Sri Ramachandra Theertha (1406 -1435)
Sri Ramachandra Theertha is 10th saint from Madhwacharya of the main parampare and continued the task of his guru Sri Vageesha theertha to stabilize madhwa society post-split. He continues to be harmonious with other madhwa linage in a very challenging period. He gave an unparalleled & great scholar & leader Sri Vibudhendra theertha to madhwa society as his successor to continue his linage. He encouraged him to take up an unparalleled task to spread Sri Madhwacharya’s philosophy in Kashi & other the greatest learning centre of Bharata varsha, which no other peetadhipathi has ever done in Madhwa history.
Poorvashrama Name – Sri Madhavashastry
Ashrama Guru – Sri Vageesha Theertha
Ashrama Shishya — Sri Vibudhendra Theertha
Aradhana – Vaishakha Shudha Shashti
Vrundavana Place – Yeragola
Sri Madhavashastry was a learned scholar & follower of the Madhwa philosophy. He was respected & trusted person in the madhwa society during that period. Sri Vageesha theertha hence selected Sri Madhava Shastri as his successor to continue his efforts to stabilize the post-split situation between Sri Rajendra theertha & Sri Kaveendra Theertha’s linages. Sri Vageesha theertha instructed his disciple to spread Sri Madhwacharya’s message to society, and also to focus on stabilizing the Sri Madhwa society & to avoid any further breakup of Madhwa society & to be harmonious with its other linage.
Blessed with the special task Sri Ramachandra theertha continued his guru’s mission to stabilize & re-organize resources throughout Vijayanagar. During this period Vijayanagar started to take shape as a kingdom & started grow towards glory. With emerging condition Sri Ramachandra theertha took tour to many places in the kingdom. His main ambition was to consolidate the Madhwa society & spread his message.
During such tour he reached Srirangapattana a spiritual place near Mysore in Karnataka; He participated in many sabha’s & discussion with scholars. He met a young, brilliant & unparalleled scholar Sri Raghunatha Bhatta with sheer deeksha in Madhwa Siddhanta. Apart from that Raghunatha Bhatta was a Poorvashrama relative of Sri Ramachandra Theertha & was a profound student of Sri Rajendra Theertha. Sri Rajendra Theertha developed Sri Raghunatha Bhatta as the leader of the team prepared to spread the wings of Madhwa Philosophy to far beyond Vijayanagar. Sri Ramachandra Theertha without second thought decided that Sri Raghunatha Bhatta is the right person who can succeed him & can protect Madhwa Siddhanta & take it to new heights. Indeed the Madhwa Siddhanta needed a sheer able person like Raghunatha Bhatta to protect the on slots of the various schools of Siddhanta, namely Advaita, Shaiva, Jain, Bouddha which were already well established in large part of the Indian Subcontinent & Dwaitha Siddhanta was a very new thought not known to many scholars / people. Considering all these facts Sri Ramachandra Theertha had a long discussion with Sri Raghunatha Bhatta explained his ambition, prepared & gave him to sanyasa. He named him as Sri Vibudhendra theertha (“The Leader of the Learned”) as per procedures of mutt in presence of elderly & wise men. With renewed energy Sri Ramachandra Theertha together with his beloved Shishya moved all over the places around Vijayanagar during which Sri Vibudhendra theertha took on many debate with scholars of many schools of thought & spread Madhwa philosophy in the region for many years together.
Sri Vibudhendra Theertha who had been part of Sri Rajendra Theertha’s mission to spread Acharya’s Tatvavada to all learning centres across Bharata varsha expressed his wish to take a tour to “Kashi” which was the centre of philosophical knowledge filled with learned people. Both Sri Ramachandra theertha & Sri Vibudhendra theertha knew that, if Madhwa philosophy has to prevail there must win over the most learnt scholars in philosophy in India who were present in Kashi. Sri Ramachandra theertha over joyed with his successor’s ambition readily agreed to his thought. He also knew the difficulties of travelling all the way to Kashi due to his age factor & also knew that the Sri Rajendra Theertha’s linage is also fully engaged in similar task in eastern part of the Bharata varsha & hence that linage was started recognised as “Purvadi Mutt”. He felt it is wise to stay back in Vijayanagar to continue & maintain establishment in southern part of Bharata varsha with limited resources, hence Sri Ramachandra Theertha’s linage was started recognized as “Dakshinadhi Mutt”. He prepared his beloved Shishya to take up the tour which no other sanyasi from south took after Sri Adi Shankaracharya, i.e. to engage in philosophical debate in Kashi & other knowledge centres near Kashi to establish a new Philosophy initiated by Sri Madhwacharya.
