H.H SHRIMATH YADAVENDRA (I) THIRTHA SWAMIJI

1

H.H SHRIMATH YADAVENDRA (I) THIRTHA
SWAMIJI

 

Shrimath Yadavendra (I) Thirtha Swamiji was the

first Mathadhipathi of Shree Kashi Math

Samsthan. The initiation ceremony of Shrimath

Yadavendra Thirtha Swamiji took place on the

Banks of the Holy River Ganga in Kashi in 1541

A.D. by H.H Shrimath Vijayendra Thirtha Swamiji,

(Originally of Shree Kashi Math Pontiff who had

later on transferred to Kumbakonam/Mantralaya

Matha after Danda Parivartana).

Once when Sri Yadavendra Thirtha was absorbed

in meditation on the bank of the sacred river

Ganges, the princess of Kashi, arrived at the ghat

for a holy bath along with her companions. They

did salutations to Sri Yadavendra Thirtha, and the

left her bangles on the banks of Ganga, and

without any worry got down into the water. Sri

Yadavendra Thirtha continued to be totally

unaware of the outer physical world. In a flash

waves washed away the princess’ bangles. After

her bath, the princess realized her bangles were

missing and that the Yati was sitting in

tranquility. She summoned her soldiers who

implied that Sri Yadavendra Thirtha was the

culprit saying, “This Sanyasi is an impudent

person, take him to prison”. Sri Yadavendra

Thirtha replied, “I do not know anything, the

water of the Ganges must have taken the

bangles”. They challenged him, “If you are a great

man, you will be able to bring back the bangles

at once”. In response, Sri Yadavendra Thirtha

praised Goddess Ganga; Ganga then appeared

miraculously with the bangles on her hands. All

the witnesses surrendered to him and did

prostrations to his holy feet with devotion. On

hearing this, the king of Kashi was very pleased.

The king immediately went to Bramha Ghat

seeking the darshan of Sri Yadavendra Thirtha

and donated more land to Shree Kashi Math.

Sri Yadavendra Thirtha expanded the courtyard of

the Moola Math at Kashi. He installed the Idol of

Sri Raghupati Rama. The learned men of Kashi

said that Sri Yadavendra Thirtha was a great

Yati. He did penance, practiced meditation and

read the Vedas. He was the Royal Guru of Kashi

and a highly revered ascetic. He was pious,

devoted to the performance of religious rites, and

well versed in the Vedas and Shastras. He was

gentle, virtuous and compassionate. After staying

in Kashi for a while He thought about travelling to

the South, more so because of Vinanthi Patras

(requests) from disciples in the South. He

recalled the memories of time spent with His

Guru Sri Vijayendra Thirtha. In a vision He was

directed by Lord Raghupati and got a message

from Lord Vyasa. He visited the temples of Lord

Viswanatha and Bindu Madhava before he could

leave from Kashi. He invited the learned scholars

to tell them about the impending visit to the

South. He honoured them, offered them fruits and

Dakshina, and said, “You are the learned men of

Kashi and I always remember your love and

respect for me”. They were disconsolate about

their soon to be separation from Sri Yadavendra

Thirtha.

As per the tradition that our Guru’s perform

certain rituals prior to travel, Sri Yadavendra

Thirtha Swamiji first took the idols of Lord Sri

Vyasa Raghupati, chanting the name of Lord

Narayana. Then the disciples took the palanquin

and other items given and honoured by Sri

Surendra Thirtha of Kumbhakonam. Then he left

Kashi for the South with his disciples. On their

way they visited places of pilgrimage such as

Ayodhya, Mandatha (on the bank of the River

Narmada), Mahakala, Prabhasa and Daruka.

