Religion

The Sage Who Built an Empire

Madhvacharya, the great Vidyaranyar is the 12th acharya of Shri Sringeri Sharada Mutt. Acharya’s significance is much beyond the spiritual spectrum and should be seen from a historical perspective too. As an introduction, Sringeri Sharada Peetam was established by Adi Shankara Bhagavatpadal one of the unparalleled philosophers of Advaita Vedanta.
Among the disciples of Shankara, Shri Surreswarcharya is quite famous and he is the first pontiff of Sringeri mutt and Kanchi mutt. Sringeri Peetam’s importance is seen by the patronage it received from various rulers of Karnataka and pontiffs of the Peetam serving in royal courts as raja guru.

It was the time of invasions from the plundering slave dynasty. The whole of North fell under the slave dynasty during sultanic invasions. This brutal invasion was a wound in the soul of Bharatha afflicting traditions to a greater extent. The north of our country was plundered and excursions started towards south targeting the massive wealth in temples. It is the same time Malik Kafur plundered Srirangam and Madurai Meenakshi temple vandalizing structures and cities. Architecture marvels were razed down and demolished with the brutal killing of people. At this time after the fall of the Hoysala kingdom, the legend goes like Harihara & Bukka two brave warriors were taken as slaves by the invading army, after few years when the two were hunting they met the sage Vidyaranya who was in a cave. Vidyaranya played a great role here. He imparts his life vision to Harihara and Bukka of re-establishing Dharma and Hindu kingdom that could resist invasions into the south. Also, he reunified many small kingdoms garnering the support of chieftains to Harihara and Bukka to form a mighty empire and gave them the treasure of wealth he had. This helped them to rebuild the empire which is the mighty Vijayanagaram founded by Harihara and Bukka and Acharya Vidyaranya served as raja guru to the kingdom. From then on, the Sringeri Jagadguru came to be addressed as ‘Karnataka Simhasana Pratishtapanacharya’ which is part of their birudavali even to this day. It’s only because of the Vijayanagar kingdom which resisted incursion for nearly 300 years Dakshin Bharath was able to preserve tradition and culture, standing temples of great architecture are testimony to it. Emperors of the kingdom rebuilt the shrines which were razed out and provided patronage to restart the long lost tradition which went on to a pause during the Madurai sultanate rule by defeating the sultans in the war.
The magnanimous and decisive role played by Vidyaranyar helped in establishing a golden period for preserving culture and tradition in Dakshin Bharath.
From a spiritual perspective, Acharya wrote the revered ‘Madhaviya Shankara Vijayam’ which depicts the Dig Vijayam of Shankara Bhagavatpadal. This work is known for the literary eloquence and fervor of the acharya towards his guru.
Acharya Vidyaranya was also known for his magnum opus work Sarva Darshana Samgraha which critically evaluates and ranks different sampradayas or systems in the subcontinent based on the six pramanas. Other famous works include Pancadasi a classical advaitic text.

Acharya Vidyaranya’s unparalleled vision and relentless efforts changed the course of culture, tradition, and history of Dakshin Bharath at a crucial point in time. His efforts and spiritual works will be revered and celebrated with sincere devotion in centuries to come.

About the Author:

Vasanth is a passionate Electrical Engineer both by education and profession. His deep interest includes industrial automation and process excellence with the demonstrated professional expertise of leading several projects improving the operating model of large industrial processes with high efficiency and effectiveness. Beyond profession, he is a spiritually inclined person who is always in the quest of ‘knowledge of non-dual self. You can reach him out  @Vasanth

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