The Dwaita Baton

- By Dr. Vyasanakere Prabhanjanacharya

Some unique details regarding the direct pontiff disciples of Sri Madhwacharya. These are the findings based on the extensive research done by me.

It is a well-known fact that Sri Madhwacharya departed to Upper Badari in his corporeal form, on Magha Shuddha Navami. He continues to stay there with Sri Vedavyasa to this day.

Details about his direct disciples like Sri VishnuTirtha and other great personages who adorned the pontifical throne of the Ashta Mathas as per his directive, their date and place of passing away, are not available even in their respective Mathas and hence the event is not celebrated. (The only exception is Sri HrusheekeshaTirtha of Palimaru Matha).

During the research efforts to overcome this lacuna, it was found that specific details on these are available in the "Kaifiyat" records of the government, with respect of these Mathas. (These records are built based on the information compiled by officials who visit the Mathas at various times, interview the heads of the Mathas, and seek answers on specific questions). This is indeed very heartening news to the entire Vaishnava community. (All these Kaifiyats can be seen in the publication " Kaifiyattugalu" brought out by Hampi Kannada University.)

From the details available therein, the time and date of the passing away of the seven pontiffs and the time and date of departure of Sri VishnuTirtha, in his physical form, to Kumara Parvata can be summarized thus:

Sri HrushikeshaTirtha, Palimaru Matha, Kashi, Magha Shu.Saptami
Shaa.Sha1212(1290a.d.) Virodhi
Sri NarasimhaTirtha, Adamaru Matha, Bhagirathi, Chaitra Shu. Panchami
Shaa.Sha1232(1310a.d.) Soumya
Sri JanardanaTirtha, Krishnapura Matha, Prayag, Vaishaka Shu.Dwadashi
Shaa.Sha 1213(1291a.d.) Vikruti
Sri UpendraTirtha, Puttige Matha, Krishna river bank, Magha Shu.Dwadashi
Shaa.Sha 1211(1289a.d.) Sarvadhari
Sri VamanaTirtha, Shirur Matha, Prayag, Vaishaka Shu.Dashami
Shaa.Sha 1229(1307a.d.) Parabhava
Sri VishnuTirtha, Sode Matha, Kumara Parvata, Magha Kri.Trayodashi
Shaa.Sha 1235(1313a.d.) Paridhavi
Sri RamaTirtha, Kaniyur Matha, Himatkeetara, Magha Kri.Panchami
Shaa.Sha 1238(1316 a.d.) Nala?(Ananda)
Sri AdhokshajaTirtha, Pejavara Matha, Dhanushkoti, Magha Shu.Saptami
Shaa.Sha 1235(1313a.d.) Paridhavi

It is noteworthy that the names and the respective numerical rank of the years tally. Further, the information in the Kaifiyat tallies with an ancient record available in Palimaru Matha in this regard which enhances the credibility of this source.

विरोधि माघार्जुन सप्तमितिथौ वरो हृषीकेश तपस्विनाम् |
पुरु प्रबोधराज कराब्ज सम्भवो धरासुतेशाङ्घ्रि सरोजमेयिवान् ||

Virodhi Magharjuna Saptami Tithou Varo Hrusheekesha Tapswinaam |
Puru Prabhodarja Karaabja Sambhavo Dhara Suteshaanghri Sarojameyivaan ||

The detail as per an ancient manuscript obtained by me with regard to Sri VishnuTirtha has this to say:

मार्घशीर्श शुक्लपक्षे विष्णुतीर्थो महामनाः |
गुहास्यैव समीपे तु ह्यारुहत् पौर्णमि दिने ||

Margasheersha Shukla Pakshe Vishnuteertho Mahamanaha|
Guhasyaiva Sameepe tu Hyaruhat Paurnami Dine||

From the above it is established that the month of departure of HrusheekeshaTirtha is Margashira. However, the discrepancy in the date will have to be reconciled by further research.

Another unique feature is that in each of the Kaifiyats pertaining to the Ashtha Mathas, the date, the year and the place Sri VishnuTirtha was given the Sanyasa Deeksha by Srimadacharya, are identicaI. It is recorded that this event happened at KanvaTirtha on Shaa.Sha1180 (1258 a.d.) Pingala, VaishaKa Shu.Saptami. This strengthens the view that Sri PadmanabhaTirtha is senior to Sri NarahariTirtha in pontifical hierarchy.

The Kaifiyats pertaining to all the Ashtha Mathas give clear details about the date of incarnation of Srimadacharya and other related information. The details are corroborative, which is a noteworthy feature:

  • Incarnation: Shaa.Sha. 1121 (1199 a.d.) Kalayukti, Magha Shu. Saptami

  • Upanayana: Shaa.Sha. 1128 (1206 a.d.) Krodhana, Pushya Shu. Panchami

  • Sanyasa: Shaa.Sha. 1130 (1208 a.d.) Prabhava, Vaishakha Shu. Truteeya

  • Sri Krishna Pratishtha: Shaa.Sha. 1160 (1238 a.d.) Hey Vilambi, Magha Shu. Truteeya

  • Badarikashrama Gamana: Shaa.Sha. 1200 (1278a.d.) Ishwara, Magha Shu. Navami

As can be readily seen, the generally specified period of Acharya - 1238 to 1317 a.d. does not agree with this information, and therefore appears patently wrong, since it would mean that all the Ashtha Mathadheeshas passed on even before Sri Madhwacharya's departure for Badrikashrama! As such it becomes imperative for detailed in-depth study and research on this subject to arrive at a firm, correct conclusion.

The Kaifiyat pertaining to Adamaru Matha makes it clear that Sri NarahariTirtha who succeeded Sri PadmanabhaTirtha as the pontiff of the only non-Udupi Matha and Sri NarasimhaTirtha who was the first pontiff of Adamaru Matha are not one and same as generally believed. According to the Kaifiyat Sri NarasimhaTirtha passed away on Chaitra Shu. Panchami of Soumya Samvatsara, Shaa.Sha 1232 (1310 a.d.), on the banks of Bhageerathy whereas Sri NarahariTirtha was interred in the Brindavana on Pushya, Kri. Saptami of Sreemukha Samvatsara, Shaa.Sha1255 (1333 a.d.) on the banks of the Tungabhadra.

While the Kaifiyats provide a wealth of information, a number of other sources will have to be tapped to throw light and clarify these and such matters to provide the correct picture. To start with, I will be preparing an exclusive paper discussing the controversy regarding the period of Sri Madhwacharya in detail based on various sources of authentic information.