By Swami Harshananda
The Vedānta Darśana, considered to be the crown-jewel of all the philosophical systems, is based on the three basic works known as ‘prasthāna-traya.’ Prasthānatraya comprises the following scriptures :
- The Upaniṣads
- The Brahmasutras
- The Bhagavadgitā
Any philosophical or religious system, acceptable to the tradition, had to acknowledge the authority of these three works, or at least, not contradict them.
Of these three works, the Brahmasutras, also known as the Vedāntasutras or Sārirakasutras, is a compendium of Upaniṣadic thoughts presented in a systematic manner. Since the sutras (aphorisms) of this work are as enigmatic as they are laconic, several sages and savants have tried to expound their true meaning and purport through erudite commentaries.
One of the more important savants who have composed such commentaries on the Brahmasutras is Madhvācārya (A. D. 1197-1276) also known as Ānandatīrtha. He is the first acārya (teacher) to systematize the dvaita school of Vedānta, based on the prasthānatraya.
Madhvācārya is reputed to have composed four commentaries on the Brahmasutras' :
- Brahmasīitra Bhāsya
It is said that Anuvyākhyāna, the second work, was composed by Madhvācārya at the instance of Trivikrama Paṇḍita, one of his important disciples, who was not satisfied with the Bhāṣya since it was not sufficiently polemical.
The Anuvyākhyāna, a metrical master-piece in 900 verses, is a highly polemical work which subjects all other schools of interpretation opposed to the dvaita system to a ruthlessly critical examination. The most celebrated work of Jayatirtha (A. D. 1345-1388), the Nyāya- sudhā, is actually a commentary on the Anuvyākhyāna. The work closely follows the Brahmasutras, chapter by chapter, in its essential logical position.
The more important topics discussed in Anuvyākhyāna may be briefly summed up as follows :
- Oṅkāra is the designation of Brahman and the purport of the Vedas.
- God is supremely independent and the whole creation depends upon Him.
- All bondage is real.
- The universe is real but emancipation is possible by the grace of God.
The work devotes a major part to the criticism of Advaita Vedānta.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore