Disappearance day Anniversary of Srila Madhvacarya
By HH Bhakti Rasamrta Swami
indriyesu manas tani tan-matresu yathodbhavam bhutadinamuny utkrsya mahaty atmani sandadhe
TRANSLATION: He amalgamated the mind with the senses and the senses with the sense objects, according to their respective positions, and he also amalgamated the material ego with the total material energy, mahat-tattva.
PURPORT: In respect to the ego, the total material energy is sundered in two parts — one agitated by the mode of ignorance and the other agitated by the modes of passion and goodness. Due to agitation by the mode of ignorance, the five gross elements are created. Due to agitation by the mode of passion, the mind is created, and due to agitation by the mode of goodness, false egoism, or identification with matter, is created. The mind is protected by a particular type of demigod. Sometimes the mind (manah) is also understood to have a controlling deity or demigod. In this way the total mind, namely the material mind controlled by material demigods, was amalgamated with the senses. The senses, in turn, were amalgamated with the sense objects. The sense objects are forms, tastes, smells, sounds, etc. Sound is the ultimate source of the sense objects. The mind was attracted by the senses and the senses by the sense objects, and all of them were ultimately amalgamated in the sky. The creation is so arranged that cause and effect follow one after the other. The merging process involves amalgamating the effect with the original cause. Since the ultimate cause in the material world is mahat-tattva, everything was gradually wound up and amalgamated with the mahat-tattva. This may be compared to sunya-vada, or voidism, but this is the process for cleansing the real spiritual mind, or consciousness. When the mind is completely washed of all material contamination, the pure consciousness acts. The sound vibration from the spiritual sky can automatically cleanse all material contaminations, as confirmed by Caitanya Mahaprabhu: ceto-darpana-marjanam [Cc. Antya 20.12]. We need only take the advice of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu and chant the Hare Krsna mantra to cleanse the mind of all material contamination, and this may be considered the summary of this difficult verse. As soon as the whole material contamination is washed away by this process of chanting, all desires and reactions to material activities become immediately vanquished, and real life, peaceful existence, begins. In this age of Kali it is very difficult to adopt the yogic process mentioned in this verse. Unless one is very expert in such yoga, the best course is to adopt the ways and means of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu, sri-krsna-sankirtanam. Thus one can gloriously become freed from all material contamination by the simple process of chanting Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. Just as life in this material world has its beginning in material sound, similarly a spiritual life has its beginning in this spiritual sound vibration. [End of Srila Prabhupada’s purport to SB 4.23.18]
HH Rasamrta Swami: Hare Krishna. As Srila Prabhupada mentions in the purport this is a difficult passage. It is hard to understand intellectually how the process that is being described here actually works. It is really not possible to comprehend it in the way that we would like to with our experience of this world. Even the material world cannot be really understood. What then to speak of the spiritual world? Nevertheless very mercifully the Lord has given us the Srimad-Bhagavatam which contains information that we can somehow try to assimilate and grasp as much as we can. And by the mercy of the Lord and the acaryas these things will be revealed.
This chapter is entitled, ‘Maharaj Prthu’s Going Back Home.’ There are numerous such examples mentioned in the Srimad-Bhagavatam of such glorious departures. Prthu Maharaja himself, a saktyaves-avatara who was endowed with praja palana-sakti – the power to maintain the praja of the citizens has made his life perfect and is headed back to the spiritual world. However Prthu Maharaja’s example is not the only one. In fact there are so many other examples like Bhismadev, Dhruva Maharaj and so on who’s successful and glorious passing away has been described here in this text. What then to speak of Maharaj Pariksit – because of whom the whole Srimad-Bhagavatam was spoken? Simply by hearing Srimad-Bhagavatam one can make one’s life successful as Pariksit Mahara did.
Srila Prabhupada mentions in the purport here that the process of yoga that is being described in these passages that Prthu Maharaj followed is not possible for us to follow in this day and age. For us the process primarily is to chant the holy names of the Lord and to hear and chant the glories of the Lord. Indeed this is what Sukadev Goswami immediately answered to King Pariksit. When King Pariksit asked the very important questions, “What is the duty of a man who is about to die? What should he remember? What should he worship?” And so on. Promptly Sukadev Goswami answered:
tasmad bharata sarvatma bhagavan isvaro harih srotavyah kirtitavyas ca smartavyas cecchatabhayam [SB 2.1.5]
He said for one who wants to be fearless – because generally everyone is fearful of death. So if one wants to be fearless even in the face of death then one must hear about, chant about, remember, glorify and worship The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Sri Krishna. So this process of hearing and chanting insures a successful passing away from this world and entrance into the realm of the Lord in the Vaikuntha planets.
