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Disappearance of Sri Madhvacharya

I would like to speak a few words because today is super excellent and auspicious as it is the disappearance day of a prominent acharya in our Gaudiya Brahma-Madhva Sampradaya, Sri Madhvacharya. If anyone asks you which sampradaya you belong to, you can say, “We belong to Sri Brahma-Madhva Sampradaya.”


I want to quickly clarify the meaning of sampradaya. Sampradaya simply means a group or section. You can explain this word in many ways. Sampradaya means samyaka rupena prema dadati iti sampradaya. 

In Sanskrit da dhatu, the verbal root means ‘to give’ and samyaka means ‘direct’. The meaning of this is that Sri Brahma-Madhva Sampradaya or group directly offers us krishna-prema-bhakti.  Sometimes people become hesitant and their mind’s even become disturbed due to misconceptions and they ask, “Why are you saying there is this group and that group?” 

However, Padma Purana very clearly explains the true meaning of this word sampradaya:

sampradāya-vihīnā ye mantrās te niṣphalā matāḥ

ataḥ kalau bhaviṣyanti catvāraḥ sampradāyinaḥ

śrī-brahma-rudra-sanakāḥ vaiṣṇavāḥ kṣiti-pāvanāḥ

catvāraste kalau bhāvya hyutkale puruṣottamāt

Padma Purana (Prameya-ratnavali, 1.5)

[Any mantra that does not come in disciplic succession is considered to be fruitless. Therefore, four divine individuals will appear in the age of Kali to found disciplic schools. The founders of these four Vaishnava sampradayas are Lakshmi or Sri, Brahma, Rudra and Sanaka Rishi, and the acaryas of the Kali Age who follow their lines will appear in the holy city of Purushottama in Orissa.]

Vyasadeva in this verse very clearly states that without receiving mantras from one of these groups or sampradayas, you will never attain your goal of perfection. So this means that you have to receive diksha-mantra from one of the four sampradayas mentioned in Padma Purana: Sri Sampradaya, Brahma Sampradaya, Rudra Sampradaya or Sanaka Sampradaya. 

So, ‘sampradāya-vihīnā ye mantrās te niṣphalā matāḥ…śrī-brahma-rudra-sanakāḥ vaiṣṇavāḥ kṣiti-pāvanāḥ’ — you have to receive diksha-mantra from one of these four sampradayas.

Sri Sampradaya’s original acharya is Lakshmi-devi, the consort of Lord Narayana. And now, in Kali-yuga, the acharya of Sri Sampradaya is Ramanujacharya, who is the incarnation of Ramachandra's younger brother Lakshmana. Another one of his names is Lakshmana Deshika. Perhaps tomorrow, on his disappearance day, we will explain more of his life history. 

Sri Brahma Sampradaya’s original acharya is the four-headed Brahma called Chaturmukha Brahma. Thus, we sing this bhajana:

kṛṣṇa hoite catur-mukha, hoy kṛṣṇa-sevonmukha,

brahmā hoite nāradera mati

nārada hoite vyāsa, madhva kohe vyāsa-dāsa,

pūrṇaprajña padmanābha gati

​​Krishna Hoite Chaturmukha (1)

[In the beginning of creation the science of devotional service was received by the four-headed Brahma from the Supreme Lord Sri Krishna. Devarishi Narada's understanding of this divine science was obtained from Brahma. The great sage Krishna Dvaipayana Vyasa, who was empowered to compile the Vedic literatures, became a disciple of Devarishi Narada. Sripada Madhvacharya, the founder of the shuddha-dvaita school of Vedanta philosophy, who visited Vyasadeva at Badarikashrama in the thirteenth century to learn from him Vedanta philosophy, calls himself a servant of Krishna Dvaipayana Vyasa. Purnaprajna Tirtha [Madhva] is the guru and sole refuge of Padmanabha Tirtha.]

So the original acharya in our Brahma Sampradaya was Chaturmukha Brahma, but now in Kali-yuga, the acharya of the Brahma Sampradaya is Madhvacharya. And today is Madhvacharya’s tirobhava tithi— his disappearance day.

Rudra Sampradaya’s original acharya is Lord Shiva. How many heads does Lord Shiva have? Five. 

pañca-mukhe rāma-nāma gāna tripurāri

Sri Sri Krishna ashtottara-shata nama

[With his five mouths Lord Shiva chants the Lord’s name, Rama.]

