Old topics

Vidyasankar vsundaresan at HOTMAIL.COM
Wed Apr 9 09:58:17 CDT 2003

Sanjay Verma <sanjay1297 at YAHOO.COM> wrote:

Quoting Professor S. K. Ramachandra Rao
>"As one belonging to the doctrinal fold well within the broad Vedic
tradition, he also relies on some secondary sources like the Sutras of
Asvalayana, Katyayana and Apastamba, the two great epics Ramayana and
Mahabharata, some Puranas (e.g., Markandeya), and some socio-religious
treatises (dharma-shastras like the one by Manu). His reliance on them,
however is negligible and casual. The exception is the Bhagavad-Gita, from
which he quotes frequently, and which he looks upon as an important source.
It is well-known that there is a commentary on this work ascribed to him.
But he does not recognize it as a part of the epic, Mahabharata, as is
usually understood."

Sri Ramachandra Rao is a great scholar, but I am puzzled by his last
sentence, and prima facie, I'd disagree with it. Does he elaborate on what
he means by "usually understood"?

The introduction to the Gita commentary clearly describes it as having been
set into 700-odd verses by Vedavyasa, capturing what was taught by Krishna,
son of Vasudeva and Devaki, to Arjuna, the Pandava. This squarely situates
the Gita within the context of the Mahabharata. Moreover, Sankaracarya
often quotes from other books of Mahabharata, including Santiparvan,
Asvamedhaparvan and Anushasanaparvan, both in the Gita commentary and in
the Brahmasutra commentary. And at the end of the Gita commentary, when the
dialogue between Krishna and Arjuna ends and the narrative returns to
Sanjaya, he says, "kathA-sambandha-pradarSanArthaM" (i.e., to return to the
story). Clearly, Sankaracarya is himself quite conscious that textually
speaking, the Gita is part of the epic.

Best regards,

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