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

Ramakrishnan Balasubramanian rama.balasubramanian at gmail.com
Fri Jul 28 10:33:04 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.

to which I wrote:

> 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.

To my utter surprise, indeed Sankara has identified the bhArata with
the fifth veda! When I went to the link (to the alt.hindu archives)
you originally provided, I found:

> The Itihasa and Puranas are the 5th Veda
> 	Chandogya Upanishad (7.1.4)

Previously I checked the bhAShya just under this passage. Actually it
should have been 7.1.2, when nArada first asks sanatkumAra his
question. Under 7.1.2, yes Sankara indeed identifies bhArata as the
fifth veda.

I also did not read the message in the link carefully before. But note
that itihAsa-purANa is a bahuvrIhi and so it takes the case and gender
of the thing it qualifies - pa~camam or fifh. So we cannot decide that
Sankara was talking about a single purANa and itihAsa, In fact the
bhAShya suggests otherwise.

Well, all I can say is that the bR^ihad bhAShya says something quite
different. I will try to write a more detailed mail with quotations
during the week-end (no promise though).

Swami SatchidAnandendra Saraswati has pointed out in his introduction
to the naiShkarmya siddhi how the bR^ihad and taittirIya bhAShyas
differ in style and some content from the other bhAShyas, especially
the sUtra bhAShya. Since then I have found some other peculirities of
these 2 bhAShyas. Note that Sureshvara has commented only on these, so
they are the "most genuine" of Sankaras works, apart from the
upadeshasAhasrI. It's not that Sureshvara did not know about the
brahma-sUtra, he has quoted it in the naiShkarmya siddhi. But he did
not feel it was important enough to write a commentary on the sUtra
bhAShya (if we discount the story in the mAdhavIya shankara vijayam).
In any case, now we have one more difference from the 2 bhAShyas, also
some what significant.


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