(Narashima Jayanti, Shodasha Bahu Narasimha Devaru and Sri VibudhendraTheertharu)

Date : May 22, 2024


Dear Devotees : Namaskara.

| Sri MannMoolaRamastu Mannmathe Moolamahasamsthhaana Mantralaya Sri Rayaramathe||


Narashima Jayanti, Shodasha Bahu Narasimha Devaru and Sri VibudhendraTheertharu described in Mantralaya (1091).


On May 21, 2024, we marked Narasimha Jayanti. It's an especially cherished festival at Sri Raghavendra Swamy Mutt because of the presence of Shodasha Bahu Narasimha Devaru, the 16-armed Narasimha bestowed by the Lord to Sri VibhudendraTeertharu.

In this series, let's explore the identity of Sri VibudhendraTheertharu and the origins of Shodasha Bahu Narasimha Devaru.

The name Sri VibudhendraTheertharu resonates with unparalleled reverence and positive energy among scholars across India. Known as the Commander-in-Chief of Dvaita philosophy, he was instrumental in protecting, nurturing, and spreading its teachings far and wide across the Indian subcontinent. As the 11th Peetadhipathi of Sriman Madhwacharya Moola Mahasamsthana Sri Raghavendra Swamy mutt.His contributions to the Dvaita tradition remain monumental and enduring.

Sri VibudhendraTheertharu's purva ashrama name is  Sri Raghunatha Bhatta, emerged as a luminary figure in the realms of philosophy and spirituality during ancient India. Under the tutelage of Sri Rajendra Theertharu , Raghunatha Bhatta's intellectual prowess blossomed, mastering the intricacies of Vedic wisdom, Shastras, and the Dvaita philosophy.

Driven by a vision to propagate Madhwa Siddhanta in the intellectually vibrant eastern regions of India, Sri RajendraTheertharu assembled a team of exceptional scholars, including Sri Raghunatha Bhatta. Their mission: to engage in scholarly debates and establish the supremacy of Dvaita philosophy. Sri Raghunatha Bhatta emerged as a key figure in this endeavor, leading the charge to disseminate Madhwa Siddhanta in regions like Navadweepa, akin to the intellectual prowess of Kashi.

The meeting between Sri RamachandraTeertharu and Sri VibudhendraTeertharu was a momentous occasion that changed the course of history. Recognizing Vibudhendra's exceptional knowledge and spiritual wisdom, RamachandraTeertharu appointed him as his successor and was charged with the important responsibility of preserving and promoting Madhwa Siddhanta. With steadfast dedication, Sri Vibudhendraru embarked on a mission to uphold the principles of Dvaita philosophy, ensuring its continuity and dissemination to future generations.

Sri Vibudhendra Theertha's tenure was characterized by extensive travels and rigorous philosophical debates. He ventured across the Vijayanagara Empire, engaging scholars of diverse philosophies and emerging victorious, thus cementing the superiority of Dvaita philosophy. His commitment to defending Madhwa Siddhanta was unwavering, even abstaining from alms until he had proven the supremacy of his beliefs.

Sri VibudhendraTheertharu's contributions extended far beyond philosophical debates. He established a university in Thirunalveli, serving as a beacon of Dvaita scholarship. His teachings nurtured several prominent scholars, including Sri Lakshminarayana Muni, known as Sreepadaraja. Sri VibudhendraTheertharu's legacy endured through his disciples, who carried forth the torch of Dvaita philosophy, ensuring its perpetuation and growth for generations to come.

Allow me to weave the captivating narrative of Shodasha Babhu Narasimha Devaru, an icon cherished and venerated for countless generations within the sacred confines of Sri Rayaru Mutt.

As a fervent devotee of Lord Narasimha, Sri VibhudendraTeertharu dedicated many years to worshipping the deity in Ahobila. One night, VibhudendraTeertharu was blessed with a divine dream where Lord Narasimha appeared before him, adorned with sixteen arms, bestowing his divine blessings upon Sri VibhudendraTeertharu.

