[Advaita-l] Re: Vivekachudamani vs Bhashyas

Vidyasankar Sundaresan svidyasankar at hotmail.com
Wed Aug 13 12:44:47 CDT 2003

> >  I've checked the shankara bhAShya on this verse prabhuji.  It will be
>interesting to note that shankara talks about samAdhi as you said
>vikalpa-varjitA.  It is agreed that gitA talks about acalatva of samAdhi

So does brahmasUtra, 4.1.7-9 - AsInas sambhavAt ... acalatvam ApekShya.

>but shankara makes it clear that *acalA tatrApi vikalpa varjitA ityE tat*
>after talking about sAdhya & sAdhana (shruti vipratipannA anEka sAdhya
>sAdhana saMbhanDha prakASana shrutibhiH  etc.)  Here samAdhi does not mean
>achala nirvikalpa samAdhi as we find in patanjalis astAnga yoga prabhuji,

Before we discuss this, let us be very clear about two things. One, NOWHERE 
in patanjali's aShTAnga yoga do you find any mention of nirvikalpa samAdhi, 
NOR do you find it in the yogabhAShya of vyAsa. Two, taking over elements of 
yogasUtra/bhAShya teaching is not foreign to Sankara. See sUtrabhAShya 
4.1.7, where Sankara refers positively to padma and other Asana-s as taught 
in the yogaSAstra.

As far as I can make out from comparing yoga and vedAnta texts, the term 
nirvikalpa samAdhi has its origin in the advaita vedAnta tradition, not in 
the independent pAtanjala yoga tradition.

Back to gItAbhAShya - what is the referent of the terms acalA and 
vikalpa-varjitA? It is buddhi. Sankara mentions this immediately before and 
after the reference to samAdhi, which is to be maintained still (acalA) and 
without mental constructions (vikalpa varjitA) IN the Atman (Atmani), which 
is therefore called samAdhi (samAdhau). Now, pray what is this practice of 
maintaining the mind (antaHkaraNa) still and devoid of constructions, merged 
into the Self, if not what has come to be called nirvikalpa samAdhi?

>here samAdhi is the implicit meaning of Atma jnAna, that is the reason why
>arjuna asks the next question sthitha pragnasya kA bhAssh, kim AsIta, kim

Yes indeed, but what exactly does one mean by the statement, "samAdhis is 
the implicit meaning of AtmajnAna"? Does this mean that AtmajnAna is 
manifested in samAdhi, or does it mean that practising samAdhi is necessary 
for AtmajnAna, or does it mean that samAdhi and AtmajnAna are synonymous, or 
does it mean something entirely other than the above three alternatives?

And as far as doctrinal issues are concerned, does VC say anywhere that this 
samAdhi is different from maintaining the state of AtmajnAna?

>vrajEta etc.  if bhagavan himself meant ashtANga yoga's achala samAdhi,
>arjuna's question & bhagavan's subsequent answers does not make any sense
>prabhuji.  Kindly clarify.

As far as advaita doctrinal questions are concerned, the real question is, 
where is the need to talk of the sthitaprajna's remaining in AtmaniShThA? 
Unless of course, Sankara is serious about teaching something in this 

> >  prabhuji, as we know, right from time immemorial traditionalists
>comparitively giving great importance on shankara's sUtra bhashya.

Traditionalists have also given great importance to the upanishad bhAshya-s, 
starting from sureSvara, who wrote commentaries on two of them (taittirIya 
and bRhadAraNyaka).

>Moreover, there is absolutely no second opinion about the authorship of
>sUtra bhAshya by shankara. If we doubt the authorship of BSB then it will

This is a piece of scholarly dogma, which I have been questioning a lot, 
because it deliberately ignores other texts, most importantly the upanishad 
bhAshya-s, and especially the two mentioned above. There is absolutely no 
second opinion about the authorship of taittirIya and bRhadAraNyaka bhAshyas 
by Sankara, nor is there any more doubt about the gItAbhAshya. Everybody is 
satisfied with the bona fides of upadeSasAhasrI too. So why shouldn't we 
discuss authorship issues with respect to these four other texts too?

