[Advaita-l] Vaiyaasika-nyaaya-maalaa

Ramakrishnan Balasubramanian rama.balasubramanian at gmail.com
Tue Jan 23 23:31:07 CST 2007

The vaiyaasika-nyaaya-maala (VNM) is a book written by Srimad
Bhaaratii Tiirtha Svaamina.h, who was the pIThAdipati of the Sringeri
MaTha, just before the great VidyaaraNya. He was also Sri VidyaaraNyas
younger brother in their puurvaashrama. So, Srimad Bhaaratii Tiirtha
Svaamina.h was the 11th pIThAdipati of the Sringeri Matha.

The VNM is a metrical composition, with a total of 408 shlokas. The
structure is as follows. The brahma-suutras consists of 4 adhyaayas.
Each adhyaaya has 4 paadas. Each paada has a variable number of
adhikaraNa (topic). Each adhikaraNa has a variable number of sUtras.
There are totally 191 adhikaraNas in the brahma-suutras and 555

Each adhikaraNa in the brahma-suutra has sUtra(s) addressing the
following topics:

1. viShaya - subject matter, or what is being investigated
2. sandeha - what is the doubt which is causing enquiry
3. saN^gati - what is the reason for the doubt
4. pUrvapaxa - preleminary possible explanations
5. siddhaanta -  actual explanation as per the author

The VNM has usually 2 shlokas on each adhikaraNa. Some have 4 shlokas
also. The basic grouping is 2 shlokas (except the first 10). The first
shloka addresses viShaya, sandeha and puurvapaxa. The second shloka
gives the siddhaanta. The author of the VNM states that the saN^gati
is clear from the context and is not explained by him (shloka 2) -
saN^gataya.h sphuTA.h. The first shloka also pays homage to Srimad
Vidyaatiirtha, his guru. The first 10 shlokas form an introduction the
work and the brahma suutras and are not on any adhikaraNa. The VNM
proper starts at the 11th shloka. The term vaiyaasika in the VNM,
refers to the fact that vyaasa (baadaraayaNa) is the composer of the

In general when works are voluminous, it is not easy to understand
them, since it is easy to get lost in the maze of details. The
brahma-suutra-bhaaShya is huge and it proves difficult to read. So the
work VNM states the main points alone, for the easy understanding of
the students. Relatively minor points are omitted.  A similar
statement is made by Sureshvara in his Naishhkarmyasiddhi, where he
says the 1st three chapters are summarized in the 4th, for the benefit
of the students who may not be very astute. Thus the 4th chapter
concentrates on the main points and themes.

However, sometimes great ideas are compressed into a small work. This
compression requires great skill and it will also require a discerning
student to understand all the points in the small work. Here the
smallness of the work is not due to the relatively minor points being
omitted, but due to the skill of the author. The brahma suutra itself
is such a work. Although small, it compresses a whole lot of detail
into it. Incidentally, svayamprakaasha yatiindra comments that the
entire advaita is compressed into the daxiNAmuurti stotra, and he is
writing a commentary because students of lesser intellect cannot
understand the tersely stated stotra!

The great Sri J~naanaananda Bhaarati Svaamina.h (JBS - Sri
Krishnaswaamy Iyer in his puurvaashrama) has translated the VNM in
full,  with detailed notes in the Tamizh language. He had the good
fortune of being taught the suutra-bhaaShya by the great Sri
Candrashekhara Bhaarati Mahaasvaaminah himself. I have read through
parts of the book (I got the book recently) and it is very
enlightening. It is in the usual brilliant style of JBS. I reccommend
all people who know the thamiz to buy this book, and benefit from it.

The publication details are:

Sri Lingammal Raju Sastrapratishtha Trust
1 Gandhikalai Mandram Saalai
Rajapalayam - 626 117
email: shastraprathishta at yahoo.com

Saastraprakaasika Trust
phone: 044-8530975
email info at sastraprakasika.org


PS: The VNM has also been translated by the great Sri Kadalangudi
Natesa Sastrigal in his tamizh translation of the suutra-bhaaShya.
However, it is found scattered through the pages and not as easy a
read as this book.

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