The Eight Tulu Monasteries of Udupi

The history and the organization of the eight monasteries (called Ashta-Matts) in Udupi, Karnataka established by Sri Madhvacharya are interesting. It is perhaps one of the rare Hindu religious centers where the customs and routines as practiced by its founder have not been altered significantly for over seven centuries. Madhvacharya in late 13th century established the Krishna temple and the eight monasteries in Udupi. For seven centuries the monasteries have served as the bastions of Vaishnavism in India. It is one of the most sacred temples which boasts of many legendary saints, swamis as well as devotees. The monasteries have upheld the Dvaita (dualism) philosophy as proposed by Madhvacharya. Dvaita is Acharya Madhva's interpretation of Upanishads and is incorporated in the philosophical branch of Darshana literature called Vedanta (end of Vedas).

Madhva was born in a village called Pajaka (Belle Grama) near Udupi. He was a prodigy who mastered Sanskrit and the Vedas at an early age and with the help of his guru Achutaprajna, amassed a wealth of knowledge from the Upanishads. Guru Achutaprajna was a proponent of monism (Advaita) of and tried to indoctrinate young Madhva into that philosophy. However, Madhva from his observations formed his own opinions after an intense study of the Upanishads. Eventually he even convinced his guru to abandon Shankara's theory of monism and adopt the dualistic theory of Dvaita.
Guru Achutaprajna gave Madhva the name Purnaprajna after he completed and mastered the Vedas. Later he coronated (pattabhisheka) Madhva as a sanyasin and gave him the title Ananda Thirtha.

Acharya Madhva traveled the length and breadth of India to propagate his theory of dualism and won many disciples. There is a reference to one of his travels to North India when he was stopped by the Muslim rulers of Delhi. It is thought to be either Alauddin Khilji or Balban. Anyway, Madhva convinced the Muslim ruler that humans are children of the same God (Vishwakutumba). Impressed, the Sultan offered land and other amenities to Madhva, which he promptly refused. He asked for safe passage to Badrinath along with his disciples and the Sultan granted this.

Acharya Madhva not only was well versed in Vedas but also of the opinion that a healthy body was essential for a sound mind. He encouraged his disciples to exercise and build a strong body. He was also an ardent fan of wrestling. Acharya Madhva's talents did not end there. He was a student of music and is considered to be the father of Carnatic music. He was a renowned singer of classical music. There are reports of him singing to a spellbound audience. Udupi, a part of Karnataka, was the hub of music because of Madhvacharya's interest. Later this type of music spread all over South India and came to be known as Carnatic music (originated in Karnataka.)

Acharya Madhva was also interested in dance and drama. The unique indigenous folk dance called Yakshagana (a dance drama usually glorifying Indian mythology) is now thought to be the precursor of some of the well-known South Indian dances like Kuchipudi. Yakshagana was the medium created by Madhvacharya for the consumption of ordinary folks who were not well versed in the scriptures. He used this medium to educate the masses in spirituality. His disciple, Narahari Thirtha of Adumaru Matt was also instrumental in bringing this art to the forefront.

Yet the art of Yakshagana has moved away from Udupi, its birthplace, and has its base elsewhere in Tulu nadu today. A lack of support from the subsequent swamis of Udupi is blamed for this.

The Monasteries (Matts)

Madhvacharya established the Krishna temple of Udupi. The temple was built according to vastu shilpa. The idol was established facing west, which was a common practice at that time. (This was because the archaka can face east while performing puja. In temples where the idol faces east, the archaka is seen facing north, as he should never face west.) The idol could either be facing east or west, and both were acceptable according to Agama Shastra. This takes an important meaning, as we will see later as an urban legend tells the tale of devotee Kanakadasa, on whose account the idol of Krishna turned around 180 degrees so that the devotee could see Krishna's face.

Acharya Madhva established the eight Tulu monasteries (Matts) in Udupi. The Matts were named in accordance with the names of the near by villages where they had the most assets. Thus Palimaru, Adumaru, Krishnapura, Puttige, Shiruru, Sode, Kaniyuru and Pejavara Matts came to be known as the Ashta-Matts of Udupi. Over centuries these monasteries upheld Madhva's dualistic theory called Dvaita, which forms the basis of Hindu majority belief today. Uniquely, all the eight Matts are headquartered around the temple with their own buildings.

