[Advaita-l] Brahmasutrabhashya and the date of.Adi Sankaracharya

Vidyasankar Sundaresan svidyasankar at hotmail.com
Mon Sep 22 20:03:14 CDT 2008

Dear Sri Bhattacharya, The outcome of the discussions we have had on this forum in the past on the authorship of Brahmasutrabhashya went somewhat as follows. The author of brahmasUtra bhAshya should have lived in the 7th to 8th century AD. As everyone accepts that Adi Sankaracharya is the author of this bhAshya, they also have to accept the same date. Now, IF someone says that Adi Sankaracharya lived much earlier and that someone else called Abhinava Sankaracharya lived in the 8th century, THEN they would have to also say that brahmasUtra bhAshya was written by Abhinava Sankaracharya. Obviously, this is an absurd conclusion.
509 BCE is is no way an established date for Adi Sankaracharya, although it has many adherents. The problem with these arguments is again paucity of primary sources. That the times of Dharmakirti and Kumarila Bhatta should have overlapped in time seems quite probable. That Sankaracharya has quoted
Dharmakirti is certain, as confirmed by his own prime disciple, Suresvaracharya. That Sankaracharya should have been a younger contemporary of Kumarila Bhatta is also more or less certain. The mass of internal evidence from the works all these eminent scholars and teachers indicates a period between 6th and 8th century CE, for Dharmakirti and Kumarila Bhatta to Suresvaracharya. The date of the historical Adi Sankaracharya has to be within this period.
However, Jina Vijaya is a source that is quite unknown. There is no such text known anywhere. There is a Jaina scholar called Jina Vijaya Muni, who has edited a number of Sanskrit texts for various publishers. He also used to be the director of the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan in Bombay, in the 1950s. However, I don't think he wrote anything about the date of Sankaracharya and Kumarila Bhatta at all. 
I have heard from some people that there used to be a periodical called Jina Vijaya with articles by various people, in which problems of historical interest used to be analyzed. If so, a date of 557 BCE for Kumarila Bhatta may be nothing more than the view of one or two people and cannot be used as evidence for placing Sankaracharya's date in the 5th century BCE. Nobody who cites the so-called "Jina Vijaya" evidence for an early date has ever produced the original article/text for independent study by other scholars. That, unfortunately, is one of the major problems with such research. One author cites twenty other scholars before him, each of whom had cited twenty other people, and so on, till you come to a point where no primary sources are ever analyzed by anybody. It becomes very confusing, so I, for one, am very insistent upon checking primary texts before making any kind of statement about such issues. 
With best regards,
Vidyasankar> Date: Mon, 15 Sep 2008 12:36:11 -0700> From: skbhattacharjya at gmail.com> To: advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org> Subject: [Advaita-l] Brahmasutrabhashya and the date of.Adi Sankaracharya> > Dear members,> > About two years ago we had some discussions in this forum regarding> the authorship of Brahmasutrabhashya. The date of Adi Sankaracharya> has been established as 509 BCE but some doubts were expressed as to> whether Adi Sankaracharya could have authored the> Brahmasutrabhashya.The doubts arose because of the wrong dates of> Dharmakirti. It is now known from Jina Vijaya that Kumarila Bhatta was> born in 557 BCE. Adi Sankaracharya met Kumarila bhatta just before the> death of the latter. Dharmakirti was a contemporary of Kumarila> Bhatta.Thus it is established that that Dharmakirti lived in the sixth> century BCE and he lived just before Adi Sankaracharya. Therefore> there is no doubt that Adi Sankaracharya was the author of> Brahmasutrabhashya and not Abhinava Sankaracharya, a later-day> advaitin stalwart.> > Regards,> > Sunil Kumar Bhattacharjya
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