Freda Bedi Cont'd (#3)

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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#3)

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Āryāvarta
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 4/26/21

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The approximate extent of Āryāvarta during the late Vedic period (ca. 1100-500 BCE). Aryavarta was limited to northwest India and the western Ganges plain, while Greater Magadha in the east was habitated by non-Vedic Indo-Aryans, who gave rise to Jainism and Buddhism.[1][2]

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Cemetery H, Late Harappan, OCP, Copper Hoard and Painted Grey ware sites

Āryāvarta (Sanskrit: आर्यावर्त, lit. "abode of the Aryas" (noble or excellent ones),[web 1][web 2] Sanskrit pronunciation: [aːrjaːˈʋərtə]) is a term for northern parts of the Indian subcontinent in the ancient Hindu texts such as Dharmashastras and Sutras, referring to the area of the Indian subcontinent settled by Indo-Aryan tribes and where Indo-Aryan religion and rituals predominated. The limits of Āryāvarta extended over time, as reflected in the various sources, as the influence of the Brahmanical ideology spread eastwards in post-Vedic times.[3][4]

Geographical boundaries

Ganges-Yamuna doab


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Course of the Ganges river; Ganges-Yamuna doab western part of the green area.

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The Ganges-Yamuna doab.

The Baudhayana Dharmasutra (BDS) 1.1.2.10 (perhaps compiled in the 8th to 6th centuries BCE) declares that Āryāvarta is the land that lies west of Kālakavana, east of Adarsana, south of the Himalayas and north of the Vindhyas, but in BDS 1.1.2.11 Āryāvarta is confined to the doab of the Ganges-Yamuna. BDS 1.1.2.13-15 considers people from beyond this area as of mixed origin, and hence not worthy of emulation by the Aryans. Some sutras recommend expiatory acts for those who have crossed the boundaries of Aryavarta. Baudhayana Srautasutra recommends this for those who have crossed the boundaries of Aryavarta and ventured into far away places.[5]

The Vasistha Dharma Sutra (oldest sutras ca. 500–300 BCE) I.8-9 and 12-13 locates the Āryāvarta to the east of the disappearance of the Sarasvati River in the desert, to the west of the Kālakavana, to the north of the Pariyatra Mountains and the Vindhya Range and to the south of the Himalayas.[6]

Patanjali's Mahābhāṣya (mid 2nd century BCE) defines Āryāvarta like the Vasistha Dharmasutra.[citation needed] According to Bronkhost, he "situates it essentially in the Ganges plan, between the Thar desert in the west and the confluence of the rivers Ganges (Ganga) and Jumna (Yamuna) in the east."[3]

From sea to sea

See also: Sanskritization and Hindu synthesis

The Manusmṛti (dated between 2nd cent. BCE to 3rd cent. CE) (2.22) gives the name to "the tract between the Himalaya and the Vindhya ranges, from the Eastern Sea (Bay of Bengal) to the Western Sea (Arabian Sea)".[7][8]

The Manava Dharmasastra (ca.150-250 CE) gives aryavarta as stretching from the eastern to the western seas, reflecting the growing sphere of influence of the Brahmanical ideology.[9]

Loss of northwest India

The post-Vedic period of the Second Urbanisation saw a decline of Brahmanism.[10][11] With the growth of cities, which threatened the income and patronage of the rural Brahmins; the rise of Buddhism; and the Indian campaign of Alexander the Great (327-325 BCE), the rise of the Mauryan Empire (322-185 BCE), and the Saka invasions and rule of northwestern India (2nd c. BC - 4th c. CE), Brahmanism faced a grave threat to its existence.[12][13]

The decline of Brahmanism was overcome by providing new services[14] and incorporating the non-Vedic Indo-Aryan religious heritage of the eastern Ganges plain and local religious traditions, giving rise to contemporary Hinduism.[12]

Other regional designations

These texts also identify other parts of the Indian subcontinent with specific designations. The Manusmṛti mentions Brahmavarta as the region between the rivers Saraswati and Drishadwati in north-western India. The text defines the area as the place where the "good" people are born, with "goodness" being dependent on location rather than behaviour.[15] The precise location and size of the region has been the subject of academic uncertainty.[16] Some scholars, such as the archaeologists Bridget and Raymond Allchin, believe the term Brahmavarta to be synonymous with the Aryavarta region.[17]

Madhyadesa extended from the upper reaches of the Ganga and the Yamuna to the confluence of the two rivers at Prayaga, and was the region where, during the time of the Mahajanapadas, the Kurus and the Panchalas existed. The entire region is considered sacred in the Hindu mythology as gods and heroes mentioned in the two epics, the Ramayana and Mahabharata, lived here.

Rulers

The Gurjara-Pratihara king in the tenth century was titled the Maharajadhiraja of Aryavarta.[18]

See also

• Names of India
• Bharata Khanda
• Airyanem Vaejah, its Zoroastrian counterpart
• History of India

References

1. Bronkhorst 2007.
2. Samuel 2010.
3. Bronkhorst 2011, p. 4.
4. Scharfe, Hartmut (1989). Handbuch der Orientalistik: Indien. BRILL. p. 12. ISBN 9004090606.
5. Agarwal, Vishal: Is there Vedic evidence for the Indo-Aryan Immigration to India
6. Neelis 2010, p. 194.
7. Gopal, Madan (1990). K.S. Gautam (ed.). India through the ages. Publication Division, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India. p. 70.
8. Michael Cook (2014), Ancient Religions, Modern Politics: The Islamic Case in Comparative Perspective, Princeton University Press, p.68: "Aryavarta [...] is defined by Manu as extending from the Himalayas in the north to the Vindhyas of Central India in the south and from the sea in the west to the sea in the east."
9. Brinkhorst 2011, p. 4.
10. Michaels 2004, p. 37-39.
11. Bronkhorst 2017, p. 363.
12. Bronkhorst 2016, p. 9-10.
13. Michaels 2014.
14. Bronkhorst 2015, p. 2.
15. Killingley, Dermot (2007). "Mlecchas, Yavanas and Heathens: Interacting Xenologies in Early Nineteenth-Century Calcutta". In Franco, Eli; Preisendanz, Karin (eds.). Beyond Orientalism: The Work of Wilhelm Halbfass and Its Impact on Indian and Cross-cultural Studies. Motilal Banarsidass. p. 125. ISBN 978-8-12083-110-0.
16. Scharfe, Hartmut (1989). The State in Indian Tradition. BRILL. p. 12. ISBN 900-4-09060-6.
17. Allchin, Bridget; Allchin, Raymond (1982). The Rise of Civilization in India and Pakistan. Cambridge University Press. p. 250. ISBN 978-0-52128-550-6.
18. André Wink (2002). Al-Hind: Early medieval India and the expansion of Islam, 7th-11th centuries. BRILL. p. 284. ISBN 978-0-391-04173-8.

Sources

Printed sources


• Bronkhorst, Johannes (2007). Greater Magadha: Studies in the Culture of Early India. BRILL. ISBN 9789004157194.
• Bronkhorst, Johannes (2011), Buddhism in the Shadow of Brahmanism, BRILL
• Bronkhorst, Johannes (2017), "Brahmanism: Its place in ancient Indian society", Contributions to Indian Sociology 51, 3 (2017): 361-369, doi:10.1177/0069966717717587
• Michaels, Axel (2004). Hinduism. Past and present. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press.
• Samuel, Geoffrey (2010). The Origins of Yoga and Tantra. Indic Religions to the Thirteenth Century. Cambridge University Press.

Web-sources

1. Aryavarta, Monier Williams Sanskrit English Dictionary (1899)
2. Apte, Vaman Shivaram (1957). "Revised and Enlarged Edition of Prin. V. S. Apte's The Practical Sanskrit-English Dictionary". Retrieved 1 November 2018.

Further reading

• Kane, Pandurang Vaman (1962). History of Dharmaśāstra: (ancient and mediaeval religious and civil law in India). Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute.
• Neelis, Jason (19 November 2010). Early Buddhist Transmission and Trade Networks: Mobility and Exchange Within and Beyond the Northwestern Borderlands of South Asia. BRILL. ISBN 978-90-04-18159-5.
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#3)

Postby admin » Wed Apr 28, 2021 2:03 am

Pala Empire
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 4/27/21



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Pala Empire
8th century–12th century
The Pala Empire and neighbouring polities in the 9th century CE.[1]
Common languages: Sanskrit,[4] Proto-Bengali[5]
Religion: Mahayana Buddhism, Tantric Buddhism, Shaivism[6]
Government: Monarchy
Emperor
• 8th century: Gopala
• 12th century: Madanapala
Historical era: Post-classical
• Established: 8th century
• Disestablished: 12th century
Preceded by: Gauda Kingdom
Succeeded by: Chero dynasty; Sena dynasty
Today part of: Bangladesh; India; Nepal; Pakistan

The Pala Empire was an imperial power during the post-classical period in the Indian subcontinent,[7] which originated in the region of Bengal. It is named after its ruling dynasty, whose rulers bore names ending with the suffix Pala ("protector" in Sanskrit). They were followers of the Mahayana and Tantric schools of Buddhism. The empire was founded with the election of Gopala as the emperor of Gauda in 750 CE.[8] The Pala stronghold was located in Bengal and Bihar, which included the major cities of Gauda, Vikrampura, Pataliputra, Monghyr, Somapura, Ramvati (Varendra), Tamralipta and Jaggadala.

The Palas were astute diplomats and military conquerors. Their army was noted for its vast war elephant corps. Their navy performed both mercantile and defensive roles in the Bay of Bengal. They built grand temples and monasteries, including the Somapura Mahavihara, and patronised the great universities of Nalanda and Vikramashila. The Proto-Bengali language developed under Pala rule. The empire enjoyed relations with the Srivijaya Empire, the Tibetan Empire and the Arab Abbasid Caliphate. Abbasid coinage found in Pala archaeological sites, as well as records of Arab historians, point to flourishing mercantile and intellectual contacts. The House of Wisdom in Baghdad absorbed the mathematical and astronomical achievements of Indian civilisation during this period.[9]

At its height in the early 9th century, the Pala Empire was the dominant power in the northern Indian subcontinent, with its territory stretching across the Gangetic plain to include parts of modern-day eastern Pakistan, northern and northeastern India, Nepal and Bangladesh.[8][10] The empire reached its peak under Emperors Dharmapala and Devapala. The Palas also exerted a strong cultural influence under Atisa in Tibet, as well as in Southeast Asia. Pala control of North India was ultimately ephemeral, as they struggled with the Gurjara-Pratiharas and the Rashtrakutas for the control of Kannauj and were defeated. After a short lived decline, Emperor Mahipala I defended imperial bastions in Bengal and Bihar against South Indian Chola invasions. Emperor Ramapala was the last strong Pala ruler, who gained control of Kamarupa and Kalinga. The empire was considerably weakened by the 11th century, with many areas engulfed in rebellion.

The resurgent Hindu Sena dynasty dethroned the Pala Empire in the 12th century, ending the reign of the last major Buddhist imperial power in the Indian subcontinent. The Pala period is considered one of the golden eras of Bengali history.[11][12] The Palas brought stability and prosperity to Bengal after centuries of civil war between warring divisions. They advanced the achievements of previous Bengali civilisations and created outstanding works of arts and architecture. They laid the basis for the Bengali language, including its first literary work, the Charyapada. The Pala legacy is still reflected in Tibetan Buddhism.

History

Origins


According to the Khalimpur copper plate inscription, the first Pala king Gopala was the son of a warrior named Vapyata. The Ramacharitam attests that Varendra (North Bengal) was the fatherland (Janakabhu) of the Palas. The ethnic origins of the dynasty are unknown, although later records claim that Gopala was a Kshatriya or descended from the legendary Solar dynasty. The Ballala-Carita states that the Palas were Kshatriyas, a claim reiterated by Taranatha in his History of Buddhism in India as well as Ghanaram Chakrabarty in his Dharmamangala (both written in the 16th century CE). The Ramacharitam also attests the fifteenth Pala emperor, Ramapala, as a Kshatriya. Claims of belonging to the legendary Solar dynasty are unreliable and clearly appear to be an attempt to cover up the humble origins of the dynasty.[12] The Pala dynasty has also been branded as Śudra in some sources such as Manjushri-Mulakalpa; this might be because of their Buddhist leanings.[13][14][15][16][17][18][19] According to Abu'l-Fazl ibn Mubarak (in Ain-i-Akbari), the Palas were Kayasthas. There are even accounts that claim Gopala may have been from a Brahmin lineage.[20][21]

Establishment

After the fall of Shashanka's kingdom, the Bengal region was in a state of anarchy. There was no central authority, and there was constant struggle between petty chieftains. The contemporary writings describe this situation as matsya nyaya ("fish justice" i.e. a situation where the big fish eat the small fish). Gopala ascended the throne as the first Pala king during these times. The Khalimpur copper plate suggests that the prakriti (people) of the region made him the king.[12] Taranatha, writing nearly 800 years later, also writes that he was democratically elected by the people of Bengal. However, his account is in form of a legend, and is considered historically unreliable. The legend mentions that after a period of anarchy, the people elected several kings in succession, all of whom were consumed by the Naga queen of an earlier king on the night following their election. Gopal, however managed to kill the queen and remained on the throne.[22] The historical evidence indicates that Gopala was not elected directly by his citizens, but by a group of feudal chieftains. Such elections were quite common in contemporary societies of the region.[12][22]

Gopala's ascension was a significant political event as the several independent chiefs recognised his political authority without any struggle.[11]

Expansion under Dharmapala and Devapala

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An illustration of the Kannauj triangle

Gopala's empire was greatly expanded by his son Dharmapala and his grandson Devapala. Dharmapala was initially defeated by the Pratihara ruler Vatsaraja. Later, the Rashtrakuta king Dhruva defeated both Dharmapala and Vatsaraja. After Dhruva left for the Deccan region, Dharmapala built a mighty empire in the northern India. He defeated Indrayudha of Kannauj, and installed his own nominee Chakrayudha on the throne of Kannauj. Several other smaller states in North India also acknowledged his suzerainty. Soon, his expansion was checked by Vatsaraja's son Nagabhata II, who conquered Kannauj and drove away Chakrayudha. Nagabhata II then advanced up to Munger and defeated Dharmapala in a pitched battle. Dharmapala was forced to surrender and to seek alliance with the Rashtrakuta emperor Govinda III, who then intervened by invading northern India and defeating Nagabhata II.[23][24][25] The Rashtrakuta records show that both Chakrayudha and Dharmapala recognised the Rashtrakuta suzerainty. In practice, Dharmapala gained control over North India after Govinda III left for the Deccan. He adopted the title Paramesvara Paramabhattaraka Maharajadhiraja.[11]

Dharmapala was succeeded by his son Devapala, who is regarded as the most powerful Pala ruler.[11] His expeditions resulted in the invasion of Pragjyotisha (present-day Assam) where the king submitted without giving a fight and the Utkala (present-day Orissa) whose king fled from his capital city.[26] The inscriptions of his successors also claim several other territorial conquests by him, but these are highly exaggerated (see the Geography section below).[12][27]

First period of decline

Following the death of Devapala, the Pala empire gradually started disintegrating. Vigrahapala, who was Devapala's nephew, abdicated the throne after a brief rule, and became an ascetic. Vigrahapala's son and successor Narayanapala proved to be a weak ruler. During his reign, the Rashtrakuta king Amoghavarsha defeated the Palas. Encouraged by the Pala decline, the King Harjara of Assam assumed imperial titles and the Sailodbhavas established their power in Orissa.[11]

Naryanapala's son Rajyapala ruled for at least 12 years, and constructed several public utilities and lofty temples. His son Gopala II lost Bengal after a few years of rule, and then ruled only Bihar. The next king, Vigrahapala II, had to bear the invasions from the Chandelas and the Kalachuris. During his reign, the Pala empire disintegrated into smaller kingdoms like Gauda, Radha, Anga and Vanga. Kantideva of Harikela (eastern and southern Bengal) also assumed the title Maharajadhiraja, and established a separate kingdom, later ruled by the Chandra dynasty.[11] The Gauda state (West and North Bengal) was ruled by the Kamboja Pala dynasty. The rulers of this dynasty also bore names ending in the suffix -pala (e.g. Rajyapala, Narayanapala and Nayapala). However, their origin is uncertain, and the most plausible view is that they originated from a Pala official who usurped a major part of the Pala kingdom along with its capital.[11][12]

Revival under Mahipala I

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Coin of the Pala Empire, Mahipala I and later. Circa 988-1161 CE

Mahipala I recovered northern and eastern Bengal within three years of ascending the throne in 988 CE. He also recovered the northern part of the present-day Burdwan division. During his reign, Rajendra Chola I of the Chola Empire frequently invaded Bengal from 1021 to 1023 CE to get Ganges water and in the process, succeeded to humble the rulers, acquiring considerable booty. The rulers of Bengal who were defeated by Rajendra Chola were Dharmapal, Ranasur and Govindachandra, who might have been feudatories under Mahipala I of the Pala Dynasty.[28] Rajendra Chola I also defeated Mahipala, and obtained from the Pala king "elephants of rare strength, women and treasure".[29] Mahipala also gained control of north and south Bihar, probably aided by the invasions of Mahmud of Ghazni, which exhausted the strength of other rulers of North India. He may have also conquered Varanasi and surrounding area, as his brothers Sthirapala and Vasantapala undertook construction and repairs of several sacred structures at Varanasi. Later, the Kalachuri king Gangeyadeva annexed Varanasi after defeating the ruler of Anga, which could have been Mahipala I.[11]

Second period of decline

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Bronze crowned Buddha, Bihar, Pala Empire, 10th-11th century

Nayapala, the son of Mahipala I, defeated the Kalachuri king Karna (son of Ganggeyadeva) after a long struggle. The two later signed a peace treaty at the mediation of the Buddhist scholar Atiśa. During the reign of Nayapala's son Vigrahapala III, Karna once again invaded Bengal but was defeated. The conflict ended with a peace treaty, and Vigrahapala III married Karna's daughter Yauvanasri. Vigrahapala III was later defeated by the invading Chalukya king Vikramaditya VI. The invasion of Vikramaditya VI saw several soldiers from South India into Bengal, which explains the southern origin of the Sena Dynasty.[30] Vigrahapala III also faced another invasion led by the Somavamsi king Mahasivagupta Yayati of Orissa. Subsequently, a series of invasions considerably reduced the power of the Palas. The Varmans occupied eastern Bengal during his reign.[11][12]

Mahipala II, the successor of Vigrahapala III, brought a short-lived reign of military glory. His reign is well-documented by Sandhyakar Nandi in Ramacharitam. Mahipala II imprisoned his brothers Ramapala and Surapala II, on the suspicion that they were conspiring against him. Soon afterwards, he faced a rebellion of vassal chiefs from the Kaibarta (fishermen). A chief named Divya (or Divvoka) killed him and occupied the Varendra region. The region remained under the control of his successors Rudak and Bhima. Surapala II escaped to Magadha and died after a short reign. He was succeeded by his brother Ramapala, who launched a major offensive against Divya's grandson Bhima. He was supported by his maternal uncle Mathana of the Rashtrakuta dynasty, as well as several feudatory chiefs of south Bihar and south-west Bengal. Ramapala conclusively defeated Bhima, and killing him and his family in a cruel manner.[11][12]

Revival under Ramapala

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Maitreya and scenes from the Buddha's life. Folios were probably from the Pala period under Ramapala, considered the last great ruler of the Pala dynasty.

After gaining control of Varendra, Ramapala tried to revive the Pala empire with limited success. He ruled from a new capital at Ramavati, which remained the Pala capital until the dynasty's end. He reduced taxation, promoted cultivation and constructed public utilities. He brought Kamarupa and Rar under his control, and forced the Varman king of east Bengal to accept his suzerainty. He also struggled with the Ganga king for control of present-day Orissa; the Gangas managed to annexe the region only after his death. Ramapala maintained friendly relations with the Chola king Kulottunga to secure support against the common enemies: the Ganas and the Chalukyas. He kept the Senas in check, but lost Mithila to a Karnataka chief named Nanyuadeva. He also held back the aggressive design of the Gahadavala ruler Govindacharndra through a matrimonial alliance.[11][12]

Final decline

Ramapala was the last strong Pala ruler. After his death, a rebellion broke out in Kamarupa during his son Kumarapala's reign. The rebellion was crushed by Vaidyadeva, but after Kumarapala's death, Vaidyadeva practically created a separate kingdom.[11] According to Ramacharitam, Kumarapala's son Gopala III was murdered by his uncle Madanapala. During Madanapala's rule, the Varmans in east Bengal declared independence, and the Eastern Gangas renewed the conflict in Orissa. Madanapala captured Munger from the Gahadavalas, but was defeated by Vijayasena, who gained control of southern and eastern Bengal. A ruler named Govindapala ruled over the Gaya district around 1162 CE, but there is no concrete evidence about his relationship to the imperial Palas. The Pala dynasty was replaced by the Sena dynasty.[12]

Geography

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Coin of the Palas, Bengal. Jagaddeva. 12th-13th centuries.

The borders of the Pala Empire kept fluctuating throughout its existence. Though the Palas conquered a vast region in North India at one time, they could not retain it for long due to constant hostility from the Gurjara-Pratiharas, the Rashtrakutas and other less powerful kings.[31]

No records are available about the exact boundaries of original kingdom established by Gopala, but it might have included almost all of the Bengal region.[11] The Pala empire extended substantially under Dharmapala's rule. Apart from Bengal, he directly ruled the present-day Bihar. The kingdom of Kannauj (present-day Uttar Pradesh) was a Pala dependency at times, ruled by his nominee Chakrayudha.[11] While installing his nominee on the Kannauj throne, Dharmapala organised an imperial court. According to the Khalimpur copper plate issued by Dharmapala, this court was attended by the rulers of Bhoja (possibly Vidarbha), Matsya (Jaipur region), Madra (East Punjab), Kuru (Delhi region), Yadu (possibly Mathura, Dwarka or Simhapura in the Punjab), Yavana, Avanti, Gandhara and Kira (Kangra Valley).[12][24] These kings accepted the installation of Chakrayudha on the Kannauj throne, while "bowing down respectfully with their diadems trembling".[32] This indicates that his position as a sovereign was accepted by most rulers, although this was a loose arrangement unlike the empire of the Mauryas or the Guptas. The other rulers acknowledged the military and political supremacy of Dharmapala, but maintained their own territories.[12] The poet Soddhala of Gujarat calls Dharmapala an Uttarapathasvamin ("Lord of the North") for his suzerainty over North India.[33]

The epigraphic records credit Devapala with extensive conquests in hyperbolic language. The Badal pillar inscription of his successor Narayana Pala states that by the wise counsel and policy of his Brahmin minister Darbhapani, Devapala became the suzerain monarch or Chakravarti of the whole tract of Northern India bounded by the Vindhyas and the Himalayas. It also states that his empire extended up to the two oceans (presumably the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal). It also claims that Devpala defeated Utkala (present-day Orissa), the Hunas, the Kambojas, the Dravidas, the Kamarupa (present-day Assam), and the Gurjaras:[11]

• The Gurjara adversary may have been Mihira Bhoja, whose eastward expansion was checked by Devapala
• The identity of the Huna king is uncertain.
• The identity of the Kamboja prince is also uncertain. While an ancient country with the name Kamboja was located in what is now Afghanistan, there is no evidence that Devapala's empire extended that far. Kamboja, in this inscription, could refer to the Kamboja tribe that had entered North India (see Kamboja Pala dynasty).
• The Dravida king is usually identified with the Rashtrakuta king Amoghavarsha. Some scholars believe that the Dravida king could have been the Pandya ruler Shri Mara Shri Vallabha, since "Dravida" usually refers to the territory south of the Krishna river. According to this theory, Devapala could have been helped in his southern expedition by the Chandela king Vijaya. In any case, Devapala's gains in the south, if any, were temporary.

The claims about Devapala's victories are exaggerated, but cannot be dismissed entirely: there is no reason to doubt his conquest of Utkala and Kamarupa. Besides, the neighbouring kingdoms of Rashtrakutas and the Gurjara-Pratiharas were weak at the time, which might have helped him extend his empire.[27] Devapala is also believed to have led an army up to the Indus river in Punjab.[11]

The empire started disintegrated after the death of Devapala, and his successor Narayanapala lost control of Assam and Orissa. He also briefly lost control over Magadha and north Bengal. Gopala II lost control of Bengal, and ruled only from a part of Bihar. The Pala empire disintegrated into smaller kingdoms during the reign of Vigrahapala II. Mahipala recovered parts of Bengal and Bihar. His successors lost Bengal again. The last strong Pala ruler, Ramapala, gained control of Bengal, Bihar, Assam and parts of Orissa.[11] By the time of Madanapala's death, the Pala kingdom was confined to parts of central and east Bihar along with northern Bengal.[11]

Administration

The Pala rule was monarchial. The king was the centre of all power. Pala kings would adopt imperial titles like Parameshwara, Paramvattaraka, Maharajadhiraja. Pala kings appointed Prime Ministers. The Line of Garga served as the Prime Ministers of the Palas for 100 years.

• Garga
• Darvapani (or Darbhapani)
• Someshwar
• Kedarmisra
• Bhatta Guravmisra

Pala Empire was divided into separate Bhuktis (Provinces). Bhuktis were divided into Vishayas (Divisions) and Mandalas (Districts). Smaller units were Khandala, Bhaga, Avritti, Chaturaka, and Pattaka. Administration covered widespread area from the grass root level to the imperial court.[34]

The Pala copperplates mention following administrative posts:[35]

• Raja
• Rajanyaka
• Ranaka (possibly subordinate chiefs)
• Samanta and Mahasamanta (Vassal kings)
• Mahasandhi-vigrahika (Foreign minister)
• Duta (Head Ambassador)
• Rajasthaniya (Deputy)
• Aggaraksa (Chief guard)
• Sasthadhikrta (Tax collector)
• Chauroddharanika (Police tax)
• Shaulkaka (Trade tax)
• Dashaparadhika (Collector of penalties)
• Tarika (Toll collector for river crossings)
• Mahaksapatalika (Accountant)
• Jyesthakayastha (Dealing documents)
• Ksetrapa (Head of land use division) and Pramatr (Head of land measurements)
• Mahadandanayaka or Dharmadhikara (Chief justice)
• Mahapratihara
• Dandika
• Dandapashika
• Dandashakti (Police forces)
• Khola (Secret service).
• Agricultural posts like Gavadhakshya (Head of dairy farms)
• Chhagadhyakshya (Head of goat farms)
• Meshadyakshya (Head of sheep farms)
• Mahishadyakshya (Head of Buffalo farms) and many other like Vogpati
• Vishayapati
• Shashtadhikruta
• Dauhshashadhanika
• Nakadhyakshya

Culture

Religion


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Nalanda is considered one of the first great universities in recorded history. It reached its height under the Palas.

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Atisha was a Buddhist teacher, who helped establish the Sarma lineages of Tibetan Buddhism.

The Palas were patrons of Mahayana Buddhism. A few sources written much after Gopala's death mention him as a Buddhist, but it is not known if this is true.[36] The subsequent Pala kings were definitely Buddhists. Taranatha states that Gopala was a staunch Buddhist, who had built the famous monastery at Odantapuri.[37] Dharmapala made the Buddhist philosopher Haribhadra his spiritual preceptor. He established the Vikramashila monastery and the Somapura Mahavihara. Taranatha also credits him with establishing 50 religious institutions and patronising the Buddhist author Hariibhadra. Devapala restored and enlarged the structures at Somapura Mahavihara, which also features several themes from the epics Ramayana and Mahabharata. Mahipala I also ordered construction and repairs of several sacred structures at Saranath, Nalanda and Bodh Gaya.[11] The Mahipala geet ("songs of Mahipala"), a set of folk songs about him, are still popular in the rural areas of Bengal.

The Palas developed the Buddhist centres of learnings, such as the Vikramashila and the Nalanda universities. Nalanda, considered one of the first great universities in recorded history, reached its height under the patronage of the Palas. Noted Buddhist scholars from the Pala period include Atisha, Santaraksita, Saraha, Tilopa, Bimalamitra, Dansheel, Dansree, Jinamitra, Jnanasrimitra, Manjughosh, Muktimitra, Padmanava, Sambhogabajra, Shantarakshit, Silabhadra, Sugatasree and Virachan.

As the rulers of Gautama Buddha's land, the Palas acquired great reputation in the Buddhist world. Balaputradeva, the Sailendra king of Java, sent an ambassador to him, asking for a grant of five villages for the construction of a monastery at Nalanda.[38] The request was granted by Devapala. He appointed the Brahmin Viradeva (of Nagarahara, present-day Jalalabad) as the head of the Nalanda monastery. The Buddhist poet Vajradatta (the author of Lokesvarashataka), was in his court.[11] The Buddhist scholars from the Pala empire travelled from Bengal to other regions to propagate Buddhism. Atisha, for example, preached in Tibet and Sumatra, and is seen as one of the major figures in the spread of 11th-century Mahayana Buddhism.

