Sri Satyadharma Tirtha

|| shrIsatyavaradugdhAbdheH utthitA jagatItale .
sudhA shrIsatyadharmAkhyA pAvayet smaratassataH ||

Sri Satyadharma Teertha swami was a pontiff of great scholarship known for his great commentaries and praises of Lord where he amazingly dwells into great depths of the meanings of the words. His commentary of Bhagavata available from 7th Skandha is a paradise for the pundits.

Miserably poor during his pre-ashram days and had done severe penance (Seva) to Shri Raghavendra Swami of Mantralaya, who had blessed in his dream that circumstances would so develop that he would become the pontiff of Shri Uttaradi Matha and win very wide name and fame not only for himself but also to his Matha. No wonder then that it was he, as Annayyacharya, who spotted out the stolen Moola Rama and other vigrahas of Shri Uttaradi Matha. No wonder again that the previous pontiff Shri Satyavara Teertha got the inspiration before his death to give the pontificate to him.

It was during the 33 year, 21 days of his regime that the matha had a very eventful period. Uttaradi Matha acquired enormous honor and wealth as "Kanike" from Navabs, Peshwas, kings and Dewan Poornaiah. Most of his Sanchara was divinely inspired, as for example, when he wanted to travel north, Shri Rama of Panchavati Rama Temple instructed in a dream that he should stay in the South for some years. Again Mahalakshmi of Kolhapur ordered him in his dream to visit kolhapur. He maintained very close liaison with Deewan Poornaiah who was very happy and proud of the achievements of the pontiffs of Shri Uttaradi Matha. It is not possible to give full details of all the honors offered and wealth donated to him, in this short sketch of the pontiffs of the matha.

Suffice it to say, as far as this narration is concerned by the Muslim king of Hyderabad through a rich man Rajanarayana; honored by the king of Vijayanagar; by the Maratha king through his chieftain Khorpade, and by the king of Kolhapur who was blessed by him that he would soon beget a son and his kingdom would have plenty of everything, a draught-less century. During all these visits he defeated many Advaiti stalwarts in scholarly discussions sometimes lasting over weeks, as for example, the pandit belonging to veerupaksha Matha who had challenged the supremacy of Tatwavada, by severe adverse propaganda by publishing books like "Kali-Mahatame" and "Madhwa Tantra Mukha Mardana". The royal paraphernalia of elephants, horses and "sepoys" owned by the Shri Uttaradi Matha became extensive that when he moved from place to place on Sanchara, it was as if a mighty emperor was moving which was a sight for heavens to see.

He performed Sudha mangala 16 times during his pontificate of 33 year which is probably a record for all times. Poornaiah and the Maharajah of Mysore took intense interest in the affairs of Uttaradi Matha and bestowed large quantities of gold silver and precious stones to it to be used for and during the daily worship of the matha deities. The matha was also given ownerships of large landed properties in the State.

Once when over 12,000, people had assembled at the matha for the Theertha Prasad, Poornaiah and all who had assembled were put to great inconvenience because of heavy rain. The saint after his worship , came out in the rain and prayed. As if the rain God had heard his prayers, the rain stopped.

Once a fire broke out in the Matha store. It engulfed the entire matha and become unmanageable . It was a miracle indeed that the Swamiji, the Samsthana deities and the works of Srimadacharya could be saved by a few self sacrificing disciple of the legal documents of the matha and some wealth was destroyed. Jewellery that could not be recovered from the debris of the fire was made up by Diwan Baburao and the religious activities of the matha continued as before.

Shri Satyadharma Teertha Swamiji had a matha building built at Holehonnur with the grant of the Maharaja and stayed there for a long time. He was a facile writer and has written tippanis on many parts of Bhagavata, Tatvasankhyana, Tatva Nirnaya and others. He was a devotee par excellence .

Once it so happened that he had performed Rudrabhisheka to the deity in the Ishwara temple and was about to have his bhiksha. A very old man with Vibhuti on the arms chest and forehead came and begged that he be fed before the Brahmins Santarpane and his own Bhiksha. The Swamiji readily agreed and not only fed him personally with all reverence but sent him afterwards with all reverence and appropriate matha honours befitting an honoured guest. The old man was thoroughly pleased with great hospitality extended to him and when he went out of the matha premises he disappeared from human sight. Some fanatic Madhwa Brahmins who had assembled there were angry. The Swamiji came to know of all this criticism. He was least bothered but was content and happy with what he had done and told the complainants that time alone will reveal everything. In the evening, when the doors of the Garbhagudi of the Iswara temple were opened , lo behold ! the miraculous sight ! All the things offered to the old man that morning were on the Shivalinga. A year after this incident, he bade his followers goodbye and passed away peacefully, after handling over the reins of the Matha to Shri Satyasankalpa Teertha. Swamiji's Brindavana is in Hole-honnur.

|| Shri Krishnarpnamstu ||