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Saints & Life History Accounts

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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Recently there came a write-up which has been introduced to the public as ‘official statement from UM.’ 

Following are my observations on the said official statement & these observations are limited to the historical antecedents mentioned therein.

ANTIQUITY OF ‘DISPUTED’ STORY & ITS REFERENCES:

As there were few allegations that the present subject-matter i.e. the ‘disputed’ story that went viral has been woven by a present pontiff of a particular Matha. In order to reject such allegations, the official statement of the said Matha tried to prove that the story is quite old and dates back to 1970s or even before that. Following references have been cited in the write-up:

Recently, an audio clip that contained a legend associated with a popular polemical work titled Advaita Siddhi written by Madhusudana Saraswati from Sankara’s Advaita School gone viral. This Advaita Siddhi is a rebuttal of Vyasatirtha’s Nyanamruta.

Here is a translation (not verbatim but the essence of the speech).

Introduction:

2016 is the third successive year into which I am carrying the “Search of Sri Jayatirtha’s Brindavana” by adding the new found evidences and facts.

This latest series of articles to be published under a common title “In Search of Jayatirtha’s Brindavana – Addendum 2016” shall be dealing with the following topics:

  1. The objections raised by Mr. Narahari Sumadhwa on my 3rd book on the said topic.
  2. The Facebook discussion initiated by Mr. Vishwapriya Anand Vedagarbha on Dasara Padagalu.

I have tried my level best to provide as many evidences and facts as possible and put the efforts to focus on the core topic than getting sidelined by the hatred or bias. 

Sri Jayatirtha and his mula brindavana has become a dispute between two Madhva mathas and many arguments are being exchanged since 2014. This issue is not as infathomable as Bermuda Triangle or Shangrila city. It only needs a little bit of commonsense, an unfalsified will and an unbiased research. More importantly, this issue demands for the unity of mindsets under the grace of Sri Jayatirtharu himself. I don't think that the future generations shall ever waste their time to dispute for the sake of dispute and there shall come a day on which this issue will be closed on the merits instead of myrid blind faith.

Having said this and after a long spell of silence over Jayatirtha’s mula brindavana, I have been part of an online discussion forum in which I have posed a question Narahari Sumadhwa, the lone online voice of Malkheda, and then posted a reply to it.

It raked up the “Smarana” issue that Malkheda camp always applies to the 18th shloka of TP’s Purva Prabandha.

Also, Chiran Chidambarji, the guru for many members of that online forum, too asked a critical question on my reply.

Hereunder I reproduce the screen shots of the discussion that form the basis of the present article.