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Story of Sri Raghavendra Swamy and his wife Saraswathi

Sri Raghavendra Swamy, also known as Guru Raghavendra, was one of the most revered saints and philosophers of the Dvaita Vedanta school of Hinduism. He was born as Venkatanatha in 1595 or 1598 in a village called Bhuvanagiri in Tamil Nadu. He was a brilliant scholar and a devout devotee of Lord Vishnu. He composed many works on Vedanta, logic, grammar, and music. He also performed many miracles and helped countless people with his divine grace and compassion.

He was married to Saraswati, a virtuous and devoted woman who supported him in his spiritual pursuits. They had a son named Lakshminarayanacharya, who later became a great scholar himself. They lived a simple and happy life, despite being extremely poor.

However, destiny had other plans for Venkatanatha. His guru, Sudheendra Tirtha, the head of the Kumbhakonam Matha (a religious institution), chose him as his successor and initiated him into sanyasa (renunciation) in 1624. He was given the name Raghavendra Tirtha and became the peetadhipathi (leader) of the matha.

This was a great honor for Venkatanatha, but a great shock for Saraswati. She could not bear the fact that her husband had renounced the world and left her alone. She decided to end her life by jumping into an old and unused well on the way to the matha. She hoped that by doing so, she would be reunited with her husband in the afterlife.

But fate had something else in store for her. Due to her untimely death, she did not attain moksha (liberation) but got stuck in between heaven and earth as a disembodied spirit. She wandered around aimlessly, longing for her husband's presence and seeking his forgiveness.

Meanwhile, Raghavendra Tirtha continued his spiritual journey and traveled to various places to spread the message of Vedanta and Vishnu bhakti (devotion). He performed many miracles and healed many people with his divine power. He also faced many challenges and oppositions from those who were jealous or hostile to him. He remained calm and composed in all situations and never lost his faith in God.

One day, he arrived at Mantralaya, a village on the banks of the Tungabhadra river in present-day Andhra Pradesh. He decided to stay there for some time and chose a spot under a tamarind tree to meditate. He felt a strong connection with that place and sensed that it was his final destination.

He announced to his disciples that he would enter into jeeva samadhi (a state of living death) there and instructed them to build a brindavana (a tomb-like structure) around him. He also told them that he would continue to bless them and help them even after his departure from this world.

He then entered into deep meditation and prepared himself for his final journey. As he did so, he sensed a familiar presence near him. It was none other than Saraswati, his wife, who had been following him all these years as a spirit.

She approached him with tears in her eyes and said, "O my dear husband, please forgive me for my foolish act. I could not bear your separation and took my own life. But I realized my mistake too late and got trapped in this miserable state. I have been wandering around you ever since, hoping for your mercy and grace. Please release me from this bondage and let me join you in your bliss."

Raghavendra Tirtha opened his eyes and looked at her with love and compassion. He said, "O my dear wife, do not grieve or repent for your past actions. You have done nothing wrong. You have only loved me with all your heart and soul. You have been my faithful companion in this life and you will be my eternal partner in the next. You have already attained moksha by your devotion to me and to Lord Vishnu. You do not need my forgiveness or grace. You only need to realize your true nature as an immortal soul."

He then sprinkled some holy water from his kamandalu (water pot) on her and said, "This is the last wish of Saraswati: to be liberated from this cycle of birth and death by the grace of Raghavendra Tirtha."

As soon as he said these words, Saraswati felt a surge of light and joy within her. She felt all her sorrows and pains vanish in an instant. She felt free from all attachments and desires. She felt one with her husband and with God. She smiled and bowed to him and said, "Thank you, my lord, for your kindness and generosity. Thank you for fulfilling my last wish. Thank you for liberating me from this samsara (worldly existence). I am now ready to go with you to the abode of Lord Vishnu."

She then merged into his form and became one with him. Raghavendra Tirtha also smiled and closed his eyes. He then entered into jeeva samadhi and left his mortal body behind.

His disciples completed the construction of the brindavana and performed the rituals as per his instructions. They also installed a statue of Lord Hanuman, his favorite deity, in front of the brindavana. They then worshipped him as Guru Raghavendra and prayed to him for his blessings and guidance.

The brindavana of Guru Raghavendra at Mantralaya is still a sacred place of pilgrimage for millions of devotees who believe that he is still alive and active in his samadhi. They believe that he listens to their prayers and fulfills their wishes. They also believe that he manifests himself in various forms and performs miracles to help them in their troubles.

The story of Raghavendra Tirtha and Saraswati is a story of love and liberation. It is a story of how a human couple transcended their worldly bonds and attained divine union. It is a story of how a saint relieved his wife from her suffering and granted her moksha. It is a story that inspires us to follow our dreams and passions, to overcome our challenges and difficulties, and to seek our ultimate goal of self-realization.