[Advaita-l] Date of Sankara

yajvan yajvan at san.rr.com
Sun Feb 14 16:14:33 CST 2010

hariḥ oṁ


It is said as ādi śaṅkara-ji was seeking his master he came upon a sage that asked him 'who are you ? '; to
this question he replied with the following 6 stanzas. This is called nirvāṇaṣaṭkam.

I see this as the description of perfect stillness - perfect Being. My teacher would always talk
of 'the silence within' and this IMHO defines it justly.

nirvāṇa - blown or put out , extinguished  calmed , quieted , tamed ; yet as a as a noun it is  perfect calm or repose or happiness , highest bliss; 
ṣaṭ+kam  ṣaṭ  = ṣaḍ = 6 or 6 times  +  kam; 
kam can be looked as as an affirmative sense of ' yes'  or ' well' due to its being at the end of the word; kam has many applications and meanings,  as kam is also happiness, welfare, etc. ( note too  ká is a noun of brahman).

So , as I see it it is the 6 stanzas that offer perfect calm and happiness, yes. Each recension ends
with or śivohaṁ śivohaṁ¹.

I am not mind, wisdom, pride, and heart. Or I am not ear, tongue, nose and eyes. I am not sky, land, power, and wind. I am thought and joy, I am eternal-bliss, I am eternal-bliss (śivohaṁ śivohaṁ) 
I am not the state of being alive or the five type of prāṇavāyu. I am not the seven elements constituting the body (dhātu-s or the constitution of the body) or I am not the five sheaths which hide the soul. I am not voice, hand, or legs. I am not the portion at the bottom of waist (anus or liṅga). I am thought and joy, I am eternal-bliss, I am eternal-bliss (śivohaṁ śivohaṁ)
 I am not the state of envy and passion or I am not the emotions of greed and attachment. I am not intoxication or I am not the emotion of jealousy. And I am not even the four puruṣārtha, (the 4 goals in life dharma, artha, kāma and mokṣa). I am thought and joy, I am eternal-bliss, I am eternal-bliss śivohaṁ śivohaṁ).
 I am not puṇya or pāpa ( ~fortune/merit or or sin~), friendship, or grief. I am not the chants or shrines. I am not the Veda, the sacrifice and the oblation. I am not even the action of eating, or the one that should be eaten (food), or the consumer. I am thought and joy, I am eternal-bliss, I am eternal-blissśivohaṁ śivohaṁ).
I am not death, I am not the doubts, I am not the differences between races. I am not a father, I am not a mother, or not even the birth. I am not a relative, I am not a preceptor, or I am not even a disciple. I am thought and joy, I am eternal-bliss, I am eternal-bliss śivohaṁ śivohaṁ).
I am free from changes, and lack all the qualities and forms. I am present everywhere in all the sense-organs. I am not free or I am not even associated. I am not measurable (in any way). I am thought and joy, I am eternal-bliss, I am eternal-bliss (śivohaṁ śivohaṁ).

word and references
śivohaṁ = śiva + ham ;  this 'ham'  an exclamation of courtesy or respect ; yet it is also it leads
us to 'ha' which is the shortened version of aham or 'I am'  - hence I am śiva.

The above translation is offered ( with a few additions by me) from this site  http://www.stutimandal.com/new/poemgen.php?id=30  where one can
see the saṃskṛt text.

Another translation here: http://www.swamij.com/shankara-atma-shatakam.htm 


-----Original Message-----
From: advaita-l-bounces at lists.advaita-vedanta.org [mailto:advaita-l-bounces at lists.advaita-vedanta.org] On Behalf Of vijay kartik
Sent: Wednesday, February 03, 2010 5:04 AM
To: advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org
Subject: [Advaita-l] Date of Sankara

On the question of whether Adi Shankara was born in 6th Century BC or 8th Century AD, I would like to submit as follows:
Bhagavatpada with great efforts established the "supremacy" of Advaita over all other schools 
This involved scholarly writing commentaries on the scriptures, debates with the philosphers of different schools etc
It is to be expected that whenever a pathbreaking approach like Sankara's on Advaita gains acceptance, there will be critics and opponents to that philosophy who do not accept this Advaita in its entirety as propounded by Sankara. These persons will also come up with their different or modified theories on the  Advaita philosophy as was gaining prominence.
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.
I realise this may not be a rigorous argument as they call it, but my feeling is it deserves consideration since anyhow we already have differences on various aspects in the debate on date of Sankara
Vijay Kartik

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