Madhavacharya was a Hindu philosopher and a chief propagator of the theory of Dvaita school of Vedanta. It is this great philosopher’s birth anniversary celebration that is observed as Madhavacharya Jayanti and is observed with a lot of devotion by his disciples.
Madhavacharya was born in the 13 th century. He was born in 1238 AD on the day of the Vijaya Dashami of the month of Aswayuja in a place called Pajaka near Udipi, which is a coastal Malabar region in Karnataka.
In 2019, the Madhavacharya Jayanti will be celebrated on the 8th of October.
Life of Madhavacharya
Madhavacharya was born in the year 1238 AD on the day of the Vijaya Dashami. His father was a Vaishnavite called Naddantillaya and mother Vedavati. He was born after lot of prayers and dedication to Ananteswara. He was named Vasudeva during childhood.
Madhavacharya started his formal education after his Upanayana or the sacred thread ceremony at the age of seven. By the time he had reached his teenage, Madhava was ready to renounce the world and took sanyas. He joined the Advaita Vedanta Monastery in Dwarka and became the disciple of Achyutrapreksha, also known as Achyutraprajna. However, the ideology of Achyutraprajna diid not much appeal to the young disciple and though disappointed, he was still deeply impressed by the young Madhava’s energetic disposal. Achyutraprajna had also named the young Madhava as Purna prajna. He then began his own Dvaita movement of on the premises of Dvi propounding that God and human soul are two different issues. Madhavacharya took to pilgrimage in various places in order to hone his skills. Many other scholars came to challenge his views but came away defeated. After returning from one such pilgrimage Madhavacharya wrote a commentary on Bhagavadgita called Gita Bhasya, which is Madhavacharya’s first ever literary work.
Seven years after he took to sanyas, Madhavacharya or Purnaprajna went for a pilgrimage to the northern India, where he went to Benaras, Allahabad, Dwaraka and other places finally reaching Badrikshetra.
Madhavacharya proclaimed himself to be an incarnation of the Lord of wind, Vayu who was the son of Vishnu. It is believed that he thought himself to be an intermediary between Lord Vishnu and the devotees , namely Dvaita devotees, whom he were guiding towards the true path of Vishnu worship.
After he returned to Udipi, Madhavacharya started to write about his own philosophy which he called the Dwaitasiddhanta. The main thought of this was that the Brahman is independent and all the rest are dependant. That is the reason why this philosophy has come to be known as the Dwaitasiddhanta.
He founded the Sri Krishna temple in Udipi and also eight mutts or monasteries.
It is believed that he travelled to the northern part of India where he met Jalaluddin Khalji and spoke to him in Urdu. However, in one of his visits to a place called Vishnumangala, he got into a debate with a pandit belonging to the Advaita School called Trivikramapanditacharya. The debate went on for 15 days, post which Trivikramapanditacharya conceded defeat and became Madhavacharya’s disciple.
His death is not documented as he vanished from his disciples at the age of 79 in the year 1317 CE. He proceeded to Badri for the last phase of his life and this day is known by his disciples as Madhava Navami.
Madhavacharya’s literary works
- There are 37 texts in total which is attributed to Madhavacharya.
- 13 of these are review and commentary on Principal Upanishad, the Madhva-bhasya is based on the Brahma Sutras, which is the foundation of the Vedanta School.
- There is the Gita-bhasya base on the Bhagvad Gita, which is a commentary on the Rigveda.
- He also composed a review of the epic Mahabharata in a poetic style.
- A discourse on Bhagavata Purana called Bhagavata-tatparya-nirnaya along with a lot of stotras.
- However the work named Anu-Vyakhyana,a discourse on the Brahma Sutras is considered to be the best work of Madhavacharya.
Madhavacharya Jayanti celebrations
Madhavacharya Jayanti is celebrated by his devotees on the navami of the shukla paksha of the Ashwin month as per traditional Hindu calendar. As per the Gregorian calendar it falls in the waxing phase of the moon in the month of September or October. On this day in the mutts or the monasteries or various other places of learning his Dvaita Vedanta philosophy is discussed and various debates are held.