Sri Madhavacarya (1238-1317) was the historical founder of the Dvaita system, which is one of the three principal schools of Vedanta. He was a native of Tulunadu in Karnataka. Pajakaksetra, eight miles south-east of the modern town of Udipi, on the West coast of S. India, was the village of his birth. He lived seventy-nine years.
He appeared on the Indian philosophical scene after the systems of Sankara and Ramanuja had been well established. The reasons which led him to propound a new system of Vedanta were his doctrinal differences and ideological dissatisfaction with contemporary trends and schools of thought within and without Hinduism and particularly with the system of Sankara which was the dominant philosophy of the time. In spite of the Theistic revolt against Sankara led by Ramanuja, Madhva could not agree with him on many points of Theistic doctrine. So he felt called upon to give a new lead in thought to his countrymen.
MadhavaÍs writings are characterized by extreme brevity of expression and compression of thought. They need the help of a very good commentary to be understood in their fulness of thought and depth of meaning and intention. His commentator Jayatirtha has infused into them the necessary amplitude of utterance and expansiveness of thought and wealth of details.
This book is to give a complete, copious, critical and comparative exposition of Sri Madhavacarya's system of philosophy, bringing out its logical strength and metaphysical consistency and satisfyingness. It is intended to be an organic presentation of the system in all its essential aspects. It differs from all the other works in the field, including Dasgupta's, in showing how the concepts and categories of Madhava's philosophical thought have been conceived and formulated and have been put into a coherent system and in what relation they stand to those of other allied and rival systems. It brings out the special significance and interconnections of Madhava's doctrines and the architectonic unity of his system in relation to its parts. The reader is enabled to see for himself and appreciate the precise value and significance of some of Madhava's distinctive contributions to the perennial problems of religion and philosophy-particularly 'Indian Philosophy', for the doctrine of Saksi, Svatantra, Visesa, Savisesabheda and Creation as Paradhinavisesapti.
Not only is such a systematic and critical exposition of MadhavaÍs philosophical system called for, but it has long been overdue. Metaphysically, it embodies the most powerful and sustained refutation of Vedantic monism. It has produced front-rank thinkers like Madhava, Jayatirtha and Vyasatirtha. It has an extensive philosophical literature of rare philosophical penetration, in Sanskrit. It has become the living faith of a large section of the people living in present-day India.
The volume is a good presentation of the philosophy of Sri Madhvacarya, complete in its architectonic unity. The author probes its ontological and epistemological foundations, and critcally examines the structure erected on them. The discussion focuses on crucial doctrines of theism and brings to light for the first time the striking parallelisms of thought between Madhva and his Western contemporary St. Thomas Aquinas. Light is also thrown on how Madhva and his commentators anticipated the views of modern philosophers like Spencer, Russell and Hobhouse on the nature of time, space and memory. The latest researches on Madhvacarya's role in the Vedantic Bhakti movement and his attempt to harmonize the Upanisadic texts on monism and dualism are substantially drawn upon.
Bhavani Narayanrao Krishnamurti Sharma (9 June 1909 – 2 July 2005), commonly known as B. N. K. Sharma or B. N. Krishnamurti Sharma, was an Indian writer, scholar, professor, and Indologist. Sharma was professor and Head of the Department of Sanskrit in Ruparel College, Bombay from (1953–1969). Sharma was one of the foremost exponents of Madhvacharya's school of Dvaita Vedanta. B. N. K. Sharma learned the art of debates under Satyadhyana Tirtha of Uttaradi Math. Sharma travelled along with Satyadhyana Tirtha from (1930 - 1944), learned all philosophical knowledge from him and also used it to rectify his doubts from Satyadhyana Tirtha.
Born in a Brahmin family of scholars and court pandits, Sharma authored more than 25 classical works and over 150 research papers on Vedanta in general and Dvaita Vedanta in particular. He attained international renown and recognition by his scholarly contribution to the Dvaita Vedanta literary treasure. His History of Dvaita School Of Vedanta And Its Literature is a monumental work that brought him the highest national literary distinction of the Sahitya Academy Award in 1963. Sharma was awarded the honorary D.Litt. in Sanskrit by the Mumbai University in 1968. Sharma was also the recipient of the President of India's Award for Eminent Sanskrit Scholars in 1992 and the Government of Maharashtra's Award for Sanskrit in 1993.
