Sri Suresvaracharya

Poorvashrama and meeting the Guru:

Sri Suresvaracharya was the famous Mandana Mishra before he was initiated into sanyas by Sri Sankara. He was also known by the name of Vishwarupa and was born to HimaMitra in Kashmir. Probably the name the parent’s gave him was Vishwarupa while he was famous amongst scholars as Mandana. He was a highly learned vedic scholar and was the disciple of the famous KumarilaBhatta who had defeated the Jains and the Buddhists in debates.Vishwarupa was known as the greatest expert in the ritualistic interpretation of the Vedas. An highly disciplined person he also observed the rituals very diligently.

Mandana Mishra was married to Bharati, another highly learned lady born to Vishnu Mitra. Both of them were believed to have settled in Mahismati by the banks of Narmada.

The famous debate between Mandan Mishra and Sri Sankara is well known. UbhayaBharti was appointed as the judge and after a long and heated debate she declared Sri Sankara as the winner. As per the conditions of the debate Mandan Mishra renounced his worldly life and accepted sanyas and became the disciple of Sri Sankarawho gave him the name of Suresvaracharya.

Naishkarmya Siddhi and other texts:

After Sri Sankara had established the temple at Shringeri, he spent some time teaching the texts to his disciples. By this time all the chief disciples of the Acharya had come and were studying under the Acharya. Understanding the mission of the teacher to establish the true meaning of Vedic dharma and the principle of Advait Vedanta for all times to come, Suresvaracharya was desirous of contributing to the task, he approached the master and asked him how he could be of help. To which the Acharya instructed him to write a vartikam (an exegesis giving a critical exposition) on the Sutra Bhasyas written by the Acharya.

The other disciples who heard this had reservation that owing to the previous inclination of Suresvaracharya as Mandan Mishra, he may not be able to bring out the true meaning as expected. Mandan Mishra was a fierce believer in ritualistic portion of the Vedas and actually was strongly against the idea of Sanyas, they felt that his writings may be coloured by his previous samskaras. This lead to a some discord and the Acharya instructed Suresvaracharya to stop the work of writing vartikam on his sutras and instead start an independent work. Following the Acharya's fresh instruction in view of the objections of the other disciples, Sureswara produced his work called the Naishkarmya-siddhi. This work, establishing the unmodified nature of the Atman, is famous for the beauty of its style and the soundness of its reasoning. Himself much pleased with the work, the Acharya showed it to the disciples. They, too, felt pleased with it, and felt convinced that Sureswara was unrivalled in the correct understanding of the meaning of the scriptures. Wherever great Sannyasins study and teach about the Atman that is unmodified by any action, and seek to live in that poise, this work, the Naishkarmya-siddhi, is in use even to this day.

Pleased with his work, the Acharya instructed him to write vartikas on two of his Upanishad Bhasyas. The famous works of Suresvaracharya includes Vartika on Taittriya Upanishad Bhashyam,Vartika on Brihadaranyaka Upanishad Bhashyam, Mansollasa, PanchikaranaVartikam in addition to Naishkarmya Siddhi.

Sri Suresvaracharya went on to become the head of the Shankara mutt at Shringeri.