[Advaita-l] Conference on that Date of Adi Sankaracharya in October, 2002

Bhaskar YR bhaskar.yr at in.abb.com
Wed Jan 6 04:29:47 CST 2010

sAshtAnga praNAms Sri vidyA prabhuji
Hare Krishna

It is not, as far as tradition is concerned. All written and oral 
traditional accounts are
unanimous in declaring that Sankara indeed did establish maTha-s. 

>  I've heard/read that kAnchi mutt tradition gives a different account 
with regard to this. The Adi shankara, as a prasthAna traya bhAshyakAra 
has completely been disassociated with establishment of maTha-s and the 
'arbhaka shankara', whose date is centuries later to Adi shankara 
(according to Kanchi mutt), associated with kAnchi peetAdhipati-s list. I 
request you to kindly let me know in which written text it has been 
'logically' established that bhAshyakAra is indeed the founder of four 
maTha-s.  If it is orally accepted traditional belief, I dont have any 
issues prabhuji.

As far as I can see, those who question this tradtion of four maTha-s fall 
into one of three camps

> prabhuji, if you could permit me, I'd like to put the opinion of Prof. 
SKR in the fourth camp, i.e. Those who have objectively (without any 
prejudice & traditional obligations & pressure) analysed in detail all the 
available written documents & manuscripts and come to the conclusion that 
there seems to be huge gap between shankara's life time & establishment of 
maTha-s. After reading Prof. SKR's work on this issue, I dared to put-up 
fourth camp prabhuji.  BTW, this work of prof. SKR has been published by 
'abhijnAna' & it has no relation with adhyAtma prakAsha kAryAlaya 
whatsoever & interestingly Prof. SKR, at some places, was very critical to 
some of the issues which Sri SSS advocates.

With all due respect to Prof. Rao, this is one of the illogical 
conclusions I mentioned
above, based on an untenable early date for Sankara and later dates for 
later authors
like vAcaspati miSra and sureSvara.

>  Kindly pardon me prabhuji, I dont think so.  Prof. SKR in this work, 
gives ample references with regard to this issue & finally says shankara's 
date most probably between 650 and 840 A.D.  Prof. SKR fixes the upper 
limit of shankara's age i.e. 840 based on vAchaspati mishra's available 
work nyAya sUchi nibhandha, for which, he says, the date has been fixed 
841 A.D. Due to copyright violation etc. I donot want to type those 
details here. IMO, those who read this work of Prof. SKR, donot come to 
the conclusion that he is hastening his conclusions illogically. 

It is the refusal to accept the 7th-8th century period for Sankara's date 
that then leads to these wrong conclusions.

>  I dont know how you have concluded Prof. SKR's observation is illogical 
when he himself saying shankara's time was between 6th & 8th century. 
Kindly let me know your opinion on Prof. SKR's reference with regard to 
research work of T.R. Chintaamani & acceptance of the date by Sri Kuppu 
Swamy Sastrigal.

In essence, how different is Prof Rao's statement from what was claimed by 
Paul Hacker? Prof. Rao thinks
sureSvara (or whoever started maTha-s) must have lived roughly 800 years 
after Adi Sankara? On what tangible historical basis is this statement 

>  prabhuji, as you know, I am not familiar with any work of the Western 
thinker..I dont know what Paul Hacker says on this issue.  If you read the 
second chapter in Prof. SKR's book 'who was shankara', you will come to 
know that there is some sense behind his claims.  Kindly note that he is 
not raising his voice on 'saMpradAya' he only critically discusses the 
existence of maTha-s (as popularly known today as Amnaya mAtha) at the 
time of shankara.

If one feels that historical details are completely uninteresting and 
unnecessary to discuss, then one should be consistent and not raise any 
questions about these at all.

>  I dont know why I am in the middle of firing line here:-)) yes, I was 
the one who said I am not interested in determining shankara's birth date 
but that does not mean that I should not share the available information 
on this issue which was written from a well known, eminent & respected 
scholar whose credence is well acknowledged & greeted by orthodox 
traditional advaita maTha like dakshiNAmnaya sringeri shankara maTha.

If you think you are truly attaching great value tradition by insisting on 
a 5th century BCE
date for Adi Sankara, you had better choose your arguments very, very 
carefully. If the people
who wrote commentaries on Adi Sankara's works and the people who really 
safeguarded the
all-important value that Adi Sankara attached to saMnyAsa were only 
followers of a cult that
grew up many centuries after the time of Adi Sankara himself, then the 
entire tradition that
these cult-members built over the last ten centuries or so is valueless. 
This may suit the
purposes of those who think they have rediscovered the "original" Sankara, 
but I would say
to them, first re-examine your assumptions about history and the advaita 
tradition. Do not
throw out the baby with the bath-water just to hang on to assumptions that 
are potentially
invalid. Don't be afraid to examine tradition(s) with a critical eye, but 
be willing to turn the
same critical eye upon your own assumptions too.

>  Since, I've never said that Prof. SKR insisting the 5th century BCE 
date for Adi shankara, I hope you have made above reproachful comments 
without any specifics in mind .  Hence, I refrain myself from making any 
remarks on your comments prabhuji. 

Humble praNAms onceagain

your humble servant
Hari Hari Hari Bol!!!

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