About Madhwacharyaru

ShrI MadhvAchArya (ShrI MadAnanda Theertha)



abhramaM bhaN^garahitaM ajaDaM vimalaM sadA   |

AnandatIrthaM atulaM bhaje tApatrayApaham.h  ||

The always undeluded, unobstructed, free of sloth, and free of filth;
that Ananda Tîirtha, the incomparable, I salute, who is the remover of all misery.


ShrI MadhvAcharya is the founder of the Tattvavāda (True Philosophy) school of thought. He was a pioneer in many ways, going against standard conventions and norms.  MadhvAcharya is the third incarnation of Vayu, aka MukhyaprANa (the god of life), after Hanuman and Bhima. His name and advent are mentioned in the BaLitthA SUkta of the Rig Veda.

Acharya Madhva was born on Vijayadashami day of 1238 CE at Pajaka, a tiny hamlet near Udupi. Narayana Panditacharya who later wrote Madhva’s biography has recorded the names of Acharya’s parents as Madhyageha Bhatta (Naduillayaru) as name of the father and Vedavati as Acharya’s mother. At birth ShrI MadhvAcharyaru was named as Vasudeva.

Even as a child, Vasudeva exhibited great talent for grasping all things spiritual. He was drawn to the path of renunciation, and his early age of 12 -16, he chose to be a sanyasi, and took the initiation under monastic order from AchyutaPragna (Purushottam Theertharu), a reputed ascetic of the time, near Udupi. At the time of his initiation into sanyasa, he was given the name of Poornaprajna. Later during his pattabisheka he was named as Ananda Theertha.   However, he named himself as Madhva (Madhva = Madhu + Va, Madhu means ananda, and Va means Theertha, hence MadhVa = Ananda Teertha).  As Madhva is also a name that occurs in the BaLittha SUktaof the Rigveda for the third avatAra of MukhyaprANa, he became famous as MadhvAcharya.  The other name as per veda for MadhvAcharya is Dashapramathi –   Dasha (Infinite) – pramathi (Knowledge) which equals Poorna (Infinite) – prajna (Knowledge). Knowingly or unknowingly, shrI Achytapragnaru gave shrI MadhvAcharyaru his vedic synonymous name.

The approximate period during which Acharyaru lived in this bhoomi is between 1238AD and 1317AD, and as per Anu MadhvA Vijya (author unknown) he lived for 79 years.  Narayana Panditacharya who later wrote Madhva’s biography has not recorded his living years, except details on shrI MadhvAcharya’s disappearing on a Navami day from his routine day to day affairs.  It is believed that ShrI Acharyaru is undergoing studies on vedic knowledge from shri VedaVyasa Devaru at Badrikashrama even today.

ShrI MadhvAcharya authored around 40 + works, he is the only philosopher who has authored commentaries on variety of topics.

  1. Gita Bhaashya
  2. Brahma-Suutra Bhaashya
  3. Anu-Bhaashya
  4. Anu-Vyaakhyaana
  5. Gita Tatparya
  6. Kena or TaLavakâra Upanishad Bhâshya
  7. KaThopanishad Bhâshya
  8. MuNDaka Upanishad Bhâshya
  9. Mânduukya Upanishad Bhâshya
  10. Iishaavaasyopanishad Bhaashya
  11. Satprashnopanishad Bhaashya
  12. Aitereyopanishad Bhaashya
  13. Taittiriiyopanishad Bhaashya
  14. Brhadaaranyaka Upanishad Bhaashya
  15. Chaandogya Upanishad Bhaashya
  16. Tattva-Sankhyaana
  17. Vishnu-tatva-vinirnaya
  18. Mahaabhaarata-taatparya-nirNaya
  19. Tantrasara sangraha
  20. Dwadasha Stotras – 12
  21. Naka Stutis – 2
  22. Kandartha nirnaya
  23. Bhâgavata Tâtparya
  24. Maha Bharatha Tatparya Nirnaya
  25. Yamakabaratha
  26. Krishnamrutha Maharnaya
  27. Rig Veda Bhâshya
  28. Sadâchara Smrti
  29. Yati PraNava Kalpa
  30. Krishna Jayanti NirNaya
  31. PramâNa LakshaNa
  32. Kathâ LakshaNa
  33. Upâdhi Khandana
  34. Prapancha Mithyâtva-anumâna KhanDana
  35. Mayâvâda Khandana
  36. Tattva-samkhyâna
  37. Tattva-viveka
  38. Tattvoddyota
  39. Karma NirNaya


ShrI MadhvAcharya‘s philosophy:

ShrI MadhvAcharyaru used three main methods of proof (pramANa) to present his philosophy. They are – personal experience (pratyakSa), scriptures (agamas, shruti), and inference (anumana).

