Sri Raghavendraswami is the incarnation of the Karmaja demi-god, Shankukama. Collecting Tulsi leaves and flowers for the four-faced Brahmadeva’s pujas etc. was the daily duty of Shankukarna.
One day while collecting flowers for the Puja, he was witness to a very strange scene. Can Brahmadeva’s puja itself be something ordinary ? The process of SriHari Himself appearing to accept the Puja is astonishing indeed. How Brahmadeva is graced by the Parmatma owing to His devotion and sparkling seva can be understood from the fact that SriHari appears in person to accept the Pujas in His same avatar which Brahmadeva propitiates. At that moment, when Shankukama, who was witness to the method of Brahmadeva’s propitiation of SriHari present there in person in His Ramavatar, also propitiated SriHari in the same form, with full engrossment. Brahmadeva, who being omniscient, was able to read the intention of Shankukama and ordered, ‘You, who have expressed a desire like a human, should later incarnate on the Earth and propitiate
SriRama who also resides in my heart’. Simultaneously, He called for Vishwakarma and ordered him to create an idol of SriRama in pure copper. Further, Shankukarna acting upon Brahmadeva’s instructions, appearing several times on the Earth gratefully as devotee of Vishnu for SriRama’s puja and taking the opportunity to propound the principle of Vishnu Sarvottamatva, can be safely assumed as the marvels of the Bhagavanta.
The first incarnation of Shankukarna was Daitya- kuloddharka, embodiment of devotion, Bhakta Prahlada. In that avatar, as the son of the Hari-hating Hiranya- kashipu, he arranged the alleviation of his own father by getting him exterminated at the hands of SriNaraHari.
His second avatar was in Dwapara Yuga as King Bahlika. There was a great noise on the Earth on the day he was bom. Sri Madhwacharya has explained this noise in the ‘Tatparya Nimaya’ as something like the bursting of the chests of the atheists owing to the appearance on the Earth of one who was a Bhagavatottama. This great valorous Bhagavatottama had to confront the Pandavas in war as things would have it. He then represented the Kaurava army and laid down his life fighting against Bhimasena.
The third avatar was SriVyasarajatirtha. He was the guiding Kulaguru of SriKrishnadevaraya of the Vijayanagar Empire and remained with him through difficult times, finding solutions to the grave perils that had befallen upon him. His invaluable gifts to the world of literature include three treatises, namely Chandrika, Nyayamrit and Tarkatandava. These three treatises have always been the cynosure of the eyes of the challengers. SriVadindratirtha’s description that all these three treatises are like the three eyes of SriNarasimhadeva is very true.
The fourth avatar of Shankukarna is our very own Gurusarvabhouma SriRaghavendra of the Mantralaya temple. Even to this date he is standing by his assurance, “I shall remain in the original vrindavana at Mantralaya as also in the mrittika vrindavanas everywhere” and is showering his compassion on the groups of devotees. The devotee who offers an unparalleled devotion and eulogises SriRaghavendra Gurusarvabhouma is truly very fortunate. For Haridas has outspoke*ily described that “the less fortunate ones do not get the chance to serve him”. In the Das tradition, the most verses and songs etc. as stotras are dedicated to our SriRaghavendra Swami second only to those eulogising SriHari. Without SriGururaja’s concurrence, nobody gets the chance of his darshana. It can be said that the tongue which is always singing his praises is truly worthwhile. Such a jiva is blessed and recognised. True to Sri Narasimha- deva’s words, “Madbhaktah twamanuvratah”, those who have received His benevolence and are devoted to the lotus feet of SriRaghavendra are the true devotees.