Four Vaisnava Sampradayas – notes 4

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MADHVACARYA

MA’s father was Madhyageha Bhatta; he prayed at the Ananteswara Temple (a Siva
temple) in Udipi for a son. Ananteswara is worshipped as the Supersoul of
Siva.

MA is Vayuamsa. Vayu is a great Vaisnava preacher who came as Hanuman in the
Treta-yuga and Bhima in the Dvapara-yuga.

There was a big festival in the Ananteswara temple. MGB went with his wife
and there they prayed. After that one man climbed up a pole in the temple and
danced on it, shouting “Mukhya Prana (Vayu) will appear and destroy the
demoniac impersonalism.” Then he fell.

When MA was born he had the 32 signs of a mahapurusa. MGB wrapped up the baby
and went to Pajakaksetra, fearing some harm might come to the boy. A brahmin
who was accompanying them got possessed by a brahmana-raksasa along the way,
who cried through the mouth of the brahmin, “Let me touch Bhima’s feet! I’ll
be delivered that way!” In PJ, MGB took special care to hide baby from
impersonalists.

During his early schooling, MA would correct his teachers and teach them the
lessons of one month ahead. Because this disrupted classes, the teachers
would come to the house, but finally they had to quit – “He asks questions
no-one could answer!”

One Puranika came to teach. Little boy (4 yrs) said “He’s lying” during his
recitation. There was a big turmoil. Brahmana-raksasa haunts the boy, they
said. So the father asked the boy to explain, and he did. Father said, “Yes
that’s very nice, but we Vaisnavas have no Brahma-sutra commentary to
establish our viewpoints.” Boy stood on a pot and showed 2 fingers – “I will
do it! The soul and God are two!”

One day the boy was crying, so his sister went out to get the mother. The boy
crawled into the horse gram dahl barrel and ate 40 kilos. Mother in shock
asked him, “Are you thinking there’s no difference between my breast milk and
this dahl?” From inside the barrel he showed two fingers.

When MGB was doing puja, the boy cried “Hungry!” Father answered, “Look, I
bought a bull. I have no money to satisfy your appetite; rather, I owe
money.” Soon the man who’d sold the bull came by to ask MGB to pay up. The
boy met the man and said, “I am responsible for this matter.” The man said
jokingly, “Oh yes, I’ve heard about you, they say you are ghostly haunted.”
“Just tell me what it costs.” “300 gold coins.” The boy picked up some
tamarind seeds and they became gold. Satisfying the man, MA then opened the
rope tying the bull, pulled on his tail and went for a ride behind the running
animal.

When his sister got married, MA quickly tired of the prajalpa at the marriage
party and walked out of the house. He went to a nearby Visnu temple, where
folks saw this small boy paying o’s and offering prayers. He then went to a
Siva temple and did same, and preached to some people that Visnu is superior
to Siva. They were pleased with him and gave him sweets. He went all the way
to Udipi, a crowd behind him. In the Ananteswara temple he was preaching to a
spellbound crowd; at that time the parents came, anxiously looking for him.
They found a huge crowd around their boy, crying and worshipping him. MGB
tried to break through the crowd, shouting “He’s my son!” But everybody
pushed him back, saying “He’s our son! We all feel the same way! Why are you
so special!” So father waved his chadar over their heads; boy saw and cried
“I’m hungry!” Father, embracing the boy, said, “As long as you are hungry,
then I can say I am your father.” The boy ate a huge amount.

People were saying, “He should take sannyasa!” MA asked father, “What’s
sannyasa?” Father answered, “A fruit.” Boy said, “I want that fruit. Now I
am eating only roots, I should come to the fruit stage.”

When MGB was giving class, he failed to explain one word in the verse: likuchi
(a tree). Boy, who was playing outside, called in “Father, you are cheating
your students by not telling them that likuchi means lemon.” Everyone was
amazed, “How is it he’s so smart he can even correct his father?” “He doesn’t
even know the four orders of life,” the boy answered. “He thinks sannyasa is
a fruit.”

Once a snake attacked the boy, biting him 3 times. His family and friends
prayed to Durga to save him. He called out to them, “She can’t save anybody!”
Then he killed the snake himself. He declared, “Only this snake is a rope!
All the other snakes will be defeated by my bhasya!”

MA became student of Acyuta Preksa, who was a Bhagavata. Though coming in
mayavadi line, his guru had told him from the deathbed, “I’m not brahman, nor
were 10 gurus before me.” AP was 65 years old when MA came to him. AP was
praying fervently to the Lord – “What is brahman?” MA, arriving for the first
time, announced “What is Brahman? I will tell you!”