The Palas also supported the Saiva ascetics, typically the ones associated with the Golagi-Math.[39] Narayana Pala himself established a temple of Shiva, and was present at the place of sacrifice by his Brahmin minister.[40] Queen of King Madanapaladeva, namely Chitramatika, made a gift of land to a Brahmin named Bateswara Swami as his remuneration for chanting the Mahabharata at her request, according to the principle of the Bhumichhidranyaya. Besides the images of the Buddhist deities, the images of Vishnu, Siva and Sarasvati were also constructed during the Pala dynasty rule.[41]

Literature

The Palas patronised several Sanskrit scholars, some of whom were their officials. The Gauda riti style of composition was developed during the Pala rule. Many Buddhist Tantric works were authored and translated during the Pala rule. Besides the Buddhist scholars mentioned in the Religion section above, Jimutavahana, Sandhyakar Nandi, Madhava-kara, Suresvara and Chakrapani Datta are some of the other notable scholars from the Pala period.[11]

The notable Pala texts on philosophy include Agama Shastra by Gaudapada, Nyaya Kundali by Sridhar Bhatta and Karmanushthan Paddhati by Bhatta Bhavadeva. The texts on medicine include

• Chikitsa Samgraha, Ayurveda Dipika, Bhanumati, Shabda Chandrika and Dravya Gunasangraha by Chakrapani Datta
• Shabda-Pradipa, Vrikkhayurveda and Lohpaddhati by Sureshwara
• Chikitsa Sarsamgraha by Vangasena
• Sushrata by Gadadhara Vaidya
• Dayabhaga, Vyavohara Matrika and Kalaviveka by Jimutavahana

Sandhyakar Nandi's semi-fictional epic Ramacharitam (12th century) is an important source of Pala history.

A form of the proto-Bengali language can be seen in the Charyapadas composed during the Pala rule.[11]

Art and architecture

The Pala school of sculptural art is recognised as a distinct phase of the Indian art, and is noted for the artistic genius of the Bengal sculptors.[42] It is influenced by the Gupta art.[43]

The Pala style was inherited and continued to develop under the Sena Empire. During this time, the style of sculpture changed from "Post-Gupta" to a distinctive style that was widely influential in other areas and later centuries. Deity figures became more rigid in posture, very often standing with straight legs close together, and figures were often heavily loaded with jewellery; they very often have multiple arms, a convention allowing them to hold many attributes and display mudras. The typical form for temple images is a slab with a main figure, rather over half life-size, in very high relief, surrounded by smaller attendant figures, who might have freer tribhanga poses. Critics have found the style tending towards over-elaboration. The quality of the carving is generally very high, with crisp, precise detail. In east India, facial features tend to become sharp.[44]

Much larger numbers of smaller bronze groups of similar composition have survived than from previous periods. Probably the numbers produced were increasing. These were mostly made for domestic shrines of the well-off, and from monasteries. Gradually, Hindu figures come to outnumber Buddhist ones, reflecting the terminal decline of Indian Buddhism, even in east India, its last stronghold.[45]

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A basalt statue of Lalita flanked by Gaṇeśa and Kārttikeya

Image
Carved shankhas

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Sculpture of Khasarpana Lokesvara from Nalanda

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Sculpture of Varaha avatar of Lord Vishnu

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Jina Rishabhanatha

As noted earlier, the Palas built a number of monasteries and other sacred structures. The Somapura Mahavihara in present-day Bangladesh is a World Heritage Site. It is a monastery with 21 acre (85,000 m²) complex has 177 cells, numerous stupas, temples and a number of other ancillary buildings. The gigantic structures of other Viharas, including Vikramashila, Odantapuri, and Jagaddala are the other masterpieces of the Palas. These mammoth structures were mistaken by the forces of Bakhtiyar Khalji as fortified castles and were demolished. The art of Bihar and Bengal during the Pala and Sena dynasties influenced the art of Nepal, Burma, Sri Lanka and Java.[46]

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Somapura Mahavihara, a World Heritage Site, was built by Dharmapala

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Central shrine decor at Somapura

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Ruins of Vikramashila

List of Pala rulers

Most of the Pala inscriptions mention only the regnal year as the date of issue, without any well-known calendar era. Because of this, the chronology of the Pala kings is hard to determine.[47] Based on their different interpretations of the various epigraphs and historical records, different historians estimate the Pala chronology as follows:[48]

RC Majumdar (1971)[49] AM Chowdhury (1967)[50] BP Sinha (1977)[51][failed verification] DC Sircar (1975–76)[52] D. K. Ganguly (1994)[47]
Gopala I 750–770 756–781 755–783 750–775 750–774
Dharmapala 770–810 781–821 783–820 775–812 774–806
Devapala 810–c. 850 821–861 820–860 812–850 806–845
Mahendrapala NA (Mahendrapala's existence was conclusively established through a copper-plate charter discovered later.) 845–860
Shurapala I 850–853 861–866 860–865 850–858 860–872
Vigrahapala I 858–60 872–873
Narayanapala 854–908 866–920 865–920 860–917 873–927
Rajyapala 908–940 920–952 920–952 917–952 927–959
Gopala II 940–957 952–969 952–967 952–972 959–976
Vigrahapala II 960–c. 986 969–995 967–980 972–977 976–977
Mahipala I 988–c. 1036 995–1043 980–1035 977–1027 977–1027
Nayapala 1038–1053 1043–1058 1035–1050 1027–1043 1027–1043
Vigrahapala III 1054–1072 1058–1075 1050–1076 1043–1070 1043–1070
Mahipala II 1072–1075 1075–1080 1076–1078/9 1070–1071 1070–1071
Shurapala 1075–1077 1080–1082 1071–1072 1071–1072
Ramapala 1077–1130 1082–1124 1078/9–1132 1072–1126 1072–1126
Kumarapala 1130–1125 1124–1129 1132–1136 1126–1128 1126–1128
Gopala III 1140–1144 1129–1143 1136–1144 1128–1143 1128–1143
Madanapala 1144–1162 1143–1162 1144–1161/62 1143–1161 1143–1161
Govindapala 1155–1159 NA 1162–1176 or 1158–1162 1161–1165 1161–1165
Palapala NA NA NA 1165–1199 1165–1200

Note:[48]

• Earlier historians believed that Vigrahapala I and Shurapala I were the two names of the same person. Now, it is known that these two were cousins; they either ruled simultaneously (perhaps over different territories) or in rapid succession.
• AM Chowdhury rejects Govindapala and his successor Palapala as the members of the imperial Pala dynasty.
• According to BP Sinha, the Gaya inscription can be read as either the "14th year of Govindapala's reign" or "14th year after Govindapala's reign". Thus, two sets of dates are possible.


Military

The highest military officer in the Pala empire was the Mahasenapati (commander-in-chief). The Palas recruited mercenary soldiers from a number of kingdoms, including Malava, Khasa, Huna, Kulika, Kanrata, Lata, Odra and Manahali. According to the contemporary accounts, the Rashtrakutas had the best infantry, the Gurjara-Pratiharas had the finest cavalry and the Palas had the largest elephant force. The Arab merchant Sulaiman states that the Palas had an army bigger than those of the Balhara (possibly the Rashtrakutas) and the king of Jurz (possibly the Gurjara-Pratiharas). He also states that the Pala army employed 10,000–15,000 men for fuelling and washing clothes. He further claims that during the battles, the Pala king would lead 50,000 war elephants. Sulaiman's accounts seem to be based on exaggerated reports; Ibn Khaldun mentions the number of elephants as 5,000.[53]

Since Bengal did not have a good native breed of horses, the Palas imported their cavalry horses from the foreigners, including the Kambojas. They also had a navy, used for both mercantile and defence purposes.[54]

See also

• Middle kingdoms of India
• Nalanda
• Vikramashila
• Somapura Mahavihara
• Jagaddala Mahavihara
• Odantapuri
• Kurkihar hoard

Sources

The main sources of information about the Pala empire include:[55]

Pala accounts

• Various epigraphs, coins, sculptures and architecture
• Ramacharita, a Sanskrit work by Abhinanda (9th century)
• Ramacharitam, a Sanskrit epic by Sandhyakar Nandi (12th century)
• Subhasita Ratnakosa, a Sanskrit compilation by Vidyakara (towards the end of the Pala rule)


Other accounts

• Silsiltut-Tauarikh by the Arab merchant Suleiman (951 CE), who referred to the Pala kingdom as Ruhmi or Rahma
• Dpal dus khyi 'khor lo'i chos bskor gyi byung khungs nyer mkh (History of Buddhism in India) by Taranatha (1608), contains a few traditional legends and hearsays about the Pala rule
• Ain-i-Akbari by Abu'l-Fazl (16th-century)


References

1. Schwartzberg, Joseph E. (1978). A Historical atlas of South Asia. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. p. 146, map XIV.2 (g). ISBN 0226742210.
2. Michael C. Howard (2012). Transnationalism in Ancient and Medieval Societies: The Role of Cross-Border Trade and Travel. McFarland. p. 72. ISBN 978-0-7864-9033-2.
3. Huntington 1984, p. 56.
4. Sengupta 2011, p. 102.
5. Bajpai, Lopamudra Maitra (2020). India, Sri Lanka and the SAARC Region: History, Popular Culture and Heritage. Abingdon: Taylor & Francis. p. 141. ISBN 978-1-00-020581-7.
6. The Śaiva Age: The Rise and Dominance of Śaivism during the Early Medieval Period. In: Genesis and Development of Tantrism, edited by Shingo Einoo. Tokyo: Institute of Oriental Culture, University of Tokyo, 2009. Institute of Oriental Culture Special Series, 23, pp. 41–350.
7. Sailendra Nath Sen (1999). Ancient Indian History and Civilization. New Age International. pp. 280–. ISBN 978-81-224-1198-0.
8. R. C. Majumdar (1977). Ancient India. Motilal Banarsidass. pp. 268–. ISBN 978-81-208-0436-4.
9. Raj Kumar (2003). Essays on Ancient India. Discovery Publishing House. p. 199. ISBN 978-81-7141-682-0.
10. Sailendra Nath Sen (1999). Ancient Indian History and Civilization. New Age International. pp. 280–. ISBN 978-81-224-1198-0.
11. Sailendra Nath Sen (1999). Ancient Indian History and Civilization. New Age International. pp. 277–287. ISBN 978-81-224-1198-0.
12. Sengupta 2011, pp. 39–49.
13. Bagchi 1993, p. 37.
14. Vasily Vasilyev (December 1875). Translated by E. Lyall. "Taranatea's Account of the Magadha Kings". The Indian Antiquary. IV: 365–66.
15. Ramaranjan Mukherji; Sachindra Kumar Maity (1967). Corpus of Bengal Inscriptions Bearing on History and Civilization of Bengal. Calcutta: Firma K.L. Mukhopadhyay. p. 11.
16. J. C. Ghosh (1939). "Caste and Chronology of the Pala Kings of Bengal". The Indian Historical Quarterly. IX (2): 487–90.
17. The Caste of the Palas, The Indian Culture, Vol IV, 1939, pp. 113–114, B Chatterji
18. M. N. Srinivas (1995). Social Change in Modern India. Orient Blackswan. p. 9. ISBN 978-81-250-0422-6.
19. Metcalf, Thomas R. (1971). Modern India: An Interpretive Anthology. Macmillan. p. 115.
20. André Wink (1990). Al-Hind, the Making of the Indo-Islamic World. Brill. p. 265. ISBN 90-04-09249-8.
21. Ishwari Prasad (1940). History of Mediaeval India. p. 20 fn.
22. Biplab Dasgupta (2005). European Trade and Colonial Conquest. Anthem Press. pp. 341–. ISBN 978-1-84331-029-7.
23. John Andrew Allan; Sir T. Wolseley Haig (1934). The Cambridge Shorter History of India. Macmillan Company. p. 143.
24. Bindeshwari Prasad Sinha (1977). Dynastic History of Magadha. New Delhi: Abhinav Publications. p. 177. ISBN 978-81-7017-059-4. Dharmapāla after defeating Indrāyudha and capturing Kanuaj made it over to Cakrāyudha, who was a vassal king of Kanuaj subordinate to Dharmapāla ... Dharmapāla was thus acknowledged paramount ruler of almost whole of North India as the Bhojas of Berar, Kīra (Kangra district), Gandhāra (West Punjab), Pañcāla (Ramnagar area of U.P.), Kuru (eastern Punjab), Madra (Central Punjab), Avanti (Malwa), Yadus (Mathura or Dwarka or Siṁhapura in the Punjab), Matsya (a part of Rajputana) were his vassals.
25. Bindeshwari Prasad Sinha (1977). Dynastic History of Magadha. New Delhi: Abhinav Publications. p. 179. ISBN 978-81-7017-059-4. Nāgabhaṭa-II defeated Cakrāyudha and occupied Kanauj ... battle between the king of Vaṅga and Nāgabhaṭa in which the latter emerged victorious ... may have been fought at Mudgagiri (Monghyr in Bihar). If so, it shows the utter humiliation of Dharmapāla and strengthens the suspicion that as a revenge he might have surrendered to and welcomed Govinda III when he invaded North India.
26. Bhagalpur Charter of Narayanapala, year 17, verse 6, The Indian Antiquary, XV p. 304.
27. Bindeshwari Prasad Sinha (1977). Dynastic History of Magadha. New Delhi: Abhinav Publications. p. 185. ISBN 978-81-7017-059-4.
28. Sengupta 2011, p. 45.
29. John Keay (2000). India: A History. Grove Press. p. 220. ISBN 978-0-8021-3797-5.
30. John Andrew Allan; Sir T. Wolseley Haig (1934). The Cambridge Shorter History of India. Macmillan Company. p. 10.
31. Bagchi 1993, p. 4.
32. Paul 1939, p. 38.
33. Bagchi 1993, p. 39–40.
34. Paul 1939, p. 122–124.
35. Paul 1939, p. 111–122.
36. Huntington 1984, p. 39.
37. Taranatha (1869). Târanâtha's Geschichte des Buddhismus in Indien [History of Buddhism in India] (in German). Translated by Anton Schiefner. St. Petersburg: Imperial Academy of Sciences. p. 206. hdl:2027/uva.x004196825. Zur Zeit des Königs Gopâla oder Devapâla wurde auch das Otautapuri-Vihâra errichtet.
38. P. N. Chopra; B. N. Puri; M. N. Das; A. C. Pradhan, eds. (2003). A Comprehensive History of Ancient India (3 Vol. Set). Sterling. pp. 200–202. ISBN 978-81-207-2503-4.
39. Bagchi 1993, p. 19.
40. Bagchi 1993, p. 100.
41. Krishna Chaitanya (1987). Arts of India. Abhinav Publications. p. 38. ISBN 978-81-7017-209-3.
42. Chowdhury, AM (2012). "Pala Dynasty". In Islam, Sirajul; Jamal, Ahmed A. (eds.). Banglapedia: National Encyclopedia of Bangladesh (Second ed.). Asiatic Society of Bangladesh.
43. Rustam Jehangir Mehta (1981). Masterpieces of Indian bronzes and metal sculpture. Taraporevala. p. 21. ISBN 9780865900479.
44. Harle, 212-216; Craven, 170, 172-176
45. Harle, 212; Craven, 176
46. Stella Kramrisch (1994). Exploring India's Sacred Art Selected Writings of Stella Kramrisch. Motilal Banarsidass Publishe. p. 208. ISBN 978-81-208-1208-6.
47. Dilip Kumar Ganguly (1994). Ancient India, History and Archaeology. Abhinav. pp. 33–41. ISBN 978-81-7017-304-5.
48. Susan L. Huntington (1984). The "Påala-Sena" Schools of Sculpture. Brill Archive. pp. 32–39. ISBN 90-04-06856-2.
49. R. C. Majumdar (1971). History of Ancient Bengal. G. Bharadwaj. p. 161–162.
50. Abdul Momin Chowdhury (1967). Dynastic history of Bengal, c. 750-1200 CE. Asiatic Society of Pakistan. pp. 272–273.
51. Bindeshwari Prasad Sinha (1977). Dynastic History of Magadha, Cir. 450–1200 A.D. Abhinav Publications. pp. 253–. ISBN 978-81-7017-059-4.
52. Dineshchandra Sircar (1975–76). "Indological Notes - R.C. Majumdar's Chronology of the Pala Kings". Journal of Ancient Indian History. IX: 209–10.
53. Paul 1939, p. 139–143.
54. Paul 1939, p. 143–144.
55. Bagchi 1993, pp. 2–3.

Bibliography

• Bagchi, Jhunu (1993). The History and Culture of the Pālas of Bengal and Bihar, Cir. 750 A.D.–cir. 1200 A.D. Abhinav Publications. ISBN 978-81-7017-301-4.
• Craven, Roy C., Indian Art: A Concise History, 1987, Thames & Hudson (Praeger in USA), ISBN 0500201463
• Harle, J. C., The Art and Architecture of the Indian Subcontinent, 2nd edn. 1994, Yale University Press. (Pelican History of Art), ISBN 0300062176
• Huntington, Susan L. (1984). The "Påala-Sena" Schools of Sculpture. Brill Archive. ISBN 90-04-06856-2.
• Paul, Pramode Lal (1939). The Early History of Bengal. Indian History. 1. Indian Research Institute. Archived from the original on 17 August 2016. Retrieved 28 March 2014.
• Sengupta, Nitish K. (2011). Land of Two Rivers: A History of Bengal from the Mahabharata to Mujib. Penguin Books India. pp. 39–49. ISBN 978-0-14-341678-4.
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#3)

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Victor Bulwer-Lytton, 2nd Earl of Lytton
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 5/10/21



Image
The Right Honourable, The Earl of Lytton, KG GCSI GCIE PC DL
The Earl of Lytton.
Governor of Bengal
In office: 1922–1927
Monarch: George V
Preceded by: Earl of Ronaldshay
Succeeded by: Sir Stanley Jackson
Personal details
Born: 9 August 1876, Simla, British India
Died: 25 October 1947 (aged 71)
Nationality: British
Spouse(s): Pamela Chichele-Plowden ​(m. 1902; his death 1947)​
Relations: David Lytton-Cobbold, 2nd Baron Cobbold (grandson); Henry Crichton, 6th Earl Erne (grandson); Christopher Woodhouse, 6th Baron Terrington (grandson)
Children: 4
Parents: Robert Bulwer-Lytton, 1st Earl of Lytton; Edith Villiers
Residence: Knebworth House
Education: Eton College
Alma mater: Trinity College, Cambridge

Victor Alexander George Robert Bulwer-Lytton, 2nd Earl of Lytton, KG, GCSI, GCIE, PC, DL (9 August 1876 – 25 October 1947), styled Viscount Knebworth from 1880 to 1891, was a British politician and colonial administrator. He served as Governor of Bengal between 1922 and 1927 and was briefly Acting Viceroy of India in 1926. He headed the Lytton Commission for the League of Nations, in 1931–32, producing the Lytton Report which condemned Japanese aggression against China in Manchuria.

Early life

He was born in Simla in British India on 9 August 1876, during the time when his father was Viceroy of India. Lytton was the fourth, but eldest surviving, son of Robert Bulwer-Lytton, 1st Earl of Lytton and Edith Villiers, daughter of Edward Ernest Villiers and granddaughter of George Villiers. His six siblings were Edward Rowland John Bulwer-Lytton (who died young), Lady Elizabeth Edith "Betty" Bulwer-Lytton (wife of Gerald Balfour, 2nd Earl of Balfour, the brother of the future Prime Minister Arthur Balfour), Lady Constance Bulwer-Lytton (a prominent suffragette), Henry Meredith Edward Bulwer-Lytton (who died young), Lady Emily Bulwer-Lytton (who married architect Edwin Lutyens), and Neville Bulwer-Lytton, 3rd Earl of Lytton.

He was educated at Eton and Trinity College, Cambridge,[1] where he was secretary of the University Pitt Club.[2] In 1905 he was President of the Edinburgh Sir Walter Scott Club and gave the Toast to Sir Walter at the club's annual dinner.

Career

Image
Lytton caricatured by Spy for Vanity Fair, 1906

Image
Garter-encircled shield of arms of Victor Bulwer-Lytton, 2nd Earl of Lytton, KG, as displayed on his Order of the Garter stall plate in St. George's Chapel.

Lytton started his official career by filling various posts in the Admiralty between 1916 and 1920, before being appointed Under-Secretary of State for India, a post which he held between 1920 and 1922. He was made a Privy Counsellor in 1919. On 16 February 1922 he was posted as Governor of Bengal,[3][4] remaining there until 3 March 1927.[5][6]

For a short while, when there was a vacancy caused by change in incumbents in 1926, he functioned as Viceroy, his father's old post. After this he filled miscellaneous positions in various capacities when matters concerning India arose. He wrote two books, the first being a life of his grandfather Lord Lytton, while the other book dealt with his experiences in India and was called Pundits and Elephants, published in 1942. He was made a Knight of the Garter in 1933.[7]

He was chairman of London Associated Electricity Undertakings Limited from 1937 to 1947.[8]

Lytton is best known for his chairmanship of the Lytton Commission, which was sent by the League of Nations on a fact-finding mission to determine who was to blame in the 1931 war between Japan and China. The commission's Lytton Report, officially issued on 1 October 1932, blames Japanese aggression. In response Japan withdrew from the League of Nations.[9]

Personal life

On 3 April 1902, Lord Lytton was married to Pamela Chichele-Plowden (1874–1971) at St Margaret's, Westminster. Pamela was a daughter of Sir Trevor Chichele Plowden and Millicent Frances Foster (eldest daughter of Gen. Sir Charles John Foster KCB). Her elder brother was Alfred Chichele Plowden. She had been an early flame of Winston Churchill, but that relationship was amicably broken off when she decided to marry Lytton instead. Together, the couple were the parents of two sons, both of whom predeceased Lytton, and two daughters:[10]

• Antony Bulwer-Lytton, Viscount Knebworth (1903–1933), an MP for Hitchin who died aged 30 in an air crash while serving with the Auxiliary Air Force.[10]
• Lady Margaret Hermione Millicent Bulwer-Lytton (1905–2004), who married Cameron Fromanteel Cobbold, who became a Governor of the Bank of England, Lord Chamberlain and Baron Cobbold in 1960.[10]
• Lady Davidema Katharine Cynthia Mary Millicent Bulwer-Lytton (1909–1995), who married John Crichton, 5th Earl Erne in 1931.[11] After his death, she married Christopher Woodhouse, 5th Baron Terrington in 1945.[12]
• Alexander Edward John Bulwer-Lytton, Viscount Knebworth, MBE (1910–1942), who was killed in the Second Battle of El Alamein during World War II.[10]

Lord Lytton died in October 1947, aged 71. As neither of his sons had left a son, Lytton's titles were inherited upon his death by his younger brother Neville Bulwer-Lytton. Knebworth House passed to his daughter Lady Hermione Cobbold.[10]

References

1. "Bulwer-Lytton, Victor Alexander George Robert, Earl of Lytton (BLWR895VA)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
2. Fletcher, Walter Morley (2011) [1935]. The University Pitt Club: 1835-1935 (First Paperback ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 92. ISBN 978-1-107-60006-5.
3. "No. 32620". The London Gazette. 24 February 1922. p. 1611.
4. "No. 13791". The Edinburgh Gazette. 28 February 1922. p. 383.
5. "No. 33255". The London Gazette. 8 March 1927. p. 1526.
6. "No. 14320". The Edinburgh Gazette. 11 March 1927. p. 292.
7. "No. 33946". The London Gazette. 2 June 1933. p. 3801.
8. "London Associated Electricity". The Times. 5 April 1948. p. 7.
9. Arthur K. Kuhn, "The Lytton Report on the Manchurian Crisis." American Journal of International Law27.1 (1933): 96-100. in JSTOR
10. "Lytton, Earl of (UK, 1880)". cracroftspeerage.co.uk. Heraldic Media Limited. Retrieved 13 March 2020.
11. "Erne, Earl (I, 1789)". cracroftspeerage.co.uk. Heraldic Media Limited. Retrieved 13 March 2020.
12. "Terrington, Baron (UK, 1918)". cracroftspeerage.co.uk. Heraldic Media Limited. Retrieved 13 March 2020.

External links

• Victor Alexander George Robert Bulwer-Lytton at Find a Grave
• Portrait of Pamela Frances Audrey Bulwer-Lytton (née Chichele-Plowden), Countess of Lytton
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#3)

Postby admin » Wed Apr 28, 2021 5:08 am

Part 1 of 4

Sankara-Dig-vijaya: The Traditional Life of Sri Sankaracharya
by Madhava-Vidyaranya
Translated by Swami Tapasyananda
Sri Ramakrishna Math
Madras, India
Printed in India at Sri Ramakrishna Math Printing Press
YEAR???

NOTICE: THIS WORK MAY BE PROTECTED BY COPYRIGHT

YOU ARE REQUIRED TO READ THE COPYRIGHT NOTICE AT THIS LINK BEFORE YOU READ THE FOLLOWING WORK, THAT IS AVAILABLE SOLELY FOR PRIVATE STUDY, SCHOLARSHIP OR RESEARCH PURSUANT TO 17 U.S.C. SECTION 107 AND 108. IN THE EVENT THAT THE LIBRARY DETERMINES THAT UNLAWFUL COPYING OF THIS WORK HAS OCCURRED, THE LIBRARY HAS THE RIGHT TO BLOCK THE I.P. ADDRESS AT WHICH THE UNLAWFUL COPYING APPEARED TO HAVE OCCURRED. THANK YOU FOR RESPECTING THE RIGHTS OF COPYRIGHT OWNERS.




Highlights:

A biography of Sri Sankara on modern lines is an impossible for want of exact data from contemporary writings. We have therefore to depend on the type of Sanskrit works called Sankaravijayas, the traditional lives of the Acharya, to know whatever is now possible to gather about this saintly philosopher…As these Vijayas have a mythological bias, they have their obvious defect in respect of chronology and recording of facts and events…

We are presenting this translation not because we consider it a proper biography in the modern sense, but because there is nothing better to offer on the life and achievements of Sri Sankara. Sri Sankaracharya is undoubtedly the most widely known of India’s saintly philosophers, both within the country and outside, and there is a constant enquiry for an account of his life.

The trouble does not actually lie with these scholars or the accounts they have given of Sankara’s life. It lies in the fact that there is absolute dearth of reliable materials to produce a biography of the modern type on Sankara, and the scholarly writer, if he is to produce a book of some respectable size, has no other alternative but to fill it with discussions of the various versions of the dates and of the incidents of Sankara’s life that have come down to us through that series of literature known as Sankaravijayas, which vary very widely from one another in regard to most of these details….

In a situation like this, a modern writer on Sankara’s life can consider himself to have discharged his duty well if he produces a volume of respectable size filled with condemnation of the old Sankara-vijayas — which, by the way, have given him the few facts he has got to write upon—for their ‘fancifulness, unreliability, absence of chronological sense’ and a host of other obvious shortcomings, and indulge in learned discussions about the date and the evidence in favour of or against the disputed facts, and finally fill up the gap still left with expositions of Sankara’s philosophy. In contrast to these are the traditional biographical writings on Sankara called Sankara-vijayas. All of them without an exception mix the natural with the supernatural; bring into the picture the deliberations held by super-human beings in the heavens; bring gods and dead sages into the affairs of men; report miraculous feats and occurrences; and come into conflict with one another in regard to many biographical details…

The trouble comes only when mythological accounts are taken as meticulously factual and men begin to be dogmatic about the versions presented in them. In the mythological literary technique, facts are often inflated with the emotional overtones and with the artistic expressiveness that their impact has elicited from human consciousness, and we have therefore to seek their message in the total effect they produce and not through a cocksure attitude towards the happenings in space and time…

this is only one of the following ten Sankara-vijayas listed on p. 32 of T.S. Narayana Sastri’s The Age of Sankara…Of these, the first two, the Brihat-Sankara-vijaya and Prachma-Sankara-vijaya are supposed to be the products of the contemporaries of Sankara, their authors being the Acharya’s disciples. Nothing can be said of this claim, as the texts are not available anywhere at present.' Sri T. S. Narayana Sastri, the author of The Age of Sankara, claims to have come across what he calls a ‘mutilated copy’ of the second section, called Sankaracharya-satpatha, of Chitsukha’s work mentioned above. There is, however, no means to assess the authenticity of the claim on behalf of this mutilated copy, as it is not available anywhere…

there are only five of them available in printed form, and even most of them can be got only with considerable difficulty….

