Madhava, Vidyaranya, Sringeri, and Kulke

Sudalaimuthu Palaniappan Palaniappa at AOL.COM
Wed Jun 14 05:58:30 UTC 2000

Many thanks to Dr. Filliozat for sharing with us the interesting information 
on purANasAra. (My delay in responding to some issues raised in this thread 
was due to preparing a long response and losing it just before posting due to 
a system crash. I did not have time to retype it until now.)

I am not a partisan of either Kanchi or Sringeri. Nor am I partial to any of 
advaita, visiSTAdvaita, zaivasiddhAnta or dvaita. While I am at home with 
Tamil and English materials, my hope was that with the collective expertise 
(including Kannada and Sanskrit) available among the list members, we can try 
to throw some light on this knotty problem. Having given this preamble, let 
me address two major issues. I split this into two postings.
Vidyasankar said:
<Either the tradition is right, albeit with not much independent external 
evidence for it, or you can indeed hold 14th century personalities 
responsible for initiating the Matha tradition.>

What I wanted to explore was which was the more probable alternative among 
the two mentioned above. Based on the information provided by the discussion 
so far, I think as far as Sringeri is concerned, the latter is my choice. 

To me, whether it is made of brick and mortar or thatch, the central issue in 
the discussion is the geographical fixity of the establishment. (Here fixity 
is with respect to a village or city and not any building.) It is immaterial 
whether it is called a maTha or Azrama.  In light of this, let us consider 
the following:

<There is a greater than 90% chance that you will find the phrases 
sarva-karma-saMnyAsa, or saMyag-darSana, or jnAna-nishThA. The latter two 
phrases are explicitly associated by Sankara himself with paramahaMsa 
parivrAjakas, e.g. his commentary on gItA 3.3…I would be greatly surprised if 
those who were impressed with Sankara's teaching and became his followers did 
not internalize this insistent emphasis on saMnyAsa and sampradAya.>

I think if it is reasonable to expect the followers of Sankara  to 
internalize saMnyAsa, it is also reasonable to expect them to internalize the 
parivrAjaka nature associated with it by Sankara. To me, the parivrAjaka 
nature and geographical fixity are mutually contradictory. So, we have to 
assume that these ascetics were wanderers unless and until we get evidence to 
the contrary. This occurs in the 14th century for Sringeri.  (to be continued)

S. Palaniappan

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