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Hari Sarvottama Vayu Jeevottama

A very warm welcome to the blog of Madhwa Brahmins community.
We, Madhwa Brahmins are followers of Jagadguru Sriman Madhwacharya. We originally hail from places in Karnataka and the neighboring states of Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Kerala. Our main dialects are Kannada, Tulu, Marathi, Telugu and Konkani.

A brief background of Jagadguru Sri Madhwacharya:

prathamO hanumAn nAma dviteeyO bheema Eva cha |
pUrNaprajna tRuteeyastu bhagavat kAryasAdhakaH ||

As the above shloka from khila vAyustuti explains, Sri Madhwacharya (also known by the names Poornaprajna and Anandateertha) is the third incarnation of Lord MukhyaprAna Vaayu, after Lord Hanuman and Lord Bheemasena. He is the chief proponent of TattvavAda, popularly known as Dvaita. He was born on Vijayadashami day of 1238 CE at Paajaka Kshetra, a small village near Udupi. He is the 22nd commentator on the Brahma sutras of Lord Sri Veda Vyasa.

Kindly note that this blog contains important topics discussed in our Orkut community and some articles on tattvavAda philosophy. All the topics can be found in the BLOG ARCHIVE (right side)

14 March, 2009

Hari Sarvottamatva


I had a discussion/debate in Hinduism forum on this topic. Please DO NOT make personal comments here. ONLY arguments from Vedas and sadagamas.

However, some points were raised on Rudra Deva also being declared supreme. I will cite some of these here. Can somebody explain these verses.


ISAnas sarva vidhyAnAm ISvaras sarva BUthAnAm brahmADHipathir brahmaNODHipathir
brahmA SivOmE asthu sadhA SivOm|| (Taittiriya Aranyaka 10:21:1)

Om Tat Purushaya Vidhmahe Mahadevaya Dheemahe Thanno Rudra Prachodayath. (Taittiriya Aranyaka 10:20:1)

namO hiraNya-bAhavE hiraNya-varNAya hiraNya-rUpAya hiraNya-pathayE ambikA-pathaya umA-pathayE paSupathayE ~namO ~nama: (Same Aranyaka, Mahanarayana Upanishad)

Verses from Rudriyam, Svetasvatara Upanishad etc.

How do you refute such claims ?

These are some main points I raised to prove they are wrong.

1. Narayana is the referrent to all names in vedas.

Narayana Suktam says "Sa Brahma Sa Shiva etc."

Rig Veda Samhita says that

`yó devaánaaM naamadhaá éka evá' (Rig Veda Samhita 10:82:3)

'He' is the Only One who bears the names of all Gods (Rig Veda Samhita 10:82:3)

tám íd gárbham prathamáM dadhra aápo yátra devaáH samágachanta víshve
ajásya naábhaav ádhy ékam árpitaM yásmin víshvaani bhúvanaani tasthúH (Rig Veda Samhita 10:82:6)

The waters, they received that germ primeval wherein the Gods were gathefed all together. It rested set upon the Unborn's navel, that One wherein abide all things existing.

By mentioning the word naábhaav (navel of unborn) in 10:82:6, HE is identified as Shri viSNu alone.

2. Rudra Deva gained his Rudra padavi by worshiping viSNu.

asya devasya mILhuSo vayA viShNoreShasya prabhR^ithe havirbhiH |
vide hi rudro rudriyaM mahitvaM yAsiSTaM vartirashvinAvirAvat.h || (Rig Veda 7:40:5)

Asya devasya viShNoH (Of this deva, Vishnu) -- All in shaShThivibhakti. mILhuShaH -- from the dhatu 'mih' which means 'to bestow', 'vayA=' from the root 'vaya' means bandhana, the word 'vayA' meaning 'bandhaka' (one who causes us to be bound), 'prabhR^ite havirbhiH' (by devoted offerings in the sacrifice), vide = lebhe (obtained) hi = indeed, rudro = rudra, rudriyaM mahatvaM = the glory associated with rudra. (this verse proceeds to link the above in reference to Ashvini devataas). Thus, By offerings with extreme devotion (pra-bhR^ithe) to this deva, viShNu, who is very bestowful, rudra obtained the glory that is associated with him (which is to have control of people's ahamkAra). Simple.

With offerings I propitiate the branches of this swift-moving God, the bounteous Visnu.
Hence Rudra gained his Rudra-strength: O Asvins, ye sought the house that hath celestial viands.

