Sri Udupi Dhama Yatra by Chandan Yatra Das


Sri Udupi Dhama Yatra

Sri Pajaka Ksetra / Sri Parasurama Ksetra

Holy town of Udupi is famous for its most revered Sri Krishna Udupi Temple. Udupi is said to have attained the status of Vaikuntha, because the Lord Krishna came here from Dwarka and stayed here in response to the desire of His pure devotee Sri Madhvacarya. This temple was founded by Sri Madhvacarya (A.D. 1238–1317), one of the greatest Vaishnava saints and proponent of Dvaita philosophy of Vedanta. Near Udupi there is a small village Pajaka Ksetra, which is the birthplace of Madhvacarya. This area of India is sometimes called Parasurama Ksetra. The word ‘Udupi’ means the ‘moon’ or ‘the lord of the stars’, because at this place the demigod of the moon Chandra, who was cursed by Daksha, came to worship Lord Mahadev for the purpose of being relieved from that curse. Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu also visited Udupi as described in Sri Caitanya Caritamrta Madhya-lila chapter 9 verse 245. Udupi lies on the Arabian sea in the South Indian state of Karnataka. Since ancient times, Udupi is renowned as a holy place because it was a centre of Vedic scholarship and the site of two ancient temples – Sri Ananteshvara and Sri Candramauleshvara. 

Udupi is in southern India, 1-hour drive from Mangalore which has international airport and is well connected to all parts of India by air, road and rail.

How Deity of Krishna came to Udupi?

The amazing pastime of how the Bala Krishna deity (Krishna in child form) crossed the ocean from faraway Dwarka to Udupi in the south is narrated in Madhva-vijaya, the biography of Madhvacarya. Madhva wanted to have a temple of Lord Krishna in Udupi so that the devotees could then worship and serve the Lord. It so happened that in Dwarka, one of the main places of Krishna’s pastimes on earth 5,000 years ago, a Deity lay concealed within a large mass of gopi-candana clay. No one knew the Deity was there, but because the lump of clay was exceedingly heavy, some sailors loaded it onto their merchant ship as ballast. On the ship’s southward journey, just off the coast of Udupi, a tempest blew the ship aground on a sandbank.

On that very day, Madhvacarya absorbed in composing Dvadasha-stotra, his famous twelve-part poem praising Lord Krishna, had gone to the beach to bath or, as some say, to receive the Lord. And as he was composing those prayers, there was a heavy windstorm. There was a boat of merchant who was coming from Dwarka and he put so much of his life savings into the goods that he was taking to south to sell. But the storm was so turbulent that his boat was sinking. He was helpless and was about to die. And right at the last moment, he happened to see Madhvacarya sitting in meditation on the seashore. And he cried out because he saw, he is a yogi, a saint, maybe he could help me. He was taking shelter.

Merchant saw the beautiful form of Madhvacarya and in such a helpless state, he cried out “Help!”. Madhvacarya had a saffron chadar on and he took that cloth and just waved it, and the storm disappeared and the ocean became calm. And then Madhvacarya just turned and waved, and the wind took his boat to the shore and everything was fine. So this merchant had full realization that this yogi saved his life, wealth and everything! And he came down with deep gratitude and bowed down to Madhvacarya and said, “I have so much wealth on this boat, I will give you anything you want. What can I give you; I will give you the whole boat!” Madhvacarya said, “I don’t want anything. What do I need?”

“Devotees who have Lord Krishna in the hearts are atma rama, they are self-satisfied. If you are not satisfied with Krishna in your heart, no matter what you have, you will never be satisfied.”

But the merchant really wanted to serve Madhvacarya and said, “I have gold, pots, boat! Anything, I will give you.” Madhvacarya said, “You are coming from Dwarka?” He said, “Yes.” He said, “Do you have any gopi chandan?” Gopi chandan is clay! In those days, that clay was easy to get in Dwarka, and sailors, in order to balance their ship would have gopi chandan because it didn’t cost anything. For a devotee, gopi chandan is very important. Near Dwarka, there is a place called Gopi Talav, where Gopis came and bathed. The dust from the feet of all of the gopis became that clay. So from a businessman’s perspective in those days, it was worth nothing; but for Madhvacarya, it was worth everything! It is the dust of the feet of Krishna and Radha and Gopis, and we put it on our bodies, it is called tilak. We put it one our foreheads, 12 parts of our body, and it’s the way of consecrating our body, mind, words and life to Krishna.

