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Re: ARTICLE : Puraanas

Posted By Shrisha Rao (shrao@nyx.net)
Sat, 11 Jan 1997 15:25:42 GMT

In article <5b5v8r$it9$1@news.ececs.uc.edu>,
Vidyasankar Sundaresan <vidya@cco.caltech.edu> wrote:
>Vijay Sadananda Pai wrote:
>> In article <ghenE3LwI9.F6G@netcom.com>, Shrisha Rao <shrao@nyx.net> wrote:
>> >Very simple; because the person claimed to be Vyaasa Tiirtha's
>> >disciple and Krishna Chaitanya's initiator's initiator is not called a
>> >Tiirtha, as he would be were he a Maadhva.
>This may sound like a dumb question to Shrisha, but anyway, here goes.
>Is it necessary for every dvaita monk to be a Tirtha? Another question:
>is it necessary, in the dvaita tradition, for a disciple of a Tirtha to
>be a Tirtha also?

Not a dumb question at all. I myself have not actually studied the
"yati-praNava-kalpa," Ananda Tiirtha's text prescribing duties for
sannyaasii-s, but have a feeling there may not be a hard and fast rule
as such. Yet, when custom for over seven centuries has always had
Maadhva sannyaasii-s be Tiirtha-s, one cannot see how this would
change easily. Even in the relatively rare instances where some
Maadhva monk is known by a non-Tiirtha name, that name is just a
famous one in addition to his ordained name. Examples for this are of
course Madhva himself (who was ordained as Puurnaprajna Tiirtha),
Tiikaachaarya (also known as Jayatiirtha, and called that because of
his commentaries), Sripadaraja (who was ordained as Lakshminarayana
Tiirtha), and Raghavendra Swami (ordained as Raghavendra Tiirtha, but
rarely called that outside the formal literature). Custom therefore
is strongly against someone having a non-Tiirtha name alone, and
custom in these matters tends to be quite strong. (In fact, for about
the past two centuries, all piiThaadhipati-s of the Uttaradi Mutt have
had ordained names of the form Satya-* Tiirtha, where * is a wildcard
that stands for dhyAna, pramoda, AtmA, etc. This again is mere
tradition and not a rule, and piiThaadhipati-s of earlier date did not
always have such names, but smart money is on the next ordained saint
from that institution also having a name of the same "format.")

Of course, one could argue that the person who is supposed to have
been Vyaasa Tiirtha's disciple was also such a crypto-Tiirtha with a
famous other name, but then it becomes impossible to explain why he's
never mentioned anywhere in Maadhva histories, and why no one has
heard of him outside the listing of the claimed "link." (Even the
Gaudiyas don't seem to know squat about him.) It is hard to believe
that all memory or mention of a person famous enough to be called by
other than his ordained Tiirtha name would vanish without a trace.
There is never an instance of even a relatively unknown or less-known
person having a non-Tiirtha famous name to support such a hypothesis.

>In the advaita tradition, a Tirtha may have obtained diksha from a
>Bharati and vice versa. In recent history, Swami Chandrasekhara Bharati
>of Sringeri named his successor as Swami Abhinava Vidyatirtha. To my
>knowledge, there is no rule that a disciple of e.g. a Saraswati has to
>be a Saraswati also, although most gurus seem to prefer their own suffix
>when it comes to naming their disciples. Actually, since the tradition
>of ten names in the advaita tradition goes back to Sankara, through his
>four disciples, it is clear that at some point in time, we are going to
>find an Aranya who was initiated by a Puri or a Giri, who was in turn
>probably initiated by a Tirtha or by a Bharati.

That's fine, but in the Advaita tradition, all the various suffixes
are quite common, and have been so for centuries. The situation is
not at all similar to what we have here.

>> BNK Sharma also points out that Vyaasa Tiirtha had many disciples
>> belonging to Advaitic orders. Of course, a "Puri" could not have been
>Is it not rather well-known that Vyasatirtha had disciples from advaita
>and visishtadvaita traditions also? Is it that inconceivable to imagine
>that some disciple named Puri, initially from an advaita order, switched
>to dvaita philosophy or attempted some synthesis, out of respect for his
>dvaita guru?

Whether he did or not is quite irrelevant actually. It is actually
quite true that Vyaasa Tiirtha did have students who learned only
Advaita from him, and that he did not try to "convert" them, etc., but
taught them their own doctrine very well. (Even in this century,
Anantakrishna Shastri, a committed Advaitin, praised Vyaasa Tiirtha's
presentation of Advaita very highly, and even said that it was a very
thorough, accurate, and concise presentation of the material covered
in Advaitic texts before Vyaasa Tiirtha's time.) But if that is the
case, then the claimed "link" must be called a hoax. For such
students were *only* brahmachArii-s and grhastha-s. There is no
record of, and it is not known that, Vyaasa Tiirtha ordained an
Advaitin to become an Advaitin monk, etc. That sort of thing doesn't
happen with anybody, in fact, and if someone had so much as merely
received mantropadesha from Vyaasa Tiirtha, they would at least for
the purposes of that mantra have to consider Vyaasa Tiirtha's lineage
as their own.

>Finally, I read in a book titled "Hindu Castes and Sects" by J. N.
>Bhattacharya (of Nadiya), that Chaitanya received sannyasa from one
>Keshava Bharati of the advaita order. This sounded strange to me, as
>I've never seen this name invoked in any of the postings by Gaudiyas
>here. Is there any reference to a Keshava Bharati in the Caritamrita or
>some such work?

Is there a Keshava Bharati known to Advaitins, at the corresponding
time? What did Bhattacharya say his source was?


Shrisha Rao

>S. Vidyasankar


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