Raghuttama Tirtha
Raghuttama Tirtha Brindavana
Brindavana (tomb) of Raghuttama Tirtha at Tirukoilur
Ramachandra Bhatta

Mannur (present-day Bijapur district, Karnataka, India)
Tirukoilur (present-day Tamil Nadu, India)
OrderVedanta (Uttaradi Math)
PhilosophyDvaita, Vaishnavism
Religious career
GuruRaghuvarya Tirtha
SuccessorVedavyasa Tirtha
Literary worksTattvaprakasika Bhavabodha,[1] Brihadaranyaka Bhavabodha

Raghuttama Tirtha (Sanskrit:रघूत्तम तीर्थ); IAST:Śrī Raghūttama Tīrtha) (c. 1548 - c. 1596), was an Indian philosopher, scholar, theologian and saint. He was also known as Bhavabodhacharya (Bhāvabodhacārya). His diverse oeuvre include commentaries on the works of Madhva and Jayatirtha. He served as the fourteenth pontiff of Madhvacharya Peetha - Uttaradi Math from 1557 to 1595, which he occupied, with remarkable distinction for thirty-nine years.[2] He is considered to be one of the most important seers in the history of Dvaita school of thought.[3] His shrine at Tirukoilur attracts thousands of visitors every year.[4]

Born in an aristocratic Brahmin family, but was brought up in mutt under the direction of Raghuvarya Tirtha. He composed 11 works, consisting of commentaries on the works of Madhva, Jayatirtha and Vyasatirtha in the form of Bhāvabodhas elaborating upon the Dvaita thought.[2]


Most of the information about Raghuttama Tirtha's life is derived from hagiography - Gurucaryā.[2] He was born as Ramachandra into Zamindar family of Swarnavata (Suvarnagad), a village between Kolhapur and Satara in the state of Maharashtra belonging to Deshastha Madhva Brahmin family to Subba Bhatta and Gangabai in 1548. Gangabai is purvashrama sister of Raghuvarya Tirtha of Uttaradi Math.[5][6] Indologist B. N. K. Sharma says the native place of the Raghuttama Tirtha's family is Mannur, Indi taluk, Bijapur district, Karnataka.[2]

Birth & Sannyasa

According to Gurucaryā, the childless couple approached saint Raghuvarya Tirtha, who granted them boon of children with the condition that their first child, would in turn be handed over to him. These words brought a mixture of happiness and sorrow to the childless couple. With a heavy heart, they accepted the decree of the divinity.[7] Soon after this incident, Gangabai conceived. Raghuvarya Tirtha was informed accordingly. He returned to the village expecting the birth of the child. A big gold plate was sent to Subba Bhatta's house from the Matha with a direction to receive the child directly on the golden plate without allowing the child to touch the earth.[8] Accordingly, the child was received on a golden plate. The personality and the face of the child were beautiful. He was named after Lord Rama as Ramachandra by Raghuvarya Tirtha.[7] Raghuvarya Tirtha made arrangements to feed the child every day with the abhishekha milk of the Vyasa Kurma Saligram of the Matha. He had his Upanayana at the age of five and immediately after Upanayana was ordained as a Sannyasa.[2] Raghuttama Tirtha is said to have studied for some years after his ordinance, under a learned Pandit Adya Varadarajacharya of Manur under the direction of Raghuvarya Tirtha.[4]

Reign as Pontiff

Raghuttama Tirtha was the nephew of Raghuvarya Tirtha — the thirteenth pontiff and succeeded his uncle in the pontificate of Uttaradi Math in 1557.[2] Raghuttama Tirtha was also a close contemporary of Vijayindra Tirtha and Vadiraja Tirtha.[2]

Entering Brindavana

After successfully completing thirty-nine years on the sacred pontifical seat of Uttaradi Matha with remarkable distinction, Raghuttama Tirtha desired to enter the Brindavana. So he ordered the then Zamindar of Tiruvannamalai, in a dream to construct a Brindavana at Mannampoondi near Tirukoilur on the bank of the river South Pennar.

This is said to be the holy place where Galava Rishi once resided. Raghuttama Swami entered Brindavana alive in 1596 on the auspicious day of Ekadashi.[2] He was succeeded by his disciple Vedavyasa Tirtha.[3][9][10]


There have been 10 works accredited to Raghuttama Tirtha, 9 of which are commentaries on the works of Madhvacharya, Padmanabha Tirtha and Jayatirtha, out of which only five are published so far. Bhavabodha is the general title of a majority of his works and Raghuttama is usually called "Bhavabodhakara" or "Bhavabodhacharya".[4] His work Brihadaranyaka Bhavabodha is a commentary on Madhva's Brihadaranyaka Upanishad Bhashya, is considered to be his magnum opus. Running up to 9,000 granthas, it discusses both Khandana and Bhashyartha of the Upanishad.[11] His work Tattvaprakasika Bhavabodha is a super commentary on Jayatirtha's Tattvaprakāśikā. It is a voluminous gloss running to nearly 8100 granthas. It is quoted by Jagannatha Tirtha in his Bhashyadipika three to four times and by Raghavendra Tirtha once in his Tatparya Chandrika Prakasha.[4]

