Antiquity of advaita vedanta (was : an open letter to all)

Vidyasankar Sundaresan vsundaresan at HOTMAIL.COM
Fri Jun 16 19:09:11 CDT 2000

nanda chandran <vpcnk at HOTMAIL.COM> wrote:

>Doesn't "idam Buddhe ne bAshitam", in GaudapAdiya KArikA refer to the
>Buddha? Or does it mean, " This was not taught by 'God' "?
>Or does it mean that here it refers to the Buddha, because here GaudapAda
>says something negative about the Buddha. And in other instances in the
>text where "Buddha" is praised, the Buddha refers to NArAyanA?

The verse (kArikA 4. 99) reads naitad buddhena bhAshitam. The verse doesn't
stand alone. The entire set of verses from 4. 91 to 4. 99 need to be read
together, as they are full of references to "buddha". As far as I can see,
throughout these verses, the reference is generic, to one who
is "awakened". The verses should also be related to kArikA 1. 16 -
anAdimAyayA supto yadA jIvaH prabudhyate ajam anidram asvapnam advaitaM
budhyate tadA. Throughout the kArikAs, the word "buddha" is used, but to
read references to the Mahayana concepts of dhyAnI-buddhas, pratyeka-
buddhas etc. is too much of a stretch.

In Advaita works, there is what is called pada-sangati, i.e. the
connectedness of words in sentences and in verses. Gaudapada's kArikA 4. 1
should be read along with 4. 2. The "dvipadAm varam" who is saluted in the
first verse is described as having taught asparSa-yoga, in the second verse
(avivAdo 'viruddhaS ca deSitas tam namAmy aham). The entire fourth book of
the kArikAs is an exposition of asparSa-yoga. The final verse comes back to
a salutation (namaskurmo yathAbalam). These "namaH" should all be related
to one another, as they are found in the same chapter of the same book.

It is clear that whoever is being mentioned here is one who taught the
difficult method of asparSa-yoga, the highest advaitic sAdhana. Is there
anything that shows that asparSa-yoga was first taught by the Buddha or by
Nagarjuna? I am unaware of it.

I agree with Anand, that your reading of vAcaspati and others is not
correct. I can say that some person is very intelligent, without being
complimentary. It is like the Tamil way of saying, "hmm, chamattu!" when
what is intended is a rebuke. The use of irony has to be appreciated.

But, I would request you to continue with your posts. It is perhaps the
tenor of the postings, and what people read between the lines, that causes
problems. For this, unless your intention *is* to be read between the
lines, you should take care not to leave room for it. Other than that,
there is material to be learned.


bhava shankara deshikame sharaNam

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