post-Sankara teachers in advaita - GYAnottama

Vidyasankar Sundaresan vidya at CCO.CALTECH.EDU
Thu Jul 3 17:59:50 CDT 1997

On Thu, 3 Jul 1997, Ramakrishnan Balasubramanian wrote:


> 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
> to by the author of the chandrikA, that the two GYAnottama-s cannot be the
> same.

Yes, the author of the candrikA says that he was named after his father's
guru. Does Raghavan address the issue of which jnAnottama wrote the
nyAyasudhA and jnAnasiddhi? KA Nilakantha Sastri identifies the author of
these two works with the author of the candrikA, and also as the guru of
citsukha (History of South India, 4th ed). What is Raghavan's opinion on

> >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.

There is some controversy (as always!) about this last verse, i.e. whether
it is a proper verse of the candrikA itself, or whether it is a laudatory
verse written by somebody else that got appended to the text. The reason
for this controversy is that it is always seen after the colophons in the
manuscripts. Some think that this verse refers to sarvajnAtman, the author
of the samkshepa-SArIraka. But Sri Jnanananda Bharati says that the
reference is to the author of the candrikA itself, and that sarvajnASrama
must have been his name after he became a sannyAsin.

For those who are mystified by all this, a few words of clarification. It
is the general practice that upon becoming a sannyAsin, a new name is
given, usually chosen by the guru who initiates one. In the advaita
tradition, the sannyAsin name typically has two parts: a first name and a
suffix drawn from one of ten - bhAratI, sarasvatI, tIrtha, purI, araNya,
vana, parvata, sAgara, ASrama and giri. Generally, an author whose name
has one of these suffixes is a sannyAsin. However, for the earliest
authors in post-Sankaran times, these suffixes are not always known.
Besides, in some instances, the same author has come to be known by two
names, one being the name given at birth, and the other being the name
given upon sannyAsa dIkshA. The classic instance of this is
sureSvarAcArya, who is also known as viSvarUpAcArya in many later
references. Here, viSvarUpa was the name of the householder, while
sureSvara was the name given after he became Sankara's disciple. Hence
there can be some confusion over names and identities of authors in the
early literature.


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