So he said, “Please give me, you have some gopi chandan?” He said, “Yes, I have two mounds of gopi chandan!” Madhvacarya took two mounds of gopi chandan. Madhvacarya had just started back to Udupi with the large lump of clay when, but a short distance from the beach, the lump broke in two, revealing the handsome deity of Lord Bala Krishna and the deity of Balarama. But now the combined effort of 30 disciples of Madhva’s could not budge the deity. Only when Madhvacarya himself embraced and lifted the deity as if He were a child did the deity consent to be moved. In great transcendental ecstasy Madhva carried the Lord four miles back to Udupi. On the way he completed the remaining seven parts of Dvadasha-stotra, reciting the verses out loud. Madhvacarya consecrated Lord Balarama’s deity in the Vadabhandeshwara temple near the Malpe beach. In Udupi, Madhva bathed the Lord Bala Krishna in the lake known as Madhva-sarovara and enshrined Him in the Sri Krishna Matha. Srila Madhvacarya instituted rigorous standards for worshipping Sri Krishna, and whenever he was in Udupi he would personally perform the 13 daily worship ceremonies for the Lord.

How the deity of Bala Krishna had come to be buried in Dwarka?

Madhvacarya knew the history of this deity. 5000 years ago when Lord Krishna manifested His pastimes in Dwarka, His mother Devaki expressed to Krishna in the inner chambers of their palace, that, “I heard so many beautiful lilas about your charming childhood activities in Vrindavana. Yasoda, as Your mother, she was a witness; she could be the part of those childhood activities. I heard stories where You would just be a naughty little boy and You’d steal butter and You’d completely conquer everyone’s hearts. By the time You came back to me, You were a prince! I want to see those pastimes that as Your mother, I never saw You as a little child.”

So Krishna fulfilled Devaki’s desires. He manifested Himself as Bal Gopal, little Krishna. And He jumped on her lap, drank her milk and then He went and started breaking butter pots, He was stealing, He was doing all this little childhood pastimes. He was holding stick and a rope for churning butter. As He was stealing, Devaki was completely mesmerized. She was thinking in her heart, I have never experienced such happiness as this, Your Vrindavana lila.

Rukmini, Lord Krishna’s queen, was watching, and she never experienced such happiness as seeing Krishna’s Bal lila of Vrindavana. She requested Krishna, “I want to worship You in this form as Bal Gopal stealing butter. Please give me a murti that I could worship?” So Krishna called Vishwakarma to carve that identical form that Rukmini was seeing of Krishna of Vrindavana as the butter thief, and he carved, out of a pure Saligram Sila, that form of Krishna, and in one hand He is holding a stick and in another a rope. Rukmini Devi, although she was personally serving Dwarkadisa Krishna day and night, her greatest happiness was in worshipping this deity form in the temple in her inner room of Gopal. Years later, when the Yadu dynasty went back to the spiritual realm, Arjuna, Krishna’s dearest friend, brought the deity of Rukmini after the Rukmini had already left, and put it in Rukmini’s garden. And over the years this deity was covered by gopi chandan along with the deity of Balarama, and was completely lost. So those sailors they didn’t know, there was anything inside that lump of gopi chandan. But it was Lord Krishna’s and Balarama’s wish to come here to Udupi to be worshipped by Madhvacarya, and later to be visited by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.

Before Madhvacarya’s departure from this world, he appointed eight of his sannayasi disciples in-charge of the worship at Sri Krishna Matha and propagate Krishna consciousness. Today the responsibility for the worship is rotated in two-year periods called Paryaaya among eight sannayasis in disciplic succession from the original eight. During the fourteen-year interim period between turns at paryaaya, each sannayasi travels and preaches and raises funds for use when his turn for worship comes. Each sannayasi also heads his own Matha, where other deities, ones given by Madhvacarya to the original eight sannayasis, are worshipped. These eight Mathas are located along Car Street, a road that circles the Candramauleshvara and Ananteshvara temples and runs right past the main entrance to Sri Krishna Matha.


