MOOLA RAMA DEVARU / HISTORY OF THE IDOLS:
These idols got through Naraharithirtha and worshipped by Acharya are very ancient, popularly known as “Chaturyugamurthis”. There are references about their glorious past in Vasistha Ramayana, Adhyatma Ramayana, and Markandeya Purana. Both of these idols are very beautiful. Any pious soul that takes darshan of these cannot but have profound devotion aroused. On seeing the idol of Sri Moola Rama an Archaeological official has expressed his bewilderment at the meticulousness of its form, beauty, ancientness. Sri Jaganathadasa in one of his kirtans has narrated the history of these Idols in the same chronology as has been done by Sri Vadindrathirtha in “Sri Raghavendra-matha-gatharchagathi-krama”, a book authored by him. Sri Vijayadasa has composed the separate Suladi depicting the events leading to the possession of these idols.
Chathurmukha Brahma rejoices in worshipping God in different ways. These idols were made by Vishwakarma as ordained by Chathurmukha Brahma for the purpose of daily pooja. After worshipping them for a long time, Chathurmukha Brahma handed over to Jabalamuni for the benefit of the world. They were then worshipped by Shiva and Parvathi, who handed them over to Dakshaprajeshwara. The Saint Soubhari worshipped these idols which once again reached to Sathyaloka. Vyvaswan then earned these idols through penance from whom they reached the hands of his son Vyvaswatha Manu. King Ikshvaku of the Surya dynasty made these idols as his kuladevathas and worshipped them. His descendants in the dynasty, Mandhatha, Anaranya, Thrishanku, Harischandra, Sagara, Bhageertha, Ambareesha, Dilip and other emperors also worshipped these idols. Then the emperor Dasharatha worshipped them with great devotion. He named his eldest son Rama after tha name of the idol which became known as “Moolarama” from then onwards. Sri Rama, Sithadevi, Laxmana and Jambavantha worshipped the idols of Moola Sitha Rama. Then Lord Rama gave these idols for worship to one Vedagarbha, his devotee who was longing for the darshan of the Lord. After worshipping them for some years, Vedagarbha returned them to Sri Rama. Then for the period from Thretha-yuga to Dwapara-yuga, these Idols were worshipped by Hanumantha. When Bhimasena met Hanumantha in the course of his search for Sougandhikapushpa. Hanumantha gave these idols to Bhimasena and advised him to continue them in his next incarnation as Sri Madhwa in Kaliyuga.
Then Pandavas and all the rulers up to Kshemaka worshipped these idols before they reached the treasury of Gajapathi, the Kalinga ruler. Thus, it is needless to say how immense the divine presence is in the idols worshipped by such great souls.when the truth प्रतिमायन्तु सान्निध्य्म् अर्चकस्य तपोबलात्। is analyzed, it is only appropriate to consider these idols as the real Lord keeping in mind particularly the fact that they were worshipped by none other than Laxmi and Narayana, the supreme spirit of the universe, Brahma and by Vayu in all his three incarnations. It can be so said here लोहवद्रुयते हरिः। as शिलावद्रुयते हरिः।I said in Tirupathi. Those who merely touch such sacred idols are righteous and virtuous. Puranas quote that the worshippers of these idols are above human and “Amshapurushas”. The very darshan of the aslant Lord Rama with drooping ears on a round base is magnificent. There is no doubt about just a darshan of a Lord purging us of the heap of our sins. Only to worship this idol, Vyasamuni became Raghavendra, Vibhudhendra-Vijayeendra, Jithamitra-Sudheendra. In the opinion of the jnanis anyone who worships this idol in Yathyasharma is certain to attain salvation. It can be definitely said that the Almighty has blessed this world with this idol for the emancipation of his devotees in an age beset with sin. Sri Moola Rama even today has enshrined Sri Raghavendra Swamy Mutt, the original samsthana of Acharya.
A list of deities who worshiped Sri Moola Ramadevaru before Sri Madhvacharya:
Lord Sri Rama
Vishnuvarma was the prime minister of Kshemaka. He gave these icons to the Gajapati Dynasty of Orissa
Abhishek is a religious ceremony where an icon or idol is bathed in special liquids, to the accompaniment of religious hymns. This can be done with water, or milk or any combination. When performed with Milk, Curds (Yogurt), Ghee, Honey, Sugar, it acquires a special name and is called Panchaamruta abhisheka (panch – five, amruta – nectar).
