Sri Madhwacharya regarded as an incarnation of Vayu, the Wind-God was born in the year 1238 A.D. He was born of Madhya Geha a Tulu Barhmin and Vedavati at Paajaka near Udipi in South Kanara district of Karnataka. The father gave him the name Vasudeva.
Madhwa distinguished himself in physical exercises and field games. He had a wonderful physique. He could wrestle, run, jump and swim. So people gave him the nickname Bhima. Madhwa took to the study of the Vedas and the Vedandas and became well versed in them. He was performed upanayanam in the age of five. He took Sannyasa in his eleventh year. Sri Madhwa was born or became a Sanyasi (in his 11th year) on Vijaya Dasami day of the Indian year, Vilambi. Mostly this day comes in October. Even today, Maadhwas celebrate Vijaya Dasami as Madhwa Jayanti also. Achyutaparajnyaacharya initiated him. Madhwa was now known by the name Purna Prajna.
Achyutaparajnyaacharya put Madhwa as head of the Mutt in his place. Madhwa received the name of Ananda Tirtha now. He went on an extensive tour in Southern and Northern India to preach his gospel of Bhakti. He had written thirty-seven gradhas like Geetha Bhasyam, Suthra Bhasyam, Anuubhasyam. Anuvyakyam. It is believed in pronouncing the names of those thirty-seven grandas itself one gets sanctified.
Sri Madhwacharya had performed many miracles. Then Sri Madhwacharya was camping in Srimushnam a place twenty-six Km from Chidambaram in Tamil Nadu, observing the Chathur masa vritha. To squelch the thirst of a pregnant lady he produced water with his Danda. The Danda Teertha in Srimushnam is a notable holy spot for Maadhwas. On an occasion he stilled the waves of the ocean when he went to take bath. On an another occasion he was on the beach of Malpe composing a hymn. He sighted a ship that was caught in the storm and by waving his hand, saved it from being capsized. The captain of the ship had offered him a lump of Sandal paste as a gift, which the Sri Madhwacharya took. When the Sandal paste was broke and disclosed the presence of the idol of Lord Krishna. Sri Madhwacharya had a pre-sentiment that this idol of Lord Krishna is the one, which was worshiped in Dwaraka by Shri Rukmani. He installed the same, at Udipi. He had established the eight mutts in Udipi to spread the Dvaita philososhy and to worship of the Lord Krishna in Udipi.
Sri Madhwacharya is the great exponent of the Dvaita School of philosophy. Dvaita is employed to indicate this difference between God's infinite perfection and the finiteness of everything else. His Vaishnavism is called Sad-Vaishnavism in order to distinguish it from the Sri-Vaishnavism of Ramanujacharya. According to his philosophy, the Supreme Being is Vishnu or Narayana. This universe is real and is not Mithya or an illusion. The finite beings comprising the universe are subject to a system of gradation, beginning with the Goddess Laxmi, followed by other minor gods, seers, human beings and undivine beings. The rank of any soul in this scheme of gradation depends on the degree of its devotion to God. God is an embodiment of all virtues and excellences and ever remains untouched by any kind of blemish (Dosha). He has countless Roopas and forms.
Every follower of the Madhwa School should have a firm belief in the Pancha-bheda—five real and eternal distinctions. The distinction between one Jiva and another Jiva (jeeva-jeeva), between the Jiva and matter (jeeva-jata), between one piece of matter and another (jata-jata), between matter and spirit (Jata-Deva), between the Supreme Being and the individual soul (Deva-Jeeva).
The worship of Vishnu consists in (i) Ankana, marking the body with His symbols, (ii) Namakarana, giving the names of the Lord to children and (iii) Bhajana, singing His glories. Sri Madhwacharya laid much stress on constant practice of the remembrance of God (Smarana). He says, "Form a strong habit of remembering God. Then only it will be easy for you to remember Him at the moment of death".
Renunciation, devotion and direct cognition of the Lord through meditation lead to the attainment of salvation. The aspirant should equip himself with the study of the Vedas, control of the senses, dispassion and perfect self-surrender, if he wants to have the vision of the Lord. These are some of the important teachings of Madhwacharya, the renowned exponent of the dualistic school of philosophy.
Sri Trivikrama Panditacharya, contemporary of Sri Acharya Madhwa had a unique sight of seeing Sri Madhwacharya worshiping Lord Krishna, and he was wonder struck to see the divine sight – Hanuman performing puja to Sri Rama, Bhima to Sri Krishna and Madhwacharya to Sri Vaashsta Krishna (Sri Veda Vyasa). . It seems that Sri Madhwacharya had reveled to Sri Trivikrama Panditacharya that he is the third avathara of Vayu, the Wind God.
It is believed that even now Sri Madhwa is ever residing in Bhadrinath and learning from Sri Veda Vyasa.
Works of Madhwacharya
During his lifetime, Madhva wrote 37 works in Sanskrit, mostly commentaries on Hindu sacred writings and treatises on his own theological system and philosophy. He insisted that knowledge is relative, not absolute.
suggesting that Madhva may have written works in other languages that are not mentioned here. These merely show that the person who wrote the piece on Madhva was as careless about his/her usage as about his/her research. Madhva's works include commentaries on the prasthaana-traya (the triad of Vedanta, consisting of the apowrusheya texts, the Brahma-suutra of Baadaraayana aka Veda Vyaasa, and the Bhagavad Gita). In fact, Madhva wrote two commentaries on the Brahma-suutra; one of them is called the Anu-vyaakhyaana, and is the one most often read and cited. The other, a mere four or so pages long, is called the An_u bhaashya (I use n_ in place of n to indicate that the 'na' sound as in 'Gan_apati' is appropriate). Madhva's commentary on the Mahaabhaarata is called the Mahaabhaarata-taatparya-nirn_aya.
Independent works by Madhva include the Vishnu-tatva-vinirn_aya, a text that starts from the very fundamentals, and goes on to establish Vishnu's supremacy in no uncertain terms. This text is referred to in the Sumadhva Vijaya as being akin to Arjuna, who was himself more than a match for a whole army that included several renowned warriors, during the battle to
save Viraata's cows. Another work of great importance is the Pramaan_a lakshan_a, which deals with the concept of pramaan_a, and which is a wonderful exposition of epistemology. Other works by Madhva include the Upaadhi-khandana, the Kathaa-lakshan_a, the Mithyaatva-anumaana-khandana, etc.