#ज्ञानवर्षा #मंदिर #श्रीराम #गुरू Bhakta Ramadas and Construction of Bhadrachalam temple. Part 2
Bhadrachala Rama temple was constructed by Kancharla Gopanna popularly known as Bhakta Ramadas in the year 1674 A.D.
Kancharla Gopanna, popularly known as "Bhakta Ramdas", a fervent devotee of Rama, was born to Linganna Murthy and Kamamba in Nelakondapalli village of Khammamett Taluk in 17th century (1620 AD). He was nephew of Akkannna, the administrative head in the court of Nawab Abul Hussan shah known as 'Taneshah' of Golkonda (he was the last ruler of Golconda before Aurangazeb captured it in 1687A.D.) and was appointed by him as Tahsildar of 'Palvoncha Paragana'. Thus he was discharging his official duties earnestly and collecting revenues due to the Nawabs in continuation of daily preaches -Chanting of 'Ramanama' and the feeding the poor at his house. Ramadasa, who heard the news that the villagers of palvoncha paragana were proceeding to witness a Jatara at Bhadrachalam , became curios and he too visited Bhadrachalam. He found the deities in an amazing appearance. Ramadas, then asked the villagers to contribute liberally for the construction of the temple. After the contributions were found to be insufficient, the villagers appealed him to spend the revenue collections for the construction of the temple with a promise to repay the amount after harvesting the crops. Accordingly, Ramadas constructed the temple with an amount of Rs 6 Lakhs collected from the land revenues with out the permission of the Nizam Nawab.
When the temple reached to the nearing completion, he had a problem of fixing 'Sudarshana Chakra' at the crest of the main temple. He was deeply distressed and fell into sleep. On the same night, Rama in his dream asked him to have a holy dip in river Godavari where he will find that-accordingly. On the next day morning Gopanna did so and found holy Sudarshana Chakra in the river with out much difficulty. He presumed that Sudarshana Chakra itself was shaped up with the divine power of his beloved God Rama. Soon after the construction, his miseries started. He was dismissed from service for mis-utilisation of revenue for constructing the temple and was kept in jail for 12 long years in Golkonda Fort and was tortured. Unable to withstand the miseries, Ramadas implored Rama to relieve him by singing many praising and emotional songs which got popularized from the stanzas of 'Dasaradhi Sathakam' and 'Keertanas' of Bhakta Ramadasa.
The Nizam Nawab Tanishah, the then ruler of Nizam's territory became a devotee of Rama who realised the devotion spirit of Ramadas after his imprisonment and took over the charge of temple administration. This resembles the communal harmony amongst the Hindus and Muslims. The Nizam Nawab realised Ramadas Devotional spirit and dedication towards Rama, when Rama and Laxmana repaid 6 lakh Mohurs exposing themselves as Ramoji and Laxmoji, the servants of Bhakta Ramadas to get release of their devotee from the imprisonment. Thanisha gave voucher to these divine looking persons who approached him at his house during late night. Then they kept the voucher under the pillow of Gopanna where he was jailed. Tanishah who woke up on the very next day morning realised that those divine looking persons were none other than Rama and Laxmana and made arrangements to get release of Gopanna and prayed to forgive him by placing all the Gold Mohurs received last night at the feet of Gopanna. But, he refused to take back those mohurs except two as a mark of divine significance. (Those two can still be seen kept in Bhadrachala Sri Sita Ramachandra Swamy vaari Devasthanam).