MGB went to AP and pleaded, “Don’t take my son.” AP said, “I won’t give him
sannyasa unless you give permission. AP would teach about brahman as he’d
learned it; MA would sneeze and AP would reprimand him – “That’s very inaus-
picious!” MA would retort “Not as inauspicious as your explanation.” Then he
would explain; AP was so happy he got fat as a result.

MGB and wife had another son, so at age 12 MA (then known as Vasudeva) took
sannyasa. Got the name Purna Prajna. Then he lectured for 4 days on one
Sanskrit verse. AP danced with MA on his shoulders and sat him on the Vedanta
seat, saying “You are my guru.” Just then Vadisimha and Buddhisagara,
proponents of Vaisesikha and Buddhism, arrived at matha. These dudes could
argue on any subject from 18 different angles of attack. They challenged AP
and MA returned the challenge; as it was sunset, they offered to take up the
debate the next morning but MA said, “No. NOW!” Madhva broke all their
arguments into bits and pieces. BS said at midnight, “According to Vedic
principles we should stop now. We will continue tomorrow.” MA said, “Why
tomorrow? What kind of men are you?” They split that night, but left a palm
leaf that said, “You should write your own opinion on Vedanta.” And AP
confirmed. So MA first wrote a Gita-bhasya.

AP went with MA on a south Indian tour during which MA defeated many pandits.
His entourage increased until he had 1000 pandits following him. He stayed
for 4 months in Rameswaram. There he told to some pandits, “The Vedas have 3
meanings; the Mahabharata 10 meanings and the Visnusahasranama 100 meanings.
They were curious to hear how VSN could have 100 meanings. He launched into
an explanation that went on for 9 days. “Stop!” they finally cried.

MA chanted Vedas perfectly; by his pronunciation alone, the meaning of the
words was clear.

Then he went back to Udipi; after taking permission from AP, he went on to
Badrinatha.

He offered a book he’d written to Badrinarayana; while reading the first
verse, the Deity objected, because MA had written “I have explained to my
capacity.” Deity said, “Even I will have to think twice if you explain
something to your full capacity. Better to say, ‘I’ve revealed a little
bit.'”

MA told his disciples to stay at Badrinatha while he went onward. But his
disciple Satyatirtha stuck by; he sent him to get flowers and left a leaf that
said: “There’s no truth higher than Visnu; no scripture higher than the Veda;
no explanation higher than mine; no place higher than Uttara Badrinatha. Don’t
follow.” ST tried to follow; got stuck among the peaks; he was blown back to
Badrinatha.

At UB MA saw Vyasa with big-gun rishis. V called MA closer – the rishis were
waiting to Vyasa, but MA got a special darsana. V said, “I want to hear
your Gita darsana. As MA read it V would make comments: “That’s nice…why
didn’t you say more here? Add this…” In the end V pronounced, “I approve.”
Now write an MB commentary – give the correct commentary of the correct text.”
He put his hand around MA’s shoulder and brought him to see Nara-Narayana
Rishi. NN told V to give MA instruction; so V explained the 24 incarnations.
NN said MA should write a commentary on SB. Getting their blessings, MA went
back.

Established Vedic sacrifices without animal killing.

He saved a boat by waving his chadar and breathing in, sucking it to shore.
Merchant wanted to reward him; he said give me gopi chandan from the ballast.
The six sailors could not lift it. MA picked it up with one hand and jumped
from the boat to the ocean. He put the chandan in a tank and it broke to
reveal a murti of Krsna holding churning rod ropes.

This was Rukmini-devi’s Deity. It was originally worshipped by the gopis of
Vrndavana. After destruction of Dwaraka, Uddhava brought this Deity to the
forest, and it gradually got encased in mud.

Once a king named Iswara Deva was digging a big pond; he would impress every
passer-bye in that service. MA talked the king into digging; then water was
struck.

Madhva forded a river with disciples in tow when they couldn’t get a boat due
to Hindu-Muslim tensions. The Muslim king, seeing this, shouted “Allah!” and
fainted. MA spoke with him in Persian.

He again went to Uttara Badrinatha and presented his Brahma-sutra commentary.
V responded with “aha-kara” again and again during the reading. He jumped in
ecstasy and gave him 12 salagram Deities; one Nrsingha salagram is being
worshipped at Subrahmanya Ksetra.

From UB he went down through Bengal to Puri and into Andra. He wrote 10
Upanisad commentaries and the Visnu Tattva Nirnaya.

Mayavadis at the Srngeri Matha became agitated and sent Pundarika Puri and
Padmatirtha for debating MA. They ran away after meeting him. They decided
to do something nasty, so they arranged for his library to be stolen. MA went
to King Jayasimha and complained. JS went to Srngeri and demanded the books,
when they answered “We don’t know where they are”, he replied “In your
philosophy, knowing and not knowing are the same. So give!” Jayasimha became
the librarian. MA did Caturmasya at JS’s place. Trivikrama Pandit became his
disciple.

