Hindu religion has produced several prominent saints and philosophers in the post era of Lord Sri Krishna, out of which three great spiritual personalities are in the forefront. They are Sri Sankaracharya who advocated Advaita Philosophy, Sri Ramaanujaachaarya who advocated Visishtaadvaita philosophy and Sri Madhwacharya who advocated Dvaita Philosophy. All the three are together known as the trinity of Aachaaryas. These three great Saints who have taken the glory of Hindu spirituality to new heights have left a marked influence on the Hindu religion with their doctrines.
Sri Madhwa Navami is associated with Sri Madhwacharya one of the greatest Hindu Saints and Philosophers who was the founder and exponent of Dvaita Philosophy. He was not only a great Saint and Philosopher; he was and is strongly believed and considered as the third incarnation of the Wind God (Lord Vayu) known as Mukhya Prana. Other two earlier in this lineage are Lord Hanuman in Treta Yuga and Sri Bheemasena in Dwapara Yuga. It is said that Sri Madhvacharya during his life time had openly identified himself as an incarnation of Lord Vayu which was evidenced by several miracles performed by him right from his childhood days.
Sri Madhvacharya known as Vasudeva during his childhood was born around 800 years back in a small village presently known as Pajaka Kshetra about 10 km from the temple town of Udupi near Mangalore in Karnataka State. He was born in a family of Shivalli Brahmins and was the son of Madhyageha Bhatta. Born in 1238 AD Sri Madhvacharya lived for 79 years and left this world on the 9th day of bright fortnight (Navami thithi) in the lunar month Magha Masam that falls two days after the Ratha Sapthami festival.
A child prodigy, with divine qualities, Sri Madhvacharya was well known for his authority, knowledge and extempore oratory skills, on the subject. During his period he had defeated many of his opponents with his authenticated arguments. Robust in physique and health Sri Madhvacharya was a multifaceted personality also known for his mystic powers. At the age of twelve Sri Madhvacharya left his home to become an ascetic and took up the Sanyasa Deeksha under the guidance of Sri Achyuta Preksha Theertha his Sanyasa Guru. He was named as Poornapragna after attaining Sanyasa Deeksha. Very soon he became the head of the Mutt and came to be known as Ananda Theertha and later as Madhvacharya by which name he became very popular.
During his life Sri Madhvacharya wrote explanatory notes (commentaries) on Upanishads, Bhagavat Geeta, Brahma Sutras, Mahabharata and Bhagavatha Purana besides scripting several other original works on his doctrines. SuMadhva Vijaya a biography of Sri Ananda Theertha written by Sri Narayana Panditacharya son of Sri Trivikrama Panditacharya eulogized the glory of Sri Madhvacharya and his accomplishments which is said to have been composed during Sri Madhvacharyaâ€™s life time itself. Sri Vayu Sthuthi composed by Sri Trivikrama Panditacharya is a very popular script on Lord Hanuman whose lineage is Sri Madhvacharya.
Sri Madhvacharya was instrumental in establishing the famous temple of Lord Sri Krishna at Udupi and installed the idol of Sri Bala Krishna that was said to have been worshipped by Rukmini Devi the prime consort of Lord Sri Krishna during Dwapara Yuga. At the time of installation Sri Madhvacharya spontaneously composed a prayer in glory of Lord Sri Krishna that became popular as Dwaadasanama Sthothram. Procuring of the idol was a miracle and forethought of Sri Madhvacharya. Not only he installed the idol of Lord Sri Krishna but also appointed eight of his prime disciples to take forward his legacies and to have continuity to the worship of the Lord by rotation. Even today this practice of rotation of worshiping and administering the Sri Krishna Mutt at Udupi known as Paryaya is in vogue that takes place once in two years.
These eight prime disciples appointed by Sri Madhvacharya were, Sri Hrishikesha Theertha, Sri Narasimha Theertha, Sri Janardhana Theertha, Sri Upendra Theertha, Sri Vamana Theertha, Sri Vishnu Theertha, Sri Rama Theertha and Sri Adhokshaja Theertha. These eight Pontiffs later established their own mutts called as Ashta Matas of Udupi. These eight mutts are named after the surrounding villages where they originally resided. These Mutts are Palimar Mutt, Adamaru Mutt, Krishnapura Mutt, Puttige Mutt, Shirur Mutt, Sode Mutt, Kaniyoor Mutt, and Pejavara Mutt. Apart from the above Sri Padmanabha Theertha and Sri Narahari Theertha were also his prime disciples.
In the post era of Sri Madhvacharya several great, noble and divine Saints have descended and established several mutts across the country propagating the Tattvavada, the doctrine of Sri Madhvacharya. To name a few are Sri Madhava Theertharu, Sri Akshobhya Theertharu, Sri Jaya Theertharu (Teeka Rayaru), Sri SriPaada Rayaru, Sri Vyasa Rayaru, Sri Vadi Raja Theertharu, Sri Raghottama Theertharu, Sri Raghavendra Theertharu (Mantralaya Guru Sarvabhouma). Madhva Mutts established by these saints are Sri Raghavendra Swamy Mutt at Mantralayam, Sri Uttaradhi Mutt and Sri Vyasaraya Mutt, to name a few.
Though Aacharya Sri Madhwa is to be revered and worshipped everyday, two specific days are earmarked in Hindu Lunar calendar for his specific worship. They are, Sri Madhwa Jayanthi falling on Vijayadasami day in the month of Aaswayuja Masam that is said to be the day on which he was born. The other is Sri Madhva Navami falling on the 9th day of Lunar month of Magha Masam during the bright fortnight. It is said that it was on this day in the year 1317 AD, Sri Madhvacharya while teaching his disciples at Udupi Sri Anantheshwara Temple, suddenly a heap of flowers were showered on him and he disappeared from that heap of flowers not to be seen later. It is considered as the day he entered the Badarikasrama. It is strongly believed among his followers that Sri Madhvacharya is still present even today in Northern Himalayas (Greater Badari) continuing his spiritual pursuit with Sage Sri Vedavyasa but beyond ordinary vision.
Special celebrations are held across the country on the eve of Sri Madhva Navami at all the Madhva related temples and mutts participated by large gathering of Madhva followers.
To learn, to understand and to write about Sri Madhvacharya, perhaps one life time is not adequate.