Tripurari means Shivaji. And, Shivaji always chants Lord Rama’s sweet names with his five mouths. For this reason, one of Shivaji’s names is also Pancha-nana. Pancha-nana means ‘one who has five mouths’. In this Kali-yuga, Rudra Sampradaya’s acharya is Vishnusvami.

The Sanaka Sampradaya’s original acharyas are the Four Kumaras: Sanaka, Sanandana, Sanatana and Sanat-kumara. However in this Kali-yuga Sanaka Sampradaya’s acharya is Nimbaditya. So, it is explained that you have to receive the diksha-mantras from a bona fide spiritual master who is in the disciplic line of succession from these four acharyas. 

As explained, there are four Vaishnava Sampradayas: Sri, Brahma, Rudra and Sanaka Sampradaya. And our Sampradaya is Brahma-Madhva-Gaudiya Sampradaya. Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu did not create any sampradayas. Although Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is Svayam Bhagavan Sri Krishna Himself, He did not create any sampradayas. Why? Because whatever Vyasadeva wrote, the Lord accepted. He gave proper respect to Vyasadeva because Vyasadeva composed all of the Vedas: the Puranas, Upanishads, Mahabharata, Vedanta-darshana, everything. Vyasadeva is the direct incarnation of the Lord — kṛṣṇadvaipāyano vyāso viṣṇurnārāyaṇaḥ svayam (Kurma Purana). 

For this reason, Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu did not create another sampradaya. Rather, He accepted the Brahma-Madhva-Sampradaya. Why? Because Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, when He noted the four Sampradayas’ conceptions, vichara, and their philosophies, He realised that Madhvacharya's philosophy very clearly explains who the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Svayam Bhagavan is. Sri Madhvacharya’s philosophy is called dvaita-vada, (dualism), bheda-vada (dualistic doctrine). 

You should have some knowledge of the vichara of our SampradayaSampradaya vichara. One should know which sampradaya they belong to and what the philosophies of that sampradaya are. So Madhvacharya very clearly explained about dualism, dvaita-vada, bheda-vada— which means differences. Madhvacharya especially established five types of differences between the Lord and living entities. 

And, what are the five differences? Madhvacharya explained: 

First is, ‘isvara-jiva-bheda’ — differences between the Lord and living entities. Second is, ‘jiva-jiva-bheda’ — differences between living entities and other living entities. Third is, jiva-jada-bheda’ — differences between living entities and the inert. Fourth is,  ‘jada-jada-bheda’ — differences between the inert and the inert. And fifth, he explained, ‘isvara-jada-bheda’ — differences between the Lord and the inert.

I will explain these things further so you will be able to clearly understand. ‘Isvara-jiva-bheda’ — the difference between Lord and living entities,

ekaḥ śuddhaḥ svayaṁ-jyotir

nirguṇo ’sau guṇāśrayaḥ

sarva-go ’nāvṛtaḥ sākṣī

nirātmātmātmanaḥ paraḥ

Srimad-Bhagavatam (4.20.7)

[The individual soul is one, pure, non-material and self-effulgent. He is the reservoir of all good qualities, and He is all-pervading. He is without material covering, and He is the witness of all activities. He is completely distinguished from other living entities, and He is transcendental to all embodied souls.]

This shloka (verse) in Srimad-Bhagavatam very clearly explains that the Lord is one. He is One without a second but He has innumerable potencies or shakti: shakti shaktiman abheda.

You see, there is no difference between shakti (potency) and shaktiman (possessor of potency). And the Lord manifests His innumerable forms with His inconceivable potency that is called achintya-shakti.

Ekam eva advitiyam — He is One without second.

ekam eva tat parama-tattvam svābhāvikācintya-śaktya sarvadaiva

svarupa-tadrupa-vaibhava-jiva-pradhāna-rūpena caturdhāvatiṣṭhate

Bhagavat-sandarbha (16)

[The Absolute Truth is one. His natural characteristic is that He has inconceivable potency. His inconceivable potencies are reposed in four different stages: His personal form (svarupa), the expansions of His divine form (tad-rupa-vaibhava), the jivas, and the material ingredients (pradhana).] 

