Sri Akshobhya Teertharu

Sri Akshobhya Teertharu

Sloka : 
Sanskrit :
यो विद्यारण्यविपिनं तत्त्वमस्यासिनाच्छिनत् ।
श्रीमदोक्षभ्यतीर्थाय नमस्तस्मै महात्मने ॥

Kannada :
ಯೋ ವಿದ್ಯಾರಣ್ಯವಿಪಿನಂ ತತ್ತ್ವಮಸ್ಯಾಸಿನಾಚ್ಛಿನತ್ |
ಶ್ರೀಮದೋಕ್ಷೋಭ್ಯತೀರ್ಥಾಯ ನಮಸ್ತಸ್ಮೈ ಮಹಾತ್ಮನೇ ||

Telugu :
యో విద్యారణ్యవిపినం తత్త్వమస్యాసినాచ్ఛినత్ |
శ్రీమదక్షోభ్యతీర్థాయ నమస్తస్మై మహాత్మనే ||



Akshobhyatheertha’s life prior to sanyasa is set out in “Sarswathi Parinaya”. It can be understood that he was a genius and statesman. The descendants of Shasthika (Aravatthokkalu) families known for their loyalty were in high positions under the royal patronage in the kingdoms of Kadambas and Yadavas. The descendants belonging to Bharadwaja gothra of Swarnabhandara family, one of the Shasthika families, were appointed as Mandalikas of Jamkhandi by the Chalukya kings. One Keshavabhatta was prominent in that family. One Govindabhatta was his only son. It was in A.D.1282 that Govindabhatta was born. After completing his education at an early age, he assumed the responsibility of administration even as a youth. For Govindabhatta, virtuous, devout, well versed in Shastras, politics as such was contemptible. It was when Acharya’s fame had touched the zenith. Entrusting the administration to his uncle Dhundiraja, Govindabhatta set out to meet Acharya. As soon as he had the darshan of Acharya, he felt unprecedented reverence for him. Impressed by the felicity of Acharya’s speech and his preachings, he took sanyashrama from Acharya in A.D.1312 with his name changed as Akshobhyatheertha. Since then, emerging triumphant in debate after debate, he engaged all through in propagating Acharya’s philosophy. After Madhavatheertha, Akshobhyatheertha became Mahasamsthanadhipathi in A.D.1350. Then Bukka was the king of Vijayanagar. Writing of commentaries on Vedas had begun under the stewardship of his kulaguru, Vidyaranya. Vaishnavism did not find much favour their. Moreover, Akshobhyatheertha unable to tolerate the impudence of Somashekararaya of Kampli, the son-in-law of king Harihara, came to Mulbagal on his southern tour. Then Kumarakampa, son of Harihararaya was Manadalika at Mulbagal. He extended his patronage to Akshobhyatheertha. In A.D.1350, there took place a debate on the philosphies of Dwaitha and Adwaitha at Mulbagal between Akshobhyatheertha and Vidyaranya who had undertaken a tour.

Vidyaranya averred that Shruthis and Upanishads advocate the Manoism only. Tattamasi which had figured in the dialogue between Uddalaka and Shwethakethu in Chandogyopanishad, most popular among the Upanishads, became the first topic. Elaborating on the nine examples in that context, Akshobhyatheertha stating with illustrations what is interesting in the expression तत् त्वं असि meaning ‘It is you’ which appears to advocate non duality? what is its real meaning? what is the gist of that which says ‘It is you’? argued that this very expression establishes that Jeeva and Brahma are separate entities. He explained in multifarious ways, on the basis of grammar, तत्त्वमसि means Jeeva is the servant of God, there is no Jeeva without God, God only is the creator of Jeeva. Vidyaranya had nothing to say. Vedanthadeshika, then a great scholar in Vishistadwaitha was apprised of the details of this debate and requested to declare which side triumphed. He in his reply wrote that 

असिना तत्त्वमसिना परजीव प्रभेदिना । विद्यारण्यं महारण्यं अक्षोभ्यमुनिराच्छिनत् ॥ meaning Akshobhyatheertha swished off the forest of Vidyaranya with his scimitar ‘Tattvamasi’ distinguishing between Jeeva and Brahma.1 In commemoration of this, a victory pillar was erected at Mulbagal.2  This is a landmark victory in the history of Madhwa philosophy. It is this which Teekakritpada has mentioned in Mangalacharanashloka of his ‘Tattvaprakashika’.3 On his tour Akshobhyatheertha reached Shimoga district. He established his own Mutt at Koodali, a confluence of the Tunga and the Bhadra rivers where already a Mutt of Vidyaranya existed. Besides he counter established another Mutt at Banakara (Balagaru) on the banks of the river Tunga against an Adwaitha Mutt which existed at Doorvasapura of Theerthahalli taluk. Then he established his two traditions by handing over the idols of Rama inherited from Acharya to his two disciples Thrylokyabhooshanatheertha and Lokapujya. These two are now popular as Koodali Arya Akshobhyatheertha samsthana and Balgaru Arya Akshobhyatheertha samsthana.

As the atmosphere at Vijayanagar was not conducive to Dwaithism, Akshobhyatheertha set out towards north.4 As Vaishnavism was in vogue at Pandharapura there, Akshobhyatheertha touring in the kingdom of Bahamani for some days attained eternal peace at Malakheda on the banks of the river Kaginee on Thursday the fifth day of Margashira Bahula in Vishwavasu Samvatsara (4-12-1365). Akshobhyatheertha taught all the books on Vedantha to his disciple Jayatheertha. Jayatheertha has extolled that his guru taught him by rote as if to a parrot. अक्षोभ्यतीर्थगुरुणा शुकवच्छिक्षितस्य मे । वचोभिरमृतप्रायैः प्रीयतं सततां बुधाः ॥ - गीताभाष्य टीकान्त्य

None of the books written by Akshobhyatheertha is available. But he is popular as author of many books. That he was greatly successful in outwitting his rivals in debates is amply substantiated by description made about him by his disciple.5 Thus, Akshobhyatheertha having acquired mastery over both social and spiritual aspects blessed Teekakritpada by teaching Acharya’s philosophy besides rendering unmatched service to the philosophy and tradition of Acharya. In the history of Madhwa philosophy, Akshobhyatheertha’s renown is immortal.



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 1. Vedanthadeshikavaibhavaprakasha, Jayatheerthavijaya.

 2. Mysore Archaeological Report – 1896.

 3. दुर्वादिविदारणदक्षदीक्षमक्षोभ्यतीर्थमृगराजमहं नमामि ॥ तत्त्वप्रकाशिका (Go back to context)

 4. अक्शोभ्यतीर्थोऽपि व्जित्यवादिनं कीर्तिं हरेः सुप्रततां विद्यायस्थम्भम् । प्रतिष्ठाप्य जयाङ्कमश्मनः ततो ययौ भीमरथीतटं सः । - जयतीर्थविजयम् (Go back to context)

 5 . दुर्वादिविदारणदक्षदीक्षमक्षोभ्यतीर्थमृगराजमहं नमामि ॥ - तत्त्वप्रकाशिका

         पदवाक्यप्रमाणज्ञान् प्रतिवादि मदच्छिदः । श्रीमदक्षोभ्यतीर्थाख्यानुपतिष्ठे गुरून्मम ॥ सुधाधिग्रन्थाः (Go back to context)

Source : Gurucharite


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