Authentic works of Samkara?

Sankar Jayanarayanan kartik at ENG.AUBURN.EDU
Mon Oct 13 16:27:58 CDT 1997

Raghavendra Hebbalalu wrote:

> I don't think Sri Ramana Maharshi wrote a comentary on the
> VivekaCudamani. It was Sri Chandrashekhara Bharati, a pontiff of the
> Sringeri Math who wrote a commentary on that. Another thing is that
> there is an opinion among historians and others
> Opinion starts'
> The Bhashyas on the 10 principal Upanisads, the Bhagavad Gita and the
> Brahma Sutras are the only true works of Sri Adi Shankara. The other
> works attributed to him are done by his successors who were also called
> Shankaracharyas.
> Opinion Ends.

This is the opinion of historians regarding Shankara's works:

Shankara = Author of the Brahma Sutra Bhashya that is attributed to Shankara.

Any work that deviates from this work in either style or opinion is considered
spurious. This is the yardstick to judge if a work is an authentic work of
Shankara, according to Richard King. You can consult his book "Early advaita
Vedanta and Buddhism."

As per this view, all the commentaries on the Upanishads excluding the
Shvetashvatara U., the commentary on the Gita, the Upadeshasahasri, the
commentary on Vyasa's commentary on Patanjali's Yoga Sutras are all genuine.

The reason Vivekachudamani is considered spurious is interesting.
I had posted the following a while ago on the newsgroup soc.religion.hindu.
Ramakrishnan's reply to my posting also follows:

>This quote is from "the encyclopaedia of Indian philosophy" editted by
>Karl H.Potter(page 335).
>This is a sizable work, extremely popular among advaita adepts. Ingalls argues
>that it is not genuine Samkara since it propounds theories not found in
>Samkara's unquestioned works. For example, "the author of Vivekachudamani makes
>an absolute equation of the waking and dream states after the fashion of
>Gaudapada. Samkara may liken the two to each other, but he is careful to
>distinguish them. Again, and most decisive of all, the Vivekachudamani accepts
>the classical theory of the three truth values, the existent, the non-existent
>and that which is anirvachaniya...Now, Paul Hacker has pointed out that when
>Samkara uses the word anirvachaniya, he uses it in a sense quite differently
>from that..."
>Hacker, interestingly enough, finds reason to affirm the genuineness of the
>work on the basis of colophons, but Mayeda, like Ingalls following out the
>criteria Hacker proposes elsewhere, holds it to be spurious.

I find the view among western scholars, that the suutra bhaashyaa is some kind
of totem pole around which every other work of our aachaarya should execute a
dance, quite laughable. It shows their ignorance of both our advaitic and the
Indian mentality. Different things are taught to aspirants of various grades!
This concept is very simple. So there is no problem with shaMkara being a
shR^ishTi dR^ishTi vaadin in the suutra bhaasshya and an ajaata vaadi in the
upadeshasaahasrii and the kaarikaa bhaashhya. These people better learn such
simple concepts before writing our history.

There are similar reasons for rejecting some other works attributed to Shankara.
The famous "Saundarya Lahari" is one such, since the author/poet refers to an
object invented only after Shankara's time (800 AD)!

Some others like the GauDapaadiiya KArikA Bhaashhya have not yet been
satisfactorily classified as authentic or spurious.


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