|| Om Shree Guru Raghavendraya Namaha ||
Mantralaya(ಮಂತ್ರಾಲಯ ) or Mantralayam is a village situated on the banks of the river Tunga-Bhadra in Kurnool district of Andhra Pradesh. It not only shares its borders with Karnataka , but also attracts thousands of devotees from both the states, as well as from all over, come to this holy pilgrimage to visit Brindavana of Guru Saarvabhoumaru or Guru Rayaru or simply Rayaru or Guru Raghavendra Swami yathigalu (ಗುರು ರಾಘವೇಂದ್ರ ಯತಿಗಳು). He is a madhwa saint [Madhwa sector of Brahmin caste]
Guru Rayaru is said to be the re-incarnation or avatara of Prahalada ( son of Hiranya Kashipu), who was the greatest devotee of Lord Shriman Narayana/Vishnu. It is believed that Guru Rayaru is in the Brindavana from past 339 years and is said to be there to fulfill the wishes of all the devotees who pray with faith and devotion.
Annasantarpane or Prasada meal/food :: Mass meal being given to all visitors/devotees and Infosys founder Mr. Narayana Murthy and Mrs. Sudha Murthy have set up a huge hall for daily prasada meal to the devotees..
About Shri Appannacharya and Raghavendra Stotra :
During my childhood, my father who is a great devotee of Guru Rayaru used to tell the life story of Guru Rayaru, His miracles, teachings etc. He used to tell me and my sister to chant the mantra “OM SHREE GURU RAGHAVENDRAYA NAMAHA” as many times as possible. I also remember our visit to Mantralaya multiple times and waiting to perform namaskaras to Guru Shri Sushameendra Theertharu(the then teertharu) and get his aashirwaada and the holy Mantrakshate. We also have seen the Moola Raama Devaru Pooja in the Mutta Praangana(aavarana) hall during those times by Guru Shri Sushameendra Theertharu.. My father also taught us the famous ‘Guru Raghavendra stotra’ written by Sri Appannacharya, who was the greatest disciple of Guru Rayaru..
There is also a small incident behind the Stotra which goes this way:
Shri Appannacharya was one of the greatest disciples of Guru Raghavendra. When Rayaru wanted to become brindavana, he knew very well that Appannacharya would not be able to bear that pain. Hence he sent him to nearby place outside Mantralaya , on the day of him entering brindavana. But the news got spread and Shri Appannacharya came all the way rushing to Mantralaya and since those days it was bare foot walk, he ran and in between had to cross Tungabhadra river and unknowingly he started chanting the ‘Guru Raghavendra stotra’ with tears in eyes.
Shri Poornabhodha Guru Teertha
kaamari maaksha vrusha maaksha chirasprushanti
Poorvottara mitha taranga charatsu hamsa
Devaali sevitha paranGhri payojalagna|| it goes this way…
But by the time he came near the brindavana he couldnt see Rayaru and the last stone/brick of the brindavana was about to be placed and he couldnt bear that pain. At that point his chanting of the Stotra stopped after the below verse:
Yo bhakthya guru raghavedra charana dwandham smaran ya patheth,
Stotram divyamidham sada nahi bhaveth thasyasukham kinchna.
Kim thvishtartha samrudhireva kamala naatha prasadhodhayath,
Keerthi dig vidhitha vibhoothirathula………………
By that time he was chanting the above 2 verses of the stotra.
“saakshi haya stotra hee” These 4 sounds uttered are the words/sounds came from the inside of the Brindavana, which means Lord Vishnu/Hayagreeva is the saakshi for the stotra that it is right and approval for the same.( Haya means Hayagreeva here) …
One can definitely feel the vibrations near the Garbha-Gudi or Sanctum Sanctorum. More information on Shri Appannacharya could be found here : http://www.appanacharya.org/
The place or the village of Mantralaya where Guru Rayara Brindavana is located is called ‘Manchale‘ or ‘Manchale Grama or village’. Hence residing diety or Goddess of the village is called ‘Manchaalamma’, hence whoever visits and prays to Guru Rayaru also perform pooja and offer prayers to Goddess Manchaalamma. She is none other than Shakti Devathe or Durga.
Panchamukhi Anjaneya : There is also a temple of Panchamukhi Anjaneya near to Mantralaya where we can take an auto rickshaw or taxi or any van from Mantralaya. ‘Pancha’ means five and ‘mukhi’ means face.. Lord Hanuman with 5 faces is worshipped here.. It takes less than 1 hour from Mantralaya there roadways. The temple is situated on top of a small hill and for devotees convenience steps have been laid to reach the temple… I didnt get a chance to take pictures of this temple during my visit, but will surely update at the earliest..
About Mruttike and Mruttika Vana : ‘Mruttike’ means ‘MaNNu’ in kannada or ‘Holy Soil’. Mruttike from Mantralayam is taken to establish brindavana for all Rayara Mattas across the globe, as I have heard from my father. I also heard from him that there is a ‘Mruttika Vana’ or a small araNya containing Mruttike.. It is basically the Holy Soil settled below the auspicious, sacred and Pure ‘TULASI’ plant.. With separate poojas and mantras this soil is taken and distributed while Installing Brindavana. This Vana is also present in Mantralaya , we could see this on the way from Mantralayam to Panchamukhi Anjaneya temple, near the Thunga-Bhadra river.
Some simple shlokas one can recite are :
|| Pujyaaya Raghavendraaya Sathya-Dharma Rathaayacha Bhajataam Kalpavrikshaaya Namataam Kaamadhenave ||
|| Doorvadidwantaravaye Vaishnavendivarendave Shri Raghavendra Gurave Namotyanta dayaalave ||
In this blog have provided few song lyrics related to Guru Raaghavendra SwamigaLu.. Pleast click on the below links for the same..