Shri Vijayeendra Teertharu
Shri Vijayeendra Teertharu
Sri Vijayeendra Theertha took Pattabhisheka from Sri Surendra Theertha. He comes in the direct lineage of Madhwacharya Moola Mahasamsthana (started by Hamsa Namaka Paramatma) and he is Fifteenth saint from Madhwacharya. The world famous Guru Raghavendra Theertha of Mantralaya is his parama shishya. Below is his brief introduction.
Poorvashrama Name – Sri Vittalacharya
Sanyasa Taken from – Sri Vyasaraja Theertha
Pattabhisheka from — Sri Surendra Theertha
Uttaradhikari – Sri Sudheendra Theertha
Aradhana – Jeshta Bahula Tryodashi
Vrundavana Place – Kumbhakonam
In the philosophical world of India, Sri Vijayeendra Theertha occupies a unique place. There is not even a single Madhwa who is not familiar with his name. All the devotees of Raghavendra do not fail to remember Sri Vijayeendra Theertha while reciting Gurustotra. Even today his name in Madhwa Samsthana is brilliantly blazing like an eternal flame.
Sri Vyasaraja blessed a poor, childless couple to have 2 sons with the provision that the first born son would be given to him. The elder son Vitthalacharya is the hero of our story. After chowla and upanayana, Sri Vyasaraja groomed him into a master of Vedavedanga, Nyaya, Ithihasa, Meemamsa and all other Shastras. In the study of Vedanta, Vitthalacharya was a student of the first water. Later he was initiated into sanyasa by Sri Vyasaraja and was named as Sri Vishnutheertha. He is one among the 24 sanyasa shishyas of Sri Vyasaraja.
After acquiring mastery over all Shastras, Vishnutheertha did a comprehensive study of ‘Vyasathraya comprising Chandrika, Nyayamrutha, Tarkathandava of Vyasaraja. It was Vishnutheertha who would humble the debaters coming to the university and the royal court of Krishnadevaraya those days. The series of teachings full of novelty which Vyasathraya comprised would make even scholars remain bemused and totally dumbfound. Vyasaraja would become overjoyed at the scholarship of his beloved disciple.
Once Sri Surendra Theertha came to visit Sri Vyasaraja at Hampi, the capital of Vijayanagar Empire. Sri Surendra Theertha, on the event of Dwadashi parani, requested Sri Vyasaraja to give him his Shishya, Sri Vishnutheertha as his Successor. Believing it to be the wish of Sri Hari, he agreed. Surendra Theertha did danda pallata and gave him a new name as Sri Vijayeendra Theertha. Sri Vyasaraja spent some time with Sri Vijayeendra Theertha, giving him his blessings and very valuable parting advice, before sending him off with Sri Surendra Theertha who taught all the sixty four arts.
His advice to Sri Vijayeendra Theertha is as below:
“Right from the beginning in the history of our philosophy, our Dharma centres upon Vishnu Bhakti. Acharya’s very life was that. Now it is in the throes of decadence. In South, Appayya Dixit has been aggressively spreading Shaivism. Another sanyasi is also toeing his line. You only are competent to take them on. Therefore let that South be your bastion of crusade. Accomplish this task in the manner time and situations enjoin on you and dedicate it to Lord Hari. This is what you owe me as gurudakshina. Only this is what pleases your guru Surendra Theertha. The task you carry out should be the guiding spirit for your successors. With your unique discernment in executing the tasks with
perfect bearing on time and situation, I hardly find any reason to dwell on the details for you. You have the perennial divine support of Lord Gopalakrishna and Lord Moola Rama”. Thus Vyasaraja invoked all kinds of success and prosperity on Sri Vijayeendra Theertha.
A new vigour permeated through Sri Vijayeendra Theertha’s entire body as he received advice from his guru. Absorbed in deep devotion, he prostrated before his guru and proceeded with Surendra Theertha. Surendra Theertha during his final days gave sanyasa to Sri Sudheendra Theertha through Sri Vijayeendra Theertha and made him the Successor of Sri Vijayeendra Theertha and reached heavenly abode at Gajagahvara. Then Sudheendra Theertha set off towards Vijayanagar with the permission of his guru.
Sri Vijayeendra Theertha on his part went to Kumbhakonam as ordained by his guru. Kumbhakonam ruled by Mandalika of Tanjavoor under the control of the emperor of Vijayanagar was wealthy and prosperous. It was the home of renowned scholars. It had the reputation as Dakshina Kashi for education. Appayya Dixit the founder of Shaivadwaitha philosophy had settled there. A Veerashaiva pontiff “Emme Basava” who had gained the respect of Vijayanagar rulers had not only stayed in Kumbhakonam inflicting barbarism but also usurped the administration of Kumbheswara and othervtemples.
