His Divine Grace

Place: Sri Madhva Gaudiya Matha, Navabpura, Dhaka.
Date: Tuesday, 7th October, 1924 (on the occasion of Sri Madhva's ap¬pearance day)


ananda tirtha nama sukhamaya dhama yatir jiyat
samsararnava taranim janah kirtayanti budhah

"I offer my respectful obeisances to Sri Madhvamuni, who is also known as Ananda Tirtha. All glories to him. The learned persons glorify him as the boat for crossing the ocean of material existence. That king of all sannyasis is the abode of happiness. Today is his ap-pearance day."

The history of preaching by the Gaudiya disciplic succession and the acaryas:

In Bengal, everyone from the Gaudiya sampradaya who is serv¬ing Sriman Mahaprabhu is a follower of that senior Vaisnavacarya. His other name is Sri Madhvamuni. This matha has been named after him. Sri Krishna Caitanyadeva is the eighteenth descendant from Sripada Ananda Tirtha, or Purna Prajna. The seventeenth descendants are Sri Advaita Prabhu and Sri Nityananda Prabhu. These three prabhus accepted Sri Madhvamuni into their disciplic succession.

Sri Madhvamuni appeared in the northern part of Kerala. This exalt¬ed personality preached about the worship of Lord Vishnu alone instead of the five-god worship. Prior to him, Sivaguru's son, Sankarapada, who was an acarya of the Mayavada school, tried to reestablish the philoso¬phy of theism. Sri Madhva preached about serving the Supreme Lord within that theistic religion.

By raising one finger Sri Madhvamuni displayed to the faithful people of the world that the root of theism is the living beings' eter¬nal propensity to serve the Supreme Lord. There is no other destina¬tion for the living beings other than subordination to the Supreme Lord. Sivaguru's son Sankaracarya appeared in the village of Kaladi in the district of Malabara. Before his appearance all of India was inundated by the philosophy of Buddhism, or atheism, and covered by different unauthorized varnasrama principles taught in Buddhism and Jainism. Srimad-Bhagavatam (1.3.24) states:

buddho namnanjana-sutah kikatesu bhavisyati

"The Lord will appear as Lord Buddha, the son of Anjana, in the province of Gaya."

The followers of Buddhism and Jainism put many obstacles in the path of Vedic religion, so Sankaracarya introduced a religion approved by the Vedas. The present-day Hindu society more or less follows Sankara. Sri Sankara is the only guide to varnasrama-dharma in north India. In order to destroy Buddhism Sankara established a partial understanding of the Vedas and introduced the philosophy of oneness. Since the follow¬ers of the karma-kanda sections of the Vedas desire the fruits of their kar¬ma, they worship demigods. In the Vedas we can find recommendations for the worship of many gods, such as Indra, the eleven Rudras, the eight Vasus, Agni, Surya, Varuna, the Asvini-kumaras, and Vishnu. The inten¬tion behind fruitive worship is this: "I am weak, but I am a follower of the Lord, and if I remain under the control of the demigods I will become happy." The karma-kandis accept this opinion. The Buddhists oppose it, but we find that the Jains agree with it. For example, the Jains imagine the twenty-four incarnations, the eight Vasus, and later, many village gods, mountains, and trees as god. These two non-Vedic and unauthorized ways of worship were current in northern India, Bhutan, Nepal, and China. There were different gods in different villages. It was considered a big achievement to prove that the god of one village was superior to the god of another village. Since the religious principles approved by the Vedas fell into the hands of the karma-kandis, narrow-minded sectarian¬ism has cropped up.

