Madhavendra Puri

Jan Brzezinski jagat at
Wed Apr 9 02:27:47 UTC 1997

At 03:24 97-04-08 BST, S. Vidyasankar wrote:
>Excluding Vallabha and Nimbarka, who were both south Indians, the one
>tangible medieval link between southern and northern vaishNavism is
>rAmAnanda, who was from the SrIvaishNava sampradAya. 
I think that F. Hardy makes a rather good case that Madhavendra Puri was a
Southern Vaisnava with strong leanings to an emotional bhakti as exemplified
by the Alvars. Since clearly he was not a Madhva or a Srivaisnava, then what
was he? From the Caitanya-caritamrita, it is clear that Caitanya's group
included primarily both householder and sannyasi disciples of Madhavendra or
Isvara Puri. The Sannyasis were nearly all Puris or Bharatis. Kesava Bharati
also probably belonged to this group of Vaisnavas in Sankarite disguise.
There is clearly a phenomenon here about which little is known and about
which little has been written. Hacker, I believe, wrote about Vaisnava
influences on Sankara, and Daniel Sheridan has written a book about the
advaita strands of belief in the, which is clearly South
Indian in origin. Maadhavendra Puri was clearly a hybrid of sorts who grew
in this tradition. The mantras which are commonly used for initiation in the
Gaudiya sampradaaya, the 18-syllable mantra and the kaama-gaayatrii, are
found in the Naarada-pancaraatra, the Gopaala-taapaniiya Upani.sad and the
Brahma-sa.mhitaa. With the exception of GTU, I would think, these are easily
confirmed as having South Indian origin. The Nimbarka group also initiates
with these mantras, so it would appear that the philosophical resemblances
have another, more solid basis. Whatever the case, the idea of four
sampradaayas should be understood as a complete fabrication which probably
was born quite late. I would suspect the 18th century, but there are
references which are cited from the 16th century which appear (to most
impartial scholars) to be interpolations. 

The Gaudiya connection with South India does not stop here, however. GopAla
BhaTTa GosvAmI was a South Indian Vaisnava who had a major influence on
GauDIya doctrine and practice. JIva GosvAmI attributes the basic ideas
behind the theological exposé of the BhAgavata, SaTsandarbha, to GopAla
BhaTTa. The HaribhaktivilAsa, compiled by GopAla BhaTTa is a compendium of
smArta regulations derived from various sources, including those of KeSava,
the important 16th century AcArya of the NimbArka sampradAya. GopAla BhaTTa
was likely a convert from the Srisampradaaya, and much of his sa.mskaara
remained with him, it would seem, at least where it concerned the
development of a smArta-type development of ritualistic practice, most of
which has never caught on in the Gaudiya school at all.

All these points beg to be investigated more thoroughly...

       	Jan K. Brzezinski, Ph.D.
1262 rue St-Joseph, Val-David, QC J0T 2N0
       (819) 322-3382, 322-6146

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