A ‘Dwaita’ touch

Movie Name: Madhvacharya

Year: 1986

Director: G.V. Iyer

Music: Dr. Balamurali Krishna

Language: Kannada 

India is renowned as the fountainhead of various philosophies. The principal school of thoughts are: Adwaitha (by Adi Shankara); Vishishta Adwaitha (by Saint Ramanuja) and Dwaitha (by Madhvacharya). The great Vaishnavite Saint Madhvacharya’s doctrine dwaitha was documented and propagated in the 13th century. Dwaitha philosophy is based on the concept of dualism, i.e., God and humans are not the same entity. Also, the world is real and not a mere illusion. The movie ‘Madhvacharya’ is a lyrical adaptation of his life and teachings.

Born as Vasudeva, Young Madhvacharya wondered why people were always crying and not smiling. Following a personal tragedy at home, he saw a world full of sorrow around him. The Young Vasudeva made his humble attempt to bring smiles on people’s faces. An intellect from a young age, he was very matured and had a great understanding of things around him. During one of his classes, he asked his guru why an explanation, which was different from the ones written in scholarly books, was unacceptable. The guru calmly replied that one had to be an ascetic or a great scholar for such an explanation to be accepted. This was the catalyst that aided in the transformation of Vasudeva into Saint Anandathirtha stating the truth that will be accepted by everyone.

Vasudeva was a responsible son too. Since he was the only heir to his family, he entered sainthood only after his family was blessed with another son soon after.

Once into sainthood, he was renamed as ‘Poornapragnya’ that translated to ‘one with total awareness’. Poornapragnya stood out for his fresh thinking much to the wonder of his guru and to the chagrin of his co-students. His Guru Sri Trivikrama was initially dismayed by Poornapragnya’s explanations that were in contrast to those of Adi Shankara, who propagated adwaitha. However, he gradually and whole-heartedly accepted the simple yet profound propagations of Poornapragnya that could even reach out to the layman. Soon, Poornapragnya was renamed as ‘Anandathirtha’.

It was an era when the major school of spiritual thought that existed was that of Adi Shankaracharya. It’s interesting how director G.V. Iyer carefully handles the sensitive issue of the clash of thoughts that emerged when Madhvacharya began spreading his philosophy. He thus earned the wrath of the followers of the Adi Shankara’ s principles portrayed throughout the film.

Saint Anandathirtha’s explanations were based on stating the truth not defined by logic. For instance, explaining the whole concept of Vedas in a ‘nutshell’ might seem a herculean task. But not for Saint Anandathirtha. He does so literally in a ‘nutshell,’ through a coconut. His wisdom wins over an erudite Buddhist monk, who is defeated by him in a debate.

He then sets out on a pilgrimage to Badri. He then writes the commentary on ‘Brahmasutra’. He explains how infinite completeness is truth and truth is experiential. He installs the Krishna idol which was found under a river at the mutt in Udupi.

The music is composed by Dr. Balamurali Krishna, who earned the National Award for the same in 1987. If the camera sets the serene mood of the film, the mellifluous music lends a touch of purity. The song ‘Vande Vandhyam Sadaanandam’ sung by Dr. Balamurali Krishna himself transports the listener to a world of tranquility. The background score is in perfect sync with rhythm of the movie.

‘Madhvacharya’ is a poignant attempt at chronicling the life of the great Vaishnavite saint. Indeed, a big and a significant droplet in spreading the ocean of dwaitha knowledge.

Janani Rajeswari is a freelance journalist who feels writing is a way of staying happy and positive. She teaches foreign languages. She also loves music, pets, books, movies, art and craft and learning new languages.



Adios Sardar of Spin

Related Posts

Sam Bahadur – The Extraordinary Soldier

Vicky Kaushal has brought Field Marshal SHFJ Manekshaw to life, and the entire nation is proud of him for doing a wonderful job. He has lived a soldie...