Chhandogya Upanishad: Commentatorial Tradition

Vishal Agarwal vishalagarwal at HOTMAIL.COM
Sun Jul 2 14:46:52 CDT 2000

I have compiled this list of commentators of the Chhandogya Upanishad
primarily with the help of the New Catalogus Catalogorum. The list is
SOMEWHAT  chronological (but not always so, because of my limited knowledge,
or careless errors) and most modern commentaries are ignored.
Any additions and corrections (especially with regard to chronology) would
be  appreciated.


Commentators of Chhandogya Upanishad:
1.  Vakyakara Brahmanandin: A brief comment, called the 'Vakya'. The work is
  considered lost but extensive quotations from it are encountered in the
works  of Advaitins and Vishishtadvaitins. I have collected these.
2.  Bhasyakara Dramidacarya: A commentary on # 1 above. Large and small
extracts from the Bhashya are encountered in works like Chhandogya Upanishad
  Bhashya of Shankaracharya; Vedarthasamgraha and Shri Bhashya of Shri
Ramanujacharya, subcommentaries thereon by Sudarshana Suri, Rudraskanda's
vrtti on Drahyayana Kalpa; Parashara Bhattar's commentary on the Sri Vishnu
Sahasranama and so on. I have collected these.
3.  Shankaracharya (Advaita perspective): He terms his Bhashya as a short
'Vrtti' in the introductory portion. Anandagiri explains that the word
'short' is used to contrast it with the massive commentary of Dramidacharya.
  The commentary refers to some textual variants. Current scholarly
consensus places him around 650-700 CE
4.  Bhaskara Bhatta (Bhedabheda perspective): Lost, and referred to in
Bhaskara's own commentary on the Brahmasutras. Numerous citations from this
work are actually encountered with in the Tippana of Narottama Puri (see
below). From these extracts it is clear that Bhaskara pre-supposed the
Bhashya of Shankaracharya on this Upanishad, and criticized it in his own
commentary. This might be taken as conclusive proof for the genuine
of Shri Shankaracharya's commentary on the Chhandogya Upanishad.
5.  Narendra Puri: A brief comment ('Tippana') on Shankaracharya's
commentary. It criticizes the Bhashya of Bhaskara in a very vitriolic
language. Identifies numerous citations from Dramidacharya etc. in
Shankaracharya's Bhashya.
6.  Madhvacarya (Dvaita perspective): Characteristic of his style, he
interprets numerous passages in a very different manner than other
traditional commentaries on the text. Signficant philosophically is his
unique interpretation of the mahavakya 'Tat tvam asi' in the 6th chapter of
the Upanishad. Madhvacharya interprets it as 'atat tvam asi' and marshals
numerous reasons for doing so.
7.  Anandagiri: A gloss (= Tika) on Shri Shankaracharya's Bhashya. It
follows the Tippana of Narottama Puri very closely, especially in the
identification of allusions to the Dramida Bhashya in Shankaracharya's
commentary. The Tika is written in the characteristic lucid style of
Anandagiri, and contains some original citations from the Dramida Bhashya as
well, indicating that the Dramida Bhashya was available to him.
8.  Sudarashana Suri: Bhashya on the Upanishad from a Vishishtadvaita
Vedanta perspective. Only in manuscript.
9.  Jnananananda: 'Chandrika' on the Upanishad from an Advaita Vedanta
10. Balakrishnananda: 'Vivarana' on the Upanishad from an Advaita Vedanta
11. Shankarananda: Dipika on the Upanishad from an Advaita Vedanta
12. Abhinava Narayanendra Saraswati: Pupil of Jnanendra Saraswati. The Tika
is written from an Advaita Vedanta perspective.
13. Sayanacharya (Advaita): The commentary has been published on the basis
of 2 manuscripts- one from Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute and the
other from the Oriental Research Institute at Mysore. The Dipika, as the
commentary is called, is a very lucid paraphrase that follows the Bhasya of
Sri Samkaracarya very closely. From the colophons, it is apparent that
Sayana wrote this work after completing his commentary on the Samhitas of
Rigveda, Samaveda and Yajurveda. In addition to Sri Samharacharya's Bhasya,
