Madhwacarya was born Vasudev, son of Narayan Bhatt and Vedavati in the village of Padakakshetra, near Udupi. There is some controversy over the year, but for all extensive purposes it is usually taken as being 1238 AD., on the Vijay Dasami of Lord Rama, and after 79 years of wonderful pastimes he passed on to be with his lord, Srila Vyasadev in the year 1317 AD.
Later in this book, his birth, childhood, sannyasam, preaching and so many other uniquely wonderful pastimes are all mentioned in full. But let it be know that he, the self realised soul, Mukhyapran (Vayu-deva) appeared before Acyutapreksha as a small boy as the answer to his prayers.
It would appear from an external point of view, accepting the lineage
of Acyutapreksha, that Sripad Madhwacarya, having the name Ananda Tirtha,
and who came next in the line of 'guru parampara', had accepted initiation
into an 'adwaitin' line ('mayavadi' line).
Those readers from the Madhwa school, you can sit back down - relax, because this is not a fact. Actually Madhwa always accepts only Srila Vyasadeva as his source of inspiration and Lord of his life, and thus his 'siksa guru'. As we will quite clearly see, his 'diksa', or in this case 'sannyasa diksa guru' (Acyutaprajna) didn't serve as his source of enlivenment. Madhwa accepted his direction from Srila Krsna Dvaipayana Vyasa Himself, having sought the great sages' association, though of course no offence was meant to Acyutaprajna, nor was any offence taken. As Madhwa's life is revealed, one will see how and why Madhwa is the direct disciple of Lord Badarayana-Vyasa (Veda Vyasa).
Sri Madhwa himself quoted from Brahmanda Purana, "One should have complete faith in the transcendental literature such as Srimad Bhagavatam and other literatures that directly glorifies the Supreme Personality of Godhead. One should also have faith in Vaisnava Tantra, the original Vedas, and Mahabharata which includes Bhagavad Gita, and which is considered the fifth Veda. The Vedic knowledge originally emanated from the breathing of Lord Visnu, and the Vedic literature has been compiled in a literary form by Srila Vyasadeva, the incarnation of Visnu. Therefore Visnu should be understood to be the personal speaker of all this Vedic literature." (excerpt from purport to Srimad Bhagavatam 11:3:26., translation by Hrdayananda Goswami.)
As the great incarnation of one of Lord Visnu's greatest preachers,
Vayudeva (Madhwa) accepted direct instruction from his Lord, Srila Vyasadeva.
In the Agni Purana (Chapter 51.) it is mentioned how Vayu is seen sitting
on the back of a deer holding a flag.
Madhwa was also quite often seen seated on a sacred deerskin holding his upraised flag of dualism in the form of his hand sporting two erect fingers protruding. One finger representing the Lord and the other the Jiva. Also in the Vana Parva of Mahabharata (19:22.) it is stated that Vayu is the messenger of the demigods, and in another place, that Vayu resides in the palace of Lord Brahma, continuously praising him for being the surrendered pure representative of the Lord. (Mahabharata, Sabha Parva, chapter 11 Text 20.).
It is interesting to note that Sri Vayudeva's glories are sung in the
Mahabharata, Vana Parva (19:22.) as being the messenger of the "Gods".
On this matter, Acarya Madhwa, as the re-establisher of a practically lost system, became the founder and saviour of the hearts of the devotees. As we have said, though the line did in some shape or form come down, it was not truly effective until Madhwa began preaching. On his preaching activities, writing of books, and touring all of Bharat-bhumi, he carried a new strength that was not there before him. He visited the secluded Himalayan ashrama of Srila Vyasadeva, who, to this day, resides high in Uttara-Badri beyond the reach of sinful men. During the two visits it was revealed that even from a distance Madhwa had realised the mind of Vyasa. Srila Vyasadeva's comments upon seeing Madhwa's commentary on Bhagavad Gita were that he could not failt it! In the sactuary of the many vaisnava saints and sages that surround Srila Vyasa drinking up His association, Vyasa embrassed Madhwa, and latter instructed Madhwa to go and preach, and write commentaries on books to save man-kind. This is how Sripad Madhwacarya is accepted as the disciple of Srila Vyasa, not by his own ambitions, but as His pure representitive and so the next in the 'Guru parampara'.
