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SRI VYASARAJA THIRTHA

 

Arthikalpita kalpoyam prathyarthi gajakesari/

Vyasathirtha Gurubhoryarth asmad Ishtartha siddhaye//

 

 

Sri Vysaraja was the son of Ballana Sumati also called Ramacharys and Lakshmidevi, a brahmin couple of Bannur near 9 kms from Mysore city.They were great devotees. They had no issues for a long time. They were praying to God for progency. It is in this place and environment that Sri Vysaraja who is believed to be an avatar of Prahlada was born. (1447 AD) This brought a sense of fulfilment to the aged couples through the grace of saint Brahmanyathirtha of Abbur near Channapatna town. The saint took a promise, as usual in many cases that the boy should be given to the mutt. The boy was named Ethiraja and brought up by parents. After performing upanayana, he was sent to the mutt for higher education. After four years he returned home and later learnt kavya,nataka, vykarana. Then the sage Brahmanayathirtha sent for the boy ,as agreed. Though the parents were reluctant to part with the boy, they had to submit themselves to the promise and the boy was left under the custody of the saint who treated him with greater affection than the parents. The saint was impressed by the wide range of the boy’s intellect, his great eloquence, his graceful form and his commanding personality. He gave him sanyasahram with the name Sri Vyasa Thirtha.

 

Sri Vyasathirtha then undertook a tour of India . At Kanchi his extraordinary learning evoked profound admiration of the pandits there . There were jealous pandits also, who tried to poison him. But by divine grace was unhurt. He proceeded to Mulabagal, then a centre of learning. Sri Sripadaraj welcomed this young yati. Sri Vyasathirtha learnt all the secrets of vedantic lore. Sri Sripadaraja found in him extraordinary merit and said:

Vadi timira Marthandaneniside/Vadi Sharabha Bherunda Vysamuniraya//

 

He was sent to the court of Saluva Narasimha of Chandragiri. He performed pooja for lord Srinivasa at Tirumala hills,for 12 years. Later he went to the court of Vijayanagar. Sri Krishnadevaraya was the king who looked upon him as his kulaguru and was always ready to carry out his wishes. It was not the power, but he was all the time making profuse benefactions in the cause of learning and for the maintenance of Dharma. He was founding Agraharams to foster learning and Dharma.

 

When he was made kulaguru, it created a feeling of great jealosy. Learned men from different parts of India came and disputed the position. Sri Vyasaraj easily vanquished his opponents. His elequence was a spiritual and intellectual treat. He strengthened and adorned the Madwa school of thought and brought it in to the highest pinnacle of temporal recognition.

 

After the victorious battle at Raichur by Krishnadevaraya, he conducted a Durbar in which he seated Sri Vyasaraja on a seat of GOLD when men of learning and warriors prostrated themselves before Sri Vyasaraja. He performed Ratnabhisheka with all precious stones. Sri Vyasaraja did not take any of them .They were distributed to the men of learning, warriors, and even mussalman chiefs who were serving the king. Vyasa samudra was built at Kandakur near Madanapalli village

Sri Vyasaraja averted the danger to Krishnadevaraya from KUHUYOGA. An inauspicious combination of planets- by himself sitting on the throne during that time and overcoming it with his Tapashakti.

 

He lived for a glorious life of 93 years full of extraordinary achievements. Sri Vyasaraja left this world on Saturday the 8th Mrach 1539 (Vilambi Nama samvatsara Phalguna bahula Chathurthi).

 

His works:

Sri Vyasaraja was born to further the work of elucidating the divine and subtle doctrines of Dwaita philosophy propounded by the great Sri Madhwacharya and commented upon by Sri Jayatheertha. In his three great works known as VYASATRAYA, viz., Nyayavali, Tatparya chandrika, and Tarka Tandava, he has besides giving his own original teachings , given his explanations and commentaries very clearly on the original texts of Sri Madhwacharya and the teekas of Sri Jayathirtha. Hence he is included among the three original thinkers. You will remember that every Madhwa , sitting before the food that is served,before taking the Aposhana, utter the slokas on Sri Madwar first, next Sri Jayathirthar and thirdly Sri Vysarajar.