Sri Vijayeendra Theertha entered the town. As Vaishnavaites did not have any patronage there, it was extremely difficult for the swamiji to find a place for his camp. The swamiji camped at a small temple, finished his bath and poojas, had his lunch, sent message to the Shaiva pontiff that he had come fora debate and if the pontiff was game may come out with a condition for the debate or else should confess to his defeat. All the Brahmins there were scared of the Shaiva pontiff. Nobody ever dared to face him. Those Brahmins were very delighted to know that the swamiji had thrown such a gauntlet. But everyone was assailed by the doubt whether the swamiji could emerge victorious against his show of pedantry. Exuding overconfidence the Shaiva pontiff thought that the challenge was too
small to care for. “Who it could be that has the grit to face me” and “I would in no time silence the swamiji” was how he flaunted. It was decided to have the debate. The condition that the loser should become the disciple of the winner was accepted. All the scholars of the town gathered. Thebdisputation took off.
The debate lasted eleven days. In the end Sri Vijayeendra Theertha emerged victorious. According tothe terms of the debate Shaiva sanyasi was supposed to embrace dwaitha and become a disciple of Sri Vijayeendra Theertha, but unwilling to do this, he fled the scene overnight. Later all the treasure and honours came to the possession of the swamiji. He had the Shaiva Mutt as his own. He took over the reins of Kumbheswara temple. The document recording the gift made in 1542 by the Vijayanagar rulers to Shaiva sanyasi also came into his possession. Thus it turned out into an unprecedented victory. There is an inscription on the slab of the mantap in the temple about the swamiji taking over the administration of Kumbheswara temple consequent on his victory over Shaiva guru.
The Nayak of Tanjavoor heard of the glory of Sri Vijayeendra Theertha’s victory. It also came to the knowledge of Aliya Ramaraya of Vijayanagar through Vitthalaraya who started off from there to Kanyakumari with his army in 1544. Ramaraya sent his messengers to request Sri Vijayeendra Theertha to visit Vijayanagar. On his part, the swamiji was longing to have a darshan of theVrundavana of his guru Surendra Theertha and Chandrikacharya. Therefore, assenting to the king’s
request, he proceeded. All along the route he went on defeating his rivals in debates. Ramaraya who was waiting in the outskirts of the town with all royal paraphernalia extended a grand levee to the swamiji. As the king prostrated, the swamiji enquired about his welfare. From there the swamiji seated in a gold palanquin entered the town with all pomp and music. The king led the procession on foot. The unending line of spectators enjoyed this feast to their eyes. As they had the divine darshan, the reverberating ovation rent the air. The swamiji camped at Vijayavitthala temple. It is where the poojas and daily offerings to Moola Rama were made. The king accorded royal hospitality to the
swamiji. Next day the king actively involved himself in making special arrangements for extending hospitality to the swamiji personally. By the time the swamiji could finish his morning Ahneeka; the king called on the swamiji personally and requested him to visit his palace for padapooja. The swamiji came to the palace seated in the silver howdah carried by the caparisoned pachyderm. In the palace, the king performed the padapooja of the swamiji seated on the royal throne. Further the king performed the ceremony of showering gems on the swamiji in a highly devotional and grandiose manner. This impressive scene conjured of the similar honour done to Chandrikacharya by
Krishnadevaraya in the bygone days and the whole gathering lavished their praise. Remembering his guru, the swamiji owed all these to the blessings of his guru. The entire capital of Vijayanagar greatly revelled in the festivities. Next day the swamiji had the darshan of his guru’s Vrundavana situated on an island of the Tungabhadra near Anegondi and offering his hastodaka and dedicating all the honours to his guru returned to Vijayanagar. Being there for some time as the honoured guest of the king, he apprised the king of his intention to proceed to Kumbhakonam as he was impelled by the orders of his guru to pursue the task of achieving series of victories in disputations which he considered was quite stupendous. Hearing this news, the king felt very sad, but bid him farewell with all honours. Instead of setting off directly to Kumbhakonam, the swamiji proceeded to North to go round pilgrimage centres such as the Ganges and other holy places all over India. Proceeding further he toured all over South, Andhra and Karnataka. Wherever he went, he humbled the debaters who were scholars in Meemamsa, Nyaya, Vyakarana, Jyothisha, Sahitya, Ayurveda and other subjects. Startled by the invincibility of the swamiji, the experts in witchcraft and sorcery stood baffled. Thus the swamiji established his ubiquitous pre-eminence in the multitude of subjects.