The mystery of the birth of the synthesis of matter and spirit:

Men used to quarrel about their gods, saying, "The god of this hill is superior to the god of that hill." It used to be that nationality was subordinate to religion, but nowadays religion is subordinate to nationality. To get rid of this sectarian mentality and the duality and hatred sectarianism causes, the civilized people and learned scholars of the time concocted a way to synthesize things and create unity. So a cosmopolitan mentality developed. The human mind created such a unity in the form of a "shadow" synthesis, and, to stop competition, a kind of friend¬ship among worshipers of Siva, Durga, Vishnu, Ganesa, and so on. This was to create some respite in the sectarian hatred among the five-god worshipers. This man-made harmony appeared sweet to people. When discordant elements gather under a common flag, it is called synthesis. The human mind was the factory in which "the object of worship" was invented. Again, it is the human mind that was responsible for breaking apart the object of worship and turning Him into dust. At that time, the concepts of Buddhism and Jainism arrived. The small religions entered and merged into the Hindu religion, and as a result they lost their small circle. We know from the book, Sankara Vijaya that yogis, the worship¬ers of Kali, and those who worshiped other demigods and goddesses op¬posed Sankara's Vedanta philosophy, but later, by the force of his preaching, they came to accept it.

The philosophy preached by Sri Sankara, who incarnated to carry out the Supreme Lord's order, was the need of that hour:

Regardless of whether Sankara's preaching was authorized or not, devotees have raised doubts about his philosophy. But one thing is sure: it was necessary for Sankaracarya to preach covered Buddhism to sup¬press Buddhism's influence, because Buddhism is opposed to the Vedas.

Covered Buddhism was established with the conviction that unless the Supreme Lord's eternal name, form, qualities, and pastimes are de¬nied it will not be beneficial for all. This philosophy was created with the intention to pretend that all kinds of normal five-god worship are approved in the Vedic literature. This philosophy was needed at that time - but not for all time. Preaching the importance of subordinating oneself to the Vedas [as opposed to negating the Vedas, as is done in Buddhism] is just to induce the foolish; it is not meant for the intelligent. If we ana¬lyze Sankara's philosophy, we'll find that Acarya Sankara accepted the popular opinion of that time, which was favorable to Buddhism, but his personal opinion was different. His aim was to merge into the impersonal Brahman. He did not accept the idea that the soul eternally worships God. His commentaries on ten Upanisads prove this fact.

Five-god worship and the current Hindu society:

Many so-called Hindus of the present day live in the same society Sankara created with his philosophy. Nowadays, the word "Hindu" re¬fers only to those who worship the five gods; But the worship system of these five-god devotees is not eternal. When the purpose of the worship is fulfilled, these people no longer feel the need to continue their wor¬ship. Therefore, their worship is just a temporary matter.

From the father, impersonalism, and the mother, five-god worship, a son is born:

There are two practices in this world, namely, enjoyment and the renunciation of enjoyment. Synthesis refers to keeping these two in bal¬ance. The material enjoyers want to free themselves of distress and be¬come happy in this life and the next, and they strive for this by demand¬ing and obtaining what is enjoyable from the five "treasurers": Vishnu, Siva, Durga, Ganesa, and Surya.

When Sakhya Simha saw the effects of pursuing material enjoy¬ment, he was hurt and stood up against karma-kanda. Instead he began to preach detachment and austerity. In his opinion, one needs to elimi¬nate all feeling either through penance, detachment, or something else. According to him, nirvana means the absence of consciousness. This is liberation. But this type of liberation, based on material considerations, is born from the attempt to create a synthesis between matter and spirit.

Sripada Sankara established Sakhya Simha's (Sankhya Simha's) philosophy to some extent, but in a covered way. Although Sri Sankara's preaching appeared to be opposed to Sakhya Simha's, Sankaracarya ac¬tually agreed with him to some extent.

In the opinion of Kapila, who preached Sankhya philosophy, when material nature is annihilated, that is liberation. When the three material qualities (goodness, etc.) are manifest, maya becomes active and mate¬rial enjoyment, or fruitive activities, begins. Sri Sankaracarya preached the philosophy of "only spirit" by accepting the state of freedom (lib¬eration) from the three material qualities, which is the exact opposite of Sankhya philosophy. Asato sada jayati: the manifest world emanated from the nonmanifest. If we accept the philosophy of the transforma¬tion of energy this Vedic mantra speaks of, then the Supreme Controller is also subject to transformation, and it should be said that the spiritual master, Vyasadeva, is wrong. It is with this argument that the Mayavada acarya Sankara established vivartavada. Actually the transformation of energy mentioned in the Vedanta-sutra should be understood like this: By the will of the Supreme Lord, the material world has manifested as the transformation of His inconceivable energy.