Today also happens to be the disappearance day anniversary of Srila Madhvacarya – another glorious passing away. So although there is much to talk about in this verse and purport but Srila Madhvacrya is a very important acarya for us and we come in his sampradaya we will discuss a few things about his teachings and pastimes. There is also a lot to say about Srila Madhvacarya. Nevertheless given the limitation of time we will try to at least enumerate some of the noteworthy pastimes.
We as Gaudiya Vaisnavas are connected to the Brahma Madhva Sampradaya. So we are called the Brahma Madhva Gaudiya Sampradaya. There are four Vaisnava sampradayas originating from the Supreme Lord but the primary source of each of them are firstly Sri or Laxmi – from whom comes the Sri Sampradaya. Ramanuja Acarya is considere the main acarya in this line. Then from the four Kumaras comes the Kumara Sampradaya. And Nimbarkacarya is considered the primary acarya in this. Then there is the Rudra Sampradaya, starting from Lord Siva. Visnuswami is considered the primary acarya in this sampradaya although Vallabacarya is also highly regarded by modern followers in this sampradaya. Then we have the sampradaya started by Lord Brahma. The main acarya in this sampradaya is Madhvacarya.
Madhvacarya’s sampraday continues on and Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu – because of Whom we are called Gaudiyas, connected Himself to the Madhava Samparadaya through Madhavendra Puri who was His param-guru. Mahaprabhu took initiation from Srila Isvara Puri who in turn took initiation from Srila Madhavendra Puri. Madhavendr Puri it is said took initiation from Laxmipati Tirtha who guru was Vyasa Tirtha and so on in the Madhva line.
So there appears to be an interesting change at this point when Madhavendra Puri comes into the picture because until that time love of God in the mood of Vrindavan, ecstatic spontaneous love in the mood of Vrindavan, specifically in the sringara or madhurya rasa, the conjugal mood was not known in the Madhva Sampradaya. It began with Srila Madhavendra Puri. And then Isvara Puri and Mahaprabhu and all Mahaprabhu’s followers. So in a sense we can say that the Gaudiya Sampradaya is like a fifth Sampradaya. Nevertheless the Lord maintains the program or the arrangement the He has created for this world.
The Lord Himself doesn’t need to connect Himself to any sampradaya but nevertheless to set the example for the sake of authenticity if at all it was needed he connected Himself through Madhavendra Puri to the Madhva Sampradaya. So this is our sampradaya – The Brahma Madhva Gaudiya Sampradaya
– one of the four Vaisnava sampradayas.
This material world is sometimes compared to a deep dark well and as conditioned souls we are all deep within this well. The four Vaisnava sampradayas represent the four ropes – so to speak – that are released into this well so that those who have fallen into this well may hold on to it and climb out of the well. In other words the four Vaisnava Sampradayas are bona fide via media for us to transcend the bondage of this material world and go back to the spiritual world. So the Vaisnava sampradayas are very important for us to know.
Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saravati Thakura (down the road we will see it in his matha. Here he established the deities of the four sampradaya acaryas inoder to establish that Vaisnavism was indeed bona fide. And also that the path that he was propagating was also bona fide because it was connected to Caitanya Mahaprabhu and also these acaryas.
As opposed to the Vaisnava acaryas or the Vaisnava schools of thought there is the Mayavad school of thought. There is some common ground between the Mayavad schools and the Vaisnava schools. The two essential points of common ground in the two are: 1. That both accept the Vedas. The Buddhists didn’t. That was one of the prime preaching points of Buddha when he came. 2. Both accept an ultimate absolute spiritual reality which the Buddhists don’t.
