[Advaita-l] Bellamkonda Sri Rama Raya Kavi

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Mon Dec 13 01:21:41 CST 2010


Here are some works of Bellamkonda Sri Rama Raya Kavi  who wrote several
works on Advaita.  His (adopted) son and grandson are publishing many of
these works.  Recently some books have been published and even uploaded for
free download.  These books are in Telugu script and some with translation.

A few days ago I spoke to his son and grandson.  They told me that since the
place they live is predominantly Telugu-speaking, they are bringing out the
books in Telugu.  I am told that Sri Rama Raya Kavi, who belonged to
VishishTaadvaita sampradaya was a HayagrIva Upaasaka.  It seems when he was
about 16 years Lord Hayagriva first appeared in a dream and asked him to
take a mantra and yantra from a particular person/place.  Following this,
Rama Raya Kavi did the japa/upasana for some years and again, this time, got
a pratyaksha sAkShAtkAra of Lord Hayagriva.  In one of his works he writes
that the Lord Hayagriva is seated beside him and he is only writing what the
Lord is saying to him.

The Kavi wrote about 148 works in his very short life  and the family is
bringing out in a phased manner the available works.  They are also on the
move to collect the works which they suspect are available with many

>From the Kavi's time, the family is following the smArtha sampradaya.  It
seems in the ancestry the family used to conduct vidvat  sadas of
Vishishtadvaita in their village every year and several noted scholars of
that sampradaya used to participate.






In the LIfe history book, there is a picture of Lord Hayagriva.  Intolerant
of the Kavi taking to writing favouring Advaita and refuting the
non-Advaitic schools, some Vaishnavas have conjectured that Lord Hayagriva
(a form of Lord VishNu) could not have graced His upAsaka with  Advaitic
knowledge and persuasion and hence the Kavi could have indeed meditated upon
a daitya, a demon, with the name of Hayagriva (who alone can guide and
influence one to take to Advaitic thought, which is demoniacal!!) .  That
all such bigoted views  have no basis can be known from the picture of the
Lord published in the book and the sahasranAmAvaLi the Kavi has composed on
the Lord.   The following is also worth noting:

A noted Madhva scholar Dr.Anandatirtha Vysampayanacharya Nagasampige,
Director, Purnaprajna Samshodhana Mandiram, a Bangalore-based premier Madhva
research institution run under the patronage of Sri Vishvesha Tirtha
SwamigaLu, the seer of the Pejawar Mutt (whose disciple is the author),
writes in his popular Kannada book: 'Mata traya sameekshaa':

//  ಮೂರು ದರ್ಶನಗಳಲ್ಲಿರುವ ಸಮಾನತೆಗಳು:  ಅದ್ವೈತ-ವಿಶಿಷ್ಟಾದ್ವೈತ ಹಾಗೂ ದ್ವೈತ
ಸಿದ್ಧಾಂತಗಳಲ್ಲಿ ಸ್ಥೂಲವಾಗಿ ಕೆಲವು ಸಮಾನತೆಗಳನ್ನು ನಾವು ಕಾಣಬಹುದಾಗಿದೆ:  *ವಿಷ್ಣು
ಪರದೇವತೆ ಎಂಬ ಸಂಗತಿ ಅಚಾರ್ಯತ್ರಯರಿಗೆ ಸಮ್ಮತವಾಗಿದೆ*:

[The similarities/sameness present in the three systems: In Advaita,
Vishishtaadvaita and Dvaita, we can see an explicit similarity: - ]

And has quoted appropriate passages from the works of the Three Acharyas.
In respect of Shankara, he quotes the following:

೧. नारायणः परोऽव्यक्तात् अण्डमव्यक्तसंभवम् ।

अण्डस्यान्तस्त्विमे लोकाः सप्तद्वीपा च मेदिनी ॥ [Introduction by Shankara to
His Gita Bhashya]

Narayana is beyond the Avyakta; From the Avyakta the Mundane Egg is born;
Within the Mundane Egg, verily, are these worlds and the Earth made up of
the seven dvipa-s.

The Madhva scholar goes on to list other 'commonalities' across the Three

1. All the Acharyas agree that the Veda is apauruSheya and is the
parama-pramANa. (he quotes appropriate passages from the works of the three
Acharyas which substatiate this)

2. That Bhakti alone is the means for liberation is admissible to all the
three Acharyas.  In support of this he quotes Shankara's statement from the
Gitabhashya 18.65:

एवं भगवतःसत्यप्रतिज्ञत्वं बुद्ध्वा भगवद्भक्तेः अवश्यम्भाविमोक्षपलमवधार्य
भगवच्चरणैकपरायणो भवेदिति वाक्यार्थः ।

//The idea conveyed by the passage is: Having thus understood that the Lord
is true in His pormise, and knowing for certain that liberation is the
unfailing result of devotion to the Lord, one should have dedication to God
as his only supreme goal,//

3. That karma is subsidiary to Jnana and is the cause for chitta-shuddhi is
admissible to all the Three Acharyas. The Shankara-passage given for this

....अग्निहोत्रादिलक्षणं कर्म ब्रह्मचर्यादिलक्षणं च अनुग्राहकं भवति
विद्योत्पत्तये. (Taittiriya Up.Bhashya 1.11)  [for the karmas such as
Agnihotra, as also the practices of celibacy, etc., undertaken in the past
lives, become helpful to the rise of knolwedge....]

In his defence, Dr.B.N.K.Sharma has said that Shankara was a Vaishnava,
devoted to Vishnu and gives the instance from the Shankara Vijaya relating
to His mother AryaAmba's attainment of VishNuloka.  He also names other
great Advaitins like Madhusudana Saraswati, as devoted to Vishnu.






Madhusudana's 'Bhaktirasayanam' has been praised by a Madhva scholar in his
preface to the NyAyAmruTa.  I have heard a legend from Madhusudana's life:
If anyone wanted to have the darshan of the Lord Krishna, one could go to
Brindavan where the young lad Krishna would come in person to take the
morsels of 'dadhyannam' (curd rice) from the hands of Madhusudana Saraswati
every afternoon.

Surely a demon, daitya, would not guide someone to hold the above views on
Lord  Vishnu, His supremacy, the Veda and its Supreme position and Vaidika
karma as aiding chitta-shuddhi.  We  see in the Purana how Hiranyakashipu
wanted his glory alone to be praised, his hatred of Vishnu and his
opposition to Veda and Vaidika karma.

Om Tat Sat


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