Accompanied by the idols they then reached

Konkan, where He beheld the beauty of

Gomanthak (Goa) created by Lord Parashuram

(one of the incarnations of Lord Vishnu) and He

was elated. He recalled the sixtysix (Sashashti)

families brought by Parashuram to Goa from the

North; how at one time Goa was a flourishing

area supported by the great wealth of intellectual

Vaidiks, whereas now in contrast it was in a

distressed condition due to Kali Yuga as Muslims

and Christians had transformed Goa with their

religions.

Sri Yadavendra Thirtha remembered his

ancestors, His Parampara and His Guru Sri

Vijayendra Thirtha and did salutations to them.

They had a dip in the river Agha Nashini, visited

the temples of Kula Devata’s and the places of

the original sixtysix families of Gowd Saraswath

Brahmins. Then He and disciples went from Goa

to Cochin and then to Rajata Pita, Udupi.

All the Yatis of the Eight Mathas in Udupi

honoured Sri Yadavendra Thirtha. Sri Yadavendra

Thirtha had a holy bath in the “Madhwa Sarovar

”(Lake) before the Darshan of Lord Sri Krishna

and Hanuman. Sri Vadiraja Thirtha of Sonda Math

welcomed Him. While there, the Goud Saraswath

Brahmins from Bhatkal came to Udupi, held on to

the feet of Guru Sri Yadavendra Thirtha and

requested a visit to Bhatkal. Jog Mallya, a Goud

Saraswath Brahmin who was a Landlord in

Bhatkal wished to serve Guru Sri Yadavendra

Thirtha. Sri Yadavendra Thirtha with his disciples

thus left Udupi for Bhatkal. They decorated the

great door of the palace in Bhatkal and the people

were ready to welcome Him. The Vaidiks chanted

the Vedas and some played drums and musical

pipes. The sweet sounds of music reached the

sky. The people carried the palanquin which

contained the nicely decorated idols while Sri

Yadavendra Thirtha, holding the Danda, looked

very graceful.

Everyone did prostrations to Sri Yadavendra

Thirtha and the idols of Vyasa and Raghupati.

Jog Mallya requested the Guru to stay in Bhatkal

and donated a temple to Shree Kashi Math

Samsthan in 1606. A document known as “Jogan

Mallya’s Deed” is in the Math records, (preserved

by H.H Sri Sudhindra Thirtha Swamiji). A free

rendering of the same is given below:

I, Jog Mallya, son of Bhatkal Ananta Mallya,

hereby solemnly donate the following to Shri

Yadavendra Thirtha Shripad Wodeyar, Shishya of

Shrimath Vijayendra Thirtha Shripad Wodeyar,

Shishya of Shrimath Surendra Thirtha having

titles such as

श्रीमथपरमहंस परिव्राजकाचार्य
पदवाख्य प्रमाणपारावार
पारंगतसर्वतंत्र स्वतन्त्रराद
श्रीमथवैष्णवसिद्धांत प्रथिष्ठापनाचार्यराद