We are taking up for translation the last of these, namely, Madhava-Vidyaranya’s work, with the full awareness of its limitations, which may be listed as follows: It is not a biography but a biographical and philosophical poem, as the author himself calls it. There are many obviously mythological elements in it, like reports of conferences held in heavens, appearance of Devas and dead sages among men, traffic between men and gods, thundering miracles, and chronological absurdities which Prof. S. S. Suryanarayana condemns as ‘indiscriminate bringing together of writers of very different centuries among those whom Sankara met and defeated.’ But these unhistorical features it shares with all other available Sankara-vijayas, including that of Anantanandagiri….Ever since it was first printed in Ganapat Krishnaji Press in Bombay in the year 1863, it has continued to be a popular work on Sankara and it is still the only work on the basis of which ordinary people have managed to get some idea of the great Acharya, in spite of the severe uncharitable criticism1 [The motives behind the criticism of Madhviya-sankara-vijaya and the scurrilous nature of the criticism will be evident from the following extract from page 158 of The Age of Sankara by T. S. Narayana Sastri (1916): “We know from very reliable sources that this Madhaviya-Sankara-vijaya was compiled by a well-known Sanskrit scholar who passed away from this world just about eight years ago, under the pseudonym of ‘Madhava’— a 'synonym' for ‘Narayana’—specially to extol the greatness of the Sringeri Math, whose authority had been seriously questioned by the Kumbhakonam Math, the Acharyas of the latter Math claiming exclusive privilege of being entitled to the title of the 'Jagadgurus' for the whole of India as being the direct successors of Sri Sankara Bhagavatpada's own Math established by him at Kanchi, the greatness of which had been unnecessarily extolled by Rajachudamani Dikshita, Vallisahaya Kavi and Venkatarama Sarman in their respective works, Sankarabhyudaya, Achraya-dig-vijaya and Sankara-bhagavatpadacharitra. About fifty years ago, in the very city of Madras, as many may still remember, a fierce controversy raged between the adherents of the Kumbhakonam Math on the one hand, and those of the Sringeri Math headed by Bangalore Siddhanti Subrahmanya Sastri and two brothers —Kumbhakonam Srinivasa Sastri and Kumbhakonam Narayana Sastri—sons of Ramaswami Sastri, a protege of the Sringeri Math, on the other. We have very strong reasons to believe that this Sankara-dig-vijaya ascribed to Madhava, the Sankara-vijaya-vilasa ascribed to Chidvilasa, and the Sankara-vijaya-sara ascribed to Sadananda, had all been brought into existence by one or other of these three scholars, about this period, in answer to the Sankara-vijayas ascribed to Rajachudamani Dikshita and Vallisahaya Kavi.” Not satisfied with the above indictment, Sri T. S. Narayana Sastri gives the following bazaar gossip as proof of his contention on page 247 of his book, “The reader is also referred to an article in Telugu with the caption Sankara-vijaya-karthavevaru by Veturi Prabhakara Sastri of Oriental Manuscripts Library, Madras, published in the Literary Supplement of the Andhra Patrika of Durmathi Margasira (1921-22) where an interesting note about the author of the above mentioned ‘Sankara Vijaya’ (Sanakara-dig-vijaya of Madhava) is given. Here is an English rendering of a portion of that article: ‘I happened to meet at Bapatla, Brahmasri Vemuri Narasimha Sastri, during my recent tour in the Guntur District, in quest of manuscripts. I mentioned casually to him my doubts regarding the authorship of Madhaviya-sankara-vijaya. He revealed to me some startling facts. When he was at Madras some fifteen years ago, he had the acquaintance of the late Bhattasri Narayana Sastri who wrote the Sankara Vijaya published in the name of Madhava i.e., Vidyaranya, and that four others helped him in this production. The importance of the Sringeri Mutt is very much in evidence in this Sankara Vijaya (not correct). Taking a copy of the Vyasachala Grantha, available at Sringeri Mutt, Bhattasri Narayana Sastri made alterations here and there and produced the Sankara-vijaya in question. That he was an expert in such concoctions, is widely known among learned men.”…

The criticism of it is uncharitable because it is mainly born of prejudice, and it has extended beyond finding fault with the text, to the question of its authorship itself. The critics somehow want to disprove that this work is, as traditionally accepted, a writing of the great Madhava-Vidyaranya, the author of the Panchadasi, and a great name in the field of Indian philosophical and theological literature….Besides the support of tradition, the colophon at the end of every chapter of the book mentions its author’s name as Madhava, that being the pre-monastic name of Vidyaranya….

The identity of Madhava, the author of Sankara-dig-vijaya, with this Madhava-Vidyaranya is further established by the first verse of the text, wherein he pays obeisance to his teacher Vidyatirtha…The identity is further established by the poet Madhava’s reference to his life in the royal court in the following touching introductory verses of his work: “By indulging in insincere praise of the goodness and magnanimity of kings, which are really non-existent like the son of a barren woman or the horns of a hare, my poesy has become extremely impure. Now I shall render it pure and fragrant by applying to it the cool and fragrant sandal paste fallen from the body of the danseuse [a female ballet dancer] of the Acharya’s holy fame and greatness, as she performs her dance on the great stage of the world.”

Besides, the text is a masterpiece of literature and philosophy, which none but a great mind could have produced. But there are detractors of this great text who try to minimise its obvious literary worth by imputing plagiarism and literary piracy to its author. They claim that they have been able to show several verses that have entered into it from certain other Sankara-vijayas like Prachina-Sankara-vijaya and Vyasachala’s Sankara-vijaya. Though Prachina-Sankara-vijaya is nowhere available, T. S. Narayana Sastri claims to have in his possession some mutilated sections of it; but such unverifiable and exclusive claims on behalf of mutilated texts cannot be entertained by a critical and impartial student of these texts, since considerations other than the scholarly have entered into these criticisms, and manuscripts, too, have been heavily tampered with by Sanskrit Pandits. It can as well be that the other Vijayas have taken these from the work of Madhava. Next, even if such verses are there, and they are demonstrably present in regard to Vyasachala’s work, the author can never be accused of plagiarism, because he acknowledges at the outset itself, that his work is a collection of all the traditions about Sankaracharya and that in it all the important things contained in an extensive literature can be seen in a nutshell as an elephant’s face in a mirror…

Besides, it is forgotten by these critics that it is a literary technique of Vidyaranya, as seen from his other works also, to quote extensively from recognised authorities without specially mentioning their names, and that this feature of the present work goes only to establish the identity of its authorship with Vidyaranya….

There is also the view that the author need not necessarily be Madhava-Vidyaranya but Madhavacharya, the son of the former’s brother Sayana and the author of Sarvadarsana-Samgraha, a masterly philosophical text. To make this hypothesis even plausible, it has to be established that this Madhava was the disciple of Vidyatirtha, which the author of Sankara-dig-vijaya claims to be in the very first verse of the text…

Most of Vidyaranya’s other works are on high philosophical and theological themes, and if he has used methods and styles in such works differing from that of a historical poem like Sankara-dig-vijaya, it is only what one should expect of a great thinker and writer. That the author of this work has poetic effect very much in view can be inferred from his description of himself as Nava-Kalidasa (a modern Kalidasa) and his work as Navakalidasa-santana (offspring of the modern Kalidasa)…

Chronology and historicity did not receive much attention from even the greatest of Indian writers in those days.

Regarding the biographical details contained in different Sankara-vijayas, there are wide variations, as already pointed out. There is no way now of settling these differences…

Every date in ancient Indian history, except that of the invasion of Alexander (326 B.C.), is controversial, and Sankara’s date is no exception. Max Muller and other orientalists have somehow fixed it as 788 to 820 A.D., and Das Gupta and Radhakrishnan, the well-known writers on the history of Indian Philosophy, have accepted and repeated it in their books. To do so is not in itself wrong, but to do it in such a way as to make the layman believe it to be conclusive is, to say the least, an injustice to him. It is held by the critics of this date that the Sankara of 788-820 A.D. is not the Adi-Sankara (the original Sankara), but Abhinava Sankara (modern Sankara), another famous Sannyasin of later times (788-839), who was born at Chidambaram and was the head of the Sankara Math at Kanchipuram between 801 and 839. He was reputed for his holiness and learning and is said to have gone on tours of controversy (Dig-vijaya) like the original Sankara.

It is found that not only modern scholars, but even the authors of several Sankara-vijayas have superimposed these two personalities mutually and mixed up several details of their lives. The author of the concept of adhyasa himself seems to have become a victim of it! The cause of much of this confusion has been the custom of all the incumbents of the headship of Sankara Maths being called Sankaracharyas. To distinguish the real Sankara, he is therefore referred to as ‘Adi-Sankara' an expression that is quite meaningless. For, Sankaracharya was the name of an individual and not a title, and if the heads of the Maths of that illustrious personage were known only by their individual names like the heads of religious institutions founded by other teachers, probably much of this confusion could have been avoided….

Ullur S. Parameswara Iyer has pointed out in his great work that the sole support for the modern scholars’ view on Sankara’s date as 788 A.D. is the following incomplete verses of unknown authorship: "Nidhi nagebha vahnyabde vibhave sankarodayah; Kalyabde candranetranka vahnyabde pravisad guham; Vaisakhe purnimayam tu sankarah sivatamagat." Here the words of the first verse are the code words for the year 3889 of the Kali era, which is equivalent to 788 A.D. (It is derived as follows: nidhi: 9; naga: 8; ibha: 8; vahni: 3. Since the numbers are to be taken in the reverse order, it gives 3889 of the Kali era as the date of Sankara’s birth, its conversion into Christian era being 788 A.D. Kali era began 3102 years before the Christian era….

Traditional Indian dates are suspect because of the multiplicity of eras, of which about forty-seven have been enumerated by T. S. Narayana Sastri in his book, The Age of Sankara. So unless the era is specifically mentioned, it is difficult to fix a date in any understandable way. Two of these eras are famous—the Kali era, which started in 3102 B.C., and Yudhishthira Saka era which started 37 years after, i.e., in 3065 B.C. The calculation according to the latter era is, however, complicated further by the fact that, according to the Jains and the Buddhists, the latter era started 468 years after the Kali era, that is, in 2634 B.C.

Sri T. S. Narayana Sastri, in his book, The Age of Sankara, argues the case for the traditional date, on the basis of the list of succession kept in Kamakoti Math and Sringeri Math, and what he has been able to gather from ‘mutilated copies’ of Brihat-Sankara-vijaya, Prachtna-Sankara-vijaya and Vyasachallya-Sankara-vijaya. Until authentic copies of these works are available, the information they are supposed to give is not acceptable…

44 B.C., the supposed date of the birth of Sankara according to Sringeri Math, might have been the result of the confusion of eras and calculations based on them. 2625 of the Kali era, the date of his death, must have been taken as referring to Buddhist-Jain era and then converted into Kali era by adding 468 to it, thus arriving at 3093 of Kali era (9 or 10 B.C.) as the date of Sankara’s death….

as stated in T. S. Narayana Sastri’s work, in the Kamakoti list Sankara occupied that Gaddi for three years (from 480 B.C. to 477 B.C.) and was followed by Sureswara for 70 years (477 B.C. to 407 B.C.), the Sringeri list maintains that Sankara occupied that Gaddi for six years (from 18 B.C. to 12 B.C.), and was followed by Sureswara for 785 years (from 12 B.C. to 773 A.D.)… The record of the Sringeri Math says that Sankara was born in the 14th year of the reign of Vikramaditya. Compilers wrongly referred this to the era of Vikramaditya of Ujjain, which was originally called Malava Samvat and later in the eighth century A.D. called the Vikrama Samvat. This took Sankara to the first century B.C. and necessitated the assignment of around 800 years to Sureswaracharya to agree with the later dates. Mr L. Rice points out that the reference is not to the Vikramaditya of Ujjain but to the Chalukya king Vikramaditya who ruled in Badami near Sringeri. Historians opine that Chalukya Vikramaditya ascended the throne during the period 655 to 670 A.D….

Such unbelievable inconsistencies have made modern historians totally reject the evidence provided by the chronological lists of the Maths. So Sri Ullur Parameswara Iyer, himself a pious Brahmana, maintains in his History of Kerala Sahitya (Vol. 1 p. 111) that it is easy to prove that most of these Math lists have been formulated so late as the 16th century A.D.

But a still greater difficulty posed for such an early date as 509 to 476 B.C. for Sankara is the proximity of this to the generally accepted date of the Buddha (567-487 B.C.). Sankara has criticised Buddhism in its developed form with its four branches of philosophy. A few centuries at least should certainly be allowed to elapse for accommodating this undeniable fact. Sri T. S. Narayana Sastri is, however, remarkably ingenious, and his reply to this objection is that the Buddha’s date was certainly much earlier. Vaguely quoting Prof. Wheeler, Weber and Chinese records, he contends that the Buddha must have flourished at any time between the 20th and the 14th century B.C. He challenges the fixing of the date of Buddha on the basis of the dates of Kanishka or of Megasthenes.3a [Kanishka’s date is variously stated as 1st century B.C., 1st century A.D., 2nd century A.D. and 3rd century A.D. The relevancy of his date to the Buddha’s date is that Hsuan Tsang, the Chinese traveller, states that the Buddha lived four hundred years before Kanishka. Some historians try to fix the date of the Buddha on the basis of this information as 5th century B.C. This view is not currently accepted, and the Buddha’s date is settled on other grounds as 567-487 B.C. It is fixed so on the basis of Asoka’s coronation in 269 B.C., four years after his accession. According to the Ceylon Chronicles, 218 years separate this event of Asoka’s coronation from the date of the Buddha’s demise. Thus we get 487 as the date of the Buddha’s demise, and as he is supposed to have lived 80 years, the date of his birth is 567. According to R. Sathianatha Ayyar, the date of 487 B.C. is supported by “the dotted record” of Canton (China); The traditional date according to the Buddhist canonical literature, however, is 623-543 B.C. Megasthenes comes into the picture, because he was the Greek Ambassador of Selukos Nickator at the court of Chandra Gupta Maurya (325 B.C.), who is described by him as Shandracotus. Now Sri T. S. Narayana Sastri, with a view to push back the Buddha’s date, challenges this identification, and opines that this reference could as well be to Chandra Gupta or even to Samudra Gupta of the Gupta dynasty (300-600 A.D.), in which case the Mauryan age (325 to 188 B.C.) will have to be pushed further back into the 7th to 5th century B.C. and the Buddha (567-487 B.C.) too, into the 9th century B.C. at least. But Sri Sastri forgets that these contentions cannot stand, as the date of Megasthenes and of Chandra Gupta Maurya have necessarily to be related to the firm and unquestionable date of Alexander’s invasion of India (326 B.C.) Megasthenes was the ambassador at the Pataliputra court sent by Selukos Nickator (305 B.C.), the Satrap who succeeded to the Indian region of Alexander’s empire, which he had to give up to Chandra Gupta by a treaty. T. S. Narayana Sastri’s attempt to shift the Gupta period of India history, to the time of Alexander’s invasion (326 B.C.) by equating Shandracotus with Samudra Gupta of the Gupta period, is a mere chronological guess-work without any supporting evidence, as against several historical synchronisms which compel the acceptance of the currently recognised chronology. For example, the Chinese Buddhist pilgrim Fahien was in India in the Gupta age, from 399-414 A.D., and his description of India can tally only with that period and not with the Mauryan period. Besides, the Hun invasion of India was in the reign of Skanda Gupta, about 458 A.D., and this event cannot be put on any ground into the B.C.’s when Mauryans flourished, even with an out-stretched poetical imagination. So we have got to maintain that the Shandracotus who visited Alexander’s camp (326 B.C.) and who later received about 326 B.C. Megasthenes as the ambassador of Selukos Nickator, the successor to Alexander’s Indian province, can be none other than Chandra Gupta of the Mauryan dynasty (325 B.C. to 188 B.C.) Further, historical synchronisms, the sheet-anchor of the chronology of Indian history give strong support to the accepted date of Asoka (273-232 B.C.), the greatest of the Mauryan Emperors. His Rock Edict XIII mentions, as stated by Sathianatha Ayyar, the following contemporary personalities: Antiochus Teos of Syria (261-246 B.C.); Ptolemy Philadelphos of Egypt (285-247 B.C.); Antigonos Gonates of Macedonia (278-239 B.C.); Magas of Cyrene (285-258 B.C.), and Alexander of Epirus (272-258 B.C.). They are referred to as alive at the time of that Rock Edict. In the face of such historical synchronisms all attempts to push back the time of the Buddha by several centuries in order to substantiate the theory of 509 B.C. being Sankara’s date, is only chronological jugglery. So the Buddha’s date has to remain more or less as it is fixed today (568-487 B.C.). Sankara came definitely long after the Buddha.] The reference to Megasthenes, the Greek ambassador, who refers to the ruler to whom he was accredited as Shandracotus, need not necessarily be to Chandragupta Maurya but to the king of the Gupta dynasty (300-600 A.D.) with the same name, or even to Samudra Gupta. If this line of argument is accepted, the present dates of Indian history will have to be worked back to about three to four hundred years, which will land us in very great difficulties, as shown in the foot note….

there is another opinion that assigns Sankara to the 1st century B.C. This view is held by Sri N. Ramesam in his book Sri Sankaracharya (1971). His argument is as follows: Sankara is accepted in all Sankara-vijayas as a contemporary of Kumarila. Kumarila must have lived after Kalidasa, the poet, because Kumarila quotes Kalidasa’s famous line; Satam hi sandeha padesu vastusu pramanam antahkaranasya vrittayah. Now Kalidasa’s date has not been firmly fixed (first half of the 5th century A.D. according to some), but it is contended that it cannot be earlier than 150 B.C., as Agni Mitra, one of the heroes in a famous drama of Kalidasa, is ascribed to that date. So also, it cannot be later than the Mandasor Inscription of 450 A.D. So on the basis that Sankara and Kumarila were contemporaries and that Kumarila came after Kalidasa, we have to search for Sankara’s date between 150 B.C. and 450 A.D. Now to narrow down the gap still further, the list of spiritual preceptors that preceded Sankara is taken into consideration. Patanjali, Gaudapada, Govindapada and Sankara— form the accepted line of discipleship. Patanjali, Sri Ramesam contends, lived in the 2nd century B.C., a conclusion which, if accepted finally (?), gives much credence to his theory. Now, not less than a hundred years can be easily taken as the distance in time between Sankara and Patanjali in this line of succession, and thus we derive the time of Sankara as the 1st century B.C., which has the merit of being in agreement with the Kumarila-Sankara contemporaneity and the Kumarila-Kalidasa relationship. The 1st century hypothesis has also got the advantage of tallying with the Sringeri Math’s teacher-disciple list, according to which, as already stated, 12 B.C. is the date of Sankara’s demise. Sri Ramesam finds further confirmation for his theory in the existence of a temple on a Sankaracharya Hill in Kashmir attributed to Jaluka, a son of Asoka who became the ruler of Kashmir after Asoka’s demise, according to Rajaiarangini. Asoka passed away In 180 B.C. and it is very credible that Jaluka could have been in Kashmir when Sankara visited that region, provided Sankara’s life is fixed in the 1st century B.C. Further, Cunningham and General Cole are stated to assign the temple architecturally to the times of Jaluka…

Sri Ramesam also refutes the modern scholars’ view of Sankara’s date being 788-820 A.D. on the ground that this has arisen due to confusion between Adi-Sankara and Abhinava-Sankara (788-840 A.D.)… its credibility depends largely on the theory of 200 B.C. being the time of Patanjali and the acceptance of the Kumarila-Kalidasa relationship. If these are questioned, the whole theory falls. This is the case with most dates in Indian history, where the rule is to fix the date of one person or event on the basis of the date of another person or event, which itself is open to question….

Dr. A. G. Krishna Warrier, Professor of Sanskrit (Rtd) in the Kerala University, in his learned Introduction to his translation of Sankara’s Brahma-sutra-bhashya into Malayalam… states that the Buddhist author Kamalasila has pointed out that Sankara has quoted in his Brahma-sutra-bhashya (B. S. II. 2-28) the following passage from the Alambanapariksha by Dingnaga, the celebrated Buddhist savant: 'Yadantarjneyarupam tat bahiryadavabhasate’. Dingnaga’s date, which Dr. Warrier links with those of Vasubandhu (450 A.D.) and Bhartrhari, is fixed by him as about 450 A.D. But that is not all. The following verse of Dingnaga’s commentator Dharmakirti is quoted by Sankara in his work Upadesa-sahasri: Abhinnopi hi buddhydtma viparyasitadarsanaih grahyagrahaka-samvitti bhedavaniva laksyate (ch. 18, v. 142). This reference is from Dharmakirti’s Pramana-virtischhaya. Dr. Warrier points out that Dharmakirti is described as a ‘great Buddhist logician’ by the Chinese pilgrim-traveller, It-sing, who was in India in 690 A.D. The implication is that Dharmakirti must have lived in the first half of the 7th century or earlier, and that Sankara came after him. It means that Sankara’s date cannot be pushed back beyond the 5th century A.D., or even beyond the 7th century A.D., if the Upadesasahasri is accepted as a genuine work of Sankara. As in the case of most dates in Indian history, the credibility of the view, too, depends on the acceptance of the dates of Dingnaga and Dharmakirti as 5th century and 7th century respectively, and that Upadesasahasri is really a work of Sankara, as traditionally accepted. Fixing dates on the basis of other dates, which are themselves open to question, can yield only possibilities and not certainties.

Probable dates suggested by other scholars are also the 6th century and the 7th century A.D. Sankara refers in his writings to a king named Pumavarman who, according to Hsuan Tsang, ruled in 590 A.D. It is, therefore, contended that Sankara must have lived about that time or after. Next Telang points out how Sankara speaks of Pataliputra in his Sutra-bhashya (IV. ii. 5) and that this will warrant Sankara having lived about a century before 750 A.D., by which time Pataliputra had been eroded by the river and was non-existent. Such references to names of persons, cities, rivers, etc. in philosophical writings can also be explained as stock examples, as we use Aristotle or Achilles in logic, and need not necessarily have any historical significance. Dr. T. R. Chintamani maintains that Kumarila lived towards the latter half of the 7th century A.D. (itself a Controversial point) and Sankara, being a contemporary of his, must have lived about that time (655-684 A.D.). It is also pointed out by him that Vidyananda, the teacher of Jainasena, who was also the author of Jaina-harivamsa (783 A.D.), quotes a verse4 ["Atmapi sadidam brahma mohat parosyadu sitam; Brahmapi sa tathaivatma sadvitiyatayesate."] from the Brihadaranyaka-vartika of Sureswara, disciple of Sankara. This is impossible to conceive without granting that Sankara and Sureswara lived, about a hundred years earlier to Jainasena who lived about the second half of the 8th century A.D.

Thus vastly varied are the views about Sankara’s date, ranging from 509 B.C. to 788 A.D., i.e., more than a millennium and a half…

Under the circumstances, all these complicated discussions of Sankara’s date culminate only in a learned ignorance. We have to admit that we have no certain knowledge, and it is, therefore, wise not to be dogmatic but keep an open mind….

It is pointed out in the monograph of P. Rama Sastry on The Maths Founded by Sankara that this four-Math theory has been propounded first in Chidvilasa’s Sankara-vijaya which, along with some other Sankara-vijayas, is, according to T. S. Narayana Sastri, a recent production and of little authority. It finds no support in the other Vijayas of its kind and perhaps not even in the more ancient Sankara-vijayas. Of course this view cannot be verified now, as the most ancient of these Sankara-vijayas are not available now….

Nothing more precise than this can be said about the question as to which are the Maths originally founded by Sankaracharya, or even whether he founded any Math at all. Different sectaries having varying traditions can stick to them with justification, provided they do not become too cocksure and dogmatic and deny a similar right to others who differ from them…

it is interesting to read the following statement issued by Sri T. N. Ramachandran, Rtd. Joint Director-General of Archaeology of India…“At Kedamath, on the way to Badrinath, there is a monument associated with the great Adi-Sankaracharya which His Holiness Sri Sankaracharya of Dwaraka Pith visited some time ago and expressed a desire to renovate (the memorial). His Holiness issued instructions to scholars of all parts of our country to ascertain the place of the Samadhi of the great Adi- Sankaracharya. On this Sri Sampurnanand, the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, and myself bestowed some thought.

“After having arrived at some conclusion on the point by mutual correspondence, we are of the opinion, that Kedamath cannot be said to be the Samadhisthan (the final resting place) of the great Acharya….

‘‘The Memorial at Kedamath should at any rate be kept intact, and it is the duty of all who profess any interest in the hoary Religion and Philosophy of our land to join hands in the sacred endeavour of renovating the Adi-Sankara Memorial at Kedarnath, as chalked out by Sri Sampurnanand, the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, in his letter addressed to me…‘Dear Sri Ramachandra, Recently I had occasion to discuss the matter with the Sankaracharya of Dwaraka Pith also. In the first place the word ‘Samadhi’ is a misnomer in this connection. There is nothing to prove that Sri Sankaracharya died at this spot. All that tradition says is that he came to Kedarnath and, in modern phraseology, disappeared thereafter. So, what is "called Samadhi' is really not a Samadhi but a Memorial. I myself do not treat it as Samadhi and such proposals as I am considering are based on this information. What I propose is that instead of the wretched structure that passes as a Samadhi, a new Memorial should be built in memory of the great Acharya. It should not occupy the place of the present construction which is in danger of being overwhelmed by an avalanche any day. It should be built at a safer place somewhere near the temple. I am getting a design prepared by our State Architect. The Sankaracharya of Dwaraka Pith has given me his support in the matter’....”

This theory of Sankara having attained Siddhi (final end) at Kanchi is supported, according to T. S. Narayana Sastri in his book, The Age of Sankara, by the following texts: Brihat Sankara- vijaya, Vyasachala’s Sankara-vijaya and Anantanandagiri’s Sankara-vijaya, besides the Punyasloka Manjari, Jagat-guru-ratnamala and Jagat-guru-katha samgraha. On this it has to be remarked that from among the above-mentioned Sankara-vijayas one has only Anantanandagiri’s and Vyasachala’s works available for reference and corroboration. Sri T. S. Narayana Sastri, however, claims to possess some extracts of mutilated sections of the first of the texts mentioned, which is considered by some as the most ancient and authoritative text. But no one can be sure of, much less accept, the claims of these mutilated manuscripts….

The attainment of Siddhi at Kanchi is further corroborated by Sivarahasya, a voluminous text of the Siva cult dealing with all the devotees of Siva, which is also quoted in the Madras University edition of Anantanandagiri. It has, however, to be remarked that, as pointed out by T. S. Narayana Sastri (pp. 287 of his work The Age of Sankara), there are conflicting readings on this point in different manuscripts of the text of Sivarahasya. In one it is: misran tato lokam avapa saivam. In another it is: misran sa kancyam. In still another it is: Kancyam Sive! tava pure sa ca siddhim apa. Evidently texts have been manipulated by interested Pandits, creating a very confusing and suspicious situation….

In the edition of it, recently published by the University of Madras under the editorship of Dr. Veezhinathan, the birth of Sankara is thus described…

But the first ever published edition of this work gives an entirely different version….

Now, in Dr. Veezhinathan’s edition, the above text is given as a footnote….he refers to ten manuscripts (A.Mss.) as supporting his version. Probably many of these manuscripts of both groups may be copies only, and from the numbers, their authenticity cannot be ascertained. Besides, several of them are not complete also…The Editors of the 1868 edition, Navadweep Goswami and Jayanarayana Tarkapanchanana, have stated in their Preface that ‘their edition had been prepared in the light of three texts they could get—one in Nagari letters which was procured with great difficulty; another in Telugu characters procured with equal difficulty; and still another in Bengali alphabets made on the basis of the above texts’. There is no reason why this text should not be given at least an equal place of importance as the one edited by Dr. Veezhinathan. According to the text of the Calcutta edition, Anantanandagiri is giving the history, not of ‘Adi-Sankara who was born at Kaladi’, but of a Sankaracharya ‘who was born immaculately to Visishta of Chidambaram’, who continued to live at Chidambaram itself, took Sannyasa there, and who went on Dig-vijaya tours that are entirely different from the routes that Adi-Sankara is supposed to have taken in several of the other Vijayas. This Sankara is very largely concerned with reforming the various cults that prevailed, in the country and very little with philosophy. The controversy with Mandana, which is one of the most glorious episodes in Adi-Sankara’s life, finds a casual mention in the form of a synopsis. In this, as also in entering into Amaruka’s body and in the writing of the Bhashyas, the two Sankaracharyas are mixed up….There is every possibility that this Chidambaram Sankaracharya is the Abhinava-Sankara whom even modern scholars have mistakenly identified with Adi-Sankara and given 788 A.D. as his time. Besides, Anantanandagiri, the author, calls the hero of his work his Parama-guru (his teacher's teacher). This makes the matter all the more confusing. For, no one has recorded that Adi-Sankara or his disciples had a disciple called Anantanandagiri. Anandagiri (quite different from Anantanandagiri) was Sankara’s disciple, and the Prachina-Sankara-vijaya attributed to him (a book quite different from Anantanandagiri’s) is not available anywhere now….no final view is possible with the existing information. The best that can be said is that it is one of the traditions….

