[Advaita-l] Did Shankara have a non-Brahmin disciple?

srikanta srikanta at nie.ac.in
Mon Oct 18 04:55:05 CDT 2010

With reference to the above topic,the answer is no.In the older days they
were following a sricter system to Impart Brahma vidya.In his Brahma sutra
Bhashya,Shankara discusses this in detail.For Brahma Vidya,a Brahmin
should have systematically studies the Vedas of his Shakha.For vedic
studies one should have undergone Upanayanam.Upanayanam was prescribed
only for the three varnas.For the fourth varna,upanayam was not
prescribed.From the sutra,Athato Brahma jijnasa,we learn that the enquiry
on Brahman was possible without going through the Karma Khanda.He must
possess,the 6 qualities of Shama,dama shatka sampatti.But there were very
few who could go directly to the enquiry,like Shuka Mahrshi.Hence it is
called Shukha marga.A parrot ,flies from one tree straight to bite a fruit
on another tree.The one going in steps after passing through the Karma
Khanda is called Pipilika marga,just like an ant which crawls in line to
have the taste of a piece of jaggery.Probably,in the beginning, upanayanam
was prescribed only for Brahmins.Probably, it was later extended to other
two varnas.Hence, it is unlikely that Shankara had a non-brahmin
disciple.This we learn from the Upanishads,from the conversation between
Yagnavalkya and Janaka.Shankara also discusses this in the
apasudradhikarana.In the ancient days,the system was very strict unlike
the present days.One must have the primary qualities of Shama damadhi
shatka sampat to go to the Brahma jijnasa.Most of the stories on Shankara
are after additions.
Bhava Shankara Desika me sharanam.

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