Sri Madhvacharya indoctrinated the eight disciples as swamis first. Later, when they were proficient in Vedanta, they were coronated (pattabhisheka) as heads of the eight Matts. In addition, he had a ninth disciple who did not have his headquarters in Udupi but was established over the Western Ghats. However, this Matt was closely aligned with Adumaru Matt. There is also close association between Udupi Matts and other nearby Matts. Subramanya Matt, Bhandarakeri Matt in Barkur and Bhimnakatte Matt in Thirthalli also belong to the Tulu family of Matts. Palimaru Matt and the well-known Matt in Gokarna (in Uttara Kannada; it is the gurupeeta for the Gowda Saraswat Brahmin society) are also considered as sister Matts.

When the swamis were coronated and placed on their thrones as heads of the various Matts, a suffix of 'Thirtha' was added to their names. Thus Hrishikesha Thirtha was the head of Palimaru Matt. He was the first disciple of Acharya to be coronated. The eight Matts are in this order:

1. Sri Hrishikesha Thirtha of Palimaru
2. Sri Nrisimha Thirtha of Adumaru
3. Sri Janardhana Thirtha of Krishnapura
4. Sri Upaendra Thirtha of Puttige
5. Sri Vamana Thirtha of Shiruru
6. Sri Vishnu Thirtha of Sode
7. Sri Rama Thirtha of Kaniyuru
8. Sri Adhokshaja Thirtha of Pejavara

The ninth Matt was headed by Sri Padmanabha Thirtha and is called Deshastha Matt. Each one of these Matts was also assigned a deity, but only four forms of Vishnu were chosen. They are Rama, Narasimha, Varaha, and Krishna (or Vittala). Each one of these deities represents the first syllable of the sacred 'AUM' (or OM that has four distinct sounds).

During Acharya Madhva's time the organization of the Matts was slightly different than now. There were three swamis in each Matt. The oldest swami, on the verge of retirement was not involved in the administration of the Matt's affairs. Instead, he concentrated on teaching the youngest trainee swami as well as spent his time in meditation. The younger swami was in charge of the daily affairs of the Matt as well as performed other obligatory functions for the spiritual uplift of the society in general. The youngest swami was usually a mere boy, being indoctrinated to ascend to the higher position. His training was the responsibility of the elder swami.

There was no rule that the swami had to be a bachelor. Even a married man could be chosen as the swami as long as he had renounced the worldly affairs and was willing to devote his life in the service of Lord Krishna.

Many palm leaf scrolls belonging to 14th century onwards are preserved in various Matts in Udupi. They are both in the Kannada and Tulu scripts. Many have been lost because of poor preservation technique. Some have made it to the modern print media and have been published. Many more need to be translated and published.


Researcher Bannanje Govindacharya has had the privilege of seeing many of the preserved texts from the Matts. With his immense knowledge and interest, Govindacharya has an advantage, as he is proficient in Sanskrit, Kannada and Tulu scripts. He has been able to read the document that is in Palimaru Matt, written by none other than the first disciple of Acharya Madhva, Sri Hrishikesha Thirtha. The palm leaf scroll written in beautiful handwriting is the replication of his guru Madhvacharya's works. The work had been read and blessed by Acharya Madhva himself. Two other creations called 'Sampradaya Paddhati' and 'Anu Madhva Charite' are also credited to this Hrishikesha Thirtha, though there is not enough proof for this.

There were many more historians, poets and Vedantis amongst the many Swamis of the eight Tulu Matts of Udupi. There is a wealth of literature that has been preserved. A scroll describing the method of attaining 'sanyasa', a sort of guidebook for would be renouncers of worldly affairs was written by Sri Vishnu Thirtha of Sode Matt. It is called ' Sanyasa Paddhati'.

Another scholar was Sri Rajarajeshwara Thirtha of Palimaru Matt from the 14-15th century, who wrote several popular poems and bhajans. His creation 'Ramasandesha' is compared to Kalidasa's writings.

Of course, the most well known of all the Swamis is Sri Vadiraja from Sode Matt from the 16th century. Many other scholars lived and administered in Udupi Matt and their works and names are too many to enumerate here.