We have shown above the confusion prevailing about the place of Sankara’s demise. The same extends to most events of his life, especially about the places where they happened and about the routes he took in his travels….

the custom of all the Heads of Sankara Maths being called as Sankara-charyas, as if it were a title, and not an individual’s name, was the main cause of much of this confusion of biographical and literary details connected with Sankara. This confusion has got worse confounded by the interference with manuscript copies in the past by the adherents of particular Sankara Maths in order to enhance the prestige and supremacy of the particular institution that patronised them. As a result, we have today only a lot of traditions about Sankaracharya, and he is a foolhardy man, indeed, who dares to swear by any of these traditions as truly historical and the others as fabricated…

Rightly does Dr. Radhakrishna offer the tribute of the Indian mind to the personality of the great Acharya in the following most beautiful and effective words in his book on Indian Philosophy: “The life of Sankara makes a strong impression of contraries. He is a philosopher and a poet, a savant and a saint, a mystic and a religious reformer. Such diverse gifts did he possess that different images present themselves, if we try to recall his personality. One sees him in youth, on fire with intellectual ambition, a stiff and intrepid debator; another regards him as a shrewd political genius (rather a patriot) attempting to impress on the people a sense of unity; for a third, he is a calm philosopher engaged in the single effort to expose the contradictions of life and thought with an unmatched incisiveness; for a fourth, he is the mystic who declares that we are all greater than we know. There have been few minds more universal than his.”

-- Sankara-Dig-vijaya: The Traditional Life of Sri Sankaracharya, by Madhava-Vidyaranya, Translated by Swami Tapasyananda


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CONTENTS

• Introduction
• Canto No.
• 1. Prologue
• 2. Birth of Sankara
• 3. The Earthly Manifestation of Devas
• 4. Boyhood Days up to the Age of eight
• 5. Embracing Sannyasa
• 6. Establishment of The Pristine Philosophy of The Self
• 7. The Meeting With Vyasa
• 8. Controversy With Mandana
• 9. Establishing the Claim to Be The Master of All Learning
• 10. Acquirement of Knowledge of Sex-Love.
• 11. Encounter With The Fierce Bhairava
• 12. The Coming of Some Disciples
• 13. Preaching of Brahma Vidya
• 14. Pilgrimage of Padmapada
• 15. Triumphant Tour of The Land
• 16. Accession To Saradapitha

The Book

A biography of Sri Sankara on modern lines is an impossible for want of exact data from contemporary writings. We have therefore to depend on the type of Sanskrit works called Sankaravijayas, the traditional lives of the Acharya, to know whatever is now possible to gather about this saintly philosopher who has left so vivid an impression on the Indian mind. As these Vijayas have a mythological bias, they have their obvious defect in respect of chronology and recording of facts and events, but they got their excellences too.

Among the Vijayas available in print, Madhava-Vidyaranya’s Sankara-digvi-jaya excels all others as a philosophical and biographical poem of remarkable literary beauty and depth of thought. The present book is a free and complete English prose translation of this work, aiming chiefly at a very lucid account of the Acharya’s life and his achievements, without however omitting the highly poetical panegyric and description of Nature with which it abounds.   

To the Holy Being Ramakrishna, the Spiritual Swan
sporting in the lake of pious hearts,
Who embodied himself as the world-famous
scriptural commentator Sankara,
By whose efforts the sophistries of
atheistic thinkers were uprooted
And the way of Vedic wisdom cleared
and well-established --
To that Universal Being as Sankara,
my Salutation!

-- Swami Abhedananda


INTRODUCTION

Problems Connected with a Biography of Sri Sankara


An Introduction to an English translation of Madhava-Vidyaranya’s Sankara-dig-vijaya, known also as Samkshepa-sankara-vijaya, requires in the first place an explanation as to why it is undertaken. We are presenting this translation not because we consider it a proper biography in the modern sense, but because there is nothing better to offer on the life and achievements of Sri Sankara. Sri Sankaracharya is undoubtedly the most widely known of India’s saintly philosophers, both within the country and outside, and there is a constant enquiry for an account of his life. It is not that there are no lives, or rather life-sketches of his, in English, written by modern scholars, but they are extremely unsatisfactory in giving any adequate idea of the great Acharya or of his wonderful personality— of how he was able to make that great impact on the conscience of India, which has remained unfaded to this day. Like a rivulet starting with great promise but soon getting lost in a swampy morass, these modern writings end in learned date discussions and textual criticisms, which give the reader a sense of learned ignorance, but certainly no idea of what Sankaracharya was like.

The trouble does not actually lie with these scholars or the accounts they have given of Sankara’s life. It lies in the fact that there is absolute dearth of reliable materials to produce a biography of the modern type on Sankara, and the scholarly writer, if he is to produce a book of some respectable size, has no other alternative but to fill it with discussions of the various versions of the dates and of the incidents of Sankara’s life that have come down to us through that series of literature known as Sankaravijayas, which vary very widely from one another in regard to most of these details.
The generally undisputed features of Sankara’s life seem to be the following: That he was born in Kaladi, Kerala, in a family of Nambudiri Brahmanas; that he left hearth and home as a boy to take to the life of a Sannyasin; that he was initiated into Sannyasa by Govindapada, the disciple of Gaudapada; that he wrote learned commentaries on the Vedantasutras and the ten principal Upanishads and the Gita; that he led a busy life travelling all over India refuting non-Vedic doctrines and establishing non-dualism as the true teaching of the Vedas; that he left four principal disciples to continue his mission; that he rid the various Indian cults of the influence of debased sectaries and infused into them the purity and idealism of Vedic thought; that he established centres of Advaitic learning in many places; and that he passed away at the early age of thirty-two at a place, the identity of which is yet to be established. When he was born; where he met his teacher; where he wrote his commentaries; what were the routes he took in his all-India journeys for preaching and teaching; who were all his opponents and where he met them; how and when he came across his disciples; what temples he visited or renovated; what Maths he founded or whether he founded any Math at all; where he passed away—all these are matters on which conflicting or widely differing views are expressed in the different traditional books concerned with him known as Sankara-vijayas.

In a situation like this, a modern writer on Sankara’s life can consider himself to have discharged his duty well if he produces a volume of respectable size filled with condemnation of the old Sankara-vijayas — which, by the way, have given him the few facts he has got to write upon—for their ‘fancifulness, unreliability, absence of chronological sense’ and a host of other obvious shortcomings, and indulge in learned discussions about the date and the evidence in favour of or against the disputed facts, and finally fill up the gap still left with expositions of Sankara’s philosophy. In contrast to these are the traditional biographical writings on Sankara called Sankara-vijayas. All of them without an exception mix the natural with the supernatural; bring into the picture the deliberations held by super-human beings in the heavens; bring gods and dead sages into the affairs of men; report miraculous feats and occurrences; and come into conflict with one another in regard to many biographical details. Yet their very so-called fancifulness, the poetic approach of at least some of them, their mythological setting and descriptive details, have given some of them a fullness and impressiveness which are far more educative than the few bald details and the futile discussions on their obvious deficiencies that one comes across in the modern biographical writings on Sankara.

The contrast may be better illustrated by an analogy. Suppose a few bones of a rare species of animal that lived in bygone times are obtained. A very learned discussion about the evolutionary background and the probable biological features of the fossilised bones can be instituted by biologists and anthropologists. A clever artist, on the other hand, can try to reconstruct the probable appearance of that extinct species of animals in some plastic material, based on the clues from the bony structures recovered. Now, in spite of the great erudition behind the first way of approach, it is the reconstructed model, despite its obvious fancifulness and imaginative make-up, that can give some plausible idea to the common man about that rare animal to which the bones belonged. The flourishing of a few bones and the learned discussions on them will leave no impression on the minds of any but specialists in the field. The attempted historical biographies of Sankara are just like the rattling of the few bones of facts available along with abstruse discussions about them, while the Sankara-vijayas are like the reconstructed model of the animal which may be fanciful but impressive and meaningful to the ordinary man. If we approach the Sankara-vijayas without forgetting that mythological elements have entered into them, they would enable us to get a much more vivid and flesh-and-blood picture of Sankara than these learned discussions on dates and on the credibility of various texts and some of the details contained in them.

The word ‘mythological’ is not used here in any sense of disparagement. A highly poetic and mythological narration of the lives of individuals or events marks the measure of the tremendous impact that these individuals and events have made on the racial mind of a people in those ancient days when correct recording was not much in vogue, and impressive events easily took a mythological turn. They are living traditions that transmit a little of their original impact to the generations that have come later, whereas pure historical productions are only like dead specimens and curios preserved in the corridors of Time’s museum. The trouble comes only when mythological accounts are taken as meticulously factual and men begin to be dogmatic about the versions presented in them. In the mythological literary technique, facts are often inflated with the emotional overtones and with the artistic expressiveness that their impact has elicited from human consciousness, and we have therefore to seek their message in the total effect they produce and not through a cocksure attitude towards the happenings in space and time. If we approach the Sankara-vijaya in this spirit, we shall understand more about Sankara and his way of life than through the writings of professors who disparage them for their defective chronology, their fanciful descriptions and their confusing statement of facts. Such being the position, a translation of a Sankara-vijaya is the only way to give some idea of Sankara, his doings, his personality and the times in which he lived.

Sankara-Vijaya literature

The translation given in this book is of Sankara-dig-vijaya or Samkshepa-Sankara-vijaya by Madhava-Vidyaranya. It is, however, to be remembered that this is only one of the following ten Sankara-vijayas listed on p. 32 of T.S. Narayana Sastri’s The Age of Sankara: (1) Brihat-Sankara-vijaya of Chitsukhacharya; (2) Prachma-Sankara-vijaya of Anandagiri; (3) Sankara-vijaya of Vidya Sankara alias Sankarananda, otherwise known as Vyasachaliya-Sankara-vijaya; (4) Keraliya-Sankara-vijaya by Govindanatha, also known as Acharya-charita ; (5) Sankarabhyudaya of Chudamani Dikshita; (6) Sankara-vijaya of Anantanandagiri (to be distinguished from Anandagiri) known also as Guru-vijaya or Acharya-vijaya; (7) Sankara-vijaya of Valllsahayakavi under the name Acharya-dig-vijaya; (8) Sankara-dig-vijaya-sara of Sadananda; (9) Sankara-vijaya-vilasa of Chidvilasa; and (10) Sankara-dig-vijaya or Samkshepa-Sankara-vijaya of Madhava-Vidyaranya. Of these, the first two, the Brihat-Sankara-vijaya and Prachma-Sankara-vijaya are supposed to be the products of the contemporaries of Sankara, their authors being the Acharya’s disciples. Nothing can be said of this claim, as the texts are not available anywhere at present.' Sri T. S. Narayana Sastri, the author of The Age of Sankara, claims to have come across what he calls a ‘mutilated copy’ of the second section, called Sankaracharya-satpatha, of Chitsukha’s work mentioned above. There is, however, no means to assess the authenticity of the claim on behalf of this mutilated copy, as it is not available anywhere.

Regarding the remaining Sankara-vijayas, while some of them might be lying in some obscure corners of manuscript libraries, there are only five of them available in printed form, and even most of them can be got only with considerable difficulty. These are Sankara-vijaya of Anantanandagiri (quite different from the now defunct Anandagiri’s work with which it is confused even by scholars), Acharya-charita of Govindanatha, Sankara-vijaya of Vyasachala, Sankara-vijaya-vilasa of Chidvilasa, and Sankara-dig-vijaya of Madhava-Vidyaranaya.
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Part 2 of 4

The Authorship of Sankara-dig-vijaya

We are taking up for translation the last of these, namely, Madhava-Vidyaranya’s work, with the full awareness of its limitations, which may be listed as follows: It is not a biography but a biographical and philosophical poem, as the author himself calls it. There are many obviously mythological elements in it, like reports of conferences held in heavens, appearance of Devas and dead sages among men, traffic between men and gods, thundering miracles, and chronological absurdities which Prof. S. S. Suryanarayana condemns as ‘indiscriminate bringing together of writers of very different centuries among those whom Sankara met and defeated.’ But these unhistorical features it shares with all other available Sankara-vijayas, including that of Anantanandagiri. Though Wilson and Monier Williams find Anantanandagiri’s writing to be more authentic and ‘less fanciful’, it seems so only because, being a rather scrappy writing, more of the nature of a synopsis in modern Sanskrit prose, such fanciful features do not look highlighted in the way in which they do in a poetical and elaborate piece of literature like the work of Madhava-Vidyaranya, to which people will have to turn for the present to get some clear idea of Sankara and his doings. Ever since it was first printed in Ganapat Krishnaji Press in Bombay in the year 1863, it has continued to be a popular work on Sankara and it is still the only work on the basis of which ordinary people have managed to get some idea of the great Acharya, in spite of the severe uncharitable criticism1 [The motives behind the criticism of Madhviya-sankara-vijaya and the scurrilous nature of the criticism will be evident from the following extract from page 158 of The Age of Sankara by T. S. Narayana Sastri (1916): “We know from very reliable sources that this Madhaviya-Sankara-vijaya was compiled by a well-known Sanskrit scholar who passed away from this world just about eight years ago, under the pseudonym of ‘Madhava’— a 'synonym' for ‘Narayana’—specially to extol the greatness of the Sringeri Math, whose authority had been seriously questioned by the Kumbhakonam Math, the Acharyas of the latter Math claiming exclusive privilege of being entitled to the title of the 'Jagadgurus' for the whole of India as being the direct successors of Sri Sankara Bhagavatpada's own Math established by him at Kanchi, the greatness of which had been unnecessarily extolled by Rajachudamani Dikshita, Vallisahaya Kavi and Venkatarama Sarman in their respective works, Sankarabhyudaya, Achraya-dig-vijaya and Sankara-bhagavatpadacharitra. About fifty years ago, in the very city of Madras, as many may still remember, a fierce controversy raged between the adherents of the Kumbhakonam Math on the one hand, and those of the Sringeri Math headed by Bangalore Siddhanti Subrahmanya Sastri and two brothers —Kumbhakonam Srinivasa Sastri and Kumbhakonam Narayana Sastri—sons of Ramaswami Sastri, a protege of the Sringeri Math, on the other. We have very strong reasons to believe that this Sankara-dig-vijaya ascribed to Madhava, the Sankara-vijaya-vilasa ascribed to Chidvilasa, and the Sankara-vijaya-sara ascribed to Sadananda, had all been brought into existence by one or other of these three scholars, about this period, in answer to the Sankara-vijayas ascribed to Rajachudamani Dikshita and Vallisahaya Kavi.” Not satisfied with the above indictment, Sri T. S. Narayana Sastri gives the following bazaar gossip as proof of his contention on page 247 of his book, “The reader is also referred to an article in Telugu with the caption Sankara-vijaya-karthavevaru by Veturi Prabhakara Sastri of Oriental Manuscripts Library, Madras, published in the Literary Supplement of the Andhra Patrika of Durmathi Margasira (1921-22) where an interesting note about the author of the above mentioned ‘Sankara Vijaya’ (Sanakara-dig-vijaya of Madhava) is given. Here is an English rendering of a portion of that article: ‘I happened to meet at Bapatla, Brahmasri Vemuri Narasimha Sastri, during my recent tour in the Guntur District, in quest of manuscripts. I mentioned casually to him my doubts regarding the authorship of Madhaviya-sankara-vijaya. He revealed to me some startling facts. When he was at Madras some fifteen years ago, he had the acquaintance of the late Bhattasri Narayana Sastri who wrote the Sankara Vijaya published in the name of Madhava i.e., Vidyaranya, and that four others helped him in this production. The importance of the Sringeri Mutt is very much in evidence in this Sankara Vijaya (not correct). Taking a copy of the Vyasachala Grantha, available at Sringeri Mutt, Bhattasri Narayana Sastri made alterations here and there and produced the Sankara-vijaya in question. That he was an expert in such concoctions, is widely known among learned men.” The reader can easily grasp from this the scurrilous nature of the criticism, and the motives of the critics of this great work. As a general criticism of these remarks, we would like to point out that a perusal of Vyasachala’s work, (printed copies of which, published by the Madras University in 1954, are still available in a few libraries), will clearly show that there are quite many verses common to both the works, but at the same time a comparative study will also show that Madhava’s work is a much more elaborate and well-planned poem (with 1840 verses) while that of Vyasachala (with 1190 verses), though poetic, is scrappy and truncated in many of its descriptions and even incomplete in the narration of the main events of Sankara’s life. While there are some common features, there are great variations also in respect of the subject matter treated in the two books. Under the circumstances a critic who makes the irresponsible statement that Madhava’s work has been made by culling out verses from Vyasachala’s must not have even seen the latter text, or prejudice must have obscured his power of judgement. All that can be claimed legitimately is that Vyasachala’s work was one of the source books of Madhava’s Sankara-vijaya. There is nothing derogatory in this to the literary credentials of the author, because he has at the beginning itself admitted his indebtedness to all the literature on Sankara known at that time. See also footnote to Verse 17 of Canto 1.] directed against it by several scholars. But it has survived all these criticisms, and will be studied with interest for all time as a unique historical and philosophical poem in Sanskrit on one of the greatest spiritual luminaries of India.

The criticism of it is uncharitable because it is mainly born of prejudice, and it has extended beyond finding fault with the text, to the question of its authorship itself. The critics somehow want to disprove that this work is, as traditionally accepted, a writing of the great Madhava-Vidyaranya, the author of the Panchadasi, and a great name in the field of Indian philosophical and theological literature. For, if his authorship is accepted, the book will receive a high status, which some schools of thought do not like for reasons of their own.
In fact, except in the eyes of a few such biased scholars, it has actually got that status at present, especially in the eyes of the followers of Sankaracharya in general; but this position is sought to be undermined by disputing its authorship on all kinds of flimsy and far-fetched grounds. Besides the support of tradition, the colophon at the end of every chapter of the book mentions its author’s name as Madhava, that being the pre-monastic name of Vidyaranya. Before he adopted Sannyasa under the monastic name of Vidyaranya, he was known as Madhavacharya, and was the chief minister of the great Vijayanagara kingdom under its first three rulers. He was born in the year 1295 in a poor Brahmana family near Hampi in the region of the river Tungabhadra. His father’s name was Mayana and mother’s Srimati. He had two brothers by name Sayana and Bhoganatha. Though brought up in poverty, all the brothers became versatile scholars in all branches of learning. Bhoganatha took to the Order of Sannyasa in early life, Sayana and Madhava were the authors of many works on religion and philosophy. The famous commentary of Rig Veda, though a work of Sayana, was probably a combined work of theirs, for it is said in its Introduction: “Kripalur-madha-vacaryah vedartham vaktum udyatah" and at the conclusion: “iti Sayanacarya viracite madhaviya ” etc.

For relief from poverty, Madhavacharya is said to have performed austerities at the shrine of Devi Bhuvaneswari at Hampi, but the Devi revealed to him that in that life he was not destined to be rich himself, but he would be able to help others to become rich. This was an indication of the great part he was to play in the political life of his times. In his fortieth year he became associated with the founders of the Vijayanagara empire—Hari Hara I and his brother Bhukka I—who began the consolidation of that State by 1336. He served under three successive kings as chief minister and built up the greatness and prosperity of that kingdom until he retired in about 1380 to take to the life of Sannyasa at the age of 85. He became the head of the Sringeri Math for a few years and passed away at the age of 91 in the year 1386.

The identity of Madhava, the author of Sankara-dig-vijaya, with this Madhava-Vidyaranya is further established by the first verse of the text, wherein he pays obeisance to his teacher Vidyatirtha. Vidyatirtha was the head of Sringeri Sankara Math during 1228 to 1333. He was succeeded by Bharatikrishna Tirtha (1333-1380), the immediate predecessor of Vidyaranya, who in turn succeeded him as the head (1380-1386) at a very advanced age. Thus, though not the immediate successor of Vidyatirtha, Madhava-Vidyaranya must have had his spiritual initiation from him in his pre-monastic life. The identity is further established by the poet Madhava’s reference to his life in the royal court in the following touching introductory verses of his work: “By indulging in insincere praise of the goodness and magnanimity of kings, which are really non-existent like the son of a barren woman or the horns of a hare, my poesy has become extremely impure. Now I shall render it pure and fragrant by applying to it the cool and fragrant sandal paste fallen from the body of the danseuse [a female ballet dancer] of the Acharya’s holy fame and greatness, as she performs her dance on the great stage of the world.”

Besides, the text is a masterpiece of literature and philosophy, which none but a great mind could have produced.
But there are detractors of this great text who try to minimise its obvious literary worth by imputing plagiarism and literary piracy to its author. They claim that they have been able to show several verses that have entered into it from certain other Sankara-vijayas like Prachina-Sankara-vijaya and Vyasachala’s Sankara-vijaya. Though Prachina-Sankara-vijaya is nowhere available, T. S. Narayana Sastri claims to have in his possession some mutilated sections of it; but such unverifiable and exclusive claims on behalf of mutilated texts cannot be entertained by a critical and impartial student of these texts, since considerations other than the scholarly have entered into these criticisms, and manuscripts, too, have been heavily tampered with by Sanskrit Pandits. It can as well be that the other Vijayas have taken these from the work of Madhava. Next, even if such verses are there, and they are demonstrably present in regard to Vyasachala’s work, the author can never be accused of plagiarism, because he acknowledges at the outset itself, that his work is a collection of all the traditions about Sankaracharya and that in it all the important things contained in an extensive literature can be seen in a nutshell as an elephant’s face in a mirror.
Is this not a general acknowledgement of dependence on earlier texts, and if quotations from them are found, where is the justification for accusing the author of plagiarism, unless the prejudice of such critics is accepted as sufficient reason?

Besides, it is forgotten by these critics that it is a literary technique of Vidyaranya, as seen from his other works also, to quote extensively from recognised authorities without specially mentioning their names, and that this feature of the present work goes only to establish the identity of its authorship with Vidyaranya. Comparing the text with Vyasachala’a work, it is obvious that many verses are common to both the texts. The author of the present work, however, seems to imply Vyasachala as one of the recognised authorities on this theme in the 17th verse of the 1st chapter.

There is also the view that the author need not necessarily be Madhava-Vidyaranya but Madhavacharya, the son of the former’s brother Sayana and the author of Sarvadarsana-Samgraha, a masterly philosophical text. To make this hypothesis even plausible, it has to be established that this Madhava was the disciple of Vidyatirtha, which the author of Sankara-dig-vijaya claims to be in the very first verse of the text.

The authorship of the book is questioned also from the point of view of style. Now views on style can be very subjective, and when one wants to dispute the authorship of any work, the easiest way is to adopt this line of criticism. In Sanskrit there are various types of style, and accomplished men of letters can vary the style according to the topic they deal with. According to the scholarly traditions of ancient India most of the philosophic, theological and even scientific subjects were expounded in metrical forms, but the styles employed for these have necessarily to be different from that for pure literary and poetical productions. Most of Vidyaranya’s other works are on high philosophical and theological themes, and if he has used methods and styles in such works differing from that of a historical poem like Sankara-dig-vijaya, it is only what one should expect of a great thinker and writer. That the author of this work has poetic effect very much in view can be inferred from his description of himself as Nava-Kalidasa (a modern Kalidasa) and his work as Navakalidasa-santana (offspring of the modern Kalidasa). So, difference in style, even if any, is not very relevant to the question of authorship, especially when the identity of the author is plainly mentioned in the book itself.

In place of taking the poet’s description of his work as a production of a Nava-Kalidasa in the proper light, these hostile critics have in a facile manner concluded that the name of the author must be Nava-Kalidasa, though such a conclusion is against all internal evidence. No one has heard of the name of such a Sanskrit poet. They also safely forget the highly metaphysical doctrines couched in cryptic but very attractive style in the discussions of Sankara with Mandana, the upholder of Purvamimamsa doctrine, and with Bhatta Bhaskara, the exponent of the Bhedabheda philosophy. These discussions have drawn the unstinted praise of an independent critic like Telang. If Nava-Kalidasa, who forged this book and imposed it on Vidyaranya, was a mere poet—and an unknown poet at that—an explanation has to be given for the impressive metaphysical wisdom, the dialectical skill, and the Vedantic technique of exposition displayed in these chapters. The genius of the author of Panchadasi is clearly reflected in them. In philosophical profundity, in literary excellence and non-partisan outlook, it is far superior to all other Sankara-vyayas. In the light of all this internal evidence, the disparaging criticism of this text, questioning its authorship itself, can be attributed only to the prejudice of the critics.

Acceptance of Vidyaranya’s authorship does not, however, in any way mean the denial of the mythical elements and the fanciful contemporaneity of various Indian philosophers found in it. These features it shares with all the other Sankara-vijayas. Chronology and historicity did not receive much attention from even the greatest of Indian writers in those days.

Date of Sankara

Regarding the biographical details contained in different Sankara-vijayas, there are wide variations, as already pointed out. There is no way now of settling these differences, although they can give fertile ground for endless and inconclusive discussions for learned men. Under the circumstances, Madhava-Vidyaranya’s Sankara-dig-vijaya, which has already stood the test of time and received recognition, may be taken as sufficient authority to give the layman much of the available information about Sankara. There are, however, three details of his life, which are highly controversial in nature, but to which we shall bestow some attention, not in the hope of arriving at any final conclusion, but to be appraised of the wide variations of views on them and the need, therefore, of avoiding dogmatic adherence to any particular view. The three' points that are taken for a brief and inconclusive discussion here are: (1) the date of Sankara (2) what institutions he founded and (3) where he passed away.

Every date in ancient Indian history, except that of the invasion of Alexander (326 B.C.), is controversial, and Sankara’s date is no exception. Max Muller and other orientalists have somehow fixed it as 788 to 820 A.D., and Das Gupta and Radhakrishnan, the well-known writers on the history of Indian Philosophy, have accepted and repeated it in their books. To do so is not in itself wrong, but to do it in such a way as to make the layman believe it to be conclusive is, to say the least, an injustice to him. It is held by the critics of this date that the Sankara of 788-820 A.D. is not the Adi-Sankara (the original Sankara), but Abhinava Sankara (modern Sankara), another famous Sannyasin of later times (788-839), who was born at Chidambaram and was the head of the Sankara Math at Kanchipuram between 801 and 839. He was reputed for his holiness and learning and is said to have gone on tours of controversy (Dig-vijaya) like the original Sankara.

It is found that not only modern scholars, but even the authors of several Sankara-vijayas have superimposed these two personalities mutually and mixed up several details of their lives. The author of the concept of adhyasa himself seems to have become a victim of it! The cause of much of this confusion has been the custom of all the incumbents of the headship of Sankara Maths being called Sankaracharyas. To distinguish the real Sankara, he is therefore referred to as ‘Adi-Sankara' an expression that is quite meaningless. For, Sankaracharya was the name of an individual and not a title, and if the heads of the Maths of that illustrious personage were known only by their individual names like the heads of religious institutions founded by other teachers, probably much of this confusion could have been avoided.


In the light of the Abhinava-Sankara theory, much of the data on which Adi-Sankara’s date is usually fixed by modern scholars lose their validity. The Cambodian inscription of Indravarman (878-887) which mentions the name of his preceptor as Sivasoma, the pupil of ‘Bhagavan Sankar’, can have reference only to Abhinava-Sankara. Next the ‘Dravida-sisu’ referred to in the Soundar-valahari, meaning Thirujnana-sambandhar, the great Saiva Saint who lived towards the middle of the 7th century, also loses its significance; for the Soundaryalahari could have been the composition of this later Sankaracharya, an obvious parallel to which may be found in the Devyaparadha-Kshamapana-stotra, a work generally attributed to Adi-Sankara, wherein the poet speaks of himself as over eighty-five years of age -- a fact that cannot be true of Sankara who lived for 32 years only. This confusion most probably extends to many minor works attributed to Sankaracharya chiefly because of the custom of all heads of Sankara Maths being called as Sankaracharyas, a point discussed already in the previous paragraph. Another objection to the 788 A.D. theory is that Sankara refers to the city Pataliputra, as if it were a city then existing. But this city, which was one of the very ancient capitals of India, had been submerged by the neighbouring river long before 750 A.D. All these data show that the modern scholars fixing of Sankara’s date as 788 A.D.,2 [Ullur S. Parameswara Iyer has pointed out in his great work that the sole support for the modern scholars’ view on Sankara’s date as 788 A.D. is the following incomplete verses of unknown authorship: "Nidhi nagebha vahnyabde vibhave sankarodayah; Kalyabde candranetranka vahnyabde pravisad guham; Vaisakhe purnimayam tu sankarah sivatamagat." Here the words of the first verse are the code words for the year 3889 of the Kali era, which is equivalent to 788 A.D. (It is derived as follows: nidhi: 9; naga: 8; ibha: 8; vahni: 3. Since the numbers are to be taken in the reverse order, it gives 3889 of the Kali era as the date of Sankara’s birth, its conversion into Christian era being 788 A.D. Kali era began 3102 years before the Christian era.)] cannot be accepted as an unchallengeable certainty.