The Buddists philosophy is called sunyavad which means void or zero. Everything is void. Everything is illusion. Nothing exists. The Mayavad philosophy in accordance with the principles taught in Sariraka-bhasya of Sankaracarya emphasised that there is an absolute reality or spiritual reality. So the common ground is there but the differences are many and very, very significant and it is for the devotee very important to know these differences so that one does not get misled, for example even though the Mayavadi’s accept the Vedas but they primarily accept as evidence or pramana only the sruti pramana and the Upanisad and the Sutra but they don’t really give much importance to the Puransa and the Itihasyas – the smrti sastra. It is not considered very highly by them but Vaisnavas give great importance to the Puranas in addition to the other scriptures.
Secondly when it comes to the point of the absolute spiritual reality there is a difference in terms of how we view that spiritual reality and also in how we view the material world. How do the Mayavadis deal with the diversity or the variegatedness that is found within this world if everything is one? Their philosophy is monistic, monism or everything is one. So if everything is one how does one explain the infinite variety that we see within this world? They explain it away by saying that it is all illusion.
In the ultimate analysis on the platform of knowledge and liberation there is no variety, there is no differentiation. Therefore they say brahma satyam jagan mithya – that the only reality is Brahman, that impersonal spiritual light and this material world is illusion and everything else within it is illusion. But the Vaisnava do not accept that. The Vaisnavas accept the material world as real but the material energy undergoes many, many transformations.
When we identify with the names and forms of this world that is the illusion. When we consider the body as ourselves that is illusion, but the material energy, the cosmic manifestation itself is not illusory. Furthermore the Vaisnavas also go beyond the understanding of the ultimate absolute truth as being just an impersonal light.
Now we will come to the four Vaisnava sampradayas. Why are there four different Vaisnava sampradayas? Because there are some subtle differences philosophically, theologically between these four. We will not get into the details of that in this class but so far as to say there is a lot of common ground between these four sampradayas – a lot of common ground. Specifically all the four Vaisnava sampradayas together differ from the Mayavadis in the understanding not only of the ultimate Absolute Truth but also the process of getting there and what happens after liberation. While the Mayavadis think that the Absolute Truth is only an impersonal light. The Vaisnavas understand the impersonal light is merely the effulgence from the transcendental body of the Lord. It is not wrong to say that the impersonal effulgence is the Absolute Truth but it is not the complete understanding.
So all the four Vaisnava sampradays understand that the Absolute Truth is ultimately a person – a Supreme Person, a transcendental Supreme Person. He is called Krishna, Visnu, Narayana and so on. Also a very important difference is that the Vaisnavas from all the four sampradayas emphasise eternal servitude to the Lord as the eternal function of the jiva or the soul whereas the Mayavadis do not emphasise that. They say that once the individual living entity attains the platform of liberation he merges into the Brahman and extinguishes his individuality. But the Vaisnavas say that the individuality is eternally maintained and one is eternally the servant of the Lord even after liberation. In fact it is after liberation that our real business begins of serving the Lord purely. So the conceptions of service and liberation also differ from the Vaisnava sampradayas on one hand and the Mayavadis on the other hand.
Among the four Vaisnava sampradayas also some differences may be there. You see even before Sankaracarya came about a thousand plus years ago Visnu swami had already advented in the Rudra sampradaya. And he had put forwarded his theology or his philosophy if suddha advaita vada – pure monism. This pure monism was also devotional. It was not monism in the way that Sankacarya would later present it. Sankara’s teachings of the Sariraka-bhasya, he tried to counteract that by presenting kevala avaita vada. He propounded the monistic idea that brahma satyam jagan mithya – the Absolute Truth is simply impersonal. There is no variegatedness – nirvisesa
– no variety, no differentiation.
Soon after Sankara came Ramaunjacarya. Ramanuja propounded the visistadvaita-vada siddhanta – the philosophy of qualified or specific oneness visistadvaita – in which he said, “Yes i accept there is oneness butin this oneness also there is individuality. There is differentiation – visesa.” So there is specific monism differentiated monism: God, His expansions and His energies are all one in one sense but They also have Their distinct individualities. So that is differentiation as well. So Ramanujacarya qualified Sankara’s oneness by saying that there is also differentiation.
Later came Madhva and then of course we had also Nimbarkacarya who was also there. Nimbarkacaryas philosophy is called dvaitadvaita-vada. It is the middle-way between Sankara and Madhva’s philosphies – dvaitadvaita-vada. And Madhva was the other extreme to the Mayavadis. When the Mayavadis said kevala-advaita – only oneness, Madhva said suddha dvaita – only duality. So they are two extremes. Now we should not confuse the two. Visnu Swami said suddha advaita and Madhva said suddhadvaita. Both are Vaisnava theologies. Nevertheless in Madhvacaryas presentation he emphasised very greatly on the distinction between the Lord and everything else.
