[Advaita-l] Bhaagavata khandanam

jaldhar at braincells.com jaldhar at braincells.com
Wed Dec 25 01:13:11 EST 2019

Another old post I didn't respond to at the time...

On Thu, 18 Jul 2019, V Subrahmanian wrote:

> This is not just one article refuting the idea that the Srimadbhagavatam is
> not the 'real' Bhagavatam but the Devi Bhagavatam is the true Bhagavatam
> composed by Veda Vyasa.

Even when Aryasamajist filth give correct information it is for nefarious 
purposes.  That Dayananda cared not a whit for the Devi Bhagavata or 
Krishna Bhagavata.  He just wants to slander the authority of Puranas in 
favor of his fantasy version of Vedas.

> There is a popular opinion that the former is a  much later work, 
> attributed to one 'Vopadeva.' 

I wouldn't call it popular.  This was a spat between two factions of 
Pandits in 17th century Kashi only.  Several Sanskrit pamphlets and 
broadsides from the disputants survive and it is interesting to note that 
several of the authors in the pro-Krishnabhagavata camp are themselves 
Smartas not Vaishnavas.

As you yourself have pointed out there is much Advaitic material in the 
(Krishna) Bhagavata itself.  And we also discussed in this list that the 
earliest commentators on that work are Advaitins.  Shridhara Swami who is 
considered the preeminent interpreter by no less than Chaitanya himself 
was Shankaracharya of Puri. He mentions Chitsukhacharya and Punyaranya as 
predecessors though their commentaries no longer survive.  Shankaracharya 
is said to have quoted from the Bhagavata in a couple of his prakaranas. 
Many North Indian Vaishnavas even believe he wrote a commentary.

Vopadeva was a protege of Hemadri acharya author of the influential 
dharmashastra nibandha called chaturavarga chintamani (thoroughly Smarta 
and Advaitic in ethos) and the minister to the last two Rajas of Devagiri 
(modern Daulatabad Maharashtra) before that kingdom was destroyed by 
Muslim invaders in the 13th century.  The Devagiri royal family belonged 
to Yadava vamsha and considered themselves to be descendents of Krishna 
Bhagavan so it natural they would have comissioned works that honored 
their ancestor.  Vopadeva wrote Muktaphala which is a collection of 
subhashitas from the Bhagavata and Harililamrta which is a concise summary 
of the contents of that Purana. Hemadri acharya wrote tikas on both texts. 
There is a third work Paramahamsapriya which deals with difficult 
grammatical constructions in the Bhagavata.  This is the source of the 
theory that Vopadeva wrote the Bhagavata itself but obviously neither work 
could have been written unless the Bhagavata was already in existence.

Vopadeva wrote on other shastras too and one grammatical work of his 
called Mugdabodha became very popular in Bengal especially because it was 
easier than Panini.  Probably as a result his other works became well 
known in that area as well.  We know that the origins of the Gaudiyas are 
in renagade branch of Dashanami sannyasis of Bengal.  It is possible that 
as an Advaitin with great love for Krishna, Vopadevas works may have 
inadvertantly fueled that break.  On the other hand we have Swami 
Madhusudana Saraswati who was also Bengali, a Krishnabhakta, and 
influenced by Vopadeva but remained firmly in the Advaita camp.

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>

More information about the Advaita-l mailing list