The modern scholars in fixing Sankara’s date as 788 have totally rejected the traditional date derived from Sankara Math records and from Sankara-vijayas. Traditional Indian dates are suspect because of the multiplicity of eras, of which about forty-seven have been enumerated by T. S. Narayana Sastri in his book, The Age of Sankara. So unless the era is specifically mentioned, it is difficult to fix a date in any understandable way. Two of these eras are famous—the Kali era, which started in 3102 B.C., and Yudhishthira Saka era which started 37 years after, i.e., in 3065 B.C. The calculation according to the latter era is, however, complicated further by the fact that, according to the Jains and the Buddhists, the latter era started 468 years after the Kali era, that is, in 2634 B.C.

Sri T. S. Narayana Sastri, in his book, The Age of Sankara, argues the case for the traditional date, on the basis of the list of succession kept in Kamakoti Math and Sringeri Math, and what he has been able to gather from ‘mutilated copies’ of Brihat-Sankara-vijaya, Prachtna-Sankara-vijaya and Vyasachallya-Sankara-vijaya. Until authentic copies of these works are available, the information they are supposed to give is not acceptable.
Nevertheless, he maintains that, according to Brihad-Sankara-vijaya and Prachma-Sankara-vijaya, Sankara was born in 2593 of Kali era (509 B.C.) and passed away at the age of 32 in 2625 of Kali era (477 B.C.). He also maintains that this is more or less corroborated by the succession list of heads maintained at the Kamakoti, Dwaraka, Sringeri and other Maths, with, however, one complicating factor intervening. The complication is that in the Sringeri Math list the date of Sankara’s demise is given, according to Sri T. S. Narayana Sastri himself, as 12 B.C. and, therefore, his birth must have been in 44 B.C., or in 48 B.C., if he lived up to 36 years, as some hold. This one difference is sufficient to dismiss the evidence of the Maths, but Sri Sastri points out that the posteriority of the Sringeri version of the date can be accounted for by the confusion between the Kali and Yudhishthira Saka eras. (The Yudhishthira Saka era, according to Hindus, began 37 years after the commencement of the Kali era, while the Jains and the Buddhist writers calculate it as having begun 468 years after the start of Kali era i.e. in 2634 B.C.) It is held by Sri Sastri that in Mysore and the regions round about, the Jain influence was very great and the confusion between eras in this respect might have been widely prevalent also. Now, 44 B.C., the supposed date of the birth of Sankara according to Sringeri Math, might have been the result of the confusion of eras and calculations based on them. 2625 of the Kali era, the date of his death, must have been taken as referring to Buddhist-Jain era and then converted into Kali era by adding 468 to it, thus arriving at 3093 of Kali era (9 or 10 B.C.) as the date of Sankara’s death. He accounts for the small discrepancy of 3 or 4 years by referring to a tradition in Mysore that Sankara lived till the 36th year. While this is an ingenious way of reconciling the difference, one has to admit that there are too many ‘buts', ‘ifs’ and other suppositions to make it credible.

It is rather surprising to note that, while, as stated in T. S. Narayana Sastri’s work, in the Kamakoti list Sankara occupied that Gaddi for three years (from 480 B.C. to 477 B.C.) and was followed by Sureswara for 70 years (477 B.C. to 407 B.C.), the Sringeri list maintains that Sankara occupied that Gaddi for six years (from 18 B.C. to 12 B.C.), and was followed by Sureswara for 785 years (from 12 B.C. to 773 A.D.).3 [After the publication of the first edition of the book, the following letter was received from the Private Secretary to the Head of Sringeri Math, Sarada Peetham, on the present view held by that Math about the date of Sri Sankaracharya: “Nowhere have the Sringeri Math authorities themselves given the B.C. or A.D. period. The record of the Sringeri Math says that Sankara was born in the 14th year of the reign of Vikramaditya. Compilers wrongly referred this to the era of Vikramaditya of Ujjain, which was originally called Malava Samvat and later in the eighth century A.D. called the Vikrama Samvat. This took Sankara to the first century B.C. and necessitated the assignment of around 800 years to Sureswaracharya to agree with the later dates. Mr L. Rice points out that the reference is not to the Vikramaditya of Ujjain but to the Chalukya king Vikramaditya who ruled in Badami near Sringeri. Historians opine that Chalukya Vikramaditya ascended the throne during the period 655 to 670 A.D. This reference seems reasonable, as Badami is not very far off from Sringeri. Further as Sankara and Sureshwara quote Dharmakirti, and as Kumarila Bhatta quotes Bhartrhari, the dates of Dharmakirti and Bhartrhari being known, it is incorrect to assign Sankara to the B.C. period and to misquote the Sringeri Math record.”] During these 785 years, the Kamakoti list shows that about 33 Acharyas adorned that Gaddi. Such unbelievable inconsistencies have made modern historians totally reject the evidence provided by the chronological lists of the Maths. So Sri Ullur Parameswara Iyer, himself a pious Brahmana, maintains in his History of Kerala Sahitya (Vol. 1 p. 111) that it is easy to prove that most of these Math lists have been formulated so late as the 16th century A.D.

But a still greater difficulty posed for such an early date as 509 to 476 B.C. for Sankara is the proximity of this to the generally accepted date of the Buddha (567-487 B.C.). Sankara has criticised Buddhism in its developed form with its four branches of philosophy. A few centuries at least should certainly be allowed to elapse for accommodating this undeniable fact. Sri T. S. Narayana Sastri is, however, remarkably ingenious, and his reply to this objection is that the Buddha’s date was certainly much earlier. Vaguely quoting Prof. Wheeler, Weber and Chinese records, he contends that the Buddha must have flourished at any time between the 20th and the 14th century B.C. He challenges the fixing of the date of Buddha on the basis of the dates of Kanishka or of Megasthenes.3a [Kanishka’s date is variously stated as 1st century B.C., 1st century A.D., 2nd century A.D. and 3rd century A.D. The relevancy of his date to the Buddha’s date is that Hsuan Tsang, the Chinese traveller, states that the Buddha lived four hundred years before Kanishka. Some historians try to fix the date of the Buddha on the basis of this information as 5th century B.C. This view is not currently accepted, and the Buddha’s date is settled on other grounds as 567-487 B.C. It is fixed so on the basis of Asoka’s coronation in 269 B.C., four years after his accession. According to the Ceylon Chronicles, 218 years separate this event of Asoka’s coronation from the date of the Buddha’s demise. Thus we get 487 as the date of the Buddha’s demise, and as he is supposed to have lived 80 years, the date of his birth is 567. According to R. Sathianatha Ayyar, the date of 487 B.C. is supported by “the dotted record” of Canton (China); The traditional date according to the Buddhist canonical literature, however, is 623-543 B.C. Megasthenes comes into the picture, because he was the Greek Ambassador of Selukos Nickator at the court of Chandra Gupta Maurya (325 B.C.), who is described by him as Shandracotus. Now Sri T. S. Narayana Sastri, with a view to push back the Buddha’s date, challenges this identification, and opines that this reference could as well be to Chandra Gupta or even to Samudra Gupta of the Gupta dynasty (300-600 A.D.), in which case the Mauryan age (325 to 188 B.C.) will have to be pushed further back into the 7th to 5th century B.C. and the Buddha (567-487 B.C.) too, into the 9th century B.C. at least. But Sri Sastri forgets that these contentions cannot stand, as the date of Megasthenes and of Chandra Gupta Maurya have necessarily to be related to the firm and unquestionable date of Alexander’s invasion of India (326 B.C.) Megasthenes was the ambassador at the Pataliputra court sent by Selukos Nickator (305 B.C.), the Satrap who succeeded to the Indian region of Alexander’s empire, which he had to give up to Chandra Gupta by a treaty. T. S. Narayana Sastri’s attempt to shift the Gupta period of India history, to the time of Alexander’s invasion (326 B.C.) by equating Shandracotus with Samudra Gupta of the Gupta period, is a mere chronological guess-work without any supporting evidence, as against several historical synchronisms which compel the acceptance of the currently recognised chronology. For example, the Chinese Buddhist pilgrim Fahien was in India in the Gupta age, from 399-414 A.D., and his description of India can tally only with that period and not with the Mauryan period. Besides, the Hun invasion of India was in the reign of Skanda Gupta, about 458 A.D., and this event cannot be put on any ground into the B.C.’s when Mauryans flourished, even with an out-stretched poetical imagination. So we have got to maintain that the Shandracotus who visited Alexander’s camp (326 B.C.) and who later received about 326 B.C. Megasthenes as the ambassador of Selukos Nickator, the successor to Alexander’s Indian province, can be none other than Chandra Gupta of the Mauryan dynasty (325 B.C. to 188 B.C.) Further, historical synchronisms, the sheet-anchor of the chronology of Indian history give strong support to the accepted date of Asoka (273-232 B.C.), the greatest of the Mauryan Emperors. His Rock Edict XIII mentions, as stated by Sathianatha Ayyar, the following contemporary personalities: Antiochus Teos of Syria (261-246 B.C.); Ptolemy Philadelphos of Egypt (285-247 B.C.); Antigonos Gonates of Macedonia (278-239 B.C.); Magas of Cyrene (285-258 B.C.), and Alexander of Epirus (272-258 B.C.). They are referred to as alive at the time of that Rock Edict. In the face of such historical synchronisms all attempts to push back the time of the Buddha by several centuries in order to substantiate the theory of 509 B.C. being Sankara’s date, is only chronological jugglery. So the Buddha’s date has to remain more or less as it is fixed today (568-487 B.C.). Sankara came definitely long after the Buddha.] The reference to Megasthenes, the Greek ambassador, who refers to the ruler to whom he was accredited as Shandracotus, need not necessarily be to Chandragupta Maurya but to the king of the Gupta dynasty (300-600 A.D.) with the same name, or even to Samudra Gupta. If this line of argument is accepted, the present dates of Indian history will have to be worked back to about three to four hundred years, which will land us in very great difficulties, as shown in the foot note.
Besides, arguments of this type are never conclusive; they can at best throw doubts on other theories accepted on uncertain grounds.

Without going so far as to challenge the accepted date of the Buddha, there is another opinion that assigns Sankara to the 1st century B.C. This view is held by Sri N. Ramesam in his book Sri Sankaracharya (1971). His argument is as follows: Sankara is accepted in all Sankara-vijayas as a contemporary of Kumarila. Kumarila must have lived after Kalidasa, the poet, because Kumarila quotes Kalidasa’s famous line; Satam hi sandeha padesu vastusu pramanam antahkaranasya vrittayah. Now Kalidasa’s date has not been firmly fixed (first half of the 5th century A.D. according to some), but it is contended that it cannot be earlier than 150 B.C., as Agni Mitra, one of the heroes in a famous drama of Kalidasa, is ascribed to that date. So also, it cannot be later than the Mandasor Inscription of 450 A.D. So on the basis that Sankara and Kumarila were contemporaries and that Kumarila came after Kalidasa, we have to search for Sankara’s date between 150 B.C. and 450 A.D. Now to narrow down the gap still further, the list of spiritual preceptors that preceded Sankara is taken into consideration. Patanjali, Gaudapada, Govindapada and Sankara— form the accepted line of discipleship. Patanjali, Sri Ramesam contends, lived in the 2nd century B.C., a conclusion which, if accepted finally (?), gives much credence to his theory. Now, not less than a hundred years can be easily taken as the distance in time between Sankara and Patanjali in this line of succession, and thus we derive the time of Sankara as the 1st century B.C., which has the merit of being in agreement with the Kumarila-Sankara contemporaneity and the Kumarila-Kalidasa relationship. The 1st century hypothesis has also got the advantage of tallying with the Sringeri Math’s teacher-disciple list, according to which, as already stated, 12 B.C. is the date of Sankara’s demise. Sri Ramesam finds further confirmation for his theory in the existence of a temple on a Sankaracharya Hill in Kashmir attributed to Jaluka, a son of Asoka who became the ruler of Kashmir after Asoka’s demise, according to Rajaiarangini. Asoka passed away In 180 B.C. and it is very credible that Jaluka could have been in Kashmir when Sankara visited that region, provided Sankara’s life is fixed in the 1st century B.C. Further, Cunningham and General Cole are stated to assign the temple architecturally to the times of Jaluka.

Like Sri Sastri, Sri Ramesam also refutes the modern scholars’ view of Sankara’s date being 788-820 A.D. on the ground that this has arisen due to confusion between Adi-Sankara and Abhinava-Sankara (788-840 A.D.).

Now this theory, unlike Sri Sastri’s, has the merit of not disturbing the accepted date of the Buddha. It has also the support of Rajatarangini and the Sringeri tradition. But its credibility depends largely on the theory of 200 B.C. being the time of Patanjali and the acceptance of the Kumarila-Kalidasa relationship. If these are questioned, the whole theory falls. This is the case with most dates in Indian history, where the rule is to fix the date of one person or event on the basis of the date of another person or event, which itself is open to question. There are, however, several pieces of internal evidence that go against even this date in B.C.’s, as will be seen from the succeeding paragraphs.

Yet another, and in fact an entirely new, clue based on internal evidence and in contradiction to the above theories of a B.C. antiquity to Sankara, is given by Dr. A. G. Krishna Warrier, Professor of Sanskrit (Rtd) in the Kerala University, in his learned Introduction to his translation of Sankara’s Brahma-sutra-bhashya into Malayalam. He states that the Buddhist author Kamalasila has pointed out that Sankara has quoted in his Brahma-sutra-bhashya (B. S. II. 2-28) the following passage from the Alambanapariksha by Dingnaga, the celebrated Buddhist savant: 'Yadantarjneyarupam tat bahiryadavabhasate’. Dingnaga’s date, which Dr. Warrier links with those of Vasubandhu (450 A.D.) and Bhartrhari, is fixed by him as about 450 A.D. But that is not all. The following verse of Dingnaga’s commentator Dharmakirti is quoted by Sankara in his work Upadesa-sahasri: Abhinnopi hi buddhydtma viparyasitadarsanaih grahyagrahaka-samvitti bhedavaniva laksyate (ch. 18, v. 142). This reference is from Dharmakirti’s Pramana-virtischhaya. Dr. Warrier points out that Dharmakirti is described as a ‘great Buddhist logician’ by the Chinese pilgrim-traveller, It-sing, who was in India in 690 A.D. The implication is that Dharmakirti must have lived in the first half of the 7th century or earlier, and that Sankara came after him. It means that Sankara’s date cannot be pushed back beyond the 5th century A.D., or even beyond the 7th century A.D., if the Upadesasahasri is accepted as a genuine work of Sankara. As in the case of most dates in Indian history, the credibility of the view, too, depends on the acceptance of the dates of Dingnaga and Dharmakirti as 5th century and 7th century respectively, and that Upadesasahasri is really a work of Sankara, as traditionally accepted. Fixing dates on the basis of other dates, which are themselves open to question, can yield only possibilities and not certainties.

Probable dates suggested by other scholars are also the 6th century and the 7th century A.D. Sankara refers in his writings to a king named Pumavarman who, according to Hsuan Tsang, ruled in 590 A.D. It is, therefore, contended that Sankara must have lived about that time or after. Next Telang points out how Sankara speaks of Pataliputra in his Sutra-bhashya (IV. ii. 5) and that this will warrant Sankara having lived about a century before 750 A.D., by which time Pataliputra had been eroded by the river and was non-existent. Such references to names of persons, cities, rivers, etc. in philosophical writings can also be explained as stock examples, as we use Aristotle or Achilles in logic, and need not necessarily have any historical significance. Dr. T. R. Chintamani maintains that Kumarila lived towards the latter half of the 7th century A.D. (itself a Controversial point) and Sankara, being a contemporary of his, must have lived about that time (655-684 A.D.). It is also pointed out by him that Vidyananda, the teacher of Jainasena, who was also the author of Jaina-harivamsa (783 A.D.), quotes a verse4 ["Atmapi sadidam brahma mohat parosyadu sitam; Brahmapi sa tathaivatma sadvitiyatayesate."] from the Brihadaranyaka-vartika of Sureswara, disciple of Sankara. This is impossible to conceive without granting that Sankara and Sureswara lived, about a hundred years earlier to Jainasena who lived about the second half of the 8th century A.D.


Thus vastly varied are the views about Sankara’s date, ranging from 509 B.C. to 788 A.D., i.e., more than a millennium and a half. Sri S. S. Suryanarayana Sastry’s contention that “for discarding the date generally assigned, viz., 788-820 A.D., no sufficient grounds have yet been given,” cannot stand today, since this date is proved to be the time of Abhirtava Sankara. Nor have the upholders of this view given sufficient justification for their view, or disproved the objections raised against it. Under the circumstances, all these complicated discussions of Sankara’s date culminate only in a learned ignorance. We have to admit that we have no certain knowledge, and it is, therefore, wise not to be dogmatic but keep an open mind. Most probably he must have lived somewhere between the 5th and the 7th century A.D., certainly much earlier than the end of the 8th century, his generally accepted date by modern scholars.

Maths founded by Sankara

Which are the Maths or monastic institutions that Sankara founded? This is another question on which there has been much dispute. Traditionally, four Maths are supposed to have been founded by Sankara at the four regions of India— at Sringeri in the south under Sureswara, at Dwarka in the west under Hastamalaka, at Badari in the north under Totaka, and at Puri in the east under Padmapada. It is pointed out in the monograph of P. Rama Sastry on The Maths Founded by Sankara that this four-Math theory has been propounded first in Chidvilasa’s Sankara-vijaya which, along with some other Sankara-vijayas, is, according to T. S. Narayana Sastri, a recent production and of little authority. It finds no support in the other Vijayas of its kind and perhaps not even in the more ancient Sankara-vijayas. Of course this view cannot be verified now, as the most ancient of these Sankara-vijayas are not available now. Leaving aside the unavailable Sankara-vijayas even most of the available ones, including those of Madhava, Anantanandagiri, Vyasachrlla and Govindanatha, do not hold any such restricted view like the four-Math theory. Madhava’s Sankara-vijaya, though a butt of criticism by a large number of people who dislike its popularity, seems to be non-partisan, and maintains only that Sankara in his last days sent several of his disciples to preach the doctrine at ‘Sringa-giri and other centres’. Though it gives special importance to Sringeri by naming it, it admits the existence of many other centres. Whether these were all Maths with resident Sannyasins is anybody’s guess. Anantanandagiri, as also texts like Sivarahasya, mention Kanchi as one of the centres he founded— in fact, as the Math where he finally settled down and passed away, thus giving it special importance.

Under the circumstances how the theory of four Maths came to have such popularity has to be explained. It cannot be merely because of the mention of it in Chidvilasa’s Sankara-vijaya. On the other hand, that text must have merely recorded the popular notion existing at the time. The theory seems to have originated from the fact that the Orders of Dasanami Sannyasins recognise and accept affiliation with only these four Maths— the Orders known as Puris, Bharatis and Saraswathis with Sringeri Math; Giris, Aranyas and Vanas with Jyothi Math; Ashramas and Tirthas with Dwaraka Math; and Parvatas and Sagaras with Puri Math. No other Math is recognised by them. Now, if there were more Maths of Sankara, why have the Dasanami Sannyasins limited their affiliation to these four Maths only? None of the protagonists of different Sankara Maths have answered this question. The affiliation, no doubt, is only a nominal one, and these Sannyasins neither take Sannyasa from these Maths nor follow any direction or control emanating from them. Still the question of how they came to be thus affiliated has to be answered. The advocates of more-than-four-Maths have given no explanation. In fact, they have not at all taken into account the evidence of Dasanami Sannyasins, who have played a more active role in propagating the institution of Sannyasa and the Advaita philosophy than the Sankara Maths. From what time -- whether it was from the time of Sankaracharya himself or in later times— the Dasanamis came into existence, cannot be ascertained now. Even assuming they came later, and also that Sankara started more than four Maths, their affiliation with these four Maths above mentioned establishes at least that, at the time these Sannyasin Orders took shape, only these four Maths were functioning effectively. The functioning of the Maths as also their popularity must have — depended largely on the eminence of the Heads at particular times. But this does not preclude the possibility of other genuine Maths, unnoticed and unrecognised by Sannyasins, functioning among non-Sannyasin communities. Nothing more precise than this can be said about the question as to which are the Maths originally founded by Sankaracharya, or even whether he founded any Math at all. Different sectaries having varying traditions can stick to them with justification, provided they do not become too cocksure and dogmatic and deny a similar right to others who differ from them.
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Part 3 of 4

Where did Sankara attain Siddhi

The birth place of Sankara being at Kaladi is the one biographical fact accepted uniformly by all Sankara-vijayas except one in one of its editions. But the place where he passed away is disputed. There are four views on the question. According to Madhaviya-Sankara-vijaya he went to Kedar via Badari after ascending ‘the Throne of Omniscience’ in Kashmir, and from there he entered into Kailasa, the realm of Siva, transfiguring himself into Siva’s form. There is also a monument to Sankaracharya in that region to commemorate this event.

But this version is questioned by other authorities. On this controversy, it is interesting to read the following statement issued by Sri T. N. Ramachandran, Rtd. Joint Director-General of Archaeology of India:5 [The matter that is quoted above is found as Appendix C in Sri N. Ramesam’s Sri Sankaracharya (1971), and as Appendix II in the Life of Sankara in Malayalam by T.C. Narayana Sastri of Alathur. ] “At Kedamath, on the way to Badrinath, there is a monument associated with the great Adi-Sankaracharya which His Holiness Sri Sankaracharya of Dwaraka Pith visited some time ago and expressed a desire to renovate (the memorial). His Holiness issued instructions to scholars of all parts of our country to ascertain the place of the Samadhi of the great Adi- Sankaracharya. On this Sri Sampurnanand, the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, and myself bestowed some thought.

“After having arrived at some conclusion on the point by mutual correspondence, we are of the opinion, that Kedamath cannot be said to be the Samadhisthan (the final resting place) of the great Acharya.
Yet it is a unique place connected with the life of the Acharya inasmuch as the great Adi-Sankara disappeared from amidst his followers while at Kedamath. Traditions recorded in some works dealing with Adi-Sankaracharya point out to the fact that Sri Sankara went to Kailas from Kedamath, brought the five Sphatika Lingas (Sivalingas made of crystal) and a portion of the Soundaryalahari Stotra, and repairing to the South, attained (final end) at Kanchi.6 [It is difficult to understand how an archaeologist and scholar like Sri T. N. Ramachandran suddenly changes his view about the Samadhisthan of Sankara, traditionally accepted as such, and confirmed by an ancient monument. He merely says that it is on the basis of some correspondence that he changed his views. With whom? What are the weighty arguments against the accepted view? We are left in the dark about all this. If it is the inconsistencies in the Sankara-vijayas, it is quite understandable. But Sri Ramachandran is definite in his conclusion without discussing the point at all. He merely accepts one of the traditions saying that Sankara disappeared from Kedara only to go to Sivaloka and return to the world of men with a number of Sivalingas to be established in several parts of India, and at last passed away at Kanchi. He also seems to be unaware of the fact that according to Markandeya Samhita and Sivarahasya, which are the authorities for this exploit of Sankara, it was from Varanasi and not Kedara that he disappeared to bring the Sivalingas. According to one of these texts, Sankara did not go to Kailasa, but Lord Visweswara brought the Sivalingas and gave them to Sankara at Varanasi. Anantanandagiri also maintains that Sankara went by air to Kailasa from Varanasi and returned with the Sivalingas. So according to all traditions Sri Ramachandran’s surmise about the monument at Kedara is incorrect. So the mystery of that monument remains unexplained.]

‘‘The Memorial at Kedamath should at any rate be kept intact, and it is the duty of all who profess any interest in the hoary Religion and Philosophy of our land to join hands in the sacred endeavour of renovating the Adi-Sankara Memorial at Kedarnath, as chalked out by Sri Sampurnanand, the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, in his letter addressed to me: (Naini Tal, letter dated July 6, 1958). ‘Dear Sri Ramachandra, Recently I had occasion to discuss the matter with the Sankaracharya of Dwaraka Pith also. In the first place the word ‘Samadhi’ is a misnomer in this connection. There is nothing to prove that Sri Sankaracharya died at this spot. All that tradition says is that he came to Kedarnath and, in modern phraseology, disappeared thereafter. So, what is "called Samadhi' is really not a Samadhi but a Memorial. I myself do not treat it as Samadhi and such proposals as I am considering are based on this information. What I propose is that instead of the wretched structure that passes as a Samadhi, a new Memorial should be built in memory of the great Acharya. It should not occupy the place of the present construction which is in danger of being overwhelmed by an avalanche any day. It should be built at a safer place somewhere near the temple. I am getting a design prepared by our State Architect. The Sankaracharya of Dwaraka Pith has given me his support in the matter’....”

This theory of Sankara having attained Siddhi (final end) at Kanchi is supported, according to T. S. Narayana Sastri in his book, The Age of Sankara, by the following texts: Brihat Sankara- vijaya, Vyasachala’s Sankara-vijaya and Anantanandagiri’s Sankara-vijaya, besides the Punyasloka Manjari, Jagat-guru-ratnamala and Jagat-guru-katha samgraha. On this it has to be remarked that from among the above-mentioned Sankara-vijayas one has only Anantanandagiri’s and Vyasachala’s works available for reference and corroboration. Sri T. S. Narayana Sastri, however, claims to possess some extracts of mutilated sections of the first of the texts mentioned, which is considered by some as the most ancient and authoritative text. But no one can be sure of, much less accept, the claims of these mutilated manuscripts.


As far as Vyasachala’s work is concerned, it is very clear that it does not support this theory. All that it says is that Sankara ascended the ‘Throne of Omniscience’ in Kashmir, (which some think is identical with Kanchi, as Govindanatha interprets it), and then went away to some place ‘pleasing’ to him (ruciradesam). The narrative part of the work abruptly ends with this, followed by three or four evocatory verses. So, what that place is to which he went leaving Kashmir or Kanchi, is anybody's guess. It is difficult to understand how Kashmir can be Kanchi. Even if Kashmir be Kanchi, it is sure that Sankara left it, according to Vyasachala. Among available Sankara-vijayas, only Anantanandagiri’s gives clear support to this theory of Sankara attaining Siddhi at Kanchi. But whether that Sankara is Adi-Sankara or Abhinava-Sankara is again a matter of dispute in the light of the textual criticism of different editions of the work. The point is discussed in a later paragraph.

It is, however, to be noted that to the Madras University edition of Vyasachala’s work is pasted, at the end, an additional page containing a new discovery by Pandit Polagam Rama Sastri on the subject, forwarded to the editor after the printing of the book was over. It gives five additional verses to be added at the end. The editor of the work had not found them in any of the manuscripts he came across, but Pandit Rama Sastri had discovered these extracts in Atmabodhendra Saraswathi’s commentary on Jagadgururathamala. The main purpose of these verses is to omit Sankara’s leaving for ruciradesam (place pleasing to him) and make him stay at Kanchi. But strangely enough the interpolator forgot the whole context in Vyasachala’s work— the incongruity of suddenly speaking of Sankara, who was in Kashmir, the northernmost region of India, being at Kanchi in the far south. Probably there is a missing link to be supplied hereafter. It is perhaps this confused situation, that makes Govindanatha interpret Kashmir as Kanchi unhesitatingly in his Acharyacharita, to which we shall be referring hereafter. Govindanatha, however, does not allow him to stop at Kanchi, but makes him go further south.

Allusion has been made in a quotation given earlier to Sankara’s re-emergence from Kailasa. This is the version of Markandeya Samhita and Anantanandagiri, supported also by Sadasivendra Brahman. According to this version, disappearing from the world of men from Varanasi for sometime, he re-emerged from Sivaloka in Kailasa with five Sivalingas and the Soundaryalahari, one of the great works on the Divine Mother attributed to him. He travelled all over India again on another Dig-vijaya and established these Sivalingas in different places and finally settled in Kanchi, where he attained Siddhi.

Describing this great event, Dr. T. M. P. Mahadevan says in his Introduction to the Madras University edition of Anantanandagiri’s text: “In Kanchi, the mokshapuri, Sankara during the last moments of his life directed Sureswara of the Indra-saraswati Order to send the Moksha-linga to Chidambaram and then transformed his gross body through Yogic process to subtle form, finally culminating in omnipresent consciousness that is absolute bliss.” He quotes Anantanandagiri’s verse, the purport of which is “Sankaracharya, the grantor of liberation to spiritual aspirants, is there present even today as the all-pervading consciousness.” Dr. T. M. P. Mahadevan finds further proof for these events in the abundance of ancient sculptures of Sankaracharya in and about Kanchi as listed by him in the Introduction to the recently published Madras University edition of Anantanandagiri’s Sankara-vijaya.

