THE APPEARANCE OF VASUDEVA MADHVACARYA)
In the area of the South West coast of India, the Brahmins there are mostly Koonkans, Sarasvats and Shivallis. As explained perviously, the Shivalli or Shivabelli sect of Brahmins are mostly found around the Udupi area, Shivabelli being an old name for Udupi in connection with Sri Candramuleswaraji. Previous to the advent of Madhva some Shivalli Brahmins worshipped Lord Siva, but most had an affiliation with the Bhagavat sampradaya and had a leaning towards Visnu. Most would worship that form of a lingam, but would see Visnu as his origin (as already mentioned in connection with Sankara-Narayana, and especially Anantesvara, Who is worshipped as Parasurama though in the form of a lingam).
One such Brahmin of the name Madhyageha Bhatta and his wife to be (Vedavati) used to worship daily at the Anantasana Temple in Udupi, performing many rigid austerities in their daily service for Lord Parasurama (Anantesvara). For no less than twelve years they performed their service purely, travelling daily from nearby Pajakaksetra to Udupi to serve the Lord. Most would worship that form of a lingam seeing Visnu as His origin (as already mentioned in connection with Sankara-Naraya, and especially Anantesvara, Who is worshipped as Parasurama though in the form of a lingam.
At this time, not only in the immediate area of Udupi, but throughout the universe, there was an intense feeling of unrest, to such a degree that many of the demigods, headed by Caturmukha (four-headed) Lord Brahma got together to form a body to approach[ANI1] Lord Visnu (Narayana), begging for Him to relieve them of their suffering. None of them could bear any longer the anguish of the poisonous philosophies of the Mayavadis and Buddhists (Sunyavadis). Knowing that a scheduled incarnation of Lord Visnu was not due to appear for many years, Lord Brahma explained that even his sampradaya appeared lost, and there was a more than desperate need to re-establish the link. Lord Narayana looked around the assembled demigods with a view to sending one of them for this difficult service. Lord Narayana saw the worthy candidate, Vaya (prana) who promotes the life of all earthly creatures, who is an expert preacher, and who knows how tosatisfy his Lord. He possessed the ability to fulfil the desired deed.
Lord Narayana called Vayudeva near. “Oh, you Lord Vayu, possessing an auspicious face. Go to the earth and decorate that place in the Kali Yuga with your third incarnation as Madhva. You will again establish My personal form which pleased those who are not envious of Me. Revive their devotion for Me, as at present My devotees are suffering due to the lack of pure devotion for Me. They cannot tolerate the absence of Me in My personal form for even a moment and are praying to Me for help. Those who have emnity toward Me have polluted the atmosphere with childish, whimsical philosophies squeezed from between the lines of the Brahma Sutras only partially revealling My opulence. Now go and make your appearance in the family of My most pious Brahmanas. Make clear the message of the Upanisads through the Brahma Sutra.” Vayu accepted this mission with folded hands and head slightly tilted forward in respect to receive this service with honour from the Lord of the Devas (Devendra).
At this time in the town of Udupi, a huge festival was going on for the Makara Sankranti (marking of the passage of Sagatarius to Capricorn – the half yearly solar equinox on the 14th January). Thousands of devotees had come to the tmeple of Anantasana to make spiritual benefit on the auspicious moment. Suddenly, amidst the crowd, a dull looking man appearing possessed, climbed the flag pillar at the entrance of the Anantasana Temple, then in a bizarre fashion, he started to dance and shout in a deranged manner. When he had captured the attention of the whole town, his mood changed. Actually, it was revealed that the dullard had become possessed by Lord Anantaswara to announce the following message:
“Mukyaprana, the incarnation of Lord Vayudeva the great devotee of Lord Visnu, will appear here in Udupi in a very short time to smash all demoniac impersonalist philosophies and re-establish the loving service in full attributes to the personal form of Lord Visnu. This devotee himself is possessing six wonderful qualities – fame, wealth, renunciation, beauty, strength and knowledge, and whom is none other than Bhagavan Vayu. No longer will any soft-hearted devotee have to hear that the Supreme Personality of Godhead be subjected to criticism and mundane views of being deaf, dumb, lifeless, limbless, formless or who is covered by illusion by pasandi heretics propounding nirvisesha philosophy. Mukyaprana will appear amongst you and will fulfil your desires for real religion; you will all be satisfied and a new purified doctrine will be your solace.”
Then the possessed dullard returned to his normal dull condition, climbed down and again disappeared into the festive, bustling, mumbling crowd. Madhyageha Bhatta walked the eight miles southeast back to Pajakaksetra that evening, not knowing of the coming events that he would be directly involved in.
The pride of the middle house (madhya geha), although a young man, had a wealth of understanding of the Vedas. Throughout his schooling he had the reputation as one who is a devotee scholar, not merely interested in Brahman; his object was Parambrahman, the Supreme Personality of Godhead Narayana. After some time “Madhyageha” Bhatta, as he became known, was arranged to marry a pure and devout lover of Lord Visnu by the name of Vedavati. Both of them were free from attachment to the bodily concept of life and the false attachment to society, friendship and “love” that goes along with it. Madhyageha Bhatta was always very eager to hear the pastimes of the many incarnations of Lord Visnu, and render devotional service to the Deity of Anantasana in Udupi. Madhygeha spoke to his chaste wife about bringing into this world a pure son, one worthy of being called putra (one who saves his parents from hell). 
To obtain a putra from the Lord was their desire, but how to bring into this world a child who is not touched by the modes of passion and ignorance, who is pure by nature and worthy of the mercy of Lord Visnu?
Madhyageha Bhatta and his wife decided to approach their Ista Deva (family Deity) Lord Narayana and make a pure vow. They then served Lord Ananrasana in Udupi for twelve years with pure minds in pure devotion, free from lust and greed. As their austerity they drank only milk throughout those twelve years, observing the same vows as Aditi and Kasyapa who were impelled by Lord Brahma to undergo this penance to obtain Lord Vamadeva as their son. Among their vows they also partook of only milk as their eatables and lived simply, always remembering Lord Narayana and always chanting His glories and Holy Name. At the end of this time they decided to perform the Garbhadana samskara, after taking the Lord’s blessings. Madhyageha purified his body with pancagavya prasana, offered arghyas, flowers and lamps to the Lord, and they stated their desire to bring into this world a cent percent pure devotee to save everyone from further suffering. During this twelve year period they observed the same vows as Aditi and Kasyapa who were impelled by Lord Brahma to undergo penance to obtain Lord Vamanadeva as their son. Among other vows, they partook only of milk as their eatables and lived simply always remembering Lord Narayana and chanting His glories and holy name.
After the purificatory menstrual period, choosing the male star and the suitable day for conception according to the proper varam (day) tithi (time) and nakshatra (asterism) they invoked the blessings of Lord Narayana. They then united by the principles of religious sex and by the Lord’s grace, Vedavati conceived a child.
In the Madhva Vijaya (2.25) it is described that the incarnation of Lord Vayudeva (Mukhyaprana) entered the body of the wife of that pure Vaisnava Brahmin in his partial aspect, in the same way a King enters a well decorated city, shining clean with bright new gates and containing houses with fine features. Mukhyaprana was that King, who is Bhagavan possessed of six opulences, wealth, fame, knowledge, beauty, strength and renunciation entered into the womb of Vedavati. On this point though, Madhva Vijaya suggests that Mukhyaprana evicted the soul born of the conception of Madhyageha and Vedavati, and thus expelling that child, Vayu appeared of his own will and placed himself in that womb.
Because Mukhyaprana’s incarnation was situated in Vedavati’s womb, she became incredibly effulgent and was decorated with all thirty two auspicious qualities. Madhva Vijaya describes her body as being like the temple of Lord Visnu, the Supreme Lord because of her pure devotion.
The pumsavana samskara was performed at three months pregnancy and then simmontanayana (swadabhaksana) feeding the child in the womb, parting the hair, etc. purificatory rites were performed at seven months. The fire sacrifices for the safe delivery of the child were performed according to Brahminical rites, and lo and behold, within a few days a son was born to Madhyageha and his chaste wife Vedavati.
Madhyageha Bhatta called for learned Vedic astrologers to come, and together they performed the jatakarma (birth ceremony) by offering all nice things to the child and bathed him in panca gavya (cow dung, cow urine, ghee, milk and yogurt) and pancamrta (ghee, milk, yogurt, honey and sugar water). They also put gold and ghee on his tongue to invoke good health and intelligence, tulasi to invoke devotion to the Lord, and honey to invoke good appetite. Then the learned astrologers made a chart to see what kind of son had been born. They were amazed as all thirty two auspicious signs were there in his person and the chart said that this boy is none other than the scheduled avatar of Vayudeva. His purpose for coming was that of reform, to change the ways of misguided men and to firmly establish the personal philosophy of Lord Visnu. He would be a great acarya as previously he had been Hanuman and Bhimasena respectively.
THE BIRTH OF VASUDEVA
At the time of his birth, kettle drums could be heard from the demigods in the heavens and everyone rejoiced. Madhyageha Bhatta’s family was ecstatic and the whole Brahmin community came to celebrate. The good people and alsoo the ruffians came to congratulate Madhyageha Bhatta, his wife and the whole family. Madhyageha Bhatta worshipped his ista-deva with gratitude and then came to see the child. Upon seeing the bright moonlike face of the newborn child, Madhyageha smelt his new son’s head and gave him the name Vasudeva. Mudillaya, a Brahmin friend of Madhyageha Bhatta gave a first class milking cow and calf to the child, for he said that after twelve years of devotion, the Lord of the cows, Govinda, gave Madhyageha a pure devotee son. Everyone looked on the face of Vasudeva. Then they remembered the prediction outside the Anantesvara Temple all those years before. Observing the events, the astrological charts, and the beaming face of the child, everyone was convinced that this boy and the aforementioned avatara of Vayudeva were one and the same. The prophecy had been fulfilled.
The date of Vasudeva’s (Madhvacarya’s) appearance is still to this day covered. There are many evidences for each and every date, the place everyone agrees on…..
I will now try to present an un-biased account of what the dates are, who compiled them, and some brief reason behind each where possible.
Most authorities agree that Madhva’s appearance was in the year Vilambi and he disappeared in the time of Pingala, but in which Vilambi and which Pingala year is another thing. A list of each is as follows for the particular era which we are dealing with.
Years that Vilambi fell in:
1040 Sakabda Era 1118 AD
1100 Sakabda Era 1178 AD
1160 Sakabda Era 1238 AD
Years that Pingala fell in:
1119 Sakabda Era 1197 AD
1179 Sakabda Era 1258 AD
1239 Sakabda Era 1317 AD
The local Udupi town guide book, without question, gives the year 1238 AD as the date of birth. Dr BNK Sharma presents in his book “History of the Dwaita School of Vedanta and it’s Literature” a list of events from an inscription of a direct disciple of Madhva and second “successor” of Madhva on the “Pitha”, The evidence of these inscriptions show that Narahari Tirtha was in Kalinga between 1264 and 1293 AD. It appears also that he was Prime Minister of the kingdom between 1281-93. If the statement of the Mahabharata Tatparyanirnaya were to be taken in it’s literal sense, Madhva would have lived up to 1278 only, as he is traditionally assigned a life of seventy nine years. Now according to the uniform testimony of the Mutt Lists, Madhva was succeeded by Padmanabha Tirtha who remained on the Pitha for seven years, and after him by Narahari Tirtha who occupied the Pitha for nine years. On this view, Narahari Tirtha would have come to the Pitha in 1285, but the evidence of inscriptions show he was still in Kalinga in the years 1289, 1291 and 1293. The obvious inference would be from these statements is that he could not have come to the Pitha until after 1293. It cannot be supposed that Narahari Tirtha was allowed to be the minister of Kalinga and to occupy the Pitha at one and the same time (as a sannyasi) between 1285 and 1293. The Mutt lists agree in placing Narahari’s demise in the cyclic year of Srimukisa. These two facts show that the event cannot be placed before 1333 AD. Calculating backwards from the recorded year of Narahari Tirtha’s demise, we arrive at 1317 (Pingala) as the very latest time of Madhva’s disappearance from this world, and calculating 79 years back brings us to 1238 AD. This date has also been accepted by Saltore in his book called Ancient Karnataka (Tuluva History) 1936. In the booklets of Paraya Pejwara Mutt in 1984 by Banajee Govindacarya, he also supports the year 1238 AD, and goes on the say, “We should go back 744 years from now. As many as 4338 years have paseed since the inception of Kali Yuga and the 4339th year is running (1984 AD). Indeed the Vijaydasami, following the Navaratri in the bright half of the month (Sukla Paksa) of Asvayuja (Padmanabha or Asvini Sukla) in the year of Vilambi 1238 AD is a day of great festivity. On the afternoon of that day Acarya Madhva was born in this tiny hamlet of Karnataka.”
In the book of Padmanabhacar, the Vijayadasami of Vilambi supported by the year 1199 AD is referred to, and then it goes on to say that the year of his upanayana (sacred thread) was in 1204, Madhva’s sannyasa was in 1210 AD and his first trip to Badrinatha was in 1217 AD. Actually Padmanabhacar gives many other example also. He quotes the swami of Adhamar Mutt and other pandits as saying 1040 Saka (1118 AD).
Visvapriya Tirtha Jnr Swami of Admar Mutt told me that Vijayadasami on a Wednesday afternoon was the day of Madhva’s birth. This is what is also stated by Mr. Subbha Rao of Salem College, but he also says that this could have been the year of Madhva’s sannyasa initiation. The Uttaradi Mutt in Udupi also says this, as it is written in their inscriptions of all the acaryas from the very start of their guru parampara. Srila Prabhupada, the Founder Acarya of ISKCON also marks the date as 1040 Sakabda Era corresponding to 1118 AD, and he includes that to some he (Madhva) was born in the year 1160 Sakabda Era (1238 AD). Caitanya Caritamrta (Madhya Lila 9.245).
SUBSEQUENT SAMSKARAS AND MEETING THE BRAHMARAKSASA IN THE FOREST
After the usual resting period for the mother in a Brahmin family, the niskraman samskara was then performed. Everyone started out for the Anantasana temple in Udupi to show their gratitude to the Lord. This would be Vasudeva’s first journey outside the house. Madhyageha Bhatta, Vedavati, three men in the fron and four men behind, accompanied Vasudeva to walk to nearby Udupi to present the newborn child to Lord Anantaswara. On their arrival at the temple, Madhyageha Bhatta worshiped Lord Anantaswara and prayed for the well-bring of the child. After spending the day in Udupi, Madhyageha Bhatta, carrying his crest jewel, and the others set out to return to Pajakasetra through the forest in the middle of the night.
To say “forest” is an understatement, as it was a jungle with not even so much as a cart track, only a winding overgrown footpath that was sometimes used. This part of the jungle was well known as the abode of a brahmaraksas (demon Brahmin) ghost who used to harass passersby. Suddenly one of the men in the party started vomitting blood and screaming. Madhyageha Bhatta started to recite sacred mantras to exorcise the ghost from his friend’s body, sprinkling water him with water from his gindhi (spouted water pot), but to no avail. The ghost, in fact, became more ferocious and said through the man possessed, “I am capable of killing all those who have come at the time of our play (midnight) and who are deoid of the power of protection of Mukhyaprana. However I know that this small boy is that same Pranesvara Vayu. It is indeed wonderful. The only way you can be free of me is by placing the dust of the small Lord, Loka Guru, preceptor of the world, upon my head, thus freeing me from this ghostly body and your friend from my haunting.”
Fearful, Madhyageha Bhatta placed the baby Vasudeva’s little lotus feet on the haunted man’s head, and in a flash the haunted man fell to the ground, weak, but free from the Brahma Raksas ghost. Blaming themselves for coming through the jungle at this dangerous time of night, and praying to Lord Narayana and His devotee, they were overjoyed with their newcomer. Quickly they headed through the jungle to Pajakaksetra and on their arrival Madhyageha Bhatta, Vedavati and their party pondered over the events, thinking, “So this is the same Mukhyaprana (Hanuman and Bhimasena) that was predicted at Anantasana temple by the crazy man on the flag post. The demons tried many times to kill Hanuman and Bhima. We have to look after this child.” Like loving family members they were covered over with family affection and lost their true memory of who saved who in the jungle.
Within a few weeks Vasudeva was crawling and everyone who saw him was astonished to see such a bright and lively baby. His size for his age was already huge. He drank breast milk, as much and more than his mother could possibly supply. Growing and growing, he was always hungry. His mother had to give him milk every half an hour, and still he was hungry.
ANNAPRASNA (FIRST GRAINS)
Once Vedavati, who is described in Madhva Vijaya as Vasudeva’s timid mother, went out of the house to see to some household chores, although she couldn’t bear the separation of not being with the boy even for a moment. Quietly she asked her young daughter who was older than Vasudeva, to look after him for a moment, but as soon as Vedavati was out of the room and out of earshot, Vasudeva started calling again for his mother and this meant only one thing – more breast milk. Vasudeva was just about old enough to have his Annaprasna Samskara (first grains). It was obvious to everyone that his poor mother could not supply enough milk to satisfy this growing baby. By now the beautiful young daughter of Vedavati was trying her best to pacify Vasudeva. She told him, “Don’t cry, there is really no need. Soon mother will come and give you milk, and maybe even some nice soft bananas.” More and more he cried until, in desperation, the girl took up Vasudeva in her arms and tried to console him, but to no avail. In a state of despair she kept glancing down the path, eagerly waiting for the return of her mother, but she could see nothing and Vasudeva’s crying would not stop.
Perplexed, and knowing what the hungry young boy wanted, and seeing a bag of horse gram (boiled rough pulse which was kept to feed the household cattle), she tipped the 40 kilo bag onto it’s side and allowed Vasudeva to eat. She ran to get her mother, and on their return, to her dismay, they found every grain of the 40 kilos gone, and Vasudeva, with a satisfied moon-like face and full belly inside the bag, chomping away. Thus he performed his own Annnaprasna ceremony in grand style. Baby Vasudeva, beaming from ear to ear surprised Vedavati who said, “Even a young bull would be full with this lot. How is it that my son has eaten and digested all this, and you, my girl, gave it to him?”
Out of her abundant pampering and attentione, Vedavati again gave Basudeva breast milk and then brought Madhyageha Bhatta to see that his health was not impaired by such heavy horse grain. That pure Brahmin recited the Dhanvantari Santisukta for the welfare of the child, and his family members caressed him. The whole time his smile was very attractive.
Madhva Vijaya (2.43) describes how young Vasudeva would speak beautifully in indistinct words playing the part of a small baby, infatuating everyone. His rocking movements, learning to crawl, then standing on his own and gradually walking were very pleasing to the devotees. Just as the childhood pastimes of Lord Krsna captured everyone’s hearts, so all these childhood pastimes of the avatar of Vayudeva were very enchanting.