3. Rudra Deva is NOT omniscient.

ná yásyéndro váruNo ná mitró vratám aryamaá ná minánti rudráH (Rig Veda Samhita 2:38:9)
Him whose high law (functions) not Varuna nor Indra, not Mitra, Aryaman, nor Rudra breaketh (understand),

4. Shatapatha Brahmana says Rudra is "not freed from sins/Karma"

Shathapatha Brahmana-Maadhyandina Shaaka


tám prajaápatirabraviit | kúmaara kíM rodiSi yachrámaattápasó 'dhi jaato 'siíti so& 'braviidánapahatapaapmaa vaá asmyáhitanaamaa naama ma dhehiíti tásmaatputrásya jaatásya naáma kuryaatpaapmaánamevaa&sya tadápahantyápi dvitiíyamápi tRtiíyamabhipUrvámevaa&sya tátpaapmaánamápahanti

Pragâpati said to him, 'My boy, why criest thou, when thou art born out of labour and trouble?' He said, 'Nay, but I am not freed from (guarded against) evil; I have no name given me: give me a name!' Hence one should give a name to the boy that is born, for thereby one frees him from evil;--even a second, even a third (name), for thereby one frees him from evil time after time.

In Isvasya Upanishad, Ishvara is declared as "apapavidham = without any tinge of sins".

5. RudrA (umapati) is mentioned as waiting/attending and worshipping (upatisthante) Mukhyaprana in Shishu brahmana of Brhadaranyaka Upanishad and thus inferior to even mukhyaprana.

a. He who knows the calf together with its abode, its special resort, its post and its rope, kills his seven hostile kinsmen. The vital breath(Mukhyaprana) in the body is indeed the calf; this body is its abode, the head its special resort, strength its post and food its rope.

b. These seven gods that prevent decay worship it (the calf): through these pink lines in the eye, Rudra attends(clings) on it; through the water in the eye, ......

If Rudra refers to the same entity, Umapati Shankara in all the verses of Vedas, then there will be contradiction in vedas. Hence where it says Rudra is origin of all beings etc. as in Svetasvatara Upanishad or ShataRudriyam (Taittiriya Samhita 4:4 and 4:7) it refers to Narayana as shown in point 1 above.

However the problem remains as to why Mahanarayana Upanishad mentions Narayana as umapati, Ambikapati etc.

May be some learned member can explain this as attributes and/or names of Lakshmi Devi.

Any inputs will be appreciated.

Does anybody have explanations on Rudriyam, Shetashvatara Upanishad and Mahanarayan Upanishad ?


However the problem remains as to why Mahanarayana Upanishad mentions Narayana as umapati, Ambikapati etc.

Can u pls gimme the specific quote where Mahanarayana Upanishad mentions Narayana as umapati?

I guess the problem here lies in the interpretation of the shlOka..Even if one shruti tries to contradict other shrutis which give the same meaning then we shud interpret the meaning of the shruti which is seemingly in conflict with other shrutis in order to make it consistent with other shrutis..Experts pls advise on this..

I will give more instances of How Vishnu is Sarvottama from vedAs and purANAs..this appeared in Dvaita mailing list and the author of the info is Sri Krishna Kadiri

Vishnu SarvOttamatva By Sri Krishna Kadiri

Source: www.dvaita.org

nR^isimho.akhilA~jnAnamatadhvAntadivAkaraH |
jayatyamitasajj~nAnasukhashaktipayonidhiH ||

shrI laxmIhayagrIvAya namaH
shrImadAnandatIrthabhagavatpAdAchArya gurubhyo namaH
shrI jayatIrthagurubhyo namaH
shrI vyAsatIrthagurubhyo namaH
shrI vijayIndratIrthagurubhyo namaH

Vishnu-sarvottamatva is one of the primary tenets of our philosophy. It is
well known that our doctrine came to be attacked by other schools, around
the time of Sri Vadiraja tirtha, Sri Vijayindra tirtha. Dr.BNK Sharma writes
highly of Sri Vijayindra tirtha's efforts in repelling those criticisms.

Sri Vijayindra is said to have written 104 works, of which very few are
available. His scholarship and the importance of such works can be estimated
by the fact that the Raghavendra Vijaya enjoins that only he, who has
studied all works of Sri Vijayindra, be considered a paNDita.

I am going to briefly present here, Sri Vijayindra's replies to certain charges on 'Vishnu sarvottamatva'. The standard disclaimer about my lack of complete understanding applies with full force. What follows is only a pointer and should not be taken as representative of the original.

These replies are contained in a book called 'nyAyamauktikamAlA'; the section called 'shaiva-sarvasva-khaNDanaM'. This section was published in 1983 along with 'sarva-siddhAnta-sAra-asAra-vivechanaM' by 'Brindavanam Office,Mantralayam'. A Kannada translation by Dr.Parthasarathy R Panchamukhi is also available.

