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Śrī Vidyāśrīsindhu Tīrtha
Tenure : 1872 – 1884
Ārādhana : Āṣāḍa śukla navamī
Location : Sŏsale
Charama Shloka :
ಸದ್ಯಾಚಿತಾಮರತರುಃ ಹೃದ್ಯಾಶ್ಚರ್ಯಪ್ರಭಾವವಾನ್ | ವಿದ್ಯಾಶ್ರೀಸಿಂಧುಯತಿರಾಟ್ ದದ್ಯಾದ್ವಿದ್ಯಾಂ ಮುರದ್ವಿಷಃ ||
सद्याचितामरतरुः हृद्याश्चर्यप्रभाववान् | विद्याश्रीसिंधुयतिराट् दद्याद्विद्यां मुरद्विषः ||
sadyācitāmarataruḥ hṛdyāścaryaprabhāvavān | vidyāśrīsindhuyatirāṭ dadyādvidyāṃ muradviṣaḥ ||
About Śrī Vidyāśrīsindhu Tīrtha
Śrī Vidyāśrīsindhu Tīrtha was ordained the 31st Pīṭhādhipati. Hailing from Rathāngapura Vaṁśa, Śaunaka Gotra and a Yajurvediya belonging to the Āravel̤u Kuṭumba, he embraced Tattvavāda after getting Taptamudrādhārana from Kambālūru Rāmacandra Tīrtharu. Śrī Lakśminātha Ṭīrtharu, Ṭippanikāraru for Vyāsatraya did Paramānugraha on this Vamśa. Our Guruparampara starting from Śeṣacandrikācāryaru to Śrī Vidyāsamudra Tīrtharu, including this saint, belongs to this Vaṁśa.
Kṛṣṇācāryaru, Pūrvāśrama name of this saint, performed Śāstrādhyāyana under his grandfather Śrī Vidyāpūrṇa Tīrtha, believed in tradition to be Apāravatāra of Śrī Vyāsarājaru and was fifth in succession from Śrī Vidyāvallabha Tīrtharu. It is known from existing records that this scholarly saint in his Pūrvāśrama had debated with scholars of other prevalent schools of thought at important pilgrimage centres of the south such as Śrīraṅgam, Kanci and Madurai and upheld Ācārya Madhva’s Tattvavāda. But it is sad to note that all documentary evidence for the above were lost during a flood event at Sosalĕ in the last century.
The Saint was renunciation – Vairāgya – personified. At the behest of His Guru, he embraced the fourth order, Sanyāsāśrama without any inhibitions at a very young age despite having a son who was barely five years and a fairly young wife. He then started a long Sancāra for a period of five years visiting all the important pilgrimage centres.
Tradition records that the saint was described as Vividha Śāstra Nikṣepa Bhūḥ which would roughly translate as a personality likened to a minefield of Śāstraic treasure! This is not a surprise since the saint had extended Śāstraic education with His illustriously long-lived predecessor Śrī Vidyāpūrna Tīrtha who occupied the Vedānta Sāmrājya for half-a-century.Śrī Veṅkaeśācārya, one of the many Gṛhastha Śiṣyās of this saint who had composed the Tāratamya Prabandha prays to the saint in the Mangal̤ācaraṇa Śloka
|| Vidyāśrīsindhu Tīrthānam Matguroḥ Pādapaṅkajĕ
Namaskṛtya Pravakṣyāmi Tāratamyam Vimuktidham ||
Vicitra Carithākruti is another adjective that is seen to be employed in the same work. On one occasion, the saint decided to undertake Cāturmāsya Saṅkalpa at Sosale. Due to the monsoon season, the river Kāverī was in spate. However, the saint desired to visit Tirumākūḍalu Narasīpura and take the blessings of his paramaguru Śeṣacandrikācaryaru before commencing the Vṛtha. It is said, he walked effortlessly over the river and had the darshana of his Guru’s Mūla Vṛndāvana and walked back to Sosale! This incident is also alluded to in the Carama Śloka of the saint composed by his successor Śrī Vidyāśrīdhara Tīrtharu in the following manner.
|| Sadyācitāmarataruḥ Hṛdhyāścaryaprabhāvavān
Vidyāśrīsindhuyathirāṭ Daddhyād Vidyāṁ Muradviṣaḥ ||
The reason for the avatAra of this saint is recounted as follows: Divān Pūrṇaih of Mysuru submitted his entire material wealth at the feet of Śrī Vidyāvallabha Tīrtha and requested the saint’s grace for which the Saint is supposed to have said
Dhanyaṁ Karoti Tvām Sindhu Dhānyīkṛtya Suvarṇakam
which would roughly translate as “Vidyaśrīsindhu would bless you by converting all this material wealth (Gold) to grain”! This was a prophecy made fifty years well before the occurrence of a severe drought of 1877-79 at which time Śrī Vidyaśrīsindhu Tīrtharu adorning the Pīṭha used up all this wealth to feed everyone in the Sosale region for a prolonged period of time and came to be affectionately known by one and all as ‘Akki Bel̤ĕ Svāmiji.’
Being an Aparokṣa Jñyāni and knowing that his departure is approaching, he ordained Śrī Vidyāśrīdhara Tīrtharu as his successor a year before and ensured that the teaching of Tatvasāra, commentary on Bṛhatī Sahasra composed by Śeṣacandrikācaryaru was completed before entering Vṛndāvana. Paṭṭābhirāmācārya, saint’s Pūrvāśrama son became a great scholar and did Śāstrādhyayana under his successor with his blessings.