[Advaita-l] Question about Avaccheda vada
Jaldhar H. Vyas
jaldhar at braincells.com
Sat Mar 24 02:43:06 EDT 2018
On Tue, 13 Feb 2018, Aditya Kumar wrote:
> A: One small instance is that some Advaitins have written commentary on
> a post 10th century Vaishnava work - Srimad Bhagvatam.
If Advaitins commented on it then it is by definition not a "Vaishnava"
work is it? Unless you are using some idiosyncratic definition of
On Thu, 15 Mar 2018, Aditya Kumar via Advaita-l wrote:
I am not considering Bhagavatam because it is a recent sectarian work.
Ridiculously arbitrary. There are 18 mahapuranas which are written by
Veda Vyasa and the Bhagavata is always numbered amongst them.
Not only have Advaitins commented on the Bhagavata purana, the most
revered and authoritative commentator Shridharacharya was Jagadguru
Shankaracharya of Puri!
The Gaudiya philosopher Jiva Goswami in the introduction to his Bhagavata
Sandarbha commentary gives the names of various previous commentaries and
philosophical works that he consulted before writing his own. Foremost
is the aformentioned Shridharacharya who is his principle source. He
has to follow him because Chaitanya himself claimed that Shridhara is
the greatest of commentators but is forced to admit that Shridharas
comments are replete with Advaitic interpretations. He tries to wave the
dilemna away by claiming that Shridhara was "secretly" a Vaishnava who
only pretended to be an Advaitin to convert the "mayavadis" from their
Also consulted were tikas by Chitsukhacharya and one Swami Punyaranya.
Both are advaitins. Chitsukhacharya in particular is well known as the
author of Tattvadipa or Chitsukhi a very popular prakarana on Advaita
Vedanta. Unfortunately neither of these tikas are now available.
Vopadeva or Bopadeva was a 13th century Marathi Smarta Pandit of great
renown. He is primarily known for his alternative to Paninis' vyakarana
called Mugdabodha but three of his other works are based mainly on the
Bhagavata and were very influential on the Bengali and other North
Indian Vaishnavas. They are: Paramahamsapriya, Muktaphala, and
Hemadri Acharya is also a Smarta. We Shuklayajurvedis frequently resort
to his opinions on dharmashastra. He was the minister of the last great
Raja of Devagiri (Daulatabad, Maharashtra) Ramachandra of the Yadava
vamsha. Therefore we can very accurately date him to 1279-1309. Hemadri
was the patron of Vopadeva and wrote tikas on his works or some say they
wrote them jointly. Jiva also mentions Hemadri's Chaturvarga Chintamani
which as far as I know is primarily on dharmashastra though perhaps it
covers bhakti amongst its many topics.
So if Vaishnavas themselves think its possible for the Bhagavata to have
an Advaitic interpretation you need not have any qualms about it.
However, having said all that it must be admitted that you are not the
first to have considered the Bhagavata to be a sectarian work. There was
a heated controversy amongst the Pandits of Kashi in the late 17th century
on this topic. The problem is that while "Bhagavata" is definitely the
name of a Mahapurana, there are two works that conform to that
description. This (Krshna)Bhagavata and the Devi Bhagavata. Some vidwans
mainly Smartas claimed that in fact the Devi Bhagavata is the real
Bhagavata and this Krshna Bhagavata was actually written by Vopadeva.
Others mainly Vaishnavas hotly denied it. However it should be noted
that the Vopadeva authorship theory was always a minority one and the
defenders of the Krshna Bhagavata also included Advaitins. (For instance
Swami Ramashrama who in purvashrama was Bhanuji Dikshita the nephew of the
vaiyakarana Bhattoji Dikshita.)
Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>
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