The attainment of Siddhi at Kanchi is further corroborated by Sivarahasya, a voluminous text of the Siva cult dealing with all the devotees of Siva, which is also quoted in the Madras University edition of Anantanandagiri. It has, however, to be remarked that, as pointed out by T. S. Narayana Sastri (pp. 287 of his work The Age of Sankara), there are conflicting readings on this point in different manuscripts of the text of Sivarahasya. In one it is: misran tato lokam avapa saivam. In another it is: misran sa kancyam. In still another it is: Kancyam Sive! tava pure sa ca siddhim apa. Evidently texts have been manipulated by interested Pandits, creating a very confusing and suspicious situation. This view cannot, therefore, be accepted as conclusive as some adherents of it seem to hold.

There are further insuperable difficulties in accepting Anantanandagiri’s work as a proof of this theory at all. A little textual criticism of the work will make the point clear. In the edition of it, recently published by the University of Madras under the editorship of Dr. Veezhinathan, the birth of Sankara is thus described: “In the beautiful land of Kerala, there is a prominent village called Kaladi, and at that place dwelt a wise man named Sivaguru, the son of Vidyathiraja. The great Siva, desirous of blessing the world, entered by his spiritual glory into his wife, who had become great and holy by her austerities. She bore a foetus whose splendour resembled the sun and it was delivered at an auspicious moment.” This in main outline is in agreement with the version given by all literature on Sankara.

But the first ever published edition of this work gives an entirely different version. Below is given this version from the 2nd chapter of Anantanandagiri’s Sankara-vijaya published by the Baptist Mission Press in 1868 under the editorship of Navadweepa Goswami and Jayanarayana Tarkapanchanana: “In the world there is the famous Akasalinga of Siva, the all-pervading Deity, in the place called Chidambaram. There many Brahmanas inhabited, and among them, in a family of very learned men, was born a leading Brahmana named Sarvajna. He had a wife named Kamakshi who was possessed of all auspicious qualities. By meditating on the Lord of Chidambaram, this couple had a famous daughter named Visishta, who from her early girlhood delighted herself by meditation on Siva and was devoted to the knowledge of the Divine. In her eighth year her father Sarvajna married her to one named Visvajit. But she, Visishta, always continued to look upon as her Lord (Pati) the Non-dual Being Siva installed in the Akasalinga at Chidambaram, and performed worship and meditation on Him with added and awe-inspiring devotion. Finding her to be of this nature, Visvajit (her husband) abandoned her and resorted to the forest to perform austerities as a hermit. Since then the girl Visishta pleased the Lord of Chidambaram by her wholehearted worship and meditation. That Deity, although perfect in every way, entered into the lotus face of that girl to the astonishment of all others who saw it. Possessed of that great and awe-inspiring power of the Lord, Visishta became veritably Ambika (Siva’s consort) Herself. She was thenceforth worshipped and served by all including her parents. As months passed, the foetus in her developed day by day, and after the third month, the great Brahmanas did the appropriate rituals, taking the Lord of Chidambaram as Yajamana (in this case for the performance of the rituals which the husband of the girl is to perform). On the attainment of the tenth month, out came from the womb of Visishta the great God Siva under the name of Sankaracharya. At that time a rain of flowers was showered from the heavens, and the Devas sounded for long their musical and percussion instruments like Dundubhi and the rest.”

Now, in Dr. Veezhinathan’s edition, the above text is given as a footnote. He has not given sufficient reason for discarding it. From the rather unclear reference to manuscripts he has given in his Introduction, this version seems to be supported by five manuscripts (B.Mss.) and an earlier printed version published by Jivananda Vidya Sagara and printed at Sarasudhanidhi Press at Calcutta in 1881. He has not, however, referred to the still earlier Calcutta edition of 1868, quoted herein above, probably because the book was not available to him. As against this, he refers to ten manuscripts (A.Mss.) as supporting his version. Probably many of these manuscripts of both groups may be copies only, and from the numbers, their authenticity cannot be ascertained. Besides, several of them are not complete also. Dr. Veezhinathan, however, concludes that the texts maintaining Chidambaram being the birth place of Sankara form a later interpolation, on the basis of the citation of Achutaraya Modak and of an article of W. R. Antarkar on Anantanandagiri’s text in the Journal of the Bombay University, September 1961. The discussion is in no way conclusive. Considering that equally great scholars unconnected with later controversies have adopted the other version so early as 1868, the importance of it cannot be so easily minimised. The Editors of the 1868 edition, Navadweep Goswami and Jayanarayana Tarkapanchanana, have stated in their Preface that ‘their edition had been prepared in the light of three texts they could get—one in Nagari letters which was procured with great difficulty; another in Telugu characters procured with equal difficulty; and still another in Bengali alphabets made on the basis of the above texts’. There is no reason why this text should not be given at least an equal place of importance as the one edited by Dr. Veezhinathan. According to the text of the Calcutta edition, Anantanandagiri is giving the history, not of ‘Adi-Sankara who was born at Kaladi’, but of a Sankaracharya ‘who was born immaculately to Visishta of Chidambaram’, who continued to live at Chidambaram itself, took Sannyasa there, and who went on Dig-vijaya tours that are entirely different from the routes that Adi-Sankara is supposed to have taken in several of the other Vijayas. This Sankara is very largely concerned with reforming the various cults that prevailed, in the country and very little with philosophy. The controversy with Mandana, which is one of the most glorious episodes in Adi-Sankara’s life, finds a casual mention in the form of a synopsis. In this, as also in entering into Amaruka’s body and in the writing of the Bhashyas, the two Sankaracharyas are mixed up. According to the Calcutta edition also, he finally attains Siddhi at Kanchi as in the one edited by Dr. Veezhinathan. But the point that comes out of the Calcutta edition is that it is the ‘Chidambaram Sankara, the son of Visishta’, and not the ‘Adi-Sankara of Kaladi that attains Siddhi at Kanchi. So Anantanandagiri's text cannot be taken as a conclusive evidence or settled proof of Adi-Sankara's final resting place. It is only one of traditions supported by some manuscripts. There is every possibility that this Chidambaram Sankaracharya is the Abhinava-Sankara whom even modern scholars have mistakenly identified with Adi-Sankara and given 788 A.D. as his time. Besides, Anantanandagiri, the author, calls the hero of his work his Parama-guru (his teacher's teacher). This makes the matter all the more confusing. For, no one has recorded that Adi-Sankara or his disciples had a disciple called Anantanandagiri. Anandagiri (quite different from Anantanandagiri) was Sankara’s disciple, and the Prachina-Sankara-vijaya attributed to him (a book quite different from Anantanandagiri’s) is not available anywhere now. The point that we want to make out by these critical remarks is that it is not very desirable to take a dogmatic position on such points where no final view is possible with the existing information. The best that can be said is that it is one of the traditions.

Still another place which claims the honour of being the last resting place of Sankara is Vrishachala -- the Siva temple at Trichur, from the Deity of which place he is supposed to have had his origin. This is the view of Sankara-vyaya of Govindanath, also known as Acharya-charita. Govindanatha, who claims his work to be based on Vyasachala’s Sankara-vijaya, brings Sankara up to Kanchi at the end of his mission and makes him assume the Throne of Omniscience there at Kanchi, which he seems to identify strangely with Kashmir. He does not, however, allow him to stop there. He takes him further to Trichur (Thiru-siva-perur), from the Siva-Deity of which place (Vrishachala) he had received embodiment. Sankara is supposed to have founded also a Math there, which continues to exist even today as Naduvil-madam, and spent his last days there until he was absorbed in the Divine Essence.

According to Govindanatha, Sankara, on realising that his last day had come, made obeisance to all the Deities in the temple and coming out, sat at a spot and contemplated on the glorious form of Maha Vishnu. Then with the mind overflowing with devotion, he recited a great hymn to Maha-Vishnu known as Vishnu-padadikesa stotra, composed extempore by him. In the midst of this, his spirit left the body, and “merged in the Blissful Essence that is behind the disc of the Sun”. Today a visitor to the Vrishachala (Vadakkunathan) temple at Trichur can see a raised platform with emblems of conch and discus in stone, marking the place where Sankara is supposed to have attained Siddhi.

This theory is criticised by Sri T. S. Narayana Sastri and others on the ground that it is the product of a Keralite with too much of local patriotism and is improbable. This, however, is only a matter of opinion. It is as credible or incredible as any other theory based on Sankara-vijayas. The theory only suffers from the fact that there have been no partisans to highlight it.

Its critics forget that Govindanatha claims that his work is based on Vyasachala’s Sankara-vijaya. On this point Vyasachala only says that Sankara in the end went away to ruciradesam —a place dear to him. What that place is, is anybody’s guess. The place dear to him can possibly be the Siva temple at Vrishachala from which he is said to have had his origin, as Govindanatha seems to interpret it. It may also be Kanchi, or Dattatreya-guha, or Sivaloka.

Another tradition is that Sankaracharya spent his last days in Dattatreya-guha (the cave of the sage Dattatreya). According to Chidvilasa’s Sankara-vijaya this cave is in Badarinarayan. According to this text it was to Badari that Sankara originally went straightway from his home at Kaladi, met his Guru Govindapada, wrote his Bhashyas and stayed until he started on his tour of philosophical debates and controversies. After all his life-work, Chidvilasa brings him back to Badari where he lives until he grows very old and decrepit (Jaijara-vigraha). Then Dattatreya leads him into his abode in a cavern there, from where he goes to Siva’s region. According to Guruvamsa Kavya, it was in Marathawada, at a place called Mahuripuri, that Sankara entered into communion with Dattatreya. This place is known today as Mahur, or Mahuragad. In the Central Railway, there is a line from Murthijapur to Yavatmal. Not far from Yavatmal is Mahur with a temple of Dattatreya.7 [From Sankara-vijayam in Malayalam, by T. C. Narayana Sastri, Alathur.]

We have shown above the confusion prevailing about the place of Sankara’s demise. The same extends to most events of his life, especially about the places where they happened and about the routes he took in his travels. The place of his birth as Kaladi, which is the most undisputed point in his life accepted by almost all the Sankara-vijayas, is given as different at least by one Sankara-vijaya, that of Anantanandagiri, in its Calcutta edition published in 1868. According to this edition he was born immaculately at Chidambaram as the son of Visishta, a theory that has already been discussed earlier. Sivarahasya calls the place of his birth as Sasalagrama in Kerala. One is at a loss to identify that place.8 [If the word Sasalagrama were slightly amended as Sasilagrama, its identity with Kaladi can be easily established. Today the word Kaladi is pronounced with a lengthened ‘a' as Kaaladi. ‘Kaal’ in Malayalam means ‘foot’. Probably this lengthening of ‘a’ may be a modern development, and it might have been known in ancient days as Kal-ati, ‘a’ being short. Kal, with a shortened 'a’ means in Malayalam ‘stone’ and the Sanskrit ‘Sasila’ (with stone) may be taken as its Sanskritisted form.]

Thus, not to speak of the place of his demise, even the place of his birth, which is the one biographical point on which all other Sankara-vijayas are agreed, is disputed at least by one version of what is considered today by many as an authoritative text, namely, that of Anantanandagiri, in its Calcutta edition of 1868.

As pointed out already, this deviation is the result of confusing Adi-Sankara with Abhinava-Sankara, who might have been a native of Chidambaram. The same confusion might have entered into some of the other details connected with the hero of Anantanandagiri’s Sankara-vijaya. For, as already pointed out, the custom of all the Heads of Sankara Maths being called as Sankara-charyas, as if it were a title, and not an individual’s name, was the main cause of much of this confusion of biographical and literary details connected with Sankara. This confusion has got worse confounded by the interference with manuscript copies in the past by the adherents of particular Sankara Maths in order to enhance the prestige and supremacy of the particular institution that patronised them. As a result, we have today only a lot of traditions about Sankaracharya, and he is a foolhardy man, indeed, who dares to swear by any of these traditions as truly historical and the others as fabricated. Choice in such a situation can only be subjective.

Unquestionable History of Sankara

In this confused situation, Madhava’s Sankara-dig-vijaya has one outstanding superiority over all other available literature of that kind. As a poem it justifies itself as truly the product of a Nava-Kalidasa (a modern Kalidasa), as the author describes himself in his composition. And as a profound and penetrating exposition of some of the moot points in Advaita metaphysics, dressed in a poetical style that is as attractive to literary men as to philosophers, it can be described as a unique philosophical and historical poem. It has stood the test of time, and it will stand for all time, in spite of interested hostile criticism, which the author himself has anticipated and answered in the opening verses of the first canto. Whatever the uncertainties might be about biographical details, the historicity of Sankaracharya stands on the following firm foundations: In spite of all the differences among authorities on some important details of his life, the main outlines of it stand clear, as we have shown at the beginning of this essay. The differences in details only vary round these common factors representing different traditions. There is also his impress on most of the great temples and holy places of India, where he lived, preached, renovated edifices, and contributed so immensely to their holy traditions that his name and doings have become almost legendary, creating an image that has remained indelible on the Indian mind. Above all, there are his great commentaries on three source books of Vedanta, the Vedanta Sutras, the Upanishads and the Bhagavad Gita. Rightly does Dr. Radhakrishna offer the tribute of the Indian mind to the personality of the great Acharya in the following most beautiful and effective words in his book on Indian Philosophy: “The life of Sankara makes a strong impression of contraries. He is a philosopher and a poet, a savant and a saint, a mystic and a religious reformer. Such diverse gifts did he possess that different images present themselves, if we try to recall his personality. One sees him in youth, on fire with intellectual ambition, a stiff and intrepid debator; another regards him as a shrewd political genius (rather a patriot) attempting to impress on the people a sense of unity; for a third, he is a calm philosopher engaged in the single effort to expose the contradictions of life and thought with an unmatched incisiveness; for a fourth, he is the mystic who declares that we are all greater than we know. There have been few minds more universal than his.”

SWAMI TAPASYANANDA

BIBLIOGRAPHY

1. Madhava-Vidyaranya’s Sankara-Dig-Vijaya: Anandasrama Sanskrit Series.

2. Translation of the above into Malayam, metre to metre: by T. Subrahmanyan Tirumumpu, P. O. Palikode, Kerala.

3. Anantanandagiri’s Sankara-Vijaya: Madras University Philosophical Series No. 16.

4. —do— Calcutta Edition (1868): Baptist Mission Press, Calcutta.

5. Vyasachala’s Sankara-Vijaya: Madras Govt. Oriental Manuscript Series No. 24.

6. Chidvilasa’s Sankara Vijaya Vilasa: Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan’s Research Organ, Vol. XXXIII, Nos. 1 to 4.

7. Govindanatha’s Acharya-Vijaya: Published by K. N. Divakaran Nambudiri,  ‘Hari-Vihar', Fort, Trippunithura, Kerala.

8. T. S. Narayana Sastri’s The Age of Sankara: M/s. B.G. Paul & Co., Francis Joseph. St., Madras-1.

9. S. S. Suryanarayana Sastri’s Sankaracharya: M/s G. A. Natesan & Co., Madras.

10. N. Ramesan’s Sri Sankaracharya: M/s. Bhavanarayanaswami Temple, Ponnur. A. P.

11. T. C. Narayana Sastri’s Scmkara-Vijaya (in Malayalam): M/s. Sitarama Kalyanamandapam Trust, Bank Road, Alathur, Kerala.

12. P. Ramasastrigal’s The Mutts Founded by Sankara: B. G. Paul & Co., Madras.

13. Dr. S. Radhakrishnan’s History of Indian Philosophy: M/s. George Allen and Unwin Ltd., London.

14. S. Sathianathier’s History of India: M/s. Ananda Book Depot, McNichols Road, Madras-31.

15. Ullur S. Parameswara Iyer’s Kerala-Sahitya (in Malayalam): Kerala University, Trivandrum.

16. A. G. Krishna Warrier: Sankara's Brahma-sutra-bhashya (translation in Malayalam): Kerala University, Trivandrum.
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Part 4 of 4

CANTO 9: ESTABLISHING THE CLAIM TO BE THE MASTER OF ALL LEARNING

The Correct Interpretation of Jaimini


(1-3) Though the words of the great Sannyasin, expounding the words of the Veda in such a clear and cogent way, put an end to Mandana’s desire for controversy, he still had one doubt uncleared owing to his fanatical devotion to the path of Vedic rituals. He said: “O great Sannyasin! Defeat in debate is something new for me. Still it does not depress me. But alas! That the teachings of Jaimini have been refuted, is a matter of great concern for me. Jaimini is one who knew all about the past, present and future. He knows the true purport of the Veda. He also stands for the good of all the worlds. How could he, the greatest among ascetics, then formulate a false body of teachings in his Sutras?”

(4—15) To Mandana who expressed his doubt thus, Sankara said: “The sage has not committed any mistake. The trouble lies in this, that we of little understanding are not able to grasp his ideas correctly.” Mandana thereupon requested: “I would like you to expound the meaning of Jaimini’s work, which you say even scholars have failed to grasp. If it is convincing, I shall accept it without the least sense of pride of learning or position.” Sankara said: “Though himself a person of supreme knowledge, the sage was aware of the fact that the vast majority of people, swimming in the ocean of Samsara, are not capable of striving for that knowledge immediately. So they have to be gradually prepared for it, and for this, as a means of preparatory discipline, he has formulated his teachings in his Sutras. His Sutras are therefore quite meaningful. The Vedas have laid down: ‘Following the Vedas, Brahmanas seek Him through Yajna, charity and austerity.’ So, in the pursuit of Moksha, Vedic injunctions connected with these have a place. Jaimini has only formulated them in a systematic way. His ultimate goal is Moksha.” Mandana then questioned: “True, Vedic passages are those which teach various actions that will lead to generation of certain fruits. Passages that do not do so are of no significance. Jaimini, who made a Sutra to this effect—how could he be understood to be devoted to an already existing entity like Brahman, which is not the fruit of any action?” Sankara answered: “The Veda is no doubt non-dualistic in its purport. But the attainment of Atman-consciousness can be looked upon as the fruit of certain courses of discipline laid down in the Vedas. In order that men may become devoted to those disciplines, the sage formulated his doctrines supporting actions, so that men may become purified through these and may become fit to understand the teachings on Non-duality. Mandana thereupon argued: “If Jaimini had accepted the Veda as concerned with the description of the already existing Brahman, then how could he accept that Karma in itself could give fruits, and that acceptance of an Iswara or God is superfluous?” Sankara replied: “The followers of Kanada say that, by reasoning, we see that an effect must have had a cause. Through this reasoning we can infer that, the world being of the nature of an effect, it must have had a cause. That cause is God. To arrive at God, this kind of reasoning is sufficient. No Vedic authority is needed. The Vedic sentences on this subject are merely confirmation of what is obtained by reason. Such is the view of Kanada and several others. But the Vedas, on the other hand, declare that Brahman is known through the Upanishads only. How can then the view of Kanada that even without the Veda, through reasoning alone, God is known be accepted? Jaimini refuted, by his arguments, a God of this type, obtained through reason alone, as the cause of creation and its destruction. His refutation of such a God is in no way different from our way of thinking. Without understanding this, even scholars have stated that Jaimini is a Nastika (atheist), although, in fact, he is one of the greatest of the knowing ones. But such misunderstanding does not affect his greatness in any way. It is as inconsequential as the owl's misunderstanding of day as night and night as day.

(16-23) This exposition of the true import of Jaimini's teaching by Sankara received thankful approbation from Mandana, his wife and the assembled scholars. Still Mandana, in order to have his doubt cleared completely, thought of the sage Jaimini in his heart. That very moment Jaimini appeared in the sight of them all, said as follows: “Good-hearted Mandana! You need not have doubt about the authenticity of the commentary that Sankara has produced. What this great Sannyasin said here just now, that indeed is the underlying purport of my Sutras. He has an insight into my true ideas; and so also he had an insight into the meaning of the Vedas and all Sastras. Who else but he deserves to be called a knower of the past, present and future? My teacher was Vyasa; from him I learnt the Vedas, which have got the revelation of Sat-chid-ananda as its purport. How can I, who gathered wisdom at the feet of that Vyasa, compose even a single Sutra that goes against his ideas? So abandon all your doubts, and know this secret: This Sannyasin Sankara is verily Siva embodied as man in order to help ignorant humanity to overcome the bondage of Samsara. First, Kapila gave the spiritual gospel to mankind. In Tretayuga, Dattatreya did the same thing. Next, Vyasa revealed the supreme knowledge. In this age of Kali, it is Sankara that has come to give the saving knowledge to humanity. The Saiva Puranas speak of his glory in such terms. Accepting his doctrines, get across the ocean of Samsara.” Enlightening the assembled people in this way, and after embracing Sankara mentally, the great sage disappeared. And Mandana, the greatest among the adherents of the sacrificial cult, now prostrated himself before Sankara, and said as follows:

Mandana in Praise of Sankara

(24-43) I have come to understand that though Thou art of the nature of Pure Consciousness, yet for the sake of ignorant men, Thou hast assumed this human body, just as Thou, the First Cause, abandonest the state of equipoise when it becomes necessary to do so at the start of the creative cycle. On the head of the Upanishads shines as its crest jewel the word Eka (one without a second). See for example such passages as (1) atma va idam ekam agra asit (2) brahma va idam agra aslt ekam eva (3) sadeva soumya idam agra asit (4) ekam eva advittyam brahma, and so on. Thou didst protect this crest jewel, the doctrine of the unity of all existence, with ‘Tat tvam asi' for Thy weapon. Had it not been for Thy efforts, this precious crest jewel, the very word 'eka', would have been shattered to pieces, falling into the deep pit dug by the preachings of the Tathagata (Buddha). A sleeping man sometimes thinks that he is awake, but actually he continues to sleep and see other dreams. Those teachers who claim they are illumined, but continue to maintain that Moksha consists in residence in some other world after death — they are indulging in the same kind of absurdity as such sleeping men. So, O Great Teacher, the doctrines of these teachers are ridiculed by Thy disciples who had overcome the sleep of Maya. Even in the so-called liberated state of those who support the ultimacy of duality, great sorrow can again occur as in Samsara. But in the liberation Thou preachest, which is without any trace of duality, there is no possibility of any subsequent misery. It is eternal, beyond the world of change, and of the nature of pure Existence-Consciousness-Bliss. Hanumat merely discovered Sita, the consort of Rama, who was none but Parabrahman, in the midst of the Rakshasa women of Lanka; for this he has become so famous. But Thou hast brought out that Brahman Himself, cutting open the abdomen of the Rakshasa woman of Avidya who had swallowed Him. How much more does Thy glory then deserve to be praised! O Merciful one! O Remover of the world’s woes! It was without knowing Thy greatness that I spoke all sorts of things to Thee sometime back. Deign to pardon me for it. In determining the meaning of the Vedas, even great sages like Kapila and Kanada laboured under mistaken notions. Except Thou, who art an aspect of Siva, none could know their true meaning. When the nectarine light of wisdom emitted by Thy moonlike face is illumining the understanding of men, the dense darkness of Kapila’s, Kanada’s and Jaimini’s teachings can by no means overcast the minds of men with gloom and impurity that are the natural products of such teachings. When all the country is occupied by the new Yavanas (kings following non-Vedic religion), who delight in breaking the divine image and in slaughtering the bounteous cow of the Vedas, where is the talk of Mukti for those who live as their subjects under the most humiliating conditions? But now, there are springing up here and there men who, following Thy teachings, live untouched by the evils of Kali and devoted to the Supreme Being. Hence my fears are perhaps misplaced. To the Vedas, which had fallen into a fainting fit due to the poison inflicted on them by spurious interpreters, Thou hast given a new lease of life by the shower of nectar that Thy powerful writings have proved to be. Thou hast restored to them their dignified status and enhanced their worth in the eyes of men. O Great One! But for the cooling moonlight of Thy teachings, mankind would have had but little relief from the burning heat of Samsara. Hurled by Vedic ritualism into the pit of Samsara, I got lost in ritualistic observances and love of home, wife and children; but I have now found in you a saviour who has graciously lifted me up from that pit. It must be as a result of great austerities practised by me in lives past, that I have got this good fortune of association with Thee, who art none but the Supreme Being—His grace incarnated as man. Only in men with a background of great meritorious deeds will the tree of spiritual life take real roots. Control of mind is the sprouting leaf-bud of that tree; control of senses, its tender foliage; contentment, its blossoms; forbearance, its nectar; and faith, its fruit. Thy teachings, which inculcate all these excellences of spiritual life, become available only to men who have great merits to their credit. Fortunate indeed are those who could dip in the waves of mercy surging on the river of Thy gracious looks. It is what gives liberation to men in bondage, as also the fulfilment of their aspirations even to the Devas. Let those who find delight in the embrace of women, waste their time in love sports of their choice, while hypocritically pretending to be men of nobility and learning. It is only those whose boat of life gets wafted on the waves of the unique ocean of Thy teachings that deserve the name of scholars or great men. Thy teachings are like a necklace of splendrous pearls, strung on the golden thread of sound reasoning and scattering the darkness of ignorance by their brilliance. Really wise men delight in wearing this rare necklace. The damsel of Vidya prefers to be the hand-maid of such men than of the Devas. May true scholars be delighted by the study of Thy works and attain reputation thereby! May the pseudo-scholars, blinded by the brilliance of Thy thoughts, withdraw into obscurity like owls in daylight! And may those who dive deep into Thy teachings and practise them in life, become illumined and get steeped in the ocean of undivided Bliss-Consciousness! O Great Acharya Sankara! Service of Thee is the heavenly garden of Nandana; thoughts on Thee and Thy teachings, the wish-yielding Kalpaka tree of heaven; meditation on Thee, the flowering branches of that tree; and hymns in praise of Thee, the heavenly Ganga. Those who resort to Thee thus find in Thee a veritable heaven, and care a straw for the heavenly abode of Indra. Therefore, here am I resolved to abandon everything precious in life—disciples, home, wife, wealth and the rest—and to take refuge at Thy feet. I am Thy servant, awaiting Thy orders.”

Ubhaya-Bharati’s Challenge

(44-57) As Mandana finished his hymn of praise, Bhagavan Sankara looked at Ubhaya-bharati, the wife of Mandana. That intelligent lady, having come to understand the mind of Sankara, now said as follows: “O Great Sannyasin! I have understood what you have in mind. In fact, from my very early life I had come to know about my future from the predictions of an ascetic. Now, may you and others in this assembly be pleased to hear it. While I was at home with my mother, an ascetic of imposing personality, wearing matted locks as black as clouds, having sacred ashes smeared all over his body, and holding an ascetic’s Yogadanda in his hand, visited our house. My mother received him with all honour due to an august personage. After offering a seat, she requested him, with due respect and humility, to enlighten her on my future. She said: ‘I am concerned very much to know something about the future of my daughter. A great ascetic like you can know everything about the past and the future. Out of mercy for their devotees, personages like you are always pleased to reveal to them what is hidden behind the curtain of the future. How long will my daughter live? What sort of a man will she wed? How many children would she have? Will she live a happy life, having plenty of wealth and performing many holy sacrifices?’ The sage, after closing his eyes in meditation for a minute, began to disclose many secrets about the past and the future. He said, When the path laid down by the Vedas is about to be obliterated by the criticisms of hostile thinkers, Brahma will be born on earth as the scholar Mandana for the resuscitation of the Vedic way of life. Just as Lakshmi became the consort of Vishnu, this daughter of yours will become the consort of Mandana, and will happily live long in the world, blessed with wealth, children and opportunities of performing many Yagas (sacrifices). Then, in order to resuscitate the doctrines of the Vedanta, which constitutes as it were the head of the Vedas, and which will be almost obliterated by the criticisms of powerful hostile thinkers, God Siva Himself Will grace this earth in a human form. Now your daughter’s husband will have to meet in debate this Siva-incarnation in the form of' a Sannyasin. Defeated in the debate, your daughter’s husband will have to renounce the household life and follow his Master as a Sannyasin.’ All that the sage predicted has come literally true. How can my husband, therefore, fail to become your disciple, O Great One! But please remember, you have not gained complete success over my renowned husband, as I am his better half. Before you make him your disciple, you have to defeat me also in debate. Though you are the master of all learning and are an embodiment of divinity, I have nonetheless a desire to debate with you.”

(58-72) Hearing these wise and deeply significant words of that learned lady, the wife of the leader of the sacrificial cult in those times, Sankara, the great Sannyasin, said, “You say that you want to enter into a wordy controversy with me. But then, you are a woman. It is not proper to fight with women, be it with words only.” To this Ubhaya-bharati replied, “What difference does it make whether a controversialist, who challenges you and attacks your doctrines, is a man or a woman? The duty of a controversialist is to defeat his opponent whoever it might be. Look at the ancient examples of Yajnavalkya debating with Gargi and of Janaka with Sulabha. The reputation of those sages was in no way affected adversely by entering into controversy with women.” Hearing her very persuasive words, Sankara, the learned Vedic scholar, was very much pleased, and decided upon entering into a debate with that wise woman. A very closely argued debate between them followed, filling the minds of all assembled scholars with wonder at the tremendous flow of learning coming from both the contestants. In point of sound reasoning and beauty of expression, the performance of both of them excelled the skill and the learning of even Adisesha, Brihaspati and other great sages. For seventeen days this protracted debate continued day and night, the only break being for the performance of each one’s daily duties. Ubhaya-bharati found that the Sannyasin was invincible in Vedic lore, philosophies and other Sastras. Then a new idea struck her. She thought: ‘This great Sannyasin took to ascetic life from his very boyhood, and has been observing the vow of continence throughout life. Surely, he had no occasion to live with women and master the science of love between the sexes. I shall now take advantage of his ignorance in this respect and try to gain victory over him.’ Resolving thus in mind, she challenged the Sannyasin this wise: “Discuss with me the science and the art of love between the sexes (Kusumastra-sastram). Enumerate its forms and expressions. What is its nature and what are its centres? How does it vary in the sexes during the bright and dark fortnights? What are its manifestations in man and woman?” At this, Sankara sat silent for a while, revolving the various issues in his mind. He was on the horns of a dilemma; if he did not take up the challenge, his claim to be the master of all learning would be compromised, if he directly entered into a discussion on the subject, it would go against the Dharma of a Sannyasin, as he is not expected to concern himself with the love of the sexes.

