[Advaita-l] Sri Appayya Dikshitar vilified by a Madhva 'scholar'

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Thu Mar 26 03:51:05 EDT 2020

Thank you Jaldhar ji for this elaborate description.

warm regards

On Thu, Mar 26, 2020 at 12:12 PM Jaldhar H. Vyas via Advaita-l <
advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org> wrote:

> On Sun, 22 Mar 2020, V Subrahmanian via Advaita-l wrote:
> > A series of blunders made by this ignorant Madhva speaker within a very
> > short span of time as he speaks vilifying Srimad Appayya Dikshitendra.
> It looks like he has garbled some well-known traditions and historical
> facts about eminent figures of that time.
> Actually JPs life does overlap partially with AD.  JPs father Peru Bhatta
> was a Tailanga (Andhra) Brahmana who had studied in Kashi and then
> returned to his native village.  JP also received his education in Kashi.
> Father and son both studied Mimamsa under Khandadeva Mishra one of the
> most influential authors on that shastra.  Khandadeva refers to AD as
> "Mimamsaka Murdhanya" so JP would definitely have been aware of who he was
> and the esteem in which the scholarly community held him.
> Due to turmoil in Vijayanagara, JP left for the north again, first to
> Jaipur.  There a Muslim Qazi was preaching against Hinduism.  JP learnt
> the Islamic doctrines and swiftly defeated him in public debate.  An
> officer of the Mughal court, one Nawab Asaf Ali Khan, witnessed this and
> was impressed.  He asked JP to return with him to Delhi. when several
> years later he died, JP wrote a kavya about his patron called Asafavilasa
> to commemorate him.  Jehangir was the emperor during this time.  JPs kavya
> Jagadabharana is in praise of him.
> After Jehangir, Shah Jehan became emperor and JP remained associated with
> the court (It was Shah Jehan who granted him the title Panditaraja.) and
> also spent time in the Pandit community in Kashi.  There the new sensation
> was a Marathi Brahmana named Bhattoji Dikshita.  His rearrangement of
> Panini's sutras called Siddhanta Kaumudi with autocommentary called
> Shabdamanorama caused a revolution in the study of Sanskrit Vyakarana.
> Shabdakaustubha on Panini was another major work.  Both JP and BD had
> studied vyakarana under Vireshwara of Kashis' illustrious South Indian
> Shesha family.  (I recall reading somewhere that Shri Mani Shastri Dravid
> is a descendent of this family.) BDs works criticized the old school
> as represented by Shesha Vireshwara and to JP's mind that made him a
> gurudrohi.  In works called Manoramakuchamardana and Kaustubhakhandana, JP
> attacks the new views of BD with vigor but sometimes going beyond the
> bounds of good taste.  There may have been a personal element too.  It
> seems that JP despite his intelligence was a rather vain and pompous man.
> After Asaf Khans death, JP lost a lot of his influence at court.  That the
> "big shots" of Shah Jehan's day such as the emperors son (and heir until
> he was murdered by his half-brother Aurangzeb) Dara Shikhoh and the
> Pandits of Kashi preferred youngsters like BD must have made JP quite
> jealous and this could explain the vehemence of his polemics.  This
> emnity, by the way,  was strictly one way.  BD's grandson Nagesha Bhatta
> has written several tikas on JPs works with due respect.
> During these controversies, BD took a break to visit the South and learn
> Vedanta from AD who was of advanced age.  There is no evidence that AD
> came to the North.  BD stayed with AD until the latter achieved Kailasa, a
> period of about two years, and then returned to Kashi.  JP must have
> decided that anyone associated with his "enemy" must also be an enemy so
> he wrote Chitramimamsakhandana which criticizes AD's work on
> alankarashastra called Chitramimamsa.  There is no evidence, that they
> physically met.
> Plus there was the issue of his supposed dalliance with a "Yavana".  It is
> not proven that it actually happened but it was widely believed at the
> time and it is said to be the hidden subtext of JPs kavya Bhaminivilasa.
> The identity of "Lavangi" mentioned in that poem is not known but she
> definitely would not have been the emperors daughter as that would be a
> death penalty offence. Be that as it may this further led to JP being
> ostracized by the Astika community.  It is said that after her death and
> that of their infant son, JP eventually saw the error of his ways and
> composed Gangalahiri and then drowned himself in the Ganga as penance.
> To summarize:
> 1. It should be noted that both Jagannatha and Bhattoji were Vaishnavas by
> inclination but Advaitins in terms of philosophy so employing them in some
> Madhva sectarian fantasy against Appayya also an Advaitin is particularly
> off-base.
> 2. Jagganathas main quarrel was with Bhattoji Dikshita.  Any blows against
> Appayya were collateral damage.
> 3. From youth Jaggannatha would have been aware of the fame of Appaya and
> the respect in which his gurus such as Khandadeva held him.
> 4. Jagannatha had ulterior motives based on his personal life for a lot of
> his arguments.
> --
> Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>
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