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Madhva Sarovara

Behind the shrine is a tank known as Madhva Sarovara. Before entering the sanctum sanctorum, the Swamiji must come and take bath here. Sri Raghavendra Tiirtha of Sri Puttige Mutt (not to be confounded with the well-known saint of the same name) renovated it with stone slabs in the sixteenth century CE.

As we walk around the tank we notice that the bhojana shaala borders the northern side. It is in here that the hundreds of poor people, and the vast numbers of pilgrims who come to visit Sri Krishna each day, are fed. Special arrangements are made on the ground floor for the students and guests to take meals. Attached to the bhojana shaala is the kitchen.

In the North-East corner we notice a chariot-shaped heap of logs of wood. The firewood needed for the two-year paryaaya term is stored artistically in the shape of a ratha. The credit for this goes to Sri Vâdirâja Swamiji who started this tradition. This is an example to show how one can produce a piece of art with crude pieces of wood. Like the chariots of Udupi, this firewood chariot is also an object of wonder to the pilgrims. Such a chariot is gifted by each paryaaya Swamiji to his successor, and is used during the latter's paryaaya for cooking the vast amounts of food prepared at Sri Krishna Mutt every day. It is said that the exact amount of firewood needed for the paryaaya is always contained in the chariot, and that on the final day of a paryaaya, the last few pieces of wood from the chariot get used up, with no shortage or residue.

When we reach the South-West corner of the tank we come across a small shrine. Here we see a beautiful icon of Bhaagiirathi (Ganga) seated on a crocodile. This icon was installed by the 29th piiThaadhipati of Admar Mutt, HH Vibudhapriya Tiirtha Swamiji.

There is a nice story in connection with the Madhva Sarovara. When Sri Madhva was still a boy he wanted to undertake a tour of Badrinath. His preceptor, Achyuta Pragnya, did not want to be separated from his disciple. He received a Divine message telling him the boy had no need to travel to the North in search of the Ganga because the sacred Ganga herself would come to the South in search of the boy. It was after this that the people witnessed a column of white water springing up in the South-West corner of the tank. They all took bath in the sacred waters along with Sri Madhva.

The Madhva Vijaya records that once in every twelve years the sacred Ganga flows into this tank.

      yiyAsati svastaTinI.n muhurmuhuH 
          namatyanuj~nAthi.rni bhUrichetasi |
      tamasmarat.h svAminameva dUnadhIH 
          gurubha.rvishhyadvirahAgnishaN^kayA ||

      itastR^itiye divasedyu nimnagA 
          tvadarthamAsmAkataTAkamAvrajet.h |
      ato na yayA iti taM tadA.avadat.h 
          pravishya kaJNchit.h  karuNAkaro hariH ||

      tadAj~nayopAgata jAhnavI-jale 
          jano.atra sasnau sahapUrNabuddhinA |
      tataH paraM dvAdashavatsarAntare 
          sadA.a.avrajet.h sAtadanugrahAN^kinI ||       

Sumadhva Vijaya, IV:40-42.

The young saint Pûrnaprajna wanted to undertake a pilgrimage to Bhâgîrathi. He prostrated before the preceptor and sought his permission. The preceptor did not want want to send his disciple, for felt it difficult to remain without his disciple. He then began to pray to the Lord to suggest a remedy. The compassionate Lord Anantaasana appeared before him in the guise of a devotee and informed him, "The river Ganga will come to you on the third day from today and hence there is no need to go to the Himalayas." Accordingly, the holy river came to Udupi. The Acharya and others took a holy dip in the sacred waters. From then onwards once in every twelve years the sacred river flows into this tank.

This continues even now. The white waters of the Ganga sprang up during the paryaaya of Sri Vibudhapriya Swamiji and so he constructed a small shrine to commemorate the event. The Swamijis who come to the tank for oblation worship this icon.

There is a beautiful maNTapa in the middle of the tank. The ritual of pouring milk on a shaaligraama, kshiiraabdhi, takes place here on the twelfth day of the bright fortnight of the month of kaartiika.

The beauty of this tank must be witnessed during teppotsava, the boat festival. With thousands of lamps around the maNTapa and their reflection in the water it is a delightful sight providing a fantasy of the god Varuna waving aarati to the great Lord.

The tank was originally known as ananta tiirtha, but after the Ganga descended into this tank for the sake of Sri Madhva, it came to be designated as Madhva Sarovara.

To regulate the movements of the pilgrims during festival seasons there is a separate exit passage to come out of the temple. This overbridge path passes through the Western side of the tank and joins the Car Street. This new passage was built by the Swamiji of Admar Mutt during his paryaaya (1972-73 A.D.).

This section is due to Raymond Crawford, with some additions by Shrisha Rao. Much of the material comes from a book published for the 1984 paryaaya of H.H. Sri Vishwesha Tiirtha Swamiji, by Bannanje Govindacharya, U.P. Upadhyaya, and Muralidhar Upadhyaya.

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Created April 29, 1996; last updated August 10, 2001.