Sripadaraya title Conferment - Fact or Fiction – Choice is yours


When I wrote an article on “Who gave the title Sripadaraja to Sri Lakshmi Narayana Tirtha?”, I have got a mixed bag of reactions and responses. Some of them are noteworthy and some were driving the same old unsubstantiated rhetoric of “We gave the title!”

Soon after I have posted the link of this article in Madhva Yahoo groups in which I am a member, in one of the groups there came a response with a link to this article. The author of this article posed some 22 questions but most of which have been created to help the writer to run a script that has certain prejudged inputs.

As in the basic tenets of Law & Justice that allow every litigant to offer their version of the story, all the accounts including those faux pas myths must be attended to with equanimity.

Now, let me dissect the old rhetoric of “We gave the title!” and show its hollowness.


Out of 22 questions, only question that qualifies for consideration is Q. No. 2 i.e. “Who gave the title?” and I am sure that the previous set of articles on this topic have provided certain amount of answers with solid archeological, scriptural and material evidences.

Meanwhile, the author of the aforesaid article rallied number of supportive documents for his assertion, which, ironically are nothing but books published in recent times. I prefer to be a mute spectator should I be forced to consider 20th century books as ‘evidences’ for understanding a historic event of 14th – 15th century?

If this is the case then in future people can identify noble Rama of Valmiki Ramayana as bogus just because there is a Ramayana Vishavriksha written by some stupid, left-leaning, atheist bigot of 20th century that vilifies Rama! Hence, one should not summon the books and books alone as evidences but should go beyond them and look for concrete evidences and clues. My previous attempts have been put in this direction to search for the evidences over and above the realm of Matha literature that is majorly either biased or extolled excessively.

I recommend the above write-up of Sumadhwaseva.com to be read only if the readers wish to take a break from their seriousness and have some fun. Earnest readers with genuine interest can laugh it out at the hilarious questions posted in that article. Sample this: “If the moola swaroopa of Sri Raghunatha Tirtharu is not known, whether he can give the title?” and the most mirthful one is – “Whether Sri Raghunatha Tirtharu was a grantha kartha or was a Sudha pandit to honour other?

Out of all such inept questions and answers, I have picked up one to demonstrate how important it is to have a thorough understanding of history and language to arrive at proper conclusion.

This said author concludes without citing historical facts that “As such, the suggestion of giving the title “Sripadaraja” by the king Saalva Narasimha can’t be accepted.” The best evidence that the writer could offer to the reader for his ramification is this - “The title Sripadaraja literally means and being explained all the sources that  – If we are Sripaadaas, you are the Sripaadaraja”.  That is Lakshminarayana Muni is recognised as Sripadaraja as the king of all the Sripaadaas.  Can the king give such title by calling him as Sripaada.

How on earth the title “Sripadaraja” means as “if we are SripAdAs, you are the SripAdarAja?” If this is the logic then the name Vyasaraja should have been gotten from “we are Vyasas but you are the king of all Vyasas?”, Gururaja means “We are gurus but you are the king of gurus”, Manjunatha suggests “we are Manju and you are the Natha” and to end this endless meanings Bhutaraja must mean “we are Bhutas and you are the king amongst Bhutas!”

This is obnoxious! No genuine reader can buy such ill-gotten logic that goes in rounds like a bullock tied to a pole!

On the other hand, “Sripadaraja” means “King amongst saints.”

That’s it. Nothing more or nothing less of it. There is no need to add useless words or to subtract the proper meaning of it! If someone is doing so, their intentions are not pure but ‘habituated’ by vested interests.

By saying “being explained all the sources” the writer tries to project those recent books that he was in possession/access to are the only sources of information. The world history is not confined to the books published by the Mathas but beyond all the Mathas and individuals. But the writer discards all other valid sources of history and goes on a joy-ride with his ‘selective’ sources of information.

As I have observed earlier, the said writer has certain preset conditions to which his thought process was fully tuned. In Zoology parlance such status is called as “Habituation.”

Now, let me do some honest work. Hereunder are the questions sent to me by some sincere readers:

  1. How could those archeological evidences provided by you can negate the story of Raghunatha Tirtha giving the title to Lakshminarayana Tirtha?
  2. It could have so happened that Raghunatha T. gave the title and a particular king offered those royal insignia to Lakshminarayana T. How your archeological evidences prove this assumption as wrong?

