[Advaita-l] Two Sankara-bhashyas on Kena Upanishad

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at braincells.com
Tue Jun 9 01:47:45 CDT 2009

On Mon, 8 Jun 2009, Sunil Bhattacharjya wrote:

> Has anybody discussed in this group or elsewhere as to why Adi 
> Sankaracharya made the only exception in case of Kena Upanishad by 
> writing two bhashyas on it and what made him to make this exception?  

It has been suggested that the vakyabhashya is based on the commentary of 
an earlier Advaitin.

According to the Samkshepashariraka, a commentary on brahmasutrabhashya by 
Sarvajnatma Muni, 3.217-221 there were two pre-Shankara Advaitin writers 
called atreya vamshiya vakyakara, and bhashyakara.

Swami Madhusudana Sarasvati commenting on the Samkshepashariraka says that 
the vakyakara is called Brahmanandin and wrote on chhandogyopanishad 
(chhandogya vakyakarena brahmanandina) and one Brahmanandin is quoted by 
Shankaracharya in Mandukyakarikabhashya 2.32.  Furthermore Swami 
Madhusudana Saraswati says brahmanandi virachita vakya rupanam bhashya 
karta dravidacharya. Unattributed quotes in brhadaranyakabhashya and 
brahmasutrabhashya are attributed to Dravidacharya by the tikakaras. 
Shankaracharya directly references Dravidacharya in chhandogyabhashya. 
Swami Ananda Giri commenting on this puts two and two together and says 
Dravidacharya wrote the bhashya on Brahmanandins vakya mentioned above.

Other commentators on Vedantic works such as Vachaspati Mishra, Swami 
Amalananda, Appaya Dikshita, Jnanottama Muni, and Swami Nrsimha Ashram 
have also quoted from the otherwise lost works of Brahmanandi and 
Dravidacharya.  Also apparently Dravidacharya is mentioned in the Vyasa 
puja according to Kanchi traditions (but not other mathas.)

So it could be possible that Shankaracharya wrote the vakya bhashya on or 
atleast based on Brahmanandin/Dravidacharya.

The problem with this theory is that all seem to agree that 
Brahmanandin/Dravidacharya wrote on chhandogya upanishad.  If however 
chhandogya is taken in the literal sense of "singer of the Samaveda" 
then Kena still fits the bill as it too belongs to Samaveda (albeit a 
different shakha.)  Or perhaps Brahmanandin also wrote a different vakya 
on Kenopanishad.

That's one theory anyway.

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>

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