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Mayavada-Khandana Teeka

Mayavada-Khandana Teeka of Sri Jayatheertha is published in Kannada and Sanskrit PDF downloadable format :

The three compositions named as Khandanas/Criticisms (Khandanatraya) are very short, but contain a very lucid criticism of Advaita and other similar schools which postulate identity of the soul with the supreme being.

Such a position originally postulated by Sankara’s Advaita has been taken in varying forms by Ramanuja, Vallabha, Nimbaraka, etc.

The Prapancha Mithyattvanumana-Khandana demolishes the theory of unreality of the world, which is prerequisite for the true Advaita doctrine.

The Upadhi-khandana criticizes the contrived explanations, which are unavoidable to support the doctrine of identity, in the face of very obvious disparities between the Souls and God .

The Mayavada-Khandana deals with the Advaita Theory of the Unreality of worldly bondage which is also a corollary of the premise that the soul is one with the supreme being.

Acharya Madhwa initialize the criticism by stating that Advaita sruti interpretation does not qualify for being studied (Anarambhaniya) as it does not have the four fold essential requirements (Anubandha Chatustaya) i.e.

1. Adhikarin(Qualified aspirant):

As per advaita  one has to realize the hollowness of the world of pleasures and suffering, and desire to liberate himself from the coils of Ajnana(Ignorance), which is the root cause.
As per tatwavada, the adhikarin is one who understands that the bondage in the world of births and deaths
are real and that they can be overcome only by attaining Salvation/Mukti, by the grace of Supreme Being. Having realized the futility of aspiring worldly pleasures, he develops resignation instead and by constant practice attains the desirable qualities of Shama-(wisdom), Dama-(Self-restraint)

2. Visaya-(Subject Matter)
In advaita, the essential purpose and subject matter of Shastras is to establish the identity of the soul with the supreme being.
In tatwavada, on the other hand, the Shruti, Smriti and the Brahma Mimamsa Shastra (which is regarded as a guide in the correct interpretation of shruties, etc.) teach that Brahman is entirely different from the world of Sentient beings and non-Sentient matter. He is also the embodiment of all auspicious Qualities/Attributes and devoid of all blemishes/shortcomings.

3.Prayojana (Objective)
In Advaita when the aspirant understands the shastras correctly, his Ajnana, which is itself unreal, is destroyed and the soul realizes his identity with Brahman, who has not attributes. He is thus completely liberated from the worldly bondage.
In Tatwavada, correct understanding of the Supreme being and the five fold differences leads to Aparoksha – (“Experiencing” of the Lord) and eventually by His grace, leads to Mukti/liberation/salvation, which is full of Bliss. It is amplified that both the bondage and liberation are real.

4. Sambandha-(Relationships)
Appropriate relationships exist between the three above named entities, based on their nature.

Now Acharya Analyses :

He first asks Advaitin : Whether the Aikya(union) of God with the soul is real or not ?

In advaita, all entities other than Brahma, who is the only real, are unreal.  Aikya also being not the same as brahma is unreal.

Advaita has two possible answers at this stage:

The Brahmathmaikya is different in essence from the Brahman itself, but it is also absolutely real. This means the Advaita itself is lost.

2nd alternative is to accept that such aikya is real in an absolute sense, but is not different from the Swaroopa or essence of Brahman. – A writer of Advaita Khandanakara has written – Everything that is real is Brahma only . If aikya(Unity) is essentially Brahman Himself, being Svaprakasha, Brahma or Jiva must already know himself.

Hence the Advaita interpretation of Shastra suffers from the defect of stating that which is already known (Siddha Sadhanata) and hence is superfluous.

To avoid this defect, the Shastras have to be accepted to say something which is not known before (by other means) which means that the Svaprakasha Jiva (who is already aware of Himself) is not aware of aikya which therefore cannot be his essence. This defect is according to Dwaita concept of svaprakashatva of the soul which means Svavishayaprakashtvam – not being known by other means (such as mind etc. Vrittijnana, etc.) the shastras cannot describe such an indescribable Atman by their own definition.

