Shri Madhwa Navami is associated with Shri Madhwacharya one of the greatest Hindu Saints and Philosophers who was the founder and exponent of Dvaita Philosophy. He was not only a great Saint and Philosopher; he was and is strongly believed and considered as the third incarnation of the Wind God (Lord Vayu) known as Mukhya Prana. Other two earlier in this lineage are Lord Hanuman and Shri Bheemasena. It is said that Shri Madhwacharya during his life time had openly identified himself as an incarnation of Lord Vayu which was evidenced by several miracles performed by him right from his childhood days.
Shri Madhwacharya known as Vasudeva during his childhood was born around 800 years back in a small village presently known as Pajaka Kshetra about 10 km from the temple town of Udupi near Mangalore in Karnataka State. He was born in a family of Shivalli Brahmins and was the son of Madhyageha Bhatta. Born in 1238 AD Shri Madhwacharya lived for 79 years and left this world on the 9th day of bright fortnight (Navami thithi) in the lunar month Magha Masa that falls two days after the Ratha Sapthami festival.
A child prodigy, with divine qualities, Shri Madhwacharya was well known for his authority, knowledge and extempore oratory skills, on the subject. During his period he had defeated many of his opponents with his authenticated arguments. Robust in physique and health Shri Madhwacharya was a multifaceted personality also known for his mystic powers. At the age of twelve Shri Madhwacharya left his home to become an ascetic and took up the Sanyasa Deeksha under the guidance of Shri Achyuta Preksha Theertha his Sanyasa Guru. He was named as Poornapragna after attaining Sanyasa Deeksha. Very soon he became the head of the Matha and came to be known as Ananda Theertha and later as Madhwacharya by which name he became very popular.
During his life Shri Madhwacharya wrote explanatory notes (commentaries) on Upanishads, Bhagavat Geeta, Brahma Sutras, Mahabharata and Bhagavatha Purana besides scripting several other original works on his doctrines. SuMadhwa Vijaya a biography of Shri Ananda Theertha written by Shri Narayana Panditacharya son of Shri Trivikrama Panditacharya eulogized the glory of Shri Madhwacharya and his accomplishments which is said to have been composed during Shri Madhwacharya’s life time itself. Shri Vayu Sthuthi composed by Shri Trivikrama Panditacharya is a very popular script on Lord Hanuman whose lineage is Shri Madhwacharya.
Shri Madhwacharya was instrumental in establishing the famous temple of Lord Shri Krishna at Udupi and installed the idol of Shri Bala Krishna that was said to have been worshipped by Rukmini Devi the prime consort of Lord Shri Krishna during Dwapara Yuga. At the time of installation Shri Madhwacharya spontaneously composed a prayer in glory of Lord Shri Krishna that became popular as Dwaadasanama Sthothram. Procuring of the idol was a miracle and forethought of Shri Madhwacharya. Not only he installed the idol of Lord Shri Krishna but also appointed eight of his prime disciples to take forward his legacies and to have continuity to the worship of the Lord by rotation. Even today this practice of rotation of worshiping and administering the Shri Krishna Matha at Udupi known as Paryaya is in vogue that takes place once in two years.
These eight prime disciples appointed by Shri Madhwacharya were, Shri Hrishikesha Theertha, Shri Narasimha Theertha, Shri Janardhana Theertha, Shri Upendra Theertha, Shri Vamana Theertha, Shri Vishnu Theertha, Shri Rama Theertha and Shri Adhokshaja Theertha.
These eight Pontiffs later established their own mathas called as Ashta Matas of Udupi. These eight mathas are named after the surrounding villages where they originally resided. These Mathas are Palimar Matha, Adamaru Matha, Krishnapura Matha, Puttige Matha, Shirur Matha, Sode Matha, Kaniyoor Matha, and Pejavara Matha. Apart from the above Shri Padmanabha Theertha and Shri Narahari Theertha were also his prime disciples.
In the post era of Shri Madhwacharya several great, noble and divine Saints have descended and established several mathas across the country propagating the Tattvavada, the doctrine of Shri Madhwacharya. To name a few are Shri Madhava Theertharu, Shri Akshobhya Theertharu, Shri Jaya Theertharu (Teeka Rayaru), Shri ShriPaada Rayaru, Shri Vyasa Rayaru, Shri Vadi Raja Theertharu, Shri Raghottama Theertharu, Shri Raghavendra Theertharu (Mantralaya Guru Sarvabhouma). Madhwa Mathas established by these saints are Shri Raghavendra Swamy Matha at Mantralayam, Shri Uttaradhi Matha and Shri Vyasaraya Matha, to name a few.
Though Aacharya Shri Madhwa is to be revered and worshipped everyday, two specific days are earmarked in Hindu Lunar calendar for his specific worship. They are, Shri Madhwa Jayanthi falling on Vijayadasami day in the month of Aaswayuja Masam that is said to be the day on which he was born. The other is Shri Madhwa Navami falling on the 9th day of Lunar month of Magha Masam during the bright fortnight. It is said that it was on this day in the year 1317 AD, Shri Madhwacharya while teaching his disciples at Udupi Shri Anantheshwara Temple, suddenly a heap of flowers were showered on him and he disappeared from that heap of flowers not to be seen later. It is considered as the day he entered the Badarikasrama. It is strongly believed among his followers that Shri Madhwacharya is still present even today in Northern Himalayas (Greater Badari) continuing his spiritual pursuit with Sage Shri Vedavyasa but beyond ordinary vision.
Special celebrations are held across the country on the eve of Shri Madhwa Navami at temples and mathas participated by large gathering of followers.
To learn, to understand and to write about Shri Madhwacharya, perhaps one life time is not adequate.
Brahmaantha Guravah Saakkshaatt Ishtam Daivam Shriyah pathihi
Aachaaryaa ShriMadaachaaryaa Santhume Janma Janmani.