[Advaita-l] Brahmasutrabhashya and the date of.Adi Sankaracharya

Vidyasankar Sundaresan svidyasankar at hotmail.com
Fri Sep 26 19:59:30 CDT 2008

Dear Sri Bhattacharya,
> With all regards to you I have to say that I have not seen a single> convincing internal evidence on the 6th to 8th century date of> Dharmakirti so far. I shall be grateful you kindly enlighten me on at
I'm afraid that will be a very involved discussion, although quite
tangential to this list. So, I'll simply point to various discussions
of these topics by R G Bhandarkar, K T Telang, S Radhakrishnan,
S N Dasgupta, Hajime Nakamura, Paul Hacker, Karl Potter etc. A
convenient list of bibliographic references can be compiled from
Dasgupta's volumes on History of Indian Philosophy and Potter's
Encyclopedia of Indian Philosophy.
> least a couple of such evidences? Further if you believe that Adi> Sankaracharya lived in the 8th century CE what will you say about the> Muslim scholars' claim that Adi Sankaracharya was influenced by> Prophet Muhammad's teachings. There is a big paper on that. It is also> convincingly established that in the 7th century CE the Muslims> occupied Sind and in the 8th century CE they had foothold in the> Kerala coast, where Adi Sankaracharya was born.> 
That does not mean that their argument has any merit. If some Muslim
scholars think that advaita vedAnta was influenced by Islam, it is their
delusion, to put it bluntly. It is well known that there was significant
Islamic presence all over India in the 13th-14th centuries. Should we
therefore consider whether somehow advaita teachers like vidyAraNya
were influenced by Islamic thought? 
> 2)> "Jina Vijaya" was last seen and that after six years of that the AIT> was announced by Prof. Max Muller which led to the suppression of the> "Jina Vijaya", as the contents of the latter did not agree with the> former. I find that this is not acceptable to you. Now if you find a> copy of the "Jina Vijaya", it is not going to help. After your request
I don't want to get into this Aryan Invasion/Migration/Indigenous issue
here on this list. Primarily because there is very little direct relationship
between the date of Adi SankarAcArya and the Aryan origins debate. As
an aside, I think Max Muller is being credited with much more influence
than he really had in these matters.
There is an entire list of Indian texts, starting with the mahAbhArata,
which do not agree in many particulars with the Aryan Invasion theory.
And there are many old texts that are available, giving the life story
of mahAvIra jina. Many of the known traditional jaina and bauddha texts
give a much earlier date for jina and buddha than what is accepted as
the historical standard today. These texts were quite uncomfortable for 
19th century European Indologists too. So, my question is, what is sounique about this jina vijaya that it had to be specially suppressed?
> I was trying to get some more details of the "Jina Vijaya" but now as> I see, it will be of no use. As regards the Jina Vijaya Muni he is a
To the contrary, if the text can be located and available for careful
study, I will be very open to it. I will, however, view very critically
second-hand and third-hand quotations by 19th-20th century authors.
If there are earlier quotations from this text, say some text written in
the 10th century or the 16th, I will attach greater weight to those.
> 3)> Any way for spiritual purpose the date may not that important and that> is why probably the Sringeri Swamiji is not bothered but all along> till the beginning of the last century Sringeri was talking about Adi> Sankaracharya's date in terms of the Vikram Samvat. One will have to> identify the right Vikaramaditya, who is an All-India figure and not> any local king as Adi Sankaracharya was an all-India figure. And that> will be the acid test. But let us not enter into more controversy.
With all due respect, that does not follow either. In almost half of India,the traditional calendar was not vikrama samvat, but Saka. In Kerala,
Adi SankarAcArya's native land, the Kollam calendar was followed. The
record from Sringeri says that SankarAcArya lived in the 14th year of the
king vikramAditya, but it does not say vikrama samvat.
I can only point to the foreword in Swami Tapasyananda's translation
of the mAdhavIya Sankaravijaya. The private assistant to the Sringeri
Swamiji wrote to Swami Tapasyananda, many decades ago, that theSringeri Acharyas did not take an official position on the BC or AD dates.They've regarded it as the job of historians and other scholars. In more
recent times, because of the mass of research that supports the 8th c.
date, Sringeri publications have reproduced it.
By the way, there are a lot of traditional sources for the date of Adi
SankarAcArya from south India, dating from much before Aryan invasion,
date of Buddha etc. became issues bearing upon this subject. For example,
in the 17th century or so, nIlakaNTha from Kerala wrote Sankara mandAra
saurabha, on the life of SankarAcArya, which gives kali 3889 as the
year in which he was born. This translates to 788 AD. This text, unlike
the so-called bRhat Sankaravijaya, is available in manuscripts and print
editions for anyone to study. There is a Kerala tradition linking the Kollam
calendar with the life of SankarAcArya. These and other such references
were relied upon by yajneSwara SAstrI, who wrote the AryavidyAsudhAkara
in the 19th century.
There is another text, called the darSanaprakASa, which is affiliated to
the udAsIn sampradAya, which gives a similar reference for SankarAcArya's
date. There are many other diverse, very traditional, references that give
the 7th to 8th century dates for Adi SankarAcArya. A lot of this has been
discussed on this list in the past, which can be retrieved from the archives.
Best regards,
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