Advaitin can counter this : Even when the swaroopa ( Essence) of the soul is known by it as a result of its Svaprakasha nature, the special feature of the soul/Brahma being one only is known and hence the defect of Siddha-Sadhanata is avoided. They quote the example though the possessor and its quality are identical ( GuNaGuniopi Abheda), when a pot is felt or cognized in darkness, its colour is not. Hence, even when aatman is svaprakasha, some feature of itself may not be known by it.

Dwaita answers:  as per Advaita itself, Atman is nirvisesha (not having any qualities which can be defined or cognized separately ) there cannot be any such separate quality which is not cognized by the Svaprakash Atman. On the other hand, Dvaita accepts the concept of Visesha due to which, a quality or an attribute such as dark colour of the object like the pot, is cognized separately, though it is essentially one with itself. If this is accepted by Advaita for the Atman, it is possible to argue that such Islands of ignorance can exist in a Svaprkasha Atman. Advaita does not accept this concept. Aikya, which is not different from the soul cannot be so cognized. Hence, it cannot be argued that Aikya is not cognized by a Svaprakasha Atman, though it is part of essence. In other words, all that is part of its essence must always be cognized by Svaprakasha Atman.

The accepted tenets of Advaita are all rejected on the basis of the non-acceptance of the concept of Ajnana, whose existence is shown to be impossible. The Visaya or subject for the Sastras is Advaita (Identity) cannot exist without first accepting the existence of Ajnana. Ajnana cannot exist for the reasons shown earlier – lack of vyapti relationship between Avarana and AvriyamaNa- Ajnana and its subject.

Therefore, advaita cannot stipulate that Aikya is distinct from swaroopa of atman. It has to accept that it is a part of its essence. If it is so, as Atman is svaprkash, it would be so known. Hence, Aikya cannot be the visaya or subject of the shastras. Sri Vyasaraja states in his own inimitable way that the statement of Aikya by the Shastras (if they are stating as per advaita), will be like some one, saying that there is a pot in the middle of a brightly lit place to some one who is intently looking at it. obviously, the subject of such statement is well known and hence it cannot be included as a valid interpretation of the shastras.

Dwaitin also argues that just as there is no Visaya (subject) there are no adhikari, prayojana etc for the shastras, when interpreted as preaching advaita, based on their own accepted Nyaya-logic. Prayojana is not there as Ajnana iself cannot exist, the subject of Ajnana (that which is not known) cannot also exist. In the same manner, in the absence of Ajnana, the prayojana or utility of the Advaita sastras, which is to remove the non-existent ajnana is  also  (non-existent) The final prayojana being Moksha, which is of the nature of removal of the(non-existing)veil of Ajnana cannot also be attained. An advaita text is quoted : Moksha is the extinction or complete removal of avidya(Ajnana)

The prayojana of Advaita shastra is also shown to be non existent in another manner – in Istasiddhi , it is stated that moksha which is of the nature of removal of Ajnana, is the swarupa or essence of the Atman – Atman is already Siddha or established before commencing any efforts for attainment of Moksha, there cannot be any prayojana for the Advaita Shastra. The aspirant cannot make efforts to achieve something which he already knows  and is his essence  Hence nothing is achieved by such efforts.

After having shown that Shastras led by the Vedas would have to be considered as Anarambhaniya (not to be studied) if the Advaita interpretation is accepted, Sri Madhwa quotes from them to indicate the correct interpretations.

Sri Jayathirtha says that the essence of all the shastras , as expounded both by shrutis (Vedas) and God Himself (who is the most reliable source for this information -Parama Aptatama) is the supreme greatness of Lord Vishnu and not identity of the soul with God. Acharya Madhwa quotes extensively from Shruti, Smriti to amplify this.

He also establishes the gradation of souls by highlighting the quote from Bhagavadgita/Smriti

द्वाविमौ पुरुषौ लोके क्षरश्चाक्षर एव च ।
क्षरः सर्वाणि भूतानि कूटस्थोऽक्षर उच्यते ॥16॥

उत्तमः पुरुषस्त्वन्यः परमात्मेत्युदाहृतः ।
यो लोकत्रयमाविश्य बिभर्त्यव्यय ईश्वरः ॥17॥

यस्मात्क्षरमतीतोऽहमक्षरादपि चोत्तमः ।
अतोऽस्मि लोके वेदे च प्रथितः पुरुषोत्तमः ॥18॥