The pastimes of how Madhwa is the direct disciple of Srila Vyasadeva will be told fully in the sequence of events of Madhwa's life. In this 'guru parampara' the main emphasis is always on 'siksa' or accepting the transcendental instructions that the great Vaisnava devotees of the Lord impart to their 'sisyas' (students). As this is what maintains the mood of the Lord, and why the Acaryas are His representitives.
A nine point summary or mission statement of Sripad Madhwacarya's philosophy is:
1. Lord Visnu, the Personality of Godhead, is the Absolute Truth, and
nothing is higher than Him.
2. He, the Lord is known by the study of Vedas....'sarvasya caham'.......(Bhagavad Gita 15:15.)
3. The material world is real, but temporary.
4. The Jivas (living entities) are different from the Lord ('bimba prati bimba'..........).
5. The Jivas are, by nature, servants of Lord Visnu's lotus feet.
6. In both the conditioned and liberated states, the Jivas are situated in higher and lower statuses and always remain individuals in their identity.
7. Liberation does not mean an impersonal merging, but the attainment of serving Lord Visnu's lotus feet.
8. Pure devotional service rendered to 'guru' and Visnu automatically grants liberation, release from material bondage. There is no need of only seeking liberation. One only need seek pure devotional service.
9. 'Pramanas'. Direct perception, logic and Vedic authority are three sources of actual knowledge.
An overview of his philosophy was there in the early section of this book. These breif statements are the essence of Madhwa's personalistic philosophy. More detail of the assimulations of Madhwa's philosophy will be laid down during his actual life story. I think most of you will agree that these points as mentioned are laced throughout the writings in this book, even so far. More of the examples he set and taught will be brought out through his preaching activities later on.
Sripad Madhwacarya's Structure For The Preservation Of The Lineage
Madhwa literally had hundreds of disciples, yet towards the end of his life he selected a small number of the most dedicated around him. These are the original 'Acaryas' of the eight mutts found even today in Udupi, South Kanada district of Karnataka.
In the orginal or direct lines coming down from Madhwa there are eight disciples who were established as the heads of the newly formed 'mutts'. Creating the 'mutts' Madhwa paired the disciples off as follows whilst as Kanya Tirtha during the 'Caturmasya' period. He had them all eight seated around a 'pipal tree' when he arranged the pairing system. He called them two at a time and gave them separately different 'mantras', rituals and 'pujas'. Making each of the disciples responsible to preserve and develop his mission from then on. The pairs and their 'Mutts' were:
1. Hrsikesa Tirtha - Palimar Mutt
2. Narasimha Tirtha - Admaru Mutt
3. Janardana Tirtha - Krsnapur Mutt
4. Upendra Tirtha - Puttinge (Puttige) Mutt
5. Vaman Tirtha - Shiruru Mutt
6. Visnu Tirtha (Madhwa's brother) - Sode Mutt
7. Rama Tirtha - Kaniyuru Mutt
8. Adhoksaja Tirtha - Pejawara Mutt
Originally Madhwa had them take care of the ritual, 'pujas' and administration
on a two monthly rotation basis. This was a very practical way for him
to set the pattern, and methodology for the change of office and on going
activities. In this way he personally trained his disciples to carry the
mission over the centuaries. However, over time it was proven that a longer
period between offices could allow for the 'Paraya Mutt' to achieve more.
This is the order in which the 'Paraya' (change of office) takes place every two years, each cycle starting with Palimar Mutt and ending with Pejawara Mutt. More details about the mutts, their changing, ad the actual 'paraya' ceremony are mentioned in the latter parts of this book.
In the booklet of Sriman Banajee Govindacarya he mentions that there are eight other Mutts in the Karnataka region. They are:
9. Uttaradi Mutt
10. Sosale-Srila Vyasaraya Mutt
11. Kundapura Srila Vyasaraya Mutt
12. Raghavendra Swami Mutt
13. Mulubagilu Mutt
14. Majjigehalli Mutt
15. Kudli Mutt
16. Balegaru (Banagara) Mutt
Numbers 9-12., were started by the disciples of Madhwa, respectively Padmanabha Tirtha, Narahari Tirtha, Madhava Tirtha, and Aksobhya Tirtha, a traditional branch of Srila Vyasaraya. Another branch came to be known as Mulubagilu. Madhava Tirtha established a Mutt at Majjigehalli and Aksobhya Tirtha established Kudli and Balegaru, which grew into independent Mutts.
