post-Sankara teachers in advaita - GYAnottama

Ramakrishnan Balasubramanian rbalasub at ECN.PURDUE.EDU
Thu Jul 3 14:07:42 CDT 1997

Vidyasankar wrote:

>I have recently added a page to the advaita vedAnta home page. It is an
>overview of authors in post-Sankaran advaita vedAnta, presented in a more
>or less chronological order.
>Read <> for details.

A few comments on the page in two parts:

>One author named jnAnottama, who lived in the 12th century CE, wrote the
>candrikA on sureSvara's naishkarmyasiddhi, and a vivaraNa to the vimuktAtman's
>ishTasiddhi. This jnAnottama lived in the region of Tanjavur in Tamil Nadu. His
>full name in the manuscripts is jnAnottama miSra mahopAdhyAya, which indicates
>that unlike the jnAnottama mentioned earlier, he was a householder scholar.

According to accounts from the Sringeri Mutt, this GYAnottama is not the same
as GYAnottama shivAchARya who presided over the Sringeri Mutt and is given as
fifth in line starting with shrI sha.nkara. The author of the chandrikA is
GYAnottama mishra. The name GYAnottama is unusual for a householder and
the author of the chandrikA says that he was named after his _father's guru_
who may have well been GYAnottama shivAchArya. V. Raghavan has published a
paper in the Annals of the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute (XXIII,
silver jubilee number p.360) citing various reasons based on the works referred
to by the author of the chandrikA, that the two GYAnottama-s cannot be the

Some info about GYAnottama shivAchArya: According to chitsukha, his disciple,
he was from gauDadesha and settled in the south. There seems to be some
evidence that he was from Kashmir. chitsukha salutes him as the effulgence that
is vyAsa, sha.nkara and daxiNAmurti in his work:

   jyotirdaxiNAmUrtirvyAsasha.nkarashabditaM GYAnottamarUpaM taM vande |

This seems to be the earliest written reference to the worship of daxiNAmUrti
in advaitic works, if we discount the daxiNAmUrti hymn and the mAnasollAsa.

(BTW, as an aside, there is some pretty strong evidence that some of the verses
at least, in the mAnasollAsa, were written by shrI sureshvarAchArya, which I
will present sometime in the future.)

The colophon to the vidyAshrI says:

   GYAnaghanAchAryashishhyaGYAnottamabhaTTArakena virachitA |

The chitsukhI refers to him as:

   gauDeshvarAchArya paramaha.nsaparivrAjakAchArya GYAnottama pUjyapAda |

>There is some evidence from the last verse of the candrikA that this author
>later became a sannyAsin by name sarvajnASrama.

This may be so.


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