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Shriman Madhvacharya

Shri Madhvacharya

Shri Madhvacharya

Srimad Ananda Teertha, also known as Poornaprajna and Madhvacharya, is the propagator of the doctrine of Tattvavada. He is the last of the great Acharyas of Vedanta, and is also the 22nd commentator on the Brahma-Sûtra of Veda Vyasa.

His doctrine asserts that the differences are eternally real, and that hence there is more than one absolute real, and that Hari (Vishnu) is the only entity praised in the Shrutis and their adjuncts. Thus, he always identifies the Brahman of the Upanishads with Vishnu, and forcefully argues against the dichotomy of Shrutis (tattvaavedaka / atattvaavedaka) as claimed by Sri Sankaracharya, saying that such arbitration of apaurusheya scripture is unacceptable both logically and spiritually. He also emphasizes that it is important to understand and specifically reject other schools’ precepts, and hence devotes much time to nitpicking analyses and denunciations of other doctrines.

Srimad Ananda Teertha is commonly identified with Madhva, the third avataara of Mukhya PraaNa, the god of life, as given in the BaLittha Sukta of the Rig Veda. The first two avatara-s are as Hanuman and Bheemasena, and the third is Madhva, who came down to Earth as a sanyasi.

Srimad Ananda Teertha himself makes the claim to being Madhva in several instances, one of which is in the Vishnu-tattva-vinirnaya. It was recognized in his own time, and it has been documented, that he had all thirty-two shubha-lakshaNa-s that define a ruju-taattvika-yogi, including the prescribed height of ninety-six inches (“shaNNavati angulo.apetam”) quoted in the Mahabharata-Tatparya-Nirnaya.

However, he is firmly set against the notion of accepting doctrines because they come from prophets or claimed gods. He also dismisses claims that only part of the Vedas are useful, and claims that even the so-called karma-kaNDa portions of them are only meant to worship Hari.

Sumadhvavijaya is a biographical account of Acharya Madhva composed by Sri Narayana Panditacharya, the son of Sri Trivikrama Panditacharya, who was a contemporary of Acharya Madhva. The generally accepted dates for Madhva are 1238-1317 CE (AD), while those for Narayana Panditacharya are 1295-1370 CE. It is very likely that the young Narayana was associated with many of the events covered in detailed descriptions of Acharya Madhva’s life.

Dr. B.N.K. Sharma says “Madhva’s biography, unlike others of its kind, has a perfect historical perspective and never indulges in anachronisms and episodes of a compromising nature to the subject. We get a pen-picture of Madhva saying that he had all the maha purusha lakshana-s. Madhva was a great sportsman, and also a good wrestler, mountaineer, etc. The early incidents of digesting horsegram as a baby still on mother’s milk, eating thousands of plantains and drinking pots of milk as a young lad, and eating all the food offered by several hosts in Badarinath, as well as keeping a complete fast with total silence for 48 days in that extremely cold and difficult place before going to meet Sri Veda Vyasa – all portray Madhva as one who was not an ordinary person dependent on food.”

Similarly, Madhva is said to have shown that God is present everywhere, even as a toddler of two years, by his actions in visiting the temples. The attachment of his parents to the beautiful child, and their sorrow when he renounced the world at the young age of eight years, are poignant, but Madhva maintains his dignity and conviction without hurting them.

Note: The first fourteen sarga-s of Sumadhvavijaya were translated to English and coded by Sri Raghavendra Rachuri. The last two were added by Sri Krishna Kadiri. Smt Meera Tadipatri and Sri Anand Ravipati read the proofs.


kAntAya kalyANa guNaikadhAmnE navadhyunAthapratimaprabhAya
nArAyaNAya akhila kAraNAya shrI prANanAthAya namaskarOmi

I offer my obeisance to Lord Narayana, with the most delightful personality, who is the unique primal fountain head and embodiment of countless auspicious qualities like Jnana, Ananda etc, who is the creator of the world of living souls and inert matter, who has the effulgence of the just rising Sun, who is the Lord of Mahalakshmi, and Mukhya Prana, who controls the life force of all living beings.

