Vyāsatīrtha (c.. 1460 – c. 1539), also called Vyasaraja or Chandrikacharya, was a Hindu philosopher, scholar, polemicist, commentator and poet belonging to the Madhwacharya’s Dvaita order of Vedanta.
As the patron saint of the Vijayanagara Empire, Vyasatirtha was at the forefront of a golden age in Dvaita which saw new developments in dialectical thought, growth of the Haridasa literature under bards like Purandara Dasa and Kanaka Dasa and an amplified spread of Dvaita across the subcontinent.
Three of his polemically themed doxographical works Nyayamruta, Tatparya Chandrika and Tarka Tandava (collectively called Vyasa Traya) documented and critiqued an encyclopaedic range of sub-philosophies in Advaita, Visistadvaita, Mahayana Buddhism, Mimamsa and Nyaya, revealing internal contradictions and fallacies. His Nyayamruta caused a significant stir in the Advaita community across the country requiring a rebuttal by Madhusudhana Saraswati through his text, Advaitasiddhi. Born into a Brahmin family as Yatiraja, Bramhanya Tirtha, the pontiff of the matha at Abbur, assumed guardianship over him and oversaw his education.
He studied the six orthodox schools of Hinduism at Kanchi and subsequently, the philosophy of Dvaita under Sripadaraja at Mulbagal, eventually succeeding him as the pontiff. He served as a spiritual adviser to Saluva Narasimha Deva Raya at Chandragiri though his most notable association was with the Tuluva king Krishna Deva Raya.
With the royal patronage of the latter, Vyasatirtha undertook a massive expansion of Dvaita into the scholarly circles, through his polemical tracts as well as into the lives of the laymen through devotional songs and poems.
In this regard, he penned several kirtanas under the nom de plume of Krishna including the classical Carnatic song Krishna Ni Begane Baaro. Politically, Vyasatirtha was responsible for the development of irrigation systems in villages such as Bettakonda and establishment of several Vayu temples in the newly conquered regions between Bengaluru and Mysore in-order to quell any rebellion and facilitate their integration into the Empire.
For his contribution to the Dvaita school of thought, he, along with Madhva and Jayatirtha, are considered to be the three great saints of Dvaita (munitraya). Scholar Surendranath Dasgupta notes, “The logical skill and depth of acute dialectical thinking shown by Vyasa-tirtha stands almost unrivalled in the whole field of Indian thought”.