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

Vidyasankar Sundaresan svidyasankar at gmail.com
Tue Jan 10 06:33:58 CST 2017

Dear Sri Venkataraghavan,

A late response to your note about the number 16. Yes, if we go by the
description in the DiNDimA, we can add up to that number. However, there is
no textual source or oral tradition that says only 16 commentaries were
written by Sankara bhagavatpAda. I was wondering if Sri Bhattacharya had
some textual source in mind when he said that he had heard Sankaracharya
had composed 16 bhAshyas. It turns out that he is pointing to a
bRhacchankaravijaya, a text that nobody seems to have ever seen. (That can
be an entirely independent topic of discussion, by the way.)

The DiNDimA commentary on the mAdhavIya was written in the year 1798. Just
about a century later, we have the printed collection from Vani vilas
press. The founder of that publishing house and general editor,
Balasubrahmanya Iyer, took great care in ensuring that the texts he
published were traditionally handed down and accepted by the Sankaracharya
of his time. We see other commentaries included in that collection, so in
my opinion, we should not get too hung up over the number 16. Furthermore,
I really look askance at Sri Bhattacharya's attempt to remove the
gitAbhAshya from that list, searching for other texts instead, to somehow
make up 16 commentaries, one way or the other. Combined with fanciful
assumptions about a mythical nava Sankara and the historical vidyA Sankara,
uncertain dates, unavailable texts, speculative jumping to conclusions, it
all results in massive confusion, wouldn't you say?

Best regards,

On Jan 6, 2017 4:51 AM, "Venkatraghavan S" <agnimile at gmail.com> wrote:

> Namaste Subbuji,
> Agreed. I was pointing this out not to suggest that Adi Sankara only wrote
> 16 bhASyas, but in response to Sri Vidyasankar's question for a source for
> the number 16.
> Until Sri Sunil mentioned it in this thread, I wasn't aware of tradition
> attributing 16 bhASyas to Shankara, but the proposition appears to have
> some merit.
> Regards,
> Venkatraghavan
> On 6 Jan 2017 9:39 a.m., "V Subrahmanian" <v.subrahmanian at gmail.com>
> wrote:
>> On Fri, Jan 6, 2017 at 1:56 PM, Venkatraghavan S via Advaita-l <
>> advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org> wrote:
>>> Namaste Sri Vidyasankar,
>>> The number of the works that are called bhAshya in the mAdhavIya Sankara
>>> vijaya (I sent the references earlier) when read in conjunction with the
>>> DiNDima appear to be 16 in number. The next verse in the Sankara vijaya
>>> says that Adi Sankara wrote innumerable granthAs such as upadeSa sAhasri,
>>> so these are apparently classified in a different category compared to
>>> bhAShyas.
>> There is also a text called 'hastāmalaka-bhāṣyam' which is admitted in
>> the tradition to be a commentary penned by Shankara on the verses given out
>> by the disciple Hastamalaka. This text is also published by the Vani Vilas
>> Press, Srirangam.
>> regards
>> vs

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