Today being the Aradhana Day of Mahamahima Sri Raghuttama Tirtha Sripada, the great stalwart of Uttaradi math and a champion of Dvaita Philosophy, it is our paramount duty to remember and pay respects to this great saint.
Many devotees stand as testimony to the flowing grace of Sri Swamiji. I would like to share a few personal experiences and thoughts on this occasion.
That was the time of my Sudha Mangala at Tirukoilur on Magha Krishna Tritiya in the year 2006. It was my turn to present a topic and take examination in the Sriman Nyaya Sudha before Sri Swamiji and other distinguished scholars who were invited from various places all over India.
All through my study life, I always stuck to presenting (doing anuvada) in Sanskrit language, out of my fondness to the language and the great conviction I had on Girvana Bhasha. Though initially I was discouraged to do anuvada in Sanskrit for the fear of making too many mistakes, grammatical or otherwise, which, everyone believed, become even more apparent while discoursing in sanskrit. The mistakes are very striking, like the stains on a white background, unlike in other languages, where they go unnoticed, like stains on a dark cloth. I was also very well aware that the standard of examination in Sanskrit medium is very high compared to that in other languages. But I was bold and took it as a challenge.
This was my final examination as a student of Vedanta. Ofcourse, I still remain a student, even after that, but that was the last examination before we were declared Sudha Vidwans. Many things were at stake including the reputation of our Vidyapeetha. So, I did not want to take any chances. Though Kannada was not my cup of tea, as I was not born into a Kannada speaking family, I picked up fairly good Kannada during my stay at Vidyapeetha (so much so that today no one gets any doubt about my accent). I thought and thought and thought for several weeks before I finally decided to do my anuvada and exam in Kannada language, like all my other classmates, which seemed to be a safe bet. I prepared for my anuvada on Karyatavada practiced it well before going for the exam.
Minutes before the commencement of my exam, I prostrated and stood before the Brindavana of Sri Raghuttamaru, with folded hands and prayed incessantly, with tears rolling from my eyes blurring my sight of Brindavana. My mind, which was, till the previous day, actively racing through 300 patras of the most difficult and challenging portions of Sriman Nyaya Sudha, commonly known by the name Panchadhikarini in scholarly circles which includes Jiganasadhikarana, Prakrityadhikarana, Navilaxanatvadhikarana, Vaisheshikadhikarana and sandhyadhikarnaa, suddenly became blank. I don't seem to remember even a single sentence of whatever I prepared for the past 8 months. My confidence levels touched the rock bottom. I felt as if one could insert a string through the ear from one end and easily pull it out from the other end. My mind seemed to be a vacuum. If someone can save me, I thought it was Raghuttamaru. I placed all burden on his holy feet and slowly proceeded towards the examination hall.
As per plans, when Swamiji's order for the commencement of my Anuvada came, I started off, with a resolution to deliver my anuvada in Kannada. I was seated diagonally facing the dias with the Brindavana behind me. The very thought of starting the anuvada, that too in Kannada, sent shivers down my nerves. I had no previous experience in speaking in Kannada on the dais before distinguished scholars. Yet, I stood firm, with a conviction that Sri Raghuttamaru is there behind me.
All of a sudden, a renowned scholar of Nyaya and Vishishtadvaita Vidwan Sri Devanathan of Rashtriya Samsrita Samsthan, Tirupati, highly regarded as the No.1 scholar in Nyaya School today, walked into the examination hall. Swamiji has sent invitation to him well ahead of time to participate in the Sudha Mangala. But I was not aware of it. Before, I could recognize who the scholar was, he came and sat right in front of me, among other scholars including Prof. D. Prahladachar, Prof. Haridas Bhat, Prof. Anandatirthachar Nagasampige who were to ask questions and examine me.
I started off, rather unconvincingly, with my first few words of Kannada slowly rolling out in a lowly voice, offering salutations to swamiji and the distinguished examiners. Then my eyes rested on this Nyaya Scholar, who seem to be at loss to understand what I am saying as Kannada is a language unknown to him. All of a sudden, even while I was to continue to utter the next word, . I came under a strong influential current within me, giving me an unfathomable burst of confidence. My lowly bent figure stood erect, to face the challenge ahead of me. My mind which looked blank till that moment suddenly started to function like a supercomputer, ready to execute the toughest of calculations in few seconds. Instantly, even as though without my knowledge, I started to deliver the anuvada in sanskrit. It did not strike to me then, that I did not prepare for this like the way I normally do for any anuvada in Sanskrit as I very well understand its challenges. Before I could realize, 3 hours passed by with the scholars intently listening to my anuvada and freely questioning from different difficult portions of the text. I successfully answered all their questions confidently, without wasting a second, even to recollect. It was MY day. The day of my dreams. I was on song answering the most challenging of the questions with ease.
Finally I noticed a pleasant smile on the face Sri Satyatma Tirtha Swamiji, signaling the end of my exam (2 hrs more than the stipulated time of 1 hr). I stood up, still wondering what that smile of Sri Swamiji could mean.
It did not take much time for me to realize that it was the sheer anugraha of Sri Raghuttamaru. I could not have done this on my own. I did not have such yogyata. It was only the overflowing grace and kind heart of Sri Raghuttamaru who listened to my earnest prayers and who not only stood behind me but influenced my mind, through his mystic powers, throughout the 3 hr duration.
I slowly walked down and lay prostrated in front of the Bridavana, with my hands feeling the touch of the holy feet of Raghuttamaru and tears rolling from my eyes, this time for a different reason!
मूकं करोति वाचालं पङ्गुं लङ्घयते गिरिम् ।
यत्कृपा तमहं वन्दे रघूत्तममुनीश्वरम् ।।