Friday, May 09, 2008

Mulchandra Telivala, The Unparalleled Scholar of Pushtimarg

If someone were to ask me to pick up one Vaishnav form the entire history of Pushtimarg, it would be Mulchandra Telivala and not Damodardas Harsaniji! Now that would definitely raise eyebrows of many vaishnavs, as such a comparison is uncalled for and would require a separate blog post to justify it. But here we focus on the erudite scholar of Shuddhadwait Pushtimarg who dedicated his life to bring forth the the gone-into-oblivion literature of the sampraday.

Mulchandra Tulasidas Telivala was born on 23rd Sept 1887 in Broach in a humble vaishnav family. He was thin-built but a very bright student and went on to do B.A. and LL.B. He then joined the Bombay High Court as a law-practitioner while learning and presenting his scholar-ship in Pushtimargiya meetings. When Maganlal Shastri transferred to Pune, he filled the void by reading Anubhashya and Nibandh to Mumbai vaishnavs. He also wrote a marvelous essay on how far Shankaracharya represents the views of Brahmsutra's author and won the Zala Vedant Prize.

In 1916, he first published the Sevafal of Vallabhacharya with 12 commentaries which was unprecedented. He had a very wonderful genious for research, creativity, imagination, memory and deep all-round knowledge of the Pushtimarg history. He could easily and precisely determine the authorship attribution of old, worn out manuscripts as well as if there was any addition, deletion or substitution later on and by whom. He also settled the ambiguity about the Birth year of Vallabhacharya by his research and ingenuity. The most important research that we benefit today from him is the collection, analysis and publication in 1926 of Brahmsutra-Anubhashya-Prakash-Rashmi, a four-layer commentary-on-commentary elucidation. His comments on the finest nuances missing or mistyped are visible in the footnotes on this publication. His strength of character is also visible in throwing new light on Vitthalnathji's life which was never published earlier. He even opened a research institute with the help of Chief Goswamis of Pushtimarg

All this while he lived a very moderate and pain-stricken personal life shows his steadfastness and devotion in the teachings of this path. For this, he was respected by not only vaishnavs and Goswamis but also by international scholars. He set an example of what it should mean to be a Pushtimargiya vaishnav before his departure at a young age on 26th June 1927. He truly is an unparalleled scholar of Pushtimarg after Vallabhacharya and Purushottamji. We will always remember you Shree Telivala!


नितिन बागला said...

A very interesting blog indeed. We do not find many people/places/literature, who try to correlate Science and Pushtimarg. I believe, vaishnavas would be greatly benefited by this work of yours.

Regarding this article, i won't go to the extent of comparing Damodardas Ji Harsani and Mulchadra Ji Telivala...they belong to different times and performed different tasks. But to be honest, I never heard Shri Telivala's name in any prasang/literature or from any other vaishnav. That was an eye opener.

Keep flowing such informative articles

Jai Shri Krishna

नितिन बागला said... second paragraph you have written "...When Maganlal Shastri transferred to Pune...". But i did not find any mention of Shastri Ji in earlier lines. Are your referring to Shri Telivala only?

ShreeVallabhSanidhyotsukam said...

Maganlal Shastri was another staunch scholar of Pushtimarg and a contemporary of Mulchandra Telivala. There are many learned Shastri's who made a good contribution to keep alive the Pushtimarg Philosophical foundation in the history of this path. But Mulchandra Telivala and Purushottamji were extra-ordinary in the sense that they introduced a paradigm shift in the scholastic approaches in Pushtimarg.

नितिन बागला said...

Would love to know more about Shri Maganlal Shastri in coming posts

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