One morning the small boy wandered off on his own, as small boys do, to discover the world for himself. Vasudeva had just turned one year old, but with his usual boldness and courage even at this young age, he left the house and walked through the gosalla where the cows were feeding. Vasudeva decided to play with a bull, so catching hold of the tail of the bull, it took off in all directions taking young Vasudeva with him. Now this was no small bull – it’s body was big, with symmetrical and sharp horns. Vasudeva, with a strong hold on the tail of the bull, wandered, ran and played all day long in many forests and grazing areas.
Vedavati, unable to find Vasudeva, became worried, so Madhyageha Bhatta and close friends combed the area looking for him. They looked in the houses, even checking the well. Where could he be? They were all in complete anxiety as to the welfare of “such a fragile baby”, when in the evening they saw him riding on the end of the most ferocious bull’s tail. Looking even more beautiful than ever, this one year old boy was decorated by the dust from the hooves of the bull, beaming with smiles and enjoying the fun.
“Why have you been away like this? You worried your mother so much. We couldn’t find you anywhere.” all the villagers told him, but how could they chastise him? By the grace of Lord Anantasana this boy was amongst them, and they all loved him so much that the separation and the anxiety was too intense. Now he was back, his bright and smiling face, and the fine features of his body satisfied everyone, like a poor man that has found a precious touchstone that turns iron into gold, or like the devotee who has earnestly taken to the fulfilling path of obtaining the supreme abode of Lord Visnu.
VASUDEVA PAYS HIS FATHER’S DEBTS WITH TAMARIND SEEDS
Vasudeva, in his usual playful way, once approached Madhyageha Bhatta for something to eat, being always hungry. Vasudeva’s father tried to explain that he couldn’t supply him any more food today as Kakrashetty (the person from whom Madhyageha had received the big bull) now wanted payment. Having no funds to pay him, Kakrashetty had taken to darna (fasting on their doorstep), so Madhyageha told him that they couldn’t take food whilst owing monies to him. He explained that there are three things which bring ruination to a family – ill health if neglected, fire, and debts. How could he take foodstuffs or feed his family with the anxiety of debts, which is the cause of ill health?
Vasudeva told his father to tell his mother to prepare some nice foodstuffs, and that he (Vasudeva) would take care of the previous owner of the bull. Quite often while playing with a small friend, he would collect a few handfuls of tamarind seeds and play with them, pretending they were monetary coins. Now, Madhyageha Bhatta observed Vasudeva collecting a big bag of these dried tamarind seeds that had fallen from the tree in his back garden. When asked what herwas doing, Vasudeva very boldly told his loving father that he was going to pay the creditor for the bull, “So we can eat again.” Telling him that he would fast until Kakrashetty was satisfied, Madhyageha bade Vasudeva to have his meal, but instead Vasudeva went to Kakrashetty, who was awaiting payment. Vasudeva told Kakrashetty to come with him as he would be paid in full, but when they reached the tamarind tree, Vasudeva bent down and started pouring handfuls of dried tamarind seeds from the bag that he had collected. At first Kakrashetty, in a playful mood, felt inclined to play with this darling of the middle house and accepted the tamarind seeds into his hands. However, as he did this, he saw the seeds turn into gold coins before his very eyes, many time more than what the bull was worth. Taking the full payment and more, Kakrashetty left that place in ecstacy and Vasudeva ran back into the house to his parents and the waiting meal. Vasudeva told his father to come and eat, as the creditor had been paid in full. Just then Kakrashetty came back to the door and thanked Madhyageha Bhatta profusely for the payment and the gift of extra gold coins for being late. Kakrashetty went on to say how Vasudeva had given him full payment underneath the big tamarind tree in the garden and he went away.
However, another time he came back for payment for something else, and Madhyageha Bhatta told Kakrashetty to obtain payment from his son. Expecting a bag of gold as before, Kakrashetty approached Vasudeva, by by his association, Vasudeva, the incarnation of Lord Visnu’s devotee Lord Vayu, completely changed the man’s heart and gave him the more precious gift than gold of bhakti lata bija – the seed of devotional service to Lord Visnu. The news of these events made a great impression on the people of the time, and the pastimes of this extra-ordinary boy were being compared to the wonderful childhood pastimes of the darling of mother Yasoda, Sri Krsna. Knowing these extra-ordinary events to be purely transcendental, the Vaisnavas of South Kanada relished them over and over again.
THE LORD ESCORTS VASUDEVA
When Vasudeva was about three years old, his parents, who are described as being dear to everyone, took Vasudeva to a family function at nearby Nediyoora village where Vasudeva’s mother’s family lived. It was a huge festival with hundreds of relatives and all their children. At these times there is much meeting, greeting, honouring family elders, children playing, loud talking and general family talks and partying. Family members who hadn’t met for so many years, saw the new child and “oh , ……. the new baby.”, unpacking of gifts, etc., – the usual village talk.
Taking full advantage of the bustle and general confusion of the whole assembly, Vasudeva decided to go to the temple. The Supreme Lord Narayan, knowing that His devotee didn’t want to stay in such a mundane gathering, personally came to take Vasudeva on a tour. Persons that Vasudeva met on the narrow path leading south to Kanana Devata at Kudavoor asked him, “Child, where do you wish to go?” but Vasudeva replied only with a pleasing smile from his moonlike face. This is a walk of a mile or two to visit the temple of Lord rama. Vasudeva entered the pagoda and wwent into the inner sanctum and offered his respects there, and then he went to the temple of Talakude (Bannaje) and offered respects to Lord Hari residing within the Siva Linga there. After taking darsan at these sacred tirthas and overjoyed by the sight of the Lord Who has a lotus navel, Lord Visnu, Vasudeva headed for Udupi.
This small boy of exemplary behaviour was showing everyone how to act. Constantly he was remembering Lord Narayana and at every opportunity he was offering his prostrated obeisances to the Lord, but seeing such a small boy of three years spontaneously offering respects and prayers like this was a little bewildering for some of the Brahmins there.
In Udupi, Vasudeva first visited the Candramoolesvara temple of Lord Siva and offered his respects before going to Lord Ananteswara. There he stayed for some time, offering prayers and respectful obeisances.
By this time, back at the festivities, Madhyageha Bhatta had noticed that for some time now he had not seen his son. He asked his wife if she had seen him, and when she told him she hadn’t either, in almost desperation they combed the whole area looking for their son. News spread from mouth to mouth that the darling of Pajakasetra had gone missing and now night was about to fall. Alone out there somewhere, with no-one to protect him; what would the poor boy do? Asking everyone in the vicinty if they had seen the boy, they found that he had headed south. Practically the feasting and partying stopped at the family function as everyone was looking for little “helpless” Vasudeva. Madhyageha Bhatta, going from temple to temple, finally found Vasudeva absorbed, looking at Lord Anantasana. He immediately checked his son for any inauspicious presence by smelling his son’s head again and again. Tears of joy flowed from Madhyageha’s eyes at having found Vasudeva.
In the Madhva Vijay (3.9) it is described how Madhyageha Bhatta came across the small boy just as a bumblebee comes across the nectar to be found in the lotus flower being directed by the scent carrying breeze.
Vasudeva beaming, was not even thinking he had done wrong or put anyone into a state of intense anxiety as he had. He now stood before his father who asked, “Vasudeva, how did you come so far on your own on this difficult path through the forest and lanes? I can’t understand how?” Cheerfully the young boy replied that, “Lord Narayana escorted me to Bannajee, then Lord Hari escorted me to the eastern direction and on to Udupi. I then offered my respects to Lord Anantasana in the western direction and He brought me here to His temple, so I wasn’t alone, father.” Saying this, the child shone like a gem in the assembly of caring relatives and friends who were all wonderstruck.
Madhyageha Bhatta immediately prayed to Lord Anantasana to protect his son, “… who came here to the Anantasana temple without his family. He likes to wander here and there of his own accord, sometimes on the paths and roads, sometimes in the forests. Please therefore protect him from all causes of fear like wild animals or bandits.” After praying like this, Vasudeva and his parents returned to Nediyoora and the family function for as long as social etiquette required. Then Madhyageha Bhatta, his wife and Vasudeva returned to Pajakaksetra and to the lap of Mother Laxmi, in her aspects of Yogamayi (Durga) on top of Vimana Hill.
This great soul, who masqueraded as a small boy playing childish pranks and games like a three of four year old, spent many long hours playing around the Durga Vimana Hill (Vimangiri), and simply loved to be alone in the temple of Yogamayi seated on top of the hill. Some say that his choosing to play on his own on the slopes of Vimangiri was actually as if he were playing in the direct company of Durgadevi, (Yogamayi, the sister of Krsna of Vrndavan) and this was enough for him.
VIDYA RAMBHA SAMSKARA
As Vasudeva grew, day by day he showed signs that he was incredibly intelligent, grasping anything that required study almost immediately, so Madhyageha Bhatta thought it time to perform the Vidya Rambha (also known as Hate Khadi and Akshar Abhyasam) – his beginning of primary education – samskara, even though a year or two early. Madhyageha Bhatta saw that teaching Vasudeva the alphabet and showing him how to form the letters with the fenetic sounds was so natural and easy for the boy to pick up, it was as though he already knew everything but was just keeping it a secret. Traditionally this is a very big event in a child’s life, and many relatives, friends and well-wishers come to give presents and blessings to the young boy. The Brahmins chanted mantra suktas, and swastivacan to invoke the blessings of the Lord upon the boy who was clean shaven, bathed and dressed in new cloth. When everyone saw the way Vasudeva mastered the subject being taught in the first few minutes of his primary education on his first day they were astonished. Then Vasudeva asked his father, “Oh father, why do I have to repeat the same group of letters again and again? This I already know.” As soon as his father showed him something, that was it – what next?
With no effort one could easily see that the goddess of learning, Bharati Devi, Sarasvati, was in her natural position, standing with folded hands offering her respects to the great devotee of Lord Narayana, Lord Vayu, in his plenary portion as Vasudeva-Mukhyaprana.
Vasudeva was showing himself to be almost too intelligent, because of the way he absorbed everything and people’s minds were becoming a little disturbed. So Madhyageha Bhatta decided to teach Vasudeva in a secluded place. He was worried that maybe seeing how smart the boy was, that maybe sopmeone out of enviousness, would perform some tantric misdeed or magical feat, of put “the evil eye” on him. Even Mother Yasoda felt much the same way about the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Parambrahman, Lord Sri Krsna as a baby. Mother Yasoda and the elderly gopis used to perform Nyasa on baby Krsna, touching the parts of His body and asking in the form of mantra that the Narayana expansions of the Lord they had before them come and protect this baby. Such is parental love.
THE DEFEAT OF THE PURANICA (LEARNED RECITER OF THE PURANAS)
A short time later was good proof as to how much this “small boy” was learned. One day Vedavati took her son to a religious festival at nearby Neyampalli. As in religious festivals, there were rituals, pujas, yajnas, dramas, and in this one, a wedding also. Madhyageha Bhatta didn’t go to this festival, so while Vedavati attended the wedding ceremony, her son Vasudeva slipped off to hear the recitals and stories from the Puranas told by the renouned Puranic narrator of the name Siva Madinya (Madikullaya). This Puranica was famous for reading to very large audiences, and as the narrator narrated a story from the Puranas, suddenly Vasudeva jumped up and accused the narrator, “The story that you are telling does not confrom with the purports of the great saintly rsis and munis like Vyasadeva and Sukadeva. Therefore what you are saying is highly speculative and cannot be taken as authoritative.” Looking around, to the astonishment of the listeners, these words were coming from the mouth of a small four year old boy. On the prompting of all the persons in the assembly, Vasudeva told the proper account of the story that was polluted by the narrator, giving the correct meaning and completely defeating the bogus speculations of the “narrator”. Flowers poured from the sky as the demigods honoured the boy, and all the assembly also glorified and praised the learning of the small boy, Vasudeva. Then the assembly broke up and all went their separate ways, leaving the narrator alone. Vasudeva returned to his mother and they both went back to Pajakaksetra where he asked his father, “Who is correct? Is it the narrator Siva or me who has speculated on the sastra?” Madhyageha Bhatta told his son that he was correct, after hearing what both had said. Madhyageha Bhatta thought to himself that the reason for his son’s wonderfully sharp intelligence was due to the mercy of Lord Anantasana, and in that way Madhyageha Bhatta always remembered his Lord Anantaswara.
Another incident of the same nature occured around the same time but in connection with Madhyageha Bhatta, who was reading from Maha-Bhagavat Purana (Srimad Bhagavatam) before a large crowd of people. In the course of the reading and talk that followed, Madhyageha Bhatta explained the meaning of words to a particular verse to be different kinds of trees like the tulasi, banyan, pippal, amla, nim, mango, kadamba trees, etc., but purposely missed out the word ‘likuca”. Vasudeva immediately interjected and stated, “Father, without giving the meaning of the word “likuca”, why do you attempt to give this class? All the other words you have explained. I think you are cheating by not explaining this word.” Madhyageha Bhatta was then prompted by the crowd to give the meaning to the word, but despite the prompting, he would not give the meaning. Vasudeva again said, “Why father, are you cheating everyone. You are simply a pretender. This likuca is a lime tree.” To this the whole crowd worshipped Vasudeva, who, with his bright moon-like face, was unequalled in learning or spiritual potency.
UPANAYANA (SACRED THREAD)
Generally young boys take upanayana at around eight years, but Madhyageha Bhatta, seeing his son’s livel of spiritual enlightenment, arranged for the ceremony to be performed when Vasudeva was just five years old. For Madhyageha Bhatta and Vasudeva both, this is a marked change is their lives, especially for Vasudeva, for now he had formally taken to brahmacarya training and an acceptance that now childhood was over and that this was a time for Vedic study, spiritual persuits, initiation into chanting of sacred mantras, worship of Surya-Narayana at the junctions of morning, noon and night (sandhyavandhanam), and always wearing the sacred thread of the Brahmin. In fact, this time of life for one who accepts upanayana, is considered one’s second birth.
Madhyageha Bhatta showed his pure and simple son how to light to homa and how to perform the oblations into the fire after cleansing oneself internally by mantra, and externally by bathing, wearing clean cloth, the sipping of water called acaman, and performance of nyasa (touching parts of the body with mantras). Before beginning this Madhyageha Bhatta contacted learned Brahmanas to find the proper date as to when this ceremony should be performed. His astrologers had selected Vrsabha Lagna, the bull for steadiness. According to astrological texts, the Vrsabha Lagna is considered a great asset to one’s determination for completing a task, so in the matter of upanayana, or receiving the sacred triple thread of the brahmacari, Vrsabha or the bull, aids determination, sensual control, and the undertaking of heavy loads such as study and celebacy. This lagna is said also to be very auspicious as Lord Sri Krsna was born with this lagna.
The the fabulous ceremony that followed, the guru (in this case his father, Madhyageha Bhatta) sat down before the sacred fire and handed his wonderful son his karam chappals (padukas – peg shoes) and rod of the brahmacari, and new yellow cloth. Oblations were offered into the fire amidst the joyous crowd of onlookers, but in private the triple cord (sacred thread) was placed on Vasudeva’s body and the gayatri mantra was whispered into the right ear. After the shaving of his head and having the ritualistic bath, he put on yellow cloth, and the mekala kusa grass belt was then placed around the boy’s waist. He was shown how to sip water before eating or performing any kind of worship, and also shown how to perform prana ahuti’s (om pranaya swaha, om apanaya swaha, om vyanaya swaha, om udanaya swaha, om samanaya swaha) before taking his meals. This was so natural for him to learn, but made him more hungry just chanting the mantras, as his digestive airs began to work. As a formality one is explained the meanings behind brahmacari life, then there is also acceptance of vows of celebacy, simplicity, and study of the Vedas. Everyone who saw young Vasudeva in his pure beauty accepting his sacred thread were so fascinated by his features that they could not take their eyes off him. The demigods and their wives also came in invisible forms, and enjoying the festive scene, glorified Vasudeva on this all-auspicious day. The sound of kettle drums was heard from above, and showers of flowers and flower petals rained from the sky.
Vasudeva then learned from his father how to perfrom sacred sandhya vandanam. “Sandhya” means at the conjunctions and “vandanam” means prayers.
Sandhya vandanam is performed by all Brahmins in all places to different degress of involvement. First one performs acaman, which is the process of sipping water and reciting mantras for purification, then nyasa, which is that of touching parts of the body with the fingers of the right hand and reciting a mantra whilst touching each place. Then comes vigna apaharanam, praying to the Lord to remove unwanted obstacles from one’s life so one can make advancement in spiritual life. Pranayama breathing, and then a declaration of what one is doing called sankalpa. For example:
om bhagavad agyaya bhagavad kainkarya rupam
prathah sandhyam upasisye
“I am now engaged in the morning twilight prayers (gayatri) at the conjunction of night and day, under the order of the guru for the service of the Lord.”
The proksanam is performed by placing of tilaks on the body and then sprinkling of purified water. Joined handfuls of water are also offered to Surya Narayana with twelve libations of tarpana.
om bhagavad agyaya bhagavad kainkarya rupam
prathah sandhyam gatyatri mahamantra japam karisye
“I am now engaged in chanting silently the gayatri maha-mantra under the direction of guru as service for the Supreme Personality of Godhead.”
ayatu varada devi aksara, brahma sammitam
gayatrim candasam matar idam brahma jusasva nah
“May the all auspicious boon-confering gayatri come here to me in order to instruct me about the Lord, Who is described throughout the Vedic literature. May Gayatri devi, the mother of all meters, favour us with the truths about Lord Sri Krsna, the Supreme Brahman.”
ojosi sahosi balam asi bhrajosi devanam-dhamanam asi
visvam asi visvayuh sarvam asi sarvayur abhibhurom
“You are the supreme source of nourishment, you are strength, and brilliance, you are everything, you are the supporter, and the cause of all changes in time. I am requesting your presence in the form of the pranava (omkara).
gayatrya viscamitrah rsih nicrd gayatri chandah
savita devata, sandhya vandane jape viniyogah
“Of the gayatri mantra the rishi is Visvamitra Muni, the mt\etre by which it is chanted is called nicrd swara gayatri, and the sun is the Deity. This gayatri is recited at the conjuntions of the day.”
In the morning conjuntion of night coming into day after the sun has arisen, one praises the good name of Surya who is the one who supports the heavens and earth. His name is truth, is easily attained and is wonderful to hear. This sun is the friend of the universe, is all knowing and gives the fruits of action to all mankind. He never sleeps and with munificent rays he glances over all humanity. To him we offer good with ghee for obtaining good health and longevity. O Mitra – Surya Narayana, O cause of everything, we know that one who worships you will be protected and will not become troubled by disease or enemies. Also sins will not even approach that person from near or far.
