Sri Jitamitra Theertharu
Sri Jitamitra theertha was 12th Peetadhipathi of Sri Madhwacharya Moola Mahasamsthana of Dakshinaadhi Kaveendra mutt. He had great siddhi & avadhootha lakshna’s & got great blessings from Sri Narasimha upasana in his Poorvashrama. He used his knowledge in finding solutions to many social causes. He believed to be Rudramsha as per gynani’s
Poorvashrama Name – Sri Anantappa
Ashrama Guru – Sri Vibudhendra Theertha
Ashrama Shishya — Sri Raghunandana Theertha
Aradhana – Margashira Bahula Amavasya
Place of Disappearance – Jitamitra gaddi on the banks of River Krishna & Bheema sangama
Period – 1490-92
Anantappa was hails from Shahpura taluk of present Gulbarga district in Karnataka & belong to Vishwamitra gotra. He grown in the care of his elder sister during his early days & was involved in farming. Anantappa spent most of his time in worldly matters to support the hardship of his family. On his way to Digvijaya, Sri Vibudhendra theertha camped in Agnihalu, Anantappa put himself in service of his kula guru to get blessing. He listened to the discourse of his guru & his mind got very much occupied with the Sri Vibudhendra Theertha’s words & he surrendered his mind to the great guru & pleaded to bless him with proper knowledge. Pleased with Anantappa’s service, Sri Vibudhendra theertha gave Sri Narasimha Saligrama & instructed him to worship the Saligrama in proper way. With the instruction & blessings to Anantappa, Sri Vibudhendra theertha continued his tour from Agnihalu. Anantappa started worshipping the Sri Narasimha Saligrama daily with high devotion. As the time pass there was a transformational change in Anantappa, in a miraculous way he started interacting with Saligrama & started feeding the naivedya daily.
Revisit of Sri Vibudhendra Theertha & Ashrama
As many years passed, Sri Vibudhendra Theertha spear heading to spread Sri Madhwacharya’s philosophy came back to Shivapura. Anantappa went to his guru like a child going to his mother with joy. Sri Vibudhendra theertha immediately recognized the transformation in Anantappa & recognized his swaroopa. He enquired about the events happened after he left Shivapura last time & came to know that Anantappa’s devoted seva to Lord Sri Narasimha Saligrama transformed him & made Lord Sri Narasimha to take naivedya from Anantappa daily. Having heard Anantappa’s words, Sri Vibudhendra theertha overjoyed & expressed his desire to see that wonderful event. Next day Anantappa as usual performed worship of Sri Narasimha Saligrama & offered naivedya, but nothing happened. Seeing that Anantappa pleaded lord & finally ending his life, suddenly Saligrama started taking the naivedya as it used to be daily. Seeing this Sri Vibudhendra theertha overwhelmed & blessed Anantappa with tears rolling on his cheeks. He immediately decided that Anantappa is the most suitable person to be the successor to the Dakshinaadhi Kaveendra mutt after him. He initiated Anantappa to sanyasa & named him as Sri Jitamitra theertha. He took him along with him & started formal education to him along with his other eminent students i.e. Sri Lakshminarayana theertha (Sreepadaraja) & others. Sri Jitamitra theertha quickly learnt & mastered the knowledge of Vedanta & Sri Madhwacharya’s philosophy, be greatest learned person of that time.
After taken on the task single handedly to establish & spread Dwaitha Philosophy in far places in Indian sub-continent establishing first ever university at Tirunelveli, Sri Vibudhendra Theertha handed over the maha Samsthana to Sri Jitamitra theertha. He passed on the knowledge, traditions & legacy that he got from his guru Sri Ramachandra theertha. He also expressed his missed opportunity to worship Sri Moolarama & see the idols & desired to bring back the idols to the moola Samsthana
Sri Jitamitra theertha worshipped his guru’s Vrundavana, took charge of Mahasamsthana of Dakshinaadhi Kaveendra mutt, which was came to known as Vidya mutt due the efforts of his guru. He spent some time in Tirunelveli & left to Vijayanagara kingdom, which was developing fast. He spent most of his time around Vijayanagara kingdom. He also tried to maintain the large establishment his guru has left to him & to develop upon. Sri Jitamitraru was a great jnani, was renounced the worldly desires & was very much involved in worshipping Lord Digvijaya, Jaya Rama and other deities. He involved heavily in discourses and lesson to his students in great details & passion. Many devata’s in many swaroopa’s used to come and listen to the discourse of Sri Jitamitra theertha, one such incident of Sri Rudra devaru daily coming to the discourse in the form of a Jangama has been recorded in traditions.