Merchant analogy: We can see an analogy in this pastime. That merchant who was on the ship is like the jiva atma and the boat is like the human form of life and the Arabian Sea (the ocean), is like the ocean of samsara. The purpose of human life is to take the jiva atma across the ocean of samsara to the abode of Krishna. That storm is like the attraction of the senses for their objects, lust, envy, anger, arrogance, greed, illusion, all of these human frailties, we want to be the controller, the proprietor, the enjoyer, and there are so many distractions! Mental distraction is desire for recognition, prestige, adoration and then there’s the senses that want to feel something, touch something, taste something, hear something, smell something, see something, just enjoy.

That’s like the storm, and that storm, if we get too attached to the attractions between the mind and the senses for the objects of this world, we sink in the ocean of samsara and in that sinking we take birth after birth after birth again. But Madhvacarya, in this case, he is the grace Krishna which comes through the grace of spiritual master (guru), the grace of Vaishnavas (sadhu), the grace of holy scriptures (sastra).

And like the man on that boat, when the jiva really realizes his helpless condition in this ocean of material existence and really understands how helpless we are in the storms of the temptations and aversions of maya, we cry out, we take shelter, and when we do, by the grace of the Lord, He helps us. And one of the first ways He helps us is he teaches us what really is of value. The man’s wealth, everything else, Madhvacarya didn’t give much value to that but gopi chandan, that had value. What is gopi chandan? We put the tilak of gopi chandan on our bodies to represent a Vaishnava life style. The gopi chandan represents the character, the aspiration, the sadhana, living a life of a Vaishnava. So the grace of Guru and the grace of Lord is they give us this type of life to live, to live as servant of the servant, to live with morality for Lord Sri Krishna’s pleasure, to live as an instrument of compassion for Lord Krishna’s pleasure.

yoginam api sarvesam

Lord Krishna tells, “Of all yogis, one who abides in Me with great faith is most intimately united Me with in yoga and is the highest of all.” So to actually receive, when we asked Srila Prabhupada, “What can we do to repay you for all you have given us?” He said, “Just sincerely accept this path of devotional service and share with others.” That’s the life of a devotee. Gopi chandan represents when we get the grace of guru we receive what he gives us, a life of service, a life of purification and through that grace, Krishna appears.

Parasurama Ksetra – Land of Parasurama: This area of India is called Parasurama Ksetra. Long ago, we read in Bhagavat Purana and other Puranas, The Supreme Lord Krishna appeared in His 6th incarnation as Parasurama. Seeing the egoism, selfishness, self-centered corruption among the power hungry leaders of the world, He as the brahmana took the role of Ksatriya. And for 21 generations, He freed the world from such corruption, and ultimately He conquered the world. But He didn’t do anything for Himself. When everything was in order and nice, He took the entire world, the everything He had conquered, and gave it to the brahmanas headed by Kashyapa Muni, and there was nothing left for Himself.

But He wanted a place to do His bhajan, but He could not take away what He had already given. So He came to this area and He shot an arrow with a mantra and arrow went out to the sea, and where that arrow landed, the sea receded and what was once ocean became land from Kanyakumari up to Rambi area of Gokarna. So He didn’t take anything He had given. It was brand new land, and that is where He resided. And there are many beautiful stories that He personally appeared for the pleasure of His devotees in the form of the Ananteshwar murti in Udupi, who appears to be Lord Siva but it is Lord Vishnu. And close to there is Chandramauleshwar temple where Chandra, the presiding lord in the moon planet, performed tapasya and worshipped to Lord Siva. And Lord Siva appeared as the Siva lingam to him to bless him and to bless the world. So these, in this very ancient town of Udupi were the two temples.

Temples in and around Udupi:

1. Sri Krishna Matha Temple

2. Sri Chandramouleshvar Temple

3. Sri Anantheshwar Temple

4. Sri Vadabhandeshwara Balarama Temple and Malpe Beach

5. Sri Pajaka Ksetra

6. Sri Parasurama Ksetra

7. Sahyadri Sri Krishna Balarama Ksetra (SSKBK)

8. ISKCON Mangalore

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