Monday, 25 November 2013

The avatara Purusha

We all know that Madhwacharya is an avatar of Hanuman first and Bheema next. Madhwacharya himself has referred to these avatars of his.
His Hanumana avatar was during the period of Ramayana. Bheema was during the Mahabharata. If Hanuman was a vanara, Bheema was a Kshatriya. Both the Hanuman and Bheema avatars are part of ferocious wars.
Hanuman has to take on the might of Ravana and is evil forces at Lanka in Ramayana. Hanuman plays a crucial role here and his burning son of Lanka is symbolic of wiping out the evil from the Earth.
The Bheema that we know kills Duryodhana by ripping him apart. Here too, Bheema is sending out a message that evil has to be uprooted and that all means have to be employed to get rid of it.
As Madhwacharya, the avatar is a pious Brahmin who leads a life of Sanyasa. If in both the earlier avatars he is married, as Madhwa he takes a vow of a Sanyasi from an young age.
His weapon as Madhwacharya is the shastras and Vedas that he has so diligently studied and mastered. He writes a commentary on both the Mahabharata and Ramayana, pointing out the many inconsistencies that have crept in and giving it the correct and proper interpretation. This is the Manabharata Tatpariya Nirnaya.
The Nirnaya is a highly scholastic work and Madhwa here picks up only a few passages from the epics whose meaning, he says, have been distorted. Madhwacharya should know about the contexts as he next only to the central figures in both the epics.
Madhwacharya himself has referred to his avatarhood in many of his works. In fact, there are eleven works where there are references to this unique phenomenon.
The eleven works are: Brahma Sootra Bhashya; Anu Vyakhyan;  Vishnu Tatwa Nirnaya; Brahadaranya Bhashya; Chhandogya Bhashya; Taittireya Bhashya; Geeta Tatparya Nirnaya; Nyaya Vivarana; Mahabharata Tatparya Nirnaya; Tantra Sara Sangraha and Krishnamrita Maharnawa.
Alur Venkata Rao, in his work on Madhwacharya, mentions of the measurements of the Acharya’s body and the marks of Chakra which an Avatara Purusha should have.
Alur says Hanuman is made up of two words, Anu and Mahan. Here, Anu means small and Mahan means big. Hanuman is born small but he becomes big thereafter. This refers to his physical dimension.   
Alur says the Anu-Mahan concept that he talks about is first mentioned in an ancient Kannada book called “Shri Bhu Valaya”, which was written in 783  by a Jain poet, Kumuderidu.
To Alur “It is the most mystical book which fits itself in many, many languages of the world such as Sanskrit, Prakrita,
Telagu, Tamil, Maharashtra, and Bengali”.
In this printed book on page 21, there is an inscription and an image of Hanuman said to belong to the Iron Age. Here, he is described as Anu-Mahan and this fits in, with the mythological story of Hanuman that as soon as he was born as a child (Anu) he at once became big ( Mahan ) and jumped to swallow the
orb of the Sun.
It is not merely physically that Madhwacharya can be compared to the Sun. We seethe Hanuman and Bheema in the vastness of his works and their originality. We see him easily discussing Vyakaraiia, Nirukta, Logic, Prosody, Etimology, Jyotisha, Psychology, Science of Images, Science of Yoga and numerous other subjects. Madhwa buttresses his arguments on each topic with quotations and references and there are hundreds of  them from Vedas, Shastras and Upanishads.
Since he was proficient in Sangeeta Shastra and he himself was a very good songster. He composed the melodious Dwadesha Stotra. He himself prepared seventeen idols and presented them to his disciples. Both the Stotra and the idols exist.
Madhwacharya showed all his three avatars to Trivikrama Panditacharya and an awed Trivikrama Panditacharya wrote Sri Hari Vayu Stuthi.
Interestingly, his son, Narayana Panditachrya, has written about the Hanuman-Bheema avatar in Madhwa Vijaya.The Madhwa Nama of Sripadaraja is another work where we get to know the three avatars.
Vadiraja Theertha has a beautiful composition where he speaks of the three avatars.

ಈತನೆ ಲೋಕಗುರು ವೇದವಿಖ್ಯಾತ || ||
ಭೂತಳದಿ ಶ್ರೀರಾಮ ದೂತನೆಂಬಾತ || ಅಪ ||
ಅಂದು ಹನುಮಂತನಾಗಿ ಅಖಿಳ ದಿಕ್ಕೆಲ್ಲವನು
ಒಂದು ನಿಮಿಷದಲಿ ಪೋಗಿ ಉದಧಿ ಲಂಘಿಸಿದ
ಇಂದೀವರಾಕ್ಷಿಗೆ ವಂದಿಸಿ ಮುದ್ರಿಕೆಯನಿತ್ತು
ಬಂದು ರಾಮರ ಪಾದಕೆರಗಿ ನಿಂದಾತ || ||
ಅರ್ಜುನಗೆ ಅಣ್ಣನಾಗಿ ಅಂದು ದುರ್ಯೋಧನನ
ಲಜ್ಜೆಯನೆ ಕೆಡಿಸಿ ಶದ್ರಥಿಕರನು ಗೆಲಿದ
ಮೂಜಗವು ಮೆಚ್ಚಲು ಮುನ್ನ ಮಾಗಧನ ಸೀಳಿದ
ಸಜ್ಜನ ಪ್ರಿಯ ಭೀಮಸೇನ ನೆಂಬಾತ || ||
ಮೂರಾರು ಎರಡೊಂದು ಮೂಢಮತಗಳ ಜರಿದು
ಸಾರ ಮಧ್ವ ಶಾಸ್ತ್ರವನು ಸಜ್ಜನರಿಗೆರೆದು
ಕೂರ್ಮ ಶ್ರೀಹಯವದನನ ಪೂರ್ಣ ಸೇವಕನಾದ
ಧೀರ ಮಧ್ವಾಚಾರ್ಯ ಲೋಕದೊಳು ಮೆರೆದ || ||

The English translation of the composition is as follows:
Itane lOkaguru vEdaviKyAta || pa ||
BUtaLadi SrIrAma dUtaneMbAta || apa ||
aMdu hanumaMtanAgi aKiLa dikkellavanu
oMdu nimiShadali pOgi udadhi laMGisida
iMdIvarAkShige vaMdisi mudrikeyanittu
baMdu rAmara pAdakeragi niMdAta || 1 ||
arjunage aNNanAgi aMdu duryOdhanana
lajjeyane keDisi Sadrathikaranu gelida
mUjagavu meccalu munna mAgadhana sILida
sajjana priya BImasEna neMbAta || 2 ||
mUrAru eraDoMdu mUDhamatagaLa jaridu
sAra madhva SAstravanu sajjanarigeredu
kUrma SrIhayavadanana pUrNa sEvakanAda
dhIra madhvAcArya lOkadoLu mereda || 3 ||

Purandara Dasa, who is an incarnation of Narada, has this to say about the three avatars.

“'kamadhenu chintamani kalpavrukshanada swamy,
 premadindali nenevara bhagyakkeneyunte,
samanyanallovo yita mokshadi sampadadata, aa maha aparokshgyna dadrya bhakutiyaniva,

hanuma bhima madvamuniya nenedu bhadukiro.”

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