Wednesday, 4 December 2019

Sir Thomas Munroe's 5th generation visited Mantralaya Mutt and received blessings from Saint Sri Raghavendra Swamji


Sir Thomas Munroe's descendants at Mantrayala mutt. twitter.com/bhakt4eve

Sri Ragavendra Swamiji and Sir Thomas Munroe.
Mantralaya in Telengana state, South India  is a great place of  pilgrimage for millions of devotees of Sri  Raghavendra Swamiji.  Here  on the serene banks of the Thungapatra river, the venerated Swamiji  attained  his Jeeva Samadhi.  Attaining Jeeva Samadhi means  shedding  the mortal body through constant meditation, fasting  and control of breath within a small enclosure with walls on sides simultaneously  being built and the roof closed finally).  Born Vekatanatha in a Madhawa family near Bhuvanagiri near Chidambaram, Tamil Nadu,  Saint Sri. Raghavendra Swami, finally chose  this quiet place at  Mantralaya  and lived here
from 1595 to 1671, constantly meditating and engaging in religious activities. He was a well-known saint of the 17th century and a proponent of Dvaita philosophy. The mutt he established has lots of revenue lands and the income would go to religious activities, Annadhanam (free food), etc.

A great pilgrimage site, it is being visited by thousands of devotees every day from across the breadth and length of India. There are fine lodging facilities available there close to the Samadhi.  It was in this blessed place the great enigmatic  British administrator  Thomas Munroe
received Manthraksha (god's blessing) from the great saint, indeed a rare privilege.   The interesting news is  the British officer's   descendants (5th generation)  visited this holy place on 29th  and  30 July 2018,  218 years after Munroe's time. They took the blessings of one of the greatest saints of  India Sri Raghavendra Swamiji (affectionately referred to as Rayaru). It is indeed surprising the ladies  and men wore  traditional Indian dress; the women wearing Sarees, flowers and Kumkum and were inside the holy premises barefoot. (Photo credit Sri Rajaraman). It is in the same premises  Thomas Munroe had a sort of apparition from the holy saint with respect to Mutt lands.
Munroe's descendants at mantrayala. vasantp.blogspot.com
A bit of nostalgia:  When  EIC company at last won the battle against Tipu Sultan of Mysore (the last Angelo Mysore war; Tipu was killed in 1799), Thomas Munro was posted as  the Collector of Bellary in 1800, then it was part of  the Madras Government  (Residency).  The land was annexed after the final war  was over. The greedy company was finding out ways and means to increase the land revenue and they  never left out the lands owned by  various  Hindu mutts. Monroe was ordered to investigate the lands owned by Sri  Raghavendra Swamy Mutt in Mantrayala village and adjacent places. When the revenue officials were at a loss to know about the ownership of the mutt lands, as a last resort, being an honest officer, he  himself visited the mutt and made inquiries. Mutt officials told him he could only approach  only Sawmiji  to get a clear picture. Munroe was in a fix  as to how he could access a great seer who had  been dead for a long time and whose mortal remains  were  in the tomb (Samadhi). The Mutt official allowed him to visit the samadhi and pray to the seer. Perfect gentleman as he was, before entering the sanctified place, he removed his shoes and hat, and sat before the holy place with respect and hands in supplication. Swamiji's voice was only audible to him and he got the needed clarification.  Munroe emerged out of the Samadhi with a blessed soul which none experienced. It is a reward for his honesty, integrity and uprightness.  Munro  clearly clarified  to the English company the status of lands being owned by the mutt  and  waived all the taxes on the holy Mutt.
This notification regarding  the Raghavendra Mutt lands was published in the Madras Government Gazette - Chapter XI, page 213, with the caption "Manchali Adoni Taluka". This order is still preserved in Fort St. George, Chennai  and Mantralayam.

In 1819, Sir Thomas Munroe  became the  Governor of Madras Presidency and  introduced the famous the 'Ryotwari system that eliminated the exploitation of tillers by the merciless landlords. 

Sri Raghavendra Swamiji,  it is believed,  would continue to live for 700 years after his  Jeeva  Samadhi and  thousands of devotees and people worshiping him  at the samadhi  mention about his  miracles and mystic power. 

When India was under the company rule and later under the direct Crown administration, there were, indeed, countless British administrators  who had a soft corner for the Indian natives. Many of them worked hard and gave no room to corruption and under-handed dealings. Among them, Sir Thomas Monroe was a humane and effective administrator. Glory  and fame came to him as he chose the dharmic path. A Karma Yogi to the core. Please refer to my early post on Thomas Manroe: https://navrangindia.blogspot.com/2016/08/dynamic-administrator-sir-thomas-munro.html.
http://vasantp.blogspot.com/2018/08/hindi-saint-who-influenced-british.html