the Dipika has relied heavily on the Vaiyasika Nyayamala of Swami Bharati
Tirtha, and quotes the same very frequently. In fact, the Dipika might be
regarded as a very lucid gloss on the Bhasya of Sri Samkaracharya, and
supplements the latter with additional quotes from a plethora of Vedic and
Pauranic texts,
and gives additional examples, textual analysis etc. to clarify the
Upanishadic sentences. At the same time, the Dipika condenses the polemical
sections of the Bhashya so that they are more comprehensible.
14. Vyasatirtha: A sub-commentary on Shri Madhvacharya's Bhashya on the
Chhandogya Upanishad, written obviously from a Dvaita Vedanta perspective.
Like his other works, the sub-commentary is marked by acute fidelity to
Madhvacharya's Bhashya, and is superb for its logical acumen.
15. Vedesha Bhikshu, disciple of Vyasatirtha: 'Padarthakaumudi' on the
Chhandogya Upanishad, from a Dvaita Vedanta perspective.
16. Rangaramanuja: Written from a Vishishtadvaita Vedanta perspective. Like
his commentaries on most Upanishads, this is also a brief one and tries to
incorporate comments on the relevant passages as far as they occur in the
works of Sri Ramanujacarya. A noteworthy feature the work is that it cites
all the Brahmasutras which refer to a particular passage of the Upanisad,
while commenting on that passage. It is well known that the Brahmasutras do
deal with only representative passages of the Upanisads and the principles
enunciated in the text can be applied to many other parallel Upanisadic
texts. This has been well domonstrated by Sri Rangaramanuja and he has
applied the Brahmasutras profusely to arrive at a meaning of numerous
passages of the Upanisads. Unfortunately, and contrary to expectations,
Rangaramanuja does not give any new original citations from the Vakya or the
Dramida Bhashya.
17. Dara Shikoh: A Persian translation written with the assistance of
Sarvavidyanidhana Kavindracharya and other Pundits of Varanasi during the
reign of Emperor Shah Jehan. The work was translated into German by Paul
Duessen and thereafter into English by Palsule and Bedekar ("Sixty
Upanishads of the Veda").
18. Raghavendra Yati:  Written from the Dvaita Vedanta perspective.
19. Appaya Dikshit: Bhashya on the Upanishad written from the Advaita
Vedanta perspective.
20. Advaitananda Tirtha: He composed a commentary called the Tatparya Dipika
on the Upanishad.
21. Bhaskara Parivrajaka: 'Padartha Vivarana' on the Upanishad
22. Nityananda Ashrama: Pupil of Purushottama Ashrama. His work is called
the 'Artha Prakasha'. Written from an Advaita Vedanta perspective.
23. Nityananda Ashrama: Same person as the author of the 'Artha Prakasha'.
Wrote another commentary called the 'Mitakshara'. Written from an Advaita
Vedanta perspective.
24. Vyankatesh Ramachandra Sharma: Tika on the Upanishad
25. Bhagavadbhavaka: Vrtti on the Upanishad.
26. Upanishad Brahmayogin: Vivarana on the Upanishad. He is the celebrated
author of commentaries on numerous Upanishads written from a Kevaladvaita
27. Vidyadhirajatirtha: Vyakhyana on the Upanishad
28. Nigudhartha Prakasana of Damodara Sastri
29. Ramasubrahmanya Shastri: 'Vilasa' on the text.
30. Ramanya, son of Jagannatha: Vyakhya on the Upanishad
31. Haribhau Shukla: Prakashika on the Upanishad
32. Vidushekhara Bhattacharya: Vyakhya on the Upanishad
33. Damodara Satavalekara: Commentary in Hindi, cited in the catalog of the
Swadhyaya Mandala, but never encountered by me
34. Pundit Shivashankara Kavyatirtha: A very scholarly Sanskrit metrical
commentary that employs the Vedangas profusely. Written from the Arya Samaj
35. Swami Nikhilananda: English translation with extensive notes, based on
the Bhashya of Shri Shankaracharya
36. Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan: English translation with notes from various
traditional commentaries
37. Swami Chinmayananda: English commentary
38. Patrick Olivelle: Text and translation, with notes on and a mention of
the relevant Indological publications on various passages of the Upanishad.

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