Sins caused by anger, made by the mind, speech, hands, feat, stomach or reproductive organs will go completely away, thus turning even a rascal into a first class devotee of the Lord, when, with rapt attention, one offers his very life to the Supreme Personality of Godhead Lord Narayana, Whose representative is, and eye is the sun.
At noon we pray for purification from all the bad things we have come in contact with.
apah punantu prthivi puta punatu mam
punantu brahmanaspati brahma puta punatu mam
yac ucchistam abhojyam yad va dus caritam mama
sarvam punantu mam apo asatam pratigrahagm swaha
“May the waters purify the earth, May the purified earth purify me and the teacher of the Vedas. May the very purified Vedas purify me. The remnant of a non-devotee’s food, or forbidden food which I have eaten, and my bad conduct and the gifts I have received from wicked person, may I be purified from reactions to all that. I offer myself as an offering into the blaze of that Supreme Person – Surya Narayana.”
In the evening also – trisandhyam – at the conjunctions of the day, all Vaisnavas offer prayers to the guru and the Lord.
As the sun is about to go down one recites:
om agnis ca ma manyus ca manyu patayasca
yad anha papam akarsam
manasa vaca hastabhyam
padbhyam udarena sisnya
ahas tad avalumpatu
yat kincit duritam mayi
idam aham mam amrta yonau
satye jyotise juhomi swaha
“Save me from those sins caused by anger, O Lord! Whatever sin I may have committed during this day, by my mind, speech, hands, feet, stomach, and sexual organ as well as all other sins attaching themselves to me, mmay they all be comepletely destroyed. Thus cleansed from all sins I offer myself as an oblation into you the self-luminous truth, the souce of immortality (Surya-Narayana).
In this way, praying for the Lord to hear these prayers, praying that our regular worship does not become diminished, or omitted due to negligence, and any blame that is attributed to me unjustly, like a gamblers’, or sins I have performed unknowingly, please forgive all that.
In this way Madhyageha Bhatta showed his beloved son through the proceedures to be followed by the twice born.
So the young Vasudeva was shown the ritualistic bath, given the symbolic rod of the brahmacari, the mekala belt of kusa grass, and the sacred gayatri mantras. from this day on sandhya vandanam became a part of his life, his dhyanam, or meditation.
dhyeya sada savitra mandala mandala madhya-varti
narayanah sarasijasana sannivistah
kayuravan makara kundalavan kiriti
hari hiranya vapuh dhrta sankha cakrah
sankha cakra gada pane dvaraka nilaya acyuta
govinda pundarikaksa raksa mam saranagatam
“Narayana the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is to be meditated upon in the centre of the sun globe. He is situated on a lotus flower and seated in the lotus pasture. He is adorned with beautiful golden bracelets, armulets, earrings, necklace and a crown. He has a golden effulgence and is seen holding the pure white conch and sudarshan cakra in His lotus hands. O wielder of conch, disc, club and other natural weapons, You are the Lord and resident of Dwaraka Puri. O indestructable one, protector of the worlds, O lotus eyed Lord, please save all of us who have taken shelter of You.”
Everyone who saw Vasudeva accepting his sacred thread in this way, in his pure beauty, became so fascinated by his features that they couldn’t take their eyes off him. The demigods and their wives also came in invisible forms and, enjoying the festive scene, glorified Vasudeva on this all auspicious day. The sound of kettle drums was heard from above and showers of flowers and flower petals rained from the sky,
SNAKE DEMON VANQUISHED
Just after Vasudeva returned back to Pajakaksetra after his upanayana, Vasudeva encountered a huge five-headed snake demon. Many believed this snake to be the demon Maniman who was killed by Bhima during the Mahabharata war. They say that he was so envious of Bhima that he took his birth in the woods near Pajakaksetra just to try to kill the young Vasudeva who, in his second incarnation of Vayu, was Bhimasena.
Once Vasudeva and his friends were in the area of the Durga Vimana as usual, just nearby Pajakaksetra, when Vasudeva passed by the place where the snake demon Maniman dwelt near the thickets and bushes. As he passed by, the snake demon pounced and attacked Vasudeva with his sharp and poisoned fangs. The local people, upon hearing that Vasudeva had been bitten by this deadly creature, were on the verge of fainting.
As everyone knows, when a small boy or five or six gets bitten by a snake, he needs immediate medical attention in order to survive the poisonous venom inflicted into his system. However, this small boy Vasudeva was attacked by a huge monster of a snake with five heads. The attack was unpredicted, fierce and quick, but Vasudeva, keeping a cool head, vanquished that snake demon with the big toe of his powerful little foot. Looking at the place of the bit that was inflicted by Maniman, there was no wound to be seen. Further more, Vasudeva was not affected by this incident in any way.
Madhya Vijaya (3.41) describes that this Vasudeva, who has accepted the form of a small boy, is only a semblance of such. Definitely he is that Mukhyaprana who was sent to earth at the request of all the demigods including Lord Brahma, Lord Siva, Lord Indra, Lord Candra and Brihaspati.
To this day one can visit the place where this incident happened. Between Vimangiri and Pajakaksetra a small shrine has been erected around an impression of the snake demons hoods pressed into the solid rock, his head being turned into a paste.
VASUDEVA’S FOOTPRINTS IN HIS PARENT’S HOUSE
Caught up in play with his little Brahmin boy friends, Vasudeva used to quite often put his mother in anxiety as to where he was. Although in his play Madhyageha Bhatta and Vedavati were lenient, when they called, they expected Vasudeva to come. On one such occasion, in the same pastime of the killing of the snake demon, Vedavati was calling Vasudeva from the family house at Pajakaksetra. Vasudeva, playing with his friends and with his absorption in play and killing the serpent, did not come straight away. His anxious mother kept calling and calling when finally Vasudeva jumped into the air like Hanuman going to Gandamadana Mountain to collect herbs for the injured Laxman. A couple of kilometers away, his jump finished at his mother’s feet. The impressions that this small boy’s feet made are still there in the parental house. His mother at this time didn;t even know of his killing the Maniman serpent near Vimangiri, but her motherly instinct made her call out for Vasudeva, and she inspected his body to see for his safe well-being.
Being satisfied to know where Vasudeva was at any given time was always the prime concern to Madhyageha Bhatta and his chaste wife Vedavati. Knowing that now in the association of all the other young Dwijas (Brahmin boys), Vasudeva was now studying at the place of Totanithillaya, who was the school master for all the Brahmin boys of the srea. Even in school Vasudeva was always a leader. Where he went all the other boys went. He was always several steps ahead in his play, wrestling, studies, everything. Madhva Vijay (3.44) says, “This incarnation of Lord Vayudeva is more swift than the mind having controlled his mind. No-one can compare with him.”
In his wrestling he would take on and beat bigger boys and on many occasions he would challenge many bigger boys. His “nick” name at school was “Bhima”, his iron vice-like grip of his strong arms and hands could only be released when he wanted to release and not otherwise, and the weight he could lift or carry effortlessly could only compare to Hanuman and indeed this is actually who, in another age, Vayu assumed. In Madhva Vijay is says that Vasudeva, with a gently smiling face, easily defeated everyone. His friends, associates, and peers would sometimes, after being defeated by Vasudeva in water sports, splash water at him out of rivalry, making his lustre and reddish eyes appear even more beautiful.
Vasudeva’s Brahmin teacher (Pujavan), who was born in the Brahmin family of Totantillaya, could not relate to Vasudeva’s brilliance at all. At every opportunity Vasudeva would run home for more food to eat, and then slowly return to school, avoiding his study. On one such occasion Totantillacaya Brahmin, very angry, accused Vasudeva of not being very attentive to his study either during class or whilst avoiding class, or in his after class homework. “Why do you, Vasudeva, not study with your school friends? You act as though indifferent to study?” Vasudeva replied that he didn’t see the point in repeating that which he had already learnt, and besides, “I’m completely up to date with my studies.” Totantillaya was furious at the boldness of the boy’s statements and told him to repeat the sloka verses that they had studied that day. Vasudeva not only repreated verbatim the day’s slokas, but all the following slokas that they had not studied yet in school. Totantillaya was shocked. His recitation of the sastras complied with all the rules for chanting mantras and put his teacher into a spin. How could it be? Impossible, he thought. His recitation of the sastra complied with all the rules of jata, pada and krama meters for chanting mantras. Not only did he know all these verses but he also pronounced them with such clarity and perfect pronunciation it had caused the demigods to appear in the sky to hear. Who was this boy? After many such incidents of Vasudeva showing some of his nature, he was given the title at school “Anumana Tirtha”, for his ability to always find the perfect verse to explain any given circumstance and also elaborate on that point, giving his purport for clarifying the instance.
Once in a desolate part of the forest, Totantillaya’s son, who was a fellow student in the gurukula, developed an unbearable acute headache which Vasudeva cured by taking the boy to one side and blowing in his ear. In the Bhavaprakasika it is said that by Vasudeva’s divine breath he not only blew into the ear of the boy and this cured him of his head-ache, but at the same time showed Totantillaya’s son, as though by television, his many births and the conditions thereof during his time in this world.
In Madhva Vijay (3.54-55) there is a mention of Mahaitareyopanisad which clearly propounds the greatness of Lord Visnu. Madhva Vijay also says how the devotee of Lord Visnu, Vasudeva, having once heared this great Aitareyopanisad understood it’s many hymns within a second. This Upanisad became his lifelong favourite. Even it is recorded that at this young age when Totantillaya started to explain this Upanisad, Vasudeva stopped him and gave a more clear explanation to which Totantillaya was immensely pleased. By now he was beginning to realize how fortunate he was of having such an incredible pupil in his school. It wasn’t however until graduation day that the bond was duly sealed. Vasudeva gave as his guru daksina (reumuneration in the form of a preceptorial fee) to Totantillaya love of God – Krsna bhakti. Taking permission to leave gurukula, Vasudeva, knowing his mission and how to fulfil Lord Visnu and all the demigod’s desires, prepared himself to propagate the understanding of the personal form of the Lord and try to induce a taste within the soft hearts of the Vaisnavas to develop and appreciate love of God, and to philosophically smash those opposed to the personal form of the Lord. The guru Totantillaya, with tears of love brimming in his eyes, bade his pride and joy, his very best of students Vasudeva, a fond goodbye.
After graduating from gurukula, Vasudeva’s only thought was how to give the innocent people the most substantial gift of which was the cause of his descent; to give everyone a sound philosophy which solely glorified the Supreme Personality fo Godhead, Lord Narayana-Visnu. Only by giving these struggling devotees this priceless gift could anyone really satisfy their needs. Vasudeva saw thatt the only way to do this wholehearedly was to take the rnounced order of sannyasa under the guidance of an ascetic of good repoute coming in a bona-fide line. However Madhyageha Bhatta was already looking around for a nice Vaisnava-Brahmin girl as a suitable match for his son. Vasudeva had no interest in society, friendship and love of this material world, not any desire to become a regulated householder follower of the varnasrama system. His sole thought was preaching, so needless to say, Vasudeva had heard of one old ascetic of Bandarkare village just a few miles north of Udupi. This old sannyasi was reputed to be of the old Bhagavat sampradaya. This Acyutapreksa, whose name means “one who has knowledge of the infallible Lord Acyuta”, according to Sri Madhva Vijay (4.7) he was in an earlier birth a bumble bee who used to reside in the house of the Pandavas for some years and used to take prasadam directly from the hands of Queen Draupadi. Nonetheless it was for his asrama, for he possessed a pure mind and pure heart, and this was where Vasudeva was heading.
Due to there being a four hundred year gap in the Brahma sampradaya, breaking for all practical vision with Prajna, some ten guru-disciple generations previous, the gurus in this line up until Acyutaprajna (Acyutapreksa) had, out of fear of the wicked Buddhists and Mayavadins, hidden themselves away and just tried to maintain their line without drawing attention to themselves. These Kutirchak sannyasis were not strong enought to smash the onslaughts of these demoniac philosophies, so they just stayed in their asramas at the edge of their villages and tried to philosophically maintain themselves.
Once the direct preceptor of Acyutapreksa, realizing his own death to be at hand, called Acyutapreksa near to him and instructed him in secret of a quest to seek. The guru told Acyutapreksa (who was greatly learned in all the Upanisads and other sastras and who was very obedient to his guru) that though they were dressed as Advaitins, they were nor Mayavadis. He instructed him that “This Mayavadi concocted philosophy, ‘When knowledge that I am actually Brahman is fully ripened then I can understand that there is nothing differnt from me. This philosophy is to be rejected by all sane men and to not believe it for a second. Certainly Brahman in there and I am here, but to be the knower of Brahman and to be merged in Brahman are not the same. To say that everything is God without any distinction is meaningless since nothing can act like God. Dogs, shoes and humans are hardly omniscient, nor do they create the universe, on the other hand everything is part of the same Supreme Absolute Reality. The sun is the celestial body that shines, but on the other hand one can distinguish from the sunglobe and the sunshine. The identity of the tiny individual soul that the Mayavadis say as being identicaly the same as Brahman in all ways, is not what our line has been following. My guru never understood Brahman in this way, not his guru, nor his guru, nor his guru. For ten generations we have remained hidden; now you be happy, worship Lord Narayana and find what is actual Brahman, Param Brahman.” Having instructed Acyutapreksa in this way, the guru passed from this world.
Acyutapreksa pondered over his guru’s last words and instructions to him for a long tine. He would daily go about sadhana, worshipping Lord Narayana in the form of Anantasana in Udupi, but though a tranquil devotee, he was transcendentally perplexed. One day, while in deep though on this matter, Lord Anantasana sent someone to Acyutapreksa. It is said that Anantasana again entered the body of an ordinary man and then approached Acyutapreksa thus – “Know that I well send soon to you the best of disciples to fulfil your mission to your guru and to Me.” Acyutapreksa was now residing in the area of the Anantasana temple in Udupi at the Bandarkare Mutt. Taking the initiative, Vasudeva started visiting him daily and then became Acyutaprajna’s prospective novice disciple (not unlike underoging a probationary period for studying each other). Acyutapreksa had this divine intuive feeling upon his first meeting with Vasudeva that actually this was the “best of disciples” that the messenger of Lord Anantasana had foretold.
At the same time however, Madhyageha Bhatta, hearing that his one and only son was spending much time with the old sannyasi Acyutapreksa, became worried. He approached Vasudeva who was the only source of life of both he and Vasudeva’s loyal, devoted mother, Vedavati. As Madhyageha approached Vasudeva, vasudeva came right out with it. “I want to take sannyasa. Please give me your permission.”
Madhyageha Bhatta asked Vasudeva to reconsider, after all, they were old and frail and his mother couldn’t stand the separation. He asked him to wait until they passed away, until Vasudeva was older, and after householder life, in his old age he could take to this excellent life of ascetism. In this way with logic, entreaty and argument, Madhyageha Bhatta tried to dissuade his son from taking to the renounced order and thus going away from his home. Even Madhyageha Bhatta prostrated himself at the young boy’s feet and begged him on behalf of he and his mother not to take sannyasa, but Vasudeva only replied that, “See, it is already confirmed. The Supreme Lord has given his permission in the forms of omens, signs, etc., for a senior family member should never prostrate himself before a junior unless that junior be in the renounced order of life.” Madhyageha Bhatta then begged the old sannyasi Acyutapreksa not to initaite their son into the sannyasa order. There was no reply, and soon after Acyutapreksa headed south to Kuthyadi, now called Kayooru, across the Netravati river which runs about 38 miles south of Udupi with Vasudeva as his companion. It was here at Kuthyadi Mutt in the village of Karem that Madhyageha Bhatta found his on in the process of accepting sannyassa formally from Acyutapreksa. Vasudeva was in the process of tearing cloth into two pieces, one to go around his waist and one to cover his genitals, known as kaupin, or the traditional undergarments of the sannyasi.
Madhyageha Bhatta tried desparately for the last time to stop his determined son. “Oh son! Manu and other composers of the dharma sastra do not speak of any auspicious deed other than the protection of the parents. Those two sons of ours are dead. If you take to sannyasa we have no protector.” Vasudeva then replied to his father coolly and with detachment and love. “When a man becomes detached he would take sannyasa at that time. This is well known in the Vedic literatures. Thought I am without any attachment to objects, I do not take sannyasa without fixing someone to serve both of you. (Another child will be born, a son to look after you, then I can take sannyasa.) Madhyageha Bhatta again tried to reply in a sympathetic way saying that, “From a sastric point of view I can understand what you are saying and you are very courageous, but what will your mother say. She is a simple soft-hearted woman …” Vasudeva to the point, interrupted his father, “Father, you give me permission to take sannyasa now.” and paid his prostrated obeisances to his father. Madhyageha Bhatta then said, “If your mother agrees then let it be so!” Then Madhyageha Bhatta returned to his home on the promise that until his mother gave permission, he would not take sannyasa. Soon after, by the will of Vasudeva, his mother Vedavati became pregnant. This pacified the parents of Vasudeva somewhat, though Madhyageha was still adamant as Darasatha was for Rama when at a tender age rama was baished to the forest. Cheefully Vasudeva came to Pajakaksetra and to his parents house. “Mother, if you ever want to see me again, please give me permission to take sannyasa. Otherwise, I will leave this area altogether, and I will not be seen by you even once.” Naturally, any mother who felt anything for her child would be forced by such words to agree. Vedavati, distressed, gave her beloved son his desire to take sannyasa, for the thought of never seeing him again was worse than death. Vasudeva stayed around, coming and going from the family home to Acyutaprajna’s asrama until finally a boy was born to Vedavati and her husband. Upon the birth of the new son, Vasudeva returned home and in agreeance with the previous arrangement in the form of silent acceptance, Vedavati, the new mother, gave her permission.
THE DATE OF SANNYASA
As with the date of his birth, there is also some controversy with the datye of Vasudeva taking sannyasa. Most madhvas accept that it was around 10 or 11 when Vasudeva took sannyasa. There are other details which are not so clear and these depend on what birth date is followed. Padmanabhacar points out that assuming that the incident of the Ganges coming to Sarovar (lake) in Udupi at the request of Vasudeva being recorded in the year 1248 when astrologically Jupiter was in Leo to be correct, then Vasudeva was in his tenth year, nine years having been fully passed.
There are others also that say Vasudeva’s sannyasa took place on the Caturthi (fourth tithi) Krsnapaksa (dark fortnight) in the month of Asadha (pertaining to June-July) of a Vilambi year 1238 AD (or 1178 AD or 1118 AD). Anyway, Vasudeva definitely took sannyasa and Madhva Vijay supports the story of the Ganges.
