Info on Swami Saccidanandendra?

Anand Hudli ahudli at APPN.CI.IN.AMERITECH.COM
Tue Dec 3 12:29:37 CST 1996

               Vidyasankar Sundaresan wrote:
> It seems to me that he accepts only the commentaries on the prasthAna
> trayI and upadeSasAhasrI to be Sankara's own compositions. This is pretty
> much the same opinion taken by Ingalls, Hacker and others. As we have
> already discussed earlier on this list, the reasons for accepting
> upadeSasAhasrI as a genuine work of Sankara's and rejecting something like
> the vivekacUDAmaNi are not very satisfactory.

  Saccidanandendra seems to be quite convinced that the Vivekacudamani
  is not a work of Shankara's, but rather of Shankarananda who also
  wrote a Gita Bhashya. He compares the writing style, choice of terms, etc.,
  and arrives at this conclusion. As you say, he takes the prasthaana traya
  of Shankara as the standard against which he compares any work attributed
  to Shankara.

  On the other hand, given the fact that Swami Chandrasekhara Bharati
  of Sringeri wrote a commentary on the Vivekacudamani, it is clear that
  the treatise is treated as a genuine work of Shankara, in that tradition.

  Swami Saccidanandendra similarly analyzes another work attributed to
  Shankara, MahaavaakyadarpaNa, and concludes that it too is a work of
  Shankaraananda. This work is of the same calibre as the Vivekacudamani,
  but is not as popular, for some reason.

> Finally, I am unaware if the Sringeri tradition has a final view on which
> works are Sankara's and which are not. True, the Vani Vilas collection of
> Sankara's works that was sponsored by Sringeri between 1910 and 1920,
> includes a whole bunch of texts that are doubted by modern scholarship.
> However, in this collection, manuscripts collected from all over India
> were collated and published, along with the manuscripts obtained from
> Sringeri itself. If a manuscript's colophons said that it was composed by
> Sankara, it was included in the collection. But, rather than discard all
> the minor texts except upadeSasAhasrI, it would be better to evaluate the
> texts on a case by case basis and then come to a conclusion regarding
> authorship.
  Part of the confusion may arise from the fact  that every head of a
  Math is  called a Shankaracharya.
  When he writes a book, etc., he may simply add a colophon saying it was
  written by Shankaracharya, and people in another century mistake it to
  be a work of Adi Shankaracharya!

> However, the Swami's contention that one has to go back to Sankara's works
> to understand advaita vedAnta is well taken. As he points out, the
> controversy between the later bhAmatI school of vAcaspati miSra and the
> vivaraNa school of prakASAtman (following padmapAda) has been blown out of
> proportion and exploited by the dvaitins. He points out very cogently
> where both vAcaspati miSra's bhAmatI and padmapAda's pancapAdikA differ in
> crucial concepts from Sankara's bhAshyas on the vedAnta-sUtras and the
> chAndogya and br.hadAraNyaka upanishads.

   I have heard that in dvaita polemical works there is *no* criticism
   of Shankara's works, but only of the panchapaadikaa and bhaamati and
   their related commentaries. If that is true, it is very interesting.
    Madhusuudana Sarasvati is much closer to Shankara and
   Sureshvara, as far as his philosophy goes, and his advaita siddhi
   has not yet received a significant response from  the dvaitins.

> I have not read his work titled pancapAdikA prasthAnam, but I gather from
> the centenary commemoration volume that he holds that padmapAda could not
> have been a direct disciple of Sankara himself. Or if he was, then he
> was not particularly faithful to Sankara in his interpretation. This is
> a contention that goes against the mainstream tradition of the advaitins,
> and well merits serious study.
> Regards,
> S. Vidyasankar


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