Sri 1008 Rajendra Tirtha
The Pole star of Sri Vyasaraja matha
One extraordinary and epochal personality was born and initiated
in the great Matha-family of scholars and Savants which later on took
the famous name of Sri Vyasaraja. He was Sri Rajendra tirtha, whose
Aradhana is not even celebrated properly by the ungrateful misfits who
claim to have inherited his great seat of Vedanta samrajya. Perhaps for
the first time, it was celebrated by SVSS a couple of years back as a
seperate function, when a booklet describing his achievements was also
printed and distributed. The Aradhana of this great saint is falling on
Vaishakha Shuddha Purnima ( Monday 17 th May) - most appropriately on a
Full Moon day, as he was the source of the light of knowledge - from
which many Chandrikas came later by his lineage.
Not much is known about his personal details of Poorvashrama. He
is believed to be related to Sri Jayatirtha and he as well as his
brother succeeded the pontifical seat of Sri Teekacharya (Demise 1388
AD), one after the other in 24 years after his demise - when Sri
Vidyadhiraja, his successor entered his Vrindavana in 1402 AD).
After Acharya Madhva's tours all over India, it was Sri Narahari
tirtha who was responsible to take Tatvavada in East coast of Andhra
Pradesh and Orissa. Though it is believed that Sri Teekacharya had been
to North India (Kashi etc), the next notable personality who has left
his indelible imprint on North India and Bengal is Sri Rajendra Tirtha
and his successor Sri Jayadhwaja Tirtha. Evidence of their obvious
success is available even today, in the form of a great commentary
written by an ascetic who seems to have lived in Bengal for long called
Sri Vishnudasacharya - who wrote Vadarathnavali (printed long back in
Udupi critically edited by Bannaje Govindacharya and NOT available
today). Rajendra/Jayadhwaja's visits to Bengal/Orissa founded a lineage
of ascetics, who claim to have descent from Acharya Madhva through him,
presently claimed by ISKON (called Bengal Vaishnavism).
Nothing is known of Sri Vishnudasacharya, though there is a
mention in the available composition itself that he had written two
more works called Vivarana Vidambana and Khandana Khandana which as the
Titles themselves indicate were powerful controverting answers to
Prakashatman's Panchpadika-Vivarana and Sriharsha's Khandana
Khandakhadya. There are a number of quotations from Khandana-Khandana
in the available work itself. Let me quote B N K Sharma on the
importance of this work.
"The description of Vishnudasacharya as Shad-darshana-vallabha
(Master of the six systems of Philosophy) in the Collophon is fully
substantiated by the internal evidence of this work which bears
eloquent testimony of his mastery over intricacies of Nyaya, Vyakarana,
Purvamimamsa, Sankara and Ramanuja schols of Vedanta, not to speak of
his erudition in Madhva-Shastra itself. He was the first exponent and
the defender of Madhva Siddhanta to harness on a large scale the rules
and principles of interpretation accepted by the Vyakarana Shastra of
Panini and his commentators and the Adhikaranas of the Purva Mimamsa
system, to the defence and exposition of the Srutis as formulated by
Madhva and his early commentators and in criticising and showing the
weaknesses of the interpretation of the Srutis and their harmonisation
as pronounced by the Sankara school".
This great author describes himself as :
sarvathanthrasvathanthra Srimadrajendra Tirtha Shreecharanakamala
chanachareeka sri Vishnudasacharya.
Note the titles of Sri Rajendra Tirtha - Akhandavedamarga pravarthaka ,
Nikhilatharkikachoodamani and and Sarvathanthra svathanthra. B N K
Sharma also opines that judging from the quality of Vadarathnavali, the
other two would be of the same order of excellence and their discovery
and publication would be a great asset to Madhva philosophy. Based on
the origins of the scribe of the copy of the work secured by him, he
feels that his works might have been well known and preserved on the
banks of Godavari river in the Northern most district of Maharashtra
which Sri Padmanabha Tirtha came from and was also the home of the
great families of Ananda Bhattaraka and Tharangini Ramacharya. He has
also allotted a separate section in HDSV for the work and its
importance, which may be studied by those interested.