PURNAPRAJNA TIRTHA —THE NEW SANNYASIN
In this troubled time of doubt and scepticism, the pure character of the new initiate Purnaprajna (Purnabodha) Tirtha was a pleasure for all to see. They could understand that there was no ulterior motive for this young boy to take sannyasa. He was not taking sannyas for the fame such as “I am such a great devotee or strict renunciate” , or using the pulpit of sannyasa as a position just to voice his opinions. Nor did he have in mind the sense of distinction that “everyone knows me for what I am, with my opulent attire and fancy lifestyle. This will make heads turn my way” this was not there in his character. Nor was adoration by followers his motive, as we have seen hundreds of unworthy fools running here and there, eagerly willing to adore the unqualified pretender. Nor was his motivation the subtle sense gratification, that because the material world is such a bad place let me avoid it.[ANI3] Nor was it for his own salvation that he took sannyasa, nor as a form of earning a living whilst harbouring material desires. He was not pessimistic about his own lot; there was no calamities in his life. Simply he was here to preach on the order of the Supreme Lord, his motivation was the will of the Lord, nothing more, completely purely motivated.
Now Purnaprajna was formally initiated into the Brahma sampradaya into the asrama of sannyasa, and had taken vows dedicating everything – body, mind and words, in fact his very life was for the service of Lord Hari. He had accepted the sannyasa order that was given by Sanak Adi Kumar, one of the four Kumaras, who in turn initiated Durvasas Muni into sannyasa. Coming down from Lord Brahma the line went though Sanak Kumar, Durvasas Muni to Jnananidhi, to Garudavahana to Kaivalya to Jnanisa, to Paratirtha, to Satyaprajna to Prajna, and through the hidden line to Acyutapreksa, and now to Purnaprajna Tirtha, one who has full intelligence.
The people in general were touched at the gravity by which this young boy took to the sannyasa order. Even Madhyageha Bhatta was there (according to Adamar Mutt) and it was a heart rending day to see a loved one become a “walking dead man”. Why a walking dead man? Because as Madhyageha Bhatta pointed out, Manu says that obligations to parents, to the demigods, to society etc. are there, but for a dead man, what obligations can exist? Only to serve Lord Hari with mind, body, words and one’s very existence is the only obligation. Socially one is dead.
With no sandalwood paste decorating his body, no red lustre in his mouth from chewing betel, wearing no ornaments such as rings, armulets, and fancy necklaces, this bright faced boy was instead the ornament of the three worlds, and standing with his sannyasa rod, his lustre was incomparable. All his boyish mischief had now left him and he was sober, pure and deep. Anantasesa, the expansion of the Supreme Lord, and all the demigods starting with Rudra, garuda, Indra and Candra showered flowers from above, and kettle drums could be heard. Having tears of love and expectation in their eyes, they all looked earthwards to Purnaprajna and Acyutapreksa and the assembled onlookers, and chants of “ohu vaha ho” (oh, how wonderous) could be heard in all directions echoing from the mouths of the chanters of the Sama Veda.
When Purnaprajna offered his prostrated dandavats (like a stick) before Lord Narayana in the form of Anantasana in Udupi, a hand touched his shoulder. Again this Anantesvara had possessed the body of a human, and bringing Purnaprajna next to his sannyasa guru said, “I, Anantasana have given you Purnaprajna, because for a long time you have performed devotional service intently, trying to understand the words of your guru. You are My devotee Acyutapreksa, and I know you sincerely want spiritual understanding of Me. Therefore I give you this Purnaprajna who is the result of that service.” And so the Lord revealed His promised plan that had now been actuated.
In Madhva Vijay (4.39) it points out that Acyutapreksa, thus having received the mercy of Lord Anantasana, with great joy and devotion he remembered again and again that this was all the will of the Lord, and that this disciple Purnaprajna was specially sent by the Lord and that he was not an ordinary human being. Acyutapreksa stayed only in the association of Purnaprajna understanding that he (Purnaprajna) was the crest hewel of the Lord’s ornaments.
This incident of Purnaprajna taking to the staff of sannyasa, the danda, was at the place known now as danda-Grahana.
THE GANGES (TWO STORIES)
1. Purnaprajna asked Acyutapreksa if he could go to the Ganges to take sacred bath there. Acyutapreksa gave permission for his disciple to go and as he began to wish him a safe journey he realized that this meant that they would be separated for some time. Acyutapreksa immediately became distressed and almost in a state of transcendental panic he began praying earnestly to Lord Anantasana. Being compassionate on his surrendered devotee, Lord Anantasana again possed a person and spoke through him to Purnaprajna that, “On the third day from now, just to save you from leaving this place, the celestial Ganges River will come into our lake, so there is no need of you going. She will be here before you get there.” Since that day, every twelve years the sacred Ganges comes to the lake by the grace of Lord Anantasana on Purnaprajna, the life and soul of Acyutapreksa.
2. Purnaprajna Tirtha, as is the etiquette, approached his sannyasa guru Acyutapreksa to take his permission to undergo a perilous tour on foot of the southern areas of India, where there were many learned pandits who followed the philosophies opposed to the personal form of the Lord. At this time Acyutapreksa would not give his consent to the young acarya, saying that for Purnaprajna to go alone was a very dangerous proposition. Just after this Purnaprajna suggested, “Then let me go for pilgrimage to the north to see Bhagirathi and bathe in the Ganges” but Acyutapreksa couldn’t bear the separation. Even when Purnaprajna prostrated before the old ascetic, he would not give his permission, so Purnaprajna, with great intensity, prayed to the Lord to send a remedy. Suddenly a voice was heard from the sky declaring that Gangamayi would appear within three days at the temple sarova (lake) and would subsequently come every twelve years, At this time in the south west corner of the lake, there was seen to appear a clear white stream-like column of water gushing up from within the lake. Previously this lake was known as Ananta Tirtha, but ever since the Ganges appeared to please Purnaprajna, the lake has since been named and is now known as Madhva Sarova.
(Both variations are much the same – the story of the Ganges appearing is in Madhva Vijaya 4.40-42)
PANDIT VASUDEVA DEFEATED
Madhva Vijay 4.43 points out that by now a month and ten days had gone by since Purnaprajna Tirtha had taken to the sannyasa order of life. At this time, one pandit of the name Vasudeva, with all his followers, came to Udupi to challenge local pandits. Pandit Vasudeva asked for Acyutapreksa at the Bandarkare Mutt, hearing of Acyutapreksa’s learning before even coming to Udupi. After seeking out Acyutapreksa, Pandit Vasudeva offered his respects and then challenged Acyutapreksa to debate. The whole town came out and assembled where the debate was to take place. Acyutapreksa and Purnaprajna Tirtha took their seas next to each other and listened whilst the challenging Pandit Vasudeva spoke. On a subject of his own choice, Pandit Vasudeva spoke for three days continuously without even an intermission. The assembly were amazed at the powerful way that the pandit presented his subject. At the end of his summary, making his conclusion to the threeday presentation, everyone applauded the learned pandit.
The young Purnaprajna took up the challenge. Not only did the young sannyasi reply with equal ardour and greater fluency in the subject, but Purnaprajna remembered word for word the Pandit’s points and dismantled those statements with his constructive criticism. The sound of Purnaprajna’s sweet coice powerfully came across, charming the assembly. Never had they heard such a sweet melodious tone of voice, though the same sweet voice mercilessly smashed the proud pandit’s stance. even some of the pandit’s followers tried to re-establish the pandit’s presentation, but like Bhimasen’s mighty club, Purnaprajna deadened the sound of the croacking bull-frogs.
Acyutapreksa was proud of his pupil, and thought that as he had defeated the pandit and his followers single-handedly, it was unnecessary teach basic philosophy and grammer to Purnaprajna as he had already shown his expertise in these subjects. Thinking that these things were learnt by Purnaprajna at gurukula, Acyutapreksa wanted to see how his sisya (disciple) would fare with the istasiddhi adwaitin philosophy of Vimuktatman. Purnaprajna had no interest in such childish word jugglery or bogus wrangling of speculations, but as it is the duty of the disciple to follow the guru, after the preliminaries were gone through and the first verse read, he said to Acyutapreksa that he had found, just in the first verse, thirty-two mistakes. He added that he didn’t feel it proper that such an imperfect philosophical treatise should be studied by either of them, and so they gave it up.
By now Acyutapreksa had some pretty intense realizations as to who was guru, and now desired to hear from Sri Purnaprajna Tirtha Swami. Sri Madhva Vijay 4.47-48 makes some very relevent points as to how Acyutapreksa saw the situation. Actually he was a humble Vaisnava despite his dress, and on seeing this young boy who was actually guru seated before him, he became completely free from envy and surrendered at Lord Visnu’s lotus feet. He enquired from Purnaprajna as to the proper understanding, the uttama gati, the ultimate goal of life.
Purnaprajna at every spare moment studied the Srimad Bhagavatam (Maha Bhagavat Purana) with great relish. This Purana made it’s appearance just after the disappearance of Lord Krsna from this world, and is full of transcendental subject matters about the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Sri Krsna, written down by the literary incarnation of Godhead Srila Krsna Dwaipayana Vyasa in his maturity. This illuminated scripture, which is the cream of all Vedic literatures, completely eclipses all lesser scriptures.
Once, whilst nearby Acyutapreksa, Purnaprajna Tirtha happened to hear five or six brahmins reading and discussing Srimad Bhagavatam. He noticed that what they were saying didn’t follow what Vedavyasa’s conclusions were, so humbly but forcefully, he decided to rid the all pure Srimad Bhagavatam of their speculations and concoctions and firmly re-establish the original understanding as laid down by Srila Vyasadeva. Acyutapreksa said to Purnaprajna, “If you know Vedavyasa’s methodology, let the prose in the Fifth Canto of this Bhagavatam be read and explained by you.” Purnaprajna then wonderfully explained the Fifth Canto according tot Vedavyasa’s exact method, reeling off text after text, chapter after chapter, as if he had written the book. Every word and phrase was accurate just as Srila Vyasadeva had written it in the original text. The brahmins studied what Purnaprajna was saying, trying to find some fault, but Purnaprajna, like the Bhagavatam, was spotless.
One thing bothered everyone, including Acyutapreksa “the guru” — how did this young boy know all this? Not only did he know grammer and philosophy, but he knew all the conclusions of all the scriptures, and knew perfectly well the pure untainted conclusions of Vedavyasa, the Personality of Godhead.
Acyutapreksa addressed Purnaprajna as follows: “O victorious one! How does that which was not read by you in this birth come to you?” Purnaprajna’s humble reply was that “All of this I knew from my previous births.”
Thus the fame of Purnaprajna Tirtha Swami spread far and near. No-one could fully understand who he was, nor would he reveal himself fully. Everyone loved him so much that their minds would not leave thought of his activities and speech for a moment.
Madhva Vijay 4.54 says that like the brightness of the sun that destroys all darkness of ignorance in all directions, and like the cooling rays of moonlight, he was bringing solace to the devotees of the Supreme Personality of Godhead Lord Krsna. Such devotees are compared to happy clusters of blue lotuses.
PREACHING SRIMAD BHAGAVATAM:
Some time after Purnaprajna’s initiation into the sannyasa order, being renowned as a great Vaisnava exponant and having been firmly established, this Purnaprajna Tirtha (Madhva) was in great acclaim by the people in general. They had seen him firmly defeat even Acyutapreksa, and now he was boldly preaching from the Srimad Bhagavatam. Acyutapreksa showed by his own actions that he himself was actually a great Vaisnava, and indeed a humble follower of Purnaprajna Tirtha. His attitude towards his disciple is not really explicable without due appreciation of the way the great Mukhyaprana carried out his pastimes on this earth. Being instructed correctly by this plenary portion of the empowered Vayudeva, Acyutapreksa was completely pure and non-envious, in fact loved Purnaprajna. Day by day Purnaprajna Tirtha revealed his good qualities more and more, and more and more Acyutapreksa became attached to his wonderful disciple who was becoming famous for his pure renditions.
By now, Purnaprajna Tirtha’s unwritten commentary on the Srimad Bhagavatam was developing according to his bold philosophy, as daily he lectured to large crowds. Embellished by the well wishes of Acyutapreksa and encouraged by the ever eager crowd, like hungry swans they accepted the new understanding in a pure Vaisnavite way, and rejected any previous misconceptions.
srnvatam sva kathah krsnah
hrdy antah stho hy abhadrani
vidhunoti suhrt satam
“Sri Krsna the Personality of Goead, Who is the Paramatma (Supersoul) in everyone’s heart and the benefactor of the truthful devotee, cleanses desire for material enjoyment from the heart of the devotee who has developed the urge to heat His messages, which are in themselves virtuous when properly heard and chanted.”
This is also the qualities of Vaisnava guru — to eradicate the miscinceptions which have been collected due to mental speculation, jnana, or one’s particular sensual taste based around fruitive material desire.
nityam bhagavata sevaya
bhagavaty uttama sloke
bhaktir bhavati naisthiki
“By regularly hearing the Srimad Bhagavatam and by rendering of service to the pure devotee, all that is troublesome to the heart is almost completely destroyed, and the loving service unot the Personality of Godhead, Who is praised with transcendental hymns, is established as an irrevocable fact.”
tada rajas tamo bhavah
kama lobhadayas ca ye
ceta etair anaviddham
sthitam sattve prasidati
“As soon as irrevocable loving service is established in the heart, the effects of nature’s modes of passion and ignorance, such as lust, desire, and hankering, disappear from the heart. Then the devotee is established in goodness, and he becomes completely happy.”
evam prasanna manaso
bhagavad bhakti yogatah
bhagavat tattva vijnanam
mukta sangasya jayate
“Thus established in the mode of unalloyed goodness the man whose mind has been enlivened by contact with devotional service to the Lord gains positive scientific knowledge of the Personality of Godhead in the stage of liberation from all material association.”
bhidyate hrdaya granthis
chidyante sarva samsayah
ksiyante casya karmani
“Thus the knot in the heart is pierced, and all misgivings are cut to pieces. The chain of fruitive actions is terminated when one sees the self as the master and not a sensual slave.”
ato vai kavayo nityam
bhaktim paramaya muda
“Certainly, therefore, since time immemorial, all transcendentalists have been rendering devotional service to Lord Krsna, the Personality of Godhead, with great delight, because such devotional service is enlivening to the self.”
uttama sloka caritam
cakara bhagavan rsih
dhanyam svasty-ayanam mahat
“This Srimad Bhagavatam is the literary incarnation of God, and it is compiled by Srila Vyasadeva, the incarnation of Godhead. It is meant for the ultimate food of all people, and it is all successful, all blissful and all perfect.”
dharma jnanadibhih saha
kalau nasta-drsam esa
“This Bhagavat Purana is as brilliant as the sun, and it has arisen just after the departure of Lord Krsna to His own abode, accompanied by religion, knowledge, etc. Persons who have lost their vision due to the dense darkness of ignorance in the age of Kali shall get light from this Purana.”
And so the great son of Vayu preached this great science of bhakti yoga to all the fortunate souls who came there. Everyone flocked far and near to hear this full transcendental message of Srimad Bhagavatam now being placed in the embodiment of the Bhagavatam.
Srila AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada explains in his purport to Srimad Bhagavatam 1.2.18, “….. that there are two types of Bhagavatas, namely the book Bhagavata and the devotee Bhagavata. Both the Bhagavatas are competent remedies, and both of them or either of them can be good enough to eliminate the obstacles. A devotee Bhagavata is as good as the book Bhagavata because the devotee Bhagavata leads his life in terms of the book Bhagavata and the book Bhagavata is full of information about the Personality of Godhead and his pure devotees, who are also Bhagavatas. Bhagavata book and person are identical.
“The devotee Bhagavata is a direct representative of Bhagavan, the Personality of Godhead. So by pleasing the devotee Bhagavata one can receive the benefit of the book Bhagavat. Human reason fails to understand how by serving the devotee Bhagavata or the book Bhagavata one gets gradual promotion on the path of devotion. But actually these are facts explained by Srila naradadeva, who happened to be a maidservant’s son in his previous life. The maidservant was engaged in the menial service of the sages, and thus he also came into contact with them. And simply by associating with them and accepting the remnants of foodstuffs left by the sages, the son of the maidservant got the chance to become the great devotee and personality Srila Naradadeva. These are the miraculous effects of the association of Bhagavatas. And to understand these effects practically, it should be noted that by such sincere association of Bhagavatas one is sure to receive transcendental knowledge very easily, with the result that one becomes fixed in the devotional service of the Lord. The more progress is made in devotional service under the guidence of the Bhagavatas, the more one becomes fixed in the transcendental loving service of the Lord. The messages of the book Bhagavata, therefore, have to be received from the devotee Bhagavata, and the combination of these two Bhagavatas will help the neophyte devotee to make progress on and on.”
The book Bhagavatam itself goes on to say in SB 1.1.3:
nigama kalpa taror galitam phalam
suka mukhad amrta drava samyutam
pibata bhagavatam rasam alayam
muhur aho rasika bhuvi bhavukah
“O expert and thoughful men, relish Srimad Bhagavatam, the mature fruit of the desire tree of Vedic literatures. It emanated from the lips of Sri Sukadeva Goswami. Therefore this fruit has become even more tasteful, although it’s nectarean juice was already relishable for all, including liberated souls.”
Bhagavata paragiya bhagavata sthani – one should understand Srimad Bhagavatm from the devotee Bhagavat who has realised Bhagavatam.
In the Srimad Bhagavatam the transcendental patimes of the Lord are narrated, and the narration is systematically depicted by Srila Sukadeva Goswami. Thus the subject matter is appealing to all classes of persons, including those who seek liberation and those who seek to become one with the supreme whole. In Sanskrit the parrot is also known as Suka. When a ripened fruit is cut by the red beaks of such birds, it’s sweet flavour is enhanced. The Vedic fruit which is mature and ripe in knowledge is spoken through the lips of Sukadeva Goswami, who is compared to the parrot, not for his ability to recite the Bhagavatam exactly as he heard it from his learned father, but for his ability to present the work in a manner that woud appeal to all classes of men.
In the same way, Purnaprajna Tirtha, the empowered devotee of Lord Visnu, preached to all classes of men purely from the Bhagavatam, and so doing, changed their hearts. Thus he was given the title “Bhagavatpada” by those who could understand that he was the Bhagavatam personified as previously explained.
Acyutapreksa, seeing his glorious disciple preaching so nicely, resolved that actually Purnaprajna should take to the Vedanta Pitha as the Yuvaraja or heir apparent on the Pontificial seat. Preparations were made and Purnaprajna was formally installed as the Pontif, and was given the new name of Anandatirtha. The formal installation was done in much the same way one would install the Deity in the temple, with purified articles, and bathing with sanctified waters poured from conch shells.