Sharma is one of the eminent scholars who wrote the critical appreciations of prominent Haridasa saints such as Purandara Dasa, Kanaka Dasa and others.
B. N. K. Sharma's students included such scholars as K. T. Pandurangi, a winner of the Rashtrapati Award; C. S. Venkateshan,a scholar and professor; D. N. Shanbhag, author and scholar; and S. K. Bhavani (his son).
B.N.K. Sharma was born on 9 June 1909 in a Kannada-speaking Deshastha Brahmin family of Madhva tradition in Salem, Madras Presidency (present-day Tamil Nadu), in a family of Sanskrit Scholars of the former Cochin State of Kerala. He was brought up speaking Marathi and Kannada at home and Tamil outside. His mother Lakshmi Bai was a housewife and native of Salem, while his father B.S.Narayan Rao, a Sanskrit scholar was a native of Coimbatore. B. N. K. Sharma's actual name is Bhavani Narayanrao Krishnamurti and Sharma is not part of his name. Due to Brahmin origins, people started calling him "Sharma" and later it became part of his name. His family migrated from present-day North Karnataka to Kumbakonam of Thanjavur district and later to Cochin and Coimbatore.
B.N.K. Sharma had his primary education at the Government School in Kumbakonam. As a child, he had "sharp intellect and acumen" with a great interest in literature and philosophy. Sharma completed his Bachelor of Arts degree in Sanskrit from the University of Madras in 1931 and Master of Arts degree in 1935 from Presidency College, Chennai. Sharma received his PhD from the University of Madras in 1948 for his thesis on the origin and development of the Dvaita School of Vedanta and its literature.
Sharma started his teaching career as a lecture at Annamalai University at the age of 22 in 1931 until 1938. In 1938 he became principal of Government Sanskrit College in Thiruvayur until 1948. In 1948 he worked as a research scholar in Vishveshvaranand Vedic Research Institute in Punjab. In 1950, he started working as a principal in Poornaprajna Sanskrit College in Udupi. In 1952 he became Principal Dr A. V. Baliga College, Kumta for a short time of one year. In 1953 he finally landed in Maharashtra, where he was appointed as Professor and Head of Department of Sanskrit in Ruparel College in Mumbai and retired in 1969.
B. N. K. Sharma also rendered script for a comic book by name "Madhvacharya: A Vaishnava Saint-Philosopher" of Amar Chitra Katha, a comic book series for which the editor was Anant Pai and the illustrator was H. S. Chavan. It was published in 1967. It was republished many times.
Sharma authored more than 25 classical works and over 150 research papers on Vedic history, and Vedanta. He was an expert in Dvaita Vedanta. Some of his notable works include:
- Philosophy of Śrī Madhvācārya. Motilal Banarsidass (2014 Reprint). 1962. ISBN 978-8120800687.
- History of the Dvaita School of Vedānta and Its Literature: From the Earliest Beginnings to Our Own Times, 3rd Edition. Motilal Banarsidass (2008 Reprint). 1960. ISBN 978-8120815759.
- The Brahmasutras and Their Principal Commentaries A Critical Exposition Vol I, Vol II, Vol III. Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers (2008 Reprint). 1971. ISBN 978-8121500357.
- Madhva's Aupanisadam Darsanam. Dvaita Vedanta Studies and Research Foundation. 1983.
- The Bṛhadāraṇyaka Upaniṣad Expounded from Śrī Madhvācārya's Perspective. Dvaita Vedanta Studies and Research Foundation. 1988.
- Dvaita Philosophy as Expounded by Śrī Madhvācārya. The University of Madras. 1961.
- Śrī Madhva's Teachings in His Own Words. Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan. 1970.
- Bhagavad Gita Bhashya of Śrī Madhvācārya. Anandatirtha Prathistama, Poornaprajna Vidyapeetha. 1989.
- Lectures on Vedānta. Karnatak University. 1973.
- Nyayasudha of Jayatirtha (3 Vols.). Vishwa Madhwa Maha Parishat. 2001.
- Festivals of India. Ministry of Education and Social Welfare, Government of India. 1977. ISBN 978-0836402834.
- Advaitasiddhi Vs Nyāyāmṛta: An Up To Date Critical Re-Appraisal. Akhila Bhārata Mādhva Mahamandal. 1994.