About Appaya Dikshita

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at BRAINCELLS.COM
Wed Feb 18 14:38:02 CST 1998

Appaya Dikshita is a famous name in Pandityam.  According to one of the
sources I consulted, he wrote a total of 104 works in many fields of
Shastras including Advaita Vedanta.  His most famous works are probably
Kuvalayananda a commentary on the kavi Jayadeva's Chandraloka a work on
kavyashastra and two Vedantic works Siddhantaleshasangrah an introduction
to Advaita thought, and Parimala a commentary on the kalpataru which is a
commentary on Vachaspati Mishras Bhamati which in turn is a commentary on
Shankaracharya Brahmasutrabhashya.

As the name Dikshita suggests, he was a practicer of the Shrauta rites
such as somayagna.  He lived in the 16th century and many of his
contempararies also performed Vedic yagnas.  This disproves the idea that
there was some "Vedic age" that stopped long time ago.  In fact to this
day there are some people who do this.

Based on all this, I was rathered amazed when it was mentioned on this
list that Appaya Dikshita engaged in such adharmic acts as teaching the
Vedas to those who are not entitled to them.  I decided to do a little
research in the library.

I consulted the Sanskrit work Shrimadappayadikshitacharitam by Shri
Harinarayana Dikshita.  There was another Sanskrit work by the same name
by K. Ganapati Shastri but it was in grantha which unfortunately I cannot
read.  I also read an English book "Shri Appaya Dikshita" by N. Rameshan.
The last book in particular, contains many stories about his deeds, some
of them quite fantastic.  But The idea that he taught Vedas to anyone does
not appear.  He did do much to spread Shaivism though.  At that time
the Shaiva religion was under attack (both philosophical and in some
cases physical) from the Vaishnavas particularly one Tatacharya who
was the Rajaguru of the Vijayanagara empire.  Maybe that was what he was
willing to teach to anyone.

The impression that I got from all this reading was of an extremely
tolerant and generous man.  Truly a saint as well as a scholar.
Unfortunately for Swami Dayananda he was also a staunch believer in Dharma
and would not have countenanced such silly philosophies.

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>

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