[Advaita-l] On the date of Adi Shankara

Michael Shepherd michael at shepherd87.fsnet.co.uk
Mon Jan 4 09:42:15 CST 2010

Argument about Adi Shankara's possible birth date obscures -- I hope you'll
agree -- more useful questions. The first is obviously 'How does the date of
Shankara's ministry matter to the understanding of Advaita Vedanta ?' If
this were pursued, it might lead to further questions about Gaudapada and
the relationship of Buddhism to Indian culture between those two favoured
dates of 500 BC and 788 AD. Or it might not.

And then, there is the interesting suggestion that Advaita Vedanta had a
much more ancient history than we tend to associate with it, That might lead
to a reconsideration of the development of Samkya, for iinstance.

I know that such questions may not seem important to many. But in my
experience, all research yields unexpected fruits, some of greater dimension
than anticipated (to stretch a metaphor).


-----Original Message-----
From: advaita-l-bounces at lists.advaita-vedanta.org
[mailto:advaita-l-bounces at lists.advaita-vedanta.org]On Behalf Of
Vidyasankar Sundaresan
Sent: 04 January 2010 14:57
To: Advaita List
Subject: Re: [Advaita-l] On the date of Adi Shankara

> You guys who claim to be Advaitins but behave as if you've never heard of
> Sanatana Dharma, should drop this racial discrimination..

Michael, while agreeing with Jaldhar's recent response to you, I do think
you have
indeed raised an important attitude problem that many have. A large part of
emotional investment in a 5th century BCE date for Adi Sankara is due to a
perception that the 7th-8th century CE date was originally proposed by
scholars who were out to subjugate India intellectually.

I have often taken great pains to point out that this is not the case.
in general, on any issue, my question to my fellow-Indians is - so what, if
it were
a Westerner who said something first? The truth of a statement is not
upon who says it. This sort of knee-jerk antipathy that is exhibited by
such as "Max Mueller said this, so it is wrong" is totally unnecessary. Nor
is the
blind shutting down of reason, exhibited by statements such as, "XYZ, whom I
consider the greatest, said this, so it is right." This is neither a defense
of Max

Mueller (or any other Western scholar) nor is it an insult to the great XYZ.

Unfortunately, this is never appreciated by those with an emotional
in their pet attitudes.


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