[Advaita-l] Did Sankara have non-brahmin disciples?

Sunil Bhattacharjya sunil_bhattacharjya at yahoo.com
Wed Oct 13 10:25:20 CDT 2010


<<<  Indeed, bhaartavarsha would not be in such a poor condition if enough brahmins did their sandhyopaasana and veda-adhyayana with bhakti and shraddha.  >>>

Really? Hope you are keeping the material aspect aside in this generalised statement. Would you blame the brahmins for the ills?


Sunil K. Bhattacharjya

--- On Wed, 10/13/10, Ramakrishna Upadrasta <uramakrishna at gmail.com> wrote:

From: Ramakrishna Upadrasta <uramakrishna at gmail.com>
Subject: Re: [Advaita-l] Did Sankara have non-brahmin disciples?
To: "A discussion group for Advaita Vedanta" <advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org>
Date: Wednesday, October 13, 2010, 5:46 AM


2010/10/12 Rajaram Venkataramani <rajaramvenk at gmail.com>:
> would spread. Did he teach advaita to non-brahmins and accept them as
> disciples? In Manisha Panchakam, he accepts as guru a low born jnani but

The counter question would be did SankarAcharya consider even
brahmins, who are duty minded on performing their usual
nitya/naimittika karma-s and occasional kAmya karmas (which the
pUrva-bhaaga duly allows) worthy of teaching Advaita? Or did he put a
pre-condition of sarva-karma-sannyaasa as a prerequisite to teaching
the upanishad truths? My understanding from Gita Bhashya is that quite
a few-times He emphasizes sarva-karma-sannyaasa and puts it before

Also, many times, even the gItAchArya makes the kAmya-karma same as a
nishhedha karma for the vedantic aspirant. Please explain what is the
Ashrama of the people for which it holds? I think it is fairly correct
to say that only the chaturtha-Ashrama member fits in that category,
until the ajAtivAda question  "what relation do I, a pUrNa svarUpa
have to do with doership" is firmly established in the mind.

So, the argument of "Sankara taking in only brahmin disciples" does
not hold. It is well known that maNDana mishra renounced and then
became sureshvarAchArya to become a disciple of SankarAchArya. It is
simply impossible to imagine SankarAchArya teaching Him the
brahma-sUtra-bhaashhya before sannyaasa.

So, I am curious as to why this point of "Sankara teaching only
brAhmin disciples" comes in the first place? Please explain.

It is quite counter to the smArta tradition to revel in
self-glorification of brahmins when the there is not much of upaasana
among them in the first place. Indeed, bhaartavarsha would not be in
such a poor condition if enough brahmins did their sandhyopaasana and
veda-adhyayana with bhakti and shraddha. It is this kind of revival of
brahmins, who are devoted to tapa and svaadhyaaya that SankarAchArya
explains in His Introduction to Gita Bhashya.

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