These are the real questions that could come only when a reader decides to have an unbiased reading and subsequently deploys a thought provoking assessment of what has been read. In other words, one can get brighter questions when the mind is not controlled by ‘habituated’ preset conditions.

It was a challenge for me to link those seemingly unrelated topics i.e. to debunk the ‘mythical story’ by applying those archeological evidences and assimilate the both, assess the pros and cons and then arrive at a logical conclusion. Request the readers to walk my talk and see whether it makes sense!

  1. The stone image of “Sripadaraja” belongs to an ancient structure of Sripadaraja Matha at Mulbagal town that has been demolished sometime ago but the pillar which showcases this image has been left unhurt.
  2. Those who are familiar with that ancient structure and the carvings, when contacted, have informed me that the said structure is nearly 300 years old. Administrators of Sripadaraja Matha may provide the exact period of construction of this said structure as they alone can have the documents that have recorded the development of the Matha from time to time.
  3. To continue the on-going exploration and also by considering the appearance of the stone image I am going with the age of “300 years” as suggested by those who are well acquainted with that ancient structure.
  4. This makes the stone figurine of Sripadaraya carved sometime in early 18th century i.e. nearly 2 centuries after the Brindavana pravesha of Sripadaraya.
  5. In my opinion, 18th century is much a closer date to 16th century as compared to 20th or 21st century and thus the stone carving is the best evidence and an irrefutable visible proof to understand what type of royal ornaments that Sripadaraya wore in 16th century.
  6. Incidentally, this figurine befits the description given by Vyasarayaru in his famous kirtana on Sripadaraya i.e. “ಮಹಿಮೆಸಾಲದೆಇಷ್ಟೆಮಹಿಮೆಸಾಲದೆ”. This stone image does not miss a miniscule of Vyasaraya’s detailing of the ornaments.
  7. With this, the augmentation of archeological evidence and scriptural reference can be achieved beyond any doubt.
  8. Interestingly, Vyasarayaru who eloquently described the ornaments has not mentioned any name that can confirm the giver of the title. This absence of Raghunatha T.’s name from Vyasaraya’s song itself negates the theory as false and renders the story baseless.
  9. Curiously though, the sculptor and the employer of him have not considered chiseling the image of the person who gave those ornaments or the title. The absence of the giver of those jewels or the title confirms the fact that the giver is of lesser importance or preferably wanted to be humble by abstaining from appearing.
  10. Hence the image and the kirtana are the solid proofs and stand tall as against those bookish evidences furnished by the author of the article in Sumadhwaseva.com.
  11. So, it is not only logical but also wise to reject the ‘story’ of Raghunatha Tirtha as it does not enjoy the support of strong, contemporary archeological and scriptural evidence as that of the image and kirtana cited above.
  12. Thus the archeological evidences and the ‘story’ can easily be delinked without causing any damage or insult to any person that were associated, directly or remotely, with this episode.

This is not the end of this exploration. I had another tough question which, to admit candidly, has rattled me for a while. And that question is:

  1. “There are two stutis written by Srinidhi Tirtha of Sripadaraya Matha in which the friendship between Sripadaraya and Raghunatha T. has been mentioned without an iota of doubt.”
  2. “If this is the fact that has been stated by a later date successor of Sripadaraya, how the story of Raghunatha T. can be dismissed as false? Here are those two eulogies of Sripadaraya by Srinidhi T. and now make a comment!”

That’s a bulldozer, to say the least!

It took quite some time for me to summon back my lost confidence as those stotras clearly speak about the fine friendship between Sripadaraya and Raghunatha T. One of them also suggests that Sripadaraya, while teaching to his pupils, suddenly stood up and looked at the sky as if a revered persona was flying over. It was indeed Raghunatha T. who was flying to Vaikuntha boarding a Vimana brought by the Vishnu kinkaras and Sripadaraya could see that scene which was invisible to all others.

The biggest question here is – Can a successor of Sripadaraya lineage lie? The answer is an emphatic NO. Then how to correlate the archeological evidences, Vyasaraya’s kannada kriti and the sthutis of Srinidhi T.?