ANANDATIRTHA TAKES ON AND DEFEATS ALL COMERS:
Acyutapreksa was always respected for his great learning by all scholars and devotees alike. One incident came about to depict how Acyutapreksa felt about his disciple now known as Anandatirtha.
A sadhu friend of Acyutapreksa came accompanied by many disciples to debate with the learned Acyutapreksa. They were well trained in Nyaya (logic) and a little proud of their learning. Acyutapreksa told them that he had stepped down from the pitha or sea and that now they should debate with his disciple Anandatirtha, who was most qualified for discussion on any subject they may choose.
The challengers choose their own subject in which they specialized. It is said that Nyaya or logic, Vaisesika, that of argument, and that of sankhya or deduction are the philosophies that uphold Anumana or inference as an authority. Though inference doesn’t really supercede pratyaksa or perception or that of sabda (sruti-vedas) – testimony of the sastra in any way is nontheless accepted as philosophy by which one may understand things as they are.
In the discussion that followed, Anandatirtha argued that if inference did not rest on perception or on testimony as it’s final basis, speculations of all kinds could be made by one’s own limited sensual perception based on guess work or inductive thinking. The tiny conditioned soul, being clad with four defects, doesn’t always understand things as they are as we have imperfect senses, the propensity to cheat, and to become illusioned and to make mistakes. Every stance the challengers tried to make, Madhvacaya (Anandatirtha), who is full in all divisions of knowledge of the Absolute, proved his pure points against their false controversy. One of Anandatirtha’s arguments went like this:
“If we choose not to recognise the authority of sensual experience, and if we set aside the testimony of speech, writings, and revelations, pure unaided reasoning cannot establish any subject as an absolute truth whatsoever, for every argument implies that it lends itself to some kind of sense experience, either that of the arguer or that of an authority, be he a spiritual teacher or the Lord Himself or that of the sastra (scripture) written by one of the same.”
In this way, the challenging party tried to argue this way and that, desperately trying to establish their theories about the tiny jiva soul and the Supersoul (Paramatma), but Anandatirtha firmly established that the tiny jiva soul is easily seen as being different from the supersoul in as much as the jiva is controlled and the supersoul is the controller, like the king and his servant.
The tiny jiva has some freedom to act, but even that freedom is witnessed by the supersoul. He may, with the permission of the controller, use his alloted part of this material world, just as the servant of the King resides at the palace and is well kept, but if the servant tries to usurp the property of the king as his own, then he is punished. This is the swarupabheda principal.
They tried to introduce another controversy that the sky is false because you cannot touch it like silver which is relfected in an oyster shell. But Anandatirtha stated that it is not that they are false for one has that experience of seeing silver in a pearl, and it is a fact that the sky does exist, but they are not seen by the eye in a regular way. Anandatirtha stated the philosophy of abhinava-anyatha khyati-vada in a new way. If a thing is to be seen, then there should be some contact with the eye of the seer and the object. But as there is no direct contact between the eye and the silver in a pearl or the eye and the sky, it can be said that it is not seem, as the observasion does not occur.
And so they argue back and forth, Anandatirtha always establishing the absolute truth as being personal and dispelling the arguments of illusion – Mayavada. At the end of these discussions they gave Anandatirtha the title “Anumana Tirtha” due to his complete understanding of the anumana (logic and argument).
THE DOWNFALL OF BUDDHISAGARA AND VADISIMHA
The next to come to challenge were Buddhisagara, a Buddhists who was a renown Bauddha – hater of the Vedas, who is the inflicter of defeat on those eminent scholars who are like elephants among men. Buddhisagara came to challenge Acyutapreksa along with the Jain (Tarkika) scholar of the name Vadisimha. Madhva Vijay explains how Acyutapreksa quickly defeated their attack by taking an arrow in the form of the great Ananda Tirtha from his quiver (his mutt). There it says how Anandatirtha, who has excellent intelligence and who is skilled in conquering any opponents, looked out over the large concourse of people who had come to listen to his debate. Umpires were appointed to decide philosophical issues as to who made the true points.
Vadisimha was first to lead the attack. His lead was that of eighteen alternative positions, trying to destroy Anandatirtha by his weighty arguments. Anandatirtha now only refuted each point, but he smashed the envious rascal Vadisimha who was so badly philosophically defeated with just a few quick and unbearable sentences. Vadisimha was impelled to show his real self, shouting loudly trying to present more arguments, but in a cool and dignified manner was the best of all Vaisnava philosophers. Powerful and controlled, Anandatirtha resembled Bhimasena in a fight. Anandatirtha dismembered Vadisimha’s every word and Vadisimha fell silent. Everyone knew that this was his sign of his total defeat.
Buddhisagara, whose name means an ocean of intelligence, came forward next with pride to try to make his points against Anandatirtha. Coming in contact with him, he realized too quickly how he, Buddhisagara, had vastly over-estimated himself. With only a back hand slap of a sentence, Anandatirtha smashed the arrogant Buddhisagara, but then the cheating rascals, Vadisimha and Buddhisagara, addressed Anandatirtha and requested, “Let the disputation of philosophies take place tomorrow and today not be counted.” The victorious Anandatirtha, the acarya, replied, “If you have something to discuss then discuss it now.” but their reply was that it was evening and in an inauspicious muhurta, etc. They made so many excuses to appear undefeated, but all the people knew that they had met their match. The next morning Vadisimha and Buddhisagara’s room was empty. In fear of their reputation they had run away overnight. It was plain to see that Anandatirtha had gained a wealth of reputation without any effort and to even a higher degree than by Buddhisagara and Vadisimha, who had earned theirs over a long time of wandering throughout Bharat Bhumi.
Now everyone was inpsired to hear from Anandatirtha. His attacks on the Mayavada philosophy of Sankaracarya’s sararaka Sutra Bhasya were so powerful that it left Sankaracarya’s work torn to shreds philosophically. Anandatirtha’s constructive criticism of any philosophy which did not give full credit to the Supreme Personality of Godhead ended in the same way, after thorough exposure to Anandatirtha’s sword-wielding philosophy. This was just what everyone had been praying for, and the people now urged him to tell everyone everywhere the detailed truths which had been hidden for so long, and to establish this “new” philosophy which would benefit all mankind.
Once when Anandatirtha was giving a commentary in the form of discourse on the Brahma Sutra Bhasya, he critisized particularly the Bhasya of Sankaracarya. With a derisive smile on his face, he forcefully progressed to fulfill the request and mission on the demigods who approached Lord Narayana on behalf of the suffering people in general for a pure philosophy. This commentary was like a river of flowing nectar for those assembled devotees intently listening. The learned pandits, who knew Sruti and Smriti, begged Anandatirtha to write his own commentary on the Brahma Sutra (Vedanta Sutra).
Just as one who has developed bad habits in connection with learning to play a musical instrument has to be retrained out of their bad habits before training of a purely positive nature can begin, so Anandatirtha’s Brahma Sutra verbal commentary first kicks out all bogus philosophies that the people had acquired out of ignorance. It is actually quite a strange thing that they respected Sankaracarya’s Bhasya in the first place.
ANANDATIRTHA IS NOW GIVEN THE TITLE OF ACARYA:
Whoever makes big propaganda in this fallen age of Kali will become recognized irrespective of qualities and qualification. The dog who barks the loudest becomes the leader of the pack. However this is not the case in Vaisnava society, in fact it is just the opposite. The humble devotee of the Lord commands respect. He does not demand respect. His boldness is not like that of the cunning dog, but that of the surrendered devotee. Being completely surrendered to the will of the Lord and only preaching so that everyone can come to know the Lord, Madhva became recognized as being materially unmotivated. Anandatirtha, now accepted as the acarya, became known as Madhvacarya.
Let us look at why Anandatirtha was given the name Madhvacarya. “Madhu” means nectar of pleasing thing, and “Ananda” means bliss or happiness, so when one looks at the content of the name, one can see that Madhu is a synonyn for Ananda, but specifically Madhvacarya means that teacher (Acarya) who gives the required happiness, nectar of bliss in the form of his urgently needed and prayed for philosophy, and his ever pleasing pastimes through which he taught his message to the devotees (nityasuris).
First he spoke his commentary. The way Madhvacarya’s Brahma Sutra Bhasya was composed, it contained statements and meanings properly related to one another in an easily understandable fashion, and everyone could actually understand and realize who is the Persoanlity of Godhead and how everything is coming from Vasudeva (Krsna). vasudevam sarvam iti. This easily understandable Sutra was soundly based on the authority of the Smrtis in conjunction with the Vedas.
In Madhva Vijay 5.22 it mentions how Madhvacarya defeated all of the old schools. Some were highly intelligent due to their intense study of the sastras and they knew well all the laws of logic. Some were even free from envy and desirous of knowing Madhva’s Sutra, while others however possessed envy and were desirous of just conquering Acarya Madhva.
Madhvacarya’s now aged father, Madhyageha Bhatta, from time to time would come to visit his beloved son, the partial incarnation of Vayudeva, watching him with loving intent as the Acarya dismantled and re-assembled those who came to present their case. This learned brahmin would relish seeing the bodily form and lustre, the dynamic and yet sanguine form of the bull among men who took his birth in that best of brahmins’ house. It is said that he drank with hollowed palms the nectar seen through his old eyes, that ocean of nectar Madhvacarya. Through the cavity of his ears he drank that pure sabda brahman – that transcendental sound vibration emanating from Madhvacarya’s lotus mouth. Deep in his heart he remembered, how with love, he used to hold him in his arms as a child and play games with him, and recall all his ecstatic childhood partimes. His heart would melt and swim, almost drowning in absorbsion on his great son. Finally tears of love would wash away his vision of Madhvacarya.
ACYUTAPREKSA PREASURES MADHVA TO WRITE:
During one visit of Madhyageha Bhatta, Madhva Vijaya records a discussion between Madhvacarya and his sannyasa guru. Acyutapreksa made a profound statement for the purpose of getting his required result, knowing well that Madhvacarya could not, would not bear to hear any bogus statements of Mayavadi philosophy. “I have an objection.” Madhvacarya interjected. Acyutapreksa said, “If you know the Brahmasutra, then compose it in the form of a written commentary.”
Madhvacarya accepted this pure challenge just as the hamsa swan accepts only milk giving up the water mixed with it. Madhvacarya knew Acyutapreksa’s heart, that it was not so much that he was challenging, but out of compasssion for all the soft-hearted Vaisnavas who are demigods on earth, he challenged to aid this great mission to satisfy and glorify the Supreme Personality of Godhead Lord Visnu. Acyutapreksa went on to say, “If all the various Bhasyas, beginning with this Bhasya of Sankara are of an impersonal nature and thus opposed to the settled opinion of the great sages and rsis who know Brahmasutra, that’s alright. Let it be. What harm can this do? Instead you please tell us the real and intended meaning of this pure Brahmasutra (Vedanta Sutra) and Upanisads.”
Some say it was the conditioning of Acyutapreksa that was saying that it’s alright, that Sankara’s Bhasya be of an impersonal nature. Madhva Vijay indicates however, in canto 5.29, that this best of ascetics was of the same swanlike nature as Madhvacarya, overlooking the insignificant effulgence of stars, and was only interested in the full moon which brightened up all directions in the form of Acarya Madhva. The Acarya, who in no doubt was seflf eminent, spread the glories of the personal form, attributes pastimes, etc of the uinlimited incanration of the Supreme Personality of Godhead as the full moon shines it’s moonshine brightening the sky, or as a beautiful rain cloud pours it’s merciful rains on everyone. No-one had to come forward to point out that the full moon was in the sky; all rascal-like philosophies were immediately exposed just as a thief is exposed on a full moon night.
ACARYA MADHVA PREACHES THROUGH SOUTHERN INDIA:
In Madhva Vijay it is mentioned that one day Madhvacaya, who is perfect in intellect, was desirous of preaching in the direction protected by the great Dikpalaka – Yamaraja (the south), knowing well that the pandits of these areas in the south followed various philosophies such as the Mayavada philosophy of Sankaracarya, the mystic yoga system of Patanjali, the Karma Mimamsa philosphy of Jaimini, Nyaya logic of Gautama Muni and the materialistic Sankya philosophy of Kapilasura. There were also Buddhists and those of mixed philosophies. Acyutapreksa didn’t mind him going on this preaching tour, providing he could also go along, and so accompanying Madhva, they set out for Visnumangala. According to Padmanabhacar’s book “The Life and Teachings of Sri Madhvacarya” there is the following statement. “Authentic evidences fixes Visnumangala as a village about twenty seven miles south of Mangalore.” Visnumangala was always a favourite place of Madhva who opted to spend much time at the temple of Lord Visnu there. The name Visnumangalam is specifically given here due to this Deity being said to be the bestower of all auspiciousness to the world.
At Visnumangalam, just as Madhva had finished an enormous meal of Visnu prasadam, a local householder approached the acarya with alms of two hundred ‘raja kela’ plaintain fruits, and begged Madhvacarya to eat them. These bananas are one and a half feet in length and ten inches in circumference, but this plenary portion of Vayu, who had previously appeared as Vrikodara (Bhimasena) ate every single plaintain in a very casual manner, without the slightest exertion or heaviness to his body. Everyone was amazed, as most persons could maybe eat three of four at the most. They implored Madhvacarya to tell them the truth how this was possible. Madhvacarya answered very seriously with his mind fixed on Lord Hari, “Oh, the fire in my stomach is the size of my thumb, and is burning brightly. Therefore it is always ready to perform it’s service for the body and digest anything. In fact, it could be compared to the fire at the time of the devastation of the universe, such is it’s potency.”
Madhva Vijay tells how Madhvacarya, Acyutapreksa and their party headed further south, crossing at the flag-staff near Visnumangala and going down into Kerela. Criss-crossing over the many waterways in the area, they went on to the sacred Payasvini River which purifies the minds of those who bathe there. After coming to the river Payasvini, Madhvacarya approached the temple of Ananta Sayana Padmanabhaswami, Who is glorified as having a lustre like that of a blue lotus, and Who has a lotus flower in His navel, lying on Ananta Sesa with Laxmi Devi massaging His lotus feet, and Whose body is made of nearly 18,000 Saligrams.
In the town of Ananta, Madhvacarya delivered powerful lectures on the Brahma Sutra, specifically explaining the name, qualities and form of the infallible Lord Acyuta. His disciples and the local brahmins came to hear how the tiny conditioned soul is different from the mighty infallible Lord. The Mayavadis propose that there is only one living being, and one power of illusion (avidya) which covers that person, producing an illusory appearance of plurality. But this hypothesis leads to the absurd conclusion that when any one individual living being becomes liberated, everyone attains liberation. But how is that? If on the other hand there are many illusions (avidyas) which cover only some part of the living entity, then we would have to talk about his becoming partly liberated at a particular time while his other parts were in bondage. Thus the philosophical conclusion of difference (Dwaita – plurality or dualism) is the unavoidable conclusion.
To try to say that everything is the same was just the kind of fuel that Madhva was looking for to fully propound his Vaisnava philosophy. Madhvacarya points out five kinds of differences. (1) The difference between the tiny jiva and the infallible Lord. There is one verse from the Srimad Bhagavatam (10.87.30) which substantiates the difference between the living entities and the Lord.
aparimita dhruvas tanu-bhrto yadi sarva-gatas
tarhi na sasyateti niyamo dhruva netaratha
ajani ca yan-mayam tad avimucya niyantr bhavet
samam anujanatam yad amatam mata-dustataya
“O Supreme Eternal! If the embodied living entities were eternal and all-pervading like You, then they would not be under Your control. But if the living entities are accepted as minute energies of Your Lorship, then they are at once subject to Your supreme control. Therefore real liberation entails surrender by the living entities to Your control, and that surrender will make them happy. In that constitutional position only can they be controllers. therefore, men with limited knowledge who advocate the monistic theory that God and the living entities are equal in all respects are actually guided by a faulty and polluted opinion.”
Sripad Madhvacarya’s point is driven home with the verse from Srimad Bhagavatam 3.28.41
pradhaaj jiva samjnitat
atma tatha prthag drasta
bhagavan brahma samjnitah
“the Supreme Personality of Godhead,who is known as param brahma,is the seer.He is different from the jiva soul,or individual living entity,who is combined with the senses,the five elements and consciousness.”
(2) The difference between the Lord and matter — how the Lord is completely original and spiritual, and matter is a temporary manifestation of the Lord’s external potency or energy, which is always changing and is put into motion merely by the glance of the Lord. (3) The difference between individuals, that definitely I am not you and by feeding you I am not full, nor by dressing you am I clothed. (4) The difference between the tiny living entities and the material energy. He explained how the marginal living entity is purely a spiritual entity, but due to misidentification with this material body, which is made of combinations of earth, water, fire, air, ether, mind, intelligence and false ego, he can be temporarily bound by illusion. Dull matter, which is constantly changing, does not go with the purified soul (entity) upon leaving this body. As they say, earth to earth and ashes to ashes. The body may be eaten by worms or by vultures, or burned to ashes and again return to it’s material elements, but the eternal spirit soul, which is different by nature, leaves that place and either takes birth again in the material world to wear another body tailor made to fit his particular mentality, or go to the place where Lord Sri Krsna resides (the living entities’ natural abode). Here we can clearly see that the living entity is of the superior nature or energy of the Lord while the inferior energy is matter. The cosmic manifestation comprised of material elements has no power to act unless it is moved by a superior energy which is the living entity. (5) The fifth is the difference between different kinds of matter. This can be seen in an example of a tree in the forest and a tree in the fire; the basic elements that go to make up a tree are the same, but by the adding of another element, fire, a different reaction takes place. One can appreciate that in earth the element of aroma is present; in water taste is present; in fire form is present; in air touch is present; and in ether sound is present. So again differences are there. More examples – the original fire, it’s flame, it’s sparks and it’s smoke are all one (fire), yet as fire is still fire but is different from flame, so the flame is different in quantity from the sparks, and sparks are different from smoke. Yet in everyone of them fire is still present, but each and every one of them are differently situated with different attributes or qualities of fire.
Srimad Bhagavatam 3.28.40 supports this statement:
dhumad vapi sva sambhavat
yathagnih prthag ulmukat
“the blazing fire is different from the flames,from the sparks,and from the smoke,although all are intimately connected because they are born from the same blazing wood.”
