Anandatirtha Sharma Acharya

This is the PRELUDE written by the eminent scholar Pt. ANANDATHIRTHA SHARMA ACHARYA, of Panini Mahavidyalaya. Aatmakur, AP, India, on Mahabharatataparyanirnaya, of Sri Madhvacharya, while reviewing the most remarkable and exhaustive (extensive) Telugu commentary rendered by Dr. Kambaluru Venkateshacharya, a scholar of outstanding merits. This is a publication of pejaavara matham, AP, India.


The Mahabharatatatparyanirnaya is a magnum opeus and a milk-ocean of Philosophy of the illustrious Sri Madhvacharya, the third incarnation of Jivottarna Mukhyaprana. He was born in Tulu Brahmin family in Pajakakshetra. Harken to Bhavisameera Sri Vadirajaru

pavitrampaajakam kshetram kona seveti kovidaH |
satya lokeshvaraH praaNo yatraavataradutsukaH iti ||
(tiirtha prabandha)

Pajaka is a village near the town of Udupi in the present state, Karnataka, As for his date of birth there (is) was much dispute among scholars, According to the most Venerable Dr. B.N.K.Sharma he was born in l 238 and disappeared in 131 7 (vide ''History of Dvaita School of Vedanta and its Literature'', (page 98), while H. Nakamura suggests the Acharya lived from 1199-1278 A,D. This latter date is however, based on the authority of his birth given as Kaliyuga 4300, which according to Bhaskaracharya begins with the year 3101 B.C. sheShaa yaasyanti tat sheShaa aSTaa vimha kR^itaa yuge, gateH catuH sahasra abde, tamoigaa tri dasha uttare,... (ix, 98). His father's name was Madhyageha Bhatta (probably from Andhra Pradesh. naDivinTi family) and the mother's name was Vedavathi. He set out for a journey throughout the country in order to propagate his teachings and to refute the doctrine of Advaita. Sri Madhva was a Myriad-Minded Mukhyaprana a prolific writer and has written thirty seven sacred works which collectively are called ''SARVAMULA', published from various places. These works mainly consisted commentaries on Rgveda, Ritual works, Gita, Brahmaputra, Mahabharata, Bhagavata, Upanishads and a number of independent tracts. Mahabharatatatparyaniranaya decidedly one of the most important contributions of Sri Madhva, has not been given the attention it deserved either by the scholars in the field of or literature in general. It is an unique work of hermeneutics having a few challenges in its field, Sri Madhva explains Mahabharata as an important source book of his system. His main purpose to compose this great Epic was to expound his own Philosophy of Dualism, dvaithavaada. It has thirty-two chapters written in most charming variety of verses. ''There is no doubt he possessed a natural gift for poetry, but the plan and purpose of his work have made anything more than a few passing flashes of his aptitude in that direction, impossible. it is not, therefore a Kavya in the accepted sense of the term's. (Dr. B.N.K. Sharama).
A fuller view of Mahabharata which is an integral part of the collective memory of the people of Bharat is need of the hour, Influenced by Mahabharata Tatpunya Nivaya a work by name Mahabharata Tatpunya Prakasha was composed by Sadvanand Vyasavara 1740-1810 an Advaitha Scholar Poet. Mahabharata is not only a monument of human intelligence, it is also a moving saga of eternal search forthe real meaning and purpose of human life. Sri Madhva explained Mahabharata as an important source-book to his system along with various Pancharatra Agamas and the Ramayana. He accepts the view that Mahabharata is Fifth Veda and goes on ascerting that Mahabharata contains truth not found even in the Vedas. He finds the support of his philosophical system in the text of Mahabharata. His main purpose to compose the Mahabharatatparyanirnaya was to expound his own philosophy of dualism tattva vaada To quote his own words bhaarata vyapadeshena hi aamnaaya artha ca darshitaH.. 2
Mahabharatatatparnanirnaya is a unique composition, the like of which is not seen in the annals of the world. It is an epitome and Nirnaya of all Shastras and Bharata. Sri Madhwa proclaimes as follows:
samasta shaastra artha vinirNayo ayam” “visheShato bhaarata vartma caarii" iti;
ayam gantha varo akhiloru dharmaaadi mokshaantapum artha hetuH” ||   iti ca

Sri Madhavavijayakara describes as :
itihaasa puraaNa abdeH bhavat chitraadri loDitaat ||
jaatam haarata taatparya sudhaam kaH sannavate” || iti ||
[shrii sumadhva vijaya 15-76]

Sri Madhva wrote the Mahabharatatatparnanirnaya according to the mandatory order of Sri Vedavyasa

(viShoNoraaj~naamapieva) AnandatIrthAkhyamuniH supUrNapraj~nAbhidho granthamimaM chakAra  |
nArAyaNenAbhihito badaryAM tasyaiva shishhyo jagadekabhartuH  ||
after returning from Badari. It is a monumental exposition on Dvaita Theology. The essentially Theistic bakground of the Epic was considered a point of great strength by Sri Madhva. According to the most venerable Dr, B.N.K. Sharma, ''This work embodies also technique and details of a ''Higher Criticism'' of the Epic and its esoteric interpretation as a philosophical SAGA woven against a background of mytho-historical settings.”

