[Advaita-l] Prapancasara and similar

Jaldhar H. Vyas via Advaita-l advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org
Sat Jul 5 02:34:34 CDT 2014

On Thu, 3 Jul 2014, Srikrishna Ghadiyaram via Advaita-l wrote:

> Om!
> I would like to know the academic views on authorship and validity of 
> Prapancasara being a creation of Adi Sankara, the author of Brahmasutra 
> Bhashya.

I believe the consensus of historians is that it is not a genuine work but 
I must say their grounds for doing so are mostly dubious.  (Of the "how 
could an Advaitin promote rituals?" variety.)  As it is quite well 
established that Shankaracharya prescribes different sadhanas for differen 
levels of sadhakas that kind of objection can easily be disposed of.

A better argument is based on the description of yoga in the 19th patala. 
There five avasthas are ennumerated with tadatIta joining the usual 
jagrat, svapna, sushupti and turIya.  However other advaita shastras do 
mention turIyatIta (which is a synonym of tadatIta) so this is not a 
clincher by any means.

> How is it accepted that Vivarana on Prapancasara belongs to Padmapada, 
> if the original does not belong to Adi Sankara?

Well same the people who do not accept the PS being authored by 
Shankaracharya do not accept the authorship of the vivarana by 
Padmapadacharya either.

> On the same note, if Tantra is not accepted to be the field of Adi 
> Sankara, how are the portions of Brihadaranyaka where in descriptions of 
> man-woman relationship,

Erotic symbolism in itself is not evidence of tantra. Though I do think 
that it is in texts like these that we can see the Vedic origins of 

> or Amaruka Satakam,

The story of Shankaracharya entering the body of the dead king Amaruka is 
from the Digvijayas.  There is no other evidence to link it to 
Shankaracharya and it was not included in the Vani Vilasa edition of the 
complete works of Shankaracharya.

>  or Trisati bhashyam, or 
> Saundarya Lahari accepted or rejected to belong to Adi Sankara.

Once you have decided that Shankaracharya wasn't involved in Tantra all 
these can be rejected out of hand.  But the very premise is dubious as I 
said before.

Look at the padabhashya on kenopanishad 3.12.  There the the yaksha that 
had confounded the Devas is revealed to Indra to be Brahman by Uma 
Haimavati.  Shankaracharya describes Her as vidya, the daughter of 
Himavan, all-knowing being always united with Ishvara.  The vakyabhashya 
also calls Her Rudrapatni.  This does not conclusively prove 
Shankaracharya knew Tantra but that he does know of and speaks positively 
of Goddess traditions in an acknowledged genuine work.

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>

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