He is One, and He has one potency called achintya-shakti— His inconceivable potency. Perhaps you will ask, “What does the word achintya mean?” That which is beyond our material reasoning. With our material conception we cannot properly establish this philosophy, 

acintyāḥ khalu ye bhāvā

na tāṁs tarkeṇa yojayet

prakṛtibhyaḥ paraṁ yac ca

tad acintyasya lakṣaṇam


[Anything transcendental to material nature is called inconceivable, whereas arguments are all mundane. Since mundane arguments cannot touch transcendental subject matters, one should not try to understand transcendental subjects through mundane arguments.]

Our Upanishads explain that achintya means inconceivable. And what is the inconceivable or achintya? ‘Acintyāḥ khalu ye bhāvā na tāṁs tarkeṇa yojayet’, those things which you cannot establish with your material logic, and prakṛtibhyaḥ paraṁ yac ca, that which is beyond maya is called achintya-tattva. For example, in this material world, we see many things that cannot be established or explained— even here, we find inconceivable potency. Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu gave three examples: mani (stones), mantra and aushadhi (herbs). 

The Lord used the example of a touchstone, sparshamani. With a touchstone, you can transform iron to gold just by touching it to the stone. However, the touchstone itself never transforms into gold— this is inconceivable. You can manifest millions and millions of stones into gold with a touchstone. If you acquire one piece of touchstone, you will become a millionaire, even trillionaire. And with all of your wealth, you can even construct a house made completely of gold— a golden house, how inconceivable! 

There are also inconceivable potencies in mantras. When you chant certain mantras, that mantra will give many kinds of potencies or shakti. In this regard, the best mantra is called the maha-mantra. And what is the maha-mantra?

Hare Kṛṣṇa Hare Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa Hare Hare

Hare Rāma Hare Rāma Rāma Rāma Hare Hare

This maha-mantra is very powerful, it will fulfil all of your desires. You cannot deny that mantras have no power; mantras have power. Yogis and rishis can pass into their subtle bodies as they come out from their gross bodies. Many yogis through yogic processes can, with their mystic powers, leave their gross bodies and enter subtle bodies. Like Shankaracharya, who in a particular pastime, passed in and out of his own subtle and gross bodies and even entered into the body of a king.

This shows that there are indeed mystic powers in mantras. Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu explained that mani, mantra and aushadhi also have mystic powers called achintya-shakti— beyond material conceptions. And with His inconceivable potency, the Lord manifests many forms. 

ekam eva tat parama-tattvam svābhāvikācintya-śaktya sarvadaiva

svarupa-tadrupa-vaibhava-jiva-pradhāna-rūpena caturdhāvatiṣṭhate

Also, with His inconceivable potency He creates. He is the creator, He is the maintainer and He is the destroyer. 

viṣṇu-śaktiḥ parā proktā

kṣetra-jñākhyā tathā parā


tṛtīyā śaktir iṣyate

Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita (Adi -lila 7.119)

[The potency of Lord Vishnu is summarised in three categories — namely, the spiritual potency, the living entities and ignorance. The spiritual potency is full of knowledge; the living entities, although belonging to the spiritual potency, are subject to bewilderment; and the third energy, which is full of ignorance, is always visible in fruitive activities.]

Bhagavan has innumerable potencies, ananta-shakti, but three potencies are very prominent. One is His chit-shakti or transcendental potency. With His transcendental potency the Lord creates the transcendental world, chit-jagat, otherwise known as Vaikuntha-jagat. The Lord’s second prominent potency is jiva-shakti, His material potency. Jiva-shakti has other names: maya-shakti, tatastha-shakti or marginal shakti. The external energy of the Lord is His third prominent potency called bahiranga-shakti, and with this shakti He creates this material world. Anything you see in this material world is created by the Lord's maya-shakti or bahiranga-shakti— the external potency of the Lord. Thus proving the Lord’s potency, shakti

Do you possess any potencies? You have shakti. But, what potency do you have? The limbs of your body only work because of your potency. You also have eyes, but with your eyes alone, you cannot see. You need the potency to see or take darshana, drishti-shakti. A blind person also has eyes, however, there is no potency to see. Do you understand? When we lose our potency to see, we become blind, even if we still have eyes. Some lose their seeing ability and are forced to wear reading glasses. With only your legs you cannot walk. You need charana-shakti. You also have ears, but if there is no shakti there, then you will be deaf. Without shakti, you cannot even raise your hand or even smell anything with your nose.