यो मामेवमसंम्मूढो जानाति पुरुषोत्तमम् ।
स सर्वविद्भजति मां सर्वभावेन भारत ॥19॥

इति गुह्यतमं शास्त्रमिदमुक्तं मयाऽनघ ।
एतद्बुद्ध्वा बुद्धिमान्स्यात्कृतकृत्यश्च भारत ॥20॥

इन्द्रियेभ्यः परा ह्यर्थाः अर्थेभ्यश्चपरं मनः
मनसस्तु परा बुद्धिः बुद्धेरामा महा्न परः
महतः परमव्यक्तम् अव्यक्तात् पुरुषः परः
पुरुषात् न परं किञ्चित् सा काष्ठा स परो गतिः

In this manner, the superiority of Vishnu has been concluded by God Himself, as well as by Vedas, as the essential meaning of the shastras.

After establishing that Advaita cannot be the interpretation of the Shastras, Sri Madhwa quotes Gita Texts and valid PramaNas from Smriti and Brahma Sutras, to show that there is difference (Bheda) between God, Avyakta and the Soul, gradations amongst themselves, with Vishnu being the supreme being, the inner controller and sustainer of all such an entities, cannot be identical with the controlled and limited entities.

He also quotes the solemn promise of the supreme Lord himself, that this is the essence of the sastras, knowing which, the soul attains Moksha. Thus ruling out any other interpretation.

Advaita interpretation leading to the concept of eternal Bhava Rupa Avidya, which is removed only by knowledge of identity of the soul with God is thus shown to be totally baseless and invalid and also against the clear exposition of Lord Krishna Lord Vedavyasa in the Brahma Sutras.

Sri Veda Vyasa himself ultimately confirms. by professing:

नास्ति नारायण समं न भूतं न भविष्यति
एते सत्ववाक्येन सर्वार्थान साधयाम्यहम्

Therefore it is epitome of ignorance, to aspire and profess the unity of soul with God, When one cannot even imitate little of Him, where is the question of Unity.

Sri Jayatheertha concludes his Teeka with a summarizing verse:

वचनप्रसूनमाला जयतीर्थाख्येनभिक्षुणा रचिता
ध्रियतां सदये हृदये कमलमहिलेन पुरुषेण

Let this composition of words composed by Jayatirtha Bhiksu adorn the supreme being, who is the lord of Kamala, like a garland of flowers and lead to his Grace.

If we want to really enjoy this wisdom in the words of  Sri Jayatirtha himself, let us scan this work from the heart of our brain by clicking the links below:



We profoundly thank Sri Dr G M Jayateertha  for permitting us to upload his extremely useful Kannada translation of this work. Readers would be highly benefited if this Kannada translation could be used. Here is this attachment too :



  1. P SRINIVASAN says:

    Dear Sir,

    Thank you for your earlier reply to my question.

    I have some other questions. Seek your help to get more clarity in this. Not sure if this is the right post as my questions are different from the topic

    1. If God is only Nimitta Karana for creation and Jada are from Moola Prakriti, then what is the source of Jivas. If they are also eternal, then does it mean that three sources existed separately before creation? i.e. Bramha, Jiva and Avyaktha?
    2.What is the view of Madhva on Para, Vyuha, Vibhava, Archa and Antaryamin Tatvas.
    3. If Narayana is the Antaryami of Shiva and Bramha, then what is the position of Shiva and Bramha in the hierarchy?
    4. I came to know that realization of one’s swaroopa deha is very important in attaining Moksha as per Madhva. For example, if my swaroopa deha is a snake, then even while I attain liberation from a human birth, will I be a snake in Vaikunta? I understand so from Adishesha who has a form of snake, Garuda whose swaroopa is eagle, Hanuman whose swaroopa is monkey.
    5. What is the source of this swaroopa deha? Are they from Bramhan or Avyakta or they are also eternal. If this swaroopa deha is dependent on God, then what is the criteria that God follows to give a Jiva his swaroopa deha.
    6. One more important question that I could not find answer at all so far. Only God has to help me to understand. Life of each living being is as per their Karma. When Mahapralaya occurs, the whole creation is held by God like a tree in a seed. Once creation starts again, each Jiva takes birth as per Karma. But, how does each Jiva fell into Karma for the first time in the first creation. Is Karma the law of God or law of nature? Please let me know what is the view of Madhva or for that matter view of any acharya that you know or any clue about this in Veda Vedantas.
    7. What should one do to have Darshan of Madhva and attain knowledge about Bramhan and Liberation from Madhva Himself?

