Anuvyākhyāna

The Vedānta Darśana, considered to be the crown-jewel of all the Hindu philosophical systems, is based on the three basic works known as ‘prasthāna-traya.’ Prasthānatraya comprises the Upaniṣads, the Brahmasūtras and the Bhagavadgītā. Any philosophical or reli-gious system, to be acceptable to the Hindu tradition, had to acknowledge the authority of these three works, or at least, not contradict them.

Of these three works, the Brahma-sūtras, also known as the Vedāntasūtras or Śārīrakasūtras, is a compendium of Upaniṣadic thoughts presented in a syste-matic manner. Since the sūtras (aphorisms) of this work are as enigmatic as they are laconic, several sages and savants have tried to expound their true meaning and purport through erudite commentaries.

One of the more important savants who have composed such commentaries on the Brahmasūtras is Madhvācārya (A. D. 1197—1276) also known as Ānandatīrtha. He is the first acārya (teacher) to syste-matize the dvaita school of Vedānta, based on the prasthānatraya.

Madhvācārya is reputed to have composed four commentaries on the Brahmasūtras: Brahmasūtra Bhāṣya, Anuvyākhyāna, Nyāyavivaraṇa and Aṇubhāṣya.

It is said that Anuvyākhyāna, the second work, was composed by Madhvā-cārya at the instance of Trivikrama Paṇḍita, one of his more important disciples, who was not satisfied with the Bhāṣya since it was not sufficiently polemical.

The Anuvyākhyāna, a metrical master-piece in 900 verses is a highly polemical work which subjects all other schools of interpretation opposed to the dvaita system to a ruthlessly critical examination. The most celebrated work of Jayatīrtha (A. D. 1345-1388), the Nyāya-sudhā, is actually a commentary on the Anuvyākhyāna. The work closely follows the Brahmasūtras, chapter by chapter, in its essential logical position.

The more important topics discussed may be briefly summed up as follows: Oṅkāra is the designation of Brahman and the purport of the Vedas; God is supremely independent and the whole creation depends upon Him; all bondage is real; the universe is real; but emancipation is possible by the grace of God.

The work devotes a major part to the criticism of Advaita Vedānta.

See also BRAHMASŪTRAS, DVAITA-VEDĀNTA-DARŚANA, JAYATĪRTHA and MADHVĀCĀRYA.