Some useful instructions and directions for devotees who are visiting Mantralayam
A popular Devara Nama (Hymn) says that God will not be pleased without us getting into the company of His sincere devotees. This means that to please God, we have to accord importance to His devotees. It is universally acknowledged that Sri Raghavendra Swamy or Rayaru is one of the greatest devotees of Lord Narayana. The administration of the Sri Raghavendra Swamy Matham has dedicated itself to the service of Rayaru and his devotees. In order to make the pilgrimage that devotees undertake to Mantralaya very meaningful and spiritually worthwhile, the following 18 guidelines have been developed. If devotees adhere to these guidelines then the hard work put in by the administration would have been worthwhile and have reached Rayaru.
Before beginning the pilgrimage to Mantralaya:
- Please pray to your family deity.
- Please spend some time and effort analysing your objectives and goals for the trip, and plan appropriately.
- Please give up smoking, drinking (alcohol) and other bad habits well in advance of your trip. If this is totally impossible, then make an effort to at least give them up while you are in Mantralaya.
After you come to Mantralaya:
- Please reside in the houses, cottages, guest-houses set up by the Matha for the benefit of pilgrims.
- Please observe and respect the traditions and rituals followed by the Matha.
- Please take a bath in the holy Tungabhadra river and visit Manchalamma’s temple before entering the premises of the Matha.
- Please cooperate with the authorities and other volunteers of the Matha who may be in Madi. Please remember that like you, they are also devotees of Rayaru, who are serving him in their own way and that their special form of service requires them to be in Madi.
- Before having darshana of the Brindavana, perform pradikshane in the courtyard silently, as much as you can.
- When you are in the queue for having darshana, do not push or shove others in the queue. Please await your turn with patience and move with the flow. Everybody in the queue is a devotee like you, and everybody is as anxious as you are to obtain the darshana. Please remember that having dharma darshana (free viewing) by going through the queue patiently is the most meritorious thing you can do. Hence do not approach somebody for jumping the queue, or for doing something that will get you out of turn darshana quickly. Remember that getting darshana out of turn means committing injustice to the people who came much earlier than you and are patiently waiting their turn. Such acts will not please Rayaru.
- When you are approaching the Brindavana please do not shout or cause any form of commotion. Keeping your voice low, you may recite the shlokas you know. Or, if you do not know any shloka, just chant with devotion “Sri Raghavendraya namaha”.
- While having the darshana of Rayaru it is totally inappropriate to wear different types of headgear, cooling glasses or weird types of clothes.
- In order to obtain the darshana of Rayaru, men should remove their shirt and banian and hold it in their hands.Women should dress in Indian style clothes, preferably in a traditional dress like a saree.
- Women should not perform Urulu Seva (a form of Seva in which a devotee performs pradakshine around the courtyard while rolling on his body). Women should also not perform sashtanga namaskara (where the whole body touches the floor); they should perform namaskara by kneeling down on their knees.
- Please do not bring in external eatables and eat them in the courtyard. If you are partaking a coconut offered as naivedya, please do not leave the shell of the coconut in the courtyard.
- If you have resolved to perform a certain Seva to Rayaru (Sankalpa Seva), it is best to do this Seva early in the morning, between 5 and 7 AM.
When returning from Mantralaya or after returning from Mantralaya:
- Please place the mantrakshate given in Mantralaya on to your head and pray for your success of your objectives
- Make a genuine effort to practice whatever good thoughts, ideas, practices were adopted by you in the divine presence of Rayaru.
May Sri Hari, Vayu and Rayaru bless you with success in all your endeavors.