The swamiji through series of successes in debates on his nationwide tour reached Kumbhakonam. By then the renown of Appayya Dixit had spread all over there. Not only had he attained mastery over all the Shastras, but also had authored excellent books. He had an extraordinary intellect. Through his unique scholarship, he had earned great honour from many kings such as Venkatapathiraya-I of Vijayanagar, Chinnathimma, Chinnabomma the Nayak of Vellore, Shivappanayaka, Achyuthappanayaka. Under the patronage of these kings, he wrote books like Kuvalayananda, Yadavabhyudaya Vyakhya, Shivarkamani Deepika. Moreover he had expertise in sixty two arts. To top it all, he established Shaivadwaita, a new philosophy by itself. It is he who exhibited his genius in drawing an analogy between the Adwaitha philosophy advocating Jeeva Brahma Aikya and Shivasarvothamatva. Sri Vijayeendra Theertha had to confront such a debater. One day, the swamiji invited Dixit to the Mutt for this purpose. Dixit had already heard of the swamiji’s triumph of outwitting the Veerashaiva guru and the honour the king did of showering gems on him. Readily consenting to swamiji’s invitation, Dixit came to the Mutt accompanied by his disciples. The swamiji welcomed him with due honours. The very exchanges of pleasantries were studded with mutual
epigrams as if to gauge their respective skills.
Dixit : (Smilingly) I am delighted to meet swamiji, I feel blinded by my meeting the Dhwanta (as the
letter ‘Dhwa’ appears at the end of the word Madhwa).bSwamiji: For those Arthas (Sma + Artha) sweltering under ‘Madhwa Surya’, darkness only is the choice.This paved way for some acquaintance between them. Realising that outwitting Dixit was not as easy as outwitting others, the swamiji forged friendship with him. They were meeting daily. Every word gave rise to debates. Well groomed by his guru Saint Vyasa, the swamiji was absolutely infallible.
Mutual criticism went on in good humour. Earlier discard had developed in a disputation between Dixit and his contemporary Thathacharya, an eminent scholar in Visisthadwaitha. But the debate between the swamiji and Dixit was cordial and humorous. Once Dixit read before the swamiji the books “Madhwatantra Mukha Mardana” and “Madhwamatha Vidhwamsana” he had written. The swamiji listened to the end silently nodding his head. Dixit reciting asked whether it was acceptable to him. Replying, the swamiji said “It would be acceptable if one ‘Anuswara’ is expurgated.” Only Dixit understood the hidden meaning of this. Dazed Dixit digressed from the topic unable to find a reply. The debate between Dixit & Swamiji went for many days; finally the Dixit accepted his defeat and fell at the feet of Swamiji. In praise of Sri Vijayeendra Theertha, Appayya Dixit said like this, which shows
the greatness of Swamiji.
ಜಯೀಂದ್ರಯೋಗಿರೂಪತೋಽವತೀರ್ಣ ಏಷ ಪೂರ್ಣಧೀ:
The swamiji has greatly enriched Dasasahitya with his excellent compositions of Devaranamas in Kannada also.The swamiji’s expertise in all the sixty four arts is marvellous. Miracles such as Parakaya Pravesha, Akarshana, Uchatana, Jalastambha, Agnistambha, etc are included in the sixty four arts. These are not great accomplishments for such great souls who had manifestation of God through the bond of their deep devotion. For ordinary souls like us even a small feat of magic and simple pranks of a snake charmer may appear wonderful. The changes brought about by the cycle of time and decadence having taken its own course has made people not only incapable of such acts but also go
to the extent of calling them far from true. This only vindicates their ignorance, but not culture, education.
It is not proper to dilate on their accomplishment in the eight vital areas such as Anima, etc and also sixty four arts while citing the example of erudite scholarship of extraordinary souls. But it becomes necessary to emphasise that whoever tried to test the swamiji in different arts with malicious intentions was miserably defeated and they prostrated before him in absolute surrender. In South the number of technically skilled persons had swelled. Each of them began to test the swamiji. If not to prove his mettle, but to prove that the Madhwas had achieved expertise in all the Shastras, the swamiji displayed his versatility in arts. The potter, blacksmith, cobbler, weaver and others realising that the swamiji was familiar with the secret of their respective arts felt ashamed and begged his excuse prostrating before him. They were awarded with cash according to their merits. Musicians were bewildered at swamiji’s excellence in music. Thus not one or two, but in all the fields of knowledge, the swamiji displayed his extraordinary scholarship. Once a debater came to the swamiji in a palanquin that had nobody to carry but flew in the air. In an act of rebuttal, the swamiji spreading his sash on a dwarf wall nearby sat on it. The wall moving on its own stood before the debater. The swamiji won in the debate that followed. If it is ventured to go on writing about the plethora of such bewildering acts of swamiji, that itself will turn out to be a voluminous work. For those who had already acquainted with swamiji’s erudite scholarship and his unique accomplishment in the form of knowledge of the present, past and the future, it is not proper to elaborate on such trivial aspects.Thus Sri Vijayeendra Theertha’s renown as a versatile scholar spread to every nook and corner of thecountry. He got many villages as gifts.
