Archive | September 12, 2013

A wandering minstrel who saw Raghavendra Swamy in person

There are only a few persons who have written books on different streams of philosophy.  Of them, there are only a handful who have understood the philosophical concepts clearly and written about it a lucid and easy manner.

In the field of  Hindu religion, there are three main streams of philosophy, each representing a different concept. They are the Dwaitha, Adwaitha and Vishastadwaitha and each of them are in turn represented by a seminal person.

If Dwaitha or the pancha beda concept was first propagated by Madhwacharya (1199-1278), the Adwaitha was preached centuries earlier by Shanaracharya (788-820). The Vishistadwaitha was propelled by Ramanajucharya (1007-1137).

Incidentally, if Shankara was from Kerala, Madhwa was from Karnataka and Ramanajucharya from Tamil Nadu. While Madhwacharya preached the Taratamya and the Pancha Beda concept, Shankara said the world was Maya.

One of the few persons to digest the three philosophies and also write on all of them was Krishna Avadoota (1836-1909), the man who penned Raghavendra Tantra.

Krishna Avadoota makes it clear that he became a Dwaithi or a believer in the supremacy of Hari or Vishnu only after he came in contact with Raghavendra Swamy. He also does not fail to mention that Appanacharya was the person who inspired him towards Raghavendra Swamy.

Before taking up the cause of Dwaitha Siddhanta, Krishva Avadootaru who was called Muddukrishna, had been to Kerala where he embraced Adwaitha and also became an expert in the art of Vamacharya and Tantra.

It was only when he came back to Sundur in Bellary district, where he held a high position in the court of the Ghorpades (local choiefs of the area), that both Appanacharya and Raghavendra Swamy came in his dream and gently nudged him towards the field of Dwaitha literature, philosophy and way of life.     

He this became a late believer in Dwaitha philosophy. Subsequently, Krishna Avadoota meditated on Raghavendra Swamy and became an ardent devotee of  the Mantralaya seer. Every day and every minute, he medidated on Raghavendra Swamy and sang his glories. He spent eight years at the Shambunatha cave near Chakratheertha in Hampi where Vyasaraja had installed the first of the 732 Prana Devaru.

When he wanted to became a Seer and take sanyasa, Raghavendra Swamy came in person to the spot and asked him not to take Deekshe. He asked him to remain an avadoota and serve him. He thus became one of the very few persons to see Raghavendra Swamy in person.     

To him goes the distinction of writing books on Shankara, Madhwa and Ramanajucharya Krishna Avadoota was a prolific writer but only a few of his writings are available today. It is generally believed that Krishna Avadoota wrote more than fifty books and most of them were on Madhwa siddhanta. Unfortunately, only seventeen of his works remain. They include Sulabha Sadhya Vyakaranam, a book on grammer.

The other works are: Ihamrugi, Panduranga vilasa Champu, Krishnavhadhoota Natanatantaram all in literature: Kaavya Lakshana sangraha, a commentary on SarasvatalankArasootra and  Mandara makaranda champu which are all works on Alankara.

He also wrote three books on logic. They are: Tarkanavanitam, Padarthasagara and Tarkasangraha Vakyarthavivruti.

Krishna Avadoota also has four excellent works on Dwaitha literature and philosophy. The works are Madhwamata Sarvasvam, Madhwamata Sootranim, Adhyatma Navanitam and Sootrartha Lahari.

He is also credited with a work on Adwaitha and Vishastadwaitha respectively. The works are Vishishta Advaita Navanitam, a scholarly treatise on Vishahsaadwaitha and Adwaita Navanitam in the field of Adwaitha literature.

Apart from the incomparable Raghavendra Tantra, he also wrote the Vyasa Stavaraja.

Before writing Advaita Navanitam and Vishishta Advaita

Navanitam, Krishna Avadootaru spent a lot of time learning concepts from these schools so that he could render them faithfully and correctly in his work.

In Sootrartha Lahari, Avadootaru shows this mastery over the three schools by listing the interpretations of Dwaitha, Adwaitha and Vishastadwaitha schools. He then concluded that Madhwa siddantha or Dwaitha was the superior among all the three streams.

Thus, Krishna Avadootaru embraced Dwaitha philosophy and propagated it only after he was convinced of its superiority over the other two.

What sets Krishna Avadootaru from other writers is the ease with which he writes and his mastery over the subject. His style is also simple and the phrasing of words and sentences show his sincerity and devotion.

There are however, very few books of his in print. However, what few books are available are a testimony to the missionary zeal of this avadoota, who emerged as a torch bearer of Dwaitha movement in the late 1800s.