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Jayatirtha, or Seer Jayateertharu (c. 1365 – c. 1388) was the sixth pontiff of Sri Madhvacharya Peetha. Born as the son of a Brahmin king, Jayatirtha was blessed with grace, wealth, affection, and physical vigor. According to legend, one day Sri Akshobhya Teertha asked him a question which triggered his desire to renounce material life and devote his life to the services of his master, Sri Anand Teertha (Madhvacharya). Against the wishes of his parents, who had great hopes for him as heir to the throne, he adopted the monastic life.
After Madhva himself, Jayatirtha is the most important theologian in the Dvaita tradition. He wrote 22 works, including many commentaries on Madhva. His depth of scholarship can be credited with raising the fledgling Dvaita School to a position of scholastic equality with advaita and visistadvaita. Jayatirtha’s lucid style and precise expositions Ananda Tîrtha's masterpieces established him as one of the greatest of the Sanskrit philosophical writers, and helped to spread the Madhva philosophy.
According to legend, in a previous birth, Sri Jayatîrtha was a bull that served as a pack-animal, and traveled with Srimad Ananda Tîrtha (Madhva) and his devotees, carrying his library of teachings. When Srimad Ananda Tîrtha gave a lecture, the bull would stand at a distance and listen silently. Once some disciples approached Sri Ananda Teertha to seek the privilege of writing commentaries on his works, and he told them it would not be any of them, but the bull, that would be is commentator. At this, some jealous disciples laid a curse on the bull, so that it would be bitten to death by a snake. When Sri Anand Teertha heard of this, he changed the wording of the curse slightly, so that the snake bit the bull and itself died immediately, leaving its victim unharmed.
Sri Jayatîrtha's biographies include Anu-Jayatîrtha-Vijaya and Brhad-Jayatîrtha-Vijaya. Jayatirtha was born as Dhondupant (Dhondurao) to Raghunath, a Brahmin king, and Sakubai Deshpande. His birthplace was Mangalavedhe, which lies near Pandharapur, about 12 miles south-east of Pandharpur in today’s Maharashtra. Because he was heir to the throne, he had wealth, power, and the affection of his parents and the people. He was very handsome, healthy, intelligent, endowed with physical vigor, and given to outdoor activity such as horseback riding.
Once, when the young Dhond Pant Raghunath (his name during pûrva-âshrama) was horse-riding, he bent down and quenched his thirst from a river without dismounting or even stopping his horse. Sri Akshobhya Teertha, a direct disciple of Sri Anand Teertha happened to witness this and asked him in Sanskrit “kim pashuH pûrva-dehe?” (“Did you have an animal’s body previously?”). This question triggered the memory of his previous birth within young Dhondupant, and reminded him of his duties to Sri Anand Teertha. He was overcome by a desire to renounce material life and devote his life to the services of his master. Sri Akshobhya Teertha then initiated him in to Sanyasa (monastic vows). When Raghunath Deshpande, Dhondupant’s father came to know about this, he was very angry with Sri Akshobhya Teertha and forcibly took the boy back home, in order to get him married. Forced into marriage against his wishes, Dhondupant took the form of a snake, which made his father realize that his son was no ordinary being but was born to great deeds. He acquiesced to Dhondupant’s wishes, and Dhondupant, after blessing his father to have another son who would take care of the family, attained sainthood and became Sri Jayateertharu.
Sri Jayatîrtha's Brndâvana (sacred tomb) is at Malkheda, in the north of modern Karnataka state, from where he continues to bless devotees who, in spite of their own lack of any significant ability, seek to understand Srimad Ananda Tîrtha's writings correctly.
Works and thoughts
After Madhva himself, Jayatirtha is the most important theologian in the Dvaita tradition. He wrote 22 works, including many commentaries on Madhva. His depth of scholarship can be credited with raising the fledgling Dvaita School to a position of scholastic equality with Advaita and Visistadvaita. Jayatirtha’s lucid style and precise expositions Ananda Tîrtha's masterpieces established him as one of the greatest of the Sanskrit philosophical writers.
