[Advaita-l] bhaktas in advaita tradition

Ramanan Subramanian ramanan82 at gmail.com
Sat Jul 30 21:31:13 CDT 2011

This is purely from my readings on this subject...

Also, it would be interesting to know
> traditional view on Prabhoda Sudhakara, Sarva Siddhanta Sangraha and
> Vasudeva Sahasrananama Bhashya attributed to Sankara.

If Vishnu Sahasranama (VS) Adhyaya in Mahabharata is meant in the above, I
think there are some traditional accounts that say that it was Shankara's
first expository work.

Apart from this, there are scientific criteria to add credence to its

(1) Parasara Bhatta (12th Century), the Vishistadvaitic commentator on VS
mentions some points from Shankara's commentary to refute it, without
mentioning Shankara's name. That Shankara's commentary is referred to is
clear from the quote Parasara Bhatta gives.

(2) In Adyar Library's edition of the Vishnu Sahasranama Bhashya (VSB)
translation, the editor (Anantakrishna Sastri) mentions that there are many
manuscripts that have been recovered from across the length and bread of
India and deposited by him in various libraries, and that many of those
manuscripts date back to 14th century. The editor also mentions that the
similarities of the VSB with Shankara's Brahma Sutra Bhashya.

(3) Taraka Brahmananda Saraswati (prob 16th Century) has written a vivrti to
Shankara's VSB.

(4) Narayana Bhatta (17th century), the author of Narayaneeyam mentions that
Shankara wrote a commentary on the VS.

(5) Gaudiya commentator on Srimad Bhagavatam Visvanatha Chakravarti Thakura
mentions the VSB as Shankara's and even quotes from it. (Ref: Word doc
version of the Srimad Bhagavatam commentaries available in Gaudiya
Granthamandira site. Verse: 1.15.35)

(6) There are a few similarities to the Bhagavad Gita Bhashya. For eg., I
have noticed that Shankara has explained many names (I can recall at least
three - Bhagavan, Janardhana, Suhrd) exactly in the same manner, using the
same/very similar wordings, in the Gita Bhashya (verses 3.36, 10.18, and
5.29 respectively). I thought that was quite an interesting connection.

(7) The work also passes the following test employed by Western academics:
the frequency with which sruti texts are quoted in the VSB matches with the
frequencies found in Brahma Sutra Bhashya, Upadesa Sahasri etc.

(8) It seems there is at least one old manuscript in which Anandagiri's Tika
on VSB is mentioned. The details of it are here:
http://cloud.ap.nic.in/disha/s2/s2bookdet.jsp?L=6964%26vl%3D12 (see bottom
of page)

I don't agree Vopadeva wrote it 13th century
> because Al Beruni mentions it in 11th.

I personally do not see what is the basis for claiming that Srimad
Bhagavatam is the work of a poet in 13th century. On the other hand, there
are many evidences against that claim:

(1) Anubhuti Svarupacharya, predecessor of Anandagir (Anandajnana)i,
mentions and quotes Bhagavatam in Prakatartha Vivarana - one of the earliest
complete sub-commentaries on Shankara's Brahma Sutra Bhashya. Anandagiri can
be conclusively dated to be before 13th century (Ref: introduction by T M
Tripathi to the edition Tarkasangraha by Anandajnana). In fact, Anubhuti
Svarupacharya even mentions another reference in the same work and that the
reference occurs in the 11th Skandha of Bhagavatam. Refs: Prakatartha
Vivaranam, 1.4.26 and 3.4.20.

(2) Madhva also mentions "Tantra Bhagavata" and quotes from the same - this
is supposed to be a Pancaratric commentator on the Bhagavata.

(3) Sudarsana Suri, the commentator on Ramanuja's Sri Bhashya is supposed to
have written a commentary to the 10th Skandha of the Bhagavata. He lived
some time before Vedanta Desika (13th C)

(4) Vedanta Desika himself quotes Bhagavatam in the Visistadvaitic work
Rahasya Traya Sara.

Granted all this, it is quite inconceivable that a work written in 13th
century by a poet in a court became an authoritative work in a small flash
of time, so that proponents of three different Vedantic schools quote from
it. Some other points worth investigating are mentioned here:

More information about the Advaita-l mailing list