Swami Vadiraja (1480-1600)

After Acharya Madhva the most well known figure in Udupi is Swami Vadiraja He took over as the head of Sode matt in early sixteenth century. He was a reformer and a visionary par excellence. Originally Sode Matt was called Kumbasi matt as the major assets of the Matt were in Kumbasi. Swami Vadiraja defeated the Virashaiva guru of the local king in Vedantic discursions and established his base in the village of Sode. Since then the Matt has been called Sode.

Swami Vadiraja was not only a scholar but also a poet. He wrote hundreds of critiques and treatises to Acharya Madhva's works as well as works of other Swamis before him. He was also mindful of the common people who needed guidance and directions in their devotion to Lord Krishna. Bhajan was an important part of daily routines of Hindus. Swami Vadiraja gave them innumerable songs including the famous 'Shobhane', which is recited even today by women at dusk every day as part of their prayer routine.

Swami Vadiraja also was a pioneer in reforming the administration of the Matts as regards to their obligations towards the puja ritual of the temple. Previously, various heads of Matts were in charge of puja at Krishna temple for a period of two months at a stretch. He introduced the ceremony of Paryaya, when the designated Matt is in charge as overall administrators for a period of two years. The first Paryaya was held in the year 1522, when swami of Palimaru Matt took over as the overall administrator of the temple for a period of two years. Vadiraja (of Sode matt) himself became the head of Paryaya for the first time in 1532. The order of Paryaya was selected according to the order of the swamis being coronated by Madhvacharya (note the list above). In the year 1596, it was the turn of Sode Matt to take charge of Paryaya for the fifth time. Though Swami Vadiraja was alive at that time he let his younger disciple take over. Swami Vadiraja died in the year 1600 at the age of 120.

Today Paryaya ceremony in Udupi draws a global audience every two years. In the year 2000, a cycle of thirty Paryayas for each Matt was completed (478 years). In 2002, Palimaru swami took over to begin yet another cycle (31st).

Swami Vadiraja was also the builder of the famous Kanaka-na-kindi (Kanaka's window) on the western wall of the temple, which had been devoid of windows. The swami restored the honor and dignity to Kanakadasa, who was an ardent devotee of Lord Krishna in Udupi.

Kanakadasa (1508-1606)

Kanakadasa is a legendary figure in Udupi. Born to a shepherd family near Dharwar, he did not have the power or the status of a higher caste Hindu. He was a devotee of Thirumalai Venkateshwara and his devotion to Krishna was extraordinary. This quintessential devotee composed and sang countless songs in praise of Lord Krishna. When he was not allowed to enter the temple to see his favorite God because of a caste dispute, he stood outside the western wall of the temple for days and nights, singing and pleading Krishna to give him audience (darshan). Legend has it that the idol of Krishna, which heretofore had been facing east, turned around to face west, as the western wall collapsed so that Kanakadasa could see the face of his favorite idol.

The construction (according to vastu shilpa) of the temple does not support this legend. The idol had always been facing west as evidenced by the other structures built in the ancient temple, around the idol of Krishna. The main entrance to the sanctum sanctorum is, as always from the east. There is a pond called Madhva Sarovara on the eastern front of the main entrance. When denied entrance into the temple, the only place Kanaka could have stood and prayed was the outside the western wall on the street.

However, it is believed that there was a minor earthquake at night when Kanakadasa was singing outside the western wall. A crack appeared in the western wall and Kanakadasa was able to see the idol of Krishna in plain view. In a composition of Kanakadasa, he makes a reference to the shaking of the earth at night, while he was praying with his eyes closed.

Apart from Acharya Madhva who himself composed devotional songs of Krishna, Sri Narahari Thirtha is considered to be the father of Haridasa (servant of Vishnu) movement in Udupi. Three other swamis of Udupi were also patrons of Haridasa movement namely Sri Padaraja Thirtha, Sri Vyasaraja Thirtha and Sri Vadiraja Thirtha. Sri Vyasaraja gave an impetus to the Dasa movement by taking both Kanakadasa and Purandaradasa as disciples. Another disciple, Sri Vadiraja, who was a contemporary of Kanakadasa, rebuilt the western wall of the temple with a window. This window came to be known as Kanaka-na-kindi (Kanaka's window). The nine partitions in the window signify the nine pores of the human body (eyes, ears, nostrils, and the two pores for excretion, and the mouth). The temple is considered to be the human body with the idol occupying the heart and the window thus becomes as part of the human body. The memory of Kanakadasa was permanently etched in the temple of his beloved Lord Krishna, thanks to Sri Vadiraja. He also established a gudi (a cottage) in memory of Kanakadasa where he had stayed. Recital of Vedas was a daily occurrence here for many centuries. Today a statue of Kanakadasa has replaced the gudi.

