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Bhagavati Subhadramba

shrIramaNAnandanAtha, belonging to the illustrious lineage of shrIpadmapAdAchArya and bhagavatI bimbAmbikA, was born in a village close to somanAtha kShetra. He have completed koTi gAyatrI japa early in his life and came to be known as an accomplished shrauta ritualist. He was married to subhadrAmbA and had two daughters mAlinI and vimalA. He undertook a pilgrimage to kAshI with his wife and on his way, rested in an old temple. At night, he heard a rumbling noise from behind the temple and decided to investigate. He was surprised to see a brahmarAkShasa offering bilva to the deity inside the temple from a small opening in the wall. Pleased with the brAhmaNa's kind enquiry, brahmarAkshasa explained that he was performing shivArchana to get rid of the brahmarAkShasa yoni but he could not enter the temple due to a kIlana performed by an aghora panthi named kankAla markaTa. The brAhmaNa at once decided to grant the merit of his gAyatrI japa to the brahmarAkShasa which promoted him to a higher yoni. Filled with gratitude, he told the brAhmaNa: "A few miles from here, you will see a temple where devI ratnAmbikA is enshrined. Every day at night, she is worshipped by a great yogi named ucChuShmAnandanAtha. Seek refuge under his feet and you shall be liberated". The couple at once approached the great yogi and fell at his feet. The great Yogi blessed the couple and said: "Look, if you want me to initiate you, you have to offer me your wife, who is so beautiful". While the brAhmaNa stood speechless, his wife fell at the feet of the yogi and said, "Accept me sir, the shreyaH of my husband is of greatest importance to me". As the yogi lifted her head, he was taken aback by what he saw. She appeared dressed in glittering jewels, sporting a crown and holding dugdhAnnapUrNa pAtra and a spoon in her hand, as bhagavatI annapUrNA. Then the yogi realized that the sAdhvI had been reciting annapUrNA sahasranAma all through her life and annadA was her upAsya mUrti. The Yogi blessed the couple who had passed his severe test and initiated them on the auspicious night of sanketarAtri. The couple mastered the mahAvidyAs starting with shuddhavidyA to anuttarasamvedinI and was firmly established in oneness with the great sundarI who encompasses in herself, the AdyA kAlI and her twelve forms. subhadrAmbA initiated numerous qualified disciples into shrIkula Krama tantra and was the guiding force behind the commentary on annapUrNA sahasranAma named vishwanAthapriyA, authored by her husband ramaNAnandanAtha. The couple travelled to southern India and brought with them, rare works such as annapUrNA saparyA vidhi, kAlikA sarvasva, shaktitattvodghATanam etc. and initiated various disciples into the illustrious mantras from the twelve AmnAyas.

While residing in the Tanjore region, the local ruler sought their help to overcome an AbhichArika prayoga involving the kShudra devatA mithuna: vibhIShaka and bhImA, performed by a vAmAchArin from the chera desha. subhadrAmbA destroyed the prayoga with just a pinch of sindUra from her forehead, empowered with the great mantra of kAlasamkarShiNI. The ruler offered a golden umbrella to her which she promptly gifted to the shrine of mangalambikA at kumbhakonam. The couple, according to the instruction of a grAmadevatA in Tirunelveli, proceeded towards the shankaranArAyaNa kShetra and worshipped bhagavatI gomatI with one-pointed devotion, reciting the chidvallI stotra. Here, they initiated madanAnandanAtha into the hoary secrets of shrIkrama and merged with the image of bhagavatI gomatI. The peculiar gajapR^iShTha shrIchakra meru and ucChiShTagaNesha mUrti of raktachandana worshipped by them, are still worshipped by upAsakas of this sacred lineage.