|A glimpse of the Nava Brindavanas|
This was the place where Sangukarna, an angel used to come and collect flowers for the puja of Sriman Narayana in Devaloka. He used to forget himself in the beauty and serenity of this location that he would often return late, well past the time the flowers would be required. Angered by the fact that he often was lost in worldly pleasures, he was cursed to be born as an asura. The child so born to Hiranyakasipu, the demon king, was none other than Prahalada. Prahalada spent hours meditating in the cave on this island. He used to come here from his palace and stay and meditate on Narayana. The place where the homa kunta of Prahalada once stood now bears the moola brindavana of Sri Raghavendra ( at Mantralaya) and the place where Prahalada meditated and where Sangukarna spent several hours collecting choice flowers bears the brindavana of Sri Vyasaraja.
The connection can be well appreciated if one is aware of the reincarnations of Sangukarna.
Sangukarna - Prahalada - the lesser known avatar Pahlikaraja - Vyasaraja & Raghavendra. There is no avatar after Sri Raghavendra as he has promised to stay in his astral form within the brindavana for 700 years.
|Beautiful view of the Tungabadra at the entrance to Navabrindavan|
After crossing the river Tungabadra by ferry, we have to get down at the island and walk through the rocky terrain for about 500 - 700 metres to reach Navabrindavan. All puja items will have to be taken from the Raghavendra Mutt at Anegundi since nothing is available there.
|An old mandapam on the way to Navabrindavan|
Even the battars reach there by ferry and come back in the evening. During rainy season, there is no puja and harathi is shown from the other side of the river itself. The first thing to do when you get down from the ferry is to take a dip in the icy cold waters of the tungabadra. I always feel there is a lot of difference in the waters of the Tungabadra between Mantralaya, Bhikshalaya and Navabrindavan. While in Mantralaya, it is warm and welcoming, in Bhikshalaya or Bichale as it is locally called, it gushes with happiness and in Navabrindavan it is extremely calm, deep and chill. Pebbles of unique shapes are all over the bed of the river and are usually collected and placed in pooja rooms. There are stones like Ganesha, Shivalingam, and various other forms.
|The ancient Ranganathaswamy shrine with lamps|
The navabrindavan complex has the samadhis of the nine saints, a Ranganatha Swamy shrine, a Hanuman shrine and another hanuman installed by Sri Vyasaraja, right opposite to his brindavan.
There is sufficient space to circumambulate around the samadhis.
The saints whose brindavanas are available in the temple complex are:
1. Sri Padmanabha Theerthar - the first and a direct disciple of Sri Madhvacharya
2. Sri Jayatheerthar/Sri Raghuvaryar - There is a lot of debate whether the second brindavana in Navabrindavan belongs to Sri Jayatheerthar also known as Teekachariar or Sri Raghuvaryar.
3. Sri Kaveendra Theerthar- Moolaguru to two important Madhva Maths
4. Sri Vaageesa Theerthar
|Sri Sudheendra Theerthar Brindavanam|
6.Sri Srinivasa Theerthar - Next in lineage to Sri Vyasarajar
7. Sri Ramatheerthar - Sri Rama Theerthar succeeded Sri Srinivasa Theerthar
8. Sri Sudheendra Theerthar - Sri Sudeendrar succeeded Sri Rama Theerthar. He was Sri Raghavendra's guru and the noble saint who initiated him into sanyas.
9. Sri Govinda Odayaru
|Sri Vyasaraja Brindavana|
Out of these, the Vyasaraja Brindavana is unique and has four pillars in front of it. Figures of Rama, Sita, Lakshmana and Hanuman, Krishna, Sri Vyasaraja etc. are inscibed on the four sides of the Brindavana. Opposite to the Vyasaraja Brindavana, is the Avatharatraya Hanuman temple. This idol of Hanuman installed here by Sri Vyasaraja is indeed unique.
It depicts the three avatars - Hanuma, Bheema, Madhva in one form. The face is like Hanuman, the arms and shoulders well - rounded and muscular with the Gadhayudha symbolises Bheema, the avatar of Hanuman in the next yuga and the manuscripts in his hand symbolises Madhvacharya.
There are certain regulations while visiting the Navabrindavan.
1. Nobody is allowed to touch the brindavans and disturb the saints in meditation.
2. A yellow line has been drawn around the brindavans and the line should not be crossed while circumambulating.
3. Do not go around the brindavans with wet clothes and untied hair.
4. This is a very holy place and is a parihara sthala for all astrological complications one might have and therefore should be treated that way.
There are several means of information about Navabrindavans these days. But from what I have read so far, Sri. A S Rajagopalan, Editor, Kumudam Jodhidam and Sri. Amman Sathyanathan, author of Sri Raghavendra Mahimai Volumes have been giving a lot of authentic information about the saints, the place and its importance and have been advocating for people to visit here at least once in their lifetimes to get the blessings of these great saints.
|The Ranganatha swamy shrine in Navabrindavan|
One can also get all information about Nava Brindavan ,pooja items, times of worship etc. from the Raghavendra Swamy Mutt at Anegundi
|The view outside Nava Brindavan|
Apart from Navabrindavan here at Anegundi, there are two other navabrindavans at Shenbakkam near Vellore and at Erode near SPB Colony respectively. I have been able to visit both with Rayaru's blessings and will soon write about them, god willing.