[Advaita-l] ViShNusUri : pseudo-scholarship?

S Jayanarayanan sjayana at yahoo.com
Tue Jul 25 19:05:42 CDT 2006

There have been some past discussions in this list regarding
ViShNusUri and his commentary on the rudra-prashna of the yajurveda.
I was recently reading the translation-cum-commentary of the Rudram
by T.R. Rajagopala Aiyer, where the author questions ViShNusUri's
competency as a scholar.

by T.R. Rajagopala Aiyer
Published by Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, 1999.

Page 19:
The last commentary to be mentioned is that of Vishnu Suri. The
gentleman who has published it has written a Foreword in praise of
it. Vishnu Suri's is a complete contrast to Sayana's, an exercise in
utter futility, a dreadful example to what uses alleged learning can
be put to when a commentator has no sanctity for the text, and
chooses to ride high his own horse without reference to his
authority. It is stated that Vishnu Suri was upset by Rudra being
described as the prince of thieves, cheats, etc. There is a story
told with regard to the Bhagavatam. A commentator could not stomach
Krishna being described as the son of Nanda, a cowherd. He split the
words and gave forced meanings. That night when he was asleep Hanuman
sat on his chest and pounded him saying: "Krishna took his Avatar
since he wanted to be called as the son of Nandagopa and a shepherd.
You do not understand the spirit and the real purpose of the
Bhagavatam. Do not attempt to explain it. A great commentator
Sridhara will be born who will write a fitting commentary."
Similarly, when the Rudram calls Rudra as the prince of thieves,
gamblers, etc., instead of trying to understand why it does so, if
Vishnu Suri tries to better the Vedas, it merely argues his

The author reveals his respect for other commentators on page 18:
"Commentaries: A word now as to the commentators on the Rudram. Being
a portion of the Vedas, Sayana who has commented on all the Vedas and
placed the world ever under debt to him for this inestimable service,
has taken the Rudram in his stride. His explanations are a model -
precise, helpful and authoritative. Bhatta Bhaskara has written a
commentary which is more diffuse and thereby fanciful in some
portions, but it is also good and useful. Abhinava Sankara's
commentary (published by the Vani Vilas Press of Srirangam) with its
insight and wealth of quotations is a work of rare merit which it is
a pleasure to read."

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