He was the first philosopher to formulate an Adhyatmic (philosophical) interpretation of the Rig Veda. To illustrate his point, he interpreted forty suktas as an example.   He gave a fresh doctrine of the validity of knowledge with special reference to the principle of “sAkshi”. ShrI MadhvAcharya developed the sAkshi concepts, and used them in the right places in his philosophy.

ShrI MadhvAcharya was motivated by four rationales:

  • A determination to remain true to experience above all, in the spirit of science.
  • A commitment to sound reasoning.
  • An intensive emotional devotion on ShrI Narayana (The God) that drove all his actions.
  • Fearless persistent and determination in interpreting his philosophy in the toughest environment that was revolving around advaitis.

His exclusive philosophical contributions in addition to prameya stotra towards Indian philosophy are as follows:


  1. There is only ONE GOD, All words or sounds reflect god’s name alone (it can be in all language and all sounds). He is the world’s First philosopher to say so; he preached it and followed it to earnest.  During his incarnation period, there was presence of Islam and Christianity in India, and he understood those religions, and still propagated his philosophy of Tattvavāda (True Philosophy).  The greatness of his thoughts on this can be found in this true incident, once during his Pilgrimage to Badrikashram, he had to cross the river Ganga, and the other shore was under a Muslim king.  While crossing the river along with his disciples, the soldiers across shouted not to cross, but he fearlessly crossed the river, and told the soldiers that he wants to meet their king. When he met the king, the king asked him how did you cross the river without fear, he said to the Muslim king; Why should I fear of you? Both of us pray to the one god, you call him as Allah, I call him Narayana, so we are brothers.  Impressed by this philosophy, the Muslim king said, I have not seen a Hindu saint like you.  After meeting you, I like you, and offered him land and wealth to form the mutt and stay in his Kingdom.  Acharyaru, declined the offer, and asked a favor of cooperation for him and his disciples to travel to Badrikashram.
  2. He said that the Lord ShrI Narayana by residing in a living or nor living thing, gives it a shape, characteristics and attributes. For example:  In his young age – he said: Swavastu pranathi yadam, (One who lives in everything, is to whom I am praying).
  3. Every living thing has his own self characteristics (There is division, and no two things are equal).  He introduced the concept of “vishesha”, in the relationship between a substance and its attributes.
  4. Satvic jivas can only attain Moksha, and not Rajasic and Tamasic Jivas. He said Karma siddantha – One who does a kriya (karma) does not get the fruit, but the fruit goes to the person for whom the kriya is done.  Similarly, based on one’s characteristics the jivas reach different ultimate states based on their respective characteristics and attributes (Nichochabavangatha).  He also said: equal treatment of unequals is discrimination.  Equal treatment of equals and unequal treatment of unequals is non-discrimination.
  5. He also preached, in philosophy there is no caste system, but only Varna (Swabhava– characteristics and attributes) system. The caste system might be important only in society and not in spirituality.  He also emphasized that Varna is there only for the jivas who are satvic (Moksha yoga jiva), and not in jivas who are rajasic and tamasic. He said that Varna system is not based on birth; it is based on one’s characteristics (Moksha yogya Brahman, Moksha yogya kshatriya, Moksha yogya vysya, and Moksha yogya shudra).
  6. Jiva as gender characteristics (both male and female), he said that can jada (non living things) have gender, it can get only when it is in contact with the jiva.
  7. There are several other concepts like svatantra-paratantra, bimba-pratibimba bhAva (relation between Jivas and brahman) which he developed and used in his works.  There is a five-fold (Pancha Bedha) difference between God, living things, and non-living things.

The above text is a transcript of my understanding of the lecture made by Guru Shri Bannanje Govindacharya.

The transcript might have some information that are not as per the lecture made by Guru Shru Bannanje Govindacharya.

To learn about Sree Madhwacharya’s life and Philosophy, click here.   The linked document was published by Vishva Madhva Sangha.

You can also see a video on Madhvacharyara life history, click here.


9 Responses to “About Madhwacharyaru”

  1. Srivathsa Says:

    In dvaita’s trividha jeevas…like rajasa,tamasa,and sathvika jeevas are like tv serials….where there will be a good person…who will always think good and do good ,
    there will be a bad person…who always think evil and do evil….this is just the ladys watching tv serial story….hence not practical…..
    2)In reality there is atleast a good guna in a bad person and a bad guna in a very good person….a evil person can become good one day and good person can become bad one day…..So, we cannot say evil nature or good nature are nature of his own soul…..So,there cannot be rajasa,sathvika ,tamasa jeevas…..

    • Upendran Boovaraha Says:

      These gunas are further broken like this: (Satvik, Satvik, Satvik); (Satvik, Satvik, Rajas); (Satvik, Satvik, Tamas); that means, a satvik jiva (Mula) can also have a part of rajas or tamas guna. The more prevalent guna, the more the jiva is classified and he displays those attributes to the external world.

