Thursday 10 January 2013

The only Sanskrit work from the Bard

“Tham vande narasimha theertha nilayam
Sri vyasaraja poojitham
Dhayantham manasa nrusimha charaaam

Sripadarajaram gurum.
Pada Vakya Pramatabhyam Vikreedana

Visharadam LakshmiNarayana Muneem
Vande Vidya Gurunmama”,
so said Vyasa Raja of his guru, Sripdaraja Theertha of Mulabagal.
Here, Vyasa Raja is paying his respects to his Guru who he says is an ocean of knowledge.
Vyasa Raja was among the first of Sripadaraja’s students along with Hayageeva Theertha (successor to Sripadaraja of the matha) of the Veda Patshala at Mulabagal.
The pathashala had been started by Sripadaraja Theertha and it taught shastras, Mimamsa, Taraka, Ganitha and other elated subjects apart from Sanskrit. However, what distinguished this patashala from others like in Kanchi or even Vijayanagar was that Kannada was the medium of instruction along with Sanskrit.
Sripadaraja not only taught students in Kannada but also sang, composed and spoke in Kannada, thereby bringing the scriptures nearer to the people.     
Many of Sripadaraja’s works and even almost all his compositions are in Kannada. His sole work in Sanskrit is Vagvajra and that is a classic. 
The Vagvajra  is a brilliant work and it shows its author as a brilliant scholar and vedantha pandit.
The style is classical and it closely  resembles the Sanyayarathnavali of Padmanabha Theertha, the first disciple of Madhwacharya. The Sanyayarthnavali is perhaps the first ever commentary or note on the works of Madhwacharya, particularly the Brahma Sutras.  
Just like Padmanabha Theertha, the seer of Mulabagal in Vagvajra uses skillfully his mastery over Sanskrit in playing with words, giving us a variety of meanings. This text is essentially based on the Nyayasudha of Jayatheerta or Teekachar whom Sripadaraja so admired.
Many of the “pearls of wisdom” in Nyaya Sudha have been simplified and put forward in Vagvajra in both prosaic and poetic styles.
Sripadaraja was the most apt person to write on Nyaya Sudha as he had studied it for years and even given discourses. His discourse on Nyaya Sudha at an assembly of Madhwa saints and personalities in Koppara in Raichur district so amazed the then Uttaradhi Matha seer, Raghunatha Theertha, that he gave Lakshminarayana Muni the new name Sripadaraja.
The Yukthis are not repeated, instead anumanas are. Therefore, the work is also called  Nyaya Sudhopanyasa Vagvajra.
It contains 3500 shlokas and each shloka is a gem in itself.
A part of the Vagvajra reads like this,
“Sri manyaya sudha grantha......tharka sangraham”.
The Vagvajra has inspired several people, including Vyasa Raja who wrote Vyasa Traya, which is based on his master’s work.
William J Jackson, in his book, Vijayanagar Voices” Exploring South Indian History and Hindu Literature”, has translated some of the suladhis of Sripadaraja Theertha and even given a brief commentary of the Vagvajra.

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