The GK, mANDUkya controversy and some other stuff

Ramakrishnan Balasubramanian rbalasub at ECN.PURDUE.EDU
Sat Mar 15 21:21:50 CST 1997

Giri wrote:

> > In the TIkA, Anandagiri says "there are many upanishhad-s in the atharva
> > beginning with the brahma and garbha. However sha.nkara bhagavatpAda does
> > quote them in the BSB since bAdarAyaNa has not used them" (paraphrased). I
> > found this in Deussen's "Philosophy of the Upanishads".
>         But Shankara does quote from the muNDaka upanishhad.h (Which is
> from the atharva veda) frequently in BSB (129 times, according to Paul
> Duessen). Or do you mean Shankara does not quote from the _minor_
> upanishhad-s in the Atharva veda ? He does not quote from them in BSB (I

Yes, that's the understanding I got. The quote is found in Anandagiri's
TIkA to the GK bhAshhya. Anadagiri seems to be explaining why
shankarAchArya has not quoted the mANDUkya in the BSB at all. His
comment is that there are many upanishhad-s in the atharva veda and
shankarAchArya does not use all of them in the BSB since they weren't
used by bAdarAyaNa.

>         Further, in the list I have, brahma and garbha upanishhad-s are
> from the kR^ishhNa yajur veda. I remember Vidya posting a list of
> upanishhad-s long back on srh (?). Maybe it would be useful to
> cross-check. On a side note, a list of 108 upanishhad-s as given in the
> muktika and which veda each belongs to is available at
> (click on list of 108 upanishhad-s). If there are mistakes in this list,
> please let me know. Thanks.

I checked up with my copy of the muktika and it indeed assigns these two
the kR^ishhNa yajur veda. I also checked up Deussen's 60 upanishads of
the veda and he has listed these two as being in the atharva veda!
However in the previous section he quotes verses from the muktika. He
has also not mentioned any discrepancy between Anandagiri's comment and
the muktika. Perhaps there are two different versions of the muktika and
Deussen's version is a different one?

I'll check up both the lists (your's and Vidyasankar's) with my copy of
the muktika and inform you later.

Vidyasankar wrote:

> Some modern scholars (e.g. Vidhusekhara Bhattacharya) make an issue out
> of the use of the plural in "sampradAyavidbhir" to say that the GK is a
> work of many authors. This is not a very sound argument, although there
> could be other valid scholarly reasons for reaching the same conclusion.
> This argument is not valid because the use of the plural simply denotes
> respect. This comes across at once from Suresvaracarya's use of
> "gaudairdravidair", where both gauda and dravida are pluralized. There is
> only one dravida Acarya quoted by Suresvaracarya viz. Sankaracarya.
> Similarly, he must have viewed the gauda Acarya also to be one person
> only.

IMO, the arguments of the modern "scholars" on this are very
unconvincing. First, they are utterly convinced that there is something
fishy about the attribution of the GK bhAshhya to sha.nkara without any
sound basis. Then they proceed to give all kinds of arguments. Of
course, the Indologist camp is pretty divided with Ingall's et al
thinking that the attribution is genuine and Protter etc doubting this.

shankarAchArya clearly explains at the beginning of his bhAshhya that
the first chapter was written by gauDapAda to explain advaita on the
basis of the veda. The second is to demonstrate the falseness of the
world through reasoning, the third is to establish advaita through
reasoning and the fourth is to refute non-vedic schools using their own
terminology. He explicitly states why the four chapters were written.
For me the case is closed based on the words of sha.nkarAchArya: all
chapters were written by gauDapAda.

> It still mystifies me why the dvaitins from Anandatirtha downwards have
> considered GK I to be Sruti. Of course, they conveniently leave the last
> two verses out of this reckoning. The GK hardly advances any dualist
> tenet. Rather, the intention of GK seems to be to emphasize that while
> dualists have different kinds of theories, with which advaita does not
> necessarily conflict, advaita is the absolute truth.

There are two reasons, IMO:

1. without the passages which dismiss theories of creation and
misinterpreting it as actually supporting creation, the MU cannot in any
way twisted to mean dvaita.
2. A verse extolling prANa is found in GK I. Of course Ananda tIrtha
claimed to be an incarnation of vAyu and named himself madhva (which is
supposedly mentioned in the R^ig veda), and this would prove to be very
convenient occassion to assert that he knows better than anyone else.

The GK hardly advances any dvatic tenet as you say, but neither does
tatvamasi or ahambrahmAsmi. But that hasn't stopped the dvaitins from
giving interpretations like (a)tattvamasi and ah(ey)am brahmAsmi!

Giri wrote:

>         I think Duessen is mistaken as he repeatedly remarks that Shankara
> does not quote from atharva upanishhads. For example, he says Shankara
> does not quote from Mandukya, Maitri nor any of the AtharvaNa upanishhad
> (page 32 in his book 'The system of vedanta'). He repeats this contention
> in other places also. I, naturally, assumed that he meant _minor_
> upanishhad-s, though Deussen does not say that. Deussen, in the earlier
> portion of the book remarks that Atharva veda was written down much later
> than the three other vedas and still struggles to gain "recognition."
> I did not want to think that Deussen may not know prashna and mundaka
> upanishhad were from the atharva veda.

He knows that these two are from the atharva veda. Deussen says that
other than the prashna and the muNDaka, all the other atharva
upanishhad-s were "written" later. He thinks so because sha.nkara has
not used them in the BSB. But, to his credit he quotes Anandagiri whose
statement would invalidate his position.


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