[Advaita-l] Vidyaranya and vedanta deshika.

srikanta srikanta at nie.ac.in
Wed Nov 10 05:18:39 CST 2010


>Similar is the
> case with Gaudapada had discussion with leaders of Nishaka clan,and
> Appolonius of Tyana written in a slokah on Guruvamshakavya by
> SrlSadhashiva Brahnendra quoted by His Holiness also.This story being
> discounted by Late Prof Sri.T.M.P..Mahadevan is not true.He has simply
> taken from Vidushekhara Bhattacharya's book,and copied it in his
> book,"Gaudapada-A study in early Adwaita"which doesnot appear to be of
> indepth analysis.Further,T.M.P.Mahadevan being a disciple of the
> Paramacharya would not have discounted it.It requires many references
> which is not available and possible.Simply discounting a story which might
> have occurred has no value.

I was quite surprised by T M P Mahadevan's statement doubting the attribution
of the gururatnamAlA, but I take it as a critical scholarly comment that
is not in
conflict with his well-known devotion to the late Kanchi paramacharya.

The point is that poetic accounts, no matter who wrote them, should not be
as being 100% factual historically. There may be a kernel of dry
historical fact in
them, but that is not the intention of the poet. Whether gauDapAda met with
Greek Neo-Platonic philosophers or not, it does not matter for advaita
thought and history. And whatever rAmabhadra dIkshita wrote in the patanjali-
carita is also not history. I am sure you are well aware of the
controversies that
surround this poem. I will leave this at that and will request you email
me privately
if you would like to continue a discussion on this particular issue.

> You have mentioned about Political implications.Pray,what are those
> political implications in this intellectual discussions? .This is a forum
> f
> intellectual discussions and one must take it in the right spirit.It is
> not for winning or losing.It may be right to say digression has no value
> here.

Political implications, as I see them, are as follows. The story that
vidyAraNya and
vedAnta deSika were classmates at Kanchipuram also says that both of them
students of vidyAtIrtha, who was at Kanchipuram. Now, there is a
controversy about
whether vidyAtIrtha was ever there, and SrIvaishNavas would take offense
at a story
that one of their post-Ramanuja thinkers was a disciple of an advaita
teacher. Other
than this particular story, there is no evidence whatsoever to either
place vidyAtIrtha
in that city nor is there any evidence to say that vedAnta deSika was his

Now, vedAnta deSika wrote the SatadUshanI, criticizing advaita, but SrI
still referred to him with respect to the Ramanuja darshana. This only
shows the
greatness and broad outlook of vidyAraNya, in referring to a contemporary.
It is not
necessary that they should have been students together, because SrI
vidyAraNya also
refers to so many other authors who lived much before him or were his


Dear Vidyashankarji,T.M.P Mahadevan who has written 'Gaudapada-A study in
early Adwaita" has made lot of mistakes regarding this.he has not made
consistent efforts in refuting the points that Gaudapada is a crypto
Buddhist,by making an indepth study of the krikas.infact,it is shocking
that he has gone to the extent of saying that crosscorrelation from these
systems were common.He obtained his PhD by a theses on Vidyaranya.it is
not that he has not refuted them out of respect for the paramacharya.if
erroneous conclusions arise,a profound scholar is expected to refute them
giving reasons.For that matter,Prof.Hiriyanna from the University of
Mysore was well read and scholarly than Mahadevan.
one need not be so touchy about the historical legends as I have already
said,one can take it or leave it.There is no harm in that.

Regarding you other point regarding Vedanta Desika being a clasmate or
known by Vidyaranya,there be no need for any political implications nor
compulsions.Vedanta Desika who studied at Kanchipuram when Vidyaranya was
a disciple of Vidyateertha,need not be a disciple of Vidyatheertha.Both
might have studied other subjects like Kavya or mimamsa or other subjects
common to them.Moreover,Vidyaranya in his "sarva Darshan
sangraha"specifically mentions Vedanta desika by his personal
name,Venkatanatha(that the tenets of ramanuja darshana must be known only
from venkatanatha's granthas.Vidyaranya has not mentioned so specifically
with reference to other darshanas in his review,notably in Poornaprajna
P.S:If you want to discuss with me on such topics you can send the Emails
to my personal Email id)
Sincerely,                                           N.Srikanta.

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