Mahabharata Tatparya Nirnaya
Mahabharata Tatparya Nirnaya - Introduction

MBTN (MB1) - An Introduction

-- Vidwan Rachuri Acharya


This course covers the first three chapters of Mahabharata Tatparya Nirnaya, the magnum-opus of Sri Madhwacharya.

Mahabharata Tatparya Nirnaya, as the very name indicates, is a classical epic text written to bring out the true essence of Mahabharata.[1]  It is that ambrosial tonic, which was extracted by churning the milky ocean called Mahabharata.  Sri Madhwacharya, using his mind brush, portrayed this masterpiece on the beautiful canvas of Mahabharata.  He enriched its value by showcasing the multitude of hidden dimensions, looking from which, the esoteric teachings of Bhagavan Vedavyasa can be meaningfully fathomed.  Thus, this work stands out as an unparalleled and invaluable exposition on the Mahabharata – the greatest epic of Mankind.

In fact, this work has a wider objective. It sets out to bring out the true purport of the entire spectrum of scriptures.[2] Mahabharata is only used as a vehicle to arrive at it[3]. The choice of Mahabharata is due to its utility both as a source as well as an aid to the exposition of the Vedantic thought enshrined in all scriptures.

Mahabharata Tatparya Nirnaya is a meticulously planned metrical composition containing 32 chapters running into more than 5000 verses. Establishing the supremacy of Vishnu and identification of Vishnu as the Para Brahman of the Vedas is the central theme of this work.  It goes beyond the mere stories, episodes, events and personalities and exemplifies the spiritual, moral, ethical, intellectual and metaphysical aspects of this great classic.

This work has been neatly organized into three important sections. The first part covering the first three chapters presents the summary of Mahabharata and entire scriptures and sets up a firm foundation on which the remaining two sections are built. The second section covering chapters 4 to 9 deals with the story of Ramayana and the last section deals with the story of Mahabharata from chapters 11 to 32. Sri Madhwacharya attaches special importance to the stories of Ramayana and Mahabharata as they contain key deciding factors with respect to the nature and eligibility of several key Devatas.  Chapter 10 is devoted to the story of Vedavyasa, the author of Mahabharata, who incarnated to remove ignorance and confusion among the noble.

Let us now know about some of the salient features of this work.

A critical edition of Mahabharata

Mahabharata Tatparya Nirnaya is a research work of immense value.  The text applies a judicious approach in bringing out a critical edition of Mahabharata.  The need for a text of this nature arises because of the complexity of the original Mahabharata. Over a period of time, several variations to the original text have occurred. While some were accidental, some others were intentionally fabricated. Verses suitable to them were added. Thus there was an express need for an authentic version of the Mahabharata to understand its true purport. This is achieved by this text[4].

Adhyatmic interpretation of Mahabharata

Mahabharata is said to have been esoterically composed by Bhagavan Vedavyasa concealing the central teachings. For the benefit of true devotees, this works reveals the esoteric Adhyatmic meaning of Mahabharata hitherto undiscovered by other commentators. Bhagavan Vedavyasa himself ordered Sri Madhwacharya to compose this text for the benefit of the people who are eligible to attain salvation[5].

Status of Mahabharata

This work plays a major role in establishing the status of Mahabharata as just not a historical text but as a central text and chief philosophical aid to Vedantic Study[6].

Correcting misconceptons about Mahabarata

This work corrects some apparent misconceptions about the stories and events occurring in Mahabharata in the light of ancient traditional texts.

Different levels of interpretations

This work clearly explains the three Bhashas and three levels of interpretation of Mahabharata.

Key philosophical concepts

Some of the key philosophical concepts such as supremacy of Vishnu, supremacy of Vayu among all souls, Pancha Bheda, Taratamya etc. are established with illustrations from Mahabharata.[7] The relationship between the souls and the Parabrahman and the core teachings of the scriptures for the spiritual upliftment of the souls is also discussed in this text.


  1. What is the central theme of Mahabharata Tatparya Nirnaya?
  2. What are salient features of Mahabharata Tatparya Nirnaya?

[1] व्यासाज्ञया भाष्यवरं विधाय पृथक् पृथक् चोपनिषत्सुभाष्यम् ।

कृत्वाखिलान्यं पुरुषोत्तमं च हरिं वदन्तीति समर्थयित्वा ।।

तनुस्तृतीया पवनस्य सेयं सद्भारतार्थप्रतिपादनाय ।

ग्रन्थं चकारेममुदीर्णविद्या यस्मिन्रमन्ते हरिपादभक्ताः ।। म.ता.नि 32.196-7

[2] समस्तशास्त्रार्थविनिर्णयोयं विशेषतो भारतवर्त्मचारी ।

[3] इतिहासपुराणाभ्यां वेदं समुपबृंहयेत् ।।

[4] क्वचिद्ग्रन्थान्प्रक्षिपन्ति क्वचिदन्तरितानपि । कुर्युः क्वचिच्चव्यत्यासं प्रमादात् क्वचिदन्यथा ।

अनुत्सन्ना अपि ग्रन्था व्याकुला इति सर्वशः । उत्सन्ना प्रायशः सर्वे कोट्यंशोपि न वर्तते ।।

ग्रन्थोप्येवं विलुलितः किम्वर्थो देवदुर्गमः । कलावेवं व्याकुलिते निर्णयाय प्रचोदितः ।।

हरिणा निर्णयान् वच्मि विजानंस्तत्प्रसादतः । शास्त्रान्तराणि सञ्जानन् वेदांश्चास्य प्रसादतः ।।

देशे देशे तथा ग्रन्थान् दृष्ट्वा चैव पृथग्विधान् । यथा च भगवान् व्यासः साक्षान्नारायणः प्रभुः ।।

जगाद भारदाद्येषु तदा वक्ष्ये तदीक्षया । संक्षेपात् सर्वशास्त्रार्थं भारतार्थानुसारतः ।। म.ता.नि 2.3-8

[5] नारायणेनाभिहितो बदर्यां तस्यैव शिष्यो जगदेकभर्तुः ।। म.ता.नि 32.167

[6] निर्णयः सर्वशास्त्राणां भारतं परिचक्षते ।। म.ता.नि 2.9

[7] अत्रोदिता याश्च कथास्समस्ता वेदेतिहासादिविनिर्णयोक्ताः

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