  2. Srivathsa Says:

    I have a question about madwa philosophy
    1) for madwas there are 5 bedas
    *)jiva -jiva
    *)jiswara-jada and jiva-jada
    BUT TODAYS SCIENCE HAVE PROVED THAT THERE IS NO JADA-JADA BEDA…..i:e according to madhvaacharya ,gold can never become silver….but todays science have proved that by changing electronics configuration we can change gold to silver….WHICH ACCORDING TO MADHVAACHARYA IMPOSSIBLE !!!!!!!…because nothing,or jada loose their prakruthika guna according to madhvacharya,….
    2)jiva-jiva beda:
    accoring to dvaita each jiva is suguna and his prakrutika gunas are his own gunas.
    1)me myself, i am human i see another human in kama,but if i become dog in next janma,i see dog with kama…..so prakruthika guna kama is not atmans guna
    2) bhudhi:
    now when we are human we have high level of bhudhi,but if i become dog in next janma we have bhudhi of the level of dog,so budhi is not atmas guna
    if u go on thinking like that u will come to know that ,these gunas atman got from MAYA of jagath..and is not atmans guna ….so atman is nirgua and jagath is maya…………so madwaacharya’s jath is truth and 5 bedas are false…….

    • Upendran Boovaraha Says:

      Answer 1: As Science, matter can not be created nor destroyed, it can be transformed. So as in this case, Jada – Jada there is a bedha in its static state. In your quote, it is theory, note: there is an external influence, and even if it is transformed quality of pure gold is different from the transformed gold. Here jada means five elements: earth, fire, air, space, and water.

      Answer 2: Jiva- Jiva Bedha: Jiva’s qualities are displayed by the body. For example, Let’s take Prahlada’s story, he was in a surrounding filled with daityas and he could have got influenced as is other friends and his fathers subjects. However, his intrinsic quality is satvic and did not get influenced. That is what we talk here, quality of mango seed is to grow into mango tree, similarly a need seed grows need tree, that is the difference. We are not talking about external qualities, we are talking about internal qualities which is different in each jiva.

      Answer 3: I am sorry my friend, I assume, you believe in re-birth. if yes, assume you were a human, do you remember it? you had a buddhi, what happened to it? One should know how to access that memory or buddhi.

      We may have to spend lot of time discussing your doubts, and this is not right forum.

      • srivathsa Says:

        1)ok….forget science….let us take you yourself given local example
        Milk….it is one jada,curd is another jada,,,,they have different prakruthika guna…..if milk and curd are different by absolute as said by madhvacharya….milk should never become curd…..
        but milk…become curd,ghee,butter milk…etc…here the prakruthika gunas of milk (jada)changes to the prakruthika gunas of ghee,curd etc….hence…there cannot be jada-jada beda by absolute as said by madhvacharya…
        2)dress…perishes by time(kumbaagutthade)….here dress looses its prakruthika guna bala (strength)…by time…so strength is not guna of jada…
        3)when you burn your dress,the dress looses all its prakruthika gunas like colour,smoothness and become ashe,if you go on thinking like that…then there is no jada-jada beda…….as jada’s prakruthika guna changes…
        so what is the guna of jada…which makes it different from other jada,,,by absolute?
        if jada-jada beda is absolute as said by madhvacharya prakruthika gunas of jada should never change as,he says prakruthika gunas of jada are of it’s own swarupa…and it will never change…
        4)mango tree…in one janma will give sweet fruit…in next janma if it becomes neem tree…it gives bitter taste fruit right?…so ,these prakruthika attributes cannot be assighned to athman…so athman is nirguna…..

      • Upendran Boovaraha Says:

        1} Precisely, that is what transformation means: the impurity added to milk transforms it to curd, and it is in milks quality to change to curd with impurity. However, you cannot turn curd to milk, however you can transform it to butter, and then ghee. They are different and those attributes are part and parcel of that jada.

        2} each attributes are not anantha, they are limited, similary strength of dress is more than thread, thread is stronger than cotton, but all those strength are limited.

        3} Here, when you take dress, it is finally made of the 5 big jadas, and with burning it becomes one of those jadas which is mula and they are intrinsically different.

        4} If atman quality is satvik, even in its next janma it will be satvik no mater what form it takes due to prarabdha. However, there will be influence of kali and the jiva can act evil, but eventually, the atma will be happy when doing good and not evil vice-versa. There are few Jivas example duryodhana – outside he might be doing good (like yagas) inside he is sad, and gets happy when he puts others in trouble that is the Jivas quality.

      • Upendran Boovaraha Says:

        As I said earlier, I am a new born started to cry and not even opened eyes in vedanta world. Your questions are helping me to re-emphasize that my belief is not blind and is based on reasoning. Please asking, I will also learn.

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