Hereunder is what I could build as my final ramification:

  1. Srinidhi Tirtha is not the only saint-poet to write about Sripadaraya.
  2. The contemporaries such as Vyasatirtha, Vadiraja Tirtha and Vijayayindra Tirtha have written wonderful sthutis on Sripadaraya.
  3. Strikingly none of them offer a remotest clue about the friendship and reverence of Sripadaraya towards Raghunatha T. All the while describing how many food items were being offered by Sripadaraya in his daily puja, should we believe that it never occurred to Vyasaraya that he must acknowledge the generosity of Raghunatha T. had he given the title to his Vidya Guru? Or Vyasaraya has rated food items over a Peethadhipati? NOT POSSIBLE AT ALL.
  4. Understandably, Vadirajaru give exhaustive information including the verbal duel between Sripadaraya and a Kapalika teacher and the emphatic victory of the former. Even here too, we won’t find Vadirajaru mentioning the name of Raghunatha T. Can Vadirajaru who mentioned a Kapalika teacher with a superlative word (Kapalikottama) ignore a senior pontiff of his own school of Vedanta? NEVER.
  5. Vijayindraru makes it amply clear that Saluva Narasimha felicitated Sripadaraya by making him to sit on the royal throne but he too doesn’t at all mention about Raghunatha T. anywhere in his eulogy. Can we accuse Vijayindraru as “biased”, a tag that is rampantly being stuck to those who question the veracity of mythical stories? EVEN MINDED PERSONS CAN EVER DO SUCH TAGGING.
  6. Hence it can’t be assumed that all these three bright stars of Dvaita world can ever insult a benevolent scholar of the stature of Raghunatha T. should he have given the title to Lakshminarayana T.
  7. Hence it becomes quite strange of Srinidhi T. who added Raghunatha T’s name in his telltales of Sripadaraya. This is not only odd but completely offbeat too.
  8. If the age of the stone carving of Sripadaraya is of 300 years then that image must be there at the time of Srinidhi Tirtha who ascended the peetha in c.1761. It would be ridiculous to think that Srinidhi T. as a Peethadhipathi operating from the very building that has this fine stone carving of his great Guru ignored the factual history of that image.
  9. It becomes even more ludicrous to think that Srinidhi T. had a craving to cook a story of his own by not caring for the narratives given by great ancestors such as Vyasaraja, Vadiraja and Vijayaindra who were the contemporaries and witnesses to the grandeur and glory of his Guru?
  10. Hence, I have serious doubts about the authenticity of those shlokas, if not the complete stuti itself, and I doubt their veracity as original compositions of Srinidhi T.
  11. Up on my enquiry with persons associated with Sripadaraja Matha, I have understood that there is no original manuscript of these stutis available with the Matha. Hence I assert those shlokas as dubious and corrupt.

Last but not the least.

Mr. Pranesh, a reader, took pains to not only read my previous article but also posted a comment that had couple of questions on the subject. One of them was about the crown worn by Sripadaraja in that stone carving. Mr. Pranesh opined that there is no hard and fast rule to consider that the crown must be cylindrical or conical as shown in the stone figurine but it could be of a shape of the headgear usually worn by the kings of Mysore.

Though, in the first reading, I felt the observation made by Pranesh as ridiculous one but another round of reading has shown the other face of the coin.  While I have already posted this reply to his query, I felt that a detailed answer is needed to weed off certain falsified menaces.

It is improper to impose our whims and fancies on a historical event. But unfortunately we are in such ill-fated times wherein facts take a backseat while fiction plays to the galleries. As the query raised by Pranesh is about the crowns of Vijayanagara emperors and of Sripadaraya, let me demonstrate how ridiculously foolish people are who care a little for facts.

This is the image of Krishnaraya, installed inside Tirumala temple which has been commissioned by Krishnaraya himself and put up there by his subordinates and by the then temple managers.

 krishnaraya statute at tirumala temple

Look at the head-covering. It is conical in shape and Krishnaraya stands without clothing on his upper body. The image is having sharp features such as a pointed, straight nose, big eyes, brad shoulders etc.

Now, look at this image.

Krishnaraya at Tirupati

This is the image of Krishnadevaraya installed in Tirupati town. Take a look at the headgear of this image! It is a turban as suggested by Pranesh in his comment. But this head-dress is in direct conflict with the image installed in Tirumala by Krishnaraya himself! Is this not a best example for the lack of care by the modern people towards historical facts? What was the source for the sculptor of this image that caused him to neglect original Krishnaraya? Here it is….

Krishnaraya at Tanakbund Hyderabad

This is the Krishnadeva raya’s image installed as part of a gallery of icons of Telugu culture put up on the Tankbund bridge in Hyderabad in the year by the then C.M., N.T. Ramarao. On this image we can see a turban as the head-dress which in no way resembles the historically correct headgear of Krishnaraya. What was the source for the sculptor of this statute to decorate it with such historically incorrect headgear? Here you go….

