Vidyaranya was a kingmaker and priest to Harihara Raya I and Bukkai Raya I, the founders of the Vijayanagar Empire. He was the mentor and guide to three generations of kings who ruled over the Vijayanagar Empire. Vidyaranya has authored 'Sarvadarsanasangraha', which is regarded as an important text in the 'Advaita Vedanta'.
'Vidya-sankara' or 'Vidyatirtha', who was the head of the Sankaracharya Mutt of Sringeri, was the teacher of Vidyaranya. Vidyaranya was an 'Advaitin' and helped Harihara and Bukka in the task of reviving the Vedic religion.
Vidyaranya wrote the 'Panchadashi', a popular and comprehensive manual of Advaita Vedanta in Sanskrit. The king of Vijayanagara Harihara I built a temple at Hampi in honour of Vidyaranya