Biographical Sketches of Dekkan Poets/Vedantachari


This was a bramin of the Vystnava Sect, and a native of Kanchi. He lived about the time of Vidyaranya. After he had been invested with the Sacerdotal thread, he diligently perused poetical works, especially those in which the actions of the kings of the solar and lunar races are recorded. He likewise studied grammar and logic. When this poet attained to the age of forty, he visited the courts of the Karnatic, and Dravida princes, where, it is said, he confuted various pundits in religious controversy. He gave out that he was born of the spirit of Venkata Iswar; for the purpose of reforming the errors that had crept into the Vistnava religion, for the rites performed by the Tangul brahmins, were entirely corrupted by the interference of the satanees, or fourth class. He established a pure system of rituals, and wrote precepts to be observed by kings, and people of all classes, which were much. approved of for their justice and liberality. Vedantachari after this, resigned all secular concerns, and retired to a hut, at some distance from Kanchi, where he subsisted on alms, given by seven bramins, which was quite sufficient for him and his wife, and a disciple, who constantly resided with them. Vedantachari's mode of life frequently excited the compassion of individuals, who admired bis talents, and as he had made it a rule never to receive money from any one, but only such articles of food, as were necessary for his daily subsistence; they often secreted pieces of gold or silver coin among the rice they gave him. Whenever Vedantachari discovered the money, he used unvariably to throw it away, as did his wife, if the poet had failed to discover the stratagem exercised towards him by the charitable, for she was a virtuous woman, and obeyed her husband's commands in every respect. Vedantachari in this state of seclusion, composed a theological work, and called it Vedanta Bhashya; he also wrote a drama, called Sankalpa Suryadoya, which is much admired, and used by all the students, in the colleges in the south of India: This poet, it is said, wrote one hundred and three books, on various subjects, most of which are entirely lost. The latter years of Vedantachari were employed in religious contemplation, and becoming infirm through age, he resolved to assume the habit of a Synassi, and renounce the world, he obtained his wife's consent, and put this resolution into execution: having first delivered her to her aged father and brother. Vedantachari died in the seventieth year of his age, at Kanchi, and his disciple Varadachari, ministered to him till the hour of his death. This faithful and affectionate pupil wrote a book, entitled Vedantavijaya, in which all the good qualities of his preceptor were set down; in it is stated, amongst various other praiseworthy traits, that Vedantachari never courted the favors of princes, nor received any presents from them, but that he subsisted in early life by the produce of his own labors, and latterly on eleemosynary aid. In this boot were also set down the various texts respecting religious rites, that were expounded by the above-named guru.