This potency is called jada potency, material potency and the Lord’s power is called chit potency. The Lord is able to perform all of His activities with any limb of His body. For example, jivas can only take darshana with their eyes, we cannot see with our ears and we cannot eat with our ears. We can only eat with our mouths. However, the Lord can perform any activity with any limb of His body. For example, with His eyes, the Lord can walk, with His eyes He can eat, He can do everything with only His eyes. 

And where is the evidence for this? Brahma-samhita very clearly states:

aṅgāni yasya sakalendriya-vṛtti-manti

paśyanti pānti kalayanti ciraṁ jaganti


govindam ādi-puruṣaṁ tam ahaṁ bhajāmi

Sri Brahma-samhita (verse 32)

[I worship Govinda, the primeval Lord, whose transcendental form is full of bliss, truth, substantiality and is thus full of the most dazzling splendour. Each of the limbs of that transcendental figure possesses in Himself, the full-fledged functions of all the organs, and eternally sees, maintains and manifests the infinite universes, both spiritual and mundane.]

This verse in Brahma-samhita very clearly states that He who is called Bhagavan is the Supreme Personality of Godhead—  Svayam Bhagavan.  A jiva will never become God as one cannot eat chilli sabji with their eyes. Our Bhagavad-gita very clearly explains:

mamaivāṁśo jīva-loke

jīva-bhūtaḥ sanātanaḥ


prakṛti-sthāni karṣati

Bhagavad-gita (15.7)

[The living entities in this conditioned world are My eternal fragmental parts. Due to conditioned life, they are struggling very hard with the six senses, which include the mind.]

Krishna very clearly explained, “All the living entities are My part and parcel. And they are eternal and transcendental.” 

jīva abināsī cetana amala sahaja sukha rāsī

Tulasi dasa in Rama-charita-manasa very clearly explains that jivas are very minute, anu, and the Lord is great, mahan. He is One without second, ‘ekam eva advitiyam’, but living entities are innumerable, ananta jivas, and the Lord is completely beyond maya and completely pure. 


śatadhā kalpitasya ca

jīva-bhāgaḥ sa vijñeyaḥ

sa anantyāya kalpate

Shvetashvatara Upanishad (5.9)

[When the upper point of a hair is divided into one hundred parts and again each of such parts is further divided into one hundred parts, each such part is the measurement of the dimension of the spirit soul.]

This verse very clearly explains how minute a jiva is. Smaller than a molecule. But, exactly how small is the soul? If one takes the tip of the hair and divides it into one hundred parts, and then takes one of these divided parts and further divides it into one hundred parts, what remains is the size of the soul. 


śatadhā kalpitasya ca

The atma or soul resides within this body, and because of that, this body is working. And where does the soul reside in the body? 

gunad va lokavat


[Although the jivatma is minute, it pervades the body with its consciousness.]

When you place a lamp in your room, the room is automatically illuminated. In the same way, when the atma enters a body, the body begins to function. And when the atma or soul leaves the body, the body can no longer survive. 

Thus, the first difference between the Lord and jivas is that the Lord is One and jivas are innumerable. Secondly, the Lord is completely beyond maya:

sattvaṁ viśuddhaṁ vasudeva-śabditaṁ

yad īyate tatra pumān apāvṛtaḥ

sattve ca tasmin bhagavān vāsudevo

hy adhokṣajo me namasā vidhīyate

Srimad-Bhagavatam (4.3.23)

[I am always engaged in offering obeisances to Lord Vasudeva in pure Krishna consciousness. Krishna consciousness is always pure consciousness, in which the Supreme Personality of Godhead, known as Vasudeva, is revealed without any covering.]

Srimad-Bhagavatam states that the Lord is beyond maya's three gunas (modes of material nature):

harir hi nirguṇaḥ sākṣāt

puruṣaḥ prakṛteḥ paraḥ

Srimad-Bhagavatam (10.88.5)

[Lord Hari, however, has no connection with the material modes. He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the all-seeing eternal witness, who is transcendental to material nature.]

The Lord is beyond maya, she cannot touch Him. Wherever Krishna is, Maya-devi stays very far.

bhakti-yogena manasi

samyak praṇihite ’male

apaśyat puruṣaṁ pūrṇaṁ

māyāṁ ca tad-apāśrayām

Srimad-Bhagavatam (1.7.4)

[Thus he fixed his mind, perfectly engaging it by linking it in devotional service [bhakti-yoga] without any tinge of materialism, and thus he saw the Absolute Personality of Godhead along with His external energy, which was under full control.]

Maya-devi is the servant of Krishna, maya dasi. But, there are two kinds of maya, one is Yogamaya and the other is Mahamaya. 

Ekaḥ śuddhaḥ svayaṁ-jyotir. The Lord is self-manifested and jivas are contaminated and dominated by maya’s three gunas: sattva-guna (mode of goodness), rajo-guna (mode of passion) and tamo-guna (mode of ignorance). Some jivas are in sattva-guna, or sattvika-bhava— mood of goodness. Madhvacharya explains this. You can see how some people are very calm and quiet, give respect to others, always offer charity or donations, help others, are very polite, use sweet words, have no duplicity or hypocrisy and are simple hearted,— they are called sattvika-jivas.

Tamasika-jivas are always absorbed in quarrel; this is one symptom of tamasika-jivas— those in a mood of ignorance. Without reason, they create quarrels and also criticise everyone. Our shastras also give evidence to what I am speaking. And rajasika-jivas, those in the mood of passion, are also proud of their own activities. Ahankara is coming. Hence, there are three kinds of jivas: sattvika-jivas, tamasika-jivas and rajasika-jivas.

Ekaḥ śuddhaḥ svayaṁ-jyotir nirguṇo ’sau guṇāśrayaḥ. Sarva-go means that the Lord Bhagavan is everywhere; He is omnipresent, omnipotent and omniscient— the almighty, sarva-shaktiman

So Sri Madhvacharya explained these five differences, the first being, ‘isvara-jiva-bheda’ — differences between the Lord and living entities, which I've previously discussed. 

Second, ‘jiva-jiva-bheda’ — differences between living entities and other living entities. There are many differences between jivas. Some are male and some female, and there are differences in rasa-vichara (conception of moods). Some have shanta-rasa (mood of neutrality), and some have madhurya-rasa (mood of sweetness). For this reason, these souls reside on different planets. Some jivas stay in Vaikuntha, Ayodhya, Dvaraka, Mathura or Goloka Vrindavana. Even in a conditioned stage, baddha-jivas (conditioned souls) have differences, and when jivas become liberated and attain the transcendental world, they also have differences. 

Thirdly, Madhvacharya discussed ‘jiva-jada-bheda’ — differences between living entities and the inert. Living entities or conscious beings share three traits: feeling, willing and knowing. Cetana (consciousness) means that three things are present. The power to feel, will and know. And that which is inert has no feeling, willing or knowing power. 

Fourth is ‘jada-jada-bheda’ — the differences between inert objects. And what exactly are those differences? A wall, for example, is made up of bricks and you cannot see through the other side. Then, we see a glass wall, which is transparent. Both walls are inert, but you can see there are clear differences between one inert object and another.

And fifth is ‘isvara-jada-bheda’ — differences between the Lord and inert. The Lord is Bhagavan and the inert is unconscious. 

In this way, Madhvacharya very clearly explained the five types of bheda, differences. 

Sri Madhvacharya also established another very important accepted aspect of our Gaudiya Sampradaya. He established the highest worship to the Lord, worshipping with our conjugal mood or madhurya-bhava-seva. 

Another of Madhvacharya’s contributions was the establishing of our Gopala deity — Gopala holding a yoghurt-churning stick, dadhi-manthana

So in essence, Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu accepted Madhvacharya’s doctrines. Madhvacharya-katha is very sweet.

Bolo Madhvacharya ki jaya

Jaya jaya Sri Radhe!

Date: 3 February 2020 Location: South Africa


Transcriber: Chandrika dasi (UK) Editor: Sanatana dasa (USA) Proofreading: Chandrika dasi (UK) Integrity check: Chandrika dasi (UK), Sanatana dasa (USA) Image: Navina-krishna dasa (Holland)

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