saguNa and nirguNa are the same

Ashish Chandra ramkisno at HOTMAIL.COM
Mon Nov 15 17:31:08 CST 1999

>From: Ramakrishnan Balasubramanian <ramakris at EROLS.COM>
>I was waiting for the usual "dharmashAstra" debates to end so that
>something meaningful could come out of this  discussion.
Anand Hudli had written:

<<< There are no two Brahmans whose identity is being asserted here!
Speaking of identity is possible only when there are two (or more)
entities. When Brahman is all there is, there can be no assertion >>>

Rama had written:

"The sUtra bhAshhya refutes the view of certain vedAntins that brahman
is both saguNa and nirguNa at the same time. The prabodhasudhAkara
seems to be saying the same thing. Or at the very least, it's quite
vague on this point. First of all thinking that Krishna possessing
qualities is due to avidyA. So, what's the point in saying
saguNa-nirguNayor-aikyam?  Why not clearly say that thinking of
Krishna with attributes is due to avidyA? Sure, worshiping Krishna is
recommended, but that does not mean it's the same as GYAna, i.e., the
neti-neti process which results in GYAna. The daily rites are also
recommended by the veda-s, but that's no reason to presume that the
end result of the daily rites and GYAna are the same.


I write:

I am not quite certain if I can add to this discussion but I do have one
doubt and that has to do with the veracity of the claim that
prabodhsudhaakara is *not* an authentic work of Adi Shakharacharya.

I was going through the list archives and there was once a discussion on a
thread titled "Authentic works of Shankara"
in 1997.

A discussion had ensued based on the notion that Vivekachudaamani is *not*
an authentic work of Shankara. In fact, a similar discussion had taken place
in soc.religion.hindu in May 1996. On this list (advaita-l), Kartik had
posted a message in which he had quoted from the SRH discussion on the
authenticity of Vivekachudaamani, and Rama's reply. That is available at

I hope Rama and Kartik would not mind if I quote them here :

Kartik writes:

The reason Vivekachudamani is considered spurious is interesting.
I had posted the following a while ago on the newsgroup soc.religion.hindu.
Ramakrishnan's reply to my posting also follows:

>This quote is from "the encyclopaedia of Indian philosophy" editted by
>Karl H.Potter(page 335).
>This is a sizable work, extremely popular among advaita adepts. Ingalls
>that it is not genuine Samkara since it propounds theories not found in
>Samkara's unquestioned works. For example, "the author of Vivekachudamani
>an absolute equation of the waking and dream states after the fashion of
>Gaudapada. Samkara may liken the two to each other, but he is careful to
>distinguish them. Again, and most decisive of all, the Vivekachudamani
>the classical theory of the three truth values, the existent, the
>and that which is anirvachaniya...Now, Paul Hacker has pointed out that
>Samkara uses the word anirvachaniya, he uses it in a sense quite
>from that..."
>Hacker, interestingly enough, finds reason to affirm the genuineness of the
>work on the basis of colophons, but Mayeda, like Ingalls following out the
>criteria Hacker proposes elsewhere, holds it to be spurious.

[Rama's reply]
I find the view among western scholars, that the suutra bhaashyaa is some
of totem pole around which every other work of our aachaarya should execute
dance, quite laughable. It shows their ignorance of both our advaitic and
Indian mentality. Different things are taught to aspirants of various
This concept is very simple. So there is no problem with shaMkara being a
shR^ishTi dR^ishTi vaadin in the suutra bhaasshya and an ajaata vaadi in the
upadeshasaahasrii and the kaarikaa bhaashhya. These people better learn such
simple concepts before writing our history.

End all quotes

Why can't the same yardstick be applied to Prabodhsudhaakara, i.e. it was
written for aspirants of another (probably inferior) grade than for whom BSB
is prescribed?


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