We reached Mantralaya located in Kurnool District, in western Andhra Pradesh at 7.15 pm. We were provided accommodation at the APTDC Punnami Guest house which was clean and had hot water facility. We had a quick bath, got dressed and rushed to the Mutt for darshan of our GURU, Shri Raghavendra Swami.
I was very excited, as I remembered my childhood visits to the Mutt, very frequently with my parents and brothers. We then lived in Hutti Gold Mines,Raichur District, Karnataka, which presently is the only Gold producing mine in India. My parents were ardent devotees of Sri Raghavendra Swami (Rayaru) and followers of his philosophy. After my father's ( Shri. H. Ramamurthy) untimely demise in 1984, I and my mother somehow could not visit Mantralaya. Even after my wedding, eight years ago, despite many plans and attempts by my husband and me; for reasons uncomprehending, the visit did not materialize.
I call this visit a divine calling because, my mother who is suffering from breast cancer has immense faith in Rayaru and his blessings. And when my friend Chitra suggested that we visit Mantralaya that weekend, being a holiday for our kids; Phani and I were quick to say yes and Mr & Mrs Reddy were more than happy to join us.
Shri Raghavendra Swami, lived in the 17th century (1601-1671) and was one of the greatest proponents of Madhva Philosophy(Dvaita Philosophy). He was considered to be the reincarnation (avatara) of Prahalada. He was an ardent devotee of Moola Rama and Anjaneya.
Shri Raghavendra Swami is said to have performed many miracles during his lifetime and his devotees like my mother, believe that he continues to bless them and miracles do happen even now. Shri Raghavendra Swami entered the Brindavan live, which is located at Mantralaya. Guru Raghavendra is not visible to us now but was visible to Sir Thomas Munroe, the collector of India about 150 years ago when British Ruled India. He is believed to be present in the Brindavan alive (in athma form) at Mantralaya to this 336 year of entry ( as on 15th August 2007) into his Brindavan .
It is a common phenomenon in Kannada Madhva households, such as ours, to teach children from a very young age to recite this Raghavendra Stotra in the morning, after bathing.
pUjyAya rAghavendrAya satyadharmaratAya chabhajatAM kalpavR^ixAya namatAM kAmadhenavedurvAdidhvAntaravaye vaishhNavIndIvarIndaveshrI rAghavendragurave namo.atyantadayALuve
(I worship as the Kalpa-vrksha, and salute as the kAmadhenu the esteemed RaghavEndra who is always engrossed in the true dharma;. He is a brilliant sun who destroys the false arguer, and a moon that casts a mellow light upon the ViShNu bhaktas; salutations to that Guru ShrI RAghavEndra; salutations to the one of extremely kind disposition.)
For our return journey on Feb 18th, after the morning Darshan, we boarded the bus at 9.30 am. The one thing that disappointed me was the sight of the nearly dry River Thungabhadra. On the way back we visited PILLALAMARRI, a huge banyan tree( India's National Tree) spread over an acre of land at Mahabubnagar. I learned that this is the second biggest and widest banyan tree in India, the first being in Howrah, Kolkata, India. Adithi and her friend Akhil had a good time climbing the tree and posed for a few snaps. We reached Hyderabad at 8.00 pm, tired but contented, with the pilgrimage.