Nyayasudha is known as Sri Jayateertha’s magnum opus and is the exhaustive and detailed commentary (Teeka is Sanskrit for commentary, hence he is also known as Teekacharya) on Sri Madhvacharya’s Anuvyakhyana which in turn itself is a commentary on Brahma Sutras by Veda Vyasa. Sri Jayateertha has brilliantly and more importantly, sincerely, captured the pithy statements of his master in simple language. It is universally admitted in the Dvaita tradition that the philosophical depth and breadth of Tatvavada can only be appreciated with the help of the Nyaya Sudha. In a very attractive and lucid style, Sri Jayatirtha not only presents and strongly defends almost all the important philosophical and epistemological issues from the Dvaita point of view, but also severely criticizes other major philosophical systems of India such as the Bauddha, Jaina, Nyaya-Vaisesika, Bhatta-Prabhakara Mimamsa, Advaita and Visishtadvaita. Thus, in the Dvaita tradition, the work is held in very high esteem and it is believed that scholarship in Dvaita Vedanta is incomplete without a thorough study of this monumental work. A popular saying, "sudhâ vâ paThanîyâ, vasudhâ vâ pâlanîyâ," conveys the meaning that the joy of studying the Nyâya-Sudhâ can only be compared to the joy of ruling a kingdom.
Sri Jayatîrtha's VâdâvaLî, which is an original work, refutes the theory of illusion, and is considered to be the earliest major Mâdhva polemical text after those authored by Srimad Ananda Tîrtha himself; it also is a precursor to the Nyâyamrta and Tarka-tânDava of Sri Vyâsa Tîrtha, and other later works.
In contrast with the advaita (non-dualist) philosophy expounded by Shankara, Dvaita maintains that there is an eternal distinction between the individual self and the absolute, and that the universe is not fundamentally illusory, but is instead a real creation of Brahman. Dvaita posited an anthropomorphic personal and independent God, Vishnu, who rules over the separate and dependent entities of soul and matter Prakriti. Souls are in bondage to the earthly cycle of life and death because they are ignorant of the true nature of God. Liberation cannot be achieved through knowledge and performance of ritual duties alone, but requires the grace of God, which can only be acquired through bhakti (devotion). The liberated soul does not become one with God but exists separately in bliss. Because God and the soul are essentially different, it is impossible for the soul to fully comprehend God.
Dvaita does not regard difference is not regarded as an attribute, but as the very nature of an existence which makes it unique, and notes five categories of eternal difference: between the Lord (Īśvara) and the self (jivātman); between innumerable selves; between the Lord and matter (prakriti); between the self and matte; and between phenomena within matter.
- Nyaya sudha (Nectar of logic)
- Tattva prakashika (The light of truth)
- Prameya deepika (The light of object of knowledge)
- Nyaya deepika (The light of logic)
- Daniel P. Sheridan, "Jayatirtha," in Great Thinkers of the Eastern World, edited by Ian McGready (ed.), 236, New York: Harper Collins, 1995
- The Great Madhva Acarya, Sanskrit.org. Retrieved December 18, 2007
- Sri Jayatîrtha, Dvaita.org. Retrieved December 18, 2007
- The Great Madhva Acarya, Sanskrit.org. Retrieved December 18, 2007
- Lott, Eric J. 1980. Vedantic approaches to God. Library of philosophy and religion. Totowa, N.J.: Barnes & Noble. ISBN 0064943658 ISBN 9780064943659
- Madhva, Bhīmasena Bālācārya Varakheḍakara, and Jayatīrtha. 1982. Tattvasaṅkhyānam. Paṇḍharapure: Pūrṇaprajñaprakāśanam.
- Jayatīrtha, and B. N. Krishnamurti Sharma. 1995. Śrīmannyāyasudhā = Nyāyasudhā of Sri Jayatirtha (1365-1388) (Pañcādhikaraṇī). Bangalore: Sri Raghavendra Ashrama.
- Jayatīrtha. 1991. Pramana paddhati of Sri Jayatirtha a work on Dvaita-epistemology with eight commentaries. Bangalore: Dvaita Vedanta Studies & Research Foundation.
- Jayatīrtha, P. Nagaraja Rao, and A. Krishnamoorthi. 1981. Pramāṇapaddhatiḥ. Madras: A.M. Jain College, Institute of Management.
- Rawlinson, Andrew. 1997. The book of enlightened masters western teachers in eastern traditions. Chicago: Open Court. ISBN 0812693108 ISBN 9780812693102
- Sharma, B. N. Krishnamurti. 1960. A history of the Dvaita school of Vedānta and its literature. Bombay: Booksellar's Pub. Co.
All links retrieved April 3, 2018.
- Sri Jayatîrtha—a short sketch – Tikacharya on Dvaita.org.
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