Vivartavada and the synthesis based on covered atheism:

Parasya saktir vividhaiva sruyate. This Vedic mantra mentions that the supreme Brahman has an inconceivable spiritual energy. To accept an object as something other than what it is called vivarta - like mistaking a rope for a snake or a seashell for a piece of silver. When a conditioned soul accepts the material body as himself, this is an example of vivarta. To attribute this fault of vivarta to the science of the living entities and the material world is nothing but denying the Supreme Lord's spiritual potency. This is simply covered atheism, or godlessness.

In the opinion of Vivartavada (Idealism), an object can be known to exist only through sense perception. When this subjective idealism is neutralized, one understands that the qualitative world no longer exists; and when the triputi [between seer, seeing process, and the object that is seen] is destroyed, there will be no separate existence between the living entities and the material world, because that separate existence is false. Reality is, in this philosophy, nondual.]

Therefore liberation is a thing of the material world according to Sakhya Simha, but to Sankaracarya it means merging into spirit [Brahman], or a nonexistence of spiritual variegatedness [nonduality]. In both systems, in whichever way one walks, nirvana or atheism, the destruction of the triputi remains the ultimate aim. This is called samanvayavada, or the philosophy of synthesis. The good thing about this philosophy is that it can accommodate any concocted or wrong opinion if that opinion identifies itself as an independent opinion or path. That is why in the world of mental speculation and aversion to Lord Vishnu; the philosophy of synthesis of spirit and matter is highly favored.

The so-called synthesis is the drink for quenching the human thirst for material enjoyment based on covered atheism:

Those who accept the philosophy of synthesis don't accept their eter¬nal subordination to the Supreme Lord. Theirs is a false or pretentious subordination, not actual servitorship. This is another face of atheism - a tactical surrender rather than a real one. The philosophy of synthesis was created from polytheism, and particularly from the worship of the five gods, and it is concocted, or man-made.

The hidden promise of synthesis is to achieve the aims of impersonalism and garner fame:

The pretext of imaginary, temporary truth in the name of magnanim¬ity or nonsectarianism - in other words, the endeavor to create agree¬ment between atheism and theism in the name of undisputed eternal truth - comes from trying to please people who are uninterested in devotional service and averse to the Supreme Lord. These so-called nonsectarian persons are actually responsible for the man-made, godless society.

Why Sri Ramanujacarya and Sri Madhvacarya appeared, and the authorized and unauthorized sampradayas:

The endeavor to create agreement based on opposition to Lord Vish¬nu is not new; it was current long ago in the world. Seeing this, two God-sent and greatly liberal personalities mercifully appeared in this world. With a desire to distinguish the Supreme Lord's real followers from the so-called nonsectarian but godless people, they created two societies, one called the asat sampradaya, or unauthorized, sectarian society, and the other the sat sampradaya, or authorized, nonsectarian society. Sri Laksmanadesika became the front-runner in this endeavor. Members of the sat sampradaya practice nothing they've concocted in their own minds; they do not encourage atheism in the name of artificial magna¬nimity. For them, the Supreme Lord alone is eternal and factual. In other words, He is the eternal Absolute Truth. His inconceivable potency is also eternal. The followers of the sat sampradaya eternally worship that eternally existing and inconceivably powerful Supreme Lord. Therefore they are the real magnanimous ones.

In this world there cannot be anyone more magnanimous than the servants of the transcendental Personality of Godhead. Material magna¬nimity or compassion is not actual magnanimity; it is simply cheating, a pretension of magnanimity in the name of sense gratification. The fol¬lowers of the philosophy of synthesis began to worship the five deities, namely, Vishnu, Siva, Durga, Ganesa, and Surya, on the pretext of mag¬nanimity, but then they broke that lord whom they for so long worshiped into pieces with a trident. Again that deity was repaired, plastered, and painted, but after some time the plaster was removed.

