The Encyclopedia of Indian Philosophies, Volume 3

The Encyclopedia of Indian Philosophies, Volume 3: Advaita Vedanta up to Samkara and His Pupils

Copyright Date: 1981
Pages: 635
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    The Encyclopedia of Indian Philosophies, Volume 3
    Book Description:

    The third in a series, this volume is a reference book of summaries of the main works in the Advaita tradition during the primary phase of its development in the sixth and seventh centuries A.D., up to and including the works of Samkara and his pupils.

    Originally published in 1981.

    ThePrinceton Legacy Libraryuses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-5651-0
    Subjects: Philosophy

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
    (pp. ix-x)
      (pp. 3-21)

      The Vedic literature represents the thought of the Aryans, Indo-European-speaking folk who perhaps entered India in the middle of the second millennium b.c. Consisting of a wide variety of materials, notably hymns and directions as to the proper performance of ritual, this literature also contains the beginnings of the philosophical and theological speculations that flowered eventually in classical Hinduism. Many of these speculations, usually reported in the form of discussions between teachers, pupils, and interlocutors, sometimes encased in mythological or didactic stories, are to be found in those portions of the Vedic corpus which reflect the later stages of philosophical...

      (pp. 22-45)

      As do all Indian philosophical systems (except for the Cārvākas), Advaita orients its entire approach around the quest for liberation (mokṣa), the release from bondage (saṃsāra). Although there are various levels on which this quest can be understood or interpreted, it seems quite evident that the Advaita philosophers studied here construed bondage quite literally as a more or less mechanical process (though under divine control) describable in very specific detail. In order fully to understand the Advaita theory about liberation it is necessary first to comprehend what constitutes bondage, that is, to review the cycle of life, death, and rebirth...

      (pp. 46-61)

      In the previous chapter we saw that there are three main alternative views about the role of action in gaining liberation and that Śaṃkara distinguishes his own position from all of them. The argumentation over these, points consumes a large proportion of classical Advaita literature, and it may not be altogether evident to the casual reader why this is so. One must remember that Vedānta is first and foremost a kind of Mīmāṃsā or exegesis, and thus it functions, in the classical way of looking at these things, primarily to interpret the true meaning of the Vedic scriptures. It follows...

      (pp. 62-73)

      It has become clear in the preceding chapters that the major thrust of Advaita, as its title implies, is that even though practical affairs of men require a belief in the difference among things, that belief is false, and, indeed, eradication of it constitutes a critical part of achieving release. The liberating knowledge is awareness of nondifference, of nonduality.

      But, one may well object, not every awareness constitutes knowledge. For an awareness to be an instance of knowledge it must be true—and why in the world should we suppose the awareness of nondifference to be true ? The way...

      (pp. 74-91)

      We turn now to a positive account of the “categories” of Advaita philosophy. As we have seen, there is only one real thing according to this school, and it is alternatively called “Brahman” or “Ātman.” We begin by inquiring more closely into the nature of this Real and follow this by exploring the workings ofavidyāandmāyā, by recourse to which the appearance of diversity is explained. In this way we shall be led on to consider how apparent creation takes place, and thence to consider the phenomenal world and the empirical selves we take to inhabit it.


      (pp. 92-100)

      The most distinctive notion in Advaita is probably that of pure, undifferentiated or objectless consciousness. To be sure, a distinction between two kinds of awareness—nirvikalpakaor construction-free andsavikalpakaor construction-filled—is a common one in Indian philosophy by Śaṃkara’s time, especially as found in the Yoga systems of Buddhism and Hinduism. But Advaita elevates the distinction to new heights by identifying construction-free awareness with reality, Brahman.

      Much of what needs to be said about the Advaita view of knowledge or awareness (jñāna) has been anticipated in the preceding discussion. It may be helpful to bring it together now. The...

      (pp. 103-114)

      The first extant piece of literature that can be safely classified as exclusively Advaitic is attributed in Advaita tradition to an author referred to as Gauḍapādācārya. Almost everything about this identification has been questioned; the literature on Gauḍapāda is vast and complicated. Some doubt there was any one author responsible for the four books that now comprise theGauḍapādakārikās. Assuming there was at least and (for argument’s sake) at most one author, when did he live?

