Sri Madhvacarya's Literary Works

BY: SUN STAFF - 26.10 2020

Sri Madhvacarya

In honor of the Appearance Sri Madhvacarya on October 25th, from 'Madhvacarya (Life and Teachings)' by Bannanje Govindacarya.

Sri Madhvacarya has written four works on the Sutraprasthana (the Vedantic school of Brahmansutra):

1. Brahmasutra-bhasya
2. Sarva-sastratha-sangraha (Anubhasya)
3. Brahmasutra-anuvyakhyana
4. Brahmasutra-anuvyakhyana-vivarana

Two works are on the Gita-prasthana (Vedantic school of the Bhagavadgita):

5. Bhagavadgita-bhasya
6. Bhagavadgita-tatparya-nimaya

In the Upanishad-prasthana (the Vedantic school of ti Upanisads), the Acharya has written bhasyas or authoritative commentaries on all the major Upanisads. But there is notable uniqueness in respect of these also. While all the others have commented only on three chapters of the Aitareya Upanishad, the Acharya's bhasya covers the entire Upanishad-kanda (9 chapters) of the Aitareya Aranyaka:

7. Mahaitareyopanishad-bhasya
8. Brhadaranyakopanishad-bhasya
9. Chandogopanishad-bhasya
10. Taittiriyopanishad-bhasya
11. Talavakaropanishad-bhasya (Kenopanishad-bhasya)
12 Kathakopanishad-bhasya
13.Atharvanopanishad-bhasya (Mundakopanishad-bhasya)
15 Yajniya-mantropanishad-bhasya (Isavasyaopanishad-bhasya)

The verses occurring in the middle of the Mandukyopanishat are mistakenly held to be Gaudapada's karikas. But Acharya Ramanuja has accepted that these form original portions of the Upanisat itself. But Madhva has rejected the old wrong notion once and for all by writing bhasya on these verses also.

In this connection it is noteworthy how senior Advaita scholars too like Brahmananda accept that these are original Upanisadic verses. The Acharya not only blazed a new pathway of spiritual interpretation of the Veda, by writing a commentary on 40 hymns of the Rig Veda, but also showed the way leading to a synthesis of Samhita, Brahmana and Aranyaka texts by commenting upon some chapters of the Aitreya Brahmana and the Mahanan-ini-khanda of the same Aranyaka. These works are:

17. Rg-bhasya
18. Khandartha-nirnaya (Karma-nirnaya)

So also, there are three works of his that lay bare the heart of the Mahabharata and the Bhagavata in a bid to synthesize the teachings of Itihasas and Puranas:

19. Mahabharata-tatparya-nimaya
20. Mahabharata-tatparya (Yamaka-bharata)
21. Bhagavata-tatparya-nimaya

Nine topical treatises are concerned with determining epistemology and ontology:

23. Vada (tattvoddyota)
24. Mayavada-dusana (mayavada-khandana)
25. Upadhi-dusana (Upadhi-khandana Tattva-prakasika)
26. Mithyatvanumana-dusana (Mithyat-vanuniana-khandana)
27. Tattva-samkhyana
28. Tattva-viveka
29. Pramana-laksana
30. Vada-laksana (katha-taksana)

Seven works offer guidance regarding performance of ceremonials and rituals as laid down in law-books, regarding building architecture, mantra and tantra and duties and practices of householders and mendicants:

31. Krisnamrta-maharnava
32. Tantra-sara-sangraha
33. Sadacara-smrti
34. Jayanti-nirnaya
35. Om-Tat-Sat-Pranava-kalpa (Yati-pranavakalpa)
36. Nyasa-paddhati
37. Tithi-nimaya

In the field of devotional literature, there are two works of his; one is a stotra or hymn of praise; the other is an anthology of compositions set to music and meant to be sung:

38. Narasimha-nakhastuti
39. Dvadasa-stotras

Further, there is a work which the Acharya is said to have composed in his boyhood while playing with the ball, it is a small work in a unique meter:

40. Kanduka-stuti

Of these, 38 had been published formerly. Two, viz. Nyasapaddhati, that explains the daily routine duties of mendicants, and Tithinirnaya, that is a unique work on mathematics indicating precise formulae for the determination of each date's extent, are works which were first noticed by me in the course of my research in Palm-leaf Manuscripts some years ago."

Originally written by Bannanje Govindacarya in Kannada, this manuscript was translated into English by Dr. K. Krishnamurthy and Dr. U.P. Upadhyaya