29 Facts About Madhvacharya


Madhvacharya, sometimes anglicised as Madhva Acharya, and known as Purna Prajna and Ananda Tirtha, was an Indian philosopher, theologian and the chief proponent of the Dvaita school of Vedanta.


Madhvacharya was born on the west coast of Karnataka state in 13th-century India.


Madhvacharya's writing style was of extreme brevity and condensed expression.


Madhvacharya was a critic of Adi Shankara's Advaita Vedanta and Ramanuja's Vishishtadvaita Vedanta teachings.


Madhvacharya toured India several times, visiting places such as Badrinath, Bengal, Varanasi, Dwaraka, Goa and Kanyakumari, engaging in philosophical debates and visiting Hindu centres of learning.


Madhvacharya's teachings are built on the premise that there is a fundamental difference between Atman and the Brahman, these are two different unchanging realities, with individual soul dependent on Brahman, never identical.


The biography of Madhvacharya is unclear about his year of birth.


Madhvacharya joined an Advaita Vedanta monastery in Udupi, accepted his guru to be Achyutrapreksha, who is referred to as Achyutraprajna in some sources.


Madhvacharya never established a matha dedicated to Dvaita philosophy, however his lineage of students became the sanctuary for a series of Dvaita scholars such as Jayatirtha, Sripadaraja, Vyasatirtha, Vadiraja Tirtha, Raghuttama Tirtha, Raghavendra Tirtha and Satyanatha Tirtha who followed in the footsteps of Madhva.


In several of his texts, state Sarma and other scholars, "Madhvacharya proclaims himself to be the third avatar or incarnation of Vayu, wind god, the son of Vishnu".


Madhvacharya is said to have quoted some verses from his unique recensions of scriptures.


The interpretation of Balittha Sukta by Madhvacharya and his followers to prove that Madhvacharya was an incarnation of Vayu is considered highly unique by standard commentaries on them like Sayana and Horace Hayman Wilson.


Vishnu, according to Madhvacharya, is not the creator of the Vedas, but the teacher of the Vedas.


The Vishnu as Brahman concept of Madhvacharya is a concept similar to God in major world religions.


Madhvacharya's writings led some early colonial-era Indologists such as George Abraham Grierson to suggest the 13th-century Madhva was influenced by Christianity, but later scholarship has rejected this theory.


Madhvacharya considered Jnana Yoga and Karma Yoga to be insufficient to the path of liberation without Bhakti.


The knowledge of God, for Madhvacharya, is not a matter of intellectual acceptance of the concept, but an attraction, affection, constant attachment, loving devotion and complete surrender to the grace of God.


Madhvacharya rejects monist theories believing that knowledge liberates, asserting instead that it is Divine grace through Bhakti that liberates.


Madhvacharya asserts, Yathecchasi tatha kuru, which Sharma translates and explains as "one has the right to choose between right and wrong, a choice each individual makes out of his own responsibility and his own risk".


Madhvacharya was a fierce critic of competing Vedanta schools, and other schools of Indian philosophies such as Buddhism and Jainism.


Madhvacharya wrote up arguments against twenty one ancient and medieval era Indian scholars to help establish the foundations of his own school of thought.


Madhvacharya was fiercest critic of Advaita Vedanta, accusing Shankara and Advaitins for example, as "deceitful demons" teaching Buddhism under the cover of Vedanta.


However, in contrast to Madhvacharya's views, Vishishtadvaita school asserts "qualified non-dualism", that souls share the same essential nature of Brahman, and that there is a universal sameness in the quality and degree of bliss possible for human souls, and every soul can reach the bliss state of God Himself.


Shankara's Advaita school and Ramanuja's Vishishtadvaita school are premised on the assumption that all souls can hope for and achieve the state of blissful liberation; in contrast, Madhvacharya posited that some souls enjoy spreading chaos and irreligion, and even enjoy being eternally doomed and damned as such.


Madhvacharya was part of the Vedanta school, which emerged in post-Vedic period as the most influential of the six schools of Hindu philosophy, and his targeting of Advaita tradition, states Bryant, reflects it being the most influential of Vedanta schools.


Madhvacharya extended an independent, original philosophy in the inference of Vaishnavism.


Madhvacharya was misperceived and misrepresented by both Christian missionaries and Hindu writers during the colonial era scholarship.


Madhvacharya established eight mathas in Udupi with his eight disciples as its head along with Padmanabha Tirtha Matha.


Madhvacharya established a matha with his disciple Padmanabha Tirtha as its head to spread Tattvavada outside Tulunadu region with the instructions that his disciples Narahari Tirtha, Madhava Tirtha and Akshobhya Tirtha should, in turn, become the successors of this matha.