So every one of these five differences that have been cited, namely the material nature, the cosmic manifestation, the living entities and the individual natures of each are all but different energies of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
All throughout South India Madhvacarya opened everyone’s eyes with his philosophy of Dwaitavada. To depict Madhva’s concept of difference, he says, “That there is a concept, a visesa, which gives substance and attributes showing distinctions and similarities to an object, whilst still having it’s separate existance.” For example, a statement can be made. “The pot is white.” The “pot” and “white”, however, cannot be necessarily taken to always be the same, for the pot is something more than it’s whiteness. If one were asked to fetch a white thing, one may not necessarily bring the pot, for there may be other white objects – some may or may not be pots; all white things are not pots. One could say bring that pot there next to the … not mentioning it’s attribute of colour, or a blind man may be asked to bring the pot. then what? Definitely it is not all one, for separate identity can be found in both the pot and in white objects. Therefore identity and difference is outlined with the concept of visesas or forms. Different words are given to different forms with different attributes by different persons at different times in different places. Then how can it be adwaita, or one? Difference is there, so we have dwaita.
In this system of Dwaita, by the definitive terms, one can see quite easily how the potency of a given thing determines the “non-synonymous” nature of anything, but at the same time giving some synonymous attributes, such as the jiva is spiritual by nature being qualitatively synonymous with the nature of the Supreme Lord, but the attributes in quantity to which the tiny jiva soul possesses characteristics such as fame, beauty, wealth, knoweldge, etc are quite miniscule.
In this way, Madhvacaya presented the authorized view of Brahma Sutra to the assembly. he also invited pandits seated there, who were maybe not convinced or of a different philosophy, to reply to his statements. Even he requested his disciples to take a false stand and present a particular philosophy so the pure dwaita vedantist philosophy could be preached. defeatibg the impersonal treatise of Sankara who took his birth at Kalady just nearby, Madhvacarya stood firm, powerful and undefeated by anyone. With a kind and gentle smile he preached and preached his new composition of Brahma Sutra Bhasya.
During the tour in the extreme south, Madhvacarya visited many places, including one place in the Anamalai Hills in the district of Udamalpet. On one side of a mountain, which stretches as far as the eye can see, flows a river parallel to the mountain. The bed of the river is made of solid rock and not a grain of sandstone or mud settles there, and so the water is crystal clear. Opposite to this place stands the ancient temple of the Gunavataras (Visnu, Siva and Brahma). In the river there is a formation of boulders with a flat one on top, making a natural bridge by which the current of the river flows undisturbed under the flat stone and around the three boulders. The flat stone is big enough to seat one hundred men comfortably and is solid. Madhva, on his tour through this area, used to sit on this rock in the river and think of his mission after bathing in the river. The local people of the area were so taken back by Madhvacarya that they had a Deity made of him, which is still there to this day.
MADHVACARYA MEETS VIDYA SANKARA OF SRINGERI:
After Madhvacarya’s visit to the Padmanabha Swami temple in Trivandrum, he found himself face to face with his arch enemies’ descendent, the followers of Sankaracarya from Sringeri, Sankara’s headquarters who were touring in the same areas at the same time as Madhva. It is not that the Vaisnava has enemies or really hold enmity to anyone, but still, those who wantonly blaspheme the eternal, factual, blissful, bodily form of the Lord, the Vaisnava is not pleased to see. In their meeting, Madhvacarya dismantled the poor philosophy coming from the mouth of the elderly Vidya Sankara. He didn’t stop for even a moment, and when the Sankarite monist was bitterly defeated, he tried to criticise Madhva. Philosophically he had no hope, so he and his followers tried to say that Madhva was too fat, though every honest soul could see his body marked with all thirty two auspicious signs. One could easily see that due to being soundly defeated by Madhva in philosophy, Vidya Sankara had taken to the boldily concept of life trying to find fault. In due course, Madhva and Vidya Sankara left Trivandrum heading south, but did not meet again until the Caturmasya was about to begin. Madhva, as a staunch sannyasi, decided to observe the vows of the four months of the rainy season in Ramesvaram. Vidya Sankara had also taken to this idea, and so after thier individual tours, which took them to Ananta Sayana, Kanya Kumari and to just outside Ramesvaram, they took their baths there at the place where the bridge was built for Lord Rama to cross to Lanka. From there they went to Dhanuskodi, and on to Ramesvaram for Caturmasya.
They met, and immediately Madhvacarya attacked the impersonalist Vidya Sankara. Madhvacarya made his challenge and stated that if Vidya Sankara was successful in argument and defeat him, then he would give him his danda to break into pieces. Thus was Madhva’s confidence. Madhvacarya said, “Oh highly angry one (oh stupid one). If this staff (danda) is not broken by you in sound discussion, then you are a liar and a eunuch.” Vidya Sankara bent his head is shame, then in a sly, selfish way, asked the brahmins there to bless him to break the danda of Madhvacarya. The brahmins replied in a voly, that who could hate Madhvacarya. Just his moonlike face pleases the entire world and the words that come from his lotus mouth are the source of our inspiration. In the discssions that followed, the shining genius Madhva conquered all the arguments of the Mayavadis.
This Vidya Sankara was a sore loser, he would constantly send his men to inconvenience Madhva’s party, like some kind of physical guorrilla warfare of petty harrassment. Actually this further re-inforced the defeat of the inadequate advaitin so much so that, being smashed, they now resorted to the bodily concept of life. They were not even humble enough to conceed defeat, instead they tried to arrange that shopkeepers would not give supplies to Madhvacarya and his party, and many other inconveniences, stealing provisions etc. This is the unfortunate nature of Kali Yuga, but Madhva remained, as usual, quite above the pettiness that the Mayavadis tried to harrass his party with.
After the Caturmasya had finished, the lion among men (Madhva), who had resided in his homely den (Ramesvaram) unpeturbed by the pranks of homeless street dogs in the form of the Sankarites, left to go to Sri Rangam, passing through all the sacred tirthas such as Tanjore, Syali and Chidambaram, and his followers increased by the day.
One day, the all compassionate acarya took his mercy on a pregnant woman who was in need of water, as was her whole village. He manifested an abundence of cool fresh water by the aid of his danda. In fact, Madhvacarya struck his danda into the ground and from that place an abundence of water came. That Danda Tirtha to this day always gives the best, purest drinking water.
Finally he reached the seat of Vaisnava learning at that time, and he discussed vigourously with the descendents of Ramanujacarya, the Vaisnava saint of the eleventh century. Taking darsan of the many Deities of the Sri Rangam temple, Madhvacarya, not being disrespectful to the devas, but focussed his time on Lord Ranganatha, Narayana.
From there Madhvacarya visited Chandragiri on the banks of the Payaswini River. At this temple masses of pandits came, learned in all six limbs of the Vedas, such as siksa – instructions on spiritual matters, vyakarana – grammer, chhandas – the proper recitation of mantram, nirukta – root meaning of words, jyotisa – astrology, and kalpa – the study of the method of sacrifices (kalpa sutra – mimamsa sutra). These pandits were all so enthused to hear that such a great personality had come, that they started to observe him closely. Though Madhvacarya was dressed as a simple sannyasi renunciate without ornamentation, he was the ornament that all had come to see. With gentlemanly demenour, gentle smile, lotus like eyes, gold like complexion, and speaking only the sacred words of the Bhagavatam, everyone was taken back by him.
Madhva Vijay 5.52 mentions that Madhvacarya stood out like a beaming sun, diminishing the brightness of all the learned pandits that had come to see him as stars in the daylight. In the places where ill-logic or mental speculation was stored, like a lion he roared, chasing away the elephants of ficticious and mundane philosophies. Yet for those who were innocent he had the form of lilies in a pond; he was as pleasing as moonlight.
EXPLANATIONS OF VISNUSAHASRA NAMA:
Another incident is recorded whereby, in a small temple on the banks of the Payasvini River, Madhvacarya was challenged by an eminent pandit of the time. The pandit said to Madhvacarya that he and the crowd that had gathered there wanted to hear Madhvacarya recite certain hymns of the Aitareya Upanisad. Madhvacarya recited those mantras perfectly, with the proper pronunciation, clarity of each letter, and with absence of speed. It is said he recited them exactly how one would want to appreciate sound of the mantras. Hearing this wonderful recitation, all those assembled were quite taken aback, but those pandits who had challenged and who were envious of Madhvacarya, gave a different rendition and meaning to the mantras.
Madhvacarya very quickly proceeded to put things straight. He pointed out to the envious pandits how, in the Vedas, every word has three meanings, in the Mahabharata there are ten meanings to every word, and in the Visnusahasra Nama there are one hundred different meanigs for each word. Therefore, although they said that their rendition of the mantra was right, what he said was also right. The pandits, trying to humiliate Madhvacarya, attacked again, demanding to hear all the one hundred meanings of the Visnusahasra Nama, doubting the acarya’s potency.
In Madhva Vijay 6.6. Madhvacarya is recorded to have said, “I shall now recite to you all the one hundred meanings. You please repeat them after me with clarity.” Madhvacarya then started, with pure mind and intent, free from anger, envy or vindictiveness, to give each to each word accurate meanings, determined in the Upanisads. Following the rules of Vyakarana (grammer), the acarya elaborated on the first word in the Visnusahasra Nama, Visva, the root of the word being vis and the suffix kva, so (1) Visva means Visnu, because it is He who has enetered wach universe, (2) because Lord Visnu has pervaded everywhere in the form of knowledge, (3) because He is carried by Garuda, (4) Lord Visnu is perfect in all respects, (5) Lord Visnu activates Vayu, being the all-knowing supersoul and resort of the devas. Like this, Madhvacarya went on explaining the meaning of each word. He explained all the grammatical intricacies to such a degree that the so-called pandits could not follow what Madhva said, though they were learned in the Upanisads, Mahabharata, etc. (Sruiti, smrti). Therefore they are compared to unfortunate wells, that for some reason, even at the time of dissolution when the whole universe fills with water, they could not contain the abundance of water.
Bewildered and humbled, the “pandits” begged for forgiveness. Addressing Madhvacarya in a humble mood they said, “Oh omniscient Madhvacarya, your learning and understanding of the spiritual name, form and qualities of the Lord are not even matched by the hosts of demigods. Surely you are empowered by the Lord. We fickle-minded humans have surely offended you. Please forgive us, and give us shelter at your lotus feet.” Thus they surrendered to Madhvacarya on the spot.
MADHVA DEFEATS THE PANDITS OF KERALA:
At Chandragiri on the banks of the Payasvini, a large gathering of the most learned brahmins from sixty three different villages in Kerala joined together to discuss with Sripad Madhvacarya. It seemed as if the Kerala brahmins were trying to make some kind of last stand against the foreign acarya from neighbouring Karnataka. The Kerala brahmin’s leaders were actually quite fearful of Madhvacarya, thinking that if Madhva were to defeat any of their pandits in debate, it would put a slur on their country. Therefore they had all joined together as one body to defend the fame and glory of Kerala.
They questioned Madhvacarya from different Vedic points, such as Rg Veda. In the Rg Veda 10.117.1 the verse praises those good souls who give in charity to those who are deserving of such charity. “Venket the beggar is glorifying the grain donation, ‘We are hungry so we are asking for charity. It is said that not only humans but also demigods can die through hunger. So by giving charity all living entities will benefit, so definitely one should give. And while asking one should not loose heart, for without asking one will not receive charity or be happy.'” (This verse also ridicules those who do not give in charity, for if one does not give, how can one hope in the future to receive charity of be happy by accumulated punya (pious results).
Madhvacarya then gave the root meanings to some of the main word and points in this hymn from the Rg Veda. Givning “priniyat” as an example, Madhvacarya said that the root word in “prina prinane.” He then ridiculed the brahmin who he was discussing with who said that the root of “priniyat” was “free.” Madhvacarya told him, “O dullard, I thought you were an educated man, a pandit, but it appears that you don’t know the differences between “pra, pri and pree.” You should again undergo the Vidyarambha ceremony and go back to school, then under the guidance of a teacher you can practice your letters and vowels by drawing in this dust.” Then Madhvacarya laughed heartily. For the proud Keralan pandits this was too much, and were taken back by Madhva’s bold critisism, but out of respect they still honoured him, even though they were a little inimical due to being on the bodily platform of life, thinking that they were Kerala brahmins and that Madhvacarya was a Karnataka brahmin.
In another verse, again from the Rg Veda 8.91.7, it talks of Devendra’s gift of lustre to the young body of a virgin girl, by whom Devendra was honoured. The Kerala brahmins had said that the word “apala’ refered to the girl as being a leper, but Madhva said no, it means a young virgin girl. The arrogant Kerala brahmins obstinantly insisted that apala meant leper, but by this time Madhvacarya had had more than enough of the Kerala brahmins, and as he prepared to leave them festering in their false pride, he told them that seeing as they would not accept any facts from him, soon a very learned man will come to their country. He told them to ask him the meaning of the word. Then he left that place as one leaves the stool field after passing.
Soon after, just as Madhva had predicted, an unknown but very learned pandit arrived in the coutnry of Kerala. He also agreed that the world ‘apala’ in that verse refered to a young virgin girl and not to a leper. Realizing their misfortune that they had not taken advantage of the great acarya’s presence and had enviously challenged Madhva, they lamented, “Oh how unfortunate we are. We were in the direct association of such a great soul, and yet he left due to our offensive challenging spirit. He was simply trying to open our eyes and was only here for such a short time. We were so much on the bodily concept of life that we missed out on receiving transcendental knowledge from such a pure devotee of the Lord.”
It is a fact to to some degree they could appreciate who they had in front of them, but they had been covered by their own false egos. Due to being inimical towards the acarya, they made themselves almost unavailable to receive his mercy; instead they just debated over the root meanings of words. Not realizing that this great Vaisnava acarya was a pure representative of the Lord and was right there amongst them, they did not accept him as an authority, even though his learning in Veda could not be matched. Madhva Vijay 6.21 says that Madhvacarya knew all forms of sastra, sruti, the Puranas, Mahabharata, everything. He also knew Trikalajnan, the past, the present and the future.
The fame of Madhvacarya, by now, had spread by those devotees whose hearts had become softened by hearing of him. To those soft hearted Vaisnavas, who resemble pure white lotuses, the full moon in the form of the rays of his fame penetrated their hearts even in the countries, towns and villages that he had not yet visited.
Madhva then returned to Udupi and Lord Anantesvara, Who is situated on the western side of the town. It is said in Madhva Vijaya 2.14,
rajatapithapuri amaralayadvayam vartate
tatra purvalayasthah prathamato namyah
iti sampradaya niyamah
There are two temples in rajata Pitha (Udupi) (Vishvapati Tirtha), the eastern one and the western one. One must first pay one’s respects to Lord Shiva (Chandramuleshwa) at the eastern temple and then go to Lord Anantesvara ( Anantasana) in the western temple. This is the tradition that everyone follows daily here. Madhvacarya did as is tradition, and relished the darshan of Chandramuleshwa and Anantesvara for some time.
MADHVA COMPARED TO BHIMA AND THE PURE SASTRA IS COMPARED TO DRAUPADI: Madhva Vijay 6.24-31
Madhvacarya, having seen that the Mayavadin followers of Sankaracarya propounded the misinterprested sastras, the Vedas, Upanishads, Brahma Sutra, etc. with Sankara’s commentary of Advaitavada (monism), out of compassion and kindness he vowed to refute those impersonalistic commentaries and establish the true philosophy of dualism, just as Bhima vowed to kill Dussasana for his rascaldom.
The Vedas, when properly presented by an authorized seer such as Vedavyasa, the great sages and rsis – (the Lord Himself or His empowered devotees) – gives fruit, and that fruit is for the fortunate person who hears this pure sabda brahman; he will become spiritual enlivened. The transcendental pastimes of the Supreme Personality of Godhead are propounded in many different ways throughout the Vedas and it’s auxilliaries. Even in the science of proper articulation and pronunciation, the science of prosody, grammer, etymological explanation of different roots in words, etc, astrology and astomony and ritualistic sacrifices and pujas, all are based on and around the Lord, with the purpose of invoking remembrance of the Lord and are decorated by the bright garland of gems in the form of Brahma Sutra (Vedanta Sutra) Bhasya.
Previously it is seen that Draupadi is kept under the protection of her husbands, the five Pandavas, who, being devotees of Lord Krsna, are from the best clan in Bharata Bhumi. She is allowed to remain chaste through this affliation. She is delicately beautiful and nicely decorated from her soft, fine, bright feet, serene walk and graceful movements. Her darkish complexion has given her the name Krsna, and she is completely devoted to Lord Sri Krsna. Just as her delicate qualities are ornaments to her gait, so the proper swara, pronounciation and metre, beautify the body of the Vedas. As Draupadi is kept from harm, so the Vedas are kept from harm from those who have not tried to satisfy guru and Krsna to gain access to the meaning of the Vedas and the sattvic Puranas. Being always chaste is the ultimate Vedic principle – chaste to guru, chaste to husband, chaste to Krsna. In this way the Vedic literatures can be recited purely, like Draupadi who is always keeping proper attire and is empowered with swara suddhi, clarity and melodious voice. Therefore she is compared to the Vedas.
In important yajnas, groups of the Vedas are recited for the pleasure of the Lord. Draupadi would help Dharmaraja (Yudhisthira) in such yajnas as the rajasurya, with her mind firmly fixed on Lord Krsna. She was genuinely recognized as the mother of devotion. But now, as Draupadi was humiliated in the assembly of Kauravas for their own twisted, wicked ways, and they tried to abuse her, the Vedic literatures had become, on the whole, misrepresented by Sankaracarya and his followers, and everyone was feeling unhappy at this kind of abuse. Due to the strong influence of this fallen age of Kali, even those who are pious souls, the innocent and even some Vaisnava devotees of the Lord, had become powerless and had to look on and see bogus philosophies be bounded around and established in a world full of cheats and the cheated.
Katha Upanisad 1.2.5 says,
avidyayam antare vartamanah
svayam dhirah panditam manyam anah
janghanyamanah pariyanti mudha
andhenaiva niyamana yathandhah
“Caught in the grip of ignorance, self proclaimed experts consider themselves learned authorities. They wander about this world befooled, like blind men leading the blind.”
Due to the effects of Dharmaraja being cheated into a false challenge to bind the Pandavas hand and foot at the gambling match, with fixed dice, a Ksatriya’s honour forced the most powerful of warriors to not act. Bhisma, Drona and others looked on but were helpless for one reason or another, and Vidura also looked on sorrowfully while the Pandavas were bound by their loyalty to King Yudhisthira, the Dharmaraja.
In the Vedas it is again and again propounded that Vasudeva is the Supreme Personality of Godhead – vasudevo va idamagra asit, is the bearer of the earth and it’s rescuer in the form of Varahadeva – dadhartta pritvimabhitomayukhaih, and is the Lord of all – atmetyevopasita. To this Supreme Lord Vasudeva, Draupadi surrendered her very life and reputation, loudly calling out His Holy Name Vasudeva, Krishna, Dharanidhara, Natha, In pure intensity she had no other Lord or hope. With her mind fixed on Krsna like Prahlada and Gajendra, she became safe as a recipriant of the Lord’s mercy.
