[Advaita-l] Acarya Shankara is not a blind follower of the Scriptures

sidha at omkarananda-ashram.org sidha at omkarananda-ashram.org
Tue Feb 1 08:07:19 CST 2005

Respected Kartik Ji,

>>>>>>>If you note VAchaspati Mishra's commentary, every time he disagrees
with Shankara, he provides **quotes from shruti and smR^iti** that bear
out his view. VAchaspati Mishra doesn't say, "I disagree with Shankara
because I
don't like what he is teaching", which is blasphemy!

Neither do I say that. My point is that there are some points where I
differ from the standpoint of Bhagavan Adi Shankara. Let me tell you
where. It seems like, I again say it seems like, because I can't remember
Shankara saying that clearly, but he has simply followed the Mimamsakas,
Acarya Shankara accepts that all the 4 Vedas only contain rituals and not
any Adhyatmika teachins. Even though myself I'm a firm Advaita Vedanta and
I can give you proofs of Advaita Vedanta in the Rig-veda, which shows that
only this philosophy is Vedic, it seems like traditionally Advaita
Vedantins assert the rest of the Vedas (not the Upanishads) to be a part
of the rituals and nothing to do with spirituality. At least this is what
I was again and again told by my traditional masters, till I first started
to learn the Rig-veda in year 2000, when I started to doubt that
explanation that so called 96 thousand Mantras only deal with Karma or
Upasana????????????? Such a statement is in fact a blasphemy which
scholars have been doing since thousands of years. One can see traces even
in the Nirukta and Patanjala Mahabhashya, where Yaska and Patanjali firmly
opposes such views. They in fact discouraged me from reading the Samhitas,
saying that they are of no use for those who are seeking Moksha. A recent
statement by Shri Jaladhar ji was also a similar one. My full-time study
of the Rig-veda in the past 4 years, clearly shows that whatever we see in
the Upanishads, is just a clear commentary on the very obscure Mantras of
the Vedas. The Sun of knowledge in the Vedas is far more radiant than the
Sun of knowledge in Upanishads, Gita and Brahmasutra. So whatever I'm
saying is based on the Shruti and on my own understanding and logic, that
is why I disagree with Shankara, not in his philosophy, but in this
particular aspect. I hope this makes it clear.
However, I would like to add here that Shankara doesn't really say
something like that, on the contrary he has praised the Rig-veda very very
much in the BrahmaSutra Bhashya 1-1-2.

>>>>Can you please provide reasons for the above assertion?

Shankara himself states, "if the Shruti would tell us that the fire is
cold, would Shruti be considered authentic?". I say that Shankara is not a
blind follower of the Shruti in the sense that he doesn't simply believe
what the Shruti says, he also follows his rational mind. In places like
Chandogya Bhashya 1-2-1 (he provides a very different meaning of the words
Deva and Asura) and Isha Bhashya 9,8 (He provides  a very different
significance of the terms Vidya and Avidya_ Shankara doesn't take the
words of the Shruti verbally, but he gives a rational explanation. This is
what makes him so special.
Even though Shvetashvatara Upanishad clearly glorifies Bhagavan Kapila, he
is the greatest opponent of Shankara in the Brahmasutras.
In Aparokshanubhuti Shankara clearly condemns the standpoint so clearly
mentioned in the Gita and Chandogya Upanishad regarding Prarabdha. (Shloka
Shankara clearly states in the Gita (13-2) Bhashya, " a person knowing all
the scriptures, but not knowing the tradition, should be considered a
In Kenopanishad (2-4) Vakya Bhashya and its Ananda Giri commentary it is
clearly concluded that "knowledge of the Brahman arising from the
scriptures is objective (vishayatvena or paroksha), and thus it is not
true knowledge, only subjective realization is true knowledge".
That is why I'm saying that Shankara is not at all a blind follower of the

>>>>>>>>But you do see that if your reasoning goes against shruti and
it cannot be accepted.

Hence, I'm not reasoning against Shruti, but I'm reasoning according to
the Rig-veda Shruti.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> As per pUrva mImAmsA,
the Vedas are *eternal*, meaning that they have neither a beginning nor
an end with time. The idea of scriptures having been "created (by an
omniscient being)" is Buddhist, and KumArila argues against such an
attitude towards the Vedas.

I don't know if you would say this if you carefully read the Bhashya on
the Sutra 1-1-3, where Bhagavan Bhashyakara clearly uses the term
"sambhava". If you would look into the Bhamati there you would realize
that the standpoint of Vyasa is different from Kumarila in this regard. He
clearly mentions that even though Mimamsakas accept that the Vedas are
Anadi, the followers of Vyasa don't agree with that. I think that
standpoint of Vedanta is far more logical than that of the Mimamsakas.
Siddhartha Krishna

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