Jaldhar H. Vyas
jaldhar at braincells.com
Sat Apr 9 00:31:21 CDT 2016
On Tue, 5 Apr 2016, akhanda via Advaita-l wrote:
> Does anyone know if the Atmajnaanopadeshavidhi has been written by Shri
Many writings have been attributed to Shankaracharya through the years.
An ambitious author might get a generous boost to the circulation of his
work by attaching it to the name of the most prestigious figure in astika
culture. Or seeing as the mathadhipatis are also known as Shankaracharya,
something written by one of these later Shankaracharyas might have gotten
confused over time with Adi Shankaracharya.
Historians (Deussen, Hacker, Mayeda, and Belvalkar are some of the chief
scholars on this subject) try and resolve these issues by comparative
methods. Starting from the premise that the author of the
brahmasutrabhashya is the "genuine" article, the various stotras and
prakaranas are examined on stylistic and doctrinal grounds. If for
example some work taught the supremacy of karma over jnana or was
dedicated to some non-vedic Deity, that would be signs that it is not
genuine. So, for instance, most historians reject all the shrividya works
(saundarya lahari, prapancha sara etc.) on the grounds that an Advaitin
would not write "tantrik" works. This shows the drawbacks of this
approach. From an Indian cultural point of view there is no reason why
one couldn't be both. And it is not always applied systematically. For
instance there is a vivarana on yoga sutras. Why would an Advaitin write
on a rival darshana? But some historians do think it is genuine. In any
case each scholar has their list of which works they consider genuine.
And thats another problem. All these lists are contradictory.
upadeshasahasri is the only prakarana which is unanimously accepted by all
authorities as being an authentic work of Adi Shankaracharya.
So personally I don't bother with all that. To me "authentic" means what
the parampara has believed to be authentic. For instance Swami Anandagiri
has written authoritative tikas on the prasthana trayi bhashyas. If he
has written a tika on some minor work (and he has written many,) that to
me is a good sign it is genuine. Same if has been quoted or commented on
by the other stalwarts such a Swamis Vidyaranya, Madhusudan Saraswati,
Svayamprakasha etc. Also early in the 20th century, the Vani Vilas press
of Shrirangam put out a series of the complete works of Shankaracharya
edited by a board of pandits under the guidance of Shringeri. If a work
is not included in that collection, it is a good sign in my opinion that
it is fake. However it must be said that they did miss a few such as
Kaupinya panchaka or the aforementioned yogasutravivarana. Overall its a
pretty good guide in my opinion.
Back to your original question, what about atmajnanopadeshavidhi? Well it
seems that the historians do not regard it as genuine though no
particularly good reason is given. And it is not included in the Vani
Vilas collection as Ryan mentioned. On the positive side, I am told there
is an Anandagiri tika on it (though I haven't seen it.) If this is true, I
would be inclined to consider it genuine.
Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>
More information about the Advaita-l mailing list