Sri Ramachandra theertha being a learned & wise person knew the importance & need of such herculean task immediately appointed Sri Vibudhendra theertha as his successor with proper procedures of Pattabhisheka. He handed over all the rights that was passed on to him by Sri Vageesha theertha which was originated all along from Sri Padmanabha theertha, i.e. Titles, Sri Raghupati bhandara which includes the idols given/worshipped by Madhwacharya, property, library (containing books/Grantha’s written from Vedavyasa, Srimadacharya, Sri Jayatheertha & others), Royal recognitions / signs & learned scholars & followers. Along with those which are needed as sign of peetadhipathi for scholarary status, Sri Ramachandra theertha gave him all the main deities/idols of Samsthana i.e. Sri Digvijaya Rama, Sri Jayarama & other idols worshiped by Srimadacharya & Sri Jayatheertha etc. He kept only Sri Moola Rama and Moola Seeta idol with some minimal pooja accessories for his daily worship. He kept only some working class people to manage day to day administration of the mutt with him. Sri Ramachandra theertha blessed Sri Vibudhendra theertha with his fully heart & sent him to one of the greatest task that any one took in Madhwa society.
The other disciples of Sri Rajendra Theertha Jayadhwaja Theertha, Vishnudasacharya had already engaged in propagating madhwa philosophy in eastern part of Bharata varsha i.e. around Nava dweepa in eastern part (around current Bengal & Orissa).Sri Vibudhendra theertha went straight to heart of learning centre in north i.e. Kashi and started engaging in debates to establish Sri Madhwa philosophy.
Sri Ramachandra theertha continued with his lean team & camped around Vijayanagar to manage day to day activities to spread Tatvavada. As days months & years passed on he started getting the news of his beloved Shishya Sri Vibudhendra Theertha’s success in establishing Sri Madhwacharya’s philosophy by defeating high quality scholars in discussions/debates & getting recognized by all scholars around Kashi. Sri Vibudhendra Theertha with the blessings of Sri Ramachandra Theertha took the glory of Sri Madhwacharya’s philosophy to a height that no other’s achieved in history of madhwa Siddhanta. This was the best gift any guru can get from his disciple, what more he can ask. Sri Ramachandra theertha overwhelmed by his successor’s achievement & offered it to Sri Madhwacharya & Lord Sri Moola Rama & Seetadevi.
During this glorious period, when he was passing through a place called Yeragola (a village near current Yadagiri) Sri Ramachandra theertha started losing his health conditions seriously & he understood that it would be his last days. Immediately he sent messenger to trace his beloved Shishya & successor Sri Vibudhendra theertha, who was heavily touring in Himalayan region to comeback & take complete charge of the mutt. Within few days his health deteriorated further & Sri Ramachandra theertha understood that it is time to protect the remaining property which was with him is to be handed over only to his successor Sri Vibudhendra theertha. He remembered his guru’s instruction to avoid further breaking the community by appointing other successor, he called upon prominent people, chief of the village & explained them the extraordinary situation to them & in front of them he buried (Bhoogata) the minor deities/idols along with moola Rama Seetha. That include Sri Moola Rama & Seetha idol along with some minor idols that he kept with him to do daily upasana. Sri Ramachandra theertha instructed & took the promise from villagers & its chief that those properties including idols should be handed over to his Shishya & successor Sri Vibudhendra Theertha whenever he returns back from his tour. He asked the head of the village to be custodian of the property which was belonged to mutt.
Sri Ramachandra Theertha instructed his remaining working class people (Karma charakaru like Balaseve, Paricharaka, Cook, watchmen etc.) to protect the place daily and to safeguard it.
With this arrangement made Sri Ramachandra Theertha felt peace in mind that the material will reach Sri Vibudhendra theertha & left this world with a very unique circumstance on the sixth day of Vaishakha Shudha in Nala Samvatsara at Yeragola village.
The administrative & working class people who were with Sri Ramachandra theertha continued to stay in Yeragola village with huge wealth of mutt and were waiting for its owner Sri Vibudhendra theertha.