Madhvacharya, or Ananda Tirtha as he was known in his childhood, was a prolific Hindu philosopher who advocated “Philosophy of reality” or “Tattvavada” during his lifetime. Born in 1199 AD in the present day Udupi, the great philosopher was different from others in many ways. He is believed to be the 3rd incarnation of Vayu, the other two being Bhima and Hanuman. His teachings and thesis gained momentum during the “Bhakti movement” as he had a way to go against the standard norms and conventions that were prevalent at that time.
Madhvacharya is credited to have completed a number of works during his lifetime and a vast majority of it includes commentaries on the Brahma Sutras, the Bhagavad-Gita, Upanishads and the Vedas. The credit of creating a number of philosophies on Tattvavada also goes to him. Madhva School of Philosophy strongly accepts three knowledge sources – Vedic literature (Aagama), Inference (Anumana) and Perception (Pratyaksha). All these sources are based on the thesis that Isvara (the supreme god) can be known only through corroboration of teachings from Vedic scriptures.
A number of quotes from Madhvacharya are available to us in the form of ancient scriptures. Given below are some of these quotes and their meanings.
1. “Knowledge without action is an impractical intellectual exercise. Action without knowledge is but blind orthodoxy. Knowledge is necessary; knowledge-full action too is necessary. At the same time, an understanding of god’s infinite glory is equally necessary.”
Meaning: This quote helps us understand the importance of both knowledge and action. At the same time, it is important to acknowledge the presence of the almighty. When you have all the ideas; but are not willing to put them to exercise, the result is a big waste. Similarly, when you indulge in actions without thinking, the result cannot be great either. Therefore, there has to be a balance between the two.
2. “There are only two ways in which that goal can be realized; one is direct personal experience; and the other is the word of wisdom bequeathed to us by sages who were “seers” of the Veda. Their word is a torch to illumine our way. In the light of that torch and along that way alone we should walk on and discover truth.”
Meaning: If you want to realize your goals, it is important that you have lots of wisdom and experience. When you have both and follow what elders say, then your goals can be achieved.
3. “One should surrender oneself only to god. One should surrender oneself to the voice of hoary sages and wide men who realized god; that is to say, to the Vedic words. One should know through word of sages, and having known, one should experience it; having experienced, one should see; having seen, one should succeed; having succeeded, one should gain.”
Meaning: It is important to read and understand the Vedas and accept the fact that god is supreme. Also once you have understood what you have heard from elders, it is important that you experience it and then succeed at it. This way you will achieve all objectives in life.