Dictated 4 chapters of a book to 4 disciples simultaneously in 8 days – this
is the Anuvyakena, which contains arguments against all philosophies. He
refuted 21 commentators of BS.

Heard astrology at the start of every day.

In the Ananteswara temple he explained the BS and the devas showered flowers.
At one point in his explanation the people couldn’t understand it anymore. The
flowers piled up and covered him. The explanation stopped. When the people
came forward to remove the flowers, he was gone.

COMPARISON OF MADHVA PHILOSOPHY WITH LORD CAITANYA’S EXPLANATION:

MADHVA LORD CAITANYA

Jiva is sarvata bhinna Simultaneous oneness and difference
(always different)

Attaining lotus feet of Visnu is the Prema Pumartho Mahan
highest goal

Bhakti is liberation One should follow in the footsteps of
the residents of Vrndavana.

Evidence is pratyaksa, anumana, sabda SB is only evidence

Miscellaneous details:

First bhedha-abhedhi philosopher was Asmaradhya (he was rejected by Vyasadeva
as an Advaitist.

MA: Sva Kapola Kalpitah Matah: Mayavadi philosophy comes from their own
Kapolas (skulls)

YAD ACARA TE BRAHMA – “HE WHO FOLLOWS BRAHMA” (Brahmacari)

NIMBARKACHARYA

Bhavisya, Skanda, Padma Puranas and Visnu Yamala give info that Nimbarka lived
much before Sankara. He wrote the Parijata Bhasya and his disciple Srinivasa
wrote the Parijata Saurava; Srinivasa was a pandit in the court of Vajranabha,
Krsna’s grandson.

N was greatly influenced by the Alwars; he uses words from the DP; the
teachings of Nama Alwar and Godadevi are stressed; his Dasasloki follows Nama
Alwar.

His parents were Aruni Rsi and Jayanti devi. This Aruni Rishi had a famous
asrama. N was amsa of Sudarsana – he is known as Sudarsana Acarya.

He moved to the north and lived at Govardhana. He took three preaching tours.
He stayed at Simanta-dwipa in Mayapur where Lord Siva appeared in a dream and
told him to go to Bilva Paksa, a forest of Bilva trees, which have leaves like
Siva’s eyes (in groups of three). Siva told him, “In that forest you’ll get
the darsana of your previous acaryas.” So when he went there he saw the 4
Kumaras there. They blessed him and requested him to start the Kumara
sampradaya (or Hamsa sampradaya because in the form of Hamsa Lord Visnu gave
instruction to the 4 K’s). They gave him a mantra to chant: “Gaur-a”. By
chanting this he got darshana of Lord Caitanya, Who expressed great happiness
with N. He told him, “When I appear, you’ll also come and I’ll cure you of
the false pride that you will exhibit at that time as part of the lila.” N
appeared in Caitanya lila as Keshava Kashmiri (Dig Vijaya Pandita), who after
meeting LC became the big acarya in the Nimbarka line.

When N was 6 years old he was known as Nirmananda. A tridandi sannyasi came
to his house while his father was away; he’d been walking a long way and
wouldn’t eat after sunset. As it was already afternoon, and as he was hungry,
he requested N’s mother to quickly prepare something. She made kichari, but
thought this wasn’t enough, so she made bhaja, then chutney, then a sweet. By
this time the sun was on the horizon. When N was bringing out the preps for
Swamiji, he was chanting his gayatri. When he finished he said, “I’m very
sorry but I don’t eat after sunset.” N said, “No, it’s not sunset, look
through the leaves of that tree.” When the swami looked through the tree (a
neem tree) he saw the arka (sun) shining – this was actually Sudarsana-chakra.

That swami blessed N by throwing aksara on his head; N bowed head to receive
it and when he looked up again, he saw the swami with 4 heads (Lord Brahma),
who told him, “Teach the Veda.”

For 12 years he lived only on neem leaves and he performed anga pradaksina
(rolling around Govardhana with whole body) each day. He went to Dwaraka,
Allahabad and Bengal (when he had darsana of 4 K’s and LC).

As Kesava Kasmiri, he appeared in Kasmir 38 years before Lord Caitanya. He was
an extremely erudite scholar, but was a conquering pandit before he met Lord
Caitanya. Then he became the foremost exponent of the Nimbarka siddhanta
after that.

Comparison of philosophies:

NIMBARKA LORD CAITANYA

“Svabhavika bheda-abheda” “Acintya bheda-abheda”
Supreme goal is Radha-Krsna sambandha S.g. is pure love of RK
Spirit/matter = cause/effect Krsna has 3 energies
Gopal mantra Hare Krsna Mantra (GM is namatmika)


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