[Advaita-l] Is Sri Dhara Suddhadvaitavadi not Advaitavadi?

Raghav Kumar Dwivedula raghavkumar00 at gmail.com
Wed Feb 14 19:59:03 EST 2024

Namaste Jaldhar ji

Sridhara Swami was a Vishnu Bhakta without compromising the tenets of
Advaita - a fact which seems incomprehensible to the Gaudiya vaiShNavas but
which is a non-issue for advaitins.

It bears repetition that Advaita over the millennia,  already does what can
be called samanvaya of all worthy dualistic ideas related to bhakti and
upAsanA, by the use of ideas like krama-samucchaya, Ishvara as the
abhinna-nimittopAdAna kAraNam, arthavAda and effectively employing the
shaDlingas of mInAmsA. So all that is logical and worthy in other dualistic
systems including the ideas of devotion etc are preserved in toto in
Advaita, devoid of any exclusivism.

Therefore any attempt to further reconcile Advaita itself with those other
darshanas (presumably with the idea of saving some worthy aspects of these
other darshanas) is superfluous and suffers from the "fallacy of
composition" - i.e., to regard Advaita too as merely one more system of
thought (having it's own dogmas) like the others.

 There is a popular adage attributed to Sri Chaitanya (if I recollect) that
just as a woman follows her svAmi (husband), all gauDiya vaiShNavas too
ought to follow the svAmi, ie Sridhara svAmi, on all theological matters.
This creates a huge headache for the later followers - hence the attempt to
appropriate Sridhara SvAmin back in to the gauDiya fold and claim that he
was not an advaitin.

Do you have the reference to the commentary of Sridhara SvAmin, on the
verse where advaitic jnAna-bhakta is being exalted in the Bhagavata 3.32-37?

Thank you


On Thu, 15 Feb, 2024, 5:32 am Jaldhar H. Vyas via Advaita-l, <
advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org> wrote:

> On Fri, 2 Feb 2024, swagata chowdhury via Advaita-l wrote:
> > Was Sridhara Swami a non-dualist?
> >
> > Answer: Many people believe that Sridhara Swami was a non-dualist because
> > the 10th, 51st, 68th, and 116th Shankaracharyas of Puri Govardhan Mutt
> were
> > all named Sridhara Swami. They believe that the Srimad Bhagavatam and
> Gita
> > commentator Sridhara Swami was a non-dualist and the 116th Shankaracharya
> > of Puri
> There many more reasons to believe it than just his position in Govardhana
> matha.
> >. And since Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu said to follow Sridhara Swami,
> > many people conclude that Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu meant that
> non-dualistic
> > conclusions should be followed.
> Look, the basic problem is that Chaitanya was driven purely by emotion.
> He took his inspiration from here or there without any care because he was
> not a systematic thinker.  This causes headaches for later Gaudiya
> thinkers who felt that he shoud have been a systematic thinker.
> >
> > However, the Srimad Bhagavatam and Gita commentator Sridhara Swami and
> the
> > 116th Shankaracharya of Puri Govardhan Mutt were not the same person. The
> > Srimad Bhagavatam and Gita commentator Sridhara Swami was a member of the
> > Vishnu Swami tradition of Rudra Vaishnavism.
> >
> Highly doubtful.  The first problem is that very little is known about
> this Rudra Sampradaya.  It is acknowledged that Shri Vishnuswami is the
> founder but no works by him have been found.  The only pre-Vallabhacharya
> work from this sampradaya that exists is the Govindadamodara stotra ("He
> Krshna
> Govinda Hare Murari...") of Bilvamangala.  According to the
> Vallabhadigvijaya, His ancestors (who where Telang or Andhra Brahmanas)
> were followers of Vishnuswami but Vallabhacharya does not mention him at
> all.  In his tika on a minor work of Vallabhacharya called Jalabheda, Pt.
> Shrinath Bhatt says the sampradaya of Vishnuswami was reduced to dust
> until rejuvanated by Prabhuji (i.e. Vallabhacharya.)
> > Sridhara Swami's Guru Lineage
> >
> > The Srimad Bhagavatam and Gita commentator Sridhara Swami's guru's name
> was
> > Paramananda. He mentions his guru's name in many places in his works.
> > However, the 10th, 51st, 68th, and 116th Shankaracharyas of Puri had
> gurus
> > named Govinda Swami, Bodhayan Swami, Jagannath Swami, and Sutapanand
> Swami,
> > respectively.
> >
> It is not uncommon for Vidyaguru and dikshaguru to be separate persons.
> e.g. Swami Vidyaranya was the successor of Swami Bharatitirtha on
> Shringeri Pitha but he also salutes Swami Vidyashankaratirtha as a guru.
> Or I consider go. vA. Krshnashankara Shastriji who was a Pushtimargi as a
> guru.  It was from his writings I learned what I know about Pushtimarg but
> nevertheless it is not my sampradaya at all. I still pay my respects to
> his memory on Guru purnima etc.