He said the Lord is the Absolute truth and the other truths are dependant truths. The other two truths are matter and the soul. The concept of these three truths he also accepted as Ramanuja had said. Ramanuja emphasised these three truths. So Madhvacarya said the Lord on the one hand is the independent Absolute Truth and the other two categories are dependant truths. Then he propounded the philosophical distinction between these prapanca – five kinds of differences: 1. The difference between the soul and the Lord. 2. The difference between two souls because two souls are individual souls, unique in their individuality. 3. The difference between the souls and matter. 4. The difference between matter and the Lord. 5. And the difference between different material objects which are endowed with different qualities, gunas. So in this way he gave a lot of emphasis to the distinction between the Lord. So on one extreme you have the kevaladvaita and the other extreme you have Madhvas dvaitavada. Caitanya Mahaprabhu of course presented His famous acintya bheda-and-abheda-tattva in which He harmonised everything by speaking about the simultaneous and inconceivable oneness and difference. Caitanya Mahaprabhu in the course of His travels after taking sannyasa visited Udipi, the headquarters of the Madhva sampradaya. He interacted with some of the sannyasis and the priests there. And Kaviraj Gosvami refers to the followers of Madhvacarya as tattva-vadis. Srila Prabhupada is his purport in that section of the Caitanya-caritamrta mentions how the Upanisads and the other Vedic scriptures actually describe the personal form of the Lord but the Mayavadis adopt the laksanavrtti or the method of taking out indirect meanings of these verses and the arrive at a faulty conclusion that the Absolute Truth is ultimately impersonal. Therefore they take shelter of Mayavada or illusion because they think everything is illusion. Ultimately they save that even the Lords form is illusion. That when the Lord descends into this world he accepts a body that is made of material elements. That is the meaning of the word Mayavad.
Madhvacarya propagated tattva-vada. He took shelter of tattva, not of maya. So the followers of Madhvacrya are called tattva-vadis. Srila Prabhupada in the Caianya-caritamrta also has given an amazing description of the life of Srila Madhvacarya in which he has briefly mentioned some of the pastimes. Because the pastimes are too numerous he mentioned many of the important ones but briefly.
The Madhvas accept Madhvacarya as an incarnation of Vayu – the demigod in charge of wind. They say that in Treta Yuga Vayu came as Hanuman, in Dvarpa Yuga he came as Bhima and in Kali Yuga he came as Madhvacarya. And because Vayu is a great devotee of the Lord he is also a great scholar and he is also additionally very strong physically. So Madhvacarya had all this. He was a great devotee, a great scholar and he was also physically very, very strong. So the followers of Madhvacarya call him Mukhya-prana – another name for Vayu. So for them the Mahabharata is a very important scripture. They also worship Hanuman and Bhima especially. So let us talk a little bit about the life and some of the pastimes of Madhvacarya.
Madhvacarya’s advent was principally to counter and defeat the Mayavad conclusions. In South India despite Ramanujacarya’s aggressive preaching for many years and very potent dissemination of the principle of pure bhakti there was still Mayavad that was well entrenched. And the Mayavadis were also becoming very aggressive and they were spreading like anything everywhere. So Madhvacarya’s purpose of advent was essentially to be like a connecting link between Sankara and Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu if one looks at it like that.
The whole emphasis of his teachings was on countering Mayavad. Therefore we see in the Madhva sampradaya you would constantly hear the brahmanas if you are hearing them discuss countering this aspect of Mayavad and that aspect. So hammer and tongs he went after the Mayavad philosophy and he engaged in debates all through his life to establish the devotional conclusion.
He was born some distance from Udipi. Udipd is a town in southern coastal region of Kanarada State of South India. Many of you may have been there. There is a famous temple called Sri Krishna Math there where there is a deity of Bala Krishna that was obtained by Madhvacarya. We will talk about it shortly.
