Picture: Amar Chitra Katha
Vani Rao continues her commentary about Sri Madhvacharya and narrates how he came to possess the vigraha of Lord Krishna.
The main icon (vigraha) in Udupi of Lord Krishna was established by Madhvacharya.
Madhvacharya instituted the eight monasteries in Udupi to take care of the daily worship of Lord Krishna he established there.
There is an interesting story about how Madhvacharya came to possess the vigraha of Lord Krishna.
It is said that he was once meditating on the seashore near Udupi, when he saw that a sudden storm in the sea was almost crashing a ship to bits. He lifted his “Angavastra” and guided the ship to safety. The merchants travelling in the ship wanted to offer wealth to Madhvacharya for saving their lives, he instead asked for a lump of “Gopi Chandana”, a type of mud block, light yellow in colour, which they were using as ballast. The merchants gave what he asked for and proceeded on their way.
Madhvacharya brought it to Udupi and washed it in the tank, and lo and behold! Inside the mud block was the idol of Lord Krishna. Madhvacharya immediately constructed a temple for the idol and established the system of daily worship. Gopi Chandana became holy for the followers of Dwaita philosophy, and since then is being used to apply the ‘Dwadasha Mudras’ on the body of all men.
The 8 monasteries (Ashta Mathas) of Udupi have been following his philosophy since then.
The eight monasteries (Ashta Mathas) are Krishnapura, Pejavara, Putthige, Sode(Sondhe), Kaniyoor (Kaneyur), Adamaru, Shirur and Palimaru.
The peculiarity of the Ashta Mathas is that the management of these Mathas is by turn (Paryaya) and each Swami or Pontiff has to manage administration for two years. Perhaps the great preceptor evolved his own democratic way of managing complete hegemony over a religious establishment.
In earlier days, the administration of the Mathas in Udupi used to change hands every two months. Later on it was found that the system was not viable and hence it was decided to give a period of two years before the baton of administration was passed on to the next one.
(To be contd.)