The book starts with mentioning 11 anecdotes from the purANAs and general mythology (i.e., general impression, unsupported by Puranas) that contradict the idea of Vishnu sarvottamatva. There will be a series of postings covering all the eleven. Hereby are presented 2 anecdotes (the book does not have them in the same order).

Q1. In a competition between Brahma and Vishnu, they take the forms of hamsa
and varAha respectively, to find out the tip and bottom of the shiva linga;
Vishnu's not finding it out is an indication of Shiva's supremacy.

Note:[Ambhrani sukta and other R^iks establish Vishnu's supremacy over everybody else; with that perspective these purANic anecdotes can be rejected as a
'mohanArthaka'. With that idea, Sri Vijayindra considers them and says]

A1. That is false. That anecdote can be disregarded because it contradicts
Vishnu's sarvottamatva, which is known from sAttvika purANas. In any case,
this anecdote appears in kUrma and linga purANas. That these two are tAmasic
is well known.

It is also that it is contradicted by scriptures such as,'uddhR^itAsi varAheNa kR^iShNena shatabAhunA' , 'Apo vA idamagre salilamAsIt.h tasminprajApatirvAyurbhUtvA imAM apashyat.h'.

The first one refers to the support of the entire life, i.e., earth or prakR^iti as being
lifted by Vishnu. It cannot be said that whatever was lifted by Vishnu is not the liN^ga; for, there is no pramANa that the shivalinga is aprAkrita (not made of prakriti elements), or that there is no limit to the shivaliN^ga.

It cannot be objected that there might be limits to the shivalinga's dimensions, but Vishnu is not aware of it. Such a contention will contradict (in addition to the second pramANa quoted above) Vishnu's unparalled omniscience and powers established in this shruti:

vichitrashaktiH puruShaH purANo na chAnyeShAM shaktyastAdR^ishAssyuH'.

Q2. Vishnu seeks Shiva's blessings to slay the demon, 'jalandhara'. With that purpose, he worships Shiva with thousand lotus petals every day. One day Shiva, to test Vishnu, hides a petal. To make up for that, Vishnu takes out an eye of his. Pleased with that, Shiva grants him the sudarshana chakra. This also explains the reason for Vishnu's name being 'puNDarIkAksha'.

A2. That Vishnu obtained sudarshana chakra from Shiva is contradicted by the shruti: charaNaM pavitraM (See P.S), that talks of Vishnu possessing the sudarshana always (charaNaM pavitraM vitataM _purANaM_).

Even the idea of Vishnu getting the appellation of 'puNDarIkAxa' is contradicted by the Chandogya statement: tasya yathA kapyAsaM puNDarIkamevAxiNI tasyoditi nAma sa eva sarvebhyaH pApmabhya uditaH. Here, it is only the form of Lord (bhagavadvigraha) that is considered 'aprAkrita' and it being beginningless and endless is mentioned.

Due to these contradictions, the purANa statements can be rejected. Such anti-vedic ideas, generally found in tAmasic purANas, are also found in sAttvika purANas like varAha purANa, pUrva-khaNDa. In case of purANAs like the padmapurANa, there are three parts: sAttvika, rAjasa and tAmasa.

Likewise, here too, it must be understood that the pUrva-khaNDa of varAhapurANa is tAmasic and therefore, not to be taken seriously.

This is from Mahanarayana Upanishad. I was quite perplexed that the word
'charaNaM' denotes 'sudarshana'. Answer was in Sri Dhirendra tirtha's
commentary on the Mahanarayana Upanishad. Under the pertinent verse of
Mahanarayana Upanishad, he writes:

snAnAntaraM mudrAdhAraNamAha | charaNaM iti | yatpavitraM pAvitryakAri vitataM bhakteShu dhAraNAdinA vyAptaM purANaM purAtanaM yachcharaNaM chakraM pavitram.h | 'charaNaM chakraM rathanemiH sudarshanaM cheti paryAyavAchakA hyete chakrasya paramAtmanaH'iti vedanighaNTau |

Thus, he quotes the Vedanighantu to support the meaning of charaNaM as chakraM.


Can u pls gimme the specific quote where Mahanarayana Upanishad mentions Narayana as umapati?

There are too many Narayana Upanishads in web. I do not know now what is what. I may have been wrong.

