According to popular acceptance Shripad Jaya Tirtha renounced the world and took 'sannyasam' at twenty years of age (reputed to be in 1368). However, due to the course of time dates have become confused – the accepted date that Akshobhya Tirtha's giving up this world (1365 AD) and ordination of Jaya Tirtha do not tally – we can see from mathematical deduction that either or both dates need some adjusting.
By this time no one could philosophically touch him. He was a genius, seeing through the foolishness of 'mayavada', and even making commentaries on Ramanujacharya's works. He wrote about twenty books, eclipsing those of his forerunners like Trivikrama Panditacharya, Padmanabha Tirtha and Narahari Tirtha, but he was always humble, giving all credit to Akshobhya Tirtha, the servant of Shripad Madhvacharya.
'Critique of Mityatwa' or 'The Falsity Of The World' was one of his main works, where he describes how this world is temporary, not false, and the 'mayavadi's' way as being really false. He points out the differences between real, unreal, temporary and permanent, concluding, "The co-existing of both their negations, at the same time and with reference to the same locus is, therefore, most illogical and can never be accepted by sane men." ie. The positive being this world is temporary though genuinely existing, the elements are real, and the action is real but done in connection with material nature causing reaction, which is also real but not permanent. Thus soundly defeating the 'mayavadi' philosophy around 'brahma satyam jagan mithya', various works on subjects of Vaishnavas studies and logic were written by Jaya Tirtha. Later a descendant in the 'parampara' of the name Shripad Vyasa Tirtha wrote down Jaya Tirtha's life story (Jaya Tirtha Vijaya), whereby we have found much of the details of this information.
Shripad Jaya Tirtha's previous name was Dhondo Pantraya Raghunatha (Dhonduraya, Raghunath was his father's name), of either Viswamitra Gotra or Bharadwaja Gotra. He was the son of a high ranking military man and had two wives. Dhondo Pant, being like a local prince, was often seen dressed in full armour, breast plate, helmet and all, riding his mighty war horse around the area. He was a great horse-man, and would ride sometimes on journeys all over the district, accompanied by his men. On one such occasion, a hot summers day at noon, he stopped at a stream for fresh water, but his drinking of water was not an ordinary sight. Unlike most persons taking water, Dhondo Pant would enter into the river fully dressed (with armour, sword, shield, helmet, plume, etc), then, whilst still mounted upon his horse, he would drink water at water level the water directly flowing into his mouth, being up to his neck in the water as an animal would.
On this particular day an incredible meeting took place. On the other side of the stream was Akshobhya Tirtha, watching this extraordinary sight. Shripad Akshobhya Tirtha called to the horseman, "Horseman, you drink water just like a bullock," and these few words put the horseman into a strange, deep, all-revealing state. Suddenly philosophical questions, which made the young horseman's mind spin into thoughts of his previous births, came to mind. Dhondo Pant could now remember his time spent with Acharya Madhva, but he had been covered for so many years thinking that he was the son of a nobleman. Now he could remember all kinds of incidences that made his hair stand upon end in horripilations. He gained some intense realisations which enabled him to see quite clearly how previously he was actually the bullock who was used to pull around Acharya Madhva's books as Madhva travelled and preached all over. But most special and precious to him, he could actually remember Madhva, his commanding but sweet voice, elaborating upon the various Vedic literatures.
There is an interesting story in this connection, Shripad Madhvacharya would quite often glorify this bullock, by saying to the assembly that actually this bullock listened better and assimilated the philosophy quicker than any of Madhva's other students. Wherever Madhva would preach the bullock would turn up, ears pricked up and forward in an attentive mood; his faithfulness and loyalty knew no bounds. Shripad Madhvacharya could sometimes be heard saying that simply by his attentive hearing this bullock was making great advancement. These kind of statements made some of Madhva's 'sannyasam' disciples quite envious. So much so, that some of them cursed the bullock to die from snake bite. The merciful Madhva heard about the curse and blessed the bullock that he would not be harmed. As per the curse, the snake came and bit the bullock, and amazingly the snake died! Everyone was awe struck, but could at once appreciate the motive, and kindness, and protection of Madhva. He was protecting his dear Devotee who had surrendered his life to the service of Madhva's preaching mission. After some years the bullock passed away of natural causes, old age.
