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Madhwacharya was a giant of a genius, a giant of might, a giant of erudition. He founded the Vaishnava sect called Sadvaishnavism. He was born in1199 AD of brahmin parents at Pajaka near Udipi. He was seized with a burning desire for renunciation at the age of 25 and mastering Vedas and Upanishads, he traveled all over India and roused Hindus to a sense of reality of the world and stability of justice. With prophetic vision, he highlighted the wisdom of the Vedas, the transcendental Theism of the Upanishads and emotions in epics. He waged a relentless war on all forces of evil. He rehabilitated the social and political fortunes of the people that the mighty kingdom of Vijayanagar was born. He created a sense of fellowship and unity among his followers by installing an enchanting image of lord Krishna at his mutt in Udipi. He was a master in different languages including Persian.

His encyclopedic knowledge baffled all. Mysticism flashes in all his 37 works, which are called Sarvamoola grantha. He proudly proclaimed the voice of clouds, the music of the spheres, the fury of the winds, the roar of the waves in seas, the names of Gods and sages are the names of Supreme that eternally sing the glory and majesty of GOD. Rightly he is hailed as "ANANDA THIRTHA "- Brahman as Bliss infinite, the One without a Peer, Indweller in all.


His philosophy is based on the idea of distinctions and these are 5 in number- God is distinct from individual souls.

God is distinct from non- living matter

One individual soul is distinct from every other.

Individual souls are distinct from one another.

The universe is composed of independent and dependent beings. God alone is independent - Omnipotent, omnipresent and omniscient.

Matter is distinct from God and though God is its ruler, it is real and extremely existent.

Souls are born into this world in a state of bondage divided into 3 categories-

  1. Moral and devoted to God
  2. Experiencing happiness and misery life after life
  3. Eternally damned for reviling God and his devotees.

Even among liberated souls, gradation exists.

Today, a good lot of scholars all over the world are discussing his philosophy and are making tremendous progress. Many of them have praised Madhwa and his learned commentators for their great lead in Vedic interpretations.

To those lost in the dizzy heights of abstraction in Shankara and drowned in the emotional depths of Ramanuja , Madhwa blazes as an everlasting lighthouse of dualism illuminating darkness all around.

Hari bhakthas will be thrilled by Madhwa’s philosophy by just reading Sumadhwa Vijaya. Hundreds of pages may not be sufficient to explain the depth of his teachings, but this note attempts at presenting a nutshell.

I shall be pleased to discuss more about Dvaita philosophy with those interested and maybe contacted by e-mail.



Compiled by

G R Raghunatha Rao

Retd Deputy Registar ( Academic ) Indian Institute of Technology , Madras , India

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