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When I wrote an article on “Who gave the title Sripadaraja to Sri Lakshmi Narayana Tirtha?”, I have got a mixed bag of reactions and responses. Some of them are noteworthy and some were driving the same old unsubstantiated rhetoric of “We gave the title!”

Soon after I have posted the link of this article in Madhva Yahoo groups in which I am a member, in one of the groups there came a response with a link to this article. The author of this article posed some 22 questions but most of which have been created to help the writer to run a script that has certain prejudged inputs.

As in the basic tenets of Law & Justice that allow every litigant to offer their version of the story, all the accounts including those faux pas myths must be attended to with equanimity.

Now, let me dissect the old rhetoric of “We gave the title!” and show its hollowness.

 

Truth builds Trust. Myth creates Mirage!

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In the previous article, I have explained about the incidents of thefts in Tirumala temple, types and cadres of people involved and how to understand the hidden purport of Sripadaraya’s glory by reading between the lines of Krishnadevaraya’s inscription at Govindaraja Temple, Tirupati.

In this last and final part of this series, I wish to draw the attention of readers towards the following moot points:

  1. Was Sripadaraya unknown to the public at large and to Saluva Narasimharaya?
  2. If Sripadaraya was well known to the public and the emperor, what were the reasons?
  3. How Lakshminarayana Tirtha became ‘Sripadaraya’? And whether this title got to do something with our present pursuit of dismissing the doubts raised by Sadhu Subrahmanya Sastry on Maadhva narratives of Sripadaraya and Vyasaraya?

Let me tackle the questions in the same order of their appearance.

  1. Was Sripadaraya unknown & If popular on what grounds?

This is a pretty archetypal question that attracts different answers from different quarters. Dvaitins say “Oh! Yeah! He was pretty much known to everyone in the world!” and Advaitins say “He was oblivious to the public and royals as compared to our Gurus!”

So, instead of falling prey to any of these rhetoric let me first put forward the proof.

 

In the previous article, I have tried to bring forth an important aspect of “reading between the lines” of Krishnadevaraya’s inscription issued to Sri Vyasaraja Tirtha on 12/01/1524 AD (Inscription No. 157 – contents as published in Inscriptions of Krishnaraya 1509-1529 AD by TTD).

As part of the study, I have stated that the confiscation of lands from a Tirumala temple priest by Saluva Narasimharaya should not be treated as a minor incident because such extreme action of land confiscation is totally against the policy held by all the rulers of Vijayanagara Empire.

By continuing the trail of ‘reading-between-the-lines’ of Krishnadevaraya’s inscription, I wish to present the additional inputs on the same.

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The peculiar instance of Nambi Sirrappayan’s crime must be investigated thoroughly as it can lead us to draw several useful inferences such as

  1. the influence of Shrivaishnavites in those days
  2. the status of Tirumala temple priests in the society
  3. their proximity to the powerful kings and nobles and
  4. the then material distractions to which the priests could succumb.

In order to study the case of Nambi Sirrappayan, the foremost step that I have taken is to check back the history of Tirumala temple and find the instances of any thefts or misdeeds occurred in the temple.

As part of this exploration, I have come across with a curious illustration of misuse of donor’s funds as early as 13th century. Hereunder are the details:

 

History, without the shadows of skepticism, looks dull !

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Img: http://templesinindiainfo.com/Recently I have read a book written by Sri Sadhu Subrahmanya Sastri (SSS), one the pioneers of TTD Epigraphy. Sri Sastri worked as Peishkar of Tirumala temple and during his tenure he focused his attention on recording the inscriptions of Tirumala temple.

Though not a trained epigraphist, he undertook the task of reading, editing & recording of Tirumala inscriptions. As part of this, he underwent training in Madras as well.

 

[Image courtesy: http://templesinindiainfo.com/]

All history lovers and epigraphic enthusiasts must remember Sri Sastri's contribution in preserving the crucial information related to medieval South India. His relentless efforts in publishing the Tirumala inscriptions shall show the path to the would-be epigraphists.

Sri Sastri is one of the many inspirations that made me to take up studying the history on epigrahic evidences. I have picked up some confidence by reading about him that a layman such as me too can venture in to epigraphic studies.

As studying the history is a litmus test to what we believe versus what we must understand, at times, we may have to differ from what our elders taught or wrote. With this background I am writing this mini series of articles by bringing up the doubts expressed by Sri Sastri on certain life accounts of Sri Sripadaraja and Sri Vyasaraya.

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