Info on Swami Saccidanandendra?

Vidyasankar Sundaresan vidya at CCO.CALTECH.EDU
Mon Dec 2 22:02:22 CST 1996

> >
> > Are there any disciples of Swami Saccidanandendra (of Holinarsipur, near
> > Mysore) teaching in North America or any groups here in which his
> > teachings are studied?
> >
> > A student here, Martha Chhabra, is doing her PhD dissertation on his
> > works and would like to know of any local contacts.
> >
> > Many thanks,
> > Tadatmananda

I'm sorry for the delayed response, but here are my thoughts on Swami
Saccidanandendra Saraswati, as an elaboration on Anand Hudli's earlier

On Wed, 6 Nov 1996, Anand Hudli wrote:

>   I am not aware of any of his disciples here in the US. Perhaps, his
>  best known work is the Vedantaprakriya (Method of Vedanta).

Swami Saccidanandendra Saraswati founded an organization called Adhyatma
Prakasha Karyalaya in Holenarsipur. His disciples brought out a centenary
commemoration volume in 1980, so presumably they were still active after
the Swami's demise. I don't know if he had any sannyAsI disciples.
Presuming that his disciples are still keeping his organization active,
you might try writing to them at Adhyatma Prakasha Karyalaya,
Holenarsipur, Hassan District, Karnataka 573211. Two names among his
disciples, that I can spot in the commemoration volume are O. V. Ramaiah
and D. B. Gangolli.

>  I am not one of his disciples, but I have read some of his publications.
>  He differs in some respects from the Sringeri Swami's. For example, he

I have read only a few works of the Swami's, but there seemed to be some
subtle undertone of polemic in them. They convey the impression that
according to the Swami, the mainstream advaita tradition has been hijacked
by logicians (naiyyAyikas) on the one hand, and adherents of patanjala
yoga on the other. The Sringeri Swamis traditionally have a reputation of
being skilled in nyAya and yoga, in addition to mImAm.sA, sAm.khya and
vedAnta, so I got the impression that the polemic was directed against the
established Sringeri tradition. However, the centenary commemoration
volume did have a SrImukham from Swami Abhinava Tirtha of Sringeri, so I'm
unsure what the relationship between him and the Sringeri maTha was like.

>  is a proponent of the adhyaaropa/apavaada (superimposition/sublation)
>  theory of advaita rather than the ajaata vaada. In fact, he mentions
>  the superimposition/sublation method is the way of Vedanta.

For interpreting scripture, yes. No teacher in the advaita tradition
would say otherwise, I'm sure. But once scripture has been interpreted,
tata: kim? Also, ajAti-vAda comes from the gauDapAdIya kArikAs, which are
accepted as genuine by Swami Saccidanandendra Saraswati. Besides, once the
superimposition is sublated, what is left except ajAti? The Swami is
himself quite clear that creation is handled by Sankara only in the
vyAvahAric sense. The Srutis teaching creation do not say anything about
the paramArtha truth, except to affirm the reality of brahman. Read
"Misconceptions About Sankara" pp. 95-100.

>  Another minor difference is that he does not agree with the Sringeri
>  tradition regarding which works of Shankara were actually composed
>  by Shankara.

It seems to me that he accepts only the commentaries on the prasthAna
trayI and upadeSasAhasrI to be Sankara's own compositions. This is pretty
much the same opinion taken by Ingalls, Hacker and others. As we have
already discussed earlier on this list, the reasons for accepting
upadeSasAhasrI as a genuine work of Sankara's and rejecting something like
the vivekacUDAmaNi are not very satisfactory.

Finally, I am unaware if the Sringeri tradition has a final view on which
works are Sankara's and which are not. True, the Vani Vilas collection of
Sankara's works that was sponsored by Sringeri between 1910 and 1920,
includes a whole bunch of texts that are doubted by modern scholarship.
However, in this collection, manuscripts collected from all over India
were collated and published, along with the manuscripts obtained from
Sringeri itself. If a manuscript's colophons said that it was composed by
Sankara, it was included in the collection. But, rather than discard all
the minor texts except upadeSasAhasrI, it would be better to evaluate the
texts on a case by case basis and then come to a conclusion regarding

However, the Swami's contention that one has to go back to Sankara's works
to understand advaita vedAnta is well taken. As he points out, the
controversy between the later bhAmatI school of vAcaspati miSra and the
vivaraNa school of prakASAtman (following padmapAda) has been blown out of
proportion and exploited by the dvaitins. He points out very cogently
where both vAcaspati miSra's bhAmatI and padmapAda's pancapAdikA differ in
crucial concepts from Sankara's bhAshyas on the vedAnta-sUtras and the
chAndogya and br.hadAraNyaka upanishads.

I have not read his work titled pancapAdikA prasthAnam, but I gather from
the centenary commemoration volume that he holds that padmapAda could not
have been a direct disciple of Sankara himself. Or if he was, then he
was not particularly faithful to Sankara in his interpretation. This is
a contention that goes against the mainstream tradition of the advaitins,
and well merits serious study.

S. Vidyasankar

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