Twelve miles away from Udipi there is a village called Pajaka-ksetra. His father’s name was Madhyageha Bhatta – who was a brahmana of the Sivalli-brahmana community. He would worship Anantesvara who was an unusual form of the Lord in the form of a Siva-linga but was actually Lord Visnu. An Hari-Hara deity. The Anantesvara temple is very famous in that part. Just alongside it is another famous temple of Lord Siva called Chandramauli Isvara temple.
So Madhyageha Bhatta would regularly visit the Anantesvara temple and he would see the Sivalinga as Lord Visnu. One day at the time of the auspicious Makar Sankranthi festival thousands of people had gathered at Anantesvara temple. All of a sudden one man who seemed to be mentally deranged climbed up the flagpole that was at the entrance of the temple and he began to shout and scream and spread his hands as if he was a madman. After he had managed to attract the attention of everybody who were all standing and looking up at him he calmed down and began to speak that, “Very shortly the god Vayu would advent himself here in Udipi and he will spread the philosophy of pure devotion and he will refute very strongly and very convincingly the principles of Mayavad as enunciated by the various preachers here in South India. No longer will the devotees of lord Visnu have to hear blasphemous statements that the lord has no form, senses and so on. Now devotees will be able to live joyously.” Having made this proclamation the man descended and disappeared into the crowds and nobody knew who he was and where he went.
Such episodes were fairly common at that time in that part of the country where it is said by folklore that Anantesvara would enter the body of certain people whom He selected, (They might have been just ordinary people) and He would make proclamations or make prophetic statements.
So Madhyageha Bhatta was one of those that were there in that assembly at that time but little did he know that he would be the father of this child. Soon he was married to Vedavatidevi, a very chaste and young lady from a brahmana family. Both were very devoted. They did not have an offspring for some time so they decided to perform austerities to please Lord Anantesvara. They fasted on milk and so on for twelve long years. They would go daily to Anantesvara temple. At the end of twelve years finally they had a son.
At the time of his appearance there were all auspicious symptoms that appeared. The astrologers came and they were astonished to see an exceptional horoscope. The child also had thirty-two symptoms that a great personality has. They all prophesized that he would be a great personality just like Bhima and Hanuman and that he would very strongly preach the principles of pure devotion to the Supreme Lord.
Madhyageha Bhatta was very happy to hear this and so he celebrated a festival and many, many people came. As much as he could afford he gave away things in charity and so on. He was an exceptional child. Right from childhood there were all kinds of miracles that happened. Soon after the prescribed period, when the contamination period was over then Madhyageha Bhatta decided to take the child, Vasudev to Anantesvara temple. There was some people with him as he went.
On the return journey after having went and shown the child to Anantesvara and let the child have darsan of Anantesvara they got late and it was night when they were walking back through the forest, back to Pajaka-ksetra. There was a ghost who was living in a tree in the forest and he possessed one of the people who was accompanying Madhyageha Bhatta and it was a frightening situation for them and Madhvacarya who was then only a small child was called Vasudev, he was very helpless – just newborn baby in the arms of his mother.
The ghost who had possessed that man began to speak through the man and said, “No other mantras or chanting is going to help you. If you want me to leave this man’s body then place the feet of your child on this man’s head.” Madhyageha Bhatta was extremely fearful to do that bu nevertheless he did that. The moment he touched the feet of the child to the man’s head the ghost disappeared. So Madhyageha Bhatta understood that great things were in store for his son and that this child was definitely not an ordinary child.
Because he was Bhima he had a voracious appetite and he would continue to eat all and drink all day long and his mother couldn’t keep up to feed him the milk that he needed from her body. Once when he was still only drinking mother’s milk his mother went out of the house on some errand and she told her daughter who was also a very small girl, “Look after Vasudev till i come back. I will be back in a few minutes.” Vasudev began to feel hungry and he started crying. The little girl was perplexed. She did not know how to pacify him and she also started crying and she was looking around and her mother hadn’t come back. Eventually she did not know what to do. She had to give him something. So there was some sacks of grains that were kept there to feed the bull that was in the house. So she just gave him some grains to somehow pacify him and very happily he started to eat the grains and he ate the whole sack. [Laughter] When the mother came back and she saw what had happened she was alarmed (and that may be an understatement.) Madhyageha Bhatta also came and she said, “What is going to happen? He has eaten enough grains that even aa full grown bull cannot eat! Still he seems to be happy and smiling as if nothing can happen.” The biographer of Madhvacarya – Narayanacarya mentions that this was the most extraordinary annaprasana ceremony.
