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From: Mani Varadarajan (mani)
Date: Wed May 01 1996 - 17:37:00 PDT
Sumanth, it seems you are arguing for the sake of arguing in this post. Vidyasankar has presented rather substantial evidence that Vidyaranya the mathadhipati of Sringeri Matha could not have been a mere court official of the Vijayanagara empire. Adumbrations about Vasishta and others aside, the practice of sannyasis during this time period was to live by themselves or in a matham, certainly not to actively involve themselves in the day to day administration of a kingdom. At any rate, Vidyasankar is surmising that Madhava (the author of the Sankara Vijayam) is different from Vidyaranya the sannyasi. That is all. This Vidyaranya Swami may certainly have requested Swami Desikan to seek assistance from the Vijayanagara kingdom; we all accept this possibility, and that it is a very telling story. The question was really as to the status of Vidyaranya vis-a-vis the Vijayangara kingdom. * What *incontrovertible* proof is there that Madhava's brother, Sayana, * was not a "dutta"? Perhaps he was indeed Vidyaranya's brother, but his gotra * was different, owing to being a given away. It is virtually impossible to prove a negative. This is a rather strange theory, anyhow. * To add support to this "theory," I quote from the late Kanchi Kamoti * Peetadhpathi, Sri Swami Chandrasherendra Saraswati, (in the book * "Acharyas Call: His Holiness Jagadgurus's Madras Discourses 1957-1960, * Part I compiled by V. Ramakrishna Iyer, p. 31") With no disrespect to Kanchi Sri Chandrasekharendra Saraswati intended, I would put a great deal more faith in the Sringeri Matha historical tradition based upon their own historical records than the oral tradition of a rival mutt. Sri Chandrasekharendra Saraswati Swami is himself reflecting his understanding of the historical record, and is speaking in a comparatively informal context. Finally, it is the norm of both traditional and western scholars to use gotra to establish the identity of people. This is why Desikar's acharya is referred to as ``Atreya Ramanuja'', to distinguish him from Ramanuja the author of the Sri Bhashya, who (I believe) was vAdhUla gotra. * ... it * also establishes that the Vidyaranya of Vijayanagara Empire and * Vedanta Desika were contempories. This has been fully accepted by everyone involved in this discussion. Whether or not one believes in this story, Desikar's detachment from the world stands in no need of corroboration. His verses describing his feeling of vairAgya speak for themselves. Mani P.S. It should be obvious that the mere acceptance of a story by a section of people does not make it absolutely true. It is sometimes the case that these stories are concocted to fan sectarian fires. For example, some Vadagalai Sri Vaishnavas are of the opinion that the identification of Ramanuja with Adi Sesha has been propagated by Thengalai Sri Vaishnavas to further the theory that Manavala Mamuni is the reincarnation of Ramanuja. Manavala Mamuni is invariably shown with the hood of adisesha above his image, and the equation of him with adisesha occurs quite early in the hagiographical literature after his death. At any rate, the point is that the greatness of these souls first lies in the work they performed in service of the Lord. Only for these reasons have they been elevated by their devout followers as amsas of the Divine, not the other way around.