Vidyāraṇya

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By Swami Harshananda

Sometimes transliterated as: Vidyaranya, VidyAraNya, Vidyaaranya


Significance of Balance in Varṇas

No country can have peace and progress unless ruled by a balanced combination of kṣāttriyas[1] and brāhmatejas.[2] The former can degenerate into tyranny without the latter. And the latter becomes impotent without the protection of the former.

Origin of Vidyāraṇya

Vidyāraṇya lived in A. D. 1296-1386. He was one of the three brightest stars considered to be an intellectual asset to the country, other two being Kautilya[3] and Samartha Rāmadāsa.[4] Born probably in A. D. 1296 as the eldest son of Māyaṇa and Srīmatī, Mādhava or Mādhavācārya, his premonastic name, was educated by his father first, and later by Vidyātīrtha,[5] Bhāratīkṛṣṇatīrtha,[6] Śaṅkarānanda[7] and Śrīkaṇṭhanātha.[8]

Realization for the Need of Hindu Empire

Moved by the pitiable condition of the contemporary society which had been battered by the repeated invasions of the Muslim marauders and their savagery, Vidyāraṇya discovered after a period of intense tapas,[9] the need to establish a purely Hindu kingdom under the heroic leadership of a suitable person. Fortunately for him, he was able to get the excellent assistance of two kṣattriya warrior-brothers named Hakka and Bukka with whom he established the city of Vidyānagara or Vijayanagara as a nucleus. In course of time, it developed into a glorious Hindu empire which lasted for about 230 years.

File:Vidyāraṇya.jpg

He continued to guide the ruler of the kingdom till his last days. His samādhi[10] is situated at the back of the Virupākṣa temple at Hampi in the Bellary district of Karnataka. He was the pontiff of the Śṛigeri Śāradāpīṭha[11] from A. D. 1377 to A. D. 1386. In the post-Śaṅkara period, he was one of the best exponents of Advaita philosophy.

Works by Vidyāraṇya

His works are:

  1. Pañcadaśi
  2. Jīvanmuktiviveka
  3. Anubhutiprakāśa
  4. Vivaraṇaprameyasañgraha
  5. Brhadāranyakavārttikāsāra
  6. Nrsimha-uttaratāpanīya-upaniṣad-dīpikā
  7. Parāśaramādhavīya
  8. Sarvadarśanasañgraha
  9. Vaiyāsika-nyāyamālā

His another great contribution was inspiring his younger brother Śāyaṇācārya[12] to compose detailed commentaries on all the four Vedas, now well- known as the Vedārthaprakāśa.


References

  1. Kṣāttriyas means kingly power.
  2. Brāhmatejas means saintly guidance.
  3. He lived in 321 B. C.
  4. He lived in A. D. 1608-1681.
  5. He lived in A. D. 1380.
  6. He lived in circa A. D. 1356.
  7. He lived in d. A. D. 1417.
  8. He lived in circa A. D. 1356.
  9. Tapas means austerity.
  10. Samādhi means tomb.
  11. It is one of the four monasteries established by Śaṅkara who lived in A. D. 788-820.
  12. He lived in d. A. D. 1387.
  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore