GuruguNa stavana makes brindavana shake:
Somewhere in the middle of the eighteenth century Sri Vadeendra teertha became the pontiff of Rayara Matha. He was the fifth pontiff after Rayaru.
He was a very great scholar and devotee of Rayaru. He composed a work of 36 verses in honor of Rayaru. He has included descriptions of all the works done by Rayaru, in the correct chronological order along with the circumstances behind their creation. When he recited this in front of the Moola Vrindavana as part of his submission to Rayaru, the entire Vrindavana shook as if to indicate Rayaru was nodding in approval of what had been written. Incidentally, the Vrindavana that we see next to that of Rayaru in Mantralaya is that of Sri Vadeendra Teertha. This was the Vrindavana that Diwan Venkanna had originally organized for Rayaru.
Rayaru’s influence on haridasas:
Unlike his previous incarnation as Sri Vyasa Teertha, Rayaru did not compose many devaranamas or train Haridasas. But his presence in Mantralaya acted as a catalyst for bhakti and haridasa movement to flourish in the surrounding areas. All the major Haridasas who came after him were mainly from those areas. It is amazing to see such a high incidence of Haridasas coming from one area. This is against the laws of probability and can be explained only by the presence of Rayaru in Mantralaya. It became a tradition for every haridasa who came after Rayaru to visit Mantralaya and render seve to Rayaru. We see compositions of great Haridasas lavishing their respect and affection for Rayaru. Let us examine some key aspects about the major Haridasas.
Sri Vijaya Dasaru:
Sri Vijaya Dasaru is respected and adored as one of the greatest Haridasas this land has seen. He is credited with the revival of the Haridasa movement in the eighteenth century. He not only composed thousands of devaranamas himself, but also personally sought and trained several disciples to ensure that the movement endured for a long time. He was a junior contemporary of Sri Vadeendra Teertha and visited Mantralaya several times. He is supposed to have seen and conversed with Rayaru personally several times. Some of the devaranamas composed by him reveal insights that ordinary people would never get. In one song (“noDide gurugaLa noDide ..”), he talks of seeing Lord Narasimha, Rama, Vedavyasa and Krishna on the four sides of the Vrindavana, all the Gurus from Acharya Madhva down to his own guru present within the Vrindavana, and Lord Lakshminarayana in the form of a discus (chakra) granting the desires of devotees.
Sri Gopala Dasaru:
He was the disciple of Sri Vijaya dAsaru. He is the great soul who gifted 40 years of his life to Sri JagannAtha dAsaru, at the bidding of Sri Vijaya dAsaru. He has also composed several songs in RAyaru’s honor and has revealed some very secret aspects about RAyaru’s previous incarnations. He too was blessed by RAyaru in several ways. As a sample, one incident is being listed here to give an idea of the fondness that RAyaru had for haridAsas.
A poor devotee of RAyaru had taken a vow that if his wife was cured of a deadly illness, he would feed one hundred thousand brahmins. His wife was cured, but he was faced with another problem – how could he feed so many people, when he himself was struggling for existence? RAyaru took pity on him and told him in a dream “Go to the village tank tomorrow morning. You will find 3 brahmins waiting for you. Feed them and your vow will be completed”. The devotee did accordingly and found those people waiting for him. They were none other than Sri gOpAladAsaru and his brothers! The previous night gOpAladAsaru had told his brothers “Don’t worry about tomorrow. RAyaru has arranged a great feast for us!” Such is the divine perception of aparOksha gyAnis and the bond that existed between them and RAyaru.
Sri JagannAtha dAsaru:
He was the disciple of Sri GopAla dAsaru. He is the great soul who gave the gem called HarikathAmrutasAra to humanity. Amongst the major haridAsas, he has composed the maximum number of songs on RAyaru. When he was suffering from a stomach ailment for slighting Sri Vijaya dAsaru, it was RAyaru who guided him on what he needed to do and thus saved his life.
After composing HarikathAmrutasAra he went to Mantralaya to submit this to RAyaru. RAyaru is supposed to have come out from the brindAvana to bless him. He has captured this very eloquently in a song (“yeddu barutAre noDe ..”). He is supposed to have had conversations with RAyaru very frequently. When this fact became public, several people started pestering him with requests to present before RAyaru. After this RAyaru stopped appearing before him totally, devastating him totally. He poured out his anguish in front of RAyaru in another song (“yAke mUkanAdyo guruve ..”), melting RAyaru’s heart. From then on, RAyaru appeared only in his dreams.
Sri Thomas Monroe converses with RAyaru
In the 19th century, when the British were ruling India, they passed a law abolishing all Imam lands. Since manchAle was in this category, the government wanted to take away all the lands belonging to the maTha, but people made representations to the government. Finally, the government appointed a settlement officer, Thomas Monroe, to inquire into the matter and make an appropriate recommendation. Before starting on his task, Monroe met with the revenue officer of manchAle and learnt about the history of the place and the miracles performed by RAyaru. He visited manchAle and went to the brindAvana with reverence, taking care to remove his shoes and his head-dress. His assistants saw that he seemed to be in a trance-like state and was muttering something. Finally, he became normal and went round the brindAvana, after prostrating in front of it. When his surprised assistants queried him, he told them that RAyaru had come out of the brindAvana and had explained to him, in perfect English, the historical sanctity of the place and why the lands should not be taken away. As proof of this astonishing event, he showed them the mantrAkshate (consecrated rice) that RAyaru had given him as a blessing! He went to his tent and ordered that the rice be used in his meal that night, and immediately sent a recommendation to the Governor of Madras that the lands should not be taken away. Next, something very surprising happened. The Governor of Madras had to go back to England because of the sickness of a relative, and through a series of other transfers and moves Monroe ended up becoming the Governor! He took the oath of office, fully convinced that he had got this post that was well beyond his reach only due to the grace of rAyaru. Imagine his surprise when he saw that the first file that he had to deal with in his new post, was his own recommendation made from manchAle. He is supposed to have stood up, saluted the file and passed his orders immediately that the lands not be taken away. In the course of time, he was awarded many prestigious honors and titles and became Sir Thomas Monroe by the time he retired.
Most of this has been recorded in official documents and there is a noting in the Madras District Gazetteer to this effect.