[Advaita-l] Date of Sankara

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at braincells.com
Thu Feb 4 11:07:43 CST 2010

On Wed, 3 Feb 2010, vijay kartik wrote:

>   Also such a phenomenon of "challengers" will occur around the same 
> time when Advaita gains prominence and not 1500 years or so after 
> Sankara has strongly established Advaita all over the country.   We all 
> know that Vishistadwaita and Dwaita are such philosophies which either 
> modified or contradicted Advaita as was sought to be established by 
> Sankara. So it is not unreasonable to hold that Sri Ramanuja and Sri 
> Madhwacharya  also would not have lived  very far removed from Sankara's 
> time   We know that Sri Ramanuja and Sri Madhwacharya lived between 11th 
> and 13th centuries which are not far from the 8th century AD date of 
> Sankara   On the other hand, If Sankara had lived in 5th Century BC  Sri 
> Ramanuja or Sri Madhwacharya would have lived nearly 1500 to 1700 years 
> after Sankara and this is too far removed a date for them to have 
> challenged Sankara's Advaita.

One counter argument against this could be that there may have been 
opponents of Advaita Vedanta in previous times who were eclipsed by 
Ramanuja or Madhva just as earlier Advaitins were almost completely 
replaced by Shankaracharya.  I don't think this is true for Dvaita but we 
do know there were some pre-Ramanuja Vishishtadvaitins.  Shankaracharya 
himself complains that in his time there were Vedantins who misinterpreted 
the siddhanta.  (Bhartraprapancha is one whose name though not writings 
has come down to us.)

Nevertheless what you are saying is quite sensible and exactly the method 
used by professional historians.  External factors such as who is quoting 
or refuting who are as important as internal evidence in determining these 

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>

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