"On the Horns of a Dilemma" -- The source is Greek, and probably the easy association with two horns of a bull made this a figure of speech centuries ago.


Though he had some theoretical knowledge of this topic also, he professed ignorance in order to observe the Sannyasin’s code of conduct, and said: “Give me a month’s time. It is a practice among controversialists to ask for notice. After an interval of a month, I shall meet you again, and then you will give up your pride of proficiency in the science of sex-love, too.”1 [The character of Ubhaya-bharati, known also as Sarasavani in other Sankara-vijayas, is a very intriguing one. To have challenged a mighty personage like Sankara for debate, to have held him at bay for several days, to have discovered the only vulnerable point in him to be his ignorance of Kama-sastra (the science of sex-love) because of his having become a Sannyasin from boyhood, and to have questioned him on this topic in that assembly of learned men -- bespeak as highly of her learning, of her intelligence and daring. According to the historians of India’s social development, by the post-Upanishadic period, the higher education of women had come to be discouraged and gradually discarded. Evidence of this is reflected even in Sankara’s own writings. In his commentary on Brihadaranyaka Upanishad (6.17) where Sankara comments on a passage inculcating a ritual to be performed by one who wishes to have a learned (Pandila) daughter, he remarks that Pandita here cannot mean learned’ in the ordinary sense of the term, because Vedic study is denied to women; it must, therefore, be interpreted as ’skilled in household management’. The mythical technique of the authors of Sankara-vijayas overcomes the incongruity they saw in the character of Ubhaya-bharati by recognising her as an incarnation of Saraswati, the Goddess of learning. Even without going for such a theological explanation, we can understand the situation by accepting that the views on women’s position and education recorded in Smritis, which form the authority for historians to base their conclusions, did not have uniform application for a vast country like India. In different parts of the country different conditions might have prevailed, and the Smritis reflect only local situations, or the view of individual thinkers on social matters.]

The Propriety of acquiring Knowledge of Sex-love discussed

(73-78) On her agreeing to this proposal, Sankara, along with his disciples, left the place. By his Yogic power, he and his disciples were travelling through air, when they came across the dead body of a king who in majesty looked like another Indra, the king of the Devas. His body was surrounded by ladies in tears and by ministers and officers with faces sorrow-stricken and downcast. The king had gone ahunting to the forest the previous night, and in the course of the hunt happened to fall unconscious under a tree and die on the spot. Seeing the dead body of this king, Sankara said to his disciple Padmapada (also known as Sanandana): “Here lies dead the renowned king Amaruka, having more than a hundred wives of exquisite beauty. I am thinking why I should not enter into the body of this king and revive it by Yogic power, and thus live in his palace amidst these women through his body in order to gain knowledge of sex-love and achieve the status of an all-knowing person. I shall thus have an opportunity to make a direct study, as a witness, of the manifestation of love in women and their behaviour under its influence.”

(79-88) In reply to this proposal of the great Sannyasin, Padmapada gave his cautious reply as follows: “There is nothing unknown to an omniscient personage like you. Yet, I shall speak a few words out of my love for, and devotion to you. It seems, in days of yore, a great Yogi named Matsyendra, entrusting his own body to his disciple Goraksha, entered into the body of a dead king and thereby got access into his palace'. While the Yogi thus reigned as the king, prosperity attended that kingdom. Timely rain brought bounteous harvests. Observing all this, it occurred to his ministers that some great soul must have entered into the dead body of the king. So they advised his consorts to use all their amorous skill to keep the king completely absorbed in love sports, so that he might not leave the body. The king got so immersed in the emotional display of these women, their amorous advances, soft laughter, sweet songs and lovely dances—that he forgot everything about Samadhi and spiritual matters, and behaved exactly like a sensuous man. Coming to know of the change that had come over his teacher, the disciple Goraksha, after duly preserving his teacher’s body in a secure place, came disguised as a dance instructor and got access to the inner apartment as a dancing instructor for women. He attracted the king’s attention, and by instructing him about spiritual truth, he destroyed the king’s thirst for sense enjoyments. By regaining his power of Yoga, Matsyendra was able to leave the king’s body and re-enter his own. From this it is seen how strong and irresistible sense attraction is. Besides, to abandon the vow of Brahmacharya is sinful, too. All these of course are matters too well-known to you. How great and how unparalleled in excellence are our holy vows, and how ignoble and wretched is sexuality? If a personage of your type goes after the latter, the whole world will get degraded by following your example. The Dharma of Sannyasins is already at a low ebb, and it has been your life-work to re-interpret and restore it to its pristine purity. All these are matters very well known to you. It is only love of you that prompts me to speak in this vein.”

(89-100) After Padmapada finished, Sankara who excelled Brihaspati himself in learning, spoke thus: “What you have said is only a partial appraisal of the situation. Now, hear the whole truth about it. In one who is absolutely non-attached, desire for sense enjoyment will not arise. This was the case with Sri Krishna when he lived with the Gopis. The continence of one who knows the Yogic practice of Vajroli will remain unbroken. Sankalpa, the brooding imaginative association, is the cause of desires. I am without that failing, even like Maha-Vishnu. One who is without any Sankalpa may live in Samsara without being affected by it; for the real root of Samsara has already been destroyed. The commandments and prohibitions of scriptures are applicable to men in ignorance who live with the deep-rooted conviction that their body is their self. In the case of one who has realised even here that the Self, which is called ‘he’, is without all contacts and is the relationless and eternally pure spirit—of one who is established in this supreme teaching of the Vedanta—the commandments and prohibitions of Sastras have no application. There is only clay in all pots that are made of clay. Similar is the ease with all objects born of Paramatman. He and the world supposed to be born of Him are not different, the world having no existence apart from Him. How can one who realises the whole World as a mere appearance, be affected by anything? If a person Performs Yagas and Yajnas in dream, will he derive any benefit from it? All fruits are non-existent for one who has realised the world as a mere appearance. Let a hundred Yagas be performed, or let hundreds of men be killed. Neither the good nor the bad effects of such actions will affect a knowing one in the least, as he has no sense of agency with regard to all actions flowing through his instrumentality. The Upanishads say that not a hair of Indra was affected, though he killed Trisiras, the son of Twashta, and offered the bodies of ascetics as food for wolves. The Vedas also say that though king Janaka performed many Yajnas and charities, he did not get further embodiment to enjoy the fruits of these; for, by virtue of his knowledge he was absorbed in the Bliss of Paramatman forever. A true knower will thus be free from all sinful effects, like Indra, and from enjoyable fruits like Janaka. For he is free from any sense of good and evil. So, even if I indulge in the enjoyment of sex-love with this body, no evil will result from it. However, in order that the world may not be misled in respect of virtuous conduct by observing my example of a Sannyasin indulging in the practice of sex-love, my proposal is to gain the experiences of sex-life through the body of another person whose dead body I am going to enliven by temporarily identifying myself with that body.”


Sankara Entering the Body of the Dead King

(101-109) After announcing his resolution through these words of wisdom, Sankara ascended by Yogic power to the top of a steep mountain peak which no man would ordinarily climb, and said to his disciples: “Here is a secure cave, and round about you get a rocky and level plateau. Nearby is a lake of crystalline waters surrounded by trees burdened with luscious fruits. So long as I reside in another suitable body for the study of sex-love through experience, you must carefully preserve in this cave the lifeless body of mine that will be left with you.” So saying, the great one left his gross body lifeless in the cave, and shifted his own subtle body into the gross body of the dead king. Releasing his Prana functioning in the body from foot to head and conveying it out through the Brahmarandra in the head, the Acharya, who was a master of Yoga, came out of his own body and entered into that of the dead king through the Brahmarandhra in the head of that body and permeated the whole of it up to the toe. At once the heart of the dead king began to beat; his eyes opened; and, before long, he sat up. First his face brightened; then he began to breathe in the natural way; next he began to move his limbs; and finally he opened his eyes and stood up when he gained his full strength. Seeing their husband, the king, revive, his wives surrounding the body, greeted him with joyous cries and brightened faces, just as the sun is greeted at dawn by a lake with the faces of innumerable lotus buds in bloom and the joyous cries of water birds residing in it. In surprise, the ministers now found the women of the royal household in great joy, with the king standing in their midst. Great was their excitement on getting back their master. They ordered the sounding of trumpets, conchs and other musical instruments so as to celebrate the joy of the whole community, and the deafening sounds of the instruments reverberated from heaven and earth alike.

CANTO 10: ACQUIREMENT OF KNOWLEDGE OF SEX-LOVE1 [There are many who object to the subject matter of this chapter, because it depicts Sankaracharya in the midst of women. But they forget that it is king Amaruka and not Sankara who is actually involved in it. Reference may be made to the reply given by Sankara himself on this subject in chapter 16, dealing with his ascension of the Throne of Omniscience. As the subject matter has been dealt with by a great sage like Vidyaranya, we have given almost a full translation. No one can vouch for the historicity of these events. It may even be taken as an Arthavada (an eulogy) to convey powerfully the idea of the absolute unaffectedness of a Knowing One like Sankara.]

(1-10) Next various propitiatory and auspicious rites were performed by priests for the king’s welfare. Then accompanied by his friends and the ministers, the king went in procession on an elephant’s back to his city. After pacifying his sorrow-stricken subjects, the king, along with his ministers, ruled the kingdom like Indra over the heavens, receiving the tribute and respect of all feudatory rulers. While the great Sankara began to rule the kingdom through the body of Amaruka, his astute ministers began to feel some doubts about the identity of their master and spoke thus among themselves: “It is by the rare good fortune of the people of this land that the king has come back to life from the jaws of death. But he now looks a changed man. Unlike in earlier days, we find all divine virtues manifest in him. He is now like a Yayati to people who approach him for favours; in power of speech he is like the Guru of the Devas; to opposing kings he is like the great hero Arjuna; and in learning he is like Siva Himself. We find in him an abundant manifestation of rare qualities: he is unyielding in valour, unperturbed in adversity and unparalled in liberality. Surely he looks a fragment of Divinity itself. In orchards and wooded groves, trees are bearing flowers and fruits in all seasons. Cows and buffaloes are yielding plentiful milk. Timely rain has resulted in bumper crops. And all people are adhering to the proper discharge of their allotted duties. Though the age of Kali in which we live is an evil age, in this land our king seems to have inaugurated a virtuous age excelling the age of Treta itself. It looks, therefore, that some divine personage has entered into the body of our king, and it is due to his power that all these changes in this country have taken place.” So they concerted certain measures that would prevent that great personage from leaving the king’s body and returning to his own. They gave secret orders to their subordinates that wherever any human dead body was to be found, no matter whose it was, they should seize it and burn it immediately.

(11-18) After a time the king entrusted the administration of the kingdom to a cabinet of ministers and confined himself to the inner apartments to spend his time in the company of his handsome women, the like of whom could not be found in the palace of any other king. In clean and cool crystalline halls he engaged himself continuously in all forms of amorous indulgences with these charming and responsive women—in playing at dice with them offering various forms of sexual indulgences as wager; in drinking wine in golden cups from their hands and making them drink the same; in impressing kisses on their faces having half-closed eyes, emitting fragrant breaths and speaking honeyed words; and in holding their bare bodies in tight embrace forgetting everything else in the thrill of concentrated joy. Serving well the bodies of these women—their bosoms, his teachers in the study of sex-love—he, standing as a witness in the king’s body, observed closely all the centres and expressions of amorous gratification. By his life in their company, he understood the nature of the joy that sex love gives; but, for him, (Sankara who had enlivened the king’s body) it was only a shadow, a perversion, of that Brahmic Bliss in which his mind was ever immersed. To others it looked that the king, as in olden days, was enjoying the company of women; but what he was really doing was to observe and study the principles of sex-love in a practical way with the help of experts in it. Besides, he studied during this time the Sutras that the sage Vatsyayana had made on this subject together with all the commentaries on the same, and also produced a new work of great profundity on the theme, bearing the name of Amaruka.


Disciples' Reflections

(19-23) While Sankara, the great Sannyasin, was, thus gathering these experiences through the king’s body, his disciples who were guarding his lifeless body began to murmur about their apprehensions among themselves, seeing that the appointed time for their Master’s return had already passed. They said: “He had said that he would be away for a month. It is now five or six days past that period. Is it that the Acharya is not gracious enough to give us his guidance and protection even after this long period? What are we to do now? Where shall we search for him? To whom shall we communicate this news? Even if we search over the land up to the limits of the sea, how can a person who has entered into some other body in some unknown place be found out? If our merciful teacher is to desert us, why should we live any longer? We have abandoned hearth and home depending on him as our saviour. His holy personage dispels the massive sins of all, roots out man’s infatuation for sense enjoyments, and establishes him in spiritual bliss. May our heart’s allegiance be ever for him, whom the animal nature in man can never contaminate!”

(24-29) Then they began to give expression to their deep sorrow individually. One disciple said: “Our teacher is like a tree, of virtues bearing numerous excellences as fruits; he is an assemblage of all the glories revealed in the Vedas; he is an embodiment of metaphysical insight; he is the repository of all Yogic powers; his wealth is his knowledge of the Self and his inseparable wife, supreme Peace. When will he, who has attained oneness with all beings, again bless us by his presence?” Another disciple said: “May I forever get shelter at the feet of that great Sannyasin who has put down the pride and audacity of evil men and also extinguished the fire of mundane sufferings for pious men:” Still another disciple said: “May I cross the sorrows of life by meeting again that holy personage, by resorting to whom even the dullest of men can get over the infatuation of Maya." A fourth disciple said: “He bestowed on me the non-dualistic consciousness, dispelling the darkness cast by the beginningly Avidya (ignorance), and imparted to me that power of discrimination to distinguish the true from the untrue and the good from the bad. When will he come again to clear the confusion caused by the false arguments of of sophistical thinkers?" A fifth disciple said: “You on whom the state of Nirvana is an attendant even in your embodied state, you whose stirring words have always disputed and dissipated the evil tendencies of those who have taken refuge at your feet -- if you, O my teacher, do not make your appearance immediately, I shall have to stand the ridicule of all good men who will be traducing you. Save me from that unbearable predicament!”

(30-35) Then Padmapada (alias Sanandana), who knew full well the greatness of the teacher, spoke the following meaningful words for restoring courage into the hearts of his sorrow-stricken co-disciples: “Friends! Enough of weeping and wailing. We shall now search for him everywhere, be it on earth, in the netherworld or in the heavens, just as we search for the Supreme Being hidden in men, gods and other beings. If one works hard, even very difficult things can be achieved. In ancient times, the Devas procured Amrita (ambrosia) overcoming, through assiduousness, the apparently insurmountable difficulties that faced them. It is, indeed, very difficult to identify one who has entered into another s body. Still, there is a way for this, too. You can find him out by his excellences which will surely be expressed through his assumed body, just as the moon, even when swallowed by Rahu, reveals his presence through Rahu’s body. In order to master the science of sex-love, that great one of fiery splendour, of absolute self-control and of pristine purity untouched by sexuality, has entered into the body of a king for the sake of facilities for association with the fair sex.

“Wherever a personage of that type, fully satisfied in the Self, goes, there the people, too, become happy and peaceful; ailments and miseries cease to afflict them; theft, duplicity and exploitation disappear from the land; performance of Swadharma becomes natural to man; and the land is blessed with a plentiful harvest due to timely rain. Therefore, without spending more time in vain talk, let us go out in search of our great teacher whose feet are the resort of people who want to cross the ocean of Samsara.


Disciples Entering the Palace as Musicians

(36-44) All the disciples heard the words of Padmapada with great respect and attention. Quickly they decided that a few should remain on the spot to guard the holy body, while the rest should start out in search of the great teacher. After crossing many mountains and traversing through many countries, they reached at last the kingdom of Amaruka, which appeared to them to be a heaven on earth because of its prosperity and the joyous life of its people. They heard from the people of the place that their king was considered dead, but that in a very mysterious way his supposedly dead body revived and that, since then, he has been ruling the country with the wisdom of a Prithu or a Dilipa. On hearing this, they came to the conviction that it must be their teacher who was working through the body of the king. Hope returned to their hearts, and they now felt emboldened to pursue their task. They heard that the king was a great lover of music and the company of women. So they assumed the role of musicians and gained access to the palace, where they were invited to give a musical performance, as the palace authorities were convinced that they were experts in that fine art. There, in the music hall of the palace, they saw their teacher surrounded by a bevy of beauties like the moon thronged by the stars. Behind him were handsome women waving the royal chowry with their creeper-like hands to the accompaniment of the sweet sounds produced by their jingling bracelets, and in front were other ladies, experts in music, filling the whole hall with the melodious tunes of their musical instruments. There were still others holding the royal umbrella with a golden handle over his head covered with a gem-studded crown. Though majestic like the king of the gods, he looked in the present setting like the very embodiment of Kamadeva, the god of love. On their entering the music hall, the king showed them their place with a movement of his eyes, and on being ordered by him, they began to sing a song in their melodious voice, closely observing all the rules of the science of music.

(45-55) The burden of the song was this: “O Honeysucker! We, your companion bees, guarding your body on the wooded top of a mountain peak, have long been most anxiously awaiting your return. It seems our anxiety is now at an end. In order to study the science of sex-love, you have been living here, abandoning your own body. O holy one! Taking shelter at your feet and in the hope of having your holy company perpetually, we have followed you, abandoning all other forms of Sadhana, even the worship of Siva at Varanasi. Alas! We have been deceived. O one with moon-like face! How is it that by identification with your present situation, you have continued to stay on here, forgetting all your antecedents? O victor over passions! May you be pleased to be reminded of your higher nature through these words of ours! Rejecting with the help of Vedic dicta like ‘Not this’, ‘Not this’, all the manifest and unmanifest phenomena as unreal, the wise ones arrive at that irreducible Self-nature which cannot be subjected to any further negation. You are that unsublatable Truth. Projecting the limitless universe constituted of the five elements, the Supreme Being resides in it as the Indwelling Spirit. Just as one obtains the grain of rice by discarding the enfolding husk, the wise sages, seeking Him, reject through analysis, the five sheaths of Annamaya, Pranamaya, Vijnanamaya, etc. and arrive at the indwelling Supreme Spirit. You are that Spirit. The senses are like wild horses running uncontrolled along dangerous paths. The wise ones try to bring them under control with the whip of insight into the evil consequences of sense enjoyments and with the reins of discriminative thought. They tie them to the all-controlling Self, the truth declared by the saying ‘Thou art That’ within. Just as one carefully separates the thin and delicate thread of the lotus stalk from its enfolding fibre, so do the wise ones discriminate and separate the Fourth, the Turiya, from the three states of waking, dream and sleep. And ‘Thou art That’ Truth, the Turiya. The Vedas declare, ‘All this is the Atman’ with a view to show that all this effect-world has no existence apart from their cause, the Atman. Just as the golden bracelets, head ornaments, etc., are forms of gold, so, too is the Atman, the Supreme Spirit, the material cause of everything. Apart from Him, the Supreme Cause, nothing exists, and ‘Thou art That’ Supreme Cause. That which shines in this body, that is in the sun; and that which is in the sun, that is within this body too—the knowers of the Veda try in this way to establish the Truth of the unitary Atman, and verily ‘Thou art That’ Atman. The wise ones seek to know the Truth, according to the instructions of the Veda, with intense faith and yearning and with purity attained through the performance of Yajnas, charities, austerities and self-control, and verily ‘Thou art That’ Truth. Seeking which in themselves, spiritual aspirants resort to various disciplines like the practice of the pacification of mind, and attaining which they rise above sorrow and infatuation,— verily ‘Thou art That’ Truth, the Sat-Chit-Ananda.”

(56-60) Hearing this sublime hymn, the king came to the realisation of his duty. Pleased with them, he first dismissed them with rich presents. Having come to a full consciousness of his identity, he withdrew his subtle body from the body of the king, which immediately fell down dead as before in the assembly.

He entered into his own body, lying in the place where he had left it, through the Brahmarandhra as described before, and permeated and enlivened it. But a strange development had, however, just taken place. The king’s emissaries, who had been commissioned to find out all lifeless bodies and burn them, reached the cave where the Acharya’s body was preserved while the disciples on guard were away for their ablutions. They had taken possession of the body, put it on a pyre and just set fire to it, when the Acharya enlivened it. In order to have the fire extinguished, the Acharya recited extempore a great hymn, addressed to Lakshmi-Nrisimha. By the grace of Nrisimha the fire subsided, and he emerged from the cave as the moon comes out of Rahu’s mouth at the end of an eclipse.

(61-72) Sanandana and other disciples immediately surrounded him with an intensity of joy and affection enhanced by this long period of separation from him. The Acharya, who was like Sanaka himself in his spiritual majesty, was now anxious to go to Mandana’s home for finalising the debate. He, therefore, travelled through air to that house, where he found Mandana, now free from that sense of attachment, inordinate pride and self-consciousness, which were born of his former adherence to ritualistic philosophy. As Sankara descended from the skies, Mandana received him with all honour and cordiality, and stood before him with hands in salutation and eyes unwinking, awaiting his command. Mandana, noble-minded and always devoted to the truth, prostrated before him, and holding his feet with his hands, said: “O Master! My house, my body, and everything that is mine, I abandon in your favour.” To the sage, who was thus honoured by Mandana and to whom was offered a throne-like seat in the midst of scholars, Ubhaya-bharati, the wife of Mandana, spoke thus: “O great one! You are that Sadasiva, who is the lord of Brahma and of all the Devas and other beings, as also the master of all learning. O Destroyer of Cupid! That you did not defeat me in debate immediately and that you took all the trouble to master the science of sex-love, were meant only to conform to the ways of the world. That we have met with defeat at your hands is no matter of shame. Great One! What disrepute can accrue to the soft-rayed moon and the stars if their light is suppressed by the fierce brightness of the sun? I have finished my mission, and I am going to my heavenly abode. Give me permission.” And, as Ubhaya-bharati, who was none but Saraswati, was about to disappear from sight, Sankara said to her, “I know that you are Saraswati, the consort of Brahma and the sister of Siva. It is you, who are of the nature of pure consciousness, that has become Lakshmi for the protection of the worlds. I shall, in future, be instituting temples of worship for you in Risyasringa (Sringeri) and other places. I beseech you, Devi Saraswati, to manifest yourself in all those temples, receiving the adoration of devotees and bestowing boons on them.” Agreeing to do so, she disappeared from sight; merging herself in Brahmaloka, while all the people in the assembly hall looked on wondering.


(73-76) Every one was till now thinking that Mandana, who was defeated in argument, would now become a Sannyasin, and his wife would, therefore, be reduced to widowhood. But Mandana, the Acharya, and all the others felt much relieved, as this unpleasant situation would not arise on account of Ubhaya-bharati’s ascension to Brahmaloka. Now Mandana, in pursuance of Vedic injunctions, performed the sacrifice called Prajapatya, offered all his wealth to holy men as presents, mentally installed within himself his Agnihotra fire, and became a follower of the Sannyasin, with all worldly desires and ambitions extinguished. After the great scholar Mandana had performed all the rites for entering into the Order of Sannyasa, Sankara imparted to him the great Vedic sentence 'Tat tvam asi' (Thou art that) for the removal of all his miseries pertaining to transmigratory existence (Samsara). After Mandana had assumed the insignias of Sannyasa, and had ceremonially collected Bhiksha (food gathered as holy offerings from house to house by Sannyasins), the great Bhagavan began to expound to him the truths revealed in the Upanishads, which form the crown of the Vedas.

Instruction on Brahman-Knowledge

(77-102) Sankara instructed him thus: “The real ‘you’ are not the body. For, the body is just an object to you like a pot. To both body and pot, you refer as ‘mine’ (i.e., as ‘my body’, ‘my pot’, etc.). Besides, you speak of the form of the body, its belonging to the human species, etc. Considered thus, it is as much an object as a pot. Yet due to superimposition, I, the subject, gets identified with the body, an object. Just like a pot, the body, too, can be destroyed with another object like itself. In being a mere object, the body stands on a par with all these things of this objective world. Being an object, the body must be something different from ‘yourself'. How can it then be identified with the self, the subject? Nor are you the senses; for, the senses are only instruments of the self, just as a sickle is of a farmer, and so we speak of them as ‘my’ eye etc. In deep sleep the senses are laid aside like any instruments, but the ‘I' persists. So they, too, are objects like a pot. It may be said that the Self is a collection of all the senses. In that case, the destruction of any of the senses should cause the destruction of the Self, which does not happen. If you say that each one of the Indriyas is the Self, then the body, having many masters, cannot function properly and must, therefore, perish. The Atman cannot also be another additional sense similar to the five senses. For, who will then be there to feel the loss of any of the senses as his loss? If the eye is lost, the sense of touch does not feel any loss. Only something behind all the senses and common to all of them, can feel the loss of any of them as his. And that is the Atman, distinct from all the individual senses. Even the mind is not the Atman, because it is only an instrument. For, do we not feel that the mind is absorbed at different times in things that are distinct from us? Besides, in deep sleep we experience the entire disappearance of the mind, while the witness remains. Thus the principle of Consciousness is different from the mind. For the same reason Buddhi (intellect) can also be distinguished and rejected as an instrument of Consciousness. Like the mind, it, too, is found to function in respect of other objects, and in deep sleep it is fully laid at rest. It, too, is, therefore, to be considered merely as an instrument with which Consciousness functions. The Atman is not even Ahamkara, the I-sense. That word itself indicates the Aham or ‘I' to be a Karana or an instrument in the hands of some one higher than it. Again, in deep sleep even the I-sense is not there. Now, the Pranas are present even in deep sleep, in which all other powers and entities subside. Why should not Prana be taken as the Self? It cannot be; because we speak of ‘my Prana’. It must, therefore, be different from the Self. In the sentence 'Tat tvam asi', the entity indicated by the word 'tvam' or ‘you’ indicates the Atman or the spirit in the individual, whereas the entity indicated by 'Tat' or ‘that’ is the cause of the world, Brahman. The sentence signifies the oneness of the entity, to which both the words 'Tvam' and 'Tat' point. Then, is it that this sentence equates an ignorant fool with the Omniscient Being? It is absurd to say that darkness and light are the same. Such a statement contradicts all experience. Well, the absurdity in this is only as in the sentence, Sah ayam puman, ‘He is that man’. There is really no absurdity here, because there is an identity in the person indicated by the two words, in the sentence, ‘he’ and ‘man’. Similarly, the word 'tvam' or ‘you’ is to be taken as referring not to the direct word meaning but to the indirect implied meaning of it, namely, the Spirit behind the directly perceived imperfect individual personality, and 'Tat', the ‘That’, to the Spirit forming the substratum of the mighty universe. The identity asserted is, thus, of the spiritual Essence of both and not of the ignorance of the individual and of the might of the Universal. What harm is there then, in understanding this identity in the indirect sense? The sense that ‘I am the body’ has been acquired and strengthened by indulgence in self-centred work during an infinite past. Abandoning this idea by discriminative intelligence, remain steady in non-dual consciousness and be liberated thereby. Give up this cause of all suffering—the sense of ‘myness’ with regard to this body, which is sure to be consumed by either fire, or insects, or birds, or animals. Give up all thoughts about external objects, and unite your mind in unbreakable union with the Supreme Being. Just as a great fish (maha-matsya) moves from one shore of a lake to another and appears at the different shores, so also the Atman manifests in the three states of waking, dream and sleep. Though associated with these states, the Atman is separate from the states and their happenings, just like that fish. The feeling that you have of identification with the states of waking, dream and sleep is created by the Buddhi superimposing these states on you, who are of the nature of Pure Consciousness. On reflection it is discovered to be like superimposition of a snake or a stick or a crevice on a rope. In reality you are the Brahman Supreme, the fearless. Cast away all infatuation born of misconception. For the wise man, the supreme state of perfection is the nearest of the near. But the ignorant one searches for it outside, conceiving it to be obtainable in far-off regions, although, in truth it is all-pervading and closest to him in being identical with his own nature. Such is the wonderful mystery of Maya. People coming together as members of a family, is only just like many travellers living together for a while in a caravanserai. For a short time they are together, considering themselves bound to one another in intimate relationship, but before long everyone goes his own way. Whatever man does day and night for securing happiness turns out in the end to be a cause of misery. In a mind that has reached the perfection of purity, this truth dawns on the very first hearing of the Vedic sentences relating to it. But in those in whom ignorance is thick, it dawns only gradually through a series of preparatory disciplines like the service of the teacher, meditation on the Pranava, and the performance of duties laid down for the Sannyasin. These will remove the impurities of the mind, and then will take place the awakening into the consciousness of Non-duality. The teacher is verily Siva. Obey his instruction day and night. If he is pleased with the disciple, he will bestow his grace on him. Respect the instructions of the teacher. It is capable of bestowing all excellences on you. It is the one cause of joy. Even if the Deity whom you adore is angry with you, the teacher can save you, but if the teacher is angry, there is none who can. So, do not displease the teacher in the least. Man seeks the supreme ends of life-Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha. He is to seek this, avoiding the forbidden acts and observing the commandments. It is the Guru who gives these prohibitions and commandments, and it is he who removes the evil and bestows the good. Through adoration, God bestows blessings on the votary. It is the teacher who enlightens one as to how this adoration is to be done. Otherwise, how can man come to know the Deity who transcends the senses? If the teacher is pleased, all the deities are pleased. So also, if he is displeased, all deities are displeased. For, the true teacher is one who identifies himself with all the deities. He ensouls everything.”