The following day, as Sri VibhudendraTeertharu performed his morning rituals by the Bhavanaashini river, VibhudendraTeertharu stumbled upon a sight straight from his dream—a magnificent and exceedingly rare icon of Narasimha with sixteen arms. The awe-inspiring deity held various weapons in fourteen hands, while in the remaining two, Narasimha gripped the demon Hiranyakashipu, ready to vanquish him. The intensity of the divine fury mirrored the abject terror on Hiranyakashipu's face, capturing the moment of impending doom.

Mesmerized by the majestic theme portrayed in the icon, Sri Vibhudendra Teertha worshipped it fervently until his final days. With reverence, he passed the sacred duty to his disciple Sri Jitamitra Teertha, who, in turn, continued the tradition. Through generations, this divine idol has been worshipped, cherished, and passed down. Sri Raghavendra Teertha, among others, offered his devotion to the Shodashabhau Narasimha Devaru, and today, it is revered by Sri SubhudendraTeertharu, continuing the sacred legacy.

In the Rayara Sri Mutt, the Shodasha-bahu Narasimha icon is worshipped following the principles set forth by Acharya Madhva in his work ‘Tantra Sara Sangraha’. Madhva stipulated that icons larger than a human palm require special rituals, including nyAsa, which are time-consuming. Consequently, the principal icons of the Matha, including Sri Moola Rama and Shodasha-bahu Narasimha, receive full-fledged worship, including abhishekha, only once or twice a year on very special occasions.

One such special occasion is Vaishaka Shukla Chaturdashi, the fourteenth day in the bright half of the Hindu lunar month of Vaishakha, commemorating the incarnation of Lord Narasimha. On this auspicious day, the Shodasha-bahu Narasimha icon is offered full-fledged worship, including abhishekha, honoring the significance of the Lord's incarnation.

On May 21st, 2024 like every year, a joyous festivity came alive as Peethadhipati Sri Sri SubhudendraTeertharu chose to honor Narashima Jayanti in a truly splendid manner.The atmosphere was transformed into a realm of beauty, with vibrant flowers adorning every corner, their colors dancing in the gentle breeze. As the sun began to rise, casting its golden glow over the gathering, the air became filled with the melodious chants of ancient Vedic hymns, their sacred verses weaving a tapestry of divine energy. It was a scene of awe and reverence, as devotees gathered to witness the grandeur of the occasion, feeling their spirits uplifted by the palpable sense of devotion that permeated the air.

Sri SubhudendraTeertharu began the day with a sankalpa for the abhisheka to Lord Narasimha. As soon as SubhudendraTeertharu revealed the Shodasha-bahu icon from its enclosure, an overpowering wave of devotion, awe, and ecstasy swept through the gathered devotees. The assembly of devotees began chanting the Sri Shodashabahu Nrusimhastaka, composed by Sri VijayeendraTeertharu.

To the accompaniment of Vedic chants, Swamiji performed the abhisheka of Lord Narasimha with meticulous adherence to prescribed rituals. The icon was then anointed with specially prepared sandalwood paste, completing the main portion of the abhisheka. Following this, Srigalu performed the pooja for Sri Moola Rama Devaru. Finally, the Shodasha-bahu Narasimha icon was ceremonially returned to its enclosure.

The splendor and magnificence of the ceremony, coupled with the profound joy that fills the hearts of devotees, are beyond the reach of words. This extraordinary event must be experienced to be truly comprehended.

We stand in profound reverence as we witness the sacred ritual of worship performed by Sri SubhudendraTeertharu, honoring Shodasha Bahu Narasimha Devaru. Our heads bow in awe and gratitude to Sri VibudendraTeertharu and the illustrious lineage of Sri Raghavendra Swamy Mutt.

The devotion towards Sri Raghavendrateertharu is the ultimate truth and is the most simple and effective way to reach Sri Hari  - "NAMBI KETTAVARILLAVO EE GURUGALA"! “Those who have complete faith in this Guru will never be disappointed.”