(click on picture to enlarge,to zoom on details).
Sri Trikoteeswara Swami temple of Sri Medha Dakshinamurthy is in Kotappakonda, Guntur district, Andhra Pradesh. Towards the east of Kotappakonda is Narasaraopet, which is a small town. The ashram of Sri Viswaguru Bhagavan Sri Vidyaranya Swami is situated on the outskirts of this town.
The ashram has a small house where Bhagavanji (as known to us, His devotees) lived most of his life in isolation. The ashram has a huge mandapam where Bhagavanji's life size idol is the presiding deity. The ashram contains a huge yagashala meant for rituals like 'homam', a building complex with many rooms for the convenience of visiting devotees, and one of Andhra Pradesh's most reputed and sought after veda patashalas, patronised by TTD Devasthanam (school for vedic studies). From between the thick foliage of flowers and branches of various trees, one can also catch a glimpse of the distant Sri Trikoteeswara Swami Temple on top of the hill in Kotappakonda, enhancing the spiritual beauty of the entire ashram.
Bhagavanji had attained Brahma leenam( liberation) in the month of May, 1999. The ashram is run by two sisters, Mathajis, who had been serving Bhagavanji for many years. The mathajis (three of them SriMatha Sadvidyaprabhadevi, SriMatha Chidvidyaprabhadevi and SriMatha Vidyasukhaprabhadevi, the youngest Mathaji had succumbed to kidney failure a few years ago) had renounced material world to take up the austerities of ashramic life with an aim to serve Bhagavanji.In their "poorvashram" (life before taking up sanyasa) they were my husband's own elder sisters.
Bhagavanji was born on December 6th, 1939 in Narasaraopet. From the time of his birth he revealed extraordinary signs of intellect and spiritual evolution. Even as a young boy He used to enthrall the public with His stunning debates and lectures on the greatness of India as a spiritual land and also revealed His deep knowledge of scriptures and vedantha. People used to throng in temples and spiritual sites to listen to His electrifying lectures. At a mere age of 11 he formed the "Sujana Seva Samithi" through which he preached the highest ideals of patriotism and also the spiritual greatness of India.
He took up sanyasa at the age of 19 and set off to Kailash Manasarovar for a long period.
On His return, He withdrew Himself into His ashram in Narasaraopet, giving Darshan to devotees while remaining inside the ashram.He has authored the "Bhagavad Bharathi", "Sthothra Manjari", "Sridevi Athmaarpana Sthuthi","Anugraha Bhaashanam" and many more gems in sanskrit for the benefit of His devotees. His devotees assemble twice every year in the ashram even today, during His Aradhana Festival in December as well as the "Brahma Leena" festival in the month of May.During the Brahma Leena Festival, Mathajis conduct "Mumukshu Shibhiram","Akhanda Nama Sankeerthanam",' Guru Paada Archana", Abhishekam with Rudram, Chamakam, Pancha Suktham and free distribution of medicines, various house utilities for the poor and needy like food, clothing, blankets etc. Sri Krishnamurthy Avadhani who is the head pujari in Trikoteeswara Swamy Temple, Kotappakonda teaches vedas in the veda patashala and conducts special homams in the ashram's yagashala for the welfare of devotees. I go to this ashram very often to experience the sublime bliss and purity of the atmosphere, most of the times with my veena. It is a great treat to perform in the mandapam, for listeners who are innocent and simple, who don't know how to view music objectively or critically.
In 1999, after Bhagavanji had attained liberation, my husband and I decided to dedicate a musical recording of Bhagavanji's bhajans, slokas and songs on Him that are regularly sung by His devotees in the ashram.
We had requested Malladi Brothers, Sri.M.Sreeramaprasad and Sri.M.Ravikumar to render them for us. I was looking for strong and melodious voices, and a double voice of the same seemed more than what I was looking for. They sang extremely well and the Mathajis and all the devotees were particularly happy with their diction and clarity of pronunciation.
I could not be present during the recording (I was in Bhopal receiving the "Kumara Gandharva" award from the Madhya Pradesh government on the day of the recording).