Sankara travels on his Spiritual Mission

(103-107) Having thus received instruction on the nature of the Atman, the disciple prostrated himself before Sankara and said, “O great teacher! By your grace, ignorance has been dispelled, and I have become blessed.” Mandana was given the name of Sureswara—a name that came to be favoured by the guardian Dames of the Quarters and was to be known far and wide in times to come. Attaining to the position of the chief disciple of Sankara, he remained in a state of blessedness that was superior even to that of Brahma, the creator. Immersed in the study of, and reflection on, Vedanta, and thereby poised ever in the blessed Self, Sureswara, noted among the egoless saints, lived many days on the banks of the Narmada. Sankara, the most gracious of all teachers, having thus brought the celebrated Mandana into his own fold, started again on his mission of eradication of false doctrines, and went southwards, witnessing the beauty of dense forests full of trees in blossom and resonant with the hum of honey-seeking bees.

(108-119) He passed through the Maharashtra country, where he propagated his doctrines and controverted false creeds and cults until, stage by stage, he reached the great place of pilgrimage, Srisaila. That wooded place, so dear to Siva, was pleasant with the breeze blowing through the thick growth of trees and bearing the fragrance of jasmine flowers that grew on the creepers winding round the branches of those trees. It was also full of huge lions that battled with elephants and smashed their foreheads. Near Srisaila was a holy river whose bosom was always tossed into high waves. The Acharya went to that river and took his bath in its holy waters. Srisaila had high peaks that kissed the skies. Birds were flying aloft about its breast while the holy river was washing its feet. Sankara now ascended this mountain and saw the great Sivalinga installed on it. He worshipped that image of Siva called Mallikarjuna-linga along with that of Bhramarambika, His divine consort. This holy place was the spot where Arjuna, the Pandava, did penance to propitiate Siva and was blessed by Him after He had humbled his (Arjuna’s) pride. Sankara stayed for a time on the banks of the holy river, enjoying its crystalline waters and the cool shade of the flowering trees standing on its banks. During his sojourn there, he expounded his commentaries, noted for their delightful style and their profound ideas leading to the salvation of man, to scholars who were eager to learn the same from him. While Sankara was thus elucidating these commentaries and establishing their supremacy by the refutation of other systems of thought, some prominent Saivas and Vaishnavas of the place, who showed hostility to Vedantic thought, were defeated in argument by the Acharya’s principal disciple Sureswara. Some of them, who were without pride and animosity, gave up their creed and joined the Acharya, while others, whose hostility and pride made them forget prudence and commonsense, still adhered to their beliefs, biding their time for the Acharya’s death. “Vedanta is the teaching of some low-born men. The Veda is pure imagination,”—thus condemning the Veda, these men cultivated intense hatred for Sankara as Paundraka did towards Sri Krishna. It is certain that they, too, would in the end meet with the same fate as Paundraka. To those who studied the great teachings of Sankara, the philosophies of Kanada and Kapila seemed childish; the Saiva doctrines looked unholy; the Sakta teachings appeared perverse; the Vaishnava creeds sounded self-contradictory; and the Buddhistic philosophies looked contemptible. The teachings of all these schools appeared as mere fairy tales, and not serious philosophic thought. As Sankara continued his merciless refutation of all hostile creeds and philosophies, the teachings of the Tathagata became lifeless, the school of Kumarila became silent, the Naiyayika philosophy became weak and paralysed, and Kapila’s system also followed suit.
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Madan Lal Dhingra
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Madan Lal Dhingra
Born: 18 February 1883, Amritsar, Punjab, British India
Died: 17 August 1909 (aged 26), London, England, United Kingdom
Organization: India House
Movement: Indian independence movement

Madan Lal Dhingra (18 February 1883 – 17 August 1909) was an Indian revolutionary, pro-independence activist.[1] While studying in England, he assassinated William Hutt Curzon Wyllie,[2] a British official.

Early life

Madan Lal Dhingra was born on 18 February 1883 in Amritsar, India, in an educated and affluent Punjabi Hindu Arora family. His father, Dr. Ditta Mal Dhingra, was a civil surgeon, and Madan Lal was one of seven children (six sons and one daughter). All six sons, including Dhingra, studied abroad.[3]

Dhingra studied at Amritsar in MB Intermediate College until 1900. He then went to Lahore to study at the Government College University. Here, he was influenced by the incipient nationalist movement, which at that time was about seeking Home Rule rather than independence. Dhingra was especially troubled by the poverty of India. He studied the literature concerning the causes of Indian poverty and famines extensively, and felt that the key issues in seeking solutions to these problems lay in Swaraj (self-government) and Swadeshi. He found that the industrial and finance policies of the colonial government was designed to suppress local industry and favour the purchase of British imports, of which he felt was a major reason for the lack of economic development in India. Dhingra embraced with particular fervour the Swadeshi movement, which was about encouraging Indian industry and entrepreneurship while boycotting British (and other foreign) goods.

In 1904, as a student in the Master of Arts program, Dhingra led a student protest against the principal's order to have the college blazer made of cloth imported from Britain. He was expelled from the college for this. His father, who held a high, well-paying position in government service and had a poor opinion of agitationists, told him to apologise to the college management, not to participate in such activities again, and prevent (or revoke) the expulsion. Dhingra refused, and chose not even to go home to discuss matters with his father, but to take a job and live as per his own wishes. Thus, following his expulsion, Dhingra took a job as a clerk at Kalka at the foot of the Shimla hills, in a firm that ran a Tanga carriage service to transport British families to Shimla for the summer months. After being dismissed for insubordination, he worked as a factory laborer. Here, he attempted to organise a union, but was sacked for making the effort. He moved to Bombay and worked there for some time, again at low-level jobs. By now, his family was seriously worried about him, and his elder brother, Dr. Bihari Lal, compelled him to go to Britain to continue his higher education. Dhingra finally agreed, and in 1906, he departed for Britain to enroll at University College, London, to study mechanical engineering.[3] His elder brother paid for his expenses.

With Savarkar

Main article: India House

Dhingra arrived in London a year after the foundation of Shyamaji Krishnavarma's India House in 1905. This organization was a meeting place for Indian revolutionaries located in Highgate.[3] Dhingra came into contact with noted Indian independence and political activists Vinayak Damodar Savarkar and Shyamji Krishna Varma, who were impressed by his perseverance and intense patriotism which turned his focus to the independence movement. Savarkar believed in revolution and inspired Dhingra's admiration in the cult of assassination.[3] Later, Dhingra became distant from India House and was known to frequent a shooting range on Tottenham Court Road. He joined, and had a membership in, a secretive society, the Abhinav Bharat Mandal founded by Savarkar and his brother Ganesh.

During this period, Savarkar, Dhingra, and other student activists were outraged by the 1905 Partition of Bengal.

Dhingra was disowned for his political activities by his father Gitta Mall, who was the Chief Medical Officer in Amritsar, who went so far as to publish his decision in newspaper advertisements.[4]

Curzon Wyllie's assassination

Several weeks before assassinating Curzon Wyllie, Dhingra had tried to kill George Curzon, Viceroy of India. He had also planned to assassinate the ex-Governor of Bengal, Bampfylde Fuller, but was late for a meeting the two were to attend could not carry out his plan. Dhingra then decided to kill Curzon Wyllie. Curzon Wylie had joined the British Army in 1866 and the Indian Political Department in 1879. He had earned distinction in a number of locations including Central India and above all in Rajputana where he rose to the highest rank in the Service. In 1901 he was selected to be Political Aide-de-Camp to the Secretary of State for India. He was also the head of the Secret Police and had been trying to obtain information about Savarkar and his fellow revolutionaries.[5] Curzon Wyllie was said to have been a close friend of Dhingra's father.[4]

On the evening of 1 July 1909, Dhingra, along with a large number of Indians and Englishmen had gathered to attend the annual 'At Home' function hosted by the Indian National Association at the Imperial Institute.[3][6] When Sir Curzon Wyllie, political aide-de-camp to the Secretary of State for India, was leaving the hall with his wife, Dhingra fired five shots right at his face, four of which hit their target. Cawas Lalcaca[7] (or Lalkaka), a Parsee doctor who tried to save Sir Curzon, died of Dhingra's sixth and seventh bullets,[3] which he fired because Lalcaca had come between them.[5]


Dhingra's suicide attempt failed and he was overpowered.[5] He was arrested immediately by the police.[3]

Trial

Dhingra was tried in the Old Bailey on 23 July. He represented himself during his trial but did not recognize the legitimacy of the court.[3] He stated that his assassination was done in the name of Indian independence and that his actions were motivated by patriotism.[3] He also stated that he had not intended to kill Cawas Lalcaca.[5] He was sentenced to death. After the judge announced his verdict, Dhingra is said to have stated: "I am proud to have the honour of laying down my life for my country. But remember, we shall have our time in the days to come". Madan Lal Dhingra was hanged on 17 August 1909 at Pentonville Prison.[3] He also made a further statement, which is rarely mentioned.

Statement of Dhingra before Pronouncement of Verdict

"I do not want to say anything in defence of myself, but simply to prove the justice of my deed. As for myself, no English law court has got any authority to arrest and detain me in prison, or pass sentence of death on me. That is the reason I did not have any counsel to defend me. And I maintain that if it is patriotic in an Englishman to fight against the Germans if they were to occupy this country, it is much more justifiable and patriotic in my case to fight against the English. I hold the English people responsible for the murder of 80 millions of Indian people in the last fifty years, and they are also responsible for taking away £100,000,000 every year from India to this country. I also hold them responsible for the hanging and deportation of my patriotic countrymen, who did just the same as the English people here are advising their countrymen to do. And the Englishman who goes out to India and gets, say, £100 a month, that simply means that he passes a sentence of death on a thousand of my poor countrymen, because these thousand people could easily live on this £100, which the Englishman spends mostly on his frivolities and pleasures. Just as the Germans have no right to occupy this country, so the English people have no right to occupy India, and it is perfectly justifiable on our part to kill the Englishman who is polluting our sacred land. I am surprised at the terrible hypocrisy, the farce, and the mockery of the English people. They pose as the champions of oppressed humanity—the peoples of the Congo and the people of Russia—when there is terrible oppression and horrible atrocities committed in India; for example, the killing of two millions of people every year and the outraging of our women. In case this country is occupied by Germans, and the Englishman, not bearing to see the Germans walking with the insolence of conquerors in the streets of London, goes and kills one or two Germans, and that Englishman is held as a patriot by the people of this country, then certainly I am prepared to work for the emancipation of my Motherland. Whatever else I have to say is in the paper before the Court I make this statement, not because I wish to plead for mercy or anything of that kind. I wish that English people should sentence me to death, for in that case the vengeance of my countrymen will be all the more keen. I put forward this statement to show the justice of my cause to the outside world, and especially to our sympathisers in America and Germany."

[8]


Madan Lal Dhingra Statement in Original

Verdict of court

While he was being removed from the court, he said to the Chief Justice – "Thank you, my Lord. I don't care. I am proud to have the honour of laying down my life for the cause of my motherland." [9]

Reactions

Guy Aldred, the printer of The Indian Sociologist, was sentenced to twelve months hard labor. The August issue of The Indian Sociologist had carried a story sympathetic to Dhingra. Dhingra's actions also inspired some of the Irish, who were fighting to establish an independent Ireland.

Political activist Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi condemned Dhingra's actions. Speaking on the matter, he said:

It is being said in defence of Sir Curzon Wyllie’s assassination that...just as the British would kill every German if Germany invaded Britain, so too it is the right of any Indian to kill any Englishman.... The analogy...is fallacious. If the Germans were to invade Britain, the British would kill only the invaders. They would not kill every German whom they met.... They would not kill an unsuspecting German, or Germans who are guests. Even should the British leave in consequence of such murderous acts, who will rule in their place? Is the Englishman bad because he is an Englishman? Is it that everyone with an Indian skin is good? If that is so, there should be [no] angry protest against oppression by Indian princes. India can gain nothing from the rule of murderers—no matter whether they are black or white. Under such a rule, India will be utterly ruined and laid waste.[10]


After Dhingra went to the gallows, The Times of London wrote an editorial (24 July 1909) titled "Conviction of Dhingra". The editorial said, "The nonchalance displayed by the assassin was of a character which is happily unusual in such trials in this country. He asked no questions. He maintained a defiance of studied indifference. He walked smiling from the Dock."

Although the response to the assassination in Britain was one of outrage, admiration for Dhingra's act was privately expressed by David Lloyd George and Winston Churchill, who is reported to have called Dhingra's statement "[t]he Finest ever made in the name of Patriotism".[11]

Last words from gallows

The following are said to be Madan Lal Dhingra's last words, just before he died at the gallows:

I believe that a nation held down by foreign bayonets is in a perpetual state of war. Since open battle is rendered impossible to a disarmed race, I attacked by surprise. Since guns were denied to me I drew forth my pistol and fired. Poor in wealth and intellect, a son like myself has nothing else to offer to the mother but his own blood. And so I have sacrificed the same on her altar. The only lesson required in India at present is to learn how to die, and the only way to teach it is by dying ourselves. My only prayer to God is that I may be re-born of the same mother and I may re-die in the same sacred cause till the cause is successful. Vande Mataram! ("I praise thee mother!")[5]


Remembrance

Image
Madan Lal Dhingra on a 1992 stamp of India.

After his execution, Dhingra's body was denied Hindu rites and buried by the British authorities. His family having disowned him, the authorities refused to turn over the body to Savarkar. Dhingra's coffin was accidentally found while authorities searched for the remains of Shaheed Udham Singh, and repatriated to India on 12 December 1976.[5] His remains are kept in one of the main squares, which has been named after him, in the city of Akola in Maharashtra. Dhingra is widely remembered in India today, and was an inspiration at the time for revolutionaries such as Bhagat Singh and Chandrasekhar Azad.

There was a demand from some groups that his ancestral home be converted into a museum.[12] However, his descendants refuse to acknowledge his legacy and refused to participate in events organised to honour his death in August 2015.[4] The family sold his ancestral house and refused an offer to purchase it made by BJP leader Laxmi Kanta Chawla who intended to turn it into a museum.[4]

In popular culture

In the movie Veer Savarkar, actor Pankaj Berry portrayed Madan Lal Dhingra.

See also

• India House

References

1. Chandra, Bipan (1989). India's Struggle for Independence. New Delhi: Penguin Books India. pp. 144–145. ISBN 978-0-14-010781-4.
2. Nehru, Jawaharlal; Nand Lal Gupta (2006). Jawaharlal Nehru on Communalism. Hope India Publications. p. 161. ISBN 978-81-7871-117-1.
3. "Madan Lal Dhingra". The Open University. Retrieved 19 March 2016.
4. "Family continues to boycott Madan Lal Dhingra, even as country celebrates his martyrdom". The Indian Express [P] Ltd. 18 August 2015. Retrieved 19 March 2016.
5. Godbole, Dr Shreerang. "Madan Lal Dhingra: A lion hearted National hero". Hindu Janajagruti Samiti. Retrieved 19 March 2016.
6. EJ Beck, Open University, Retrieved 27 July 2015
7. General Register Office. "England and Wales Death Registration Index 1837–2007". FamilySearch. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Retrieved 29 May 2016. Cawas Lalcaca, 1909, St. George Hanover Square, London, England
8. Old Bailey Proceedings Online (http://www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 8.0, 07 September 2020), July 1909, trial of DHINGRA, Madar Lal (25, student) (t19090719-55)
9. "MADAR LAL DHINGRA,. Killing > murder, 19 July 1909".
10. The Indian Opinion Archived 1 January 2007 at the Wayback Machine, 14 August 1909
11. Bandhu, Vishav. The Life And Times Of Madan Lal Dhingra. Prabhat Prakashan. ISBN 9788184302295.
12. Bagga, Neeraj (18 February 2012). "Youth bodies demand national memorial status for house of martyr Madan Lal Dhingra". The Tribune. Retrieved 1 March 2012.

Sources

• Laurence, John (1930). A History of Capital Punishment, London, Sampson Low, Marston, & Co.
• Waraich, Malwinder Jit Singh & Kuldip Puri (2003). Tryst with Martyrdom: Trial of Madan Lal Dhingra (July–August 1909), Chandigarh: Unistar, ISBN 81-86898-72-7.

Further reading

• Finn, Pat (2017). Homicide 1909. Amazon. ISBN 978-1981514502.

External links

• The trial of Madan Lal Dhingra. The Proceedings of the Old Bailey, 1674–1913. Old Bailey Online.
• Case of Madar Lal Dhingra. Black Kalendar.
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Bankim Chandra Chatterjee
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 4/29/21

Image
Bankim Chandra Chattapadhyay
Native name: বঙ্কিমচন্দ্র চট্টোপাধ্যায়
Born: 27 June 1838, Naihati, Bengal Presidency, British India (present-day West Bengal, India)
Died: 8 April 1894 (aged 55), Calcutta, Bengal Presidency, British India (now Kolkata, West Bengal, India)
Occupation: Writer, poet, novelist, essayist, journalist, government official
Language: Bengali, English
Alma mater: University of Calcutta
Literary movement: Bengal Renaissance
Notable works: Durgeshnandini; Kapalkundala; Devi Chaudhurani; Ananda Math; "Vishabriksha"; Vande Mataram"

Bankim Chandra Chatterjee or Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay, CBE[citation needed] CIE (27 June 1838[1]–8 April 1894)[2] was an Indian novelist, poet and journalist.[3] He was the composer of Vande Mataram, originally in Sanskrit, personifying India as a mother goddess and inspiring activists during the Indian Independence Movement. Chattopadhyay wrote fourteen novels and many serious, serio-comic, satirical, scientific and critical treatises in Bengali. He is known as Sahitya Samrat (Emperor of Literature) in Bengali.

Biography

Chattopadhyay is widely regarded as a key figure in literary renaissance of Bengal as well as the broader Indian subcontinent.[3] Some of his writings, including novels, essays, and commentaries, were a breakaway from traditional verse-oriented Indian writings, a and provided an inspiration for authors across India.[3]

Chattopadhyay was born in the village of Kanthalpara in the town of North 24 Parganas, Naihati, in an orthodox Bengali Brahmin family, the youngest of three brothers, to Yadav Chandra Chattopadhyaya and Durgadebi. His ancestors hailed from Deshmukho village in Hooghly District.[4] His father, a government official, went on to become the Deputy Collector of Midnapur. One of his brothers, Sanjib Chandra Chattopadhyay was also a novelist and is known for his book "Palamau". Bankim Chandra and his elder brother both went to Hooghly Collegiate School (then Governmental Zilla School), where he wrote his first poem. He was educated at the Hooghly Mohsin College and later at Presidency College, Kolkata, graduating with a degree in Arts in 1858. He later attended the University of Calcutta and was one of two candidates who passed the final exam to become the school's first graduates.[5] He later obtained a degree in Law in 1869. Following his father's footsteps, Bankimchandra joined the Subordinate Executive Service. In 1858, he was appointed a Deputy Magistrate (the same type of position held by his father) of Jessore. After merging of the services in 1863, he went on to become Deputy Magistrate & Deputy Collector, retiring from government service in 1891. His years at work were replete with incidents that brought him into conflict with the colonial government. He was, however, made a Companion of the Most Eminent Order of the Indian Empire (CMEOIE) in 1894.[6] He also received the title of Rai Bahadur in 1891.

Literary career

Chattopadhyay's earliest publications were in Ishwar Chandra Gupta's weekly newspaper Sangbad Prabhakar.[7] He began his literary career as a writer of verse before turning to fiction. His first attempt was a novel in Bengali submitted for a declared prize. He did not win and the novelette was never published. His first fiction to appear in print was the English novel Rajmohan's Wife.[8] Durgeshnondini, his first Bengali romance and the first ever novel in Bengali, was published in 1865.[9]

One of the many novels of Chattopadhyay that are entitled to be termed as historical fiction is Rajsimha (1881, rewritten and enlarged 1893). Anandamath (The Abbey of Bliss, 1882) is a political novel which depicts a Sannyasi (Hindu ascetic) army fighting a British force. The book calls for the rise of Indian nationalism. The novel was also the source of the song Vande Mataram (I worship my Motherland for she truly is my mother) which, set to music by Rabindranath Tagore, was taken up by many Indian nationalists, and is now the National Song of India. The plot of the novel is loosely set on the Sannyasi Rebellion. He imagined untrained Sannyasi soldiers fighting and defeated the highly experienced British Army; ultimately, however, he accepted that the British could not be defeated. [10] The novel first appeared in serial form in Bangadarshan, the literary magazine that Chattopadhyay founded in 1872. Vande Mataram became prominent during the Swadeshi movement, which was sparked by Lord Curzon's attempt to partition Bengal into a Hindu majority West and Muslim majority East. Drawing from the Shakti tradition of Bengali Hindus, Chattopadhyay personified India as a Mother Goddess known as Bharat Mata, which gave the song a Hindu undertone.[11]

Image
Bankim Chandra Chatterjee on a 1969 stamp of India

Chattopadhyay's commentary on the Bhagavad Gita was published eight years after his death and contained his comments up to the 19th Verse of Chapter 4.[12]

Quotes

• Once Ramakrishna Paramahansa Deb, playing on the meaning of Bankim (Bent A Little), asked him what it was that had bent him. Bankim Chandra jokingly replied that it was the kick from the Englishman's shoe for he was a well-known critic of the British government.
• After the Vishabriksha (The Poison Tree) was published in 1873, the magazine, Punch wrote:

"...You ought to read the Poison Tree
of Bankim Chandra Chatterjee."[13]


Bibliography

Fiction


• Durgeshnandini (March 1865)
• Kapalkundala (1866)
• Mrinalini (1869)
• Vishabriksha (The Poison Tree, 1873)
• Indira (1873, revised 1893)
• Jugalanguriya (1874)
• Radharani (1876, enlarged 1893)
• Chandrasekhar (1875)[14]
• Kamalakanter Daptar (From the Desk of Kamlakanta, 1875)
• Rajani(1877)
• Krishnakanter Uil (Krishnakanta's Will, 1878)
• Rajsimha (1882)
• Anandamath (1882)
• Devi Chaudhurani (1884)
• Kamalakanta (1885)
• Sitaram (March 1887)
• Muchiram Gurer Jivancharita (The Life of Muchiram Gur)

Religious Commentaries

• Krishna Charitra (Life of Krishna, 1886)
• Dharmatattva (Principles of Religion, 1888)
• Devatattva (Principles of Divinity, Published Posthumously)
• Srimadvagavat Gita, a Commentary on the Bhagavad Gita (1902 – Published Posthumously)

Poetry Collections

• Lalita O Manas (1858)

Essays

• Lok Rahasya (Essays on Society, 1874, enlarged 1888)
• Bijnan Rahasya (Essays on Science, 1875)
• Bichitra Prabandha (Assorted Essays), Vol 1 (1876) and Vol 2 (1892)
• Samya (Equality, 1879)

Chattopadhyay's first novel was an English one, Rajmohan's Wife (1864) and he also started writing his religious and philosophical essays in English.

References

1. "History & Heritage". north24parganas.gov.in. Archived from the original on 1 November 2017. Retrieved 27 June 2018.
2. Merriam-Webster's Encyclopedia of Literature. Merriam-Webster. 1995. p. 231. ISBN 978-0-87779-042-6.
3. Staff writer. "Bankim Chandra: The First Prominent Bengali Novelist", The Daily Star, 30 June 2011
4. Chattopadhyay, Sachishchandra, Bankim-Jibani, 1952, Pustak Bipani, p 9
5. Islam, Sirajul (2012). "Chattopadhyay, Bankimchandra". In Islam, Sirajul; Jamal, Ahmed A. (eds.). Banglapedia: National Encyclopedia of Bangladesh (Second ed.). Asiatic Society of Bangladesh.
6. "Bankimchandra Chattopadhyay – Penguin Books India". Archived from the original on 28 November 2011. Retrieved 26 January 2012.
7. Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay (Chatterjee), from BengalOnline.
8. Mukherjee, Meenakshi (1 January 2002). Early Novels in India. Sahitya Akademi. ISBN 9788126013425.
9. "Literary lion - Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay: The Statesman Notebook". The Statesman. 8 July 2019. Retrieved 29 January 2021.
10. "किसकी वंदना है वंदे मातरम – Navbharat Times". Navbharat Times. 28 January 2012. Retrieved 11 February 2018.
11. Mazumdar, Aurobindo (2007). Vande Mataram and Islam. Mittal Publications. ISBN 9788183241595.
12. Minor, Robert (1986) Modern Indian Interpreters of the Bhagavad Gita. State University of NY press. ISBN 0-88706-298-9
13. Lemon, Mark; Mayhew, Henry; Taylor, Tom; Brooks, Shirley; Burnand, Sir Francis Cowley; Seaman, Sir Owen (1885). "London Charivari". Punch Publications Limited.
14. https://bn.wikisource.org/wiki/%E0%A6%A ... 8%E0%A7%A6

Further reading

• Ujjal Kumar Majumdar: Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay: His Contribution to Indian Life and Culture. Calcutta: The Asiatic Society, 2000. ISBN 81-7236-098-3.
• Walter Ruben: Indische Romane. Eine ideologische Untersuchung. Vol. 1: Einige Romane Bankim Chattopadhyays iund Ranbindranath Tagore. Berlin: Akademie Verlag, 1964. (German)
• Bhabatosh Chatterjee, Editor: Bankimchandra Chatterjee: Essays in Perspective (Sahitya Akademi, New Delhi) 1994.

External links

• Media related to Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay at Wikimedia Commons
• Quotations related to Bankim Chandra Chatterjee at Wikiquote
Wikisource has the text of the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica article Chatterji, Bankim Chandra .

• Works by Bankim Chandra Chatterji at Project Gutenberg
• Works by or about Bankim Chandra Chatterjee at Internet Archive
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Anandamohan Bose
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 4/29/21

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Anandamohan Bose
Born: 23 September 1847, Mymensingh, British India (now in Bangladesh)
Died: 20 August 1906 (aged 58). Calcutta, Bengal Presidency, British India (now in Kolkata, West Bengal, India)
Alma mater: University of Cambridge
Occupation: Politician, academician, social reformer, lawyer
Known for: Co-founder of Indian National Association
Political party: Indian National Congress
Spouse(s): Swarnaprabha Bose

Ananda Mohan Bose (Bengali: আনন্দমোহন বসু) (23 September 1847 – 20 August 1906) was an Indian politician, academician, social reformer, and lawyer during the British Raj. He co-founded the Indian National Association, one of the earliest Indian political organizations, and later became a senior leader of the Indian National Congress. In 1874, he became the first Indian Wrangler (a student who has completed the third year of the Mathematical Tripos with first-class honours) of the Cambridge University. He was also a prominent religious leader of Brahmoism and with Sivanath Sastri a leading light of Adi Dharm.[1][2]

Early life

Ananda Mohan was born at Jaysiddhi village in Mymensingh District of Bengal province in British India (in Itna Upazila of Kishoreganj District of present-day Bangladesh). His father was Padmalochan Bose and mother was Umakishori Devi. He passed his entrance examination from the Mymensingh Zilla School under University of Calcutta and got first division in 1862. He passed his F.A. and B.A. examination from the Presidency College, Calcutta and secured first position in both the examination. In 1870, he went to England for higher education along with Keshab Chandra Sen. Ananda Mohan Bose studied mathematics at the University of Cambridge from 1870.[3] He earned a First Class degree and was the first Indian wrangler. While in Britain, Bose also studied to become a barrister and was called to the Bar