Generally children are given grains and there is a big ceremony andthen one grain is given and then it is a big thing made out of it. And just one grain! But here he had a whole sack of grains that was meant to be cow fodder. So Mahvacarya did it in grand fashion. Another time as he was growing up he asked his father for food. He was constantly asking for food! And his father said, “Look there is no food now. I borrowed money from one man to buy a new bull and this man is waiting on the doorstep. He wants his money and he will not leave the doorstep until I pay him. But I don’t have money to pay him so I have to fast today.” Vasudev said, “Father don’t worry. I will see that his debt is discharged.”
So he went into the backyard of the house where there was a tamarind tree. As a child he would play with these tamarind seeds. They are quite shiny seeds. Children like to play with them for those of you who may have seen the tamarind seeds. He got together a whole bunch of them – a sack of them and he called this man in. He said, “Come in. I will give you your payment.” And he help out some tamarind seeds to give him.
The man was surprised but just to humour the child he extended his palms forward. When they fell into his hand he saw it had become gold coins. He was struck with wonder but did not stay to argue. He fled from there in case the boy changed his mind or something else happened to that because the value of that gold was much more than the value of the bull. After some time he came back and thanked Madhyageha Bhatta saying, “Your son has given me so much payment – much more than what I gave you and it is also enough to cover all the interest and everything for the very, very late payment that you are making me.” So Madhyageha Bhatta was astonished when he heard the story.
One by one pastimes like this began to unfold. Actually when he was only about three and a half years old, his parents had gone off to some other place. He disappeared from their midst and walked two and a half kilometres to Ananteswara temple and came back. Actually they had to go there to find him because he disappeared. Three and a half year old child finding his way through a forest and going to Anantesvara temple! So his father was in constant anxiety about where the child would be because he had this nature of moving everywhere.
He was also very precautious. He was a genius child from childhood. Even at that age, around four or so when the Vidyaramba was done, the process where the child is made to write some alphabets for the first time, he learnt it just by hearing it once. Whenever his father asked him to recite the syllables one after the other, he said, “Father, don’t make me repeat. I know it.” Because one time he would hear it and he would remember it. And the father was astonished to see the intelligence of this boy. This went on like this. He very quickly grasped everything that a person had to teach him. He was quiet a protege.
One time he was sitting in a discourse where one brahmana was speaking on some Purana and he made some deviations from the original story and the little boy Vasudev who was only about four years old raised his hand and pointed out some corrections. He said, “Actually the story is not like this. It should be like that.” And he elaborated. Everyone was struck with wonder. He went back home and asked his father, “I spoke like this. The pandit was saying like that. Was I correct?” And the father said, “Yes you were correct. Your version was right.”
One time he even corrected his father who was speaking on the Srimad-Bhagavatam. There was a verse in which he was describing different types of trees like the banyan tree, the neem tree, the mango tree and so on. He missed out one tree – the likucha tree. He asked the father, “Father you missed out something. You missed out the likucha tree.” And the other people that were listening said, “Yes, yes. Please explain to us what this is.” And Madhyageha Bhatta could not answer. Young Vasudev said, “Actually my dear father you are just a pretender. You don’t even know about this. This likucha tree is actually a lemon tree.” Madhyageha Bhatta was astonished. Everyday such pastimes would take place and Madhyageha Bhatta understood how exceptional his son was.
Normally the sacred thread ceremony in traditional brahmana homes takes place when the child is about eight years old but understanding the nature of the boy, how precautious he was, they had it at five years. Very quickly he mastered all the rituals, the mantras that a braahmana is supposed to do, including the Sandhya-vandanam prayers, chanted the Gayatri mantras and so on. He seemed effulgent.
One time he was playing with his friends on a nearby hill and there was a huge snake who was in his previous life a demon called Maniman whom Bhima had killed. He wanted to reap vengeance and appeared as a snake and wanted to kill Madhvacarya. He pounced on Madhvacarya and he bit him. The children fled in fear to tell the elders. Meanwhile young Vasudev simply put his toe on the head of Maniman and killed him. Today if you go to Pajakasetra, some distance away from the house (Madhvacarya’s house is still there) there is a depression in the stone where you actually see the impression of the toe of Madhvacarya as he crushed the head of that snake.
