on zankara's date - 2

Elliot Stern emstern at NNI.COM
Fri Jan 7 08:00:46 UTC 2000

on 1/5/00 2:49 PM, N. Ganesan at naga_ganesan at HOTMAIL.COM wrote:

> vAcaspati's nyAya works, dated in the late 10th century, will pose
> a problem for accepting 700 CE as Sankara's date. It is more likely
> that Sankara flourished around 900 CE, give or take a few decades.

I fail to see a strong connection between problem of vAcaspati's date, and
the question of zagkara's.

> Also, Kunjunni Raja in ALB, v.24, 1960 has given arguments that
> go against 700 CE date for Sankara. Kunjunni informs that
> for Santarakshita (705-62) and Kamalasila (713-63), Sankara's
> teachings were unknown.

While zAntarakSitaH and KamalazIlaH evidently do not take any notice of
zaGkaraH, this silence hardly proves that they lived before him, or that he
lived afterwoods.  Indeed I would argue against this.

In his tattvasaGgrahapaJjikA, kamalazIlaH refers to umbekah by the name
uvveyakaH, and quotes from zlokavArtikatAtparyaTIkA. This same umbekaH has
also written a commentary of maNDanamisra's bhAvanAvivekaH; in this
commentary he also quotes a verse from maNDana's probably later work
vibhramavivekaH. Ganganath Jha, editor of the commentary to bhAvanAvivekaH,
and others, have reasonably suggested that umbekaH wrote his commentary some
considerable time after bhAvanAvivekaH was written (50+ years), since he
mentions a number of variant readings. maNDanaH, in turn, partly paraphrases
one argument from zaGkara's brahmasUtrabhASyam, and appears to refer to
zaGkara's views in  at least two other instances (see Allen Wright Thrasher,
"The dates of MaNDana Mizra and ZaMkara" in WZKS 23 (1979), pages 117-139,
especially pages 120-129).

Even if we take the date of kamalazIla's departure for Tibet (about 790 CE)
as the date for his completing the tattvasaGgrahapaJjikA, and assume that
umbekaH wrote his bhAvanAvivekaH commentary a considerable time after the
zlokavArttikatAtparyaTIkA (and even after kamalazIlaH left for Tibet),
maNDanaH and also zaGkaraH could scarcely have lived much later than 760 CE.
If we allow kamalazIlaH to have completed his commentary some years earlier,
and assume that the ink had dried for some years on umbeka's commentary or
commentaries before kamalazIlaH referred to one of them, we can see that
both zaGkaraH and maNDanaH may well have lived in the late 7th century to
early eight century.

Elliot M. Stern
552 South 48th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19143-2029
United States of America
Telephone: 215-747-6204
email: emstern at nni.com

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