Ramakrishnan Balasubramanian ramakris at EROLS.COM
Sun Feb 28 17:56:48 UTC 1999

Ramadas <dasa at OZEMAIL.COM.AU> wrote:

>-----Original Message-----
>From: Ramakrishnan Balasubramanian <ramakris at EROLS.COM>
>Date: Sunday, 21 February 1999 3:14
>Subject: Re: Advaita-Chandran
>    [deleted]
>It's well accepted among Indological scholars that though the
>upanishads do not present one consistent system of thought,
>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.
>    [deleted]
>Would you care to elabourate on the "dubious" Upanishads quoted by
>Anandatirtha. Are you saying that he did not use the mainstream
>and only used minor "dubious" ones?

No, never said that. I only said that the _prima-facie_ interpretation
of upanishhads (early ones) is _closer_ to the interpretation of
sha.nkara and that the _prima-facie_ interpretation of the brahma
sUtras is closer to Ramanuja's interpretation. What I meant by the
statement you quote is that the prima-facie interpretation of
statements in those upanishhads that lend some support to
AnandatIrthas  theories are "dubious". More about this later. He also
quotes early Upanishads,  there's no question about that.

Some of what I say here is from secondary sources, but I'll try to
give references as much as possible. The name "Madhva" itself is very
interesting. AnandatIrtha, interprets a hymn in the R^igveda to
supposedly refer to 3 incarnations of vAyu: hanumAn, bhIma and a
"Madhva". The former two are mythological characters and AnandatIrtha
basically identifies himself as Madhva. The sarvadarshana-sangraha
written by mAdhava (identified with vidyAraNya, an advaitin and _not_
madhva!) a junior contemporary of AnandatIrtha (or slightly later)
describes the doxography of various philosophical schools. When he
talks about dvaita he sarcastically refers to "Madhva" as "This
mystery was promulgated by pUrNa-praGYa mandira, who esteemed himself
the third incarnation of vAyu", page 102, translation by E.B.Cowell.

About pramANa-s: The first is from a secondary source and was given to
me by a scholar of Ramanujas philosophy, who is also well read in the
system of sha.nkara and "Madhva". He pointed out to me one of Madhvas
curious statement. Apparently he says that not only will he quote from
shAstra-s written prior to him and being written now, he'll also quote
from shAstras which will be written in the future!!! Aptly, when he
wants to split sandhi in the chhAndogya statement "AtmAtatvamasi"
(usually given a non-dualist meaning) as AtmA - atattvamasi (Atman,
that thou art NOT) he quotes some weird text called the brahma-tarka!!
In other places he quotes an unknown text called parama-upanishhad! He
quotes many dubious texts and not just upanishhads. When he talks
about the mANDUkya he says it was revealed by vishhNu in the form of a
frog. The text quoted is a verse from garuDa (or nArada, sorry I am
quoting from memory). But Karmarkar in his study of the gauDapAda
kArikas points out that this verse is not to be found in any extant
manuscript of the purANa.

One could say that these texts might be lost. Perhaps so in the case
of purANa-s,  but it is somewhat curious that the upanishhads like the
parama and other texts like brahma-tarka which he uses in _key_ places
have not been conserved by his school, though they have had an
uninterrupted tradition from the time of AnandatIrtha! appayya dIxita
was a scholar who lived in the 1500s and made contributions to many
fields like philosophy to poetics. He openly accuses AnandatIrtha of
manufacturing upanishhad statements. Now, appayya was an advaitin and
we have to be careful. But appayya was also an "inclusivist"
("Inclusivism" has been much discussed by Halbfass, Oberhammer et
al. ). Though he wrote a book called rAmAnujamatakhaNDanam criticizing
Ramanuja's philosophy, he also wrote a commentary on one of deshika's
poems on vishhNu. deshika is one of the premier scholars of Ramanuja
sidhhAnta. Thus appayya was an "inclusivist". But appayya does not
have even one kind word to say about Madhva, so we may take it he
really believed that Madhva manufactured statements from upanishhads.
He hotly disputes at many places Madhva's contention that he was an
incarnation of vAyu.

This reference was given by a friend a long time back, I haven't read
the book myself.

"V.S. Ghate in the book 'The vedanta, a study of BS with the bhashyas
of Shankara, Ramanuja, Nimbaraka, Madhva, and Vallabha.' compares a
few major suutras. He concludes that Madhva's commentary on
brahmasuutra is not only inadequate, but makes unreasonable and
distorted interpretations of statements, and often gives scriptural
citations of doubtful authority. "

Perhaps, that will give some more instances of "dubious" claims. This
all points out to the evolution of what "authoritative" texts are. A
great discussion of evolution of "authoritative statements"  by Prof
Aklujkar can be found in

under "Twists and Turns in the Transition from Veda to Vedanta".

Even then Madhva is probably an extreme in the spectrum because he
probably really believed he was an incarnation of vAyu and hence could
"see" upanishhads and other texts which others could not. So, as an
exegite he is very uninteresting since he can quote arbitrary things
as shruti or smR^iti, which he seems to do (by the status of being
vAyu!).  But from a philosophical standpoint he is certainly


PS: BTW, Madhva also claims he read various commentaries on the
bhAgavata purANa, including one by hanumAn! The first example of
anyone quoting hanumAn as an exegite!!

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