His mother Vedavati-devi became very anxious and she was calling out loudly for him. He heard her from a large distance and in just one jump reached her because after all he is Vayu. So Vayu did not have a problem. He just leaped and came in front of his mother. There are numerous such instances and episodes but of course time does not permit us. I’ll just skip/jump straight to the time when he took sannyasa. He was only twelve years old. The spirit of renunciation blazed brightly in his heart. His father was heartbroken when he saw that he was associating with Acyutapreksa – a Vaisnava sannyasi who was living nearby. He approached Acyutapreksa and said, “Please don’t give my son sannyasa. He is my only son.”
Onetime however Madhvacarya or rather Vasudev was preparing to take sannyasa Madhyageha Bhatta heard this and he came running and he pleaded with his son, “Please, we are alone. We are old. We have no one to look after us.” Finally Madhvacarya replied, “All right. I will stay ’til such time you have another son.” So he postponed his sannyasa ceremony. Within a few months his mother was pregnant again and there was a son and as per the agreement his mother had to give the blessings. The father was still unwilling. The father actually even fell at his feet and Vasudev replied, “This is you blessing because a father will never fall at the feet of his son unless he is a sannyasi.”
So eventually the father relented and he went and took sannyasa from Acyutapreksa. He was called Purnaprajna Tirtha. He was very brilliant. He established many, many conclusions. He defeated many, many great scholars in debate. He especially engaged in debate with the Mayavadi scholars. In those days there was a custom in these debate competitions. Just like nowadays we have Olympics and physical sports, in those days they had these debate contests in which great scholars would come together and debate on very abstract philosophical points. There was a proper method. There would be judges and people would judge who was the winner. So he defeated all these great Mayavadi scholars. Time went by. (I am really jumping through the whole life.)
I would just like to speak about the Udipi temple itself. One time he felt joyful within himself and understood that something special was going to happen. Something really wonderful was to happen. By this time he was much elder in age and he decided to walk to the beach. He walked there at night and he stayed there. Soon there was a huge storm. There was a boat that was there. The boat got stuck in the coral reef. The people in the boat were in great anxiety. They called out for help. Madhvacarya took his sannyasa staff, tied his upper cloth to the end of it and waved it to control the air and he breathed in deep. Low and behold what happened? The storm subsided and the boat was pulled in towards the shore away from the coral reef.
The captain of the ship who was a merchant was very grateful. He came forward to Madhvacarya and offered him whatever daksina or gift that he wanted. Madhvacarya asked him what was in the boat. There was various types of merchandise. Madhvacarya was not interested in that. He asked him, “Where are you coming from?” He said, “Dvaraka.” Then he said, “Do you have gopi-chandan?” He said, “Yes indeed. I do. In fact we have lots of it. We use it as a ballast.” You know what is a ballast? You use it as a heavy weight at the bottom of a ship to balance it so that it doesn’t topple over.
So there was a lot of ballast. So he went and said, “Let me choose it.” So he went down and he selected a particular big block of chandan. There were many sailors in that boat. Narayana Acarya and … the biographer says that fifty sailors couldn’t lift it but Madhvacarya lean over and lifted it up like Hanuman was lifting the Gandhamadana hill. The sailors were dumbstruck. They couldn’t understand how this sannyasi could do such a thing.
He carried this gopi-chandan back which was very, very heavy. As he was walking back one part of the gopi-chandan broke off and fell to the ground and miraculously it revealed the deity of Balaram. He installed the deity there in the temple. The place is called Malpe. This temple still exists there. Lord Balarama’s deity is still there. Unfortunately many of the modern madhava’s don’t accept Balaram as the Supreme Lord. They think He is a jiva. That is another issue. But anyway the temple of Balaram is there.
Then he went on near the Anantesvara temple and there was a small lake there. He placed the chandan in that lake. The chandan dissolved and again from that there emerged a deity of Krishna. Actually as Madhvacarya had been walking to the sea and back he composed his famous Dwadasha Stotram – twelve prayers in glorification of Krishna. He completed the composition on the way back when he was carrying the gopi-chandan. So this deity of Krishna was a form of baby Krishna who was standing in one arm carrying a rope to bind the cows and the other hand a cow herding stick. So he installed the deity there and many people came forward after seeing this miracle but he just preferred to build a small temple because he didn’t want to have the temple of Anantesvara and Chandramaulisvara eclipsed by this temple. And also because he did not want it to become for people to take trouble to come stand in line and take darsan and so on. Since then the Sri Krishna Math in Udipi started.
