[Advaita-l] Analysis of madhvAcArya’s mAyAvAdakhaNDanam

Krunal Makwana makwanakb at googlemail.com
Fri Dec 26 21:27:46 CST 2008

Analysis of madhvAcArya's mAyAvAdakhaNDanam


I propose to give an analytical view of madhvAcArya's mAyAvAdakhaNDanam in
view from the advaita stance. This series in no way a refutation of the
dvaita view or to disrepect shri Ananda tirtha but to assist genuine seekers
(including myself!) to understand advaita better. I plan to examine one
verse every week allowing list members to contribute their views and shed
light on areas which I have missed. Contribution from all list members is
encouraged, however I do ask list memebers to stick to the topic at hand and
create a separate topic for off-shoot discussions.

As my understanding of saMskR^ita is very poor I am using the translation of
Deepak Sarma from his publication 'An Introduction to mAdhva vedAnta'. [1]
If there is anyone who is unhappy with me using this translation of the text
please feel free to add the alternative version to the discussion.

The series will follow the format of saMskR^ita (in ITRANS), translation and
then an attempt to explain the advaitic and dvaitic position taking into
account the verse in hand.

Verse 1:

narasiMho akhilaaGYAaanamatadhvaantadivaakaraH |

jayatyamitasajGYAnasukhashaktipayonidhiH ||1||

narasimha, who, [as] the sun [destroys] darkness, [destroys] the opinions
[deriving from the ignorance], who is the boundless ocean, unsurpassed bliss
and [His] immeasurable power, [He] is pre-eminent.

svAmi madhvAcArya [hereafter MV] commences this work by invoking Lord narasimha
deva. One of the main tenets of dvaita vedAnta is to establish the supremecy
of shrI viShNu over all other deities and to explain all verses of the
scriptures to support this principle. Historically MV had composed three
works later to be known together as the khaNDanatraya, the three works of
refutation[2]. It is also well documented that MV had a certain loathing for
the followers of advaita vedAnta [hereafter AV] and would blaspheme them at
any opportunity.

It is interesting to note that MV invoked narasimha deva as the main deity
of the work. He categorises the prayer of shrI narasimha deva in two
sections. One of which is a prayer towards the Lord and the second as a
metaphorical attack on AV. As MV did not hide the fact of certain loathing
of jIva aikya vAda he felt it necessary to utilise advaita as demonic[3] and
use the connatation and legend of  narasimha deva to come and establish the
right principle of the dualistic philosophy.

By praising the qualities of the Lord, MV directly refutes the idea of
nirguNatva of AV which advocates that the supreme brahman is without quality
and impersonal. Dvaita vedAnta [hereafter DV] of MV insists that supreme
brahman is saguNa, with qualities and that nirguNatva is also a quality of
the Lord. DV also hold the view that supreme brahman is personal and not
impersonal unlike the view of AV.

Jai Sri Krsna



[1] Sarma, D, 2003. An Introduction to Madhva Vedanta, 1st ed. Hampshire:

[2] The khaNDanatraya comprises of mAyAvAdakhaNDanama [refutation of the
mAyA position], upAdhikhaNDanama [refutation of the limiting adjuncts] and
mithyAtvAnumAnakhaNDanama [refutation of the inference of the illusoriness
of the phenomenal reality].

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