[Advaita-l] NO NON-ADVAITIC VEDANTA PRIOR TO SHANKARA
v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Tue Mar 12 06:44:57 CDT 2013
NO NON-ADVAITIC VEDANTA PRIOR TO SHANKARA
In the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad 2.1.20 bhashyam Shankaracharya makes a
very far reaching statement:
// सर्वोपनिषत्सु हि विज्ञानात्मनः परमात्मैकत्वप्रत्ययो विधीयत
इत्यविप्रतिपत्तिः सर्वेषामुपनिषद्वादिनाम् । //
[That ‘All the Upanishads teach the idea of unity/identity of the Supreme
Atman and the individual Atman’ is an undisputed understanding of all the
adherents of the Upanishads.]
From this we come to know that during / prior to Shankaracharya’s time
there were no vedAntic bhedavAdins, dualists, of any shade basing their
systems on the Upanishads.
A question might arise on the plural Shankara has used in the
[‘All the adherents of the Upanishads’]. Who are these several adherents
of the VedAnta? To this we reply: In the bhAShyam on various
Upanishads/brahma sutra/Bh.GitA Shankara has dealt with several vAdins
such as BhartRuprapancha, Ashmarathya, aUDulomi etc. who are ultimately
advaitins but on certain aspects they differ with the mainstream Advaita
Vedanta as taught by GaudapAda –Shankara/Veda vyasa. They could be those
who hold the view: (1) bheda in bandha is satyam and abheda in mokSha is
satyam too (BSB 2.1.14). (2) Even after attaining the Advaitic sAkShAtkAra
(realization) the jnAni/jIva is required by the shruti to perform his
ordained duties till the fall of the body. These types have been alluded
to and refuted by Shankara in the bhAShyas.
In the Taittiriya Upanishad 2.8.1 bhAshyam Shankara makes another very
significant statement that echoes the one made in the Br.up.BhAShyam shown
// बहुप्रतिपक्षत्वात्; एकत्ववादी त्वम्, वेदार्थपरत्वात्; *बहवो हि
नानात्ववादिनो* वेदबाह्याः त्वत्प्रतिपक्षाः; अतो ममाशङ्का -- न
निर्णेष्यसीति। तदेव मे स्वस्त्ययनम् --
यन्मामेकयोगिनमनेकयोगिबहुप्रतिपक्षमात्थ। अतो जेष्यामि सर्वान्; आरभे च
[//Objection: Because there are many opponents. You are a monist,
since you follow the Vedic ideas, while the dualists are many who are
outside the Vedic pale and who are opposed to you. Therefore I
apprehend that you will not be able to determine.
Reply: This itself is a blessing for Me that you brand Me as sworn to
monism and faced by many who are wedded to plurality. Therefore I
shall conquer all! And so I begin the discussion.//]
One might object: the adjective ‘vedabAhyAH’ (‘outside the pale of the
Veda’) could be a mention of the dualistic vedantins.
The answer to this objection is: No. Such is not the case. Shankara is
clearly alluding to only the non-dualistic non-vedantins who have
opposed/refuted Vedanta darshana of Veda vyAsa as Advaita alone. (See also
the Br.Up.bhAShya cited above where Shankara uses the term
'upaniSahdvAdinaH' as advaitins.)
In the book ‘vyAsatAtparya-nirNayaH’ Vidwan ayyaNNa dIkShita has shown that
the non-vedantic darshanas such as the sAnkhya, yoga, nyAya have alluded to
and refuted Advaita alone as the Vedanta Darshana of Veda VyAsa.
From the above we can conclude that before the period of Shankara there was
no non-Advaitic Vedanta darshana. The ‘opponents’ referred by Shankara
above are dualists who are clearly outside the Vedantins. They are the
sAnkhyas, vaisheshikas, naiyayikas, yogins, pAncharAtras, etc. If there
had been any vedantins that held non-advaitic views they would have been
identified for refutation by the Brahma sutras and by Shankara. But we do
not find any mention of such schools in the Br.sutras and bhashyam for the
sutra and the various Upanishads/Bh.gItA.
In the Mandukya karika of GauDapAda (3.17) Bhashya Shankaracharya lists
kapila, kaNAda, buddha, Arhata (jaina),’aadi’, etc. as 'dvaitinaH'. [To
this list we can add the pAtanjala-s, the pAncharAtra-s and the pAshupata-s
too. perhaps the word 'Adi' in the above sentence is to include these..]
स्वसिद्धान्तव्यवस्थासु *द्वैतिनो* निश्चिता दृढम् |
परस्परं *विरुध्यन्ते* तैरयं न विरुध्यते ||३.१७||
[17. The dualists, firmly clinging to their conclusions, contradict one
another. The non-dualists find no conflict with them.]
इतश्च मिथ्यादर्शनं द्वैतिनां रागद्वेषादिदोषास्पदत्वात् । कथम् ?
स्वसिद्धान्तरचनानियमेषु कपिलकणादबुद्धार्हतादिदृष्ट्यनुसारिणो द्वैतिनो
[dvaitinaH – the dualists – who follow the views of kapila, kaNAda,
Buddha….are firmly rooted in the methodologies leading to their own
conclusions………they become hateful of anyone who opposes their school. As
one is not in conflict with one’s own hands and feet, so also, just because
of non-difference from all, ayam, this,* this Vedic view of ours consisting
of seeing the same Self in everyone..* is not opposed to them. ]
The above conclusion: ‘the Vedanta darshana of Veda vyAsa is Advaitic alone
and not any other.’ is what is established by considering various
statements of Shankara in the bhAShyas.
· The Vedanta darshana of Veda vyasa is advaita alone.
· Just as the Vedanta darshana of Veda vyAsa refutes the
non-vedantic schools such as sAnkhyas, naiyAyikas, pAncharAtras, bauddhas
etc. the major non-vedantic schools such as the sAnkhya have refuted
Vedanta. And this refutation is by taking the vedAnta dharshana to be
· Shankara Himself says in the Br.Up. bhashya that all those hold
the Upanishads as the supreme authority are unanimously agreeing on the
ekatvam, unitary nature of the Self, not accommodating duality / plurality
of the Self.
· The Taittiriya bhashya confirms this when Shankara considers all
those schools outside the ken of the Upanishads as dualists being outside
the pale of the Veda and Advaita alone as the Veda/Upanishad darshana,
being the adherents of the Upanishadic non-duality.
· For Shankara, if it is Vedanta, it is none but Advaita.
· And if it is bhedavAda (having difference as their fundamental
thesis), such a school is not of the Vedanta.
· Thus we may conclude: There was no non-advaitic vedanta vAda
prior to Shankara and even Gaudapada.
Om Tat Sat
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