In the same way it can be seen that those who had suffered so long, the devotees and the demigods, were now having their desires fulfilled by the Lord, for the Lord sent His empowered devotee to dismantle the illusions of Mayavada philosophy and give something to those who have been fooled by the Sunyavada philosophy of nothingness. Simply by presenting the philosophy of Vedavyasa, the literary incarnation of the Lord, which is free from all defects, Madhvacarya was successful, just like Draupadi was free from all defects by taking complete shelter of Yadavakrsna (Lord Sri Krsna, the friend of the Yadu dynasty). Madhvacarya had taken a vow to the same Lord Krsna to do away with the philosophy of impersonalism. In the same way he previously vowed, as Bhima, to rid this world of the likes of Duryodhana and Dussasana.
MADHVACARYA GOES TO BADRI:
Compiling his own commentary on Bhagavad-gita before his sannyasa guru Acyutapreksa, Madhva mentioned that now he wanted to go to Badri. Seven years before he had taken to the sannyasa order and had been constantly preaching throughout the south with enormous success. Acyutapreksa gave his premission to go, but before Madhvacarya’s leaving, he had a copy of his “Hari Gita Bhasya” transcribed which he presented it to his dear sannyasa guru so he would not be in too much separation at such an old age. In Madhvacarya’s long absence Acyutapreksa could study this Gita Bhasya. Acyutapreksa knew that Madhva’s purpose was not that of a mere cow or an ass, just to go to this holy place and take bath. Taking his time preparing properly, Madhva headed north with his Bhagavad-gita Bhasya to show to the Lord, Srila Vyasadeva.
Srila Vyasdeva, the compiler of the Vedic literatures, still to this day resides at a place near Badri, Samyaprasa, for those spiritually elevated souls who he decides to reveal himself to. He can be seen, yet for others he cannot.
The old ascetic Acyutapreksa gave his blessings upon Madhva and the small band of followers headed by Satyatirtha, who was completely faithful to Madhvacarya. He himself was too old to travel such vast distances but still his heart went out with the travelling party.
Madhva Vijay 6.36 points out that the great Madhvacarya, who is always in direct contact with the lotus feet of Lord Narayana, even made Lord Siva, the greatest Vaisnava, to be Madhva’s subordinate, especially in as much as Lord Siva cannot himself give liberation. In fact, Lord Siva himself says, mukti-pradata sarvesam visnur eva na samsayah. “There is no doubt that Visnu is the deliverer of liberation for everyone.” However, Madhvacarya, his fame now spread everywhere for being one who removes illusion, sin and the like, has liberated many to become clear followers of Lord Visnu. Madhva Vijay stresses the point that although Madhva was not subject to the mode of passion and did not hurry in a frenzy-like manner to Badri, he did not waste any time in going there. There is record of Madhva going to Kasi (Benares) at this time, though he didn’t waste time in debating with the impersonalist pandits who stay there. His mission was to go to see Vedavyasa and present his Gita Bhasya, and to take darshan of the Lord of Badri.
After sending all the people away to not disturb his concentration, Madhvacarya absorbed himself for forty eight days in unbroken samadhi on Lord Narayana. Praying intently to receive the blessings of Srila Vyasadeva and to bless his Bhagavad-gita Bhasya commentary, Madhvacarya was always in contact with his spiritual master Srila Vyasadeva, though it was not always outwardly displayed. By the will of Srila Vyasadeva Madhva had come to Badri, and now his business was to attract Vyasa’s attention and instruction.
This whole area is sprinkled with the sacred waters of the Ganges (Bhagirathi) who makes her appearance in this world at Gaumukh – Gangotri and the surrounding glaciers. Joining these streams in the sacred Alakananda River.
Badrinatha temple is situated some 10,244 feet above sea level on the western bank of the Ganges (alakananda). The icy-cold Alakananda here, which is generally also called the Ganges, is made up of five streams all coming from neighbouring glaciers. They are the river Nanda, River Sarasvati, rishi Ganga, Kancana Ganga (Swarna Dhara) and Vasudhara.
Towering above the temple of Badri Narayana (Badrinatha) is Nara-Narayana parvats. These partvats or mountains are said to be the Rsis, Nara and Narayana, who changed themselves into mountains as they may stay by the side of Lord Badri-Narayana undisturbed. The transcendental brothers Nara-Narayana gave their parents a boon that they could also stay nearby, so Mata Murti and Dharma stay at Kesava Prayag near Vasudhara, five miles or so from Badrinatha, where Dharma meditated to get Nara-Narayana as his sons.
The temple itself is facing east and has a frontage about fifteen feet high, decorated nicely. The pillars of the entrance have the ten main avatars of Visnu, besides decorative floral designs. Just inside the gate is Garuda, the carrier of Lord Narayana and the gate keepers of the door are Ganesh and Hanuman. The Saligram Sila of Badri-Narayana found on the altar was brought here by Sankaracarya from Narada Kunda and placed in the shade of Garuda. The Deity of Badrinarayana is decorated with nice dresses, jewels, crows and flowers, and wears diamond tilak. To His left are the Deities of Nara-Narayana. Lord Narayana is seated in the padmasana, and Nara is standing in the dhanurasana. Keeping the unwanted effects of the Kali Yuga at bay is the Lord’s Sudarsana Disc Yantra installed in silver. The eternal lamp called jyotir, which has been continuously burning from time immemorial, summer and winter, is just there in the inner sanctum.
In the sastras there are mentioned “Panca Badris” – five Badris/ (1) Badri Vishal is modern day Badri or Lower Badri where Madhvacarya spent forthy eight days in austerity and where Vyasadeva came to see him. (2) Yoga Badri is the place to where the Utsava Deities are brought in the winter time and worshipped by one brahmin and taken back up to Badri Vishal for the opeing of the temple when again Badri become accessible, that is, free from snow. During the winter time in Badri Vishal the demigods look after Lord Badri Narayana, and foodstuffs and puja articles are left there for the Devas to use for the Lord’s worship. (3) Vruddha Badri – this temple is a halting/resting place for pilgrims where there are Deities of Lord Narayan. This is near Kumar Chatti. (4) Dhyana Badri – at Kalpeswar, five miles off the Kumar Chatti on the other side of the Alakananda river, is a temple of Lord Siva, where Lord Indra worshipped Lord Siva to obtain “kalpatam” or heavenly delights. Lord Siva, being the greatest Vaisnava, is generally approached first to take permission from him to approach the holy places of Lord Hari, as one does in most holy tirthas such as Vrindavan, Mayapura, Puri, Sri rangam, Udupi, etc. (5) Bhavishya Badri – Unfortunately this Badri has to exist, for in the Kali Yuga it is predicted that Vishal Badri will become no longer accessible to pilgrims, and that one will only to able to go to Bhavishya Badri and worship in separation the identical forms of the Lord represented here. The Lord in one place is definitely non-different to Himself in His original place, but at the same time the original place does exist. An example may be given from this modern day world, how a particular nation may have an embassy in another country, and in that host country the foreign embassy is still run according to the laws of the nation to which flag it flies. The guards on the gates are of that same nation, and not of the host nation, and all facilities inside the embassy fall in line with the culture and traditions of that foreign nation. Thus, though the foreign embassy may be at some distance from it’s original place, still there is safety and refuge there, even though it is in a country of another. Bhavisya Badri is like that.
This Bhavishya Badri is about eight miles from Joshimutt on the Niti pass to Badrinatha. Bhavishya means future, so unfortunately this is the prediction for the future.
This Badri is not, however, the place to where Madhvacarya was to be going. Those pure devotees of the Lord, who are especially given the Lord’s blessings, also have access to another Badri. This place exists on a transcendental plane and is not accessible to the common man, neither is it listed in the guide book, nor is it on any map. The great sages and rsis sing it’s praises and Sripad Madhvacarya walked to that place. It is called Uttara Badri, or some call Samyaprasa, the eternal abode of Srila Vyasadeva, and is a transcendental reality.
Again, using a mundane example which has some similarities, if one wants to see the King, it is not an easy process, as there are so many secretaries and private secretaries, guards, etc, which one has no alternative but to pass through. But when one obtains the favour of the king, and the king wants to see you, then practically nothing can stop him from coming to you – a base example, but fitting. So in the same way, when Srila Vyasadeva wanted to see his pure disciple Madhvacarya, he came personally and invited him to come to his asrama.
Madhva Vijay 6.39-40 depicts how Madhvacarya, in intense devotion to the Lord, sent everyone to a distance. He then sat at the lotus feet of Nara Narayana Rsis, who, as Arjuna and Krsna, are the original hearer and chanter of Srimad Bhagavad-gita. Madhva then recited his excellent Bhagavad-gita Bhasya for the Lord’s pleasure. Madhvacarya said, “I will expound the Gita Bhasya according to my ability.” The Lord replied plainly for even some close-by disciples to hear, “Even though you are capable of expressing the entire meaning of this Bhagavad-gita, knowing well the real meanings as it is, you have not expounded the Gita according to your ability. Therefore you should use this word ‘slightly’ or ‘to some small degree’ in place of ‘according to my ability’ at the end of this first introductory verse, for your ability has only been slightly flexed and not fully extended.”
Madhva Vijay 6.41 says that while this conversation was going on between Madhvacarya and the Deity, even disciples who were nearby in their beds could hear the Deity of Lord Narayana jubilantly saying “Let it be said!” over and over again, and the Lord gently striking the ground in eager delight. Madhvacarya, being a partial expansion of Mukhyaprana (Lord Vayu), and having completely understood what the Deity said to him, went to his disciples and told them what was said by the Lord.
Madhvacarya then completed his stay at Badri for 48 days, undergoing Vaisnava Mauna, that is, abstaining from talking to anyone – only reciting his Bhagavad-gita Bhasya. Daily he would bathe just prior to sunrise, during the auspicious Brahma Muhurta hour, in the icy cold waters of the sacred Ganges. During these 48 days, Madhva neither ate anything nor slept, but stayed awake constantly absorbed in thoughts of Lord Narayana, and his mission given by the Lord. One night however, an effulgent form came to Madhva seen by all, and prompted him to go to Uttara Badri, the asrama of Srila Vyasadeva. The very next morning at sunrise Madhva wrote a note and gave it to his disciples. Madhva’s mind was fixed on what he was to do. Srila Vyasadeva had appeared to him in an extremely effulgent form and had told him to come to his asrama. To come alone was the instruction, so Madhva had to break it to his disciples. The note read, “Practically there is no other tirtha like Badri, which destroys all sins. There is no other water equal to this holy Ganges, and there is no other philosophy equal to ours. There is indeed no other Deity equal to Lord Visnu. You all stay here, I am going to Uttara Badri, for I am desirious of seeing the literary incarnation of the Lord, Srila Vyasadeva. That Veda-Vyasa only knows whether I will be coming back or not – may you all remain happy here until that time.” After writing this, Madhvacarya then headed for Uttara Badri.
His disciple Satyatirtha read the note to the other disciples, that no-one should follow or try to go with the acarya. Satyatirtha had studied the Aitareyopanisad seen by the son of Itaridevi, Mahidasa under Madhvacarya, and was so attached to being with Madhva that he used all his learning to convince everyone that the acarya had said that no-one was to go with him as meaning no-one was to go with him except he. The devoted disciple Satyatirtha, who was prepared to give up his very life to be with the acarya, followed Madhvacarya, not being able to bear the separation.
As Madhva strode through the mountainous regions of the higher Himalayas, crossing passes and glaciers as if small paths, resembling Hanuman he bounded from peak to peak, quickly traversing the path to near Uttara Badri. Poor Satyatirtha could not keep up with his guru, even though running and climbing fast. He could see Madhvacarya jumping easily with speed from one large stone to another with large gaps between them. That great acarya, who resembles Anjanesya (Hanuman) who speeds through the mountains like Bhima, causing fear to the demons, did not stop for food or for rest.
The sun became red on the ice and snow, indicating that night was to set in, and for certain Satyatirtha would perish from exposure to the cold night air coming across the glaciers of the Himalayas, or the tigers and other wild animals would devour his body. In a fearful condition, in despiration he called out for the lord of his life, Madhvacarya. Madhva turned and gestured to Satyatirtha by the waving of his hand and arm to go back. Satyatirtha then felt an unusual gust of wind come and lift him up and carry the lowly destitute disciple back to the Ananda Mutt at Badri, where he told all the others there these glories of Sripad Madhvacarya’s bounding undisturbed through endless uncrossable ranges of Himalayan peaks.
Madhva Vijay 6.55 describes Madhva as having the power of an angry bull. He has perfect knowledge of Krsna consciousness, great determination, is wide-eyed, and completely devoid of any fear as he passes through that of nature’s biggest natural barrier. The Himalayas contain birds and beasts, big serpents that emit deadly poison, plus many groups of dangerous animals, but Madhva, having undeterable faith in the Lord, saw no obstacle or threat. Krsna states in Bhagavad-gita 10.25, “Of immovable things I am the Himalayas.” The greatest mountains in the world represent Lord Krsna; even Mount Meru sometimes moves, but the Himalayas never moves. Therefore the Himalayas are superior to even Mount Meru.
Narayana Panditacarya has completed this seventh canto of Madhva Vijay with a copulate of two verses called ‘Antya-Yugma’. These verses introduce one to the minature Vaikuntha realm, glorifying the killer of the Mura demon, Lord Murari, Krsna, Who is adorned with shining golden ornaments encrusted with the best of all kinds of previous gems. Madhvacarya remembered that same Lord lying down on Ananta Sesa, having His lotus feet embraced by the Goddess of Fortune, Laxmi devi, Who eternally remains with the Lord, smiling sweetly. This is the same Lord Visnu Who, for the caturmasya (four months of the rainy season) takes rest, lying for two months on one side and then two months on the other side of His lotus body. He is Narayana, Who is also the localized Paramatma seated within the hearts of all His separated tiny living entities.
High in the Himalayan, beyond where any mere mortal can go, is to be found this Vaikuntha paradise. It is surrounded by ponds of full blown lotuses. The lotuses in these ponds are innumerable, nay unlimited, the most fragrant and indestructable. The sages and rsis who reside there make them into garlands for the Lord. Around these lakes are trees that constantly bear flowers, blossoming, sweet fragrant branches with fragrant flowers and fruits. These forest flowers adorn the captivating beauty of the Lord.
Madhvacarya could see all this from where he was standing looking to the north to the abode of Srila Vyasadeva.
After his journey had neared it’s end, and after crossing the Himalayas, Madhvacarya could see quite clearly the asrama of Vedavyasa surrounded by jujub trees. That place is definitely not of this world; the whole asrama was effulgent. Though up in the Himalayas, there was no biting cold or rain or snow. The trees and bushes there, which are way above the normal ‘tree line’, were none less than forests. As there was no unpleasant wind, rain or cold, also the sun was warm and comfortable. In the trees that touched the sky, innumerable beautiful birds nested and sung. Under those shade trees all the renowned brahmins, who were famous for performing huges sacrifices, sat, transfixed in meditation on the lotus feet of the Lord, Who resides in that place. In the surrounding areas, one could see pure white swans, whose necks entwined with the stems of blue, white and pink lotuses.
Madhva could recognize many great and famous Vaisnavas sitting around in the asrama of Srila Vyasadeva. When those pure Vaisnavas saw Madhvacarya approach the asrama, they enquired as to who this saintly person was. “Marked with thirty two auspicious markings, lotus eyed, moon-like face, long arms and a golden complexion, no doubt this man enhances even Vaikuntha. There is no sign of exertion, and his face shows that his mind is fearless.” “Is this person coming to this asrama in the guise of a sannyasi, the four faced Lord Brahma, or is it Mukhyaprana?”
Madhva walked quickly due to his intense devotion. Seated under a jujube tree was Srila Vyasadeva. The jujube tree was a representation of Lord Ananta Sesa, with wide branches forming an umbrella which had jewels in the form of bright and fragrant flowers, and hoods in the form of branches. It exactly resembled Lord Ananta Sesa with His hoods encrusted with jewels jutting out in all directions forming branch-like hoods. The branches of this tree support the six sattvic Puranas, the Upanishads, and Mahabharata, and fruits that are sweet and full of nectar that drive away all known miseries like birth, death, old age and disease. These fruits cannot be obtained by those who are not devotees of the Supreme Persoanlity of Godhead, Lord Visnu – Krsna and Their numerous forms.
Madhvacarya approached closely the sages, who, with matted locks of hair on their heads and various Vaisnava tilaks on their foreheads and bodies, sat with clean white sacred threads draped over their left shoulders. They had all transcended lust, anger, greed, false pride, the pushings of the senses, and thoughts of trying to enjoy in the material world separately from the supreme enjoyer, Sri Krsna. All natural opulence was there. Garlands and saffron coloured sandalwood paste was there on their bodies.
On a raised seat sat the preceptor of the three worlds, the son of Satyavati, Srila Krsna Dwaipayana Veda Vyasa. Madhvacarya had always been meditating on the Lord of his life, his preceptor guru within his heart seated on a white lotus. Now, with brimming eyes, wonderstruck as though he had just seen him for the very first time, Madhva drank the nectar of the vision of Vyasadeva through his eyes.
Madhva Vijay 7.18-59 describes Vedavyasa as follows: Satyavati gave birth to that Vedavyasa after praying to Lord Brahma, and Vyasa was conceived by the sage Parasara. Srila Vyasadeva, who has an ocean of wonderful attributes, is Lord Narayana Himself. Vyasadeva’s mind is compared to the milk ocean and his qualities of compassion and respect are like the Mandara mountain. By his churning appeared three mothers who were the three Vedas – Rg, Yajur and Sama. By Vyasa the father and Veda the mother, the demoniac qualities of Kali Yuga are checked. From Vyasadeva the white rayed cooling moon of the Puranas and the parijata tree of the Mahabharata were given. Later, born from it’s own nectar, appeared the Brahmasutras, and Srimad Bhagavatam.
From the time of the Kuruksetra / Mahabharata war, during which Vyasa bestowed his blessings on the Pandavas, and even before this time, Vyasa walked this earth to protect knowledge of the Vedas, helping those devotees who have knowledge of that person who the Vedas are centered around. That is Lord Sri Krsna, Who is known as Vedanta Krt, the compiler of Vedanta, and Veda Vit, the knower of the Vedas. In Bhagavad-gita 10.37 Krsna Himself says, “Of sages I am Vyasa.”
Vyasa, still living in Badrikasrama to this day for eternity with his pure devotees, it says, gave up this Kali Yuga for his Vaikuntha realm just as the sun gives up the sky for the coming of night.
