Since Upanishats are basically Vedic literature, for their study it is very necessary to know the propitiated deity,
the Rishi who revealed the work and in certain cases the meter of the work. Without these prerequisites, the study would
not only futile but bear negative consequences.
The earlier Bhashyakaras never incorporated these vital details. Madhwa Bhashyas give this information in respect of each
Upanishat well supported by authoritative references.
The language of Upanishats is very simple but the subjects which they propound are profound. The presentation is cryptic.
Though one can make out the literal meaning of the words and sentences the import of these remains enigmatic. This is
a unique feature of the Upanishats. This is the reason why tradition has warned that Upanishats should viewed only in
the light of Itihasa-Puranas
In other words it means that Itihasa-Puranas are the first Bhashyas of Vedic lore. Without their help the purport of
the Vedas will never be revealed. Madhwa Bhashyas are the only ones which follow this cardinal rule and the profuse
quotes from Itihasa-Puranas serve as eloquent testimony to this.
Madhwa Bhashyas are the ones which brought to light that, in addition to Itihasa-Puranas, there were other works like
Ruksamhita, Yajuhsamhita, Aitareya Samhita and similar ones (probably works of Veda vyasa), which provided explanatory
light on the Vedas and that to get at the real import of Upanishats, they should be studied in the ambit of these works. As an
example it might be noted that in the Aitareya Bhashya, extensive quotes are given from Aitareya Samhita to explain complex
To understand Vedic literature it is very essential to have knowledge of Vedangas like Shiksha, Vyakarana, Nirukta, Chandas, Autisha
and Kalpa. This is why they go by the name Vedanga. Among these, the importance of Vyakarana and Nirukti is even greater. Most
Veda Bhashyakaras have made very little use of these and they have been totally ignored in Upanishat Bhashyas. A few references
which make their rare appearance at best stop with Panini and none refer to earlier Vyakarana works. Madhwa Bhashyas are
brilliant exceptions where profuse quotations from ancient works like 'Maha Vyakarana' and 'Vyasa Nirukta' have been given
to support the statements made in the Bhashyas.
Brahma Meemamsa and Brahma Sutras are the irrefutable guides for deciding all shastrarthas. Without there aid it is impossible
to give a final verdict on any spiritual matter.
Madhwa Bhashyas has made ample use of these axiomatic works as supportive authorities.
The role of "Veda Nirnayaka Lingas" like Upakrama, Upasamhara, Abhyasa, Apoorvata, Phala and Arthavada - the elements
which determine the interpretation of Vedic literature, is of prime importance. So are Shruti, Linga, Samakhya, Vakya
and Prakaranas. In Madhwa Bhashya complex phrases like "Aham Brahmasmi", "Tattvamasi" and others are analyzed and interpreted
as per the prescribed canons.
Since Upanishats are purely spiritual works, all the words, sentences and incidents should be interpreted in the spiritual light.
Madhwa Bhashyas examine all Upanishats from this perspective.
There are only a handful of sentences (actually only five) in Upanishats, which to the non-critical eye appear to convey Abheda.
The arguments of some that only these represent the purport of Vedas and therefore Vedas propound Abheda is demolished by
Madhwa Bhashyas, by critically analyzing these statements, as already mentioned as per the prescribed yard sticks, and
proving beyond doubt that these also propound only Bheda just as "Dwasuparna Sayuja Sakhaya" and many others which abound
in the scriptures.
Madhwa Bhashya uses abundant quotations from scriptures to firmly establish the interpretation ruling given therein and to resolve
apparent contradictions. As an example, for establishing the Rishi Devata details in Eeshavasyopanishat extensive quotations
from Padma Purana, Bhagavata have been given in support of this information.
The Bhashya is very comprehensive and devotes considerable space and attention to clarify complex subjects. It gives equal
importance to certain rare words like Aataki, Pradraanaka, Charaka, Karaka, by explaining meanings of these with irrefutable
references from the scriptures.
Each topic is discussed briefly before a detailed substantiation is presented based on definitive sentences - quoted verbatim
form scriptures. This is a unique style of Madhwa Bhashyas, which is seen in Upanishat Bhashyas as well.
The prime principle which pervades all the Upanishats is "Brahma Tatwa". Next to it is the "Prana Tatwa". Brahma Tatwa propounds
the Sarvottamatva of Sri Hari. Prana Tatwa proclaims the Jeevottamatva of Mukhya Prana. Srimadacharya has repeatedly highlighted
that these form the core of all knowledge in the Upanishats.
At several places in Upanishats the phrase "Tadapyesha Shlokaha" appears along with the name of a Rishi. No other Bhashya
has explained the significance of this phrase. Srimadacharya is the only one who offers a clarification. It refers to that
Rishi who had the first revelation of the corroborating Veda Mantra - one who is superior to the Upanishat Rishi.