[Advaita-l] Email regarding "vakya-sudha"

Vidyasankar Sundaresan svidyasankar at hotmail.com
Thu Mar 27 20:55:03 CDT 2008

Dear Sri Srikanta,

> Swami Nikhilananda's introduction to Drg drsya viveka explicitly states
> that Vakya-sudha is a commentary on Drg drsya viveka, probably by
> Brahmananda Bharathi.So,Drg drsya viveka is not equal to vakya-sudha.

I'm sorry to sound like I'm belabouring the point and I really don't want to nitpick, but I have to clarify
a couple of points. Please read Swami Nikhilananda's introduction in its entirety. The book is available
online, at http://www.archive.org/details/drgdrsyaviveka030903mbp.

He says, right at the beginning of his introduction:

The other name by which this treatise 
is known is Vakya Sudha ascribed to 
Sankaracharya, which is also the name of a 
commentary on it. 
He also says, later on in the same introduction,

Brahmananda Bharati, one of the commentators, acknowledges 
Bharati Tirtha as its author. In some manuscripts it is found
that Ananda Jnana, another commentator, salutes in the colophon
Sankaracharya as its author. Nischaladasa, in his Vritti Prabhakara,
ascribes the book to Vidyaranya, the celebrated author of Panchadasi. 
We are led to think that the book was written by Bharati Tirtha.
Brahmananda Bharati probably wrote, as some authorities hold, a 
commentary called Vakya Suddha. 
As opposed to some unnamed authorities, who say that Brahmananda Bharati "probably" wrote a commentary
called vAkyasudhA, you have the statement of Brahmananda Bharati himself, that the text is by Bharati Tirtha.
The direct words of a commentator on a text carry greater weight than what some people conjecture about
the name of a commentary on that text.

In any case, for you to assert that vAkyasudhA is not equal to dRg dRSya viveka, at the very least, you cannot
base it upon Swami Nikhilananda's introduction. The Swami has given a very balanced picture of the issue and
concludes that it is a text written by SrI bhAratI tIrtha.

The reason I am bringing this up is that a number of texts are attributed to SankarAcArya, not all of which
can be from the pen of a single author. Leaving modern critical scholarly appraisals aside, we need to pay
attention to what the advaita tradition itself says about these texts. And we should not go about creating new
traditions unnecessarily or bypassing the existing tradition.

In this particular case, the verse "asti bhAti priyaM ..." is from the dRg dRSya viveka of SrI bharatI tIrtha, as
attested by a number of traditional sources. The same text is also attributed to Sankara bhagavatpAda by some
authors, especially with the last hundred years or so, but this is, I repeat, a mistaken attribution. People who say
that this verse is from the vAkyasudhA of SankarAcArya subscribe to this mistaken attribution, without being
aware of all the facts. 


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