Saints & Life History Accounts


History, without the shadows of skepticism, looks dull !

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Img: http://templesinindiainfo.com/Recently I have read a book written by Sri Sadhu Subrahmanya Sastri (SSS), one the pioneers of TTD Epigraphy. Sri Sastri worked as Peishkar of Tirumala temple and during his tenure he focused his attention on recording the inscriptions of Tirumala temple.

Though not a trained epigraphist, he undertook the task of reading, editing & recording of Tirumala inscriptions. As part of this, he underwent training in Madras as well.


[Image courtesy: http://templesinindiainfo.com/]

All history lovers and epigraphic enthusiasts must remember Sri Sastri's contribution in preserving the crucial information related to medieval South India. His relentless efforts in publishing the Tirumala inscriptions shall show the path to the would-be epigraphists.

Sri Sastri is one of the many inspirations that made me to take up studying the history on epigrahic evidences. I have picked up some confidence by reading about him that a layman such as me too can venture in to epigraphic studies.

As studying the history is a litmus test to what we believe versus what we must understand, at times, we may have to differ from what our elders taught or wrote. With this background I am writing this mini series of articles by bringing up the doubts expressed by Sri Sastri on certain life accounts of Sri Sripadaraja and Sri Vyasaraya.


Nearly two months ago, I have written two articles about the polemical argument purportedly held between Sri Akshobhya and Sri Vidyaranya in Mulabagal town. These two articles have attempted to fact-check the said event and have tried to analyse whether such event ever took place?

After reading considerable amount of literature with for and against arguments and by undertaking an independent study of the inscriptions and scriptures, I have understood that there is no room for such event to happen and the said Vidyaranya is not the Madhava Vidyaranya of Shringeri Peetha. Interested readers may please read the articles by clicking the following links:

  1. Akshobhya - Vidyaranya Debate - Myths & Facts (As understood by me)
  2. Akshobhya Vidyaranya Debate - Further Inputs

The present one is the 3rd in the series and probably the last one as well. Should I get some clues and evidences, I may add couple of more articles to this series but as of now this would be the final one.

New Evidence:

In order to come to a logical conclusion about the truth in Akshobhya-Vidyaranya debate, I have extensively used various Archeological and Epigraphic records and the books written for and against the purported debate.

Later, I have tried to look for some clues from Dasa Sahitya as it has been the most widely used tool by the Dvaita School to spread its message in the masses. In this connection, I have referred to the kritis on Sri Jayatirtha written by the following:

  1. Sri Vadiraja Tirtha
  2. Sri Purandara Dasa
  3. Sri Kanada Dasa



Generations of Madhvas have always sincerely believed that in the early days of Vijayanagara Kingdom there was a famous disputation between the two stalwarts of Advaita and Dvaita, Sri Vidyaranya and Sri Akshobhya Tirtha, where the famous Vishishtadvaita scholar Sri Vedanta Desikar was the neutral umpire and victory was wonby Dvaita. Apparently there was no rejection of the very existence of the event in earlier days, even by such great Advaita stalwarts like Sri Ananthakrishna Shastri or any other pontiffs. In recent days, however Advaita has predictably reacted adversely and has offered many arguments to support their own position that such a disputation never took place.

The confusion has been actually compounded by many fancy stories written much later about the so called disputation/victory where extreme positions have been offered by both sides – including a victory for Advaita. Therewere also a very few Madhva scholars who supported the view that the account was fictitious. The issue is considered as a question of prestige of the two schools and it is difficult to sift out the truths and realities from the fanciful accounts and blind loyalties towards one’s own system inherited from birth.


              In response to my article on Akshobhya-Vidyaranya debate & its disputation there were two responses in Sumadhwa Seva Group and those responses have made me to write this intermediary article before publishing the analysis of Mr. G.R. Patil’s book “Akshobhya Vijaya Vibhrama.”  I am sure that this article can become a useful prologue to the upcoming article.

Vidyaranya – Confusions & Mystifications

            After reading considerable amount of literature on Vidyaranya, I have been given to an understanding that there are certain confusions among the public about the history of Sri Vidyaranya. And the Smarta community too is not an exception to this bewilderment of their Guru who is considered as the second greatest seer after the Adi Shankara himself.

         Following are the common puzzles that dazzle the common readers:

  1. Vidyāranya and Mādhavacharya are different persons.
  2. Vidyāranya and Mādhavacharya are one and the same person.
  3. Sāyana & Mādhava are the brothers who have been jointly ordered by Bharati Tirtha & Vidyāranya to write Veda Bhashyas.
  4. Mādhava was a minister in the court of Vijayanagara emperor and later became Vidyāranya.



“The very ink with which history is written is merely fluid prejudice.” – Mark Twain

I don’t know what made Mark Twain to say so but it successfully describes the topic that I am presenting in this article. 

The much famed disputation between Akshobhya Tirtha of Dvaita school and Vidyaranya of Advaita school is the topic-in-discussion and I hereby present my line of thinking on this topic.

I have used the sources of history that are available, at present, with me and the relevant citations have been provided from the sources directly.

Story Brief:

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

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