Ramakrishnan Balasubramanian ramakris at EROLS.COM
Sat Feb 20 16:17:30 UTC 1999

Balaji Hebbar <bhebbar at EROLS.COM> wrote:

>"It¹s true that there¹re some Upanishads which hardly seem to endorse
>Advaitam. But again if one were to look at them collectively,
>represents the most consistent view."

>The  last  sentence  in  the  above  citation  is  purely  a
>subjective  opinion.  (B.N.Hebbar)

>I  cannot  because,  Advaita  begins  at  best  with  GauDapAda.  You
>cannot  just  usurp  the  UpaniShads  to  your  way  of  thinking.
>Afterall,  you  yourself  agree  that  the  UpaniShads  do  NOT
>one  consistent  system  of  thought.  (BNH)

It's well accepted among Indological scholars that though the
upanishads do not present one consistent system of thought, sha.nkra's
writings are closer to what they say. At least the main ones like the
BRhadAraNyaka. Nakamura has written some penetrating analyses between
Upanishadic thoughts, early and sha.nkara VedAnta.  Similarly it is
also accepted that Ramanuja's thoughts are closer to that of the
brahma sUtra-s. Of course, there some dubious "upanishads" quoted by
AnadatIrtha aka "Madhva" which lend some support to his theories.

Whether "advaita" begins with gauDapAda are not is highly debatable.
BratR^ihari affirms that vedAntins consider the world as unreal. See
"From Early Vedanta to Kashmir Saivism", Natalia Isayeva, SUNY Press,
1995. He also accepts the saguNa, nirguNa distinction. Nevertheless,
sha.nkara finds some faults with the sphoTa theory of BratR^ihari. Not
to mention the paramArthasAra of bhagvAn seshha (not to be confused
with the paramArthasAra of abhinavagupta which came much later), who
Hacker thinks preceded sha.nkara (Padoux seems to accept this). So we
can certainly say that there were philosophies, at least close to
advaita as expounded by Gaudapada and sha.nkara, much before

As for prachAnna bauddha I wonder if you know of a certain Buddhist
writer called bhavya. He disputes allegations that the mahAyAna theory
was prachAnna vedAnta! He was before sha.nkara (~500s). Take a look at
"The Vedanta Philosophy Described by Bhavya in his MadhyamakahRdaya",
V.V.Gokhale,  IIJ-2, 1958, pp.165-180. So bhAskara's writings which
came much later do not prove that Buddhist theories were absorbed into
advaita just at the time of sha.nkara or so. Certainly, there was much
influence of the Buddhist school on advaita. Why, is that a problem?


PS: A small request. Could you indent the message you are replying to?
That makes it easier to follow the thread. Thanks!

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