Ironically, the entrance to the temple was denied to a lower caste member like Kanakadasa in a temple of Krishna, who himself belonged to the lower caste of cowherds. Krishna even had set an example by refusing the invitation to stay with Bhishma or Drona when he visited Hastinapura but stayed with lower caste Vidura. Yet the upper class had forgotten the moral example set by their own Lord Krishna and in their narrow sightedness denied Bhakta Kanakadasa entrance to the temple. Though Kanakadasa is immortalized in Udupi, the caste-warfare and discrimination sadly still exist.

“Taulamatagala Koduge”: A Kannada article by Vidyaavaachaspati Bannanje Govindacharya.  


More by :  Dr. Neria H. Hebbar

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Comment The knowers of Shilpa ??stra suggest that the idol of K???a in the shrine at Udupi does not confirm to the lak?a?as laid out in the ?gamas for an idol of Vi??u or K???a. The idol, according to some experts of iconography, is of Skanda or Subrahmanya.

According to popular belief, this idol was originally from the fabled city of Dv?rak? and was obtained by Madhv?c?rya through a sailor. The idol, known to have been covered with gop?candana, was consecrated and installed in the shrine at Udupi by Madhv?c?rya, the founder of Dvaita Ved?nta.

There is also the popular tale of Kanakad?sa, pleased with whose devotion, the idol is said to have turned towards the western direction within the shrine at Udupi. But it is now pointed out that the consecration of the original idol was done facing the west and that the tale of Kanakad?sa probably was created during the time (fifteenth century) of prominence of the Kuruba community (shepherds) to which Kanakad?sa belonged. As the idol arrived from the sea which faces the west, it is said to have been consecrated facing the same direction.

This controversy is nothing new, but seems to have gained a new momentum due to discussions on digital and social mediums. Many of the points outlined below are recorded in a Kannada book published by the Indian Archaeological Society named – ‘Udupi: Itihasa and Puratattva’. A researcher and writer named Manjeshwara Mukunda Prabhu has spent more than a decade investigating this subject and has collected various opinions from different research scholars which indicate that the idol is indeed of Subrahma?ya and not K???a. He published an article for the first time in 1985 with his study which had then created a big controversy. Some of the noted scholars who have studied the idol and its history in depth and conclusively opine that it is indeed an idol of Skanda are:

– Dr. G N Panth, Director, National Museum, New Delhi
– Dr. R C Sharma, Director, Indian Museum, Calcutta
– T V G Shastri, Director, Birla Archaeological and Cultural Research Center, Hyderabad
– Dr V V Krishna Shastri, Director, Government Museum, Mangalore
– Thiru N Harinarayana, Director and Research Scholar, Government Museum, Hyderabad

All these reputed scholars have published their studies supplemented by verifiable proof. P Gururaja Bhatt, in his book, Studies in Tuluva History and Culture (page 331), notes: ‘the absence of kir??a is another feature and owing to the impact of age, the face is worn out”. He posits that the idol is much older than the time of Madhv?c?rya with several interesting implications.

Following are some of the key arguments put forth by these various scholars.

Udupi was originally a ?aiva k?etra

Researchers are of the opinion that Udupi, to begin with, was a ?aiva k?etra. The place gets its name ‘Udupi’ after Chandra (moon) – (Udu+pa = nak?atr?dhipati) who is said to have performed a penance here to please ?iva to rid himself of leprosy which he contracted due to a curse from Dak?a praj?pati. Lord Shiva is said to have appeared here to Chandra, cured him of his affliction and worn him as an ornament, thereby appearing as Chandramaul??vara. Two ancient temples in Udupi are of Anante?vara and Chandramaul??vara. Shivalli, a place near Udupi (known for Sthanika Brahmins) was a famous center of ?aiva worship before the time of Madhv?c?rya. There are references available today that speak of four shrines dedicated to ?akti and to Skanda in four directions surrounding the temple of Anante?vara. Of these, one of the temples of Skanda is missing today, and as recorded in an issue of the Archaeological Gazette of India, the current temple of K???a is known to originally have been this now missing shrine of Skanda.

