Sri Vadiraja Tirtharu is one of the saints in the Madhva Tradition. He was not only a saint but also poet and an able administrator who brought about many changes to the operational system of the Udupi Matha. The credit of changing the Paryaya (Turn) system of Udupi to two years from the earlier practice of 2 months so that the Aasta (Eight) Mathas could do the Kainkarya (Servitude) of Kadagolu Krishna goes to this saint. This extension helped the Peetadhipathi (Pontiff) enough time to travel far and wide and spread the message of Sriman Madhva.
Vadiraja Tirtharu is seen offering daily Neivedya (Prasada) to Sri Hayagriva by holding it on his head. Everyday a horse would appear and eat the prasada from the plate held by Vadiraja Tirtharu by placing its hoofs on his shoulders.
It so happened once when Vadiraja Tirtharu had been to Delhi he had selected a place to worship the traditional idol of Sri Bhuvaraha given to the linage by Sriman Madhva. At the same time the son of the Mughal king had passed away and he was not let to perform his daily rituals. By looking from his divine sight Vadiraja Tirtharu told the prince was not dead and it would be great sin to bury the child alive.
Hearing this the Mughal king came running to Vadiraja Tirtharu and fell to his feet. Understandably the King was anxious to know if his child was alive, though the palace physician had declared the kid to be dead. Vadiraja Tirtharu told the king that it was “Sri Hari” who had made him utter so and it would never be untrue.
The King asked Vadiraja Tirtharu to accompany him to the palace. The Madhva saint sprinkled the holy water from his kamandala (Pitcher) by chanting the name of Sri Hari and the prince got up. That prince was none other than the Akbar.
Humayun was so happy that he gifted wealth which Vadiraja Tirtharu rejected. But the King requested the Madhva saint to use it in the service of Kadagolu Krishna at Udupi. Vadiraja Tirtharu planned to use it to thatch the roof of the temple of Kadagolu Krishna at Udupi with gold, but Sri Krishna appeared in the dream of the Saint and opposed the idea of building golden roof and advised to use it to the welfare of the devotees if the Udupi matha ever face the problem of insufficient funds.
Udupi is the place of “Anna Brahma” where is the question of insufficient funds when the devotees throng to the temple and are willfully donating yatashakti (according to their ability).
Sri Vadiraja Tirtharu lived a life of 120 year and performed Lord Krishna's Paryaya at Udupi 5 times. He is the first Sanyasi who entered the Brundavana alive. Today Phalguna Bahula Thritiya is the day commemorated as Sri Vadhiraja Tirtharu entering the Brundavana.
Tapo Vidya Viraktyadi Sadgunaou Gakaranaham| Vadiraja Gurun Vande Hayagreeva Padashrayan||
Sri Vadiraya Namaha.