Posted by: adbhutam | May 4, 2018


A chintanam on the ‘Anandamayaadhikaranam’ of Brahma sutra

Recently there was an occasion to look into the Anandamayadhikaranam 1.1.12 – 19 of the Brahma sutra and bhashya in the context of some objections aired by a Madhva in a group on the social media. Sharing below the write up:

The ‘virodha’ that the commentators (of Shankara bhashya) point out is not the kind of virodha that is generally understood to be. There is a Purva mimamsa rule for this:…/Mimamsa:Mimamsaslokavarttikakashi… Also see Tantra Vartika: वैदिकं जैमिनीयं च यत्र वाक्यं विरुध्यते ॥४७॥ यथाश्रुतगृहीतेsर्थे तत्रेदसुपदिश्यते । अध्याहारादिभिः सूत्रं वैदिकं तु ( १ ) यथाश्रुतम् ॥४८॥ नेयं विरोधेsन्योन्यस्य वैदिकानां भवन्तु ते । यथा धर्मावबोधस्य प्रमाणं वैद्कं वचः ॥४९॥ The purport of the purvamimamsa position is: when the yathaashrutaartha of the sutra is contradictory to the shruti, the sutra and not the shruti, has to be interpreted differently as the sutra is gauna and shruti is mukhya. It has been reiterated that ‘someone might argue: the sutra has come to clarify/teach the purport of the shruti and hence the shruti has to be given a different interpretation’. This is not agreed to as the shruti is the mukhya always and sutra is to be treated as gauna. Shankara thinks that the sutra words, when taken literally, yathaashruta, does not agree with the Veda, Taittiriya teaching of the Anandamaya. According to Advaita, the Anandamaya kosha is jiva, as all other koshas are. Ananda here is vikara ananda, had from worldly objects: priya moda pramoda are all vikaras of the Brahma svarupa Ananda. This latter is what is indicated by the puccha vaakya, brahma puccham prtishThA, where Brahman is taught as the adhishthaanam for the laukika ananda (ananda maya kosha).

If the Sutra kara had intended the anandamaya kosha to be Brahman he would not have used ‘abhyaasaat’ as hetu; he has used ‘tallingaat’, etc. in other sutras to teach Brahman by giving parameshwara linga as hetu and not abhyaasa which is one taatparya linga. For Shankara this sutra is a teaching of Nirguna Brahman and the word ‘anandamaya’ is indicative, lakshanayaa, of all the passages in the Taittiriya that culminate in the Puccha vaakya, which alone teaches the sarva adhishthaana/ sarvaadhaara (puccha) Brahman. The vrittikara has not viewed this way and taken a different line of arguments to establish Brahman alone as the teaching in the sutra. Shankara disagrees with the vrittikara for this and shows that there is abhyaasa of Brahman as sva pradhaana, in its own right (and not as a part, avayava, of anandamaya). Thus there is absolutely no virodha between the sutra and veda in the advaita bhashya for this (or any other sutra) as some people obviously erroneously think nor there is any disagreement between the sutra and the bhashya.

In fact this adhikarana was a topic of discussion long ago in the PPSM (Vidyapitha, Bangalore) where a Dvaita-Advaita meet was organized where the eminent scholar Sri Mani Dravid Sastrigal had stated all that needs to be said about this adhikarana. No one needs to teach Shankara to respect the Sutrakara, for he has expressed his supreme respect at the very beginning of the sutra bhashya किंलक्षणं पुनस्तद्ब्रह्मेत्यत आह भगवान्सूत्रकारः and at the end in 4.4.22 इत्यतः उत्तरं भगवान्बादरायण आचार्यः पठति . If Dvaitins or vishishtadvaitins think the Advaita bhashya is totally sutra viruddha, well the Advaitin can also think the same with respect to the others’ bhashya. There is no end to such accusations and counter-accusations.

Om Tat Sat


  1. Here in this video from 14:00, he talks about the bucketizing of the puranas. He also refers Ramanuja and even Shankaracharya have bucketized the puranas as Sattvika. Is he talking about srutya sattva purana naam sloka in SSSS or Shankaracharya has mentioned about Sattavika puranas anywhere else?

  2. Shankara has not stated the word ‘sattva purana’ in the prasthana traya bhashya. Sri Dushyanth Sridhar is not referring to the SSSS; he is referring to the bhashyas alone.

  3. If Sankaracharya has not stated that anywhere in the bhashyas, then why does he say like that? Maybe is it because Shankaracharya commented only from Vishnu Purana?

  4. Not so, at least in one place, the ‘purana’ reference is Mahabharata. Shankara has cited from the Linga purana in Kathopanishat bhashya. In Vishnu Sahasra Nama bhashya, the Shiva Purana is also quoted, which is a tamasa purana for vaishnavas. Sridhara Swamin too has cited from Shiva Purana in the Vishnu Purana commentary, where the Shiva Purana verses show Shiva as the Vishvarupa, Supreme Brahman to be meditated upon for Moksha.

  5. Sorry I should have not said “only from Vishnu Purana”. Most of the quotes that Shankaracharya made were from Vishnu Purana. Is it because of that? I am not sure.

  6. Most of the quotes that Shankaracharya made were from Vishnu Purana. Is it because of that?

    • I have not so far made a survey of Shankaracharya’s Purana citations to verify that claim. In any case it appears that claim is unverified. Even if there are several quotes from VP, on the authority of Sridhara Swamin’s statement in the VP commentary, this is a Purana that is a fine source of Advaita.

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