The great Vibhudendra was the other important disciple of Sri
Rajendra Tirtha. His role and achievements will be covered separately.
He was the first exclusive ascetic of the SRS Matha. Sri Rajendra's
charama shloka says :
Vibudendramukhan shishyan navakruthvah sudham sudheeh
Yo apathayath sa rajendra Tirtho bhuyadasmadabheeshtadah"
Thus Sri Rajendra has covered Sri Sudha to a scholar like Sri
Vibhudendra 9 times. It is easy to imagine the scholarship of Sri
Rajendra Tirtha, by this.
Even the Sathkathas descrbe Sri Rajendra thus" -
"Pandithyabaladinda Rajendraru yelledeyalliyu gudugadahatthidaru" -
"Out of his great scholarship he became famous and established himself
There are two unfair references to Sri Rajendra tirtha, which SVM
strongly resent and wish that they are amended.
1. The charama shloka of Kavindra, as it prevails today says:
srikavindragurum vande bhajatham chandrasannibham".
This is used both by UM and SRS Mathas.
The use of the word Sevitham to show that Sri Kavindra was served
by Sri Rajendra who was his senior in Ashrama as well one who had
established a separate branch, though he was the first choice of the
Guru Sri Vidyadhiraja and would have normally ascended the Peetha with
no questions asked, if he had been present at the time of the Guru's
demise, even going to the sacrifice of accepting a partition of the
Matha Idols which was some what unequal was totally unjust and may have
been included at that time by his Parampare to show that Rajendra had
no claim on that Matha. As a matter of fact, no one from the Poorvadi
Matha has ever gone back to the other branch at any time and asked for
any doles or favours and perhaps the reverse may have been done in the
time of Sri Vyasaraja. B N K Sharma has also commented on this unfair
reference to Sri Rajendra Tirtha who deserves much better, considering
the service he has rendered to Tatvavada. In his "Sathyameva Jayathe"
he suggests that the original reading might have been Sevakam rather
2.Though the first division of the Matha involving Sri
Vidyadhiraja, which took place after the Guru's demise was accepted
without any "miracles" reported as in the second case or any
unpleasantness reported about quarrels, harsh words etc, where the
credit should mainly go to Sri Rajendra who accepted the loss of all
favours of an established Matha and built up his own from scratch,
based on his great scholarship and other qualities, some records seem
to have been created subsequently to "justify" the deprivation of the
Peetha for Sri Rajendra - perhaps the actions of some belated
consciense pricking. Thus, every one - Sri Vidyadhiraja, Sri
Rajendra and Sri Kavindra are reduced in stature to a standard
appropriate to persons capable of imagining such behaviours! Luckily
this record being a part of UM submission to a Court is not public
knowledge. We sincerely hope that such stories are never accepted or
publicised by UM administration - just on the basis of association of
the name of the previous Pontiff associated with its record.I must note
with approval that the story included in the website against Sri
Vidyadhiraja ascribes the division only to non-availability of Sri
Rajendra at the crucial time. I will post this material along with
other details as a permanent record in my second instalment.
SVM is also deeply disappointed at the apparent destruction of the
Vrindavana of Sri Rajendra Tirtha traditionally believed by our records
to be at Yeragola, where only 2 Vrindavanas exist today - ascribed to
Sri Ramachandra and Sri Vidyanidhi. This subject need more
investigation to check up what has really happened to the reported 3
Vrindavanas which some reports suggest existed there earlier, but have
been Lost. it is note worthy that even the Vrindavana of Sri
Vidyadhiraja, the common Guru of all mathas being traditionally
reported to be at Yeragola is not there - but UM ascribes its place as
at Puri. How this new location fits into the stories of Matha division
etc needs to be studied.