Tradition has it that in actuality this was no ordinary bullock in the first place. He was reputed to be a partial incarnation and joint expansion of both Indra, the King of the demigods and Lord Ananta Shesha. So again it was no ordinary thing what had happened – the bullock taking his birth in a family of greatly pious 'kshatriya' kings in Karnataka, and being further brought up to know the Vedic literatures according to the teachings of Madhva. Obviously the Lord deemed it now the right time to utilise his self realisation, of what he had heard, of where he was up to, and again what had been developing in society, for his birth and subsequent meetings to be invoked.
Anyway back to the river, Dhondo Pant, standing in the water, addressed the humble and aged mendicant Shripad Akshobhya Tirtha as follows."My dear sir, who are you, from where did you come, and how do you know me? Simply by the words emanating from your mouth my life has changed. You must be my 'guru'; you have opened my eyes which were blinded for so long. O my guide, you have shed my ignorance of my real self, and nature. Please tell me more. Please instruct me, be my mentor, and so doing make it that my life can become perfect. O 'Gurudeva', please save me from the clutches of repeated birth and death."
Dhondo Pant was so amazed and became so agitated from gratitude by this meeting that he did not want to leave his side. In fact he asked to become Shripad Akshobhya Tirtha's formal disciple right there and then.
The other horsemen also joined Dhondo Pant in crossing the river and spent some time in discussion with him. But being of a different calibre they returned to the estate of his father without Dhondo. Riding at break neck speed, all day the news soon reached the boy's father who later personally went to reclaim his son, and took him home.
To save any further quarrel, Dhondo followed his father without any protest, but even though the enraged father came to collect him, Dhondo had left his heart with Akshobhya Tirtha. Thinking deeply Dhondo devised his plan, and on his return home, and to start with he had his marriage consumed.
An amusing story is revealed of the night that he returned to his two wives. When Dhondo Pant's beautiful and young wife entered the bed chamber to be with her husband, to her surprise there was an incredibly magnificent cobra sitting coiled up on the bed. The snake swayed mystically as though one absorbed in trance. Enchanted by the sight, she, out of respect for the mysticism of the whole event, paid her prostrated obeisances before the serpent, but soon fear overcame her and she fled the room screaming, and fainted on the floor just outside.
Raghunathraya, the father of Dhondo, feared that something would happen and so was close by. After also seeing the captivating sight and seeing the snake revert back to the form of his son, Raghunathraya reluctantly allowed Dhondo to return to the aged mendicant Akshobhya Tirtha, knowing this not to be an ordinary situation.
In due course, Dhondo Pant was initiated and given the order of 'sannyas', and the new name, Jaya Tirtha. This happened in the year 1368 AD, thus making the possible year of his birth 1348 AD., or 1346. (1167 Sakabja Era)(A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. Chaitanya Cahritamrta. Madhya-lila 9:245.purport – Bombay Gazzette.)
Some do not agree with this story, saying that it would not have been allowed in the strict Brahmin society of the 14th century. But whether one relies on one's own puny logic and knowledge of local culture and history, or accepts the story as explained by Shripad Vyasa Tirtha or not, the link was there, and soon he came back to Akshobhya Tirtha who accepted him as his 'sannyas' disciple and gave him the name Jaya Tirtha. He then started to study 'shastra' from Akshobhya Tirtha intensively until Akshobhya Tirtha finally passed away shortly after, his mission in life now completed.
Shripad (Tikacharya) Jaya Tirtha toured several times all over India, destroying the philosophy of the impersonalistic rascals. He was undefeated and became well known as the pure Vaishnava Acharya that he was.
He spent his closing years at Malkhed (or Manyakheta), once the capital of the Rashtrakuta kings of Karnataka, in the Gulbarga district, Mysore state. This is said by some to be the place where Jaya Tirtha passed away on the Panchami (fifth day) of the dark fortnight in the month of Asadha (June-July) 1388 AD at the age of forty. However, there is also a samadhi tomb of his in northern Karnataka which I have personally seen. On this samadhi tomb at Anagoendi (Hampi) on the Tungabhadra river, next to the 'samadhi' of Padmanabha Tirtha, there are carvings of him as a 'kshatriya' prince, and next to that as a '' mendicant.
There is a little more to be relished on Tikacharya Jaya Tirtha as we look at latter day followers of Shripad Madhvacharya at the end of this book.