Samkhyan terminology (was Re: A text dealing with Ayurveda)

Vishal Agarwal vishalagarwal at HOTMAIL.COM
Sun May 2 15:21:40 UTC 1999

Dear Sri Sunderesan,

Thank you for correcting me. I do feel however that the mere acceptance of
tattvas in Suresvara's Varttika (and the orignal verse of the Stotra) and
use of
some terms peculiar to the Pratyanhijna Darshana should not be grounds
enough for rejecting the authenticity of these works. After all, Hindu
tradition is
quite unanimous in saying that Sri Samkaracarya is 'shanmata acharya'. The
dual nature of Hinduism must be kept in mind before we pass such judge-
ments. Many modern Hindus also (including myself) are Vedicists and
yet use Pauranic and Tantric rituals for our daily devotions. Another
example is that of the Sri Sampradaya or the Ubahaya Vedanta, on which
I created a website recently.

The following points should also be considered:
1. According to tradition, going back to the times of atleast Vidyaranya,
Gaudapadacarya wrote the Sri Vidya sutras which is clearly a Shakta text.
There is nothing abnormal in this belief considering that Gaudapada
hailed from Northern Bengal- a region, like Kashmir, was a meeting place
of Tantricism, Buddhism, Saivism etc. Tradition also ascribes the authorship
of a Tantric text called the 'Yogataravali' (recently sung by Madonna) to
Govindapada- who was the direct teacher of Sri Samkaracarya. In addition,
he is also said to have composed the text 'Rasahrdaya' and is said by
tradition, to have lived a long life by the use of drugs.

2. Another such pair of texts is the Prapancasara tantra ascribed to Sri
Samkaracarya and the commentary thereto by Sri Padmapadacarya.
The latter has quotations from long lost Samkhya works of Pancadhikarana
and the former is the basis of a section of a text called the
which itself is said to be pre-Ramanuja.

My point is that it is inappropriate to closet these teachers to categories
like 'Advaita Vedantins' etc, and them declare as spurious all the other
on other schools of philosophies ascribed to them traditionally, unless
are alternate reasons to do so. For instance, we can definitely state that
traditional commentary on Nrsimhatapaniya Upanisad by Sri Samkaracarya is
spurious because it quotes from many late texts. Or that the 'Vijnanadipika'
attributed to Padmapadcarya is spurious because it refutes the views of
Bhatta Bhaskara (of course this could again be an invalid reason if it is
demonstrated Bhaskara was a contemporary of Sri Samkaracarya--
in the Narottama Puri Tippana on Samkara's Chhandogya Bhasya, Bhaskara
is reported as having stated in his Chhandogya Bhasya that Sri Samkara stole
from his work!!!)

It is common knowledge that the Prastaspada Bhasya, the Slokavarttika etc.
start with invocations to Lord Shiva etc. And the available information on
Bhartrprapanca also suggests that he was a Shaivite. Similarly, in his
Nitidivisastika, Sundara Pandya (another Pre-Samkara Vedantin) clearly
alludes to Pauranic themes like the 1000 armed Arjuna, or the cresecnt on
the forehead of Lord Shiva and so on. And likewise, the writings of Alvars
were not removed much in time from Sri Samkara, brim with themes found in
the Vaishnava Puranas and also suggest a Samskritic base).



----Original Message Follows----
From: Vidyasankar Sundaresan <vsundaresan at HOTMAIL.COM>

Vishal Agarwal wrote:

 >Dear Sri Sundaresan,
 >Appropos your excellent post, I just want to make a small comment--you
have doubted the authenticity of 'Pancikarana' of Adi Samkaracarya. In my
opinion, the doubts are unfounded since this text even has a Varttika
attributed to Suresvaracarya on it. (In addition to traditional commentaries
by Anandajnana et al). This validates the authenticity of the text.

Au contraire, I am questioning the assumptions
behind the reasons given to doubt the attribution
of pancIkaraNa to Sankara. One major
assumption is that the terms tanmAtra, avyakta,
mahat and ahaMkAra indicate an exclusively
sAMkhyan origin. This argument is independent
of the presence or otherwise of commentaries by
Suresvara and Anandajnana. As I said in my
earlier post, I think it is a hasty conclusion to say
that the pancIkaraNa is not by Sankara. As for
the commentary by Suresvara, that is apparently
not a sufficient reason to accept the attribution.
Note the parallel instance with mAnasollAsa,
Suresvara's commentary on the dakshiNAmUrti

 >Secondly, I direct you to Sri Samkaracarya's commentary on the 18th
Chapter  of BG (do not recall the exact verse), where he uses Samkhyan
concepts to explain a particular verse. The Purvapaksin then raises an
objection- "How come you now accept Kapila samkhya considering that you have
censured it earlier?" The Acharya responds- "What we have censured earlier
is the duality preached by Kapila Samkhya. Else, they are indeed an
authority on the science of Gunas."

I don't recall this in the 18th chapter. Do you
mean the 13th chapter, where Sankara explicitly
starts from the 25 tattvas of sAMkhya in his
commentary on verse 5? In any case, there are
also similar instances of a "qualified acceptance"
of sAMkhya in his Brahmasutra commentary.


Get Free Email and Do More On The Web. Visit

Get Free Email and Do More On The Web. Visit

More information about the INDOLOGY mailing list