Saint who ruled Vijayanagar
CHENNAI, MARCH 30. Rarely does a person introspect on the true essentials of life, opting instead to battle for survival. By their knee-jerk reaction to situations and events, people pass up the opportunity to conduct themselves in a manner suited to spiritual progress. How then can a person emerge from such a mundane existence and lead a meaningful life? By virtue of their guidance, wisdom and knowledge, God's messengers help aspirants shape and mould their lives aimed at achieving their goal of salvation. According to the Thirukkural, the best way to understand a person's character and personality is not only by looking at him and hearing him, but also by knowing his activities. The biographies of saints who act as channels of spiritualism to the parched seeker serve just such a purpose. Sri Vyasaraja was one such luminary hailed as the `chintamani' of Dwaita philosophy, said Professor Bhaskar, speaking on the occasion of the aradhana of Sri Vyasaraja (March 29). When sage Narada had experienced the bliss of enjoying Lord Krishna's lilas in the Dwapara Yug, the ultimate devotee Prahalad wondered when he would be such a blessed recipient. Narada then informed him that both of them were assigned by Lord Krishna to be born in the world as Purandaradasa and Vyasaraja respectively, to spread the message of the Lord in order to help man attain salvation. Scholars point to the internal evidence of such an event occurring by excerpting from the latter's song, "ninna nodi dhanyanadhano Srinivasa." As a fledgling student in the ashrama of his guru, the young scholar gave enough evidence of his searing knowledge, logical derivation, virtuosity in debate resulting in fluent arguments, humility and kindness towards fellow human beings — enough to convince his preceptor that Vyasaraja would be the best choice as successor. However, the young scholar baulked at such an honour and left the Math premises. That night, the Lord accompanied by his consort appeared in a dream and encouraged him to embrace the post in order that the philosophical tenets may reach the people at large, and he returned to the Math.
In his later years, Vyasaraja became the patron-saint of the Vijayanagar kingdom, and when Krishnadevaraya faced the peril of `Kuhayoga' which portended death for the ruler, the saint assumed the throne for the requisite period. It is for his philosophic `empire' that the saint, whose tomb is on the banks of the Tungabhadra, is renowned.