[Advaita-l] About Yajnavalkya of BAU

S Jayanarayanan sjayana at yahoo.com
Tue Jul 27 15:21:31 CDT 2004

There is at least one "classical advaitin" who has accepted the
historicity of the YAGYavalkya (Y) episode in the BU. It is in fact one
of the most famous advaitins after Shankara himself -- svAmi
vidyAraNya. In his jIvanmukti viveka, vidyAraNya considers the "state
of GYAna of Y of the BU". VidyAraNya speaks of Y repeatedly as a person
who lived long ago and had debates with various scholars. In fact,
there is no meaning in speaking of the "GYAna of Y" if Y did not refer
to a person at all. 

What I'm saying is that svAmi abhinava vidyAtIrtha was giving *one*
view of looking at the "historical" events in the Veda, but I doubt if
it's only view possible in advaita, as evidenced by vidyAraNya's
acceptance of Y as a historical person. In the orthodox pUrva mImAmsA
perspective, where none of the events of the Veda are historical, words
like "indra", "agni" etc., appear as though they are names of gods,
deities etc., but are really only eternal words. See KumArila's
commentary on Jaimini's sUtra 1.1.31, where he points out that none of
the "names" in the Vedas need actually be a proper name, in stark
contrast to VishishhTAdvaita, where "nArAyaNa" is (improperly) taken as
a proper name. 

There is also Shankara's commentary on the brahma sUtra 1.3.28.


--- Ramakrishnan Balasubramanian <rama.balasubramanian at gmail.com>
> I think abhinava vidyatiirtha would represent the so called
> "classical" advaita better than anyone else here. Rereading the
> commentaries would make that clear.
> Rama
> On Sun, 25 Jul 2004 12:52:19 -0600 (MDT), Shrisha Rao <shrao at nyx.net>
> wrote:
> > On Sun, 25 Jul 2004, Ramakrishnan Balasubramanian wrote:
> > 
> > > At least from the point of view of advaita and the puurva
> miimaa.msaa,
> > > the stories related in "sruti are NOT historical events and are
> meant
> > > for only purposes of illustration. So this whole discussion is
> moot
> > > from an advaitic standpoint.
> > 
> > Everyone agrees that the chief purpose of the narrations of
> episodes in
> > the Vedantic literature is to illustrate metaphysical concepts
> rather than
> > convey history, but there is no hint of rejection of their
> historicity in
> > the *classical* Advaitic literature, even when they make fantastic
> claims;
> > for example, see Sri Sankara's remarks concerning the
> Nachiketa-Yama
> > episode in his Katha U. commentary, or his sUtra commentary under
> > `smaryate.api cha loke'.
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