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Maadhav Vidyaaranya
(1268 AD - 1682 AD) = 74 years
There are three people who are said to be the kingmakers - Samarth Raamdaas, Vidyaaranya and Kautilya or Chaanakya. Together they form the Tri-Moorti who built Hindu kingdoms and saved the Sanaatan Dharm during their times.

Vidyaaranya's full name was Maadhav Vidyaaranya. He is a known king-maker, patron saint and high priest to Harihar Raaya I and Bukkaa Raaya I - the founders of the Vijayanagar Empire in Southern India. He was the 12th Jagadguru of Shringeree Shaaaradaa Peeth from 1380-1386 AD. He was born to Maayanaachaarya and Shreemateedevee in Pampaa Kshetra (modern Hampee) in 1268. Some say that he was born in Ekashilaa Nagaree (modern Waarangal). He helped the Raaya brother to establish their empire in 1336 AD. He later served the three generations who ruled over the Vijayanagar empire. Vijayanagar (or Hampee) has temple also built in the honor of Maadhavaachaarya. He has written two books - Sarv Darshan Sangraha and Panchadashee.

He was the follower of A-Dwait philosophy. He is said to the brother of Saayanaachaarya who wrote commentary on all the four Ved. He lived in the court of Vijayanagar. He was Minister of Bukkaa I. His younger brother Shyaapaa was also there in his court and is a famous commentator of Rig Ved.

Founding of Vijayanagar Empire
Harihar Raaya I and Bukkaa Raaya I were two Kannad Hoysala Dynasty Army Chiefs. After the Kakatiyaa were defeated by Muslim Sultaan, Harihar and Bukkaa Raaya were forced to convert to Islam. Vidyaaranya identified them, reconverted them to Hindu and asked them to identify a place to establish a Hindu empire.

How did they found their kingdom? It is an interesting story. When they were traveling, they found a place where a rabbit was chasing a dog. When Vidyaaranya was told about the miracle at this place, he planned to establish the kingdom there. As Vidyaaranya was also a great astrologer, he told them an auspicious  Muhoort (auspicious time) for laying the foundation stone, so that the empire would last for 2000 years. When everything was set, the Guru told them that he would go over the next hill, observe the celestial star positions and blow the Shankh (conch shell horn), at which moment they should lay the foundation stone. After some time, Harihar and Bukkaa heard a sound of conch and they laid the foundation stone. After a few minutes, they heard another sound. Later the Guru asked them for which sound they laid the stone, to which they replied, the first one. The Guru calculated the chart for the time at which the first sound was heard. He predicted that the empire would last for only two hundred years. The first blow of conch was by a Jangam Devaru (one who begs). It is said that before the event had happened, Vidyaaranya, seeing the Muslim genocide of Hindu, did Tapas (Meditation) for Bhuvaneshwareei Devee (the goddess of the Earth). When she appeared, he asked her for a Hindu empire for 2000 years, but she said that the time does not favor Hindu and gave the boon for only 200 years.

Vidyaaranya's Works
Vidyaaranya's most famous works are "Paaraashar Maadhaveeya" and "Sarv Darshan Sangraha". His Sarv Darshan Sangraha deals with 16 systems of thoughts. Sarv Darshan Sanṅ̇graha is one of the few available sources of information about Lokayat, the materialist system of philosophy in ancient India. he has written "Jeevan Mukti Vivek" too.

His Panchdashee is a standard text on the philosophy of the A-Dwait Vedaant tradition. It consists of 15 chapters which are divided into three sections of five chapters each, which are designated as Vivek (Discrimination), Deep (Illumination) and Aanand (Bliss). The text elucidates many Vedaantik concepts such as, the five sheaths of an individuality, the relation between Eeshwar (God), Jagat (world) and Jeev (individual), the indistinguishability of cause and effect etc.

Vidyaaranya also wrote a commentary on the Mimalps Sootra. He attained Siddhi after a six year stint as an Aachaarya of the monastery of Shringeree.


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Created by Sushma Gupta on 3/15/06
Updated on 11/08/12