[Advaita-l] Vacaspati Mishra and Author of Khanda

abhishek rk smartie_625 at yahoo.com
Sat Jan 29 02:44:22 CST 2005

Namaste ShrI Jaldhar,

Thank you for the info reg Vacaspati Mishra and Sri
Harsha. Are these personalities' lives formally
recorded in a traditional work? Does the advaita
tradition have a tradition of such biographies?

I don't wish to carry on a trivial point, but
anyway...also, you mention that they are not known
even as karma yogis... To clarify, Sw. Gambhirananda's
translation is based on Shrimad Acharya's commentary.
And it gives notes based on Anand Giri's
sub-commentary. Well, these names are mentioned under
the verse 3.20!

karmaNaiva hi samsiddhim 
Asthita janakAdayah 
loka sangraham evApi 
sampasyan kartum arhasi(B.G. 3.20)


bhava Sankara deSika me SaraNam
> Namaste,
> In the Bhagvad Gita translation of Sw.
> Vacaspati Mishra and the Author of khanDa are
> mentioned as "recent" examples of persons who
> mukti though engaged in karma yoga like King Janaka
> 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
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

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