Yukti Mallika can be called the magnum opus of Vadiraja Theertha along with Rukminisa Vijaya. These two are the most commonly read works of Vadiraja Theertha.
In the Mallika, Vadiraja analyses threadbare different philosophical systems and comes to the conclusion that the Madhwa Siddantha or the Dwaitha is the best.
He is at his dispassionate and rational best, drawing upon the works of other systems but finally refuting all of them, including the Brahma Sutra Bhashya in favour of Madhwa Dwaitha.
The Mallika has five chapters which are labeled as Sourabhas. They are Guna Sourabha, Shuddhi Sourabha, Bheda Sourabha, Sadhana Sourabha and Phala Sourabha.
It has 5379 slokas.
The Guna Sourabha and Shuddhi Sourabha deals with Madhwa’s theism and the concept of Brahman. The Bheda Sourabha says Jeeva and Brahman cannot be one and the same or identical. They both are different and exists on different levels.
The fourth chapter- Sadhana Sourabha- says the cosmos is real and it refutes the theory of Maya. The Phala Sourabha is about Madhwacharya’s exposition of the Brahmasutras and the Acharya’s interpretation.
Vadiraja Theertha refers to Madhwacharya several times in the Mallika and professes his admiration to him. The views of Shankarachararya in his Bhashya and Anandabhoda and Sriharsha and the Tatwadipana are referred to here and scholastically refuted.
When he comes to the stand of Madhwacharya and his siddantha, Vadiraja communicates directly with the reader superbly using his wit and dry humour to back the Dwaitha point of view.
In a way, we can say that Vadiraja has carried forward the Madhwa Siddantha to a newer level, giving a fresh look and interpretation. He gives us a detailed explanation of many of Madhwa’s position on dualism and the concept of Bheda.
The last chapter is important for Dwaithas as it traverses the topic of Moksha. The avatar of Madhwacharya as Vayu are also touched upon as is the practice of Mudra Dharane.
The Mallika is unique as it is the first independent work to rationally examine different streams of philosophy. Why Vadiraja Theertha chose this topic when Madhwas already had Nyayamruta of Vyasa Theertha is a puzzle. Perhaps, he wanted to demolish the opponents of Dwaitha once for all.
However, a closer look at the Mallika would show us that Vadiraja was influenced by the Nyayamruta and the Chandraika by Vyasa Theertha. But what sets this text aside from others of its ilk is its simplicity and new analogies and metaphors and the common sense approach to philosophy.
This can be seen in his interpretation of Tat Twam Asi (It means thou are that or self-this concept first was in Chandogya Upanishat) and Neha Nanasti (concept of distinction). He cleverly uses the opening lines of the Aitreya Brahamana-a collection of ancient sacred hyms in the Rig Veda-to uphold the Taratamya of Gods and also establish the supremacy of Vishnu.
It has some excellent analogies drawn from nature and life illustrating the difference between the fininte and the infinite.
It is here for the first time that Vadiraja Theerta refers to Madhwa Siddantha as Tatwavada.
“Pareeca tatwaadee asmin gariyasti bharoo mama”
“Argues in poetry", says Prof. B.N.K. Sharma, the Dwaitha scholar, about the Mallika. One of the first commentaries on the text is by Surottama Teertha, the pointiff of Bhandarkeri Mutt, and the purvashrama younger brother Vadiraja Theertha himself.
The Uttaradhi Matha pontiff, Satya Pramoda Theertha, has also written a commentary on this work. He gave a beautiful discourse on the subject when he sat in Sode for the Chaturmas several years ago.