Thus besides excellent royal patronage to the swamiji, gifts of lands poured in to the benefit of the Mutt. As this Mutt was in the forefront of all other Mutts in the field of learning, it won the special status as “Vidya Matha”. Even today in all the communiqué originating from Sri Mutt, the seal affixed carries the name “Vidya Matha”. It may not be an exaggeration to say that there is no other sanyasi who has written so many books, illumined so brilliantly displaying unparalleled scholarship in all fields. It may be categorically stated that in the South, the very bastion of Adwaitha and Kumbhakonam in particular, Vaishnavas are not only dominant but also scholars even to date only
through Sri Vijayeendra Theertha as a force.
Sri Vijayeendra Theertha is credited with as many as 104 literary works. He became an active proponent of Dwaitha Madhwa school of thought in South India during the Nayak rule in Tamil Nadu. At that time, Dwaitha School was threatened by a combined onslaught of Adwaitha, Vishishtadvaita and Shaiva schools, and Vijayeendra Theertha triumphantly established Dualistic realism (Dwaitha). Many of his books are refutations or “khandanam” of other schools of thought. To know about the works of Sri Vijayeendra Theertha “click here “
To know about the 64 arts “click here”
To know about the Idols which was crafted by Sri Vijayeendrateertharu “click here”
To know about his miracles “click here”
Further the swamiji longed to visit Udupi for a darshan of Lord Krishna. He began his tour with his entourage and reached Udupi travelling through Srirangam, Nanjangud and the birth place of Cauvery. Vadiraja at Udupi was inexplicably pleased by the visit of his most affectionate soul. The happiness between them knew no bounds when they went nostalgic about their togetherness during the period of their learning under the Saint Vyasaraja many years ago and about their coming together now after a long time. According a hearty welcome to the swamiji, Vadiraja had him stay in his Mutt for the darshan of Lord Krishna. The swamijis of different Mutts performed his padapooja. The swamiji offered priceless gems to Lord Krishna. He extended due honours to all other swamijis.
He gave an immensely affectionate hug to Vadiraja. As a token of their friendship, Vadiraja had a Mutt built for Sri Vijayeendra Theertha just opposite to the Idol of Lord Krishna. Madhwa Kavi, a disciple of Vadiraja has touchingly portrayed in his Sri Vijayeendra Vijaya about the grand spectacle of felicitations that flowed between them. After his stay for a period there and visiting Pajaka and other pilgrim centres and being honoured by Vadiraja, the swamiji reached Kumbhakonam on his tour through Ananthashayana, Kanyakumari and Rameshwaram. Sri Swamiji is considered to be Ruju Ganastha means he will occupy position of Vayu. It is also said that Sri Vibhudendra Theertha reincarnated as Sri Vijayeendra Theertha to do Sri Moola Rama Pooja as per Sri Vijayeendra Vijaya written by Madhwa kavi (disciple of Sri Vadiraja Theertha Entrusting the Mahasamsthana to Sudheendra Theertha on whom his guru had bestowed sanyasa, Sri Vijayeendra Theertha who had taken the responsibility of imparting knowledge to Sudheendra at the behest of his guru reached the Lotus feet of the Lord at Kumbhakonam on the thirteenth day of
భక్తానాం మానసాంభోజభానవే కామధేనవే
నమతాం కల్పతరవే జయీంద్రగురవే నమః
ಭಕ್ತಾನಾಂ ಮಾನಸಾಂಭೋಜಭಾನವೇ ಕಾಮಧೇನವೇ
ನಮತಾಂ ಕಲ್ಪತರವೇ ಜಯಯೀಂದ್ರಗುರವೇ ನಮಃ
bhaktAnAM mAnasAMbhOja bhAnavE kAmadhEnavE
namatAM kalpataravE jayIMdraguravE namH