[Advaita-l] Age/History of Sankara

B Shridhar kameshwarii at gmail.com
Mon Oct 2 11:34:20 CDT 2006

Dear Sir,

I have been a late commer to this esteemed site and to make up I have been
visiting the archives and the discussions on Advaita has been more thought
provoking and interesting with so many learned contributors.

I have had the occassion of reading an earlier  article by Sri Vidyasankar
Sundaresan when he has been openly critical of the Kanchi mutt while being a
disciple of Sringeri mutt. I had felt the need to respond to his earlier
article but then as it was old, I felt it more inappropriate to take this
subject. But seems by this latest article he has once again started
indirectly raising issues of authenticity of the various mutts which I feel
is unwarranted. I would like to request him from  refrain from such activity
as Advaitam is the subject for which this site has been created. In case he
wants to understand history and authencity of the Kanchi mutt, he should
read a research paper on "kanchi mutt - a myth or a reality" by WR Antharkar
published by the Bandarkar insitute, pune. Every one does understand what
Sri Vidyasankar is driving at with his logic on the Age of Sankara.

Everyone is happy with their own gurus and the mutts they represent and the
best would be to let them be that way.

Your Truly,

B. Shridhar

On 10/2/06, Vidyasankar Sundaresan <svidyasankar at hotmail.com> wrote:
> >On Adi Sankara, scholars seem to agree on the following ONLY
> >
> >             a) That he was born at Kaladi of Kerala
> >             b) That he was just 32 years when he attained mukti
> >
> >And scholars seem to differ on rest of issues like
> >
> >             a) when he was born (and hence when he attained mukti)
> >             b) What works he himself authored
> >             c) What mutts he himself established
> >             d) where he attained mukti
> >
> >Looks like that we may never have closure on these issues to the
> >satisfaction of all
> >
> Even on the first two questions, there is difference in opinion. And
> except
> for the issue of what works he wrote himself, no other issue is
> "scholarly"
> in origin. Rather, there are internal social, political, literary and
> personal histories behind these controversies.
> anantAnandagiri's Sankaravijaya, according to its earliest editions (1867
> and 1881 AD), says that Sankara was born in Chidambaram. Only the 1971
> edition of this Sankaravijaya says Kaladi but there is ample reason to
> believe that the original reading in the manuscripts must have been only
> Chidambaram. This has been discussed many times on this list in the past.
> As
> for the age to which he lived, 32 is the traditional number cited by all
> sources.
> It is perhaps correct to say that not all will be satisfied with any sort
> of
> closure on these questions. However, at an individual level, you are
> prepared to take the following steps, you can indeed achieve closure to
> your
> own satisfaction.
> 1. Be objective about what is said to be tradition/history.
> 2. Take the trouble to gain a measure of Sanskrit knowledge and read texts
> in the original. Often, you will find that a statement "such and such a
> text
> says this" can be easily verified or refuted if you are able to read the
> quoted text in its original, rather than translations and late editions.
> 3. Renounce the belief that any great person who lived in India in the
> past
> had to have lived before Christ. Countless great men and women have lived
> in
> India not only in the very distant past, but also in the roughly two
> millenia since Christ.
> 4. Renounce the belief that the correctness of a statement is dependent
> upon
> who is making that statement. Examples: Westerners in India have always
> had
> their own agenda at various points of time, but that does not make wrong
> everything that they said or wrote. Nor, on the opposite side, does a
> statement become true merely because it was said for the first time by a
> Westerner.
> 5. Renounce the belief that a seeming abundance of evidence from selected
> source(s) is necessarily compelling. Often, what is offered as evidence is
> ridden with holes upon closer examination.
> 6. Renounce the beliefs that if an institution is prominent today, or if
> its
> head is worthy of respect, it has always been prominent throughout
> history,
> or that all the historical claims of the said institution are correct.
> 7. Apply all the above even to your own favorite people and institutions,
> in
> addition to people and institutions who differ from your favorites.
> Of course, this could be asking for a lot and may be difficult, if not
> impossible, to achieve. However, most confusing issues will get sorted out
> if you take the trouble to equip yourself with some critical thinking
> apparatus.
> Best regards,
> Vidyasankar
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