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'God Was With Me’

Acharya Madhwa’s father was Nadillaya Narayana Bhatta, his mother was Vedavati. The couple had desired a son for a long time. They prayed to God and performed many rituals. At last, their prayers were answered: a son was born who not only enlivened his home but enlightened the whole mankind.

Acharya Madhwa was born on the tenth day of the bright half of the month of Ashwayuja in the Saka year Vilambi (1238 A.D.). It was Vijayadashami day. The child was named Vasudeva.

 The child, who was growing well, was very good-looking. "His mother lucky to have such a nice child," people would say. They were struck by his outward appearance but could not comprehend his inner self. Sometime the child’s pranks would baffle the parents who wondered, "This child not like others." A memorable eve could be recalled.

Vasudeva was then three years old. His parents had taken him to a function in nearby Nidiyur. In then midst of the celebration Vasudeva suddenly disappeared. Nobody knew where I had gone and the tearful parents began a vigorous search. Somebody in a street said: "We saw a small child going towards Kodavoor temple." Some one else said they saw a three-year-old child crossing the fields and going towards the Bannanje temple.

Nadillaya and others rushed to both the places but could not find the child there. They then came to nearby Udupi and arrived at their favourite temple of Ananteshwara. What a surprise! Vasudeva was standing before the ‘Shivalinga’ there with folded hands.

There were tears of joy. The Nadillaya couples were ardent worshippers of Ananteshwara and they found their child in His graceful presence! Vasudeva stood there smiling. "Dear Vasudeva, how did you come so far alone? How did you find the way?" asked the father. The child replied:

"Father, I did not come alone. First, I went to Kanangi (Kodavoor) and saw Shankaranarayana. From there I went  to see Mahalingeshwara of Taleku (Bannanje). Then I came here and saw Chandramoulishwara. I saw Narayana in this ‘Shivalinga’. God was with me throughout the journey. God was my companion and showed me the way."

What he told the Muslim king which he was in his thirties and what I uttered as a child of three were the same: "We have arrived because God’s grace." Can one ever be imbued with qualities not nourished in childhood Yes, this cannot be easily understood by anyone. He pursues the only path shown by God. It was a child born show the divine path to the people.

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