[9] Krishnāshram ordained his shishya and named him Pāndurangāshram. Thus another link was added to the Guru Parampara. Pāndurangāshram would go on to learn under his guru for a period of 6 years.

Death[edit]

Swami Krishnāshram fell ill in 1863. On the ashtami (eighth day) of the month of mārghashīrsha that year,[10] Krishnāshram died, after being at the helm of the community for a dynamic period of 24 years where the community faced a lot of changes. His shishya pandurangāshram succeeded him as the next guru of the community. The samādhi (shrine) of Krishnāshram is located at the Chitrapur Math in Shirali between the samādhis of Swami Parijnanashram II and Swami Keshavashram.[1]

Preceded by
Swami Vāmanāshram
Guru of Sāraswats
1839 – 1863
Succeeded by
Swami Pāndurangāshram

References[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i "H. H. Shrimat Krishnashram Swami (Shirali)". Archived from the original on 2007-09-27. Retrieved 2007-06-24. 
  2. ^ Divgi, Jyothi (2002). Anugraha-A Saga of Cascading Grace. Shri Chitrapur Math Publication. p. 89. Archived from the original on 2007-10-17. 
  3. ^ Divgi, Jyothi (2002). Anugraha-A Saga of Cascading Grace. Shri Chitrapur Math Publication. p. 92. Archived from the original on 2007-10-17. 
  4. ^ Guruparampara Charita Saramrita(Devanagari). Shri Chitrapur Math Publication. 2002. Archived from the original on 2007-10-17. 
  5. ^ Divgi, Jyothi (2002). Anugraha-A Saga of Cascading Grace. Shri Chitrapur Math Publication. pp. 96–98. Archived from the original on 2007-10-17. 
  6. ^ a b c Divgi, Jyothi (2002). Anugraha-A Saga of Cascading Grace. Shri Chitrapur Math Publication. p. 98. Archived from the original on 2007-10-17. 
  7. ^ "Shirali Teru". Archived from the original on 2007-03-25. Retrieved 2007-06-24. 
  8. ^ Divgi, Jyothi (2002). Anugraha-A Saga of Cascading Grace. Shri Chitrapur Math Publication. p. 103. Archived from the original on 2007-10-17. 
  9. ^ a b Divgi, Jyothi (2002). Anugraha-A Saga of Cascading Grace. Shri Chitrapur Math Publication. p. 104. Archived from the original on 2007-10-17. 
  10. ^ Divgi, Jyothi (2002). Anugraha-A Saga of Cascading Grace. Shri Chitrapur Math Publication. p. 117. Archived from the original on 2007-10-17.