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               In the previous article I have talked about the peculiar aspect of ‘Dharmik Continuum’ that prevailed throughout the existence of Vijayanagara Empire. Actually, that write-up was my impulsive reaction, so to say, about this strange feature of maintaining and upholding the Dharmik values. I feel that no historian of any denomination has touched upon this topic and has ever mentioned it in his/her research!

                I am making such strong claim as I have found yet another great example of this Dharmik Continuum phenomenon and I am sure that the readers too shall acknowledge my feelings. The Belur inscriptions that would be presented in this articles can stand tall in showcasing the Dharmik side of Hindu kings. The inscription of Harihara II can be considered as the ‘crest jewel’ of these Belur inscriptions.

 

Battle of Talikota as dipicted in a 16th century miniature art

Image courtesy: Wikimedia.org

26th of January is not only the occasion to celebrate Republic Day but also to recall a historical event that triggered the final showdown of a mighty South Indian Dharmik Empire. This date must be kept in mind not only to rejoice the introduction of the Constitution of India but also to repent the vanquishing of a greatest city of the [then] known world. This was the day on which the narratives of South India have taken a different turn…a turn that could never be traveled back.

I am referring to the Battle of Rakkasi-Tangadi (also called as Battle of Talikota) in which the Vijayanagara forces faced all-out routing thus causing the complete downfall of magnificent city of Hampi. It was on 26th of January, 1565 that this fateful battle was fought between the Vijayanagara and a confederacy of four Muslim Sultanates i.e. Bijapur, Ahmadnagar, Bidar and Golconda. It was on this day’s afternoon that the fate of both Ramaraya and Hampi were decided forever. Today, it is the 451st anniversary of Talikota Battle and this small write-up is nothing but a gist of the events that have occurred on this rueful day.

[Two dates have been given to this event i.e. (1) 23rd of January and (2) 26th of January. There are equal numbers of citations for both the dates. I have considered 26th of January.]

[As told by Sri Vidya Vijaya Tirtha Sripadaru of Sri Vyasaraja Matha-Sosale]

The Bell in Hanuman's tail - is an interesting feature that can be seen not just in Vyasa-Anjaneya pratima-s but also in many pratima-s across Bharata bhUmi. I have learnt one legend associated with it from elders.

Here is the legend...

Brief Story of Jayasthambha

For those readers who are new to this subject, I wish to give them the gist of the story.

Sri Akshobhya Tirtha, the 4th successor of Acharya Madhva has ascended the Dvaita Vedanta Peetha in the year c.1350. He has succeeded Sri Mādhava Tirtha (Ascendance:1333 Brindavana: 1349/50) and prevailed over the Peetha till c.1365.

The fables of Mādhva community say that there ensued a great debate between Akshobhya and Vidyāranya, the two stalwarts of Dvaita and Advaita schools, at a place called Hunchadakallu Gudda, a small hillock in Mulbagal (Purva Kavatapuri). Kumara Kampana, the then Governor of Mulbagal and many other royal dignitaries have gathered to witness this grand fiesta of polemic dispute. Vedanta Deshikan of Srivaishnava School has been chosen as the “referee” but he was not physically present at the venue and was staying at Srirangam. The 40 days of close contest between the two saints has touched upon every book of Vedanta and finally Akshobhya came out victorious while discussing Upanishad statement of “tattvamasi” and a ‘pillar of victory’ (image shown below) has been erected at the very spot where the arguments took place.

 

Riposte from Advaitins

The story of Vidyāranya’s alleged defeat started spreading its wings it was the turn of Advaitins to make a ‘quick return thrust’ to stop the onslaught of Mādhvas and this has resulted in publishing a book titled 'Akshobhya Vijaya Vibhrama’ (AVV) by Mr. G.R. Patil which has been followed up with another booklet by the same author, rebutting the objections raised by few Mādhvas on AVV.

In this article I will not be discussing about AVV or the objections raised by the Mādhvas and not even about the subsequent rejoinder written by Mr. Patil. Instead this book shall make an independent inquiry on the said topic with a fresh mind and new perspective.

On the other hand, there are sufficient direct references in several Maadhva narratives that point towards a particular "Avadika Vidyaranya" or "Avaidika Aranya" with whom Akshobhya Tirtha debated and subsequently emerged as a victor. This article is an attempt to understand who is that "Avaidika [Vidya]Aranya"

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           The mighty Vijayanagara Empire that flourished from c.1336 to c.1646 has been held and ruled by four dynasties – (1) Sangama (2) Saluva (3) Tulu and (4) Aravidu.

        We can read some blood curdling stories from Vijayanagara history on how the successive dynasties snatched the power from the outgoing one. Sometimes, the members of the ruling royal family have seem to be committing heinous murders of their kith and kin only to plant themselves on the royal seat. I have borrowed the following passage from Robert Sewell to describe this horrification saga:

“It will be seen farther on that in almost every case the kingdom was racked with dissension on the demise of the sovereign, and that year after year the members of the reigning family were subjected to violence and murder in order that one or other of them might establish himself as head of the State.”

[Vijayanagara - Forgotten Empire by R. Sewell]