Apart from these, four more are listed in the area. They are:
17. Subramanya Mutt
18. Bhandarkeri Mutt
19. Bhimanakatte Mutt
20. Citrapura Mutt
The Subramanya mutt came from Visnu Tirtha's line, and the line coming from Acyutaprajna (Madhwa's 'sannyasa guru'), who later became the disciple Puroshottama Tirtha, organized the Bhandarkeri mutt. This continued in the original line but broke in two, they are Bhandarkeri which is now looked after by Palimara mutt, and Bhimanakatte, which has its headquarters on the Tirthahalli Shimoga Road at Bhimanakatte, which is still in the Tulu region of Karnataka. Citrapura is a branch of the original Pejawara Mutt established by Aksobhya Tirtha. Citrapura Mutt is situated some 35 kilometres from Udupi on the main Udupi - Mangalore highway.
There is also included two more Mutts established in the Madhwa line ('Gauda Saraswata Brahmins'):
21. Gokarno-Partagali Jivottama Mutt - originally three Mutts combined, all established by Narayana Tirtha who took 'sannyasa' from Ramacandra Tirtha, the tenth 'swami' pontiff of Palimara Mutt started by Hrsikesa Tirtha.
22. Kasi Mutt - originally from Udupi, but when the Madhwa followers went south they established Kasi Mutt from Kanya Kumari.
Still another two Mutts are included in the Mutt lists which are:
23. Madhwa-Gaudiya Mutt as established by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Goswami Maharaja Prabhupada.
24. I.S.K.C.O.N., "The International Society for Krsna Consciousness" - the Founder Acarya of which is His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami, Srila Prabhupada. Since the passing of Srila Prabhupada on November 14th, 1977, his representatives, ISKCON 'guru vrnda', now continue the 'parampara'.
I think a point should be made here that to further define the philosophy of simultaneously one and yet difference we can look at ISKCON for a moment. Although it is a recognised part of the 'guru parampara', still ISKCON is distinct and different as we are primarily the followers of Srila A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, the disciple of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura, who was the son of Srila Sac-cid-ananda Bhaktivinoda Thakura who was empowered to preach the glories of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu in the mood of the Six Goswamis of Vrindavan, Rupanugas.
There are other examples in our 'sampradaya', the followers of Vadiraj Tirtha are distinct from other Madhwas as are the followers of Srila Vyasa Tirtha, now what to speak of the followers of Sri Raghavendra (Tirtha) Swami. However we all have the same common father, hence sometimes Sripad Madhwacarya is called 'Loka Guru', the 'shiksha guru of everyone' in this line. So this is the situation, simultaneously we are one 'sampradaya' which is duly made up of numerous individual personalities, each of who, according to our reletive advancement or development of relationship, tastes our/their own distinct and relishable flavours of devotional service to the Lord.
At the end of this book there is a section describing how Madhwa organized the 'parampara' to continue through the 'paraya' system, more details about the descent of the original eight Mutts can be found there. This line, known as Brahma-Madhwa-Gaudiya Sampradaya is as follows:
SRIPAD MADHWACARYA SUKADEVA GOSWAMI
(Ananda Tirtha/Purnaprajna Tirtha)
PADMANABHA----NRHARI----MADHAVA TIRTHA----AKSOBHYA TIRTHA
TIRTHA TIRTHA l
VIDYANIDHI TIRTHA (also known as VIDYADIRAJA TIRTHA)
RAJENDRA TIRTHA KAVINDRA TIRTHA
JAYADHARMA TIRTHA VAGISA TIRTHA
I RAMACANDRA TIRTHA
BRAHMANYA TIRTHA I
(Purushottam Tirtha) I
SRIPAD VYASA TIRTHA II------------------------II
Il II UTTARADI MUTT I
SRILA VYASARAYA MUTT I I
LAXMIPATI TIRTHA RAGHAVENDRA SWAMI MUTT
