Question regarding Gaudapada Karika

Shrisha Rao shrao at NYX.NET
Thu Jun 29 11:56:48 CDT 2000

On Thu, 29 Jun 2000, Vidyasankar Sundaresan wrote:

> <>. If need be, Shrisha, you
> can forward this to the dvaita list. Readers on the Advaita list may refer
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> With reference to Vishnusahasranama Bhashya,
> ....... omityetadaxaram.h' (mA. u. 1) iti upakramya, praNavo hyaparaM brahma
> praNavashcha paraM smR^itaH ........ oN^kAro vidito yena sa munirnetaro
> janaH  ||' (A. pra. 26-29) iti | OM tad.h brahma  |  OM tadvAyuH  |  OM
> tadAtmA  |  OM tatsatyam.h  |' ityAdibhyaH shrutibhyaH  |
> The word shrutibhyaH goes with ityAdibhyaH, which pertains only to the
> quotation that follows the previous iti, i.e. to the portion beginning with
> OM tad.h brahma. It is at best ambiguous, whether the author of the Bhashya
> considers the previously quoted portion to be shruti too.

The semantic separation between the first set from the Agama-prakaraNa,
and the rest, that you are suggesting is not there in the material itself.
In any case, I have not seen Mahadevan, et al. make any such argument.

> With reference to Brahmasutra Bhashya 2. 1. 33, Sankaracharya uses the term
> "AptakAmashruteH". Bhamati and Kalpataru don't particularly explain this,
> but Appayya Dikshita's Parimala sees this as a reference to the GK verse
> that concludes AptakAmasya kA spRhA.
> Again, we should not hold that this means that Sankaracharya himself
> referred to GK as Sruti. My experience with the sub-commentaries has taught
> me that one should distinguish between the author of the original text says
> and what the author of the commentary says. For example, some things that
> are generally labelled as the "bhAmatI position" are found only in the
> Kalpataru, not in Bhamati itself. It may not always be valid to read the
> commentator's views back into the text/author that he is commenting upon.
> Although Parimala refers to GK in this context, an alternative
> interpretation is possible. The shruti that Sankara has in mind could be the
> bRhadAraNyaka, which also has a reference to AptakAma, AtmakAma, akAma.
> Therefore, the term "AptakAmashruti" may well be a reference to
> bRhadAraNyaka. And that is also probably why the earlier commentators didn't
> particularly try to explain this reference. Note the frequency of
> Sankaracharya's explicit references to this upanishad, second only to
> chAndogya, in the Brahmasutra Bhashya. Thus, as far as what Sankara himself
> thought about the shruti status or otherwise of the Agama-prakaraNa is
> concerned, there is no evidence to say that he did view it as shruti.

That is roughly the position taken by Mahadevan also, but the following
objections are possible:

 1> The B.U. quote (and other instances where `AptakAma' may have
    occurred) does not suit the context of the sUtra; under `lokavat.h tu
    lIlAkaivalyam.h' the interest is in the Creator of the world whose
    actions are not out of any self-interest.  A look at the B.U. comm.
    of Shankara shows that he does not regard the `AptakAma' therein
    to be a referent to the world-Creator's actions.  Certainly,
   `devaisyaishha svabhAvo.ayaM AptakAmasya kA spR^ihA?' is a much better
    vishhaya-vAkya than just `AptakAma', leaving aside the wrangling
    over whether it should be one at all.

 2> One is setting oneself up as a better exponent of Advaita than
    Appayya, in your style of reasoning.  Although generally one may
    feel that the commentator's have inserted their own views and
    ignored or misinterpreted the master's position (this is a sentiment
    I find only among Advaitins, and it continues to be surprising to me),
    in this specific instance I don't see why Appayya should be
    dismissed outright.

 3> Another commentary, the brahmavidyAbharaNa, also cites the same verse
    in this context (I have independently verified this since making the
    postings in '98; the reference isn't in the list).

 4> There are two major traditions of interpreting the sUtra II-1-33; one,
    followed by Ramanuja and some others gives the example of a king
    playing ball, and says the Creator's actions are out of sport.  The
    other stream, followed by Shankara, Madhva, Srikantha, and Baladeva,
    criticizes the king-playing-ball analogy and says sport as a motive
    is impossible according to the sUtrakAra.  The latter invariably
    give `AprakAmasya kA spR^ihA' as the vishhaya-vAkya, while the former
    are content to rest on their analogy and give none.  No one gives
    a quote from the B.U. as the vishhaya-vAkya.  Barring some solid
    reasons, the suggestion for an unseen vishhaya-vAkya is not readily


Shrisha Rao

> Vidyasankar

bhava shankara deshikame sharaNam

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