[Advaita-l] Article on Shankaracharya
mvineetmenon+advaitalist at gmail.com
Sat Nov 26 12:02:41 CST 2016
As usual, Devdutt under heavy doses of Wendy Doniger writes something which
looks good superficialy, but on deeper inspection is full of
His commentaries and monographs were so brilliant that Vyasa, the mythical
organiser of the Vedas, himself extended his life by another 16 years to
spread his ideas to the world.
But then, Mandana’s wife, Ubhaya Bharati, playfully challenged him to
knowledge of erotics (kama-shastra). When the celibate Shankara pleaded
ignorance, the lady asked him how he could claim to have understood the
world without experiencing sensual pleasure and emotional intimacy. What
followed is shrouded in mystery, and edited by latter-day puritans.
Some people argue that this shows the influence of Buddhism on Vedism,
causing Hindu supremacists to bristle.
Like any ancient or medieval figure of Indian history, it is difficult to
separate fact from fiction about Shankara’s life. Scholars are not sure
which of his literary works are authentically his, and which are attributed
to him to gain legitimacy or popularity. Depending on what one cherry
picks, Shankara can be turned into an incarnation of Shiva, a champion of
Hinduism who drove out Buddhists, a prodigious and prolific logician and
poet, a savarna casteist Hindu, or a reconciler of paradoxes.
This obsession of defeating intellectuals in debates has more to do with
indulging the ego than expanding knowledge.
Most historians agree that Adi Shankaracharya lived in the 8th century CE,
or 1,200 years ago, 1,300 years after the Buddha. *(P.S. **three
monasteries among the four set up by Shankaracharya – Dwaraka, Puri and
Kanchi – will say it is 509 BC. The fourth Sringeri monastery will say 44
On 26 November 2016 at 22:43, V Subrahmanian via Advaita-l <
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