Iconography of K???a and Skanda idols

It is pointed out that the pose of the idol holding what is alleged to be a churning rod in one hand, with his other hand on his waist – is not associated with idols of K???a and such an idol is not seen elsewhere in India.

(a) The idol sporting a da??a in one hand, is stationed in the heroic pose of ekabha?gi or samabha?gi (a straight posture with no bends) rather than the tribha?gi (three bends of the body at the waist, neck and the knee) which is commonly associated with idols of K???a. Even the a??ottara used in the temple of K???a today includes the name: tribha?gine nama?. Various forms of K???a such as Nartana K???a (dancing posture), Govardhanadh?ra (lifting mount Govardhana), K?li?gamardana – none of these are seen in samabha?gi.

(b) The chief object associated with the idol of K???a is the flute which is also missing in the idol at Udupi. The iconographical details hence seem to match those of Subrahma?ya instead who is frequently depicted as Da???yudhap??i (bearing a staff in his hand).

(c) According to ?gama and shilpa ??stras, some of the common characteristics of an idol or icon of K???a are: ?a?kha and cakra, muku?a (crown), peacock feather, vanam?l?, ?r?vatsa l?ñchana, p?t?mbara (the idol in Udupi on the other hand is clad in kaup?na – associated with Skanda) and flute. Now, the reasons why this idol is that of Skanda are: samabha?gi (discussed earlier), da???yudha in the hand, ka?ihasta (hand on the waist), kaup?na (loin cloth) and ke??la?k?ra (as opposed to hair covered by a crown in the case of K???a vigrahas).

The idol at Udupi perfectly fits the below popular pratim? lak?a?a of a Skanda vigraha from Kumara Tantra:

?????????? ???????? ??????????
??????? ??????????????????????? |
??????????????? ??????????-
????????????????????????? ||

kalpadruma? pra?amat?? kamal?ru??bha?
skanda? bhujadvayaman?mayamekavaktram |
k?ty?yan?sutamaha? ka?ibaddhad?ma-
kaup?nada??adharadak?i?ahastam??e ||

Another similar verse can be seen from the ancient K?mik?gama:

????????? ?????????????? ??????????????? |
????????????? ???????? ??????????? ???? ||

dvihasto yajñas?tr??hya? sa?ikhastrimekhala? |
kaup?nada??adh?k savyap??? ka?y??rito apara? ||

Agencies associated with the K???a Ma?ha of Udupi deny this theory and insist that the idol follows the guidelines of the work Tantras?rasa?graha of Madhv?c?rya and hence argue that it is no big deal if it defies the well-known rules of ?gama and ?ilpa??stra. However, this argument makes no sense as the idol (according to the narrative of the M?dhva votaries themselves) existed much before the birth of Madhv?c?rya, and hence also predates the work Tantras?rasa?graha. The very first reference to a churning rod (in the hands of this idol of K???a ) seems to have started from the time of V?dir?ja (1480), a M?dhva Yati who first interpreted the da??a as a churning-rod and the channav?ta.

Dr. Selvapillai Iyengar, who has a doctorate in ?ilpa??stra and is currently serving as a research scholar at KSOU, asks the following questions:

(a) K???a is generally depicted as wearing an urud?ma (a thread around the waist or hip, which most traditional Hindus wear to this day), but never holding a rope in his left hand.
(b) Even if the idol did depict a rope, why is it held in left hand and not tied to the churning rod?
(c) Why is the churning rod, if it indeed was one, held in an inverted fashion with the churning end pointed upwards?

Subrahmanya worship in Dakshina Kannada

The idol said to be of Balar?ma which also was retreived by Madhv?c?rya from the ship and installed at Va?abh???e?vara, is again very similar to the idol of Skanda and does not confirm to any lak?a?as of an icon of Balar?ma. Both idols, researchers opine, are of Skanda and resemble numerous such idols found throughout the region of Dakshina Kannada where the worship of Subrahma?ya was very popular in the past. Shown below is one such image of Skanda which closely resembles the idol in Udupi alleged to be a K???a vigraha.

