Thursday, 3 March 2016

Bhakta Ramadas, true devotee of 'Sri Rama' of Badrachalam

Bhadrachala Ramadasu (1608-1682). www.sangeetasudha.org

Great Telugu and Tamil actor late sri Nagaiyah playing Bakhta Ramadasu.www.tube.manatelugumovies.ne
Ancient India produced a galaxy of men of great veneration who dedicated their lives to the Hindu religion and the spread of Bakthi through devotion to God.  Great saints such as Sri Shankarar of Kaladi,  Kerala, Sri Ramanujar of Sri Perumbudur near Chennai, Tamil Nadu and Madhavachariyar of Udipi, Karnatata established their names, advocating their  own philosophical interpretations of  God, devotion and salvation.  Some  centuries ago Saint Thiyagarajar (Thiyaga Brahmam) of Thiruvaiyaru, near Thanjavur city, Tamil Nadu composed innumerable  devotional songs in Telugu on 'Sri Rama' which are being sung today by innumerable Carnatic Music vocalists. Baktha Meera (1498 to 1546), only daughter of Ratan Singh, married to Bhojaraja, the son of Rana Sanga of Chittor dedicated her entire life to the singing devotional songs in praise of Lord Sri Krishna. She preached Bakhti was the only way to get Mukti (salvation). So was Periya Azhavar's (Tamil Scholar and devotee of Lord Vishnu) daughter Sri Andal who composed famous Tamil devotional songs  "Thrupaavai" invoking  Lord Vishnu (Sri Ranganathar). She married the lord and merged with him. 

Sri Bhakta Ramadas of 17th century (1608-1682)  saint, hailing from Badrachalam (now in Telengana State) was an ardent devotee of Sri Rama and built a temple dedicated to 'Him.'
Gold coins supposedly paid to the Nawob by the divine powers, Bakhta Ramadasu. www.indiastudychannel.com
 In the earlier time Bhakta Ramadas' original name was Kancharla Gopanna. His parents were Linganna Murthy and Kamamba  and he was born and raised   in Nelakondapalli village of Khammamett Taluk in the 17th century (1630 AD). Right from the early childhood he had developed sincere devotion to Sri Rama and became an ardent devotee.  When he grew up he was employed as the  Tahasildar of Badrachalam area that was under the control of the Nawob of Golkonda kingdom (famous for kollur diamond mines that produced internationally famous diamonds such as Kohinoor diamond, Orolov diamond, Dresden, etc.). His official duties included redressing people's grievances and revenue collections from revenue lands, etc. In short he had close contact with the local people there. Without fail he  sincerely carried on his official duties to the local Nawob,  and whenever he had time,  he dedicated his it to the chanting of  "Rama Nama" feeding the poor at his house.
Sree Sita Ramachandra Swamy Temple, Badrachalam. www.templeadvisor.com
Upon hearing about  Jatara (a tribal festival of honoring the goddesses celebrated in the state of Telangana) at Bhadrachalam from the villagers of Palvoncha Paragana, Gopanna was anxious to visit  Bhadrachalam where he was overwhelmed by the impressive and amazingbeayty of the deities. immediately he developed an irresistible obsession for the resplendent idols of Sri Rama and others. A decision had been taken to have a temple built and Gopanna asked the people  to contribute liberally for the construction of the temple. The villagers put in a suggestion to him to spend the revenue collections for the  temple construction  with an assurance by them  that the money spent on the temple construction would be repaid after ensuing harvest.  With Rs 6 Lakhs collected from the land revenues, he helped the local people construct the temple. In the process he failed to take necessary permission from the Local Nawob. That was a great blunder committed by him in a moment of aberration. Later  things went awry, unexpectedly.

The temple  almost reached completion but for fixing of the 'Sudarshana Chakra' at the crest of the main temple. Gopanna was concerned about the Chakra and that night he fell into a reverie in which Lord Rama asked him to have a holy dip in the river Godavari where he would find the  holy Chakra. Accordingly he  found the holy Sudarshana Chakra in the river on the following morning  without much difficulty. Later the Chakra was installed in the temple as per Sastras.

In the mean time, the ruler Nawob was furious about the diversion of funds by Gopanna for temple construction without his consent and he  was imprisoned for 12 long years for misuse of public funds and consequently  underwent untold miseries and pain. Gopanna appealed to Sri Rama to give  him relief and composed innumerable  devotional songs,  extolling the virtues of Sri Rama and emotionally imploring him to relieve him of pain and shame. 


The Golconda Nawob Tanishah  (the then ruler of Qutub Shahi Kingdom) at last realized his mistake of having jailed Gopanna, upon knowing his deep  devotion to Lord Rama. Then a miracle had happened. Sri Rama and Sri Lakshmana in the guise of Ramoji and Laxmoji,  servants of Bhakta Ramadas repaid six lakhs mohurs, due to the ruler and got a voucher from the ruler. The ruler was wonder struck by the devine looking servants. They kept the  voucher under the pillow of Gopanna in the jail room. Following morning, when the Nawob woke up from the sleep realized that those divine servants were  none other than Rama and Laxmana who came to the risqué of Gopanna (Ramadas) to clear his name and shame. Surprisingly, the Muslim ruler became a devotee of Sri Rama and helped maintain harmonious relationship between the Hindus and Muslims living there.

The Nawob immediately released Gopanna from the prison and asked for his forgiveness. He returned 20,000 Mohurs to Gopanna which he refused. He just took two Gold coins as a token of 'divinity' attached to them (became they were given by the divine Gods themselves) and they are still being kept at the famous temple. Tanishah granted a part of income from Palwoncha paragana for the temple maintenance. He started the tradition of offering  pearls on the occasion of Kalyana mahotsavam (Sri Ramanavami) to deities on an elephant through a special messenger and that tradition is still being followed by the families if ex-ruler during the Sri Ramanavami Festival.

Nitya Poojas and sevas right from early morning "Suprabhata Seva" till night "Pavalimpu Seva" before closure of the temple as "Silaasaasanaalu" as prescribed by Bakhta Ramadas are being followed here. There are inscriptions on two pillars with respect to Seva details to be followed in the temple.

Through devotion to Sri Rama Bakhta Ramadas attained immortality and his name will last for ever.

Ref:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bhadrachalam_Temple