Sringeri and Sureshvara (was Re: [Advaita-l] On recent mails the listhas see

Vidyasankar Sundaresan svidyasankar at
Sun Mar 4 07:59:24 CST 2007

>Dear Raghavendra and others,
> > But the
> > Sringeri maTha itself traditionally teaches Advaita
> > according to the bhAmatI-vyAkhyAna.
>According to tradition, Sri Sureshvara was the acharya of the Sringeri 
>after it have been founded by Adi Shankara. However, Sureshvara is held by
>many to be the forerunner of Vivarana. Then why is Sringeri matha teaching
>according to Bhamati?

A few clarifications:

-- There are a couple of reasons for using bhAmatI when first teaching 
brahmasUtra and its bhAshya. The available text of the pancapAdikA covers 
only the first five sUtras of the brahmasUtra and its bhAshya, although its 
name suggests that it originally covered the entire first adhyAya (four 
pada-s) and the first pada of the second adhyAya. On the other hand, bhAmatI 
is available for the entire sUtrabhAshya. Naturally, when teaching 
brahmasUtrabhAshya to disciples, bhAmatI is an obvious choice. kalpataru and 
parimalA are also used during teaching, but obviously, this means that the 
teaching methods have also evolved over time. Before the 16th century, 
parimalA was not even written, so its use in the course of teaching the 
sUtrabhAshya is a post-appayya dIkshita development.

This does not mean that the Sringeri AcAryas consider themselves to be 
strictly in the bhAmatI sub-school. In fact, there is a conscious setting 
apart, in terms of householders and renouncers, because vAcaspati miSra and 
appayya dIkshita were householders, whereas Sringeri is primarily a 
sannyAsin center. Inasmuch as the sUtras and the bhAshya are being taught to 
non-sannyAsins, the texts written by gRhastha-s seem appropriate. But as we 
are talking about sampradAya here, a sannyAsi sampradAya cannot be sustained 
through generations, without the interest and involvement of gRhastha-s. 
Also, in terms of teaching Indian philosophy, Sringeri does not neglect even 
non vedAnta schools. It is documented that the first philosophy schooling of 
SrI bhAratI tIrtha, the current Sringeri AcArya, began with a vaiSeshika 
text, before even taking up vedAnta. They aim for a solid grounding in all 
the important darSana-s, with an encyclopedic scope.

-- That sureSvarAcArya is in some ways a forerunner of the vivaraNa 
sub-school is a modern assessment. Traditional teachers do not consider him 
so. For that matter, Sankara is also a forerunner of the vivaraNa 
sub-school, but we cannot classify him so.


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