[Advaita-l] Re: itihAsa purANa in the bR^ihadAraNyaka

Ramakrishnan Balasubramanian rama.balasubramanian at gmail.com
Thu Jul 27 14:43:03 CDT 2006

On 7/27/06, Annapureddy Siddhartha Reddy <annapureddy at gmail.com> wrote:
> Namaste Ramaji,
>           Let me assure you that your writing style is impeccable. I
> might have misled you by the subject line. What I intended was whether
> Sankaracharya interpreted the itihAsapurANaM reference in the
> Chandogya too in a similar way. The reason I was wondering was that I
> have the translation of the Chandogya by Swami Gambhiranandaji, where
> he identifies itihAsa with the MahaBharata and names them to be the
> fifth Veda (contrary to what Vidyasankarji states in his article).
> Perhaps Swami Gambhiranandaji was using other Tikas (Anandagiri) when
> writing his translation. But I just wanted to be sure what
> Sankaracharya's position was, and I didn't have his Bhasya in Sanskrit
> at hand to check.
> Personally, I feel Sankaracharya's position is more acceptable for the
> reason that Vedas are deemed eternal, while the MahaBharata is not.
> Thus, the reference itihAsa could not have meant MahaBharata, for
> example, in the Treta Yuga.
> Hari Om.
> A.Siddhartha.
> P.S. Hopefully your frustration levels have gone down a bit :-)

No frustration, I was genuinely wondering out aloud.

I checked Sankaras ChhAndogya bhAShya very quickly in the morning and
there seemed to be no diiscussion on what he thought itihaasa-puraaNa
meant in the ChAndogya verse. Swami Gambhirananda is usually very
precise in translating, so I shall double check after I go home today.

But it is a fact, and I know for sure, that Sankara inteprets puraaNa
and itihaasa NOT to mean the bhArata or any purANa (viShNu or
otherwise) in his bR^ihad bhAShya. And Sureshvara explicitly
contradicts this in his vArtika.

The current advaita tradition seems to accept Shankaras interpretation
and not Sureshvaras.

Unfortunately I don't have Anandagiris TIkA on any bhAShya other than
the mANDukya bhAShya. Can someone who has access to these please quote
Anandagiris opinion on this matter?

It'll be interesting to look at shAyaNas interpretation of the verse
in the taittiriiya-aaraNyakam 2.10, yadR^icodhite payasa.h kuulyA ....
yadbrAhmaNAni-itihAsAn-purANAni kalpAngAthA nArAshagm sIrmedasa.h
kUlyA ...

The last sentence lumps brAhmaNa passages-itihAsa-purANa and "tales of
heros". The passage basically talks about recitation of R^ig, yajus,
etc., and what kind of "sacrifice" it corresponds to. It would be very
interesting to see how shAyaNa interprets purANa and itihAsa here.
Again, I don't have access to shAyaNa's bhAShya. Anyone else?



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