Picture of Sripadaraja
Brief sketch of Sri Sripadaraja or Sripadaraya..

Sripadaraya or Sripadaraja alias Lakshminarayana Tiirtha (1420 to 1486 Pontificate)


SrIpAdarAjaru is revered by all mAdhvAs. It is believed that he is the incarnation of dhruva. His contributions to dvaita, haridAsa sAhitya, and the then existing social and political circumstances were considerable. He was also the vidyAguru of Sri vyAsarAya.

Shripadaraya or Shripadaraja is considered to be the originator of dAsakUta. That is why his name stands first in the following stotra which is sung at the beginning of any traditional Harikatha discourse

"namah sripAdarAjAya namastE vyAsa yOgine namah purandarAryAya vijayAryAya te namaha"

That is why he is also called as 'dAsa pitAmaha' (Grand Father of Dasas). He spread the message of BhAgawatha through his songs.

Lakshminarayana becomes a sanyasi

SripAdarAja was born in Shivaganga on the banks of the river Kaveri. His parents named him Lakshminarayana.

svarNavarNa tiirtha was the 8th pontiff descended from PadmanABha tiirtha (a direct disciple of Madhvacharya). He was once travelling towards abbUru when he came across LakshmInArAyaNa playing with this friends. When asked how far abbUru was, the little boy gave a very clever reply. He said, "Look at the setting sun, and look at us playing here. Now you guess how far abbUru is! " (the intended meaning was "we are playing here even though the sun is setting because we are confident of reaching home before it gets really dark; in other words, abbUru is close by ! "). The swamiji was taken back by the boy's keen intellect and decided to make him disciple. Later, after obtaining his parent's consent, the boy was granted sanyAshrama and named LakshmInArAyaNa yOgi.

Lakshminarayana muni becomes Sripadaraja

The name SrIpAdarAja was given to him by Sri RaghunAtha tiirtha of uttarAdi muTa. There are 2 versions about why he did so; one version goes that he was impressed by young LakshmInArAyaNa yOgi's vidvat, whereas another goes that he personally witnessed the revival of a dead boy by LakshmInArAyana yOgi. In any case, from then on LakshmInArAyaNa yOgi became SrIpAdarAja. (In Kannada, a swamiji is called "SrIpAdangalu" or "SrIgalu", so SrIpAdarAjaru literally means the king of SanyAsIs).

SrIpAdarAjaru had "sukha prArabdha" i.e., he was destined to live like a king even though he was a saint. Needless to add, he was at heart a total ascetic whose mind was pegged at the lotus feet of gOpAlakrishna, but his prArbdha forced him to enjoy rAjavaibhOga. It is said that he once gave up his regular ways when some misguided persons objected; then so many untoward things happened that the same persons begged him to go back to his regular ways.

According to a tradition, recorded in the Brahmanya Tiirtha Vijaya, Brahmanya and Sripadaraja were cousins and were roughly of the same age. It is remarkable that both renounced the world and devoted themselves to the cause of their faith and played a conspicuous part in the spiritual development of their gifted disciple Sri Vyaasa Tiirtha.

Sripadaraja earned great fame by removing Vijayanagara King's Brahmahatya dosha (the sin of killing brahmins) which is considered to be the most heinous of all sins.

Overview of his literature

He was a great scholar and poet. He started the practice of singing kannada devaranAmAs, steeped in Bhakthi, at the end of all main pooja ceremonies.

His songs are very sublime and possess a happy blend of rhythm and meaning. His sincerity and passionate devotion are transparent in his songs. It is believed that the lord used to dance to his songs.

His compositions show a high order of musical excellence and literary grace. The personal element in his songs is most touching. In true mystic grammar, he analyses the defects and mental agonies of man and lays them bare before the Lord, praying for light and vision, impersonally, on behalf of struggling souls.

His important pieces are the Bhramaragita, Venugita, Gopigita, and MadhvanAma (which extols Hanuma, BhIma, Madhwa; the Phalasthuthi for this was composed by JagannAtha dAsa). Some of his famous devaranAmAs are: "Ne ittahange iruvEno hariye ...", "Kangalidyathako kAveri rangana nOdada..", "BhUshanake BhUshana ...". His ankitha was "Ranga Vittala".

Ganga comes to narasimha theertha

Sripadaraja has his brindAvana at a place called narasimha theertha, about a mile from Mulabagilu, on the Bangalore and Madras national highway. There is an interesting anecdote about narasimha theertha which goes as follows:

It is said that when he was at his old age, he wanted to have Ganga-snana, but could not travel all the way up north. Ganga then appeared before him and said that she herself would come to Narasimha tiirtha and stay there for ever. From then on, a dip in narasimha tiirtha is considered to be equivalent to a dip in Ganga.

The following stotra in honor of Sripadaraja was composed by Vyasaraya

Tham vande narasimha theertha nilayam Sri vyAsarAja poojitham
DhAyantham manasa nrusimha charaNam SrIpAdarAjaram gurum.
Pada Vakya Pramatabhyam Vikreedana Visharadam
LakshmiNarayana Muneem Vande Vidya Gurunmama.

Few Compositions of Sripada Rajaru


Sri Pada Raja Tiirtha Sri Vyasa Raja Tiirtha Sri Vadi Raja Tiirtha Sri Raghavendra Tiirtha Sri Purandara Dasaru
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Sri Pranesha Dasaru Harapanahalli Bhimavva Sri Prasanna Venkata Dasaru Sri Venu Gopala Dasaru Sri Mohana Dasaru
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