Narahari Tirtha

   Shri Narahari was a leading minister in Kalinga, Orissa, and was performing this task for around thirty years. It is impossible to tell the story of Narahari Tirtha without being captured by the pastime he had with the Deity of Shri Mula Rama (as bove).
   The story follows that during his spell in office, the King of Kalinga died. The King's ministers, from time immemorial, had a tradition that the State send out the "State or Royal Elephant" to find the Prince Regent. At that time the royal elephant walked out of the palace and through the city to the place where Narahari was. The elephant placed the coronation garland around his neck to the surprise of the accompanying state ministers. By the Lord's arrangement the elephant came across Narahari, and in due course he was placed on the throne. However, when the King's infant son and heir to the throne came of age after twelve years, Narahari gave it up. Out of gratitude, the new King wanted to bestow some gifts on Narahari. Narahari asked for the Deity of Mula Rama that had been kept by the descendants of the Gajapati Kings, and Who was originally worshipped by Maharaja Ikshvaku, then given to Maharaja Dasaratha, the father of Lord Rama. This Deity of Rama was then passed down to Lakshmana and from him to Hanuman, who used to hang Him around his neck. Hanuman gave Him to Bhima during the time of Krishna's advent on this earth, and Bhima gave Him to the Gajapati King. This Deity of Mula Rama then placed in the Uttaradi Mutt, secured in his day by Kavindra Tirtha, but now resides at Raghavendra Tirtha Swami Mutt at Mantralayam. (each of the sections of the story are dealt with in detail in the Legacy of Ananda Tirtha book)

   At the time of dividing the Mutts at Kanva Tirtha, Shripad Madhvacharya gave Narahari the Deity of Kaliyamardana Krishna with four arms. This Deity of Krishna is dancing on the head of the Kaliya serpent, with one leg lifted up dancing, one hand in a balancing, dancing pose, and the other hand holding Kaliya's tail up. The mood is not of that of Shri Krishna, in that the Deity resembles that of Lord Narayana having another two hands in which hold a conch and chakra, unlike Shri Vrindavan Chandra Krishna.

   Shri Narahari Tirtha was initiated before 1264 AD., B.N.K Sharma suggests (B.N.K. Sharma. 1961. History of the Dvaita School of Vedanta. page 227), that he was probably about 22 years of age when Narahari and Madhva first met, Madhva being 19 years of age. There are local inscriptions of the time preserved in the Shri Kurman Kshetra and Simhachalam areas of Orissa which glorify Narahari for many great feats, statesmanship and swordsmanship, but even whilst performing these kingly tasks, he preached Vaisnavism and made many Devotees from the princes and aristocratic nobility in general at the time in the areas of Orissa and Andhra Pradesh.

   Sometimes it is suggested that he was the disciple of Padmanabha Tirtha but this is not supported anywhere in the mutt listings, instead what is pointed out is that due to the seniority of Padmanabha Tirtha, Narahari Tirtha was humbly more than willing to serve him as the representitive of his spiritual master Shripad Madhvacharya, and so was considered like a 'shiksha' disciple of the new Pitha Adi Patya Padmanabha Tirtha Swami.

   Once whilst Narahari Tirtha was on a preaching tour, he dreamt that a Deity of Lord Vishnu was at the bottom of the town pond (tank). The very next day, by his influence, he made arrangements for the tank to be dredged, and there He was! The four armed form of Lord Narayana. The Deity was taken out and installed at that place. The town is now called by the name of the pastime, Narayanadevarkere (the tank of Lord Narayana). This is near Hospet Taluk of Bellary District, Northern Karnataka.

   Shri Narahari wrote fifteen books, but his Gita Bhasya and Bhavaprakasika are the only two of which any trace is kept.
   Source :