[Advaita-l] Discussion on Eka Dandi Monks (srikanta at nie.ac.in)

Ganesh Ramachandran ramachandran.ganesh at gmail.com
Wed Sep 26 17:24:58 CDT 2007

My apologies for furthering this digression. But I suppose this is a
historical point that would be of interest to list members. Below, I
substantiate my earlier statement that Sri Madhvaachaarya was initiated into
sannyaasa by an Advaitin monk.

After receiving Sri N.Srikanta's mail, I dug out the reference which is
Sumadhvavijaya of Narayana Pandita (published by Anandtirtha Pratishtana,
Poornaprajna Vidyapeetha, Bangalore 28; 1991)
This is a bio(hagio)graphy of Sri Madhvaacharya by one Narayana Pandita, who
was the son of Trivikrama pandita who was a direct disciple of Sri Madhva.
(Interestingly, the first canto has some brazenly uncharitable references to
Sankara) The introduction says that this is the earliest known biography of
the saint.

The text clearly states that Sri Madhva(Vaasudeva was his name as a
Brahmachari) was initiated into monkhood by one acyutaprekSa tiirtha.

yatir-yataatmaa bhuvi kascanaabhaavad
vibhooSano bhuuri-virakti-bhuuSaNaH|
na naamamaatraac-chucim-arthatopi yaM
jano(a)cyutaprekSam-udaaharat sphuTam|| (4.6)

(Published translation - There dwelt an ascetic on earth then who had
subdued his senses, embellished with detachment even though undecked by
earthly ornaments, befittingly named(not only in the literal sense)
Achyutapreksha, the knower of Brahman.)

The text then tells us more about this Acyutapreksha's earlier life. That
this monk belonged to Sankara's advaitic order can be clearly seen from the
following shloka, among others -

bhavat-pravaktRtva-samarthataa na me
sakopam-itthaM bruvati vratiishvare|
apiiha maayaasamaye paTau nRNaaM
babhuuva tadduuSaNa-saMshayaankuraH||(4.46)

(Published translation - When Acyutapreksha, though highly distinguished in
Maya Sastra, out of resentment expressed his disability to teach
him(Vaasudeva), a doubt sprouted in the minds of the people assembled there
as regards the validity of Advaita doctrine.)

The text further goes on that Sri Madhvaacharya was instructed by Vedavyaasa
himself, though in secret. Much later, Acyutapreksha accepts Sri
Madhvaacharya's doctrine as the ultimate truth.

As opposed to Sri Srikanta's assertion, there is no mention of any older
'Bhaagavata' order that was practising dwaita. The word occurs nowhere in
the relevant chapter.

To my eyes, the most apparent evidence of Sri Madhva's advaitic 'ancestry'
is that Maadhva monks carry a single danda and their names usually end with
tiirtha, which is a popular dashanami suffix. It is traditionally accepted
that Adi Sankara established the dashanami tradition, in which monks would
remove the sacred thread, carry a single danda and bear one of ten suffixes.
This is in stark contrast to monks of the Raamaanuja tradition.

It would be great if other members could suggest references, possibly from
the Sankara Vijayas, that describe Sri Sankara establishing this tradition
of monkhood.


Message: 5
> Date: Wed, 26 Sep 2007 11:05:09 +0530 (IST)
> From: srikanta at nie.ac.in
> Subject: [Advaita-l] Discussion on Eka Dandi Monks
> To: advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org
> Message-ID: <53489. at mail.nie.ac.in >
> Content-Type: text/plain;charset=iso-8859-1
> This is with reference to the Email of Sri Ganesh Ramachandran.As he
> says,the saint of Dwaita system Madhwacharya was not initiated into
> monkhood by an Adwaitin,Achyuta Prekshaka.he belonged to the Bhagawatha
> systems of monks who follow Dwaita system.
>                                                        N.Srikanta.

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