[Advaita-l] [advaitin] The Bhashyas of Adi Shankara

Vidyasankar Sundaresan svidyasankar at gmail.com
Thu Jan 5 22:40:03 CST 2017

Dear Sunilji,

To begin with, please let us know your source for the statement that
Sankara bhagavatpAda wrote 16 bhAshyas. I am not aware of such a specific
number given in any of the Sankaravijaya texts or in any of the
sub-commentaries on his works. To my knowledge, it is not as if such a
number is given in pancapAdikA or bhAmatI or naishkarmyasiddhi or
sureSvarAcArya's vArttikas or in later texts like ratnaprabhA or kalpataru,
parimala etc. It is not even mentioned in Sankaravijaya texts like
mAdhavIya, anantAnandagirIya, vyAsAcalIya etc.Do you know what is the
original source for giving the number 16? If you have that information,
please share it with the list. We hear a lot of different things in our
lives, but we cannot live our lives believing every single thing we hear.

It might well be that no one has seriously bothered to refute this number
16 so far, simply because no one had actually given such a detail with any
great seriousness. Your bringing it up at this juncture is my first
introduction to this idea. Unless a proposition is made with the force of
either logical pramANa or a traditional sampradAya behind it, nobody
bothers to put forth any alternative proposition(s) on the subject. As I've
mentioned before, proofs by assertion and repetition don't stand up to
scrutiny and we have to be careful in evaluating various sources of
information and drawing conclusions from them.

If you go back to the comprehensive publication of the complete works of
Sankara (as traditionally attributed) published from the Vani Vilas Press,
Srirangam, with the blessings and approval of the then Sringeri Jagadguru
Acharya, you will find the following, in addition to the bhAshyas on the
prasthAna traya. These are the bhAshya-s on vishNu sahasranAma,
sanatsujAtIya, adhyAtma paTala, lalitAtriSatI, hastAmalakIya-stotra and
nRsimhapUrvatApanIyopanishat. Philological / Indological / academic
research scholars raise doubts on the authorship of these six texts. No
matter how you view the pada and vAkya bhAshyas on kenopanishat, you will
see that the total number of bhAshyas does not add up to 16. If you simply
accept the yardstick of the century old Vani Vilas Press edition, no
questions asked, you are already at the number 19. If you discount all the
texts other than bhAshyas on the prasthAna traya, you are at the number 13.

Please note that a bhAshya on the SvetASvataropanishat and the vivaraNa on
the yogasUtrabhAshya are not included in this and other earliest printed
publications, but others belonging broadly within the Sankaran tradition
may think that these are also genuine works, whereas academic critical
scholars would dispute that.

As you can see, there is no good way to substantiate a proposition that Adi
Sankara wrote 16 bhAshyas. It really makes me wonder where you heard that
statement making such an enumeration. That said, I am glad that you are now
coming around to accepting the SAnkara bhAshya on the bhagavadgItA as being
of genuine authorship!

Best regards,

On Thu, Jan 5, 2017 at 10:03 PM, Sunil Bhattacharjya via Advaita-l <
advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org> wrote:

> Dear friends,
> Regarding the total 16 Shankarabhashyas, we can make it easier if we  take
> that 12 bhashyas (i.e.  the Bhagavadgiabhasya + Brahmasutrbhashya + the ten
> major Upanishad bhshyas) as confirmed.
> Then,  we have to fill in only four remaining places with four Shankara
> bhashyas out of the following 7 bhashyas...If I have left out any other
> contender(s), you may kindly add those too, to these seven contenders.
> 1)
> Nrsimhapurvatapaiyaupanishad bhashy
> 2)
> Shvetasvataraupanishad bhashys
> 3
> )Kenopanishad vakyabhashya
> 4)
> Lalitatrishati bhashya
> 5)
> Sanatsujatiya bhashya
> 6)
> Yogasutravivaranabhshya
> 7)
> Vishnusahasranama bhashya
> I shall be thankful if you can kindly come out with your suggestions.
> Regards,
> Sunil KB

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