    Sorry for asking too much of questions out of curiosity. However, knowledge develops only by asking questions. I believe you will be able to help me with the answers.

    Thanks & Regards,
    P. Srinivasan

    • Padmahas Bn says:

      Namaste Srinivasan, I’ll try to answer some of your questions as per my knowledge.
      1. yes Brahma and Jiva are always eternal. I don’t know about Avyaktha.
      2. I still have to get answers.
      3. I’ll give the hierarchy. Sriman Narayana, Laxmi devi, Brahma, Vaayu, Saraswati devi, Bharati devi, Garuda deva, Shesha, Rudra devaru…
      4. You won’t attain liberation from human birth. You’ll have charama deha on your last Janma (end of Janma, The Janma on which you will go to Moksha. ) and that will be snake itself not human.Yes after you attain Mukti, you’ll be snake in Vaikunta, however there won’t be any restrictions that you have to remain in snake form forever. Your forms can be changed on your own wish. There won’t be any kind of restrictions for that matter. eg: You have to perform deva pooja everyday (because there is no night or darkness in Vaikuntha), You need to fast on Haridina (Eakaadashi). When there is no day and night there won’t be 11th day or Eakadashi. And you won’t even get hungry at all. Whatever you do, you will do it in the anusandhana of “worshiping Sri Hari”.
      5. Swaroopa is not dependent on god. God doesn’t follow any criteria to give swaroopa to any Jiva because he neither create Jivas nor their swaroopa. Swaroopa will be in the form of seed. When god brings Jiva’s to earth to perform their Sadhana, their swaroopa will emerge as tree.
      6. I can only answer this question according to the knowledge I’ve gathered from pravachanas and questions I’ve made to my gurus. There is no such thing like first creation. However among infinite Jivas, if a Jiva is brought by god to srusti for the first time, based on his swaroopa (satvika, rajasa or tamasa), based on his fate and other criteria mentioned in vedas which Narayana promises himself to follow them (Satyasankalpa guna of Vishnu), he makes that Jiva to perform some kind of karma and based on those karma some more karma until he attain his respective end point. i.e moksha, samsara or tamassu.
      7. This is a kind of tough question. If you mean, on the very same time Madhwacharya was visible to us you want to live and get guidance from Madhwacharya, then you need to wish and beg god to give such chance as the Trivikrama panditaacharya got in his life.

  2. Dr. Jayateertha G.M. says:

    I am afraid ! there is some misunderstanding here. My answer to your doubt is as follows:

    The Jeeva brahma Aikya (Advaita) and Sastras mainly convey Aikya (Advaita) to the aspirant of Moksha, are the fundamental doctrines of Advaita philosophy. Shrimadachary in his MayavadaKhandan (MK) analyses this position of Advaita in depth. Here, I am not going to deal in detail what is all discussed in MK but bring to your notice, pertain to your doubt, the gist of his arguments and objections to Advaita based on basic tenets of Advaita itself.
    Shrimadachary put forth the argument that if Sastras convey us Advaita then they are not conveying Yatarth (absolute truth) but Ayatartha (non absolute truth) hence become what is called in Sastras as Anarambhaneeya, means not worth study for adhyaatma aspirant.
    Let us follow his arguments:
    If Sastras convey Aikya or Advaita then they cannot be Yatarth as per Advaita doctrine.
    • If Aikya is Yatarth and distinct from Brahman, the very basic doctrine of Advaita fails since as per the Advaita, Brahma alone is Satya or truth.
    • Hence if aikya is Yatarth then it cannot be distinct from Brahman. And “Pradnanam Brahm”, “brahmaiva idam sarvam” support this. But In this
    case, since Brahman is Svaprakash, two defects occur as per the Advaita doctrine.
    o If the meaning of Svaprakash is taken as “Svavishya Prakashstvam” then aspirant of Moksh knows Brahman or Self well before the study
    of scriptures. Hence here scriptures convey to aspirant whatever he knew earlier so their knowledge becomes superfluous. This is a
    defect called as Siddhasadhanata. So this case is not tenable.
    o If the meaning of Svaprakash is taken as “Avedyatvam Svaprakashatvam” then Sastras gets dosh or defect of Apratipadakatva, means
    they cannot describe the Brhaman.
    • In this case an argument can be put forth like this: From Svaprakash, Atmaswaroop is known but special feature called Aikya (Advaita) is not
    known and Sastras are conveying that Aikya (Advaita) hence no scope for Siddhasadhanata or Apratipadakatva .
    o But this cannot be the case, because here Atmaswaroop is known and is Nirvishesh, Nirakaar and Nirguna as per Advaita doctrine hence
    there is nothing remains to be known like Advaita, hence above defects cannot be eliminated.
    • One more argument can be put forth like this: let Siddhasadhanata be dosh if Sastras convey sakshat direct Advaita. But they are not. They
    only remove superimposed ignorance, hence Advaita is known on its own. But here, Atmaswaroop is known, and also there are no special
    attributes to be known, hence in this case there is no chance that superimposition of ignorance to occur. Therefore you cannot eliminate
    Siddhasadhanata dosh of Sastras.
    • One more argument can be put forth like this: let Siddhasadhanata be there for Sastras what is the problem? They may be conveying the
    known things but not wrong or untrue things right. Here two defects or dosh can occur:
    o But one should remember that Sastras unlike pratyaksha, are not swartha but by rule they are parartha, hence if they start convey the
    things are already established then they get the defect called Anupaadeyatva (means not acceptable by jnaanis).
    o Also Advaita accepts Bhaskara”s Pramana lakshana which says “anadhigataartha gantru pramaanam” (means Pramaana is the one which
    gives the right knowledge of unknown thing). Hence Sastras become Apramanika. Hence in this case, Apasiddhaant dosh occurs.
    Here I have just enumerated basic concepts, and not all to answer your doubt. In the Mayavada Khandan these things are discussed with Pramana along with arguments and cross arguments in detail and many more things. Please read my book on MayavadaKhandan in which I have made the anuvada of original text along with Jayateertha”s commentary and sub-commentries of Shri Vyasateertha, Shrinivas teertha and Shri Satyanatha teertha.

  3. Srinivasan Pranesh says:

    Dear Sir,

    I am a Dvaitin by birth and interested in the same. I have a question in Dvaita. God is projected as two karanas or cause for the creation. They are Nimitta karana (Efficient cause) and Upadhana karana (Material cause). What does Dvaita say about God as cause of Universe?

    I understand that He is only Nimitta karana (Efficient cause) because if He is also the material cause, then everything came from Parabramha and hence all are Parabramha. If He is only Nimitta karana, then on seeing the five fold differences given by Madhvacharya, three things, namely Parabramha (Vishnu), Jivatma and Prakriti should have been existed before creation.

    God has no source and root. He was not subject to creation. But, what is the source of Jivatma and Prakrithi as per Dvaita. I believe my question makes some sense. I am not in favour of Advaita but interested in knowing Dviata more.

    Kindly advice.

    • srimadhvyasa says:

      Moolaprakruthi is the material cause for Prapancha. This moolaprakruthi is eternal and was there, is there and will be there for ever. In creation, it becomes the material cause of the world. Likewise Jeeva is also eternal. God only creates bodies and for them, maintains and destroys them. Jeeva is also eternal That is why Acharya Madhwa advocates five fold differences.


  4. Srivathsa rao i says:

    In the very beginning of mayavada khandana,…..
    As you only said,Madhvacharya says that brahman and brahma jgnana are different.He says,as brahma jgnana is different from brahma,It is false,as everything else other than brahma is false in advaitha.So,the advaitha thattva is false he says.
    So, he says it is waste to learn advaitha.

    For this advaithi’s answer,
    Pragnanam brahma (Brahman is knowledge) a mahavakhya says,Brahma and brahman jgnana are not different ,but brahma jgnana is very swarupa of brahman.
    So,one cannot differentiate between brahman and brahma jgnana.Brahma and brahma jgnana are one and same.

    So,there is no question of saying brahma is true,and brahma jgnana (advaitha tattva) is false.

    So, the vary beginning of mayavada khandana is wrong…….

    what you say for this?

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