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Bhootaraaj is considered one of the best among the servants of Vaadiraajaru. He is considered to be an incarnation of Patrataap Rudra. Rudra are a group of 11 Devataa and the 11th Rudra is Mahaadev Shiv. Patrataap Rudra is the 10th Rudra and the Mahaadev Rudra of next Kalp. He is also famous by the name Ugrataap or Bahuroop. The names of 11 Rudra are given as below - Raivat, Aj, Bhav, Bheem, Vaam, Vrishakapi (Viroopaaksh), Ajaikpaad, Ahirbudhni, Bahuroop, and Mahaan.

Incarnations of Patrataap Rudra

1. Tapodhan
There was a Braahman called Tapodhan during Tretaa Yug and was an incarnation of Patrataap Rudra. After Raavan Vadh, though none of these Karm get attached to the Lord, but since He was in human form He wanted to lead by example. He installed a Shiv Ling at Raameshwaram. He enquired all Braahman also who were assembled in his court at Ayodhyaa as how to get rid of sin of killing a Braahman, Tapodhan ridiculed other Braahman saying that they do not have power to wash away sin of Brahm Hatyaa and he had enough Tap Shakti to do it. Shree Raam said that ridiculing Braahman in this way would result in next birth being a Brahm Raaakshas. Though Lord did not curse and said this with a smile, the words and Sankalp of Paramaatmaa never fail and Tapodhan realized this after saying it. He fell at Raam's feet and asked for Kshamaa. Shri Raam assured him that he will be relieved from his Brahm Raakshaa Roop by serving the Devata who will become Vaayu in next Kalp and he is none other than Laatavya. Since Tapodhan repented for his sin, his Praarabdh mitigated and he took 2 births further to wash out his Brahm Raakshasatwa.

In Kali Yug, during Ruju Latavya's birth as Shree Vaadiraaj Guru, that Brahm Raakshas was born as

2. Somdatt
During the times of Mahaabhaarat, there used to be Baahleek who was the incarnation of Prahlaad. Baahleek had Aavesh of Vaayu. He had a mighty son called Somdatt, who was incarnation of Patrataap Rudra. In Udyog Parv, he is mentioned by Dharm Raaj as a person with many auspicious and good qualities. His valor is described many times in Mahaabhaarat. He had 2 sons Bhoori and Shal. They were incarnations of the Rudra - Ajaikapad and Virupaaksh respectively.

He desired of a son who was of tremendous strength and unconquerable in war. He did severe penance and pleased Mahaadev Shiv, who blessed him with a son who was incarnation of Ahirbhudni (the 9th Rudra) and he had Aavesh of all the other 10 Rudra. He was none other than the famous warrior Bhoorishravaa. He was a skilled warrior and had mastery of various weapons just like his father. Somdatt had advised Dhritraashtra not to call Paandav for the game of dice and was also against war with them. But just like his father Baahleek, he also sided Kaurav owing to his cousin Bheeshm being on their side. He fought in the battle and was slain by Saatyaki.

3. Naaraayan Sharmaa Or Bhootaraaj (Naaraayan Bhoot)
Somdatt took birth as a Braahman called Naaraayan Sharmaa, Naaraayanaachaarya, in Narala, South Kannad District. He was a great Pandit. He used to be a disciple of Shree Vaadiraaj and was very close to him. He even accompanied him to Vijayanagar to meet Vyaasarajaru.

Once Vyaasaraajaru visited Math of Vaadiraajaru, who was about to commence his Poojaa. It was Dwaadashee on that day. Because Vaadiraajaru was immersed in his Dhyaan the previous night, he could not wake up early in the morning. Vyaasaraajaru and others were waiting for him to do Paaran and to take Teerth Prasaad. When Vaadiraaju was sent for, he hurriedly had his bath and skipped his daily elaborate Poojaa and did his Paaran, because Vyaasarajaru had said that without Vaadiraajaru he won't start his Dwaadashee Bhojan. Not liking the thought of keeping the Aakasmik Atithi wait for Bhojan, Vaadiraajaru arrived soon where Vyaasaraajaru was sitting and sat along with him for Bhojan. After Bhojan, Vaadiraajaru asked all his students and disciples to stay at Math and he went away out. he asked them not to follow him, but Narayanachaarya followed him deep into the jungle.

Naaraayanaachaarya saw that he went near Shaalmali River, brought a big leaf, sat on a rock and brought out all the food he ate sometime back as raw and hot as it was when it was served to him. Nothing was digested in his stomach. He did this with his Yog Shakti. Raajaru did Snaan and finished his Poojaa and ate the hot Bhojan again. On the way back home he saw Naaraayanaachaarya hiding on a tree. being angry on him, Raajaru cursed his young disciple for having tried to test him. Raajaru cursed him to become a Brahm Raakshas (to make the words of Shree Raam come true and to erase the Praarabdh of Tapodhan which was an obstacle for his Saadhanaa). On asking for forgiveness, he said - "Roam in the forests and ask --- Aa Ka Ma Vai .. Ko Na Snaatah?" and whenever someone will answer this question he will get relieved from his Brahm Raakshasatwa. He roamed in forests near Badarikaashram. No one would walk through the forest where he used to reside as he used to kill and eat people who used to bypass that forest, owing to his newly acquired Brahm Raakshasatwa.

