[Advaita-l] Re: ONLY ONE PLACE - Panchikarana ?!

Vidyasankar Sundaresan svidyasankar at hotmail.com
Sat May 24 15:38:33 CDT 2003

>    Let it be a separate issue whether the karana Sharira - is Atma Ajnana.
>   Panchikarana Cannot be the Acharya's Genuine work as the description he 
>gives " Avidya sabalam Brahma" in Panchikarana

I am well aware that I differ in opinion from Swami Saccidanandendra 
Sarasvati with regard to the genuineness of the pancIkaraNa text, but with 
all due respect, I believe I have strong reason to do so.

I have discussed this text in detail in my paper. Briefly, my stance is that 
the introductory portion, beginning with "sac chabdavAcyam avidyA Sabalam 
brahma" and ending with the sentence "adhyAropa-apavAdAbhyAM nishprapancaM 
prapadyate" is a pre-Sankaran composition that has got appended to the main 
text of pancIkaraNa, which begins with "auM pancIkRta pancamahAbhUtAni ...". 
There is no reason to insist that the main text of pancIkaraNa is not a 
genuine composition of Sankara's.

My reason is at least seven-fold.

First, auM is not inserted into the middle of a composition, but used at the 
beginning. The sentence "auM pancIkRta pancamahAbhUtAni ..." is a natural 
beginning to the text called pancIkaraNa.

Second, Anandagiri's commentary on pancIkaraNa attributes this text to 
Sankara and begins with an explanation of the line "auM pancIkRta 
pancamahAbhUtani ...". Anandagiri does not notice the earlier portion at 

Third, viSveSvara sarasvatI's yatidharmasangraha says that the pancIkaraNa 
text must be taught to a newly initiated saMnyAsin, and begins with the 
sentence "auM pancIkRta pancamahAbhUtAni ...", not "auM sac chabdavAcyam 
..." Note that viSveSvara sarasvatI was the guru of madhusUdana sarasvatI. 
As such, it is traditional that all saMnyAsins in the advaita tradition 
begin their monastic life with a study of this text. I, for one, fail to see 
how a non-Sankaran text could have been elevated to this status.

Fourth, the sentence "adhyAropa-apavAdAbhyAM nishprapancaM prapancyate" is 
already given as a quote, and attributed to a sampradAyavit, in the 
commentary on the gItA, verse 13.13. Given that the gItA commentary is a 
genuine text of Sankara's, the said sentence had to have been written by 
another author who lived before him. The introductory portion that is now 
found with pancIkaraNa may well have been this earlier author's composition. 
Indeed, the Varanasi edition of Sankara's works, prepared by Pt. Subrahmanya 
Sastri for the Maneshanusandhana Press, omits the introductory portion 

Fifth, there are differences between the said introductory portion and the 
description given in the vArttika on pancIkaraNa.

Sixth, there are numerous points of similarity between this vArttika and the 
naishkarmyasiddhi, so that the attribution of the pancIkaraNa vArttika to 
sureSvara must be taken seriously. It cannot be dismissed lightly.

Finally, and seventh, it is too much to believe that not only is the 
pancIkaraNa erroneously attributed to Sankara, but also a vArttika on it 
erroneously attributed to sureSvara. This takes it beyond simple mistaken 
attribution and implicitly postulates that there has been deliberate 
creation and misattribution of texts in the tradition. This, I think, is an 
unwarranted and a prejudicial opinion.


MSN 8 helps eliminate e-mail viruses. Get 2 months FREE*.  

More information about the Advaita-l mailing list