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Śrī Rāghavēndra Swami

Śrī Rāghavēndra Swami :

Śrī Rāghavēndra Swami (1595–1671 CE), born Venkanna Bhatta, was a renowned Hindu saint, philosopher and proponent of Dvaita philosophy established by Sri Madhvacharya. He served as the head of the matha in Kumbakonam from 1621 to 1671. His Brindavan in Mantralayam in the present-day Andhra Pradesh is an important place of pilgrimage. The numerous miracles he performed have led to him being worshipped even today as a Guru and he is believed to be the saviour for those who placed faith in him. He is the avatar of Prahlada, who is famous as one of the best bhaktas of Lord Narayana.

Sri Raghavendratheertha was born as Venkatanatha in the town of Bhuvanagiri in Tamil Nadu to Kannada Brahmin parents, Thimanna Bhatta and Gopikamba, in 1595. He was also known as Venkanna Bhatta or Venkatacharya in honor of Venkateswara.

After his initial education under his brother-in-law Lakshminarasimhachar in Madurai, Venkatanatha was admitted to the Sri Mutt in Kumbakonam, after he returned from Madurai, Venkanna Bhatta married Sarasvati Bai. Their son, Lakshminarayanacharya, was born in the same year, after which the family moved to Kumbakonam.

In the Sri Mutt, Venkatanatha studied under Sudheendra Theertha. He quickly emerged as a talented scholar and consistently won debates over scholars older than him. He was also known as a teacher of Sanskrit and the ancient Vedic texts.

Sri Venkatanatha is known to be a skilled musician and an expert in playing the instrument Veena (Veena Venkata Bhatta)

Then In 1614, he took sannyasa and adopted the name Raghavendra Theertha and In 1621, Raghavendratheertha succeeded his guru Sudheendra Theertha as the head of the Sri Mutt and served from 1621 to 1671. He travelled all over South India expounding Madhvacharya's Dvaita philosophy and is attributed with a number of miracles.

An incident concerning Śrī Rāghavēndra Swami and Sir Thomas Munro has been recorded in the Madras Districts Gazetteer.[5][6] In 1801, while serving as the Collector of Bellary, Sir Thomas Munro, who later served as the Governor of Madras is believed to have come across an apparition of Sri Raghavendra Swami. Sir Thomas Munro recorded as having spoke with Sri Raghavendra Swami in English over an endowment proposal which he ultimately quashed as per the Swami's advice.
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