He has condensed in a nutshell the important prameyas contained in the 37 works of Sri Madhwar in a single stanza. This was an answer to a question by a pandit at Kanchi asking to tell about the imporatnce of Madhwa siddhanta in a nutshell.

 

Sri Manmadwanate Harihi paratarah Satyam Jagattatwako/Bhinnajeevagana Hareranucharaah NichochhaBhavam gatah// Muktirnyja Sukhanubhhootiratula Bhaktischa tatsadhanam/Hyakshdritayam Pramanamakilaamnaykavedyo HARI//

 

Thus his works are still a living fount of thought and inspiration to all students af Dwaitha-nay of Indian Philosophy. He composed in Kannada many Keerthanas, Suladhis and Ugabhogas,. In these also, he has expounded the highest philosophical truth in easy language. His songs contain beautiful description of Sri Krishna Leela, Krishanee Begane Baro, in raga Yamanakalyani is a rare masterpiece sung in every house.

Sri Vysaraja toured all over India,and established that Dwaita Siddhanta was the right and faultless Siddhanta. Pakshadharamisra, of Kashi who accepted his defeat respectfully admiring the wide learning and loigical arguments by Sri Vyasarajar presented the Pachhe Linga which is worshipped on Mahashivartri day even now at Kundapura Vysaraya Mutt. It is in recognition of this triumphal march that Sri Purandaradasar has said.,

 

Esu munigalu Iddu Yenu madidaru/ Vyasamuni Madhwa matavanu Uddharisida/

 

Sri Vyasaraja was the chancellor of the Imperial University of the Vijayanagar Empire. He sat on the Saraswathi peeta. He was the Guru of a distingushed galaxy of shishyas, Sri Vijayendra, Sri Purandaradasa, Sri Kanakadasa and so on. These sishyas kept the light of Indian philosophical thought shining with all brightness for a long time and even after their guru had left this world.

He went on trumpeting the fundamental philosophical truth of HARISARVOTAMATWA. His unfailing conviction and fervor about this knew no bounds, so much so that he throws a challenge

Ukkuva Tuppakke kai Ikkuve/ Chakaradhara paramatmanobbanalldillavendu//

 Is this not an echo of Sri Madhwar’s call in the Sri Dwadasha Stotra?

 When Hindu India appeared to be crumb, bluing down, Sri Madhawacharya fought the doctrine of illusion, raised the value of the individual, and gave an impetus to the ideals of faith and hope and progress, He was followed by Sri Jayathirtharu and Sri Vyasarajaru. It was Sri Vyasaraja’s insistence of the reality of the world that gave new life, as it were, to the world. He was no mere doctrinaire. His intelligence was as high as his love and Bhakti were deep. Sri Vyasaraja was the greatest man of his age, in scholarship and renunciation and was the embodiment of Hindu Dharma. Here is the encomium by Sri Srpadarajar on Sri Vyasaraja:

Sasira Jihyegalulla Sheshane Kondadabeku Vysamunirayara sanyasadirawa.

Sri Vyasaraja’s ultimate prayer to God is:

Januma Janumadalli Kodukandya hariye/Animatta Bandhu Sri KRISHNA dayadinda yenage//

 This is the boon for which everyone of us should pray.

 The two outstanding personalities among Vaishnav pontiffs. Sri VADIRAJA and Sri VYASARAJA passed away , in the Phalguna Bahula, on two consecutive days, i.e. on Trtiya and Chaturthi of different samvatsara , respectively

Sri Vysaraja’s brindavanam is at Nava Vrindavan , in a small island near Bellary washed away by the Tungabhadra river, who left his mortal body on 8-3-1539.

His Aradhana falls on Tuesday the 17th March 1998

 

We pay our humble respect to him on this day and may Sri Vyasarajar bless all Haribhaktas!

Sri Krishnarpanamasthu.

 

 

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Compiled

G R Raghunatha Rao

Deputy Registrar (Academic) (retd), Indian Institute of Technology, Madras.

E.mail : grrrao@hotmail.com

grrrao@starmail.com