श्रीमथरामचंद्रदेवर दिव्यश्रीपादपद्माराधक

Shrimathparamahamsa Parivrajakacharya

Padavakyapramanaparavaar Parangath

Sarvatantra

Swatanrarad Shrimathvaishnava Siddantha

Prathistapanacharya Shrimathramachandra Devar

Divya Shripadapadma Aaradhaka

on Monday Vaishakha Shuddha Purnima of

Prabhava Samvatsara of Sh. Sh. 1528

(corresponding to 12th May 1606), I solemnly

donate to you Tirumala Vishnu Temple built by

me, the temple bordering the Kamakshi Temple in

the east (built by my father, Ananta Mallya in the

olden days, the temple which later came into my

possession), a wall erected by me in the south,

two big roads in the west and north, along with

the Utsava (procession) idol of Tirumala God and

the articles of puja, I am also donating the landed

property to you for the maintenance of the temple

and performance of various pujas and

samaradhanas (mass feasts) mentioned as

under: Amrit Padi to Tirumala God – Hari Jagara

of Kartika month, the great procession on Uttana

Dwadashi, Vanabhojana of Kartika Purnima,

Jagara of Ekadashi. Naga Purana Vachana in

Kartika, Vaishakha and other months and

naivedya in the mornings in the month of Dhanu

(the rice required for these individual items are

separately mentioned; the total quantity of rice

amounts to 13 1/2 muras). Please continue to

perform the Krishnarpana duty during the various

Utsavas in the temple. Do get the pujas

performed in the temple. Whenever you will be in

pilgrimage to other places, you will authorise

Brahmanas of our caste and of my choice to

perform the pujas. The renovation of this temple

in the future, whenever necessary, will be done by

you. The trusteeship of this temple shall rest with

the local people including us. Your heirs as well

as mine shall act according to this deed

regarding all the matters of the temple.

This act of donation has been witnessed by

Lakbal Prabhu, son of Narayana Prabhu and

Lakaras Kamath, son of Lakaras Kamath. Signed

by the donor, donee and witnesses.

(This was written by Kamayya, son of Ravalappa

Shanbhag). The plot is shown in Fig. 1.

Fig. 1: Tirumala Temple donated by Jog Mallya to

Sri Yadavendra Thirtha

yad

This donation deed clearly mentions that

 

 

Shrimath Yadavendra Thirtha was the Shishya of

 

Shrimath Vijayendra Thirtha, who was the

 

Shishya of Shrimath Surendra Thirtha (of

 

Kumbhakonam /Mantralaya Matha).

 

Sri Yadavendra Thirtha worshipped Sri Vyasa

 

Raghupathi three times a day. He meditated and

 

reflected on the Shastras. He recited, taught and

 

gave religious discourses on the sacred treatises.

 

He became weak as He did not take any physical

 

rest for the body. His mind was firmly fixed on

 

the holy feet of Sri Vyasa Raghupati. He was

 

always absorbed in meditation on the bank of the

 

river Gopi and He was a Sthitha Prajna. He was

 

content and had no desire.

 

He selected a Vatu (young boy) who was not

 

involved in worldly life. He prayed to Vedavyasa

 

and told that boy that, “Lord Vedvyasa needs you

 

to serve in our Kashi Math and so, convince your

 

parents”. He got consent from his parents. With

 

the help of the book SRI YATI PRANAVAKALPA

 

(one of the literary works of Madhwa), Sri

 

Yadavendra Thirtha initiated that Vatu into

 

Sanyas and renamed him SHRIMATH

 

KESHAVENRA THIRTHA and accepted him as his

 

Patta Shishya (Successor).

 

Sri Yadavendra Thirtha taught Sri Keshavendra

 

Thirtha that the way to liberation and salvation is

 

to contemplate, serve and worship the Lord with

 

love and devotion; to be detached from desire

 

and take an interest in the worship of the Lord.

 

The body is impermanent like a burnt cloth. One

 

who renounces worldly duties will attain

 

salvation.

 

Sri Yadavendra Thirtha handed over the

 

administration of Shree Kashi Math to Sri

 

Keshavendra Thirtha and then spent time in a

 

solitary location on the bank of the river Gopi in

 

Bhatkal. With single pointed concentration He

 

meditated on Lord Narayana. SRI YADAVENDRA

 

THIRTHA camped in Bhatkal till he attained Maha

 

Samadhi there, which occurred on Wednesday

 

22nd June 1608 (Ashadha Bahula Panchami of

 

Keelaka Samvatsara Sh. Sh. 1530) at a ripe old

 

age of about 80-90 years.

 

Sri Keshavendra Thirtha with utmost devotion

 

prostrated the feet of His Guru Sri Yadavendra

 

Thirtha. They adorned His Physical body with

 

Tulsi, Nama Mudra and Tilak. They built a

 

Vrindavan of SRI YADAVENDRA THIRTHA on the

 

bank of river Gopi, while the name of Narayana

 

was being chanted and then on everyone

 

worshipped Him.