Concept of Mukti and Shankaracharya

Ashish Chandra achandra at WNMAIL.WNDEV.ATT.COM
Thu Dec 31 15:52:57 UTC 1998

I don't think this forum is the one that you should pose this question to.
There is an ADVAITA-L subscription list at http://LISTSERV.TAMU.EDU .
Several scholars on Sankara's history and his writings post to this list.


"K. S. Arjunwadkar" <panini at>
List members

Dec 31, 98

The concept of Mukti (liberation) as expounded in Vedanta texts cannot
logically co-exist with conscious worldly activities of a man; since the
former presumes total freedom from instincts and efforts towards a worldly
object, while the latter can proceed only from a worldly, howsoever noble,
motivation. Does Shankaracharya himself, with his persistent and admirable
intellectual and missionary work as vindicated by the record of his vast
literary and organisational achievements, fit in this concept as most of
his admirers and traditional biographers believe he does? In other words,
was he a liberated soul?

If we choose to set apart his biographical details replete with miracles
and rely only on evidence from his scholarly works, we come across remarks
against his opponents which are in no way different from those of a total
worldly man. Thus, at times, he dubs his opponent who solely relies on
logic/reason as a bull without a tail and horns, ridicules him as speaking
with an unrestrained mouth, and so on. While concluding his criticism of
the philosophical doctrines of the Buddha, he remarks that the Buddha was
either insane or one who hated the mankind to the extent of taking pleasure
in misguiding it. I can, if required, quote from his works to support my

Shankaracharya was undoubtedly an intellectual giant and an able social
organiser whose influence on Indian people is as much alive today as it was
centuries ago. Personally, too, I owe him a great debt inasmuch as a
sustained study of his works moulded my thinking habit through several
decades. The issue I have raised should be taken as purely academic which,
strangely enough, has its roots in his effective teaching in the art of
logical thinking.

I shall be thankful to learned list members for a feedback.

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