[Advaita-l] Re: yoga and vedanta

Ramakrishnan Balasubramanian rama.balasubramanian at gmail.com
Fri Jul 29 14:57:01 CDT 2005

Dear Sri Bhaskar,

On 7/29/05, bhaskar.yr at in.abb.com <bhaskar.yr at in.abb.com> wrote:
> praNAms Sri Ramakrishna Balasubramanian prabhuji

[ ... ]
> Thanks for the information prabhuji.  But IMHO this is not a valid pramANa
> to prove the author of paNchapAdika is the direct desciple of shankara.
> Any author with poetic insticts can compose any no. of verses in praise of
> our parama AchArya shankara in the form of sadguru vaNdana.  For example
> author of mAdhavIya shankara vijaya & other biographers of shankara, though
> written even after centuries of shankara, accounted the episodes *as if*
> they are the eye witness of those incidents!! Sri SS in his bhajans book
> *adhyAtma gItAvaLi* composed many poems glorifying the magnanimity of
> shankara & his digvijaya, it does not help us to say that SS is the direct
> desciple of shankara. Moreover, since the author of paNchapAdika *equating*
> shankara bhagavadpAda with shiva bhagavan, according to your understanding,
> we have to infer & conclude that author must have seen shiva also
> physically centered with bhUta gaNa to *compare* with shankara with
> shishyavrunda!!!
> Kindly dont think I am arguing with you prabhuji...just these are all the
> thoughts come to my mind.

When composing Sanskrit works, it is typical to compose ma~Ngala
shlokas. There is even a rule that works should always begin with
ma~Ngala shlokas. Now such shlokas are typically to ones ishhTa
devatta or guru or both. Take Vidyaaranya. Does he begin with a
ma~Ngala shloka to shankara? He merely salutes Vidyatirtha, as far as
I can remember. Or take the works of sarvaj~naatman. He begins the
sa~Nkshhepashaariiraka with shlokas to his guru (deveshvara), vishhNu
and a particularly beautiful shloka on ganesha. Take the works of
citsukha. Does he salute shankara in the beginning, he salutes only
j~naanottama his guru and Narasimha? Or vimuktaatman, who salutes the
pure brahman?

It's more an exception rather than the rule that later advaitic
authors salute sha.nkara in their ma~Ngala shlokas. Comparing it with
the sha~Nkaravijayam is not correct because the latter is a
kaavyam/itihaasam. It is supposed to narrate events.

Sarvaj~naatman mentions sha.nkara and sureshvara by name many times.
Never once does he mention that the latter is a disciple of the
former. It is indeed a Western notion that these things need to be
mentioned explicitly. For the Indians, such things are not of much

> Kindly also let me know, whether author of paNchapAdika anywhere
> acknowledged that he is the direct desciple of shankara like surEshwavara
> did in vArtika & NS. Further, as per SS, even prakAshAtma yati while
> writing his vivaraNa commentary has not raised this point & said that the
> author of paNchapAdika is indeed the direct desciple of shankara
> bhagavadpAda. If the answer is no to the above question, then we are forced
> to say that it is only a traditional belief & there is no concrete evidence
> to categorically declare that paNchapAdika is the work of direct desciple
> of shankara.

The vivaraNa was written to expound the pa~ncapaadikaa and not to
expound on who was whose disciple. Prakaashaatman may not have
considered it important enough to say such details, because for him it
could have been an obvious fact and not something people were
questioning at that time, i.e., he would have had no idea people 1200
years later would be questioning whether Padmapaada was shankara's

> Ofcourse prabhuji, for all spiritual aspirants in jnAna path shankara is
> *the guru*.

Then every advaitic author would be saluting shankara in their works,
which is most definitely not the case!

> This is really news to me prabhuji!!  Kindly give the details of that
> biography prabhuji.  Sofar I've read one book in kannada called *sadguru
> charitre* written by Sri H.S. Lakshmi Narasimha Murthy, direct desciple of
> SS...but nowhere I've come across personal attacks like this (claiming
> padmapAda was a charlaton/rogue etc.) .  I request the members those who
> have studied karyalaya publications to enlighten me about this.

Try the english biography published by the kaaryaalaya. 

> Surely Padmapaada could not have fooled every author who lived within
> 100-200 years of
> sha.nkara? On the other hand almost every author right after sha.nkara
> (within 100-200 years)  accept Padmapaada as a genuine exponent of
> sha.nkara. And surely not every one in the 1200 years were fools?
> bhaskar :
> To answer the above questions prabhuji first we have ascertain the author
> of paNchapAdika is it not...SS believes that still it is an open issue.

In other words you are saying that it is an open issue whether the
advaitic authors other than SS in the last 1200 years were fools ?

> prabhuji this point can be discussed in much more detail when your much
> awaited article on SS Vs other commentators comes up. I can say there is
> really handful of information available from bhAshya & vArtika to negate
> the theory of bhAva rUpa avidyA & avidyA upAdAna kAraNatva.

In your reply to Anand you had mentioned that sha.nkara does not
follow "independent" tarka. That is indeed the case and I agree
personally that it is not essential to to have independent tarka. You
and I may be satisfied by that. But someone else may find such
arguments which lead to advaita more appealing. Sureshvara very
clearly expounds  independent tarka in his sambandha vaarttika. The
arguments are about how pratyaksha does not in reality reveal
difference. The arguments are basically derived from Mandana. Even the
wordings and even entire verses are the same! R Balasubramanian in his
superb study of the brahmasiddhi claims that this is an indication
that Mandana Mishra might have become Sureshvara. Swami
Satchidanandendra claims that the arguments were probably from a
common source and so look similar. But these arguments are not found
anywhere in sha.nkara's works! So what is the common source?  Clearly
Sureshvara got the arguments from Mandana (if they were not the same
person) and thought they were good and adopted them. Further more it
is very clearly independent reasoning and somewhat anticipates
sriharsha/citsukhas arguments. So even sureshvara does not follow SS's
claim that only the type of reasoning he brands "shrutyaanuga tarka"
should be followed!

In any case, I think I shall stop with this and concentrate on writing
my article. Best to discuss as a whole than piecemeal.


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