In most of the Shakta lineages, especially Sri Vidya lineages, Pujyasri Bhaskararaya Makhin is well known and highly revered. His commentaries are today considered as standard in most of the traditions. Apart from his works, even the works of disciples are also followed as a manual by the upasakas. (Nityotsava book).
He was adept in almost all the well known shastras and had a very good command over them which had already made him an outstanding scholar of his time.
Brief information about his life is given below,
Birth and early life:
The moolapurusha (First known Ancestor) of Sri Bhaskararaya’s vamsa is
Vishwamitra gothreeya Sri Ekanatha. The fact that Sri Gambhiraraya and
his wife Smt Konambika (Konamamba) were the parents was confirmed in
more than one source. Parents of Sri Bhaskararaya: - Even though Sri
Gambhiraraya was the follower of Bhagavatha sampradaya, his wife (Sri
Bhaskararaya’s mother) got initiation on Agamashastra through Sri
Narayana Pandita, who has contributed, for the interest & study of
Agamashastra by Sri Raya. The first son (Sri Narayana) of Sri
Gambhiraraya was not so intelligent as compared to his father.
Therefore, Smt Konambika prayed to Soorya Bhagavan to get another
intelligent son as great as her husband. Accordingly she got a very
intelligent son during 1690 A.D or so (Christian era) at Bhagyanagara,
(now called Hyderabad) in Andhra Pradesh. But according to his sishyas
and persons in his daughter’s lineage the illustrious personality
named Bhaskara was believed to have been born on 26th April 1683 in
Krittika nakshatra 4th pada in Vaisakha Masa, Sukla paksha tritiya
when 4 planets were in their exaltation point.
Education and learning Vidyas:
Sri Gambhiraraya initiated Sri Bhaskararaya into worship of Saraswati
when he was a mere boy of 5 years. By seventh year he was able to
chant the Sarabheshwara stotra in Kashi, which made the pandits
excited and forced his father to perform Upanayana. Sri Narasimha Dori
- Dhvari (Yajwa) also called Sri Narasimhananda, a great teacher and sadhaka of Lokapalli samsthana (Narayanpet Dist. Mahaboobnagar A.P)
had an occasion to visit Sri Raya’s house on the way to Shringeri
Sharada Peetha. He was very much impressed by the intelligence of the
boy and asked his parents to send him for Adhyayana in his Gurukul at
Lokapalli. The parents with due respect sent Sri Raya for study where
he was taught Ashtadasa - 18 vidyas.
After mastering those vidyas, Sri Raya learnt Gowdataraka under Sri
Gangadhara Vajapeyin who settled in Tiruvalankadu on the southern bank
of Kaveri in Tanjavur district (therefore Sri Raya also chose a place,
which is now called Bhaskararajapuram, for his stay which is on the
northern bank of Kaveri). Sri Rukmanapandit taught Sri Raya Chandas
and Alankarashastra. He completed all the above education at his age
of 16 years. Sri Bhaskararaya wanted to rejuvenate and revive the
Atharvana Veda. So he learnt the Atharvana Veda and did Adhyayana
(regular chanting) and not only became an expert but also an exponent.
He taught it to his disciples and had them chanting it too.
He got married with Anandi at the age of 18 and they got a son named
Panduranga. Not much was heard about him or other children. But it is
believed Sri Raya had a daughter named Smt. Ambika who was married in
Dev family and there is a continuous line of generations through her
and even now there are persons living in Bangalore, Hyderabad and
Devi Upasana & Consecration
While Sri Raya was on tour in Paithan town, several pandits had
suggested Sri Shivadatta Shukla’s name for initiation into Sakta &
Sri Vidya. Sri Shukla was a great Srividya Upasaka adorned with Sri
Vidya Poorna Deeksha having Deeksha Nama of Sri Prakashanandanatha.
Therefore Sri Bhaskararaya decided to go to Surat for further study on
Sri Vidya and get Deeksha. He chose to meet Sri Shukla as a simple
Brahman. He took the job of cleaning vessels and other utensils for
pooja, cleaning the house etc. and studied Sri Vidya and practiced
Upasana. At that time, so-called vidwans of vallabha sampradaya came
there and challenged the Advaita marg (Non-dual theory). The followers
of Advaita marg met Sri Shukla who was very old to move out of his
house, as there was no alternative among those followers to meet the
challenge with vallabha sampradayins. Sri Raya understood the
situation and requested Sri Shukla to permit him to lead the group for
discussions. Sri Shukla rightly judged the capacity of the boy and
permitted him. As already anticipated by Sri Shuklaji, Sri Bhakararaya
won the challenge and brought the Vijay Pataka (The Flag of Victory)
to Sri Shuklaji. He was very happy and immediately performed
Poornabhishekha to Sri Bhaskara Raya and bestowed the Deeksha Nama of
“Sri Bhasuranandanatha”. Sri Raya’s wife was also blessed with
Poornabhishekha and given Deeksha nama as “Padmavathyamba”. Both of
them presented very valuable vastralankara, dakshina etc to their guru
Sri Shukla, gurupatni – his wife and their daughter and worshipped.
