abhi/abhIh - Interesting Word/s in Sanskrit - an Analysis [Long]

Vidyasankar Sundaresan vidya at cco.caltech.edu
Thu Apr 10 05:48:23 UTC 1997

On Sun, 6 Apr 1997, Shikaripura Harihareswara wrote:

>        10      abhinava-shankara:   According to the annals of Heads of 
>                the Sanctuary (Matha) in Kanchi-kamakoti, there were four 
>                Shankaras after the Acharya Sri Shankara. The thity-eigth 
>                Head is this Swamiji Shankara. As he traveled round the 
>                country several times like the original preceptor and     
>                vigorously propagated the ideals of Advaita, he was nick-
>                named as 'abhinava-shankara' ( died circa 841AD). 

If "original preceptor" refers to the Adi Sankara who wrote commentaries
to the upanishads etc., then that preceptor lived in the 7th or 8th
century AD. It is difficult to believe that within one century, there were
four other incarnations of Sankara, and that the fifth one called
abhinava-Sankara died in 841 AD. It is certainly strange that vAcaspati
miSra I, the author of bhAmatI, who must have been a close contemporary,
seems to be completely unaware of this 'vigorous propagator of advaita

However, there *was* one fairly recent sannyAsin who was popularly called
abhinava-Sankara, but he was not connected to the Kanchi Matha. His
dIkshA name was rAma brahmAnanda tIrtha. He wrote a commentary
(SrIrudrabhAshyam) to the rudram, which was published in 1962 by the Vani
Vilas Press, Srirangam.

S. Vidyasankar

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