anAkulam gOkulamullalAsa yatpAlitam nityamanAvilAtma
tasmai namO nIradanIlabhAsE kRuShNAya kRuShNAramaNa priyAya

I offer my obeisance to Krishna who has the luster of dark rain-bearing clouds and is very dear to the husband(s) of Draupadi (called Krishnaa). Krishna also protected from danger or destruction, the cow herds of Gokula from enemies.

mukunda bhaktyai gurubhaktijAyai satAm prasatyE cha nirantarAyai
garIyasIm vishvagurOrvishuddhAm vakShyAmi vAyOravatAralIlAm

Devotion to God (Mukunda) will arise only with devotion to the preceptor (Guru). Hence, for securing the grace of God for the good people through devotion, I will describe the great, pure Avataaraleela of Sri Vayu, who is the great preceptor of the entire world.

– compiled by Balachandra Achar Hejamady

List of chapters :

Sriman Madhvacharya – Chapter 1 : Background to the incarnation

Sunday, July 5th, 2009 - 0 Comment

Bhima sheltering at all times at the feet of the Lord had dealt severe blows to the demons (destroying them by his valorous deeds). The badly mauled demons who became powerless and lost courage ran away and dispersed. This was like clouds being dispersed by strong wind. To avenge their being rendered powerless at the […]

Sriman Madhvacharya – Chapter 2

Sunday, July 5th, 2009 - 4 Comments

Sri Narayana Panditacharya covers the background of the parents of Acharya Madhva who lived in Paajaka kshetra, where he was born. Some of Madhva’s childhood sporting exploits (up to the age of three) are also described. Gods pray to Mukunda Due to the Kali yuga, the sun-like effulgence of the correct Tatva Jnana leading to […]

Sriman Madhvacharya – Chapter 3

Sunday, July 5th, 2009 - 0 Comment

In this chapter Vasudeva’s sporting activities till he attains the age of 10, when he took the vows of an ascetic are described. These include his devotion to God immanent in all deities, extraordinary talents in learning, his thoroughness in understanding every thing in depth, his great strength and sportsmanship, his gratitude to his teacher […]

Sriman Madhvacharya – Chapter 4

Sunday, July 5th, 2009 - 0 Comment

Introduction to the Chapter Vasudeva decides to take the vows of an ascetic, to fulfill his life’s purpose of redeeming the true Vedic philosophy and thus serve God. He seeks a suitable Guru and finds him in Sri Achyuta Prajna (Preksha). The parents are extremely unhappy that their precious son is being lost to them […]

Sriman Madhvacharya – Chapter 5

Sunday, July 5th, 2009 - 0 Comment

Introduction to the Chapter PoornaPrajna lost no time in taking up the main assignment given to him by the Supreme Being. His Guru entrusted to him the responsibility of establishing and maintaining against all comers the Vedanta tenets as the future head of the pontifical throne. After demonstrating his extraordinary capacity in conducting debates for […]

Sriman Madhvacharya – Chapter 6

Sunday, July 5th, 2009 - 3 Comments

Introduction to the Chapter: This chapter describes the emerging personality of Acharya Madhva – his erudition and unworldly all round knowledge and mastery over the scriptures, his starting of new compositions delineating the new, yet age old traditional system of Tatvavada and the special setting for these works which includes his presentation of Geetha Bhashya, […]

Sriman Madhvacharya – Chapter 7

Sunday, July 5th, 2009 - 1 Comment

Introduction to the Chapter: This chapter describes the VedaVyasa Ashrama where the Supreme Being in the form of VedaVyasa resides along with his disciples such as Jaimini. This place is mentioned in Mahabharata and Mahabharata Tatparya Nirnaya. The geographical location of this is unknown at present. The description of events and places in this and […]