NTR in Tenali Ramakrishna NTR in Mahamantri Timmarusu

These are the screen shots of N.T. Ramarao, the legendary movie icon of Telugu film industry and former CM of AP, who played the role of Krishnadevaraya in two historical films that were box-office bonanzas. In both the stills taken from those two movies show Krishnaraya with turban. This is the source for the sculptor who made the image installed in Hyderabad which further inspired the Tirupati image.

Now, what is the source for the art director(s) that forced to ignore the original headgear of Krishna Deva Raya? Well, I do not have the exact details of this but can make some assumption based on the dynamics that rule the film industry.

A cylindrical crown as worn by original Krishnaraya will spoil the screen appearance of a handsome man such as NTR. It makes him to look as grotesque as an alien. Hence, the art director might have borrowed the design of the turban worn by Mysore Maharaja which suits the actor and adds to his glamour. In fact, in the film Tenali Ramakrishna, they show video clips of Mysore Dasara celebrations and a visual of Jayachamarajendra Wodeyar sitting on an elephant borne haudha as well. That is why I am linking the headgear of filmy Krishnaraya with that of Mysore king’s.

This is how an actor’s screen appearance has caused a diversion from the original form and look of an iconic historical figure i.e. Krishnaraya and NTR’s getup as Krishnadevaraya did become a standard model for the subsequent generations. I can understand this weirdness finding acceptance in any other place but not in the very town where original Krishnadevaraya has commissioned his image all by himself! But that is how the contemporary mindsets have got worsened to their miniscule sizes by preferring fiction over the fact.

In the nutshell and going back to the original topic, I summarize here that the story of Raghunatha Tirtha conferring the title of ‘Sripadaraya’ to Lakshminarayana Tirtha is a myth and can be rested forthwith. Else it can be kept alive should only Maadhvas want to get branded as visually blind and mentally ‘habituated’ as that of those Tirupati fellows who installed a ridiculous Krishnaraya statue that mocks the original Krishnaraya in all aspects.


Fact is the substance while Fiction is a mere coating. It is up to you to make a choice!



C. Raghothama Rao
0 #2 C. Raghothama Rao 2015-07-22 14:54
Sri Raghavendra avare,

It gives me an immense pleasure to receive constructive criticism and advices from genuine readers such as you. Thanks for giving a frank feedback on the tone used in this article.

I hold respect for those 'opponents' who care for truths and factual accuracies but definitely not for those who peddle lies and lies alone. At times, I may have to put up 'selective outrage' but that is not a misguided personal abuse.

By having allegiance with a particular Matha and Matha-based activities, people have to invariably carry 'a chip on their shoulders.' Such unwanted burden is at the bottom of all the 'emotional' outbursts on the topics that you have mentioned in your comment.

Fortunately, I don't have any such allegiance to become rhetoric or 'to-lose-the-shirt' in public by making unsubstantiated statements.

Today, for some people I might be looking like an 'opponent' of a particular Matha. My appeal to such people is to highlight one such statement from my articles that ridicule or abuse any Matha or Mathadhipati?

If my search for historical accuracy of Maadhva narratives is going against a particular Matha, that conveys the other side of the coin and I don't find this as losing patience or creating unrest amongst Maadhvas.

Wish to receive continuous support and open criticism from you as such criticism can help me to have a qualitative check.
0 #1 Raghavendra 2015-07-21 08:48
Sri C. Raghothama Rao,
Thank you very much for the detailed Analysis. I can say that I am with the fact and truth. The only way you can find the fact is being non-emotional and non-related about the subject. Off-late I am seeing lots of emotions running between elderly and knowledgeble people. Be it in the case of Sri Jayathirtha Moola Vrindavana, Bhavi Samiratva of Sri Vadirajaru or in this case of Sri Sripaadaraya. I had great respect for you while I read your earlier papers, but this one, pardon me but didn't like the tone used, which has lots of emotions against the opponent, which I thought uncalled for for a researcher like you.
What is in interest of our miniscule endagered Madhwa society is to practice & preach Sri Acharya's path leading to Jnana, Bhakti & Vairagya and create hormony among ourselves. I believe Sri Acharya created Mathas for this exact purpose & not establish their kingdoms.
Krishnam Onde Jagadgurum!

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