In this series, we will go on a pradakshina of Bharata desha as we present, each month, a kirtan composed by His Holiness Maharanyam Sri Sri Muralidhara Swamiji on a particular kshetra, starting from south India and then going north.
Bhadrachalam, a pilgrim spot for devotees of Lord Rama is situated on the banks of River Godavari. It is believed to have been part of a huge forest called Dandakaranya. Lord Rama along with Lakshmana and Sita lived in Dandakaranya during his fourteen year exile and is also believed to have visited the current site of the temple during his search for Sita.
The present day deities are self-manifested who were discovered by a devotee called Dammaka. Damakka built a basic structure and arranged for regular worship. The temple was later renovated in 17th century by the ardent devotee Sri Ramadas.
Ramadas or Bhadrachalam Ramadas, as he was popularly known, came to Bhadrachalam as a government officer. He was pained by the state of the temple and decided to renovate it. When he fell short of funds, he used some of the state tax funds to build the temple and was therefore jailed by the king for this offense.
As he served his time, he composed numerous songs on Lord Rama in the cell. Finally, Lord Rama and Lakshmana appeared in front of the king as servants of Ramadas and repaid the misappropriated amount. The king, on realizing that it was the Lord himself, sought forgiveness from Ramadas and became a patron, funding activities at the temple.
Sri Swamiji has visited Bhadrachalam several times and has also composed a song describing the greatness of the place. The song and its meaning are presented here:
Ragam: Bimplaas Talam: Adi
bhajare bhadrAchalam – mAnasa
gOdavari thIra punyAchalam
komaLa tAraka mantramayAchalam
sarva pApa vinAshakAchalam
sundara rAmabhadra vAsAchalam
bahu rAmadAsadi vinuthAchalam
priya muralIdhara hridayAchalam
Sing the praise of Bhadrachala – O Mind!
The holy hill on the banks of Godavari
The hill that is verily the form of the tender Rama Nama
The hill that destroys all sins
The hill where the beautiful Rama stayed
The hill that has been worshipped by many devotees of Rama!
The beloved hill that resides in the heart of Muralidhara
Sowmya Balasubramanian, San Jose CA