PARAMANANDA ISWARA PURI NITYANANDA ADVAITA
PURI I PRABHU ACARYA
SRI CAITANYA MAHAPRABHU
SWARUPA DAMODARA SANATANA GOSWAMI
SRI JIVA GOSWAMI RAGHUNATHA DAS GOSWAMI
KRSNADASA KAVIRAJA GOSWAMI
NAROTTAMA DAS THAKURA
VISVANATHA CAKRAVATI THAKURA
UDDHAVA DAS BABAJI
MADHUSUDANA DAS BABAJI
(VAISNAVA SARVABHAUMA) JAGANNATHA DAS BABAJI
BHAGAVAT DAS BABAJI BHAKTIVINODA THAKURA
GAURA KISORA DAS BABAJI
GAUDIYA MATH A.C.BHAKTIVEDANTA SWAMI
and its missions I
ISKCON GURU VRNDA
The äcäryas of the Madhva-sampradäya established Uòupé as the chief center, and the monastery there was known as Uttararäòhé-maöha. A list of the different centers of the Madhväcärya-sampradäya can be found at Uòupé, and their maöha commanders are (1) Viñëu Tértha (Çoda-maöha), (2) Janärdana Tértha (Kåñëapura-maöha), (3) Vämana Tértha (Kanura-maöha), (4) Narasiàha Tértha (Adamara-maöha), (5) Upendra Tértha (Puttugé-maöha), (6) Räma Tértha (Çirura-maöha), (7) Håñékeça Tértha (Palimara-maöha), and (8) Akñobhya Tértha (Pejävara-maöha). The disciplic succession of the Madhväcärya-sampradäya is as follows (the dates are those of birth): (1) Haàsa Paramätmä; (2) Caturmukha Brahmä; (3) Sanakädi; (4) Durväsä; (5) Jïänanidhi; (6) Garuòa-vähana; (7) Kaivalya Tértha; (8) Jïäneça Tértha; (9) Para Tértha; (10) Satyaprajïa Tértha; (11) Präjïa Tértha; (12) Acyuta Prekñäcärya Tértha; (13) Çré Madhväcärya, 1040 Çaka; (14) Padmanäbha, 1120; Narahari, 1127; Mädhava, 1136; and Akñobhya 1159; (15) Jaya Tértha, 1167; (16) Vidyädhiräja, 1190; (17) Kavéndra, 1255; (18) Vägéça, 1261; (19) Rämacandra, 1269; (20) Vidyänidhi, 1298; (21) Çré Raghunätha, 1366; (22) Rayuvarya (who spoke with Çré Caitanya Mahäprabhu), 1424; (23) Raghüttama, 1471; (24) Vedavyäsa, 1517; (25) Vidyädhéça, 1541; (26) Vedanidhi, 1553; (27) Satyavrata, 1557; (28) Satyanidhi, 1560; (29) Satyanätha, 1582; (30) Satyäbhinava, 1595; (31) Satyapürëa, 1628; (32) Satyavijaya, 1648; (33) Satyapriya, 1659; (34) Satyabodha, 1666; (35) Satyasandha, 1705; (36) Satyavara, 1716; (37) Satyadharma, 1719; (38) Satyasaìkalpa, 1752; (39) Satyasantuñöa, 1763; (40) Satyaparäyaëa, 1763; (41) Satyakäma, 1785; (42) Satyeñöa, 1793; (43) Satyaparäkrama, 1794; (44) Satyadhéra, 1801; (45) Satyadhéra Tértha, 1808. (For approximate Christian era dates, add seventy-nine years.)
After the sixteenth äcärya (Vidyädhiräja
Tértha), there was another disciplic succession, including Räjendra
Tértha, 1254; Vijayadhvaja; Puruñottama; Subrahmaëya;
and Vyäsa Räya, 1470–1520. The nineteenth äcärya, Rämacandra
Tértha, had another disciplic succession, including Vibudhendra,
1218; Jitämitra, 1348; Raghunandana; Surendra; Vijendra; Sudhéndra;
and Räghavendra Tértha, 1545.
To date, in the Uòupé monastery there are another fourteen Madhva-tértha sannyäsés. As stated, Uòupé is situated beside the sea in South Kanaraòä, about thirty-six miles north of Mangalore.
Most of the information in this purport is available from the South Känäòä Manual and the Bombay Gazette.(A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. Sri Caitanya Caritamrta. Madhya-lila. 9:245. purport.)
Sripad Madhwacarya had many, many disciples, some of them famous, some of them not so. Some occupied the seat of office as 'Pithadhipathis' some did not. Just because one did not occupy the seat of office did not make him any less important. In this regard Sri Visnu Tirtha and Trivikram Pandit were his direct disciples, but they never occupied the 'Vedanta Pitha' or formal seat of office, so when the parampara is listed, generally it starts from Padmanabha Tirtha who Madhwa made his successor. However, because they are both such amazing personalities I thought that to include them would not do any harm.
Here's another page I did on Madhwacarya
Here's the Official Dwaita Homepage of the Madhwas