During the tours, he used to engage with the people to find solutions to the social problems of those places. Cows of Shivapura region was infected by the disease called “Kundu”, which came to the notice of Sri Jitamitraru. He found solution & built a platform (Katte) & did Nagabandana with his divine knowledge. The infected innocent cows were made to go around the platform & enter the gate. The disease of such cow does disappear immediately without any medicinal treatment. Hence that place is called GuruJala (Guru’s Magic), today called Gurjjala or Gujjala. This practice is followed by local people even today.
Similarly he did Pranadevara pratishte at Bicchali & other places to save lives from mis-happenings in that area.
He was held very high respect in all branches of Madhwa mutts, like Sreepadaraja, Sri Purushottama theertha & Sri Brahmanya theertha and other eminent saints of that age. Sreepadarajaru composed a song praising Sri Jitamitra theertha & his contributions.
Sri Jitamitra theertha initiated sanyasa to a learned scholar from Vijayanagara, Sri Ramachandracharya and named Sri Raghunandana theertha & made him as his successor as per traditions to Dakshinaadhi Sri Kaveendra mutt/ Vidya mutt. He passed on the legacy to Sri Raghunandana Theertharu which he got from Sri Vibudhendra theertha and from Sri Ramachandra theertha. Sri Jitamitra theertha reminded & passed on Sri Vibudhendra Theertha’s instruction to bring back Sri Moolarama idol to Sri Raghunandana theertha & took his commitment.
Later part of his days he spent in the banks of Krishna & Bhīma Rivers meeting place and spent time by teaching sitting under a tree on the river bank. One such occasion on a day of Ashtami (8th day of black fortnight / Krishna paksha) corresponds to around 1492 AD; he was engrossed in offering discourse to students sitting under the tree on the river bank. Suddenly the river Krishna’s level surged up. The disciples witnessed the raising level of water and stood up and requested the guru to come to the elevated land. Sri Jitamitra theertha was in the state of trance with meditation. The flow of Krishna River completely submerged Sri Jitamitra’s body. All the disciples who saw the guru disappearing were shocked and depressed. The unstoppable flow of Krishna River subsided after seven days on Amavasya day. Srigalu was unmoved & in deep meditation. The water did not touch his body. The disciples and village people were shocked to see and moved towards the guru. Their devotion further increased after witnessing this miracle.
A similar incident occurred once again during Ashtami tithi to Amavasya of black fortnight of Margashira month. Then also Sri Jitamitraru sat submerged in the water of Krishna River flow for seven days. The disciples thought that just like before, after the flow subsides, the guru would come out. When the flow subsided on Amavasya day, the disciples saw only a small mound of black soil in the middle of the isle. That night, in the dream, he indicated “Not to make any efforts to search him & he finished his avatara on the earth & he will be present in the Gonada tree will spring up there. Sri Raghunandana Theertha and other devotees with villagers felt a divine presence in the location took blessing from their guru & performed all traditional rights, samaradhane in memory of his revered guru. From that day onwards Gonada tree is worshipped as Sri Jitamitra amsha is present there. Every year Aradhana is performed on Gonada tree every Margashira masa Amavasya. The place where Sri Jitamitra theertha disappeared is called as Jitamitra gaddi (Island of Jitamitra)
It is only 3rd occasion in Madhwa tradition that a Saint is disappeared form the eyes of the common people. First Srimadacharya disappeared at Udupi. Sri Jitamitra’s contemporary Sri Purushottama theertha disappeared in the caves near Abbur.
Sri Raghunandana theertha composed charamashokla, praising his guru as
“saptarAtraM kR^ishhNaveNyAM ushhitvA punarutthitaM |
jitAmitraMguruM vande vibudehendrakarodbhavaM ||”
The presence of Sri Jitamitra is felt even today & it is called as Jagratha place. Sri Susheelendra Theertha & Sri Suyameendra Theertha’s visits there are traditional records of them seeing Rudra Devaru in the form of Jangama. Even today people of all faith caste, creed perform seva to Gonada tree and get blessings. Many such devotees composed many stotra’s praising Sri Jitamitra Theertharu.
सप्तरात्रम् कृष्णवैणयां उषित्वा पुनरुत्थितं ।
जितामित्रगुरुं वंदे विबुधॆंद्र करोद्बवाम् ॥
ಸಪ್ತರಾತ್ರಂ ಕೃಷ್ಣವೇಣ್ಯಾಮುಷಿತ್ವಾ ಪುನರುತ್ಥಿತಮ್ |
ಜಿತಾಮಿತ್ರಗುರುಂ ವಂದೇ ವಿಬುಧೇಂದ್ರ ಗುರುಂ ಭಜೇ ||
సప్తరాత్రం కృష్ణవేణ్యాముషిత్వా పునరుత్థితమ్ |
జితామిత్రగురుం వందే విబుధేంద్ర గురుం భజే ||