The GK, mANDUkya controversy and some other stuff

Ramakrishnan Balasubramanian rbalasub at ECN.PURDUE.EDU
Fri Mar 14 11:18:49 CST 1997

MU: mANDUkya upanishhat.h
GK: gauDapAda kArikA
Up.S: upadeshasAhasrI
NS: naishkarmyasiddhi

The mANDUkya, GK I controversy

Some comments on the controversy regarding the number of verses in the MU
between the dvaitins and advaitins. The MU is found interspersed between what
the advaitins call GK I. There are 29 verses in GK I, called the Agama prakaraNa
by the advaitins. The dvaitins claim that 27 (or 28?) verses in this are
actually shruti and that only the last verse is not. I read an article on the
MU by a famous dvaitin scholar and he claimed as proof of their position that
even shrI sha.nkara, Anandagiri and appayya dIxita have quoted what advaitins
call GK I as shruti! This was very surprising since shrI sha.nkara has written
the GK bhAshhya-s and he'd hardly contradict himself elsewhere by calling the
GK I as shruti.

Any way I kept an open mind about this since I have not read all of shrI
sha.nkara's works. During my recent trip to Sringeri I had the good luck of
obtaining the darshan of H.H shrI bhAratI tIrtha mahAsvAmigaL and also the
opportunity of clarifying whether there is any truth to the dvaitin scholar's
statement. When I put forward my question and stated the position of the
dvaitin scholar H.H stated his dissent and also was pleased to quote the
passage from the brahma sUtra bhAshhya, where shrI sha.nkara quotes the GK I
and explained that shrI sha.nkara does not call it shruti, he uses the phrase
"atra uktam vedAnta-artha-sampradAyavidbhir AcharyAiH". H.H said "quote
paNNarAr AnA shrutinnu sollalai" (translation: He quotes (the GK I), but does
not call it shruti). The verse quoted from GK I is the 16th verse. Further
GK 3.15 is also quoted by shrI sha.nkara and he uses the _exact same phrase,
viz, "atra uktam vedAnta-artha-sampradAyavidbhir AchAryaiH" when quoting that!

I did not ask where the others have quoted GK I or whether they have done so at
all. It seemed quite superfluous. When I was reading NS (by shrI
sureshvarAchArya), I also found the following passages:


samAd yad aparaM rUpaM nAsttItyeva nirUpyate |
anyathA grahaNAbhAvAd.h bIjaM tat svapna bodhayoH || (IV.40)

Deep sleep is described in the veda as "having no second" because there is only
lack of comprehension and no false vision. Nevertheless, the state of deep
sleep is the seed of waking and dream and must be destroyed.

asyArthasya draDhimna udAharaNam.h
A quotation in support of this idea

GK 1.11, GK 1.15 are quoted verbatim and I won't repeat them here.

tathA bhagavatpadIyaM udAharaNam.h
So also says the text of Bhagavatpada

Up.S XVII.26 is quoted verbatim.

evaM gauDairdrAviDair naH pUjyairayam arthaH prabhAshhitaH |
aGYAna mAtropAdhissann aham Adi dR^ig IshvaraH || (IV.44)

Thus this doctrine has been proclaimed by the venerable ones of our school, the
gauda and the dravida. The Lord himself, with only ignorance for his adjunct,
is the witness of the ego, etc.

[ Note: The NS has both prose and verses. Both are by shrI sureshvarAchArya
himself. It's not usual to have prose interspersed with verses, however that's
the way NS has been written. ]

So it is absolutely clear that what is considered as GK I, by advaitins has
been quoted as gauDapAda's words by both shrI sha.nkara and shrI
sureshvarAchArya in works like the NS and Up.S. Further Anandagiri says the
same in his TIkA to GK bhAshhya. So all claims of shrI sha.nkara himself
quoting the GK I as shruti is absolutely untrue.

It is interesting to note that the last verse in GK I categorically states that
duality (dvaitam) ceases in turIya. So Ananda tIrtha takes all the other
verses, including the ones where shrI gauDapAda derisively dismisses theories
of creation and actually claims creation is supported in these verses!

Anandagiri's comment in the TIkA to the GK bhAshhya:

In the TIkA, Anandagiri says "there are many upanishhad-s in the atharva veda,
beginning with the brahma and garbha. However sha.nkara bhagavatpAda does not
quote them in the BSB since bAdarAyaNa has not used them" (paraphrased). I
found this in Deussen's "Philosophy of the Upanishads".

Some other things about Sringeri etc:

Vidyasankar had asked me to take a print out of the web pages of the Sringeri
Vidyabharati foundation and give it to his H.H. H.H was very impressed at the
general layout and also the comprehensiveness of the web pages and indicated
his approval. I gave H.H a rough idea about how web-pages are accessed and so
on. There was a gentleman sitting at the feet of H.H. He said he was from
Madras and seemed knowledgeable about the internet and he too chipped in with

When my uncle was the head of the police in Madurai District, he took care of
the security arrangements for the Acharya-s of both the Sringeri and Kanchi
mutts, when they visited Madurai. My uncle mentioned to me that extensive
security precautions are now routine for for the heads of both the Sringeri and
Kanchi Mutts after the bomb blast in Madurai and the assasination of a Hindu
political party leader! The situation is viewed quite seriously, since the
arrangements are taken care of by top officials. The security is also provided
round the clock and is taken care of by the police of the district where the
samigaLs are camping (A district is somewhat like an American county). So, for
eg, the Madurai district police takes charge in the Madurai district and
accompany the Swami's till they get to the border, where the police of the
other district take over.

Sringeri is a very nice town. This was my first visit after a very long time.
There are good places to stay, maintained by the maTha itself. The people there
are also very nice and unassuming. I was talking to a gentleman on the bus and
apparently he used to serve in H.H abhinava vidyAtIrtha mahAsvAmigaL's "group
of disciples". He spoke Tamil quite well and I was surprised to know that he
was a Kannadiga. He then told me that all disciples in Sringeri know Tamil also,
since most of the followers of the maTha are from Tamil Nadu. I found that
information interesting.


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