Vadiraja Tirtha

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Vadiraja Tirtha
Religion Hinduism
Philosophy Dvaita
Personal
Born Bhuvaraha
1480 CE
Huvinakere in present day Kundapura Taluk of Udupi district, Karnataka
Died 1600 CE
Sodhe
Guru Vagisha Tirtha
Literary works Yuktimalika,Rukminisha Vijaya

Sri Vadiraja Tirtha (c.1480-c.1600 [1]) was a Dvaita philosopher, poet and mystic. A polymath of his time, he authored many works, often polemical, on Madhva theology and metaphysics, he composed numerous poems and as the pontiff of Sodhe Mutt, renovated the temple complex at Udupi and established the Paryaya system of worship. [2] He is also credited with enriching the Kannada literature of the time by translating Madhva's works to Kannada,[3] giving impetus and contributing to the Haridasa movement. His works are characterised by their poetic flourishes, incisive wit and humour.[4] [note 1]

Life[edit]

Vadiraja was born as Bhuvaraha in Huvinakere, a village in the Kundapura district. He was ordained as a monk at the age of 8 and placed into the care of Vidyanidhi Tirtha and later Vagisha Tirtha, who oversaw his education. [5] Works of contemporary Haridasas and oral traditions point to Vadiraja being a student of Vyasatirtha along with Vijayendra Tirtha though he never acknowledged Vyasatirtha as his mentor in his works. He eventually assumed the pontifical seat of the mutt at Sodhe, succeeding Vagisha Tirtha. Sharma contends that Vadiraja enjoyed the patronage of the Nayakas of Keladi as Vadiraja's successor, Vedavedya Tirtha, received grants of villages from Keladi Venkatappa Nayak. [1] In 1512, Vadiraja began his grand tour of the pilgrimages in India lasting for two decades, the details of which he recorded in his travelogue entitled Tirtha Prabanda. A number of miracles have been ascribed to him during these journeys such as resurrection of the dead and exorcism of demons. [6] Traditional accounts also speak of his expertise in occult and especially of an incident involving the taming of a forest spirit called Annappa or Bhutaraja. [7] Vadiraja is known to have debated the Jain scholars at Moodabidri and Karkala and converted a sect of Brahmins of the goldsmith community to the Dvaita fold. [8] It was around the same time that he restructured the organisation of the temple at Udupi, established the Ashta Mathas around the temple and renovated the temple itself. The ecclesiastical and liturgical reforms initiated by him survive to this day. A life of 120 years is traditionally ascribed to him.[3] Though the veracity of this claim may be questioned, Sharma notes "there is no doubt he (Vadiraja) enjoyed a long life presiding over the mutt at Sodhe, established by him, for a number of years".[4] His mortal remains (Brindavana) are enshrined at Sodhe.

Legacy[edit]

Vadiraja gave impetus and contributed to Dasa Sahitya, writing several poems under the nom de plume Hayavadana. Yuktimalika is widely considered to be his magnum opus. Sharma notes "The work is brimming with freshness and originality of approach and ideas". [9] He also composed several poems, notable of which is an epic poem of 90 cantos titled Rukminisha Vijaya.

Notable Works[edit]

A prolific writer, Vadiraja is credited with more than sixty works. [10] His oeuvre is diverse, ranging from short hymns and epic poems to abstract scholarly works on the metaphysical intricacies of Dvaita. Many of his independent works are polemical barbs directed not only at Advaita but heterodox schools like Buddhism and especially Jainism which had a hold over the South Canara region in the 16th century. [11]

List of scholarly works[edit]

Name Description References
Upanyasaratnamala Collective title given to the commentary on the trilogy of refutations by Madhva (Upadhi Khandana,Mayavada Khandana,Mithyatva Anumana Khandana) [10]
Tattva Prakasika Guruvartha Dipika Commentary on the Tattva Prakasika of Jayatirtha [12]
Nyaya Sudha Guruvartha Dipika Commentary on the Nyaya Sudha of Jayatirtha [12]
Ekona-Panchapadika A non-extant polemical treatise criticising the Panchapadika of Padmapadacharya [13]
Vivaranavranam A polemical treatise criticising the Vivarana by Prakashatman of the Vivarana school of Advaita [13]
Pasandakhandanam A polemical treatise directed against the tenets of Buddhism and Jainism [14]
Yuktimalika An independent treatise arguing for the logical supremacy of Dvaita over other schools of thought [15]
Nyayaratnavali An epigrammatical critique of the Advaita doctrines [16]
Madhvavagvajravali A non-extant work possibly containing arguments against Advaita [17]
Kalpalata A work dealing with the epistemology of Dvaita [18]
Lakshalankara Commentary on the Mahabharata Tatparya Nirnaya of Madhva [19]

List of literary works[edit]

Name Description References
Rukminisha Vijaya A poetic rendition of the abduction of Rukmini by Krishna [19]
Tirtha Prabanda A travelogue detailing the pilgrimages undertaken by Vadiraja [20]
Bhugola Varnanam An interpretation of Hindu cosmology according to Dvaita [21]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ A certain section of the Madhva community believe him to be an incarnation of Latavya, a deity supposed to assume the position of Vayu in the next kalpa

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Sharma 2000, p. 190.
  2. ^ Rao 2002, p. 33.
  3. ^ a b Dalal 2010.
  4. ^ a b Sharma 2000, p. 192.
  5. ^ Sharma 2000, p. 191-192.
  6. ^ Rao 2002, p. 72-76.
  7. ^ Rao 2002, p. 77.
  8. ^ Sharma 2000, p. 193.
  9. ^ Sharma 2000, p. 201.
  10. ^ a b Sharma 2000, p. 196.
  11. ^ Sharma 2000, p. 194.
  12. ^ a b Sharma 2000, p. 197.
  13. ^ a b Sharma 2000, p. 198.
  14. ^ Sharma 2000, p. 199.
  15. ^ Pandurangi 1992.
  16. ^ Betty 1978.
  17. ^ Sharma 2000, p. 210.
  18. ^ Sharma 2000, p. 211.
  19. ^ a b Zydenbos 1994, p. 177.
  20. ^ Zydenbos 1994, p. 176.
  21. ^ Murthy 2008.

Bibliography[edit]

  • Sharma, B.N.K (2000) [1961]. History of Dvaita school of Vedanta and its Literature. 2 (3rd ed.). Bombay: Motilal Banarasidass. ISBN 81-208-1575-0. 
  • Betty, L. Stafford (1978). Vadiraja's Refutation of Sankara's Non-dualism: Clearing the Way for Theism. Motilal Banarasidass. ISBN 978-8120831582. 
  • Dalal, Roshen (2010). "Vadirajatirtha". Hinduism: An Alphabetical Guide. Penguin Books India. ISBN 978-0143414216. 
  • Rao, Vasudeva (2002). Living Traditions in Contemporary Contexts: The Madhva Matha of Udupi. Orient Blackswan. ISBN 9788125022978. 
  • Zydenbos, Robert (1994). According to Tradition: Hagiographical Writing in India. Otto Harrassowitz Verlag. ISBN 9783447035248. 
  • Pandurangi, K.T (1992). Essentials of Yuktimallika. University of Michigan. 
  • Murthy, Badarayana (2008). Bhugola Varnanam. University of Virginia. 

External links[edit]