1 : A sneak-peak into Manna-Gopura’s history
2 : Shiksheyinda Rakshe
3 : Bhakthavatsala and his devotee
1 of 3: A sneak-peak into Manna-Gopura’s history
Manna gopura is one of the important landmarks of Karkala. It was a seva the Lord had taken from the blessed family of Hegde’s. Sri Keshav Hegde of Karkala was a great devotee of Dhani. He had the wish of building a resting pace for Dhani while returning from Vanabhojana during Karthik punnav. He found an appropriate place where this gopura could have been built. He went on to inquire with the then owner of the land, Sri Ramappa who belonged to Tigale community. Ramappa was an atheist and hence he clearly denied the offer.
Post this, once, when Ramappa had been to stroll around Ramasamudra lake, a snake bit him. Frightened Ramappa’s mouth uttered- “He Venkataramana help me!” Nobody other than Keshav Hegde happened to be around. Hearing these desperate calls, Keshav Hegde came running and helped Ramappa by applying Dhani’s gandha prasada on the area where the snake had bit. He then brought Ramappa to temple and prayed for his quick recovery. Dhani’s grace is infinite, Ramappa recovered. With these series of incidents, Ramappa decided to give the land where Keshav Hegde then constructed a beautiful Manna Gopura.
Even today, this is the place where thousands come to witness the beauty of our Dhani here on the day of Karthik punnav. One cannot express how much ecstasy is felt within, it comes out with tears rolling down. Our Dhani with complete alankara- Shankha, chakra, gadha, padma and the beautiful vanamala. On the first Karthik punnav post construction, the two lords were brought to the gopura. Hundreds of devotees had gathered to get the darshan of Dhani. Meanwhile, Keshav Hegde had to leave for his home and had informed archakas that he would be back in sometime. By the time Keshav Hegde returned, the archakas had completed all the puja and the Lords had already mounted pallanki for Gurji seva. Keshav Hegde was taken aback and angered with the Vaidiks for not having that little concern to even give him gandha prasada in return for all the efforts he had put in for construction of this manna gopura. He went back home with a heavy heart.
Next day during darshana seva, Kala Bhairava asked Keshav Hegde about what his grievance was. Upon narration of Keshav Hegde, Kala Bhairava said- “Go home and find out whether you have or have not received the gandha prasada. Our dhani cannot let any wrong happen.”
As per instructions of Kalabhairava, when Keshav Hegde reached home, he was surprised to see Dhani’s shreegandha on all clean vessels and many other places. Hegde was very sorry for his acts and rushed to temple with tears, surrendered before Dhani.
2 of 3: Shiksheyinda Rakshe
Out of the sevadaaras of Sri Venkataramana Temple, Karkala, Sri Srinivasa Bhagawath’s family has one another prominent position. In every utsava of the temple, it is their seva to please the Lord with their melodious songs praising His grace. Towards the seva that they render, they are not entitled to any penny out of the temple funds. They do everything voluntarily at their own interest and love, without any reward in return. Their speciality is rendering this seva consistently. During Mahotsavas, it is their custom to involve every person in the family in this glorious seva.
Panduranga Bhagwath is one of the sons of Srinivas Bhagwath, who had settled in Mumbai upon job. He could not attend Dhani’s mahotsavas for around eight years. How much ever he tried, some obstacle came up and stopped him from travelling to Karkala.
Panduranga Bhagwath’s daughter got married. They performed Sathyanarayan Puja few days after the wedding. Many invitees arrived for the puja. Puja was performed with great pomp. The invitees received all the upachaaraas and returned happily.
The next day when the sun rose, people at home were surprised to see the Mangal Suthra missing in the bride’s neck. It was some precious ornament that was missing, and this was a bad omen. The women in the home panicked and searched every nook and corner of the house. When their attempts proved to be futile, they decided to inform the police. When the ladies conveyed the matter to Panduranga Bhagwath, he did not like the idea of suspecting the invitees of the Puja. He felt it to be inappropriate. He said to the ladies- “We have the best police with us. Let us trust Him, and He shall take up the responsibility”.
He, after bathing, went straight inside the puja room and stood infront of Dhani’s portrait. He said humbly-“I have sinned by not being eager in attending your Mahotsavas. I heartily accept this mistake of mine. Kindly, forgive me. Now, if you get me the lost jewel back, I promise to come down to Karkala immediately at any cost” and then bowed humbly to the Lord.
The same day, when Pandurang Bhagwath returned home after work, he sat down for lunch. It was around two in the afternoon. Though he had calmed down the ladies of the house about the lost gem, he, within himself was extremely hurt for the loss of such an expensive thing, that cost around Rs.600 in those years.
“Is Bhagwath around?”, meanwhile, a lady walked in, asking this. The lady was not known to the family till that moment. When Pandurang Bhagwath returned after his lunch, the lady, showing a chain, asked him-“Does this by any chance belong to you? If yes, check if it is in the right condition”. To the surprise of the inmates of the house, it was the same Mangal Suthra that went missing from the bride’s neck.
It had been more than 24 hours since the jewel had gone missing. How on earth could the lady keep it with her till the next noon and then come straight to Bhagwath’s place suspecting it to be theirs.
The question possesses of only one answer of the Lord’s miracles and his grace.
As promised, Pandurang Bhagwath started for Karkala without any second thought for the Paramathma’s seva.
3 of 3: Bhakthavatsala and his devotee
Ranjala Vasudev Shenoy was a Jaggery trader. In 1901, he was one among the volunteers of the group of people who would join Ramadandu Yathra. During the same time, he was blessed with a baby boy. As he still had few stillborn babies, the birth of another child made him rethink on joining the Ramadandu. With some excuse or the other, Mr. Shenoy decided to remain at Karkala. Just before the commencement of the “Ramadandu Yathra”, “Vittala”, his new born child contracted high fever which no treatment could cure. Frightened, Shenoy rushed to the temple at Devadarshana and fell prostrate before the lord. Kalabhairava asked, ” Vasudev Shenoy, you have already decided to remain in Karkala and carry the burden of your child. So what brings you here?”
“Lord, I crave Thy compassion. I forgot that the burden of the child is Thine. I forthwith rejoin Ramadandu”, replied Shenoy , who regretted for the mistake done by him. Kalabhairava reassured him and offered Gadhaprasad. Upon reaching home, Shenoy applied the prasad to the sick child. Within moments, the fever demminished and the child started sipping milk & was playing. Vasudev Shenoy was a picture of joy!
Before leaving for Ramadandu, the unsold stock of 500 mounds of Jaggery was bothering Shenoy as it would incur him a loss of Rs. 200/- if he had sold it at that point of time. Banishing all his worries, he left for Ramadandu , surrendering himself at the lotus feet of the Lord. When he was back from the pilligrimage, he was wonder-struck to find that the rate of jaggery saaor by Rs. 14/- a mound after many years and also the entire stock of jaggery was unspoiled disite the rainy season. Shenoy stood to earn an additional profit of Rs. 750/- in this transaction. Often in his life Shenoy would cite this episode and exclaim, ” What more can I say than that it is Lord’s grace!”