[Advaita-l] Shri Shankara Bashyas

Ramesh Krishnamurthy rkmurthy at gmail.com
Mon Jul 10 12:16:52 CDT 2006

On 10/07/06, J.S. RAMASWAMY <jsrswamy at yahoo.com> wrote:
> Was there any Bashya written on the Gita and Upanishads before Adhi Shankara? If not  how the Gita & Upanishads were interpreted / understood before His time? Is it necessary to study the Bashyas to have a proper and correct understanding?
> ---------------------------------

The commentatorial tradition long predates Adi SankarAcArya, but most
of these texts are now lost. sundara pANDya, upavarSha, etc were
pre-Sankaran AcArya-s who wrote commentaries, though these may not
have been full fledged bhAShya-s. The earliest advaitin commentatorial
text still extant is the mANDUkya kArika of gauDapAda (Sankara's
guru's guru) and the earliest bhAshya-s extant are those of Adi
Sankara himself.

Whether it is necessary to study the bhAShya-s depends on your
objective. If your objective is to understand the upaniShad-s, then
the bhAShya-s are essential reading. But if your objective is to
understand advaita-vedAnta from a sAdhaka's perspective, then I would
think that reading the prakaraNa grantha-s (vivekacUdAmaNi, upadeSa
sAhasrI, etc) would be a better idea. The bhAShya-s are constrained by
the source text and are intended for a more specialized audience.

The best way of course would be to study under a traditional teacher
and follow his directions.

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