Sripadaraya – An Exemplary Guru!

Sripadaraja

Sri Sripadaraya was one among the eight prominent Haridasas of Karnataka. He was considered to be the founder of the Haridasa movement in the 14th century along with Narahari Tirtha. Being the pontiff of Madhvacharya Mutt at Mulbaagilu (town in Kolar District in the state of Karnataka), he is credited with the invention of suladi (musical rendering of devotional verses).

During his lifetime, Sripadaraya taught sarvamula granthas (Acharya Madhva’s works collectively are known as Sarvamula) forty times to forty different batches of students.  Being an exemplary guru, he would take lessons paying personal attention to the learning of each and every student.  One young worker (paricharak) who stayed and worked in the ashram used to regularly attend classes and listen to the discourses of the Guru with great attention. He stayed in the ashram, and therefore happened to  listen to the teachings of Sripadaraya being taught to forty different batches! Hence, he sat through forty batches as a student. On the day of graduation of the fortieth batch, students from the other thirty nine batches were also called.

The students who had come, saw this paricharak and made fun of him that he had indeed not completed his learning in any of the batches. They commented that he was indeed a junior to all those who passed out and a senior to all new students who joined.  Sripadaraya heard all their comments silently. When all of them assembled in front of the Master, he picked up a certain sloka from the texts taken and asked each and every student of the outgoing batch to explain it. Since all the students were from the same batch, they all gave the same interpretation as heard from their Acharya during the classes taken.  The Acharya nodded with approval and then turned to the paricharak who was also sitting in one corner and asked him to explain the same sloka. All the students were astonished. They thought that now the paricharak’s ignorance would get  exposed and they all waited to see him totally crest fallen.

The paricharak rose up from his seat, offered his salutations to his Guru, and in all humility, and to the astonishment of all the students gathered there, he rendered forty different interpretations of the same sloka! Every year the teacher had interpreted the same sloka in a different and unique way, to which only he was exposed to! The paricharak was the only “student” who had listened to all the forty different unique and rare interpretations by the Guru! Not only he had heard the different interpretations, but also had retained them in his memory!!

Hearing this, all the scholarly students hung their heads in shame. The Guru, Sripadaraya was immensely pleased with the devoted paricharak-student and blessed him immensely. He then advised all the students who had gathered there never to look down upon anyone and to respect all.

The legacy of Haridasa tradition was continued by Vyasatirtha after Sripadaraya who was the guru of Purandaradasa and Kanakadasa.

[PS: I request all to please forward and share these value based stories rich in our culture and tradition to elders, youth and children]

The shortest and most direct method is to hear from a Master of Experience, with all attention, full faith, supreme concentration, abject devotion, extreme vairagya and acute intellectual absorption. Such rare ones are called Supreme Disciples. For them, to hear the Guru is itself to float at once into the experience of IT. - Swami Chinmayananda

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