(Last Updated on : 05/09/2009)
Tattvavada means True Philosophy, which is commonly known as Dvaita or dualistic school of Hindu philosophy. Sri Madhvacharya was the chief proponent of this one of the three most influential Vedanta
school of philosophies.
During the Bhakti movement, Madhva was one of the significant philosophers. His followers worship him to be the third incarnation of Vayu, aka Mukhyaprana, after Hanuman
and Bhima. Madhvacharya has imprinted his pioneering quality in many ways, going against standard conventions and norms.. With the name "Madhava" he was idolized to be as the founders of Tattva-vada or Dvaita-mata.
Madhvacharya as he is esteemed to be the avatar of Bhima, took birth to destroy the daityas in Kali-yuga while others conceptualize him as Vayu, whose life mission is to defeat the followers of Mayavadi philosophy. This eminent persona was born on Vijayadashami day of 1238 CE at `Pajaka`, a very small village near Udupi. He was born in the very exalted Brahmins family. Biographer of Madhavacharya, Narayana Panditacharya has not recorded the names of Acharya`s parents. But Nadilliya Narayana Bhatta and Vedavati are believed to be his parents.
At birth he was named `Vasudeva`. His qualities as something extraordinary are being shown from his early childhood. He performed many awe-inspiring pastimes, such as; with the big toe of his left foot simply he killed a huge serpentine demon named Maniman. Only at his eight years Madhava received spiritual initiation and at the age of twelve he accepted the sannyasa order from Achyuta-prajna and began to travel the length and breadth of India. at the time of his initiation into sanyasa The preceptor Acyuta-prajna gave the boy Vasudeva the name of `Purnaprajna`.
Little Purnaprajna, a trifle over a month later, is said to have win a victory over a group of expert scholars of Tarka(logic) headed by Vasudeva-pandita. Achyuta Prajna was very much overjoyed at his intelligent talent and sanctified him as the head of the empire of Vedanta and conferred upon him the title of `Anandatirtha`. He enjoyed a long life of sturdy and strong health. In his youth, he was engaged in various forms of sport and physical exercise, such as wrestling, swimming and even mountaineering. He kept these to the very end. He is a man gifted with a magnetic personality and traditional thirty-two laksanas, he had a deep resonant voice and good musical talent, which he used in Vedic recitation and in singing the emotional melodies of his own devotional compositions and in giving open air discourses on the Bhagavata Purana
, with its rolling melody of verses.
Madhavacharya visited several places of pilgrimage like Anantasayana, Kanyakumari, Ramesvara and Sriranga and preached his Tattvavada or religious truth (Brahmasutras) to the people. After returning to Udipi, he went forward to write his statement(Bashya) of the Bhagawadgita. This South Indian tour gave him great tenacity to set out on his first tour of North India. Madhvacarya was eagerly desirous to go to Badarikasrama from where he received personal inspiration during his visit to the asrama of Vyasadeva. Madhvacarya was inspired to go to the hermitage of Vyasa after staying forty-eight days at Badarinath, fasting, praying, meditating and dedicating his Gita-Bhasya to the Lord.
While journeying through Bihar
, Andhra Pradesh
, Maharashtra and Karnataka
, Madhvacarya challenged many eminent scholars of the day like Swami Sastrin and Sobhana Bhatta, known as masters of the six systems of philosophy, on his way back from Badarikasrama. During his second trip to North India an interesting incident took place. It was during the time when the country was under tight control of the Persian invaders, journeying became very risky. Madhvacarya met with Sultan Jalal-uddin-Khilji. On their journey Madhvacarya and his party were forced to swim across the Ganges to the other side. But they were arrested and therefore taken to the sultan. When he asked him to explain his conduct in disobeying orders, Madhvacarya spoke to the Ruler in his own language, convincing him on the importance of his mission in the cause of Theism.
After returning home from his second tour, the Acharya took to initiating social reforms in and around Udupi. Trivikrama Panditacharya, the royal preceptor of the time, became a disciple himself and went on to write a commentary called Tattva-dipika on the Acharya`s Brahma-sutra-bhasya. Madhvacharya inducted his brother, Sri Vishnutirtha into the monastic order nearing his seventies. Thus he became the first head of of the present day Sode Matha and Subramanya Matha. Form various regions of the country several disciples got their induction into samnyasa from the Acharya. The names of eight disciples who chose to stay on in Udupi as suprem heads of different mathas are as under, in the order of their initiation":
1. Hrisikesa-tirtha (Palimaru matha) 2. Narasimha-tirtha (Adamaru-matha) 3. Janardana-tirtha (Krsnapura-matha) 4. Upendra-tirtha (Puttige-matha) 5. Vamana-tirtha (Sirur-matha) 6. Vishnu-tirtha (Sode-matha) 7. Srirama-tirtha (Kaniyuru-matha) 8. Adhoksaja-tirtha (Pejavara-matha), 9. Padmanabha-tirtha (Desastha-mathas) 10. Narahari-tirtha.
The disciples of the Acharya carried on his tradition with earnest ardor. This school of thought has produced several outstanding writers who wrote the dialectical treatises were: Vishnu-tirtha, Padmanabha-tirtha, Narahari-tirtha, Trivikrama-panditacharya, Narayana Panditacharya, Vamana-Panditacharya, (Traivikramaryadasa), Jayatirtha (Tikacharya), Vijayadhvaja-tirtha, Visnudasacharya, Vyasa-tirtha, Vadiraja, Vijayindra-tirtha, Raghavendra-Swami, Yadupati-acharya, etc.
`Tattva-vada`, Madhavacharyaa philosophy, of which he has composed many works, eventually gave rise to the Haridasa cult, which appaulded the Bhakti Movement. His life is the narrative of a born leader of men, as delineated in the Madhvavijaya. To him the soul of man is potenially divine; but man, has lost his soul to his body in the ignorance of his true status, and its intense desire. Man needs to be awakened by God himself or His devotees.
To him `the cause of bondage is the divine will of the Supreme and ignorace of the soul (svarupa). The process of release is through whole hearted devotion, study of the Vedas and detached karma. The goal is to gain release from samsara and restoration of one`s own individual form.` The Haridasas also contributed originatives in the fields of Music and literature. The 8 monasteries (ashta mathas) of Udupi have been following his philosophy since then.
The Eight monasteries ( Ashta Matha`s ) are Krishnapura, Pejavara , Puttige, Sodhe ( Sondhe ) , Kaniyoor (Kaneyur) , Adamaru , Shirur and Palimaru. Madhvacharya himself has established the main icon (vigraha) in Udupi of Lord Krishna. The Works of Madhvacharya are many in number and include commentaries on the Vedas, Upanishads, the Bhagavadgita and the Brahma Sutras. He also composed the literary work "Krsnamrtamaharnava". Madhvacarya disappeared from vision and transferred himself to Badarikasrama after dispatching many commentaries and original learned works, founding prominant Maths and sending out well-chosen veterans to preach and disseminate his siddhanta all over the country. He disappeared while seated during a shower of flowers.