prasthAnatrayI (was Re: saguNa and nirguNa are the same)

Ramakrishnan Balasubramanian ramakris at EROLS.COM
Tue Nov 16 19:19:27 CST 1999

I seem to have invited the wrath of at least a few by insisting on
prasthAnatrayI as a standard of comparison. Perhaps I wasn't clear
enough. Please note that I expressed my doubts on "saguNa-nirguNa
aikyam" because I felt it went against the exposition in the sUtra
bhAshhya. My comments that the prabodhasudhAkara goes against
sha.nkara's bhAshhyas on the prasthAnatrayI has *at least* a prima
facie case.

The upadeshasAhasrI does not talk in a single place about
saguNOpAsana, inspite of the fact that it is a fairly long work.  In
one place "madbhaktAn" are actually criticized. Please note that when
Srimad Sureshvara wanted to quote an authority, he chose the
gauDApAdakArika, chapter 1 as the work of gauDapAda and the
upadeshasAhasrI as the work of sha.nkara.  So it's definitely an
important work of sha.nkara. Further, I have already quoted the kena
upanishhad's criticism of saguNopAsana ad nauseam. If sha.nkara felt
saguNa and nirguNa were the same in effect, we could expect him to at
least mention it in the kena bhAshhya, and not criticize saguNopAsana.
So much for a prima-facie case.

The prasthAnatrayI and in particular the sUtra bhAshhya talk about a
wide range of things and all topics are dealt with exhaustively. That
is why we have sub commentaries, sub-sub commentaries and sub-sub-sub
commentaries to the sUtra bhAshhya. There are also vArtika-s and
TikA-s on the upanishhad bhAshhyas. So, the easiest  way to solve
doubts about what the prabodhasudhAkara is saying is by consulting
these works, especially since we have the benefit of all the

Stray quotations from purANa-s, itihAsa-s etc, will first have to be
examined in the light of the prasthAnatrayI. So using these *in the
current situation* will only compound the confusion (for me at any
rate) and in fact double (quadruple?) my work of ascertaining the
truth in the prabodhasudhAkara's statement. I am personally not
interested in such a discussion since I feel my doubts won't be solved
by such a procedure. If other people think it will be a useful way to
discuss, it's a difference in opinion. But, I won't participate in
such a discussion. I think I am entitled to my opinion on what is
confusing/not confusing and useful/not useful for me. Each man is an
authority on himself at the very least :-). I was only expressing *my*
opinions on a useful way of discussion. People can accept or disregard
my opinion as they see fit.

I thank Anand for a detailed note, with extracts from the bhAshhya and
Sri Vacaspati's bhAmatI. It's in the usual style of Anand, extremely
information packed, concise and very useful. But, I still disagree
with the statement saguNa-nirguNaiyoraikyam :-). I shall explain my
reasons with some extracts from the upanishhad bhAshhya-s. I am
essentially in agreement with most of what Anand said. But I do take
exception to the saguNa-nirguNa aikyam statement. If I have
misunderstood anything, I am, as usual willing to update my knowledge.
I'll post my current state of understanding (misunderstanding?) within
the next couple of days.


bhava shankara deshikame sharaNam

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