It is said that a debate took place between Sri Vidyaranya of Sankara tradition and Sri Akshobhya Teertha of Madhwa sampradaya and Sri Vedanta Desikan declared Sri Akshobhya as a winner. Is it true ?

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    Yeah its true Vidyaranya brother of Syayanacharya was defeated by Akshobhya Tirtha, in a debate moderated by Swami Vedanta Deshikacharya. Why did you create a tag named Vidyaranya?! – Yogi Feb 25 '17 at 18:46
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    Any other historical sources other than vashnavite? – Swami Vishwananda Feb 26 '17 at 2:41
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    Vaishnava propaganda very likely. Vedanta Desika's and Vidyaranya's timelines are not the same @Yogi – user1195 Aug 7 '17 at 1:09
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    @moonstar2001 same time line. its confirmed by both traditions. – Rakesh Joshi Aug 7 '17 at 7:19
  • @ChakrapaniNRao. I have removed other honorific to make it equal. Its not mandatory to add such honorific before everyone. But you didnt raise such objection for the first answer below this question. Why such selectivism ? – Rakesh Joshi Nov 25 '18 at 16:51

Yes, Vidyaranya (Advaitin Scholar and brother of famous Sayanacharya) was defeated by Akshobhya Tirtha (Dwaita Scholar) in famous debate moderated by Vedanta Deshikacharya (Sri Vaishnava scholar founder of Vadakalai sect).

In the year 1336 AD., Sri Akshobhya Tirtha had a scholarly disputation with Sri Vidyaranya on the interpretation of the "Tatvam-asi" ("You are the same as" or "I am that") 'Shruthi' text. The extensive and elaborate and sometimes acrimonious arguments were exchanged in the presence of Sri Vedantha Deshika who was chosen by both as an arbitrator. Another tradition says that all the arguments were literally written down and then sent to Sri Vedantha Deshika whose verdict was in favour of Sri Akshobhya Tirtha. The epigraphic evidence of this historic victory is on a commemorative pillar of victory on a hill near Mulubagal that can be seen even today.

More evidence from same source.

Sripad Akshobhya Tirtha's victory over Vidyaranya has been recorded in Jaya Tirtha Vijaya of Sripad Vyasa Tirtha, and in the Raghavendra Vijay (17th century) as well as in the Vishisthadvaitin (Sri Vaishnava) work Acarya Vijayachampu, and the epigraphic evidence carved in a pillar of stone at Mulbagal.(BNK Sharma.1961. History of the Dvaita School of Vedanta. page 230.)

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    @RakeshJoshi Mulbagal en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mulbagal is in karnataka. See my second blockquote "and the epigraphic evidence carved in a pillar of stone at Mulbagal ". Yeah its sayan, I've made corrections. – Yogi Feb 25 '17 at 19:07
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    Any other sources other than vashnavite? – Swami Vishwananda Feb 26 '17 at 2:41
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    @SwamiVishwananda How is this related to vaishnavism?? The pillar is convincing evidence. The debate was between philosophies(dwaita vs advaita) not between religion. – Yogi Feb 26 '17 at 6:13
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    @SwamiVishwananda Let people ask what they want. I might have heard from anyone it could be your relative also !!The reference of this debate is already posted by Yogi which is available as a historic inscription as well. – Rakesh Joshi Mar 1 '17 at 12:31
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    @RakeshJoshi I could create an inscription on the wall and it will become historical evidence after 300 years. What's written in inscription is as expected, what do you expect from Vaishnavite inscription, will they say they got defeated? Obviously No, similarly if there is any other inscription by people of other school, the result will be in their favor. The only thing that should matter is that does it help you in any way to reach the highest truth? As Swami Vishwananda Ji said, realize God and ask him directly if the name of the winner bothers you so much. – Pinakin Jun 28 '17 at 11:41

Jayateertharu, the very next disciple of Shri Akshobhya teertharu had written a book named"Guru vandana", where he writes history, important aspects, his victories etc. But he never mention victory over Vidyaranya. 400 years some Chalaari Sankarshanaacharya created this false & concocted story. It is well developed by many Madhwaas afterwards.

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    Welcome to Hinduism.SE. Please cite sources to back your answer. – Triyugi Narayan Mani Mar 8 '18 at 12:59

No. Apparently there was a Avaidika Vidyaranya who is often confused with Vidyaranya, the Advaita Acharya.


The research article establishes the differences between Vidyaranya the acharya and the avaidika vidyaranya by way of antecendents as well as the vedic validity of each's ideologies thus attempting to understand the epithet "avaidika". The avaidika nature of the latter's belief system is studied and there is also scholarly opinion that some of it has been deliberately conflated by Ramanujacharya and Yamunacharya.

"Mr. Hanumatha Rao quotes from David Lorenzen’s book that both Rāmānuja and his preceptor Yāmunāchārya have ‘purposely’ superimposed the immoral practices of Pāshupata sect over Kālamukha sect and have caused a great distortion about the latter sect. "

The article also argues that Vedanta Desika who purpotedly refereed the argument was also not part of the scene and is a case of mistaken identity.

It must be noted that this story has been picked up by the Madhva writers of our time only.


Many other Shrivaishnava texts are silent on this achievement of Vedanta Deshika.


the entire Haridasa Sahitya is silent about the whole incident let alone taking the name of Vedanta Deshika as the Judge.

He concludes:

Hence I am of the opinion that the claim made by Srinivasa Surin in his “Vedanta Deshika Vaibhava Prakashika” has something to do with his personal aberration with Advaitins and particularly with the successors of Vidyaranya at Hampi Virupaksha Matha.

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    It seems that some western indologists have some misconception about Ramanujacharya. Wikipedia article and also this David Lorenzen says he confused them Kalamukhas with Pashupatas. But they were seen as different sects and he was not confused. They were refuted differently in the Sri Bhashyam. It is extreme to say that they have personal grudges. Also articles which are author's personal opinions are not valid sources for the site. – Sarvabhouma Mar 17 '18 at 6:49
  • How come pashupata and kalamukha can be called immoral ? – Rakesh Joshi Mar 17 '18 at 16:58
  • @sarvabhouma it is a research piece based on traditional literature and respective mata granthAs. Not personal opinion. This is a valid citation. Also note fwiw that this is taken from a site for "madhva history" . – user1195 Mar 17 '18 at 19:06
  • Your argument itself is contradictory first avaidik definition is those who dont accept vedas as pramas, leave alone upanishad. When this avaidka vidyaranya doesnt not accepts veda and upanishad as pramanas then there is no question of "tatvamasi" argument in order to debate that sentense meaning they both should accept that is valid pramana.. The whole answer is defeted its purpose by this logic.. but @user1195 is still there or not i just presenting my view for any further readers – Prasanna R Dec 2 '20 at 19:32

False.You can find history of Advaita scholars in Advaita Siddhi translated by M.M Yogendranath Bagchi edited by Rajendranath Ghosh.Yes there was a debate between them but no one wins that debate.

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