When this was revealed to Raajaru, he took pity on his student so he visited that forest and was stopped by Naaraayan Bhoot who asked him the same question. Vaadiraajaru accepted the challenge. Chiranjeevee Ashwathaamaa appeared to mediate and to decide the winner.  The Brahm Raakshas made a strong case of his arguments and words worthy of appreciation even from Devataa flowed continuously from him. Vaadiraajaru rejected all his arguments and proved him wrong and won the argument. Then the Brahm Raakshas asked his final question - " Aa Ka Ma Vai Ko Na Snataha?" Smilingly Vaadiraajaru answered that whoever bathed early at dawn in the months of Aa (Aashwin), Ka (Kaarttik), Ma (Maagh) and Vai (Vaishaakh) would be spared of becoming a Brahm Raakshas. And since he hadn't done that in his early lives, he was cursed to become a Brahm Raakshas. Immediately, the Brahm Rakshasha was cured of his curse and he lost that frightening form of his and got his original form of Patrataap Rudra. In its place stood a divine form, shining like the sun, with bow and arrows and with red lips and ear ornaments, prayed for Vaadiraajaru's grace. Vaadiraajaru blessed him and said that he would known as Bhootaraaj from that day, punishing the wicked and protecting the pious, he would remain with Vaadiraajaru and serve him always. He also reminded him of Shree Raam's words. Thus Bhootaraj or Bhootanaath or Naaraayan Bhoot is serving Vaadiraajaru even till date.

He did Saashtaang Namaskaar to the divine Avataar of Shree Laatavya, ie Shree Vaadiraajaru and desired to serve him to the eternal times. Raajaru blessed him saying he will be Bhaavee (future) Rudra and will be Kshetra Paalak at Sodhe and would be famous as Bhootaraaj. From then on Bhootaraaj would be in invisible form and serve his Guru ie Vaadiraaj.

Once when Raaj ordered him to bring the Utsav Moorti of Lord Trivikram at Badarikaashram which will be worshipped regularly by none other than Brahmaa himself, Bhootaraaj rushed to the spot and started bringing the Moorti along with its Rath in Aakaash Maarg. He encountered a Daitya in the skies who tried to stop him. Not wanting to waste time, Bhootaraaj picked up a wheel and threw at the Daitya and the Daitya died instantaneously. He was in a hurry as he had to bring the Trivikram Vigraha within the Muhoort specified by his Guru. It was a golden Vigrah and so was the Rath. When he landed in Sodhe, Raaj installed the statue of Trivikram and said as this is Kali Yug, the golden chariot along with its Vigrah would appear as a rock-made and not gold. We can still see this in Trivikram Temple at Sodhe where the Lord who is inside a Rath with only 3 wheels.
* There are only 2 Temples of Trivikram in India. One installed by Brahmaa near Tirukoilur and another one installed by Vaadiraaj at Sodhe.

Some Other Information

(1) Bhootaraaj used to carry the front part of Paalakee of Vaadiraaj in his invisible form and the rear part of carried by other disciples. All used to wonder at this miracle of Vaadiraaj.
(2) Everyone who goes to Sodhe for Darshan of Raaj has to first bow to Bhootaraaj and roll a coconut and then he can resume any Poojaa or Sevaa or Darshan of Vaadiraaj and Vedavyaas Dev.
(3) Bhootaraaj (Patrataap Rudra) along with 2 of his aides called Karn and Vikarn serves Vaadiraaj.
(4) He is described as the one who rides a beautiful horse and who is decorated with a mighty bow and a powerful sword.
(5) During the times , when Shree Vishwapriya Teerth was reigning Sodhe Math, a Yati of another Math visited him and suddenly his Dand (scepter) disappeared. Vishwapriya Teerth meditated on Bhootaraaj and requested him to return the Dand of the Yati who had visited their Math, as he was the Atithi and he should be well taken care of. He requested Bhootaraaj as if he was convincing kids when the children try to be mischievous. Bhootaraaj returned the Dand in his invisible form and the Yati was surprised at the Tap Shakti of Vishwapriya Teerth, who could converse and see even gods.

*Bhootaraaj did this as he belonged to Bhoot Gan. Stealing is the very nature of Bhoot. He did this to show the greatness of Vishwapriya Teerth to the world.
* Vishwapriya Teerth is considered to be Indra in next Kalp.

(6) During Trivikram Rathotsav, when the Utsav Rath was being pulled it caught fire suddenly from nowhere and all ran away. Vishwapriya Teerth stayed still and raised his arms and prayed to Vaadiraaj and Lord Hayagreev. To everyone's surprise suddenly it began to rain heavily but the chariot was still moving without anyone pulling it. Later Vishwapriya Teerth told everyone that Bhootaraaj was pulling the Rath in his invisible form during Utsav.
(7) There is a Sarovar called Dhaval Gangaa very next to Vrindaa Van of Vaadiraaj. The south edge of this pond is dedicated to Bhootaraaj who resides there. Nobody should bath at that end. People who ridiculed this and have tried entering Sarovara at this corner have either met with unexpected or sudden deaths or have been affected by diseases or Pishaach all through their life.
(8) Bhootaraj protects the devotees and disciples of Raaj who visit Sodhe for Sevaa and Darshan. When Vaadiraajaru Teerth decided to end his incarnation, it was Bhootharaja who arranged to construct the Panch Vrindaa Van. He too has a temple close to the Vrindaa Van and for centuries continues to stand there protecting the place and destroying the difficulties of the pilgrims and devotees of Sri Vadiraja Teertha. The pilgrims in turn first visit the shrine of Bhootaaraajaru and roll a coconut towards him before they visit the Panch Vrindaa Van.



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Created and Maintained by Sushma Gupta
Created on March 15, 2003 and Updated on March 14, 2013