In the annals of our history, there are many revered people who in spite of being spiritual gurus, sages and philosophical route, never let down the spirit of fighting to uphold the Hindu culture. With their practices and preaching, they gave zeal to our great kings who fought for upholding the Hindu culture from the foreign invasions. One such guru was Vidyaranya, who played a key role in establishing the Vijayanagara Empire in the South and defended strongly the attacks of foreign invaders successfully for 400 years, thus preventing the disintegration of the Hindu Culture.
The Story of the Origin of the Vijayanagar Empire is a quite interesting one and has to do a lot with Guru Vidyaranaya. It was the time of the century wherein Alladin Khilji had started invading the Hindu kingdoms ruthlessly and destroying the people and the culture within. Vidyaranya in this time was a poor Brahmin. He observed severe penance in the Bhuvaneswari temple at Hampi in order to procure wealth. Bhagwanthi Parvathi was pleased with his penance, appears in front of him, but says that his wish could be granted only in the next birth. Vidyaranya then went on to pursue his Vedic studies and became a preceptor in the Sringeri Muth and started motivating all the Hindus to integrate into one and fight the foreign invasions falling upon the South.
Days pass by and once during his travels, he reaches Hampi and rests on the banks of River Tungabhadra. Suddenly he sees commotion. To his great wonder, he sees a group of rabbits chasing hunting dogs with great bravery. He follows the dogs and sees that they belong to the two regent kings Hari hara Raya and Bukka Raya who at that time were under the regent ship of Alladin Khilji and were waiting for a chance to rebel back and get back all the small Hindu kingdoms into one huge Empire. But as they did not have money for a huge army, there were waiting with patience and good hope in the future.
Listening to this, Guru Vidyaranya immediately remembers the boon given by Bhagawathi Parvathi to bestow him wealth. Remembering the condition for the same, he invokes Bhagwathi Parvathi and renounces his life as a young man with the desire of money and transforms himself into an ascetic. He reminded her that by becoming an ascetic, he had taken a new birth, hence his wish of acquiring wealth in the next birth could be granted. The goddess pleased by his devotion rained innumerable gold coins in front of him. Then Vidyaranaya gives the same wealth to the two brothers Harihara and Bukka with which they prepare a huge army, wage a war against Alladdin Khilji and declare themselves as an independent Hindu Kingdom. They establish their capital city at Hampi on the banks of Tungabhadra and name their empire Vijayanagar. Thus, with the sacrifice and intellectual thinking of the great Sage Vidyaranya, India got one of its greatest Empires in history which was successful in retaining our Hindu culture and pass it on the further generations without becoming extinct under the foreign invasions.