Purnaprajna – Anandatirtha – Madhva

Young Vasudeva always displayed a keen interest in philosophy and spirituality. Wordly matters hardly interested him. Vasudeva also exhibited extraordinary talent at a young age. At the tender age of 11, Vasudeva ran away to nearby Udupi and accepted Sanyasa from Achyutaprajna.

Achyutaprajna named him as ‘Purnaprajna’ upon his initiation into Sanyasa. The first signs of the greatness of Purnaprajna came within 40 days of he becoming a Sanyasi. A band of scholars, led by Vasudeva Pandita, came to Udupi to engage people into philosophical debate and score over opponents, as was the common practice those days. Achyutaprajna allowed Purnaprajna to engage in the debate. The scholars were all comprehensively defeated by the 11 year old gem!

Hugely impressed by this achievement, Achyutaprajna anointed Purnaprajna as the successor of his lineage and performed the necessary rituals. At this time, Purnaprajna was given the name ‘Anandatirtha’. The surname ‘Tirtha’ is usually conferred on monks who head lineages.

Some time later, two famous Buddhist scholars of that time, Buddisagara and Vadisimha, came to Udupi. They were equipped with many certificates of victory given to them from scholars all over India whom they had managed to defeat. Sri Anandatirtha defeated them easily. In fact, Buddhisagara escaped from the debate overnight after listening to Anandatirtha masterly response to his own initial argument.

When Sri Anandatirtha started composing his works, he took to ‘Madhva’ as his pen-name (Nom de plume). The name Madhva was a Vedic name for Vayu, whose avatar Sri Anandatirtha was.

Next: The tour of South India

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