Sriman Madhvacharya – Chapter 8

Sunday, July 5th, 2009 - 0 Comment

In this Chapter, the meeting of VedaVyasa and Madhva is further described leading to His teaching the entire Shastras and Tatvajnana fully to Madhva again. Both of them go to another Ashrama, where Narayana, the son of Yamadharma (form of the Supreme Being) resides. The beautiful description of the form of Narayana by the poet […]

Sriman Madhvacharya – Chapter 9

Sunday, July 5th, 2009 - 0 Comment

Introduction to the Chapter There is a brief account of Madhva’s return from Badari Kshetra, when he stayed for a short time in the Ashrama of VedaVyasa and received the specific injunctions from Lord Narayana for composing a new Bhashya in accordance with the correct purport of the Brahma Sutras. The Bhashya would form the […]

Sriman Madhvacharya – Chapter 10

Sunday, July 5th, 2009 - 3 Comments

Introduction to the Chapter This Chapter describes a number of extraordinary incidents occurring in Acharya Madhva’s two earlier visits to Badari Kshetra. A few are also described in the last chapter – where most of them barring the incident on the banks of the Gomati river have a wealth of circumstantial detail with locales in […]

Sriman Madhvacharya – Chapter 11

Sunday, July 5th, 2009 - 7 Comments

Introduction to the Chapter In this chapter we see an entirely different concept – This is a poetic description of Vaikunta, the final refuge of Salvation itself, describing the eternal “life” of the liberated souls who have attained Mukti, by having correctly understood Madhva Shastra and completed all the Sadhanas needed for getting rid of […]

Sriman Madhvacharya – Chapter 12

Sunday, July 5th, 2009 - 0 Comment

Introduction to the Chapter The events narrated in this Chapter have the unmistakable stamp of direct and detailed knowledge and authenticity of persons and places available with the author. It is probable that Sri Narayana Panditacharya, the poet was old enough at that time to understand and see many of the events along with his […]

Sriman Madhvacharya – Chapter 13

Sunday, July 5th, 2009 - 1 Comment

Introduction Like the previous chapter, this chapter has very detailed descriptions of places, persons and events. Acharya Madhva visits Vishnumangala temple at the request of the King of Kabenadu, Jayasimha. The meeting of the Saint and the King is described in graphic detail. This place is at a distance of 5 Kms from Kasaragodu and […]

Sriman Madhvacharya – Chapter 14

Sunday, July 5th, 2009 - 4 Comments

Introduction to the Chapter: This Chapter is a description of a complete day in the Life of Acharya Madhva. In the beginning of the Chapter, the meeting of Trivikrama Panditacharya with Madhva in Vishnumangala temple in the presence of the King JayaSimha (continued from the previous chapter) is briefly mentioned. The interesting feature is the […]

Sriman Madhvacharya – Chapter 15 – Part I

Sunday, July 5th, 2009 - 3 Comments

Introduction to the Chapter This Chapter is very big, with 141 stanzas – out of which half (70) describe the marathon debate between Acharya Madhva and Sri Trivikrama Panditacharya, which led to the latter’s defeat and acceptance of Tatvavada. The other half describes the main disciples of Madhva and the composition of the Anuvyakhyana by […]

Sriman Madhvacharya – Chapter 15 – Part II

Sunday, July 5th, 2009 - 3 Comments

Mukti according to Advaita is refuted If it is asked when will Mukti be attained or how will it be attained, any answer given will make the Mukti Visheshitha (qualified with attributes). Therefore, Identity with Brahman who is undifferentiated (which is the tenet) of Advaita is immediately negated by such replies. Therefore, this Mukti (as […]

Sriman Madhvacharya – Chapter 16

Sunday, July 5th, 2009 - 1 Comment

Introduction to the Chapter This concluding Chapter is a mixed narration of some more incidents amongst Acharya Madhva’s great deeds. A number of such events have already been covered earlier in Chapter 10. Here also, the poet describes them, as if they are the words of a disciple. Chapter 16 is clearly one where the […]