This line of questioning would be especially useful in explaining the fact 
that bhAskara's sUtra bhAshya is almost verbatim identical with 
SankarAcArya's in many places, as also the fact that sureSvara doesn't quote 
much from the sUtra bhAshya in his works. On the other hand, sarvajnAtman's 
saMkshepa SArIraka relies heavily on sureSvara's vArttikas and 
naishkarmayasiddhi in its explanation of sUtra-s and sUtra bhAshya. All the 
more reason to pay closer attention to the two mentioned upanishad bhAshyas.

There seems to be only one reason why modern scholars who discuss authorship 
want to restrict themselves to sUtrabhAshya, and that is that this has been 
translated and published quite a few times and is therefore more easily 
accessible than other commentaries. bRhadAraNyaka commentary and the 
vArttika on it are enormous texts, and nobody seems to want to expend effort 
on them.  Of course, I exclude Holenarsipur Swamiji from this category of 
"modern scholars". In fact, he was the only one who analyzed such questions 
who even paid attention to the other texts, but those of us today who take a 
lead from him in discussing this kind of topic should examine authorship 
questions afresh, by taking the other undisputed texts into account.

>take away the main root of shankara's adv. siddhanta.   But where as in
>shruti bhAshyas still some complications are there in determining the
>authorship.  For example, there are two types of bhashyas  in kenOpanishad
>(pada & vAkya bhAshya), scholars say that commentaries on shw. Up. &

Mayeda, the only modern scholar who has analyzed this text from the angle of 
authorship, concludes that both pada and vAkya bhAshyas on kenopanishad are 

>nrusimha tApaNi upanishads not listed in dashopanishad & its purports are
>not in line with shankara's major dashopanishad bhashyas.  If we see the

Let us leave aside those upanishad commentaries on which doubts can be 
raised. Let us also leave aside the two kenopanishad bhAshyas (inspite of 
Mayeda's conclusions) and the mANDUkya bhAshya (about which also various 
opinions exist). That still leaves us with commentaries on taittirIya, 
bRhadAraNyaka, chAndogya, kaTha, ISa, aitareya, muNDaka and praSna 
upanishads. Among these, the first two are clearly beyond question and there 
is no reason why chAndogya bhAshya shouldn't be genuine. Adding gItAbhAshya 
and upadeSasAhasrI, we have five or ten additional texts to draw up criteria 
to decide issues of writing style and doctrinal conclusions for Sankara as 
an author. That way we will have included an independent text and 
commentaries on two prasthAnas. Why restrict scholastic attention to the 
sUtrabhAshya, which is only one prasthAna out of three?

>immediate post shankara period, the works in adv. basically framed from
>commentaries & sub-commentaries on sUtra bhAshya right from the time of
>padmapAda's pancha padika's vivarana  prasthana.  It is firm conviction in

Well, padmapAda wrote pancapAdikA, which is incomplete, while the vivaraNa 
on this by prakASAtman came at least two centuries later. vAcaspati miSra's 
bhAmatI on sUtrabhAshya was written perhaps half a century (or one century) 
after Sankara.

>adv. tradition  & relying heavily on the BSB for understanding &
>establishing adv.  since this is logical work to do samanvaya in shruti &
>smruti prasthana.
> >  Considering all the points above, we can treat the BSB of shankara as a
>yard stick in determining other works which are ascribed to him.  I've the
>text of US prabhuji.  Kindly give me some time to discuss this in detail.

>what is your opinion on sUtra bhAshya 4-1-2 prabhuji which says completely

I am puzzled by this. As far as I can see, sUtrabhAshya 4.1.2 refers to the 
fact that not everybody obtains jnAna immediately, which is why repetition 
is necessary (as seen in the repeated teaching of tat tvam asi in the 
upanishad). If anything, it points to the value of repeated instruction and 
the steps involved in internalizing the upanishad teaching.

>otherway round ??  if possible I'd like to have your opinion on 1-1-4 &
>1-4-1 also.

How do these two sUtra-s change anything in a discussion of style and 
content for authorship questions?


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