Agamashastra of Gaudapada

nanda chandran vpcnk at HOTMAIL.COM
Sat Feb 22 16:21:52 CST 2003

>Does Gaudapada speak about the Agama-s in that book?

As Vidyasankar noted, Agama generally means "scripture" - and the meaning of
scripture depends on who's using it - for the Buddhists the Buddhist
Nikaayaas were the aagamas; the Saivaas have their own aagamaas; Likewise
for all schools of Indian philosophy; for a Vedaanti like Gaudapaada, aagama
meant the Upanishads.

So Gaudapaada's Kaarikaas start with the Maandukya Upanishads and a running
commentary on it. That forms the first chapter called the Agama Praakarna.
Following it are three more chapters : vaitathya praakarna, advaita
praakarna and alaatashaanti praakarna.

>Any insights into the contents of the book?

It is actually a very scholarly work. Vidhushekara Bhataachaarya, a
professor in the Benaras Hindu University (if I'm not mistaken) intended it
to be a commentary on Gaudapaada's Maandukya Kaarikaas - there's also a
Sanskrit version of the text which he is supposed to have submitted to a
learned assembly in Varanaasi. In my mind the value of his work lies in his
deep understanding of Mahaayaana Buddhism - so he was able meaningfully
relate Maadhyamika/Vijnaanavaada Buddhism to Gaudapaada's Advaita.

If you ask me, better to buy a translation of the work (which comes with the
original Sanskrit) from Ramakrishna Mission publications - it is very, very
cheap and very, very good. Better to study the work on itself and try to
understand it than be guided by another's commentary. After you are familiar
with the original then you can branch out and explore commentaries like

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