Thus after completing the primary learning with his brother-in-law, Venkatanatha came back to the Kumbhakonam Matha to continue further studies with the Kulaguru SriSudhindratirtha. His colleagues used to envy the special attention which Venkatanatha got from SriSudhindratirtha, impressed with his sharp intellect.
The timetable of his study has been thus mentioned in SriRaghavendravijaya
The description says that after the morning ablutions would be time for Vedantashastra followed by Grammar and Logic. In the afternoon would be time for Pifrvamimamsashastra. In this period, Venkatanatha attained mastery in sciences by thoroughly studying the works of SriMadhwacharya, SriJayatirtha, SriVibudhen- dratirtha, SriVyasatirtha etal. Similarly, Venkatanatha was way ahead in the sports too. When he easily swam across the current of the full river, it was apparent that he had the strength to address any situation arising in the path of Vedanta too. It may be said that perfect pronunciation of mantras, melodious practice of music and mastery over the stringed Veena was inherited by Venkatanatha. SriSudhindratirtha was overjoyed to have found such a great disciple. In those days learning and teaching, analytical study of treatises had no time limits. The only goal was to attain mastery in the various treatises studied. Although he had attained mastery in all the sciences, his in-depth study was in Grammar. The learned of those days used to feel elated at losing to their disciples in a duel of knowledge – ‘shishyadicheta parajayamh In other words, the pundits in those days were gracious and magnanimous enough to accept defeatat the hands of their disciples.
As time went by, Venkatanatha went past adolescence. Being a part of the divine, he was handsome like Manmatha. Despite having attained perfection in the
Veda-vedanta, having reached the highest in all aits, the virtuous Venkatanatha had not an iota of conceit in him. On the contrary he was the manifestation of humility and sagacity. The sprouting whiskers on his face were like the ornaments to the wealth of Vedas that he had accumulated.
Our tradition is not just to study by self but also to teach others younger than us. Venkatanatha, who had been brought up in this tradition, had a great liking for * teaching. He was happily leading his life in Kumbha- konam, engrossed in .this learning and teaching. Once SriSudhindratirtha was conducting a course on the
massive Srimannyayasudha of Sri Jayatirtha and stopped abruptly at a difficult point saying that he would continue on the next day. His intention was to test the disciples, if any one of them would go ahead and contemplate on the topic. When he went to the disciples’ quarters late at night, he found Venkatanatha tired and asleep with a tattered sheet for cover, next to a heap of cold ashes as if he worked long overnight and slept late. The guru was surprised to see a manuscript lying next to Venkatanatha. When he saw that Venkatanatha had written a commentary upon the background of the difficult subject that he had left hallway, he was very pleased and draped his shawl on Venkatanatha. He took the manuscript away with him. Next morning when Venkatanatha woke up to find the Guru’s shawl on him, he thought it was a prank played by some colleagues of his, to get him implicated as a thief. He quickly finished his ablutions and rushed to the Guru to explain. However, the Guru himself told everybody, of the scene that he had witnessed at night and commended the act of writing a proper commentary to the difficult part of the earlier day’s study. The Guru said with great satisfaction, ‘The name ‘Parimala’ you have chosen is apt indeed. I was the one who draped the shawl on you’. That day Venkatanatha received the title ‘Parimalacharya’. In the same way, Venkatanatha very easily wrote out the commentary ‘Gudhabhavaprakashika’ on SriNarayanapanditacharya’s Anumadhwavijaya or Prameyanavamalika. The analysis and exposition of Grammar that he has handled in such a small book will surprise any pundit about his prowess in Grammar.
In those days, Pithadhipatis would be engaged in propounding the principle. Every time SriSudhindratirtha started on his tour of preaching, Venkatanatha would go along. The Brahmin settlements in Chola kingdom were the places of high learning. The smoke from the homas and havans being conducted there used to cloud the skies. That is to say, there were Pundits residing everywhere. SriSudhindratirtha started on a tour of this Chola territory; Swami was received everywhere in a big way.
At SriKshetra Mannargudi, next to the SriKrishna temple, an Adwaita Pundit came for a duel with Swami. But Dwaita and Adwaita are poles apart. If oneness of Jiva and Brahma is Adwaita, then proving that Jiva and Brahma are different and independent is the Dwaita principle. Venkatanatha struck down the Adwaita argument with references from the Vedas and Puranas and proved the Dwaita principle. SriSudhindratirtha’s joy knew no bounds when he saw the opponent speechless against the clear presentation of Venkatanatha who seemed to be stuffed with all the knowledge of Philosophy and Grammar. Seeing that his disciple had attained knowledge of great depth in the subject of Grammar, which he had not yet covered fully, surprised the Guru and he conferred the title ‘Mahabhashyacharya’ upon Venkatanatha.
From that day on Venkatanatha became famous as Mahabhashya Venkatabhattachaiya. When Venkatabhatta went to Thanjavur along with his Guru on a preaching visit, he entered into a wordy duel with the great scholar Yajnanarayana Dikshit at the court of the King, on the topic of Purvamimansashastra and won on the term ‘kakataliya’.