[Advaita-l] Vacaspati Mishra and Author of Khanda

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at braincells.com
Fri Jan 28 16:29:48 CST 2005

On Fri, 28 Jan 2005, abhishek rk wrote:

> Namaste,
> In the Bhagvad Gita translation of Sw. Gambhirananda,
> Vacaspati Mishra and the Author of khanDa are
> mentioned as "recent" examples of persons who attained
> mukti though engaged in karma yoga like King Janaka of
> old. Now do we have any info about the lives of
> Vacaspati Mishra

He was a Maithila (from what is now Bihar) who lived in the early 10th
century.  While he was indeed a householder, he lived a strictly ascetic
life.  His highly influential commentary on Shankaracharyas'
Brahmasutrabhashya is called Bhamati and there is a story about that.
Bhamati was the name of his wife and she was sad that they would have no
children to carry on their name.  So Vachaspati named his commentary after
her so she would acheive immortality through it.

> and the "author of khanDa" (who is he
> and what is khanDa all about)?

I assume this refers to the author of khandanakhandakhadya, Shriharsha who
was a vidvan at the court of a king of Kanyakubja (modern Kanouj in UP)
and wrote the work in 1190 AD.  It is a polemic refuting Buddhist ideas on
a logical basis.  (It also became popular amongst the Navya Nyaya
logicians who wrote several commentaries on it.)

While both these authors are highly regarded in the Advaita tradition, I
don't think they are regarded as Jivanmuktas or even karmayogis.  When
commenting on Shankaracharyas assertion that sannyasa is necessary for
moksha, Vachaspati does not dissent though he does seem to give a slightly
higher place to karma and upasana than the vivarana (the other influential

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>
It's a boy! See the pictures - http://www.braincells.com/nilagriva/

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