[Advaita-l] Notes on Vichara Sagaram--

Vidyasankar Sundaresan svidyasankar at hotmail.com
Thu Jan 26 10:25:06 CST 2012

> About the author
> The original was written in Hindi by Sadhu Nischala Das about 150 years ago and since then the original book has been translated into many languages including Tamil, Telugu etc. Sri Vasudeva Brahmendra Saraswati Swamiji, a great scholar and teacher who had Asshram on the banks of Cauvery in Mayuram translated it with commentary and extensive foot notes. This work was later published with the help of Union Ministry of Education and Kanchi Kamakoti. Because of the popularity of the book the second publication was taken up by TTD, Tirupati. There are English and tamil translations available on line of the original Hindi book. This much I could gather from the publisher’s note. The Sanskrit translation and commentary is much more extensive and Swami Paramarthanandaji is started taking this text few weeks ago at Astika Samaj on Saturday Mornings from 7Am-8AM. If anyone is more familiar with the works of Sadhu Nischala Das please feel free to add. Since I
> was very much impressed by the commentary, I decided to share my notes expanding whatever I could to make the notes understandable. 

Nischaladasa was a north Indian scholar-saint who lived in the early 19th century. I've seen
1863 cited in some sources as the year in which the text Vicharasagara was completed. It is
often said that he was initiated into the Udasin Sampradaya, an ascetic order established by
Srichand, the son of the first Sikh Guru Nanak. If I remember right, I have said the same on
previous postings to this list. However, the Jan 2010 issue of Prabuddha Bharata reveals that
in the Vicharasagara, the author salutes Dadudayal, which would make him a member of the
Dadupanthi order. Dadu, the founder of this order, was a disciple of Kabir. Swami Vivekananda
also described Nischaladasa as a "Tyagi of the Dadupanthi sect" in his speeches. And being a
close contemporary, he would have known these lineage details well.
In addition to Vicharasagara, Nischaladasa wrote another voluminous Hindi work on Vedanta,
called vRtti-prabhAkara. It is also said that he wrote a commentary on the kaThopanishat. He
wrote in the simple Hindi of the day, which is already described as archaic by today's language
standards. The Vicharasagara and to a lesser extent, the Vrttiprabhakara, got translated into
multiple Indian languages, which is a measure of the quality and popularity of the work. It is
also perhaps the first instance where a translation went in the reverse direction, from a local
Indian language, Hindi, to Sanskrit! 

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