(Last Updated on : 19/11/2011)
His Holiness Swami Krishnashram was the 7th guru of the Chitrapur Saraswat Brahmin community. He became the seventh guru or head of the community, and received the title Mathadhipati. In 1839, on the 9th day of the month of Kartik, after his guru Swami Vamanashram
attained Maha-Samadhi (passed away), Swami Krishnashram took charge of the affairs of the community. He led the community from 1839 to 1863, for a period of 24 years. Swami Krishnashram was an expert Sanskrit scholar and a proficient administrator. He was a proficient administrator and a learned Sanskrit scholar. He carried on various infrastructural improvements like renovation and construction of temples. Swami Krishnashram introduced the festival of Rathotsav or Chariot Festival and included numerous land assets to the Chitrapur Math. After Krishnashram attained Maha-samadhi in the year 1863, his disciple Swami Pandurangashram
succeeded him as the head of the community. His Holiness Swami Krishnashram was considered as a Patron Saint.
Early Life of Swami Krishnashram
In the very small hamlet of Vitthal in Karnataka
Swami Krishnashram was born Parameshwar Nagar. He was trained by his guru Swami Vamanashram in the Sanskrit scriptures and thus became a learned Sanskrit scholar. To hear the Ashirvachans (Spiritual Discourses) of Krishnashram, devotees move as a crowd from different parts of the country. From their Dvaita Vaishnava practices, he was able to bring around many devotees.
Swami Vamanashram gave up all the administration of the matha over to his Shukla Bhat managers. The affairs of the matha were in disorder. Swami Krishnashram, an able administrator took the all administrative responsibilities of the matha. The affairs of the matha were set right under his leadership and with the help of his trusted assistant Lajmi Venkataramanayya. Reforms on the collection of Vantiga (Donations), the allocation of funds for developmental projects etc were introduced. Thus Swami Krishnashram became the seventh Guru of the Chitrapur Saraswat Brahmin community. For 24 years from 1839 to 1863, his reign lasted.
Social Reforms of Swami Krishnashram
During the reign of His Holiness Swami Krishnashram, several infrastructural developments were brought about including construction of temples and the redevelopment of existing ones. The Shri Subramanyeshwar Temple at Nilekani (Sirsi) and the Shri Ananteshwar Temple at Vitthal, under his leadership, were some of the temples that were renovated. After the residents of Mulki Panchayat requested Swami for a temple, the Uma-Maheshwar Temple was constructed there. The Uma-Maheshwar deity was installed by Krishnashram himself in the temple. Several land assets were added to the Chitrapur Math
under his guardianship. The Rathotsav was introduced under his regime.
In 1862, the Chariot or Car festival known as Rathotsav was a week-long festival, in which Lord Bhavanishankar embellishes the Ratha (Chariot). Around the entire village, hundreds of devotees pull the Ratha with the Mathadhipati seated on the ratha. The Palki Utsav (Palanquin festival) was an integral part of the festival in which the Lord Bhavanishankara adorns the Palki (palanquin) and travels a different route every day to visit his devotees. To welcome the Lord, the route is always marked by glowing lights and crackers. By chanting of Vedic mantras (hymns) along with Bhajans (devotional songs), this festivity is marked. Prasad Bhojan (food served as Prasad) was served to each and every devotee.
Miracles of Swami Krishnashram
Swami Krishnashram has been ascribed to famous stories about miracles performed by him. Krishnashram, following a dream of Lord Bhavanishankar, unearthend an exquisite sculpture of Uma-Maheshwar from a deep jungle and installed the idol near the shrine (Samadhi) of Adi Parijnanashram Swami at the Bhandikeri Math in Gokarn. Another incident happened during the Palki Utsav while people of Shirali turned their backs onto Lord Bhavanishankara, His Holiness tried to make people believe that "the good life which people enjoyed were because of the grace of the Lord", and there should not be any place left for selfishness and ignorance. As if by divine will, a devastating fire swept across Shirali that resulted in wanton destruction.
Later Life of Swami Krishnashram
To continue the holy Guru Parampara, the devotees of Swami Krishnashram asked him to accept a Shishya (Disciple). A smart and levelheaded boy from Mangalore was found namely Kalappa Shantapayya as the successor. In 1857, on the auspicious Shuddha Poornima day (15th day) of the month of Kartik, Swami Krishnashram established his Shishya and named him Pandurangashram.
Death of Swami Krishnashram
In 1863, Swami Krishnashram fell ill. His Holiness Swami Krishnashram attained Maha-Samadhi and died on the Ashtami (eighth day) of the month of Marghashirsha in 1863. At the Chitrapur Math in Shirali, the shrine of Swami Krishnashram is located between the samadhis of Swami Parijnanashram II and Swami Keshavashram.
As the next guru of the community, His Shishya, His Holiness Swami Pandurangashram
succeeded him as the 8th guru of the Chitrapur Saraswat Brahmin community.