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

Venkatraghavan S agnimile at gmail.com
Tue Jan 10 08:44:49 CST 2017

Namaste Sri Vidyasankar,

I agree, we need not get caught up with the number 16. It was merely an
interesting coincidence - to the extent that what Sri Sunil said about the
bRhat Shankara vijayam is verifiable and true, this would be evidence from
another Sankara vijayam that corroborates it.

I certainly don't agree with the view that Adi Sankara did not write the
gIta bhAShya - the attempts thus far in this thread to prove otherwise, by
attributing it to various other personalities have been a bit bizarre.

Sri Sunil first brought up VidyAsankara as an author of the gIta bhAShya.
However, when it was pointed that Bhaskara quotes Sankara bhAshya and
therefore VidyASankara cannot be the author, that theory was abandoned. The
new theory was to say that Abhinava Sanakara wrote it. When the need to
postulate a new author in the first place was raised, Karmarkar's paper was
quoted to question the authorship of the bhAshya. However, when the
contents of it were refuted, we did not get any substantive response to
those arguments. Instead it was argued that Pathak wrote a paper alleging
the birth of Abhinava Sankara in 788 AD. However when it was pointed that
Pathak said no such thing in the paper that was cited, the argument changed
to the manuscript pointing to a nava Sankara instead. Now that has been
refuted too. In the interim there was a brief, pretty arbitrary segue into
an allocation of bhAShyas to Sankara based on the number 16 from
chitsukhA's Sankara vijayam. I truly wonder where this will end.


On Tue, Jan 10, 2017 at 12:33 PM, Vidyasankar Sundaresan <
svidyasankar at gmail.com> wrote:

> 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,
> Vidyasankar
> 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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