There is a nice history that comes down from aural tradition of these deities Krishna and Balarama. We all know that even though Krishna was born of Mother Devaki and Vasudev in Mathura but they never enjoyed His childhood pastimes because Mother Yasoda and Nanada Maharaja in Vrindavan did so. So Mother Devaki was always lamenting that she never got a chance to see the childhood pastimes of Krishna.
Eventually when Krishna came to Dvaraka, mother Devaki expressed this desire to see Krishna’s childhood form and pastimes. Krishna is Bhaktavatsala – very affectionate to His devotees. So he wanted to fulfil the desire of His mother. So He transformed Himself into a child – into baby Krishna and then drank her milk. Then He began to crawl and do all the things that he would do when He was in Vrindavan. He manifested the grinding mortar. Mother Devaki was grinding and he would come up and hold the grinding rod and hold her hand and so on. Then she would give Him some butter and He would eat. This was going on in front of the astonished Devaki’s eyes. In this way with the unfolding of this pastime mother Devaki’s heart was completely satiated. Now she was satisfied having seen and participated in the childhood pastimes of Krishna.
Rukminidevi also heard about this and she also wanted to see. The mother may see the son as a child. That is the nature of the mother. However old the son is the mother still thinks the son as a child. But if the wife had to see the son as a child that is something strange. So Krishna then wanted to fulfil Rukmini Devi’s desire. So He summoned Visvakarma the heavenly architect from the heavenly planets and He said, “Please carve out – go to Gandaki River in Nepal. Get two suitably large shaligrama shilas from there and carve out My deity and a deity of My elder brother Balaram.”
So Visvakarma did that. He carved out one fairly large set of deities of Krishna Balarama and another small one which was given to Mother Devaki. It is said that Uddhava took the smaller deity to Vrindavan but then somehow They were lost. Nobody knows where those smaller deities are. The larger deities were worshipped by Rukmini Devi. On one hand she served her husband Krishna personally physically in Dvaraka and on the other hand she also worshipped these deities of Krishna and Balarama. Time went on.
Krishna eventually performed His disappearance pastime and at that time Arjuna took these deities and placed Them in Rukminivana. In course of time They got buried over by mud and so on. Many, many years passed. Actually couple of thousands of years passed and the merchants were looking for some ballast. They cut out the gopi-chandan from there and placed it as a ballast in the boat and that is how these deities came to Udipi. So the history of the Krishna deity and the Balarama deity is that originally They were worship by Rukmini Devi. They were personally ordered by Lord Krishna. So those Deities are very special.
There is a lot of culture there in Udipi. Those of you that want to get acquainted more and more with traditional culture there is still some of it remaining over there Madhvacarya established very strongly the devotional methods, processes of worship and so on. He established eight Maths and he had eight disciples he gave sannyasa to and made each of them the heads of these Maths. The Astamathas are still going on. Each of these sannyasis takes one disciple who is a sannyasi who then becomes the next acarya and so on.
Madhvacarya disappearance was equally dramatic. He was sitting at the Anantesvara temple giving a lecture on his lifelong favourite scripture the Aitareya Upanisad and he decided the time had come for him to depart. Even as he was discoursing on this scripture he suddenly disappeared. The asana on which he was sitting on when he disappeared is still preserved and when one goes to the Anantesvara temple there is a window through which you can look in to see that asana. We are not allowed to enter that room.
So on this tithi, on this day approximately seven hundred years ago Madhvacarya disappeared. Today is his disappearance day and we can pray at the lotus feet of Srila Madhvacarya to bless us with pure devotion to the Supreme Lord so that we can follow in his footsteps and achieve the success of this life. Thank you very much. Sorry i went on ’til late. I wanted to especially talk about the deity pastimes. Srila Madhvacarya ki! Jai! Grantaraj srimad Bhagavatam Ki! Jai Srila Prabhupada Ki! Jai! Gaurapremanande Hari-haribol. Hare Krishna. [End] [To receive Mayapurlive lectures by email, write to firstname.lastname@example.org]