[Advaita-l] gauDapAda and Sankara

Ramakrishnan Balasubramanian rama.balasubramanian at gmail.com
Tue Jul 18 14:21:13 CDT 2006

On 7/18/06, bhaskar.yr at in.abb.com <bhaskar.yr at in.abb.com> wrote:

> I dont know why this very important thread has not attracted subsequent
> replies from our advaita scholars...Anyway, let me share my thoughts
> whatever it is worth. In the meanwhile, I would humbly request Sri Jaldhar
> prabhuji or Sri Vidyashankar Sundaresan prabhuji to address these queries
> in a detailed manner.

We have discussed this on the list before. The point is very simple.
When we compare Shankara with Gaudapaada what is the underlying
assumption? Are we looking at the entire corpus of writings ascribed
to Shankara or looking at some specific work? If it's the former it's
grossly wrong. The gauDapaada kaarikaa is largely an independent work
and can reasonably compared only with the upadeshasaaharsrii. Compare
the gauDapaada kaarikaa with especially the prose section and see if
there is any big differences for yourself.

Remember that both the Buddhist and advaitic traditions maintained
that they were not talking about the same thing as shuunya and
brahman. Eg, bhavya, kamalashiila, etc., all pre-shankaran Buddhist
authors maintain their uniqueness from advaita. Also note that a
post-bhAskara Buddhist author notes that his particular Buddhist
system and Bhaskaras system seem to be the same, and then goes on to
point out differences. Bhaskara would have turned in his grave at that
:-). So similarities to Buddhist systems are not unique to advaita.


PS: I do not mean to say that the other works of shankara contradict
gauDapaada. But remember that commentaries are constrained by the
original subject matter, which the author may not pay much attention
to in his original works, e.g., absolutely no mention of the upaasanas
found in the brahma-suutra in the upadeshasaahasrii. But shankara
gives detailed expositions of these in the suutra bhaaShya.

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