vidya vidya at
Sun Jul 28 20:25:27 UTC 1996

The advaita tradition regards all four prakaraNas of the mANDUkya-kArikAs
as being gauDapAda's work, ergo, not technically Sruti. However, according
to B. N. Krishnamurthy Sarma, the dvaita scholar, 27 kArikAs of the first book 
(Agama-prakaraNa) are generally regarded as Sruti in the dvaita school. I am 
unaware if the SrIvaishNava tradition concurs with the mAdhva tradition on this.

Whenever Sankara or later advaita writers quote the kArikAs, they specifically 
refer to the vedAnta-sampradAyavit or gauDapAda/gauDacaraNa/gauDAcArya.
On the other hand, rAmAnuja probably means his quotation to be from Sruti 
proper. It probably does not matter from the non-advaitin perspective that 
gauDapAda is Sankara's paramaguru, because what is said to be Sruti always 
lends itself to interpretation, and whether a particular interpretation is the 
"right" one or not, is a matter of sampradAya. Thus, a follower of rAmAnuja 
can easily hold that Sankara's interpretation of the kArikA in question is wrong. In fact, the dvaitins have already done this, starting from their first
bhAshya writer. There is a bhAshya on the mANDUkya upanishad + first 27
kArIkAs by AnandatIrtha. Note however, that there are 29 verses in the first
book, so that picking 27 out of them to be Sruti seems strange to me. 
Interestingly enough, the 29th verse speaks of Om as the cause of the 
cessation of all duality!

Karl Potter's third volume of The Encyclopedia of Indian Philosophies gives
a brief overview of the various traditions. There is a small chapter on
gauDapAda in this volume. Other than BNK Sharma, I am not aware of any other
Indian writer who pays much attention to this issue. TMP Mahadevan, for example,
does not recount any tradition other than the advaitin one. Perhaps there are
other variations within each vedAnta tradition, which can only be known by
talking to pundits in the various maThas in India. The gauDiyas might have
other views, although most of their tradition is derived from the mAdhva
one. It is certainly odd that the mANDUkya upanishad itself does not occur
independently of the kArikAs of the first book, which is probably why there
are such varying traditions about it.

As for the last three sections, some scholars think that the fourth book
could have been written by someone other than the author of the 2nd and 3rd.
Whole sections from vaitathya and advaita prakaraNas are quoted in the
alATaSAnti prakaraNa. There is also a significant tendency to use "citta"
for consciousness in this book. This is supposedly at least quasi-Buddhist.
A "real" vedAntin might prefer jnAna or vijnAna, I suppose. Thus, although
all vedAnta traditions are agreed in ascribing the three later prakaranas
to one gauDapAda, modern writers seem to think there is some room for doubt.

S. Vidyasankar

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