Shankaranarayana Bhat
23-Apr-2016 11:32 AM

Comment Dear Dr. Hebbar,

Thank you for the reply. Very Sorry if my words have hurt you. I am also a Brahman and equally respect all sects of Brahman communities. I really get upset when one community pulls other communities leg.

Regarding Father of Yakshagana: I could not find a single historical reference which says Sri. Madwacharya is the father of Yakshagana. Given below the link to reputed news paper "The Hindu" which also says “Parthi Subba is considered as father of Yakshagana as it is said "He has composed Yakshagana prasangas for the first time”. Hence the award is named after him.

Regarding Father of Carnatic Music: I could not find a single reference which says "Madwacharya is the father of Carnatic Music" other than your article. Please give me the historical reference which says “Madwacharya is the father of Carnatic Music"

The article Tuluva Brahmins has created so much stir in other Brahman sects because of sentence “relegated insignificant jobs”. As per me no work is insignificant and I am sure you like reputed American doctors will also agree with the same.

If you peep into the history, sthanika brahmans are considered as the oldest tulu brahmans who were of course powerful because of their good character, efficiency, proficiency in dharma shastras and not just because they had access to temple coffers as you have mentioned in the article.

They lost their power because of acute Shaiva Vaishnava rivalries during the time of Vadiraja and as they have joined their hands in Indian freedom fights against British.

I could see people requesting for correction of the article "Tale of Tuluva Brahmins" right from 09/30/2012. As a responsible author you could have replied to their comments and corrected the article so that it does not consider any community in a lighter vein. I request you to correct the article at least now and contribute to the cause of uniting all sects of Brahmans.

Let noble thoughts come from all sides – Rigveda
Narayana Iyer

Narayana Iyer
16-Mar-2016 04:29 AM

Comment Talking facts out of context,Unwanted comments and personal attacks are unbecoming of an erudite and educated society like brahmins applies for every body, even for brahmins writing articles otherwise it will become definitely fodder for controversies.As you sow so shall you reap.Those who live in glass houses should not pelt stones on others
1 Bannanje Govindacharya is not a HISTORIAN and his words are not final. Show one reference stating that madhvacharya started yakshagana.
Parthi subbas time is controversial and some historians are of the opinion that he was in 11'th A.D.
2 The origin of haridasa movement was present even in 9'th A.D Ref wikipedia e.g Alwars Bhakti movement was present in sangam age
3 In your article about tuluva brahmin;"Sthanika tulu brahmins were eventually relegated to insignificant jobs".This sentence started all controversy
Whether Govindacharyaji told you to write like that. Is it not an insult,gutter talk, innuendo on your part on a sect of oldest extant tulu brahmins. Which reference you are having can you describe it.Whether that sentence was necessary in that article.It shows your hate crime attitude and conflict of interest on one main sections of brahmins
At last one advice

Aapke najariye se hi aapka andaj pata chal jata hai;
doosron ko itna najarandaz bhi na keejiye ke aap sabhi logon ke najron se gir jaye

16-Mar-2016 04:06 AM

Comment It is regrettable that articles of mine like this and the one about Tuluva Brahmins published more than a decade ago have become fodder for unnecessary controversies. Moreover, they have caused a stir recently at the level of certain subset of Brahmins. That is unfortunate.

In writing my articles I have heavily leaned on the shoulders of Late Prof. Gururaja Bhat and Vidyaavaachaspati Bannanje Govindacharya. I consider both of them as authorities extraordinaire. They both are learned men and educators, who certainly know a whole lot more than me on these subjects.

Taking facts out of context, writing unwanted comments and personal attacks are unbecoming of an educated and erudite society like that of Brahmins. Passions run high when one closes his/her mind and anger explodes like the deluge of the monsoon rains. Facts soon become a nuisance and come in the way of intelligent arguments.

After casting aspersions of fanatic mindset and ignorance, the author of the last set of comments has forwarded Internet references in repudiation of segments of this article. After going through the sites referenced, I fail to find anywhere a mention that Parthi Subba was the founder of Yakshagana. If one goes through the whole article, one will find that Parthi Subba contributed greatly to Yakshagana that was already in existance. Madhvacharya was a proponent of Yakshagana three to four hundred years before Parthi Subba.