Any way the verse appears in Taittiriya Aranyaka (10:22:1)


namO hiraNya-bAhavE hiraNya-varNAya hiraNya-rUpAya hiraNya-pathayE ambikA-pathaya umA-pathayE paSupathayEnamO nama:

Also refer the next verse 10:23:1

ruthagum sathyam param-brahma purusham krushNa pinggaLam | UrDHva-rEtham virUpAksham viSvarUpAya vai namO nama: ||

I guess the problem here lies in the interpretation of the shlOka..Even if one shruti tries to contradict other shrutis which give the same meaning then we shud interpret the meaning of the shruti which is seemingly in conflict with other shrutis in order to make it consistent with other shrutis..Experts pls advise on this..

Yes, but has any f our Acharyas commented on this ? This is what I wanted to know.


sfauthor said...

Nice posting. Do you know about these Samhita texts?


rk said...

Hi.. Thanks for this informative article. I really liked it. I also came across this similar site with nice articles and videos on vedic prinicples - http://www.vichaar.tv

V.K.Chebbi. said...

It is really very nice to see the posting.Hope we will receive more like this.

Siddha artha said...

Let me tell you one thing about the spiritual degradation going on in tulu madhva brahmins living outside tulu nadu (coastal karnataka).

This is not about the materialistic lifestyle that the modern society as a whole has undergone in the past 100 years as an effect of kali yuga, but the concepts of madhva siddhanta getting eroded even among the spiritually inclined people like elders, family priests,etc.

Mainly tulu brahmins live in south kerala (travancore) in large numbers (they even outnumber malayali namboothiri brahmins if I am correct.) They have migrated from in and around udupi many centuries ago and are part and parcels of kerala society today. Tiruvananthapuram has large such population of shivalli brahmins.
The next noticable population of tulu madhvas is in tamil nadu, but this is of a recent migration , max 100 years back. Chennai, coimbatore has sizeable presence.
My ancestry is formed of these above mentioned categories.

Now, coming to the point, I didn't know I was a madhva till some years back ! though we at home were very cultural, my father is very spiritual, always speaking of topics related to puranas itihasas, etc. I had my upanayana samskara and used to adorn the gopichandana, so did my father, so did my cousin, relatives, etc. Later on as I grew up , i began asking about our origins and why we spoke tulu, while everyone else in the society spoke malayalam, etc, my father said we migrated from a place near mangalore, some 4 generations back. Later when I started having access to the net, I searched for shivalli brahmins, and stumbled upon madhvacharya, read a lot about him, enjoyed every line of every work about the great personality and also came to know of the differences he had with other schools of doctrines , thereby finally knowing that 'we' are different from others like iyers or sri-vaishnavas. When I asked about this issue to my father, he told-'all acharyas are the same-ramanuja, madhva-sankara-they all taught the same philosophy that shiva, vishnu and brahma are equally gods, and that none is inferior to the other, but that finally god is formless, we realise that the world is maya to merge with the formlesss god-which is called moksha". I was puzzled at this. Then I asked many of my relatives about their stand on the taratamya of deities-all they said various forms of 1 god like vishnu, shiva, shakti, ganesha, skanda are the same, etc. So practically no one, not even elders aged 70+ seems to know anything related to hari sarvothama, leave alone vayu jeevothama. But they are all very 'spiritual'. Even priests (bhattaru) do not acknowledge madhva concepts. This is the situation among tulu madhva brahmins in kerala.
Coming to tamil nadu, the situation is even worse. Tamil nadu historically has been a stronghold of saivism (saiva siddhanta), whose adherents do not accept the validity of vedas/sanskrit literature fully. They value their own saiva agamas in tamil as being superior and that the vedas in sanskrit were later incorrect translations from the tamil ones ! Many madhvas in tamil nadu today place such an unvedic saiva siddhanta a great value, many don't even know who madhvacharya is ! No. I'm not talking about the college going youths today, but even elders are like that, though they instruct we children to perform nitya karmas without fail. Many of them adorn bhasma instead of urdhwa pundra and reject hari sarvothama as 'sectarian'. Almost all of my family relatives in tamil nadu as far as I know behave like smartas.

This is a very grave situation and needs to be given attention as importantly as the materialistic degradation among the youth like not performing nitya karmas properly.
Hope the author notices this.
Sidharth Ramesh K V Narayana 'Rao'.

Madhwa Vallabha said...

@Siddhaartha ji

Yes you are right. Many Madhwa brahmins do not remember their roots; do not know their moola guru; do not know who is Madhwacharya; they think that all philosophies guide them to the same final destination. :(

I am glad that you have shown keen interest in knowing about our Acharya. I hope that you are doing sandhyavandane daily and fasting on ekadashis and Krishna janmashtami. Now that you have remembered Madhwacharya, the sins of your forefathers (of not remembering him) are washed out.