Name Description References
Viṣṇutattvanirṇaya Bhavabodha Gloss on Viṣṇutattvanirṇayaṭikā of Jayatirtha [12]
Tattvaprakasika Bhavabodha Super-commentary on Tattvaprakāśikā of Jayatirtha [13]
Nyāyavivarana Bhavabodha Direct commentary on Nyāya Vivarana of Madhvacharya, in continuation to Jayatirtha work to Nyāyavivaranaṭikā [14]
Nyāyaratna-Sambandhadipikā Commentary on Anu Vyakhyana, showing at the same time the inter-connection between the words of Madhva and Sutras of Badarayana. [15]
Brihadaranyaka Bhavabodha Commentary on Brihadaranyaka Upanishad Bhashya of Madhvacharya [16]
Vivaraṇoddharā Gloss on the passages of Nyāya Vivarana which was commented by Jayatirtha in his Tattvaprakāśikā [15]
Gītābhāṣya Bhavabodha (Prameyadīpikā Bhavabodha) Gloss on Jayatirtha's Gītābhāṣya Prameyadīpikā [16]
Sanyayavivruthi Commentary on Sanyaya Ratnavali of Padmanabha Tirtha [16]
Tāratamya Stotram Prayer explaining the hierarchy of gods [16]
Taittirīyavinirṇaya Commentary on Taittiriya Upanishad Bhashya of Madhvacharya [16]


After Jayatirtha, Raghuttama Tirtha became Tika-kara and is usually referred to as Bhavabodhacharya.[4] Sharma writes "His language is simple and precise. He makes his points forcefully. He quotes often from certain unidentified sources not cited by any other commentator".[11] Raghuttama Tirtha is regarded as a saint known for preaching the worship of Lord Vishnu regardless of caste or creed. His shrine in Tirukoilur at present has become a holy seat of pilgrimage and a vast number of devotees belonging to all castes and creeds perform SEVA even today. Guru Raghuttama Tirtha is a well-known as a great healer. Thousands of devotees who go to his Brindavana are standing proof of his divine power and a kind heart to bless his devotees. He has made dumb to speak, mad to be intelligent, childless to beget progeny. The list goes on. None of his devotees have returned in disappointment.[4]

Intellectual & Scholarly Influence

Raghuttama Tirtha, through his illustrious commentaries and preachings, successfully carried the torch of the philosophy of Madhvacharya during his times. A band of illustrious commentators developed under his tutelage. He made each one of his disciples a powerful repository of scholarship and academic excellence. They were successful not only in defending the Philosophy of Madhvacharya in scholarly debates but also in preparing others to become distinguished scholars and commentators par excellence. Raghupathi Tirtha (a pontiff of another Madhva Matha), Vedavyasa Tirtha, Vedesa Tirtha,[17] Yadavarya, Vyasa Ramacharya,[3] Ananda Bhattaraka (father of Vidyadhisha Tirtha), Rotti Venkatabhatta who all made a name as illustrious commentators were all directly trained by Raghuttama Tirtha. When Madhusūdana Sarasvatī composed Advaitasiddhi, a line-by-line refutation of Nyayamṛta of Vyasatirtha. In response to Advaitasiddhi, Vyasa Ramacharya and Ananda Bhattaraka, wrote Nyayamṛta Tarangini and Nyayamṛta Kantakoddhara and challenged Madhusūdana Sarasvatī.[18][19] They are all precious intellectual gifts given by Raghuttama Tirtha to the followers of Madhvacharya.[20][21]


  1. ^ Okita 2014, p. 267.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Sharma 2000, p. 463.
  3. ^ a b c Sharma 2000, p. 433.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Sharma 2000, p. 464.
  5. ^ Hebbar 2005, p. 155.
  6. ^ Prabhanjanacharya 2005, p. 1.
  7. ^ a b Sarma 1956, p. xxxix.
  8. ^ Prabhanjanacharya 2005, p. 5.
  9. ^ Sarma 1956, p. xliii.
  10. ^ Brück & Brück 2011, p. 202.
  11. ^ a b Sharma 2000, p. 465.
  12. ^ Sharma 2000, p. 264.
  13. ^ Dasgupta 1975, p. 61.
  14. ^ Dasgupta 1975, p. 87.
  15. ^ a b Sharma 2000, p. 265.
  16. ^ a b c d e Sharma 2000, p. 266.
  17. ^ Sharma 2000, p. 492.
  18. ^ Sharma 2000, p. 21.
  19. ^ Sharma 2000, p. 145.
  20. ^ Sharma 2000, p. 382.
  21. ^ Sharma 2000, p. 375.


Further reading