Traditionally, the abhisheka of Moola Rama is performed only on two days in the calendar. The first is Chaitra Shuddha Navami (the ninth day in the bright half of the Hindu Lunar month of Chaitra), the day the Lord incarnated as Rama, and the second is BalipAdya or Deepavali, which is celebrated on Kartika Shuddha Pratipath (the first day in the bright half of the Hindu lunar month of Kartika). These abhishekas are called Rama Navami and Deepavali abhishekas respectively. Another simple abhisheka is done the day after Deepavali. This is called Mari (young) or Maru (repeat) abhisheka.
It would be very difficult to enumerate in full detail all the traditions and religious festivals associated with Rayara Matha. However, keeping in mind the fact that it is Deepavali season it seems appropriate to provide some details about the above abhishekas. In the Matha, the sixteen-fold worship (Shodashopachara pooja) of the Lord is performed every day. This includes abhisheka for the shaligramas, Sri Vyasa mushti and icons of Sri Hayagreeva and Sri Santaanagopalakrishna. As mentioned above, abhisheka for Moola Rama is performed only twice a year. Since this happens only once in six months, it is natural for a lot of pomp and glory to be associated with this event. However, this glory is something that needs to be experienced and cannot be explained by mere words.
Sri Ramanavami Abhisheka:
This is the auspicious day on which the Lord incarnated as Ramachandra. People also lovingly call him Maryada Purushottam, the epitome of all great qualities associated with a noble person. There is an additional reason for reverence towards this day. The Aradhana of Sri Kavindra teertha, one of the greatest pontiffs to adorn this Matha, also falls on Rama Navami. His Brindavana is located on the island of Navavrundavana, near the town of Anegundi in Karnataka. As a preparation for the abhisheka, various fruits from all over India are collected in advance. Thousands of people from all over the country congregate in NavavrundAvana to witness the abhisheka. It is an inspiring sight to see such a large assemblage of people, soaked in devotion, braving the blazing sun and ignoring all hardships, just to witness the ceremony. Even more inspiring is the devotion with which the Swamiji’s perform the abhisheka and the grace and friendliness with which they distribute fruits and mantrAkshate and bless all the devotees.
This is more popularly known as BalipAdya or Deepavali. This is the holy day on which the Vamana incarnation of the Lord blessed the great devotee Bali. There are many activities in the Matha to prepare for this abhisheka. Since this event falls within the ChAturmAsya period (the four-month period in the Hindu calendar when it is forbidden to partake certain of food or to offer them to the Lord), only certain types of fruits can be used in the abhisheka, unlike the Ramanavami abhisheka, when there was no restriction. Hence only Bananas and other simple ingredients used during the Panchamruta are used in this abhisheka.
On the chosen day, after performing his prescribed morning activities (chants and other religious chores that every ascetic must perform every day), the Swamiji starts the proceedings by taking a samkalpa (a symbolic oath to perform a task) to perform the abhisheka. By then his assistants would have completed all the necessary arrangements and would be waiting for him. The Swamiji starts the proceedings by removing the ornaments adorning the Moola Rama icon. He then performs abhisheka using Milk, Curds (Yogurt), Ghee, Honey, Sugar and fruits in turn. He then performs a MangalArathi. After this, the remnants of the abhisheka are removed and once again abhisheka is performed with water, to cleanse the deity. This is called UdvArchana. After this, the icons are anointed with sandalwood paste. While all this is happening, it is customary for scholars of the Matha to recite literary works by Sri Raghavendra swami, like the Sri RamachAritrya Manjari, Upanishad khandartha and so on. After everything is completed, the icon is safely stored in the appointed container. This is called Bhujangana. At this point, it may be said that the Maha abhisheka has reached a logical stage. After this, the Swamiji performs the traditional puja that is performed daily.
On the next day, the Swamiji finishes his mandatory activities and performs the abhisheka again. This is called Mari or Maru abhisheka. After this, the icon is adorned with traditional ornaments and daily puja is performed. With this, the Maha abhisheka has fully concluded.
Normally, the Rama Navami abhisheka is performed in Nava Vrundavana or Anegundi since it coincides with the Aradhane of Sri Kaveendra teertha. The Deepavali abhisheka is performed in Mantralaya or some other convenient location.