He also performed great Vedic Yajnas like the Soma Yaga, jyotiShToma
etc. in Kashi. In his commentary on Ganesha Sahasranama -
Khadyota', Bhaskara himself mentions that he performed a great fire
sacrifice in Varanasi. He wrote a commentary on Nityashodashikarnava
of Vamakeshwara Tantra calledSetubandha' in Goa. He constructed a
Srichakra-shaped temple for his family goddess Sri Chandralamba. His
wife established a Shiva and Parvati temple in an Agrahara called
Bhaskararajapuram', named after Bhaskaracharya, located near Tanjore.
They couple constructed many choultries, fed people and indulged in
charities. Chandrasena Jadhav, the commander of the Bhonsle kings was
Bhaskracharya's disciple. To cure his son of impotency, Bhaskaracharya
did intense Surya Upasana. in this context, he wrote a book called
Tatvabhaskara' dealing with Surya Upasana. Bhaskaracharya's
scholarship becomes evident by looking at the number of scriptures and
works he quotes in his own works. Since he was basically a follower of
the school of Mimamsa, his commentaries on tantras are in the light of
Mimamsa. His disciple Jagannatha Shukla [a Konkanastha Brahmana from
Maharashtra who took Diksha from Sri Bhaskararaya in Tiruvalankadu]
was the chief scholar in the court of Tanjore. He has written a book
named `Bhaskara Vilasa' in which he mentions about forty works
authored by Bhaskaracharya.
The written works of Bhaskararaya provide an insight into his rare brilliance and scholarship.
Khadyota – commentary on Ganapathi Sahasranama.
Chandralamba Mahatmya Tika.
Nathanavaratnamala Manjusha – a work in praise of Guru with description of many esoteric aspects.
Bhavanopanishad Bhashya – a commentary on the Bhavanopanishad and illustration of its Prayoga, known as the Mahayaga Krama.
Srisukta Bhashya – commentary on the srisukta.
Saubhagya Chandrodaya – a commentary on Vidyananda's `Saubhagya Ratnakara'.
Tripurasundari Bahya Varivasya – a manual describing the external Pooja of Sri Mahatripurasundari in the Srichakra. Scholars are now
trying to find this work. It is now established that Umanandanatha had
not shown his Nityotsava to his Guru. And some scholars like Appoji
Dikshita and others frequently mention the difference between the two
Ratnaloka – a Tika on the Parashurama Kalpasutra - commentary on Parashurama Kalpasutras. A copy of this was available with Sri
Ramachandra Iyer of Tirunalveli. It differs at many places with
Guptavati – commentary on Sri Durga Saptashati.
Shata Shloki – a work based on Durga Saptashati.
Saubhagya Bhaskara – a commentary on Sri Lalita Sahasranama Stotra.
Setubandha – a commentary on Nityashodashikarnava of Vamakeshwara Tantra.
VarivasyaRahasya - with his own commentary named `Prakasha', explaining the higher significance and internal worship of Srividya.
Nilachala Chapetika – both these books were written to refute the claims of the Dvaita text `Prahasta' and uphold the virtues of
Vadakautuhala – The compilation of the debate that took place between Bhaskaracharya and his Guru's son Swami Shastry.
Bhattachandrodaya – the Tika on Khandadeva's Bhattadeepika.
- Rasikaranjini – Based on Varadaraja's `Madhyasiddhanta Kaumudi'.
- Nyaya Mandana – a work on the Nyaya Darshana.
Chandabhaskara – commentary on Chandasutras.
Sahasrabhojana Khanda Tika – Tika on Baudhayana's Dharmasutras.
Shankhachakrayana Prayashchitta – the purificatory rites for people who have undergone Bharana Nyasa and got Shankha and Chakra Mudras
inscribed on their body. This is a Vaishnava custom banned by the
Smriti. Sri Bhaskararaya refutes the claims supporting this banned
Commentary on the Shiva Shatanama Stotra.