Similarly, the Haridasa movement was started by Madhvacharya and his disciples, which greatly enhanced Carnatic music. It was also also expounded upon by another disciple of Madhva, named Narahari Thirtha, (who is considered by some as the father of Carnatic music). Centuries later one of the Dasas, namely Purandara Dasa, took Carnatic music and Haridasa movement to its apogee it was destined for. His spiritual guru was Vyasa Thirtha, a scholar of music and another disciple of Madhvacharya. Today, Carnatic music is taught in the style of Purandara Dasa's method.

Sarangadeva was no doubt a Kannadiga in the court of Yadava kings of Devagiri. His important 13th century document, Sangita Ratnakara is considered to be the first of its kind in musicology. It was a model followed by both Carnatic and Hindustani music scholars and pioneers. But there is little doubt that Haridasa movement had a seminal influence on Carnatic music.

I welcome discussions on this and similar subjects. But let's act like civilized adults and refrain from personal attacks. One can disagree without resorting to gutter-talk. Innuendos and insults have no place in my lexicon. I am ready to be educated as long as the authors provide legitimate sources as references.

Without malice,

Neria Harish Hebbar

Dr. Neria Harish Hebbar
13-Mar-2016 19:40 PM

Comment Not sure why this author is trying to create false history everywhere in his article. Either the Author is Ignorant about history or he is trying to create a false history using fanatic mind-set. This article is full of lies.

In the article it is falsely mentioned as Madvacharya is the father of Yakshagana & Carnatic Sangeeta. Please correct it.
1. The Yakhagana is founded by Parthi Subbayya for sure and not Madwacharya. Please refer to the below link:

2. The karnatic music is not founded by Madwacharya for sure. For more information refer to the below links
The history of Karnatic music can be traced back to Saranga Deva's Sangita Ratnakara , from the early13th century A.D. , are considered the to be the earliest recorded documents available on the theory and performance of Indian classical music, especially carnatic music (karnataka sangeetham).

Let Noble thoughts come from all sides
Narayana Iyer.

13-Mar-2016 03:46 AM

Comment A lot of unconfirmed rumours were/ are being spread about the birth of PARTHI SUBBAYYA to malign his and his clans name so that the credit of the originaton/propogation and fame of YAKSHAGANA can be upsurped from that clan(STHANIKA TULU BRAHMINS)

Dr. Chera Nattoja H. Hariharaprasad.rao
08-Sep-2015 01:19 AM

Comment The originator of yaksha gana as claimed here is not madhwacharya but PARTHI SUBBAYYA a sthanika tulu brahmin

Dr. Chera Nattoja H. Hariharaprasad.rao
08-Sep-2015 00:42 AM

Comment @Harsha

You may be confusing Carnatic Music with Haridasa movement. The two are separate. Madhvacharya and Narahari Thirtha are considered to be fathers of Haridasa movement, of which Purandara Dasa was a follower. Both Kanakadasa and Purandara Dasa were disciples of Vysaraja Thirtha, who was one of the patrons of Haridasa movement.

Meanwhile, Carnatic Music was composed by Purandaradasa and taught today in a system that he used. Other prominent composers were Tyagaraja, Muthuswami Dikshitar and Shyama Sastry.


Neria H Hebbar
19-Feb-2014 12:42 PM

Comment Good article, however I disagree with you on one point. You have written that Madhva is considered as the father of Carnatic Music. Thats not true. Purandara Dasa is considered as the Father of Carnatic music and not Madhva. Purandara Daasa too embraced Dvaita philosophy during the later stages of his life.

19-Feb-2014 04:28 AM

Comment Good write up on tulu history, well researched, can you write more on tulu dynasties of that time?

Sree Prasad shetty
30-Jun-2012 23:11 PM

Comment Well written Uncle.
As detailed Caste system supposedly made even before Lord Krishna's times, was just the designations given to the type of Work being done by people of those times. But subsequent generations of ignorant citizens and conquests of our country, have brought in bad name for the Necessary caste system.
Kiran reminded me of your Blogs - I have started reading the same - Fantastic work Uncle.

Nagaraj Rau
25-Dec-2010 03:34 AM

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