[Advaita-l] Re: yoga and vedanta - Appayya Dikshita's words

Anand Hudli anandhudli at hotmail.com
Sat Jul 30 01:36:08 CDT 2005

In response to bhaskar.yr at in.abb.com, I write:

We all know and agree that Shankara's teachings are the first and foremost 
among those that belong to the advaita paramparA. There is no doubt aout 
this. What seems to torment some people is the fact that there are 
"differences" between Shankara's teachings and those of later AchAryas. From 
this, a wrong conclusion has been reached: later AchAryas distorted 
Shankara's teachings to such an extent that we should not follow them at all 
but we should stick to only teachings that can be shown to have directly 
come from Shankara and none other than Shankara. While the attitude of 
studying Shankara's teachings is certainly praiseworthy, dismissing the 
later AchAryas' works as not representing advaitic philosophy is wrong. In 
saying this, I can only rely on AchAryas whose understanding of advaita was 
infinitely superior to my own, since I have no hope of making a thorough 
study of all advaita works in this lifetime or even in one more lifetime! 
(There are arguably more than 1600 works that are available and that can be 
classified as belonging to Shankara's paramparA). AchArya Shankara's 
teachings are the sacred gaN^gA river that takes its birth from the feet of 
ViShNu. The later AchAryas' teachings are tributaries of the gaN^gA that may 
appear to be somewhat different from the original river because of the 
terrain, but they finally join the ocean. The teachings of later AchAryas 
too finally affirm the same conclusion "brahma satyaM jaganmithyA jIvo 
brahmaiva nAparaH". The following verse (1.1) from the 
siddhAnta-leshsaMgraha of appayya dIkShita is relevant here:

adhigatabhidA pUrvAchAryAnupetya sahasradhA saridiva mahIbhedAn.h saMprApya 
shauripadodgatA | jayati bhagavatpAdashrImanmukhAMbujanirgatA jananaharaNI 
sUktirbrahmAdvayaikaparAyaNA ||

The teachings that have emanated from the mouth of Shankara BhagavatpAda are 
like the gaN^ga that springs from the foot of ViShNu. Just as the same river 
branches out into tributaries due to variations in the characteristics of 
the land where the water flows, so also, due to variations in the learning 
(background) of the AchAryas earlier (than myself), there are many prakriyAs 
within the advaita system. (The conclusion of every prakriyA is the same as 
every AchArya has accepted the conclusion of Shankara's teachings.) This 
advaita teaching, which destroys birth (saMsAra) and which has the 
attainment of the nondual Brahman as its objective, is  victorious.

>bhaskar :

>I think this also can be cited as one more difference between surEshwara 
>(vArtikakAra) & shankara >then!!  because shankara says though 
>upanishadvAdins ultimately agree the advaita's Atmaikatva >tattva, the 
>correct interpretation of shruti is required to be understood through the 
>methodology >adopted by shruti.

On the contraray, Shankara agrees with another vedAntic viewpoint as long as 
it has the same conclusion, even if it is not the same as his own. See, for 
example, sUtra-bhAShya 1.4.3 where Shankara agrees with another viewpoint 
since it also has the same effect, ie. denying that pradhAna is the cause of 
the world. So it is not proper to say that Shankara insists that only his 
method is correct.


More information about the Advaita-l mailing list