Influenced by the majesty of Lord Rama, Golkonda Ruler Tanishah earmarked the income derived from the said Palwoncha paragana which came to Rs 20,000 and odd for the maintenance of the temple which was continued during Nizam's reign and offering Pearls (Mutyala Talambralu) on the occasion of kalyana mahotsavam (Sri Rama Navami) to Deities on an elephant through a specially sent messenger. That procedure of sending pearls to the Deities is still followed by present state Government and continues to offer during Sri Rama Navami Festival (Kalyana mahotsavam). Tumu Narsimha Dasa,Tahasildar of Palwoncha paragana,along with his associate Varada Ramadasa came here from Guntur and took over the charge of Bhadrachalarama temple after Ramadas made inscripted the performance of Nitya Poojas and sevas right from early morning "Suprabhata Seva" till night "Pavalimpu Seva" before closure of the temple as "Silaasaasanaalu" on these two pillars. This inscription gives details of daily dictum and daily rituals also.
Popularly known as Bhakta Raamadaas, he was born Gopanna to Linganna Mantri (a surname he kept as a result of one of his forebears being a minister at the court of a king) & Kadamba (sister of Madanna, a brahmin minister to TaniShah), in 1620 in Nelakondapalli, a small village in Khammam district, Andhra Pradesh. Since childhood, he imbibed his family's interest in spirituality and composed several keertanas on Rama. His devotion to Vaikunta Rama at the temple of Bhadrachalam, a small village in the middle of the jungle on the northern banks of the holy river Godavari, earned him his name Bhadraacala Raamadaas. His guru was Raghunatha Bhattacharya.
During the reign of Abdul Hasan Tana Shah, (the nawab of the Qutub Shahi Dynasty at Golconda), Ramadas (Gopanna), thanks to his uncle Madanna, was appointed as a Tahsildar for Palvancha Paragana which included Bhadrachalam, a pretty and picturesquely situated temple town on the Godavari river. Ramadas was always distracted and his intense love for Lord Rama compelled him to build a temple at Bhadrachalam. He collected money for the construction from the citizens, but was not enough. So he borrowed from the tax revenue of the nawab and gave his god a worthy abode, vowing to return the money. However, the nawab was furious and sentenced Ramadas to 12 years in prison. Raam Daas thus earned the name Bandikhana Ramadass(meaning imprisoned Ramadas). Frustrated at god's indifference to his pleadings, Ramadas composed some of the finest keertanas in his prison cell (reminding Rama of his services in Ikshvaku Kula Tilaka).
It is said that Rama & Lakshmana in the guise of two youngsters paid up his dues and got his release papers. The golden coins paid by Rama are known as Ram Tanka coins .They can be seen even today. These coins have the Pattabhishekam scene on one side and the picture of another Rama Bhaktha, Hanuman, on the other side. The nawab was moved and recognized the greatness of Ramadas and released him immediately and gave him land around Bhadraachalam to continue his dedicated service to Bhadraachala Raamamoorty. Ramadas spent the rest of his life on these lands and composed further moving poems that were to inspire Tyaagaraaja: in ksheera saagara sayana in Devagaandhaari, he says "Dhirudau Ramadasuni Bandhamu dirchinadi Vinnanura Rama?" (O Rama! I have heard how You obtained the release of the bold Ramadas from his prison life); in brindaavanalOla in tODi, in kaligiyundE gada in keeravaaNi, in Emi dova balkuma in saaranga and in Prahlaada Bhakti Vijayam he says "kaliyugamuna vara bhadra calamuna nelakonna raamacandruni pada bhaktula kella varudanandagi velasina shree raamadaasu vinutintu madin" (I praise Sri Raamadaas, who shines in this world as the supreme devotee of Sri Raamachandra, who shines forth from his seat at Bhadraachalam in this kali Yuga).
Other compositions are positive invocations, favored by traveling minstrels, including the Tondaiman rulers of Pudukottai in Tamil Nadu, who popularized his songs. Among his other accomplishments is the creation of the whole Ramayana story in the form of a prose-poem, a Choornika. Ramadas described himself in this way in the last verse of his Dasarathi Satakam: "Allana Linga Mantri Suthudu(son), Atreya Gothrudu, Adi Sakha, Kancherla Kulothbhavudu, Gopakavindrudu." Bhadraachala Raamadaas lived for 68 years.