      The major piece of relevant hard data is that the Buddhist philosopher Bhāvaviveka, while quoting a number of Vedāntic passages including some Upaniṣadic texts,...

      (pp. 115-345)

      As noted in the introductory essay, the date of Śaṃkara is not agreed on by scholars. A great deal of traditional lore has been built up around Śaṃkara’s name; some of it may well be accurate, but much of it surely is not. To be able to defend a hypothesis on Śaṃkara’s date, one must have weightier evidence than mere tradition. Without any inscriptional evidence to rely on, internal evidence deriving from references in Śaṃkara’s writings is critical in arriving at histerminus a quo. But which are Śaṃkara’s writings?

      Tradition is at work here also. Śaṃkara is credited with...

      (pp. 346-419)

      Traditionally, Maṇḍana Miśra was supposed to be both the pupil and the brother-in-law of Kumārila. Allen Thrasher, who has done the most careful work to date on this philosopher, thinks that tradition is unlikely. However, Maṇḍana certainly follows Kumārila in time, as well as Dharmakīrti and Prabhākara, all of whom Maṇḍana quotes.¹ Frauwallner gives Dharmakīrti’s dates as a.d. 600-660;² Thrasher suggests 660 as theterminus a quofor Maṇḍana’s date. Uṃveka, the Mīmāṃsā commentator who comments on Maṇḍana’sBhāvanāviveka, wrote his commentary between 760 and 790. Thus, Thrasher concludes, Maṇḍana must have lived around a.d. 660-720.³

      Tradition also makes Maṇḍana...

      (pp. 420-562)

      We know little about Sureśvara on the basis of firm historical evidence. Tradition, as has been noted, makes Sureśvara the same as Maṇḍana, holding that Maṇḍana took the name Sureśvara after he and his wife became Śaṃkara’s disciples following a crucial debate. The same traditional accounts go on to tell of Śaṃkara assigning to Padmapāda and Sureśvara the responsibility of commenting on his most important works. Finally, there is the question of which of thepiṭhasSureśvara was given charge of. One tradition associates him specifically with themaṭhaat Śrṅgeri, Śaṃkara’s birthplace. On the other hand, in theguruparamparās...

      (pp. 563-597)

      Padmapāda is said to have been Śaṃkara’s first pupil, and one who stayed with his master throughout Śaṃkara’s career. Eventually, tradition affirms, Padmapāda was made the head abbot of the Puri monastery, but he did not stay there and in fact is alleged to have saved his teacher’s life in the affair with Abhinavagupta.

      His only known authentic work is titledPañcapādikā. This title should indicate that the work covered fivepadas, and indeed there is a tradition, reported by Venkatramiah,¹ that after Padmapāda’s complete commentary (Ṭikā) on theBrahmasūtrabhāṣyahad been completed it was burned to ashes by an...

      (pp. 598-600)

      Advaita tradition makes Toṭaka a quiet young man named Giri, who became a devoted but not overly quick pupil of Śaṃkarācārya. He is credited with composing a work of 179 stanzas calledŚrutisārasamuddhāraṇa. Since practically all these verses are in thetoṭaka, or anapastic meter, Paul Hacker speculates that the author of this work may be an unknown person, possibly a pupil of Śaṃkara, and that the person received the name “Toṭaka” because of the style in which the work was composed. There is also a brief set of eight verses,Toṭakāṣṭakaascribed to this person.

      Hacker has compared the...

      (pp. 601-602)

      Hacker believes that it is dubious that a person with the name Hastāmalaka actually lived in Śaṃkara’s time.¹ Tradition makes Hastāmalaka another pupil of Śaṃkara’s and either the author or the addressee of the fourteen verse poem ofHastāmalakaślokas. We know nothing more.

      Edeltraud Harzer has translated Paul Hacker’s German translation, and since the work is short it may provide a fitting conclusion to this volume.²

      1. “Who are you, child ? Whose ? Where do you want to go ? How do they call you ? From where did you come ? Tell me that—that’s for certain—for my...

  6. NOTES
    (pp. 603-612)
  7. INDEX
    (pp. 613-635)
  8. Back Matter
    (pp. 636-636)