Shri Madhva has taken the opportunity to co-ordinate the principles of his theology with the Epic narrative and its significant contexts and turning points. Mahabharata is asarvaj~na= a+sarva+j~na= not to one who is knowledgebale in an overall manner;  dur+bheda= impossible for an entry; entry into the topic of mahabharata itself is impossible for one with half knowledge, let alone knowing whole mahabharata.  Hence Sri Madhva, who is Myriad minded Mukhyaprana, has written mahabharata tatparyanirnaya to reveal the secret of message of Mahabharata. Sri Madhva, thus be considered the pioneer of the allegorical interpretation of the Epic.Sri Madhva is Sarvajna, all knowing seer, and Jivottama, the highest Guru of all good souls.

Sri Madhva perceives Mahabharata as an allegory of the incessant conflict between the forces of Theism and Atheism in life and ultimate triumph of the Theism overdue Atheism. This allegory is illustrated in Mahabharatatatparyanirnaya (Chapter 11, 134-138) :
bhaktirj~nAnaM savairAgyaM praj~nA medhA dhR^itiH sthitiH  |
yogaH prANo balaM chaiva vR^ikodara iti smR^itaH  || 2\.134|| and upto verse 138]

  It is worth noting here that Madhva makes Bhima as the hero of the Epic embodying devotion and knowledge-in a spirit of detachement, wisdom, discrimination, vision, patience, firmness, vitality and might, while Draupadi, who is rightly called Saraswati, is the embodiment of the universal knowledge. Thus the character of Bhima excells all the other characters of Mahabharata next only to Sri Krishna (and Sri Lakshmi)
bhuiu bhaar haraNe viShNoH pradhaana angam hi maarutiH" iti ||
Sri Madhva himself is traditionally regarded as an incarnation of Sri Mukhyaprana. Hanuman is the vishiSTha pratimaa of shriiraama; Bhimasena is the vishiSTha pratimaa of krishna deva; and Sri Madhva is the vishiSTha pratimaa of shrii vyaasa deva.

Sri Madhva is the first all knowing seer who went through all the availble manuscripts of Mahabharata and evolved a critical apparatus of textual criticism. He laments the mutilation of the original text and the interpolations which crept into it from time to time in following words

kvachidgranthAnpraxipanti kvachidantaritAnapi  |
kuryuH kvachichcha vyatyAsaM pramAdAtkvachidanyathA  || 2.3||
etc verses [mbTn 2, verses from 3 to 7]

Alas ! this point has been overlooked by the subsequent scholars preparing the critical edition of the Mahabharata.

Mahabharatatatparyanirnaya is the largest metrical composition running in 5001 slokas or 6000 gramthas (a unit of thirty-two letters). The literary merit of the work is superb and so it the logical structuring of the treatise.

Sri Madhva perceives three layers of meaning in the Mahabharata 1) Historical 2) Allegorical and 3) Metaphysical, which he designates as aastikya, manvaadi and uparicharaadi  (Vide Mahabharatatatparyanirnaya)  2-140, (Mahabharatatatparyanirnaya) (2-150) and also vide Mahabharata (1-1-52) (Dr. B.N.K. Sharma).
The fundamental tenets of Sri Madhva's philosophy are summarised by Sri Vyasarajaguruswarvabhaumaru as follows 1) Sri Hari is the Supreme over-Lord of the universe 2) The world is radically and fundamentally real 3) The souls are different from the Supreme Lord and the matter and from on another five substantial differences are eternal. 4) All are consciously or unconsciously subject to Lord Vishnu, 5) There are various gradations among the souls. The cosmos consists of infinite varieties of souls and things. Their capacities are divergent and their functions are unlike 6) Salvation consists in the realization of bliss which constitutes the very essence of the individual self 7) Singular devotion to the Supreme Lord is the radical means to secure salvation 8) Sense-perception inference and verbal testimony ie scriptures are the three authoritative sources of correct knowledge 9) Every Veda proclaims the Supermacy of Lord Sri Vishnu. These nine cardinal doctrines of Sri Madhva are well established in Mahabharatatatparyanirnaya

nAham kartA hariH kartA