the "Buddha" in the GK (was Re: Antiquity of ...)

Vidyasankar Sundaresan vsundaresan at HOTMAIL.COM
Sat Jun 24 02:20:54 CDT 2000

Sankaran Kartik Jayanarayanan <kartik at ECE.UTEXAS.EDU> wrote:

>Since the thread "Antiquity of advaita vedanta" has taken a wild turn, I
>have changed the subject-line of this posting so that it better reflects
>the topic I'm interested in discussing.

Good, this is better! :)

>But Shankara himself takes the word "deshitaH" to mean "instructed by

I am somewhat hampered right now by not having immediate access to this
commentary. But there is no major contradiction involved. The general idea
is that Gaudapada got knowledge from Narayana. That constitutes the
mANDUkya upanishad, which is considered scripture. Since the translation
uses the term "by the scripture", my guess is that Sankara uses the
instrumental case in Sanskrit, which can also mean "through the scripture".

>The frequency of the use of the word "Buddha" in GK4 as a reference to the
>GYAnii is rather unusual (more than 10 times within a hundred verses), and

Yes, it is remarkable.

>I find it difficult to convince myself that the concluding shloka GK4.99
>refers to two entirely different Buddhas (it first speaks of "Buddha's
>GYAna" and then that which is "taught by the Buddha"). Shankara could've
>easily recognized the confusion likely to be created in making the word
>ambiguous and so expressly declared that the Buddha being praised is NOT
>the historical one. He doesn't do so.

He probably thought that there would be no confusion! It is only in the
last 100 years or so, with non-traditional pundits getting interested in
these texts, that this problem has arisen.

>I think the similarity in the styles is quite striking. They are the first
>invocatory verse of the MMK and GK4 respectively.

The stylistic similarities extend beyond the invocation verses, and have
been much commented upon. But we have to go beyond style and get to
substance, no? So, it would be good idea for our list-members to move away
from generalities, and to get around to discussing the details of
gauDapAda's kArikAs, from all four books.

Best wishes,

bhava shankara deshikame sharaNam

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