Vyasa is seated on an excellent blackish Krsna deer skin Madhva recalls, as he prostrated himself at the lotus feet of Vyasa. Taking the dust from Vyasadeva’s feet he placed the sacred dust upon his own head. Madhvacarya was in ecstacy, standing offering respects to Vyasa, the best of sages, whose feet are adorned with the marks of the flag, thunderbolt, boad for driving elephants, and lotus, they are naturally auspiciously tinged with red and have the repute to be red due to evaporating any material desires that may come to the minds of Vyasadeva’s devotees.
The nails of those lotus feet gleam and remove darkness, both of an internal nature by their purifying association and rememberance, and externally by their bright lustre. If, by material comparison of age one would think that the old hands of the sage Vyasa would be knotted, no,they are smooth and soft, with long delicate fingers completely free from stress and diseases, such as knots coming from arthritis.
Vyasadeva’s two kness, which are large, round and joined to his long shins, are free from fault. These legs of Vyasa, which are free from fault, account for a basis of good conduct even to those who are inferior in knowledge and devotion.
Srila Vyasadeva’s yoga-pattika waist band, aid his firm sitting posture. The lotus waist of Vyasa maintains and fulfills all the devotees, it is amazing that all the pure spiritual desires of the devotees are fulfilled by taking shelter at the waist of Vyasa. This waist is covered by a sacred Krsna deer skin, hiding his deep and delicate navel.
Vyasa’s broad chest and broad mind support the pure white sacred thread, and Brahmsutras respectively.
Madhva Vijay 7.34 states that it has been well substantiated by Vedavyasa that caturmukha Brahma is the son of Garbhadaksayi Visnu, being born from a lotus sprouting from the Lord’s lotus navel. This world has no equal or superior in all the three worlds. Brahma gave his Kaustubhamani gem to Vedavyasa and that acts like a victory flag hanging around the neck of Vyasa.
The story in brief follows that once when Prajapati Brahma was in the associaion of Vedavyasa and one thousand sages, Srila Vyasa made a statement saying that he would always prove the superiority of Visnu Tattva at all times. The thousand sages took up the challenge and threw at Vedavyasa thousands of questions simultaneously. Vyasadeva answered each question one by one perfectly all at the same time. Amazed at the victory of the literary incarnation of Lord Visnu, Brahma presented the Kaustubha gem to Srila Vyasa.
In Srila Vyasadeva’s hands he holds a conchshell and a disc, his hands are again soft pinkish red, his arms are robust, round and powerful. There is no comparision to the broadness of these limbs.
By the tip of Vyasadeva’s right hand he bestows divya jnana – transcendental knowledge to his devotees, and with the same tip of the same hand removes the darkness borne of ignorance simultaneously just like thunder and lightning. His left hand is placed on his knee. By this mudra all fear for the dangerous struggle for material existance is destroyed.
Vyasadeva’s neck is marked with the three lines of a conchshell from which only sabda brahman or transcendental sound vibration, in the form of the main three Vedas and it’s limbs, are coming.
Seeing his moon-like face is the sweetest benediction to the eyes. Actually the moon-like face of the best of sages is compared to groups of full moons, each being completely free form even the smallest blemish.
Srila Vyasadeva’s lotus mouth and teeth are compared to a new row of pearls which shine forth from inside of a perfect ruby. These pearl-like teeth are seen decorated by a gentle smile surrounded by soft ruby red lips.
To hear the speech of the literary incarnation of the Lord at once fills one’s heart with transcendental knowledge, just as when the thousand wells in the form of sages became flooded with answers as the River Sarasvati replenishes the best of wells during the rainy season.
As Srila Vyasadeva approached Madhvacarya with a smile on his face, his wide lotus eyes looked unblinking at him, and Vyasa embraced the powerful Madhvacarya and picked him up off the floor, clean as one would one’s small son. The powerful partial expansion of Mukhyaprana who previously played the mighty Hanuman and Bhima, felt blessed as his guru, Srila Vyasadeva, lovingly embraced him, and the sages smiled affectionately.
Madhvacarya prayed to his lord after seeing the sprig of tulasi leaf and manjari tucked behind the ear of Vyasa, “Please don’t let me become jealous of this tulasi sprig and garland of lotus flowers that adorn your body. They are suprememly fortunate. Please don’t let them rob me of my position of being so close to you. Wherever I am, always allow me to remain this close to you by always being absorbed in you.”
Madhvacarya could now fully appreciate standing there in the shadow of his guru, that actually Srila Vyasadeva was looking after the welfare of the entire world. Just by a movement of his eyebrows everything was taking place. The creation, maintenance and destruction of all the three worlds in fact is going on by his design. He is the same Visnu Tattva Lord who maintains as Gunavataras along with Lord Brahma, the creator, who was born from a lotus, and Lord Siva, the destroyer of these material worlds. Coming in contact with the material mode of passion, Prajapati creates uder the direction of Lord Visnu. Lord Visnu Himself maintains the three worlds, the unlimited universes, in one form sleeping as Karanadaksayi Visnu, in another form as Garbhadaksayi Visnu lying down on His serpernt couch Anantasesa, and as the localised form of Paramatma seated within the region of the heart of every living being as the witness. effortlessly Lord Visnu is the Supreme Enjoyer, and not a blade of grass moves without His knowing or sanction.
srsti-hetu yei murti prapance avatare
sei isvara murti ‘avatara’ nama dhare
mayatita paravyome savara avasthana
visve ‘avatari’ dhare ‘avatara’ nama
“The avatara of incarnation of Godhead, descends from the kingdom of God for material manifestations. And the particular form of the Personality of Godhead who so descends is called an incarnation, or avatara. Such incarnations are situated in the spiritual world, the kingdom of God. When they descend to the material creation, They assume the name avatara.”
As such, there are various kinds of avataras, such as Purusavataras, Gunavataras, Lilavataras, Saktyavesa avataras, Manvantara-avataras and Yugavataras all appearing on schedule all over the universe.
eko devo nitya-lilanurakto bhakta vyapi hrdy antaratma
“The one Supreme Personality of Godhead is eternally engaged in many, many transcendental forms in relationship with His unalloyed devotees.”
Madhvacarya again drank the nectar of seeing this Saktyavesa avatara of Lord Visnu with a resplendant blue hue like that of the Indranila gem, personally before him, standing on a mountain resembling an emerald, lush and green, above the natural barrier of the Himalayas. Srila Vyasadeva was wearing tilak of Urdhva Pundra on the twelve places of His body, which are glorfied throughout the Vedic literatures as being “Two straight lines of Lord Hari’s abode are drawn at the root of the nose and reach to the top of the forehead, the space between which is Lord Visnu’s abode, and is more than a finger’s breadth between and slightly wider at the top. Each of these two straight lines is only the thickness of a grain of rice and the breadth of four fingers. That is the abode or temple of Lord Visnu. Sadaisiva and Brahma reside on either side of the central space and Laxmi stays with Narayan in the middle.” Seeing this and the red mark made of the ash of plaintain flowers and turmeric mixed together resembling rubies, Madhva relished again and again the sight of Vyasa.
“My Lord, I am so much blessed by seeing You, Your red matted locks of hair and Your hue which resembles a new monsoon cloud, full of depth, with illumination like lightning. Oh my Lord, though I have recorded many of Your auspicious features and qualities, actually to describe You, though counting incessantly the endless good qualities that are eminating from even the nail of the little toe of Your lotus feet, such is my frustration.
“Though You are situated far beyond this material world and it’s covering, by Your mercy You have allowed me to approach You. Completely transcending all known boundaries, You have appeared to me and allowed me to come here to take darshan of You, just to fulfill the plan chalked out by You. In obeisances, my body is bent in devotion to You. With folded hands I offer my humble prayers.”
With His loving outstretched arms, Vedavyasa, the son of Parasara Muni, gently lifted Madhva up from his prostrated obeisances and again, with a smiling face, embraced him.
Madhva Vijay 7.53 notes that Vyasadeva and Madhvacarya – Visnu and Vayu – are here compared with the powerful current of the sister of Yamaraja, Yamuna devi, whose mighty but gentle waters join the water of a golden river. The mighty waters of the Yamuna are compared to the dark blue lustre of Vedavyasa, while Madhvacarya is compared to a golden river who is being embraced by the dark blue waters of Vyasa. Previously these two great personalities embraced before. At that time they were dressed in royal clothing as Krsna and Bhimasena.
All the great sages in the assembly at Vyasadeva’s asrama honoured Madhva with great respect. Vyasadeva gave Madhva a special seat of honour next to Himself and in a very warm way, the two saviours of degradation of Vaisnava philosophy started to speak of Madhvacarya’s urgent mission. Sri Krsna Dwaipayana Vyasa and Madhvacarya discussed all kinds of Vedic literatures, Vedas, Mahabharata, the Sattvic Puranas, Brahma Sutras, and the Pancaratras, which are all very dear to Vaisnava.
Madhva Vijay 8.6 agrees that Lord Narayana Himself directed Madhva to come to the hermitage of Srila Vyasa.
Vedavyasa then took Madhvacarya to meet with the other form of the Lord residing there. Madhva Vijay 8.7 describes how the humble Purnaprajna (Madhva) saw Lord Narayan, the original person, dressed in tree bark with a munja grass belt. His effulgence that surround His beautiful matted locks is compared to being like the best of yajnic fires, pure, bright and free from smoke.
That Lord, Who is always Dhira (self controlled and sober), and Who is Atmarama (self satisfied), Who is Acyuta (infallable and free from the allurements of the sense objects), He is free from all defects, yet with all these opulences is happy to reside in the hermitage as a recluse and perform penance.
“O Adhoksaja Krsna, Who is unobtainable to those of demerit, now I stand before You. You are the same Lord of Brahma born of Your lotus navel. By Your potency of Abhimani You made the Mahatattva, inpregnated it by Your energy and placed there goodness, passion and ignorance. Along with this He created Rudra from Brahma and the tattva of Ahamkara which is threefold – the Vaikarika – Deities, the Taijasa – entities born of semen, and the tamasa – the five gross elements (earth, eater, fire, air and sky). From this He made the jagad anda, the cosmic egg in which reside the fourteen worlds.
“Lord Narayan, You create, maintain and destroy everything, then effortlessly inhabit those fourteen worlds with varieties of entities – the demigods, gandharvas – servants of the devas, humans, demons who have such masters as Prajapati Brahma, Mukhyaprana (Vayudeva), Garuda, Rudra and Devendra. Those living entities are given, according to their natures, places of residence. There are the uttama jivas or nitya siddhas, Your pure devotees who only have thoughts for you. The nitya samsarins, who wander in the cycle of birth and death, are basically innocent, but just foolishly follow their lusty desires. And the tamoyogyas, who are hell bent, mischievous, wicked and best avoided, for their destination is to practically stay in hell for time immemorial.”
In Sri Madhva Vijay 8.14 whilst standing directly in front of Srila Vyasadeva and Lord Narayana at Uttara Badri, Madhvacarya pondered over the many forms that Lord Narayana had taken. He then prostrated himself at the lotus feet of Lord Narayana, and in his mind went over the endless pastimes of the Lord. He was directly in the association of his guru (Srila Vyasadeva), and now had the honour of seeing Lord Narayana face to face. Lord Narayana’s affection poured to the pure hearted Madhva who was sitting, looking and relishing. He was so honoured to sit near these two shilst offering respectful prostrations, sitting and standing Madhva dwelt on His Lords.[JCD4]
In the Srimad Bhagavatam 6.9.26-27 it says, “By His inconceivable internal potency, the Supreme Personality of Godhead expands into various transcendental bodies as Vamanadeva, the incarnation of strength among the demigods; Parasurama, the incarnation among saints; Nrsimhadeva and Varaha, incarnations among animals; Matsy and Kurma, incarnations among quatics. He accepts various transcendental bodies among all types of living entities, and among human beings, He especially appears as Lord Krsna and Lord Rama. By His causeless mercy He protects the demigods, who are always harassed by the demons. He is the Supreme worshipable Deity of all living entities. He is the supreme cause, represented as the male and female creative energies. Although different from this universe, He exists in His universal form (virat-rupa). In our fearful condition, let us take shelter of Him, for we are sure that the Supreme Soul will give us His protection.”
It is reputed that the area of Pajakaksetra is always opulent in water due to the mercy of Lord Parasurama, who is the protector of the area. Parasurama created four ponds all within the walking distance of Pajakaksetra, and named them after His weapons. The shape of the kundas were also in the shape of His weapons. They are parasu (axe) tirtha, dhanus (bow) tirtha, gada (club) tirtha and bana (arrow) tirtha. He also established the ancient temple of Yogamaya (Krsna’s sister, who revealed her nature as Durga to the demon Kamsa) nearby in Vimangiri. Vimangiri temple is a pagoda on top of a bare rock, high on top of the hill overlooking the Parasurama tirthas. Around this area is a nice Brahmin community who like to put on a very elaborate and costly puja at the Durga temple regularly.
trayate pitaram sutan
tasmat putra iti proktah
svayameva svayam bhuva
“Because a son of one’s own, by birth, saves the father the hell called ‘put’ that good son is called putra.”
138-9 Manusmrti & 38-74ch Adi Parva, Mahabharat
“There are thirty two bodily symptoms of a great person; five of his bodily parts are large, five fine, seven reddish, six raised, three small, three broad and three grave and they are: five large parts are the nose, arms, chin, eyes and kness. The five fine parts are the skin, fingertips, teeth, hair on the body and hair on the head. The seven reddish parts are they eyes, soles of the feet, palms of the hands, palate, one’s nails, and upper and lower lips. The six raised parts are the chest, shoulders, nails, nose, waust and mouth. The three small parts are the neck, thighs and the males genital organ. The three broad parts are the waist, forehead and chest. The three grave parts are the navel, voice and existence.” This is taken from Samudrika quoted Caitanya Caritamrta (Adi 14.15 purport).
According to Vayu Purana, Manibhadra, a servant of Kuvera the treasurer of the demigods was at first in the womb of Vedavati. Then at the time of delivery Mukhyaprana (Vayu) entered into that baby body and Manibhadra gave up that place to rejoin Lord Visnu in Vaikuntha.
Madhva’s commentary on Mahabharata Tatparyanirnaya (32.131 and 9.100) refer to 1199 AD as date of birth.
Lord Dhanvantari is the incarnation of Lord Visnu who spoke the Ayurvedic medical scriptures of the Atharvaveda.
As stated in the Madhva Vijaya (3.24), whilst the small boy bearing the name of Lord Krsna, the son of Vasudeva spoke, everyone turned to listen and not one person cared for the narrator Siva. Just as when a lion cub begins to roar, who cares for the crying of a jackel?
Sometimes referred to as Pujavana
Others say that he was a Brahmin in the Pandava house who used to take Queen Draupadi’s remnants.
Even the scientists have analysed the water found in the lake now called Madhva Sarovara as being pure Ganges water, though geographically the Ganges flows some two thousand kilometers to the north. The same rules for bathing exist as in the sacred Ganges – one bathes in reverence, offering prayers and tarpana. One doesn’t use soaps, etc. (Ask locally before entering if not sure, so as not to commit offence.)
In the 20th century a Deity of Bhagirathi seated on a crocodile was installed at this spot.
There are about four different times where it is said that Madhvacarya was given the name Anumana Tirtha due to his power of argument.
Unless one has made a commentary on Srila Vyasadeva’s Brahma Sutra (Vedanta Sutra), one’s sampradaya is not accepted as being authorised. Howeve, it is one thing to just make a commentary as any fool can make comments, but the Vaisnavas conclusion is the same as that of Srila Vysasadeva’s who has accepted Krsna as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Who has a transcendental form made of sac-cid-ananda. This is the conclusion of the original author of Brahma Sutra, Srila Vyasadeva. param satvam dhimahi. This is the true Vaisnava.
In LIfe and Teachings of Sri madhvacarya by Pandit Sri M Rama Rao, he also says Madhva visited Visnumangala (Kasargod Taluk.)
This is very strong language for Vaisnavas seven hundred and fifty years ago, what to speak of what it infers!
This is what Narayana Panditacarya’s Madhva Vijay says.
In basic grammer for example pra is masculine singular, pri is feminine singular, and pree is masculine plural.
This is supported in the purport of A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada to S.B.1.4.15
In sastra it is mentioned that at this place Nara-Narayana Rsis reside, and that They are none other than a manifestation of Krsna and Arjuna. In the Devi Bhagavata, Fourth Skandha, it is mentioned how the same Krsna and Arjuna had previously appeared as Nara-Narayana Rsis and had lived as inseparable companions. It says there that due to the curse of Brghu Muni, Krsna and Arjuna appeared in Dwarpara Yuga. Narayana Rsi was the partial expansion of Lord Krsna (Nara and Narayana’s father) but about Nara Rsi, the Devi Bhagavata says, “Dharma had his origin from the heart of Brahma and he earned great reputation for his truthfulness and following Vedic codes of dharma. He married the daughters of Daksa, who had four sons by him, their names being Hari, Krsna, Nara and Narayana. The first two, Hari and Krsna, became yogis absorbed in severe austerities, but Nara and his brother Narayana, the partial expansions of the Lord, became renunciates. They worshipped prajapati Brahma for 100 years at Badrikasrama.”
In the Matsya Purana 3.10 it is said, “Dharma, the father of Nara-Narayana rsi, was born from the right breast of Lord Brahma and later married thierteen of the daughters of Prajapati Daksa. The Lord Himself appeared from the wormb of Murti Devi, the wife of d\Dharma personified.
Srimad Bhagavatam 1.3.9 says, “In the fourth incarnation, the Lord became Nara-Narayana, the twin sons of the wife of King Dharma. Thus He undertook severe and exemplary penances to control the senses.” SB 1.3.28 purport says, “…The incarnation of Naryana is still worshipped at Badri Narayana on the range of the Himalayas.”
According to Manu He who lives in the Naram ocean.
The modern day temple was constructed in the 1400’s (15th century).
 Madhva Vijay comments that the inhabitants of Badrikasrama do not go to bathe in these icy waters, being afraid of the temperature and the surrounding snow.
Madhva Vijay 8.5 says that Madhvacarya belongs to a class of devotees calle Rju which are the best of the devas. These Rjus are even superior to the Rudras, who, by the grace of Vyasa, were bestowed with knowledge of the Absolute. The Rjus are one hundred in number, and after being given the post of Vayu, they become eligible for the post of Brahma. All of the Rjus are equally great, but they all are superior to Rudra and others.
[ANI1]Can this be re-written please?
[JCD2]This whole section below does not seem to be in your original manuscript. Where does it come from, and should it be there?
[ANI3]Can we please rewrite this better?
[JCD4]Prabhu, where is the Madhva Vijay? I really do need it when I am doing this book, as I don’t know what is quotes and what isn’t. Some of it doesn’t make sense, some is in past sense and some present sense. Please help!!!