appayya dIkShita

Ramakrishnan Balasubramanian ramakris at EROLS.COM
Fri Aug 6 18:16:45 CDT 1999

Anand Hudli <anandhudli at HOTMAIL.COM> wrote:

>  I agree. Appayya dIkshita is considered one of the luminaries of
>  the advaita system. While quoting stories of appaya's debates with
>  others, the _least_ one can do to honor him is to _thoroughly_
>  the authenticity of the accounts. Just one-sided accounts can
>  be called impartial and accurate. One must neither give in nor
>  rabid fanaticism and sectarian frenzy.

Thanks to Anand for this reply. Jaldhar, I see that my original mail
could have been construed as an assertion that appayya and vijayIndra
could not have exchanged ideas or even debated in a civil manner.
After reading my original reply again, I realized the ambiguity. That
was not my intention.

If the story were phrased as "VijayIndra defeated appayya in debate",
I would have hardly found it offensive. I would have of course pointed
out that even the foremost authority on dvaita history, Dr
B.N.K.Sharma does not give credence to all these tales. What I found
*extremely* offensive was the claim that appayya "continued" with
advaita because some dvaita swami asked him to. As I said, it makes a
complete mockery of appayyas ideals, which are evident in his work.
Frauds who concoct these tales are very clever. If the original writer
had said that vijayIndra defeated appayya in debate, that would not be
so acceptable to even a lay smArta. He might have done some background
check. When the tale is twisted into some nonsensical story about
appayya "continuing" in advaita even after admitting his defeat, I
really find it offensive. Is the philosophical position one adopts a
"ring-around-the-rosy" game where one just sits where chance leads him
to? Or is the philosophical position something arrived at after great
deliberation? The concocter of the story has cleverly induced a
"feel-good" situation and still managed to make a complete idiot of

The late prof. S.S.Suryanarayana Sastri (The Sivadvaita Nirnaya of
Appayya Dikshita, Univ of Madras, 1974)  describes the great appayya

"Time and again in the history of a country, there rise up figures of
considerable interest and importance in respect of moral sincerity or
religious zeal or political sagacity or scholarly erudition. These are
almost gigantic in their proportions, and are not infrequently
acclaimed as incarnations of an element of Godhead. Appayya Dikshita
was such an outstanding figure in the history of South Indian
scholarship. He was a marvel of learning, in width as well as in
depth, with remarkable powers of clear thought and forcible
expression, and indefatigable worker in the cause of truth".

Claiming that such a person admitted his views to be wrong and then
continued with them, is the height of irreverence.


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