Story of Vibhudendra Tirtha and Vidyanidhi Tirtha
of Uttaradi mutt

Shri Ramachandra Tirtha (brindavana 1436 AD) was the 10th pontiff of Uttaradi mutt. Once he fell seriously ill and ordained one of his disciples Kambhaluri Narasimhacharya to Sanyasa who was named after Shri Vibhudendra Tirtha with a view of installing him before he passed away. However, Shri Ramachandra Tirtha got well and had postponed to install him on Vedanta Samrajya of the Mutt. He gave some minor idols and Saligramas to Shri Vibhdendra Tirtha for his daily worship, but none from the pooja box of the Mutt and sent him on tour for propagation of Madhwa philosophy with specific instructions that he would send for him at the appropriate time.

However, Shri Ramachandra Tirtha again fell ill and he felt that the time came for formally handing over the Mutt. Shri Vibhudendra Tirtha, who was on the tour, did not obey the orders of his Guru to come back to Yaragola. Shri Ramachandra Tirtha, therefore was compelled to ordain Shri Vidyanidhi Tirtha  as his possible successor. Shri Ramachandra Tirtha did not want to deprive Shri Vibhudendra Tirtha from the pontification of the Uttaradi Mutt. He therefore asked Dharmanna and other villagers of Yaragola to intern the pooja box after his Nirvana in a deep pit, with clear instructions that if Shri Vibhudendra Tirtha came within six months of his passing away, he would take it out and succeed him. If however he did not turn up within the specified time, the pooja box should be handed over to Shri Vidyanidhi Tirtha, who would be the next Peethadipati and rightful successor to the Uttaradi Mutt. When Shri Vibhudendra Tirtha did not turn up after six months, Dharmanna and others requested Shri Vidyanidhi Tirtha to take the pooja box to perform the usual pooja.

When Dharmanna and others were ready to dig to take out the pooja box, suddenly Shri Vibhudendra Tirtha made his appearance and demanded to deliver the pooja box to him with out any delay. Then Dharmanna regretted to hand over the pooja box to Vibhudendra Tirtha since he did not abide by the condition imposed by his Guru Shri Ramachandra Tirtha. When Vibhudendra Tirtha persisted strongly, Dharmanna and others decide to leave every thing to the God himself, by imposing one condition that the two saints should offer the prayers one after the other and it would be taken over by him at whose prayers the earth whose under the pooja box was kept sunders. The two saints agreed to the suggestions made by Dharmanna and others. Shri Vibhudendra being the senior saint first offered the prayers for three days and nothing happened. On the fourth day the turn of Shri Vidyanidhi Tirtha started, he prayed Shri paramatma. After a few minutes suddenly the soil where the pooja box was kept sundered and came up a few inches above the surface of the ground. Then the villagers of the Yaragola asked Shri Vidyanidhi Tirtha to take over the pooja box and the samsthana of the Uttaradi Mutt. Thus the Uttaradi Mutt was presided by the Shri Vidya Nidhi Tirtha, the rightful successor of Shri Ramachandra Tirtha.

Shri Vibhudendra Tirtha then started another mutt at Kumbhokonam which came to be known as Purvadi Mutt which after the advent of his sixth pontifical succesor Shri Raghvendra Tirtha came to be known as Shri Raghavendra Mutt of Mantralaya.

 

Authenticity of the story is unknown