Mâdhavâchârya (i.e. Madhava, the Acharya or spiritual teacher), one of the greatest Hindu scholars and divines of the mediaeval literature of India, is said to have been born at Pampa, a village situated on the bank of the river Tungabhadra, probably near the beginning of the 14th century. He was prime minister of Sangama, the son of Kampa, whose reign at Vijayanagara commenced about 1336, and also under king Bukka I, who succeeded Harihara I about 1361. He died at the age of ninety, probably towards the close of the 14th century. Maldhavacharya is famed for his numerous and important works on Vedic, philosophical, legal, and grammatical writings of the ancient Hindus. The most important of these are his great commentaries on the Rig-, Yajur-, and Sima-veda, SEE VEDA; an exposition of the Mimhnsa philosophy; a summary account of fifteen religious and philosophical systems of Indian speculation; some treatises on the Vedanta philosophy; another on salvation; a history of Sankara's (q.v.) polemics against multifarious misbelievers and heretics; a commentary on Parasara's code of law; a work on determining time, especially in reference to the observation of religious acts; and a grammatical commentary on Sanscrit radicals and their derivatives. The chief performance of Mcdhava is doubtless the series of his great commentaries on the Vedas, for without them no conscientious scholar could attempt to penetrate the sense of those ancient Hindu works. In these commentaries Mhdhava labors to account for the grammatical properties of Vedic words and forms, records their traditional sense, and explains the drift of the Vedic hymns, legends, and rites. So great was Madhavacharya's learning and wisdom that popular superstition assigned them a supernatural origin. He was supposed to have received them from the goddess Bhuvaneswari, the consort of Siva, who, gratified by his incessant devotions, became manifest to him in a human shape, conferred on him the gift of extraordinary knowledge, and changed his name to Vidyâranya (the "Forest of Learning"), a title by which he is sometimes designated in Hindu writings.

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