> > Sridhara Swami was a member of the Vishnu Swami tradition
> >
> > Sridhara Swami's membership in the Vishnu Swami tradition is supported by
> > the following evidence:
> If Shridharaswami, a person of all-India fame and influence belonged to
> Vishnuswamis' tradition, how could it be considered "reduced to dust."
> That Vallabhacharya was from this sampradaya is acknowledged by all
> parties.  He wrote His own commentary on the Bhagavata Purana.  Wouldn't
> He have at least acknowledged the existence of a prior commentary from His
> own school?
> >
> > In the Ballabh Digvijay, a text of the Vallabh Sampradaya, a non-dualist
> > Vaishnava tradition, there is a mention of a disciple of Vishnu Swami
> named
> > Paramanand. However, since Vishnu Swami lived much earlier than Sridhara
> > Swami, it is unlikely that this Paramanand was Sridhara Swami's guru.
> > Sridhara Swami's works cite Vishnu Swami's Sarvajna Sukta and other texts
> > from the Vishnu Swami tradition.
> I am not aware of this Sarvajnasukta.  Has it been published?  As I said,
> Govindadamodara stotra is the only pre-Vallabhacharya work of Rudra
> Sampradaya that exists. At least this is what Pushtimargis say.
> > In his commentary on the Bhagavatam, Sridhara Swami criticizes the
> > non-dualist view of moksha, or liberation, as being hypocritical.
> Where?  Because in the commentary on Bhagavata Prathama shloka,
> Shridharaswami clearly states that the jagata is mithya.  That is an
> Advaita view only. The jagata is a false superimposition upon Brahman due
> to maya.
> Vallabhacharya believes that the jagata and all its contents are
> emanations of Krshna Bhagavan.  Maya is not a force that creates ignorance
> of the world-appearance but Bhagavans power that he employs to create the
> jagat for His own lila.
> This is the shuddha in shuddhadvaita.  It is Advaita purified from
> "Mayavada". Shridharaswami is definitely a Mayavadin.
> > In Shree Jiba Goswami's Tattva Sandarbha he ccalls Shree dhara swami a
> > param Baishnaba.
> >
> Many Advaita acharyas and vidvans have been Vaishnavas.  Only people like
> Jiva have a problem with that.
> >
> > Certain individuals posit that Sridhara Swami may have held non-dualistic
> > views due to his reference to Shankaracharya in his commentary on the
> Gita.
> > However, the Sanskrit term "Bhashyakara" can denote both "teacher" and
> > "commentator." It is plausible that Sridhara Swami was alluding to a
> > previous commentator like Vishnu Swami. The Geeta Press Translation is
> > erroneous, contributing to confusion among devotees.
> >
> No such bhashya by Vishnuswami is known to exist or has been quoted by
> other writers.  On the other hand, the use of bhashyakara as a title for
> Shankaracharya is very common.
> > Sridhara Swami's main deity was Narasimha, the man-lion incarnation of
> > Vishnu. The Vishnu Swami tradition's main scripture is the Nrisimha
> Tapani
> > Upanishad.
> >
> Shankaracharyas' own Kuladevata is said to be Lakshminrsimha and He has
> written several stotras on that subject (and a Nrsimhapurvatapanyupanishad
> bhashya) so this proves nothing.
> Once again, it should be noted that no tika or other writing linking
> Vishnuswami to any scripture is known to exist.
> > Sridhara Swami's conclusion
> >
> > Based on the evidence presented above, it is clear that the Srimad
> > Bhagavatam and Gita commentator Sridhara Swami was a member of the Vishnu
> > Swami tradition of Rudra Vaishnavism. He was not a non-dualist, but
> rather
> > a follower of the Shuddh Advaita, or pure non-duality, school of thought.
> >
> In his tika on Bhagavata 3rd skandha 32:37 which deals with four-fold
> bhaktiyoga Shridharacharya calls three of them tamasik, rajasika and
> sattvika and claims the nirguna ("impersonal"!) form is the highest of
> all.
> > Written by Arjun Sakha( Iskcon)
> I'm sorry but nothing written by ISKCON is worth the paper its printed on.
> --
> Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>
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