In this way, when the eternal variegatedness and eternal worship of the Supreme Lord was being denied, by the will of the Supreme Lord, an extremely powerful person named Sri Laksmanadesika appeared in Mahabhutapuri in Andhra Pradesh. This person's other name was Sri Ramanujacarya. After Sri Ramanujacarya, Sriman Madhvacarya Purnajnana appeared. As soon as they began to preach the eternal religion based on subordination to the Supreme Lord, those averse to Lord Vishnu, and even to the demigods, became their great enemy.

The demons perpetually mistreat and torture Lord Visnu's devotees:

Sri Nrsimhadeva appeared in Satya-yuga to stop the attempt to op¬pose Sri Prahlada, who was a devotee of Hari. The Supreme Lord's anger is meant for annihilating atheists. Atheists rush forward on the path of perpetual destruction while opposing Lord Hari and His devotees. When Sri Ramanujacarya appeared, many people who were against Lord Vishnu put obstacles in the path of his preaching. What to speak of this, his so-called spiritual master, who would have felt accomplished by calling such an unlimitedly influential person as Ramanujacarya his disciple, preached an unauthorized philosophy. Ramanuja then propa¬gated the religion of subordination to the Supreme Lord by refuting his guru's unauthorized philosophy with scriptural evidence and then draw¬ing a devotional conclusion. When Ramanuja's reputation spread in all directions, the envious false sampradaya became his enemy. We can see a similar example in Srimad-Bhagavatam in the relationship between Sukracarya and Bali Maharaja. Sri Ramanujacarya even had to live in exile for twelve years. Today Ramanujacarya has about three million fol¬lowers in India, and wherever they live, there is no place for those who follow an unauthorized sampradaya.

In India there is another religious sect known as the Ramanandi or Jamayet sampradaya. This Ramananda was the sixteenth descendant of Sri Ramanuja, but he was not exactly the acarya's follower. Ramanandi's followers deviated from the path of the strict and proper code of conduct. Although they are known as devotees among ordinary people, they have more or less accepted the impersonal philosophy of Sankara and the path of many-god worship. Because they lack complete surrender to the spiri¬tual master and do not discuss the scriptures properly, they have fallen into such danger. This Ramanandi or Jamayet sampradaya has centers in Ayodhya, Puri, and other such places.

Sri Ramanuja's followers are strict, unalloyed servants of Lord Vish¬nu. When I was traveling in South India and entered the Minaksi temple in Madurai, the godless followers of Durga asked me question after ques¬tion. "O great soul!" they said. "You look like a Vaisnava, so why are you going to a temple of the goddess?" I cited vaisnavanam yatha sambhuh - that Sambhu is a topmost Vaisnava and I wished to have his darsana and offer him my obeisances. Thinking like this I also went to Sivakanci. There Lord Siva's followers threw a similar question at me, because in South India, no Vaisnava enters the temple of any demigod but goes only to the temples of Lord Vishnu. In the temple of Lord Vishnu, the five-god worshipers see Him as equal to the other four demigods.

Sri Madhva's followers know that the demigods are devotees of Lord Vishnu. They know that Lord Vishnu is supreme, so they worship the demigods with the remnants of Lord Vishnu's worship. In the north of Udupi there is a place where Sri Vishnu sila is placed on top of Siva and worshiped. Below the hand of Lord Ananta Padmanabha there is a deity of Siva. Demigod worship and respecting ancestors are not dis¬regarded in the Sri Madhva sampradaya, yet the Madhvites are not in favor of material synthesis in the form of five-god worship.

As published in the
By His Divine Grace Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura Prabhupada
Published by Touchstone Media. The text may be purchased in its entirety here.


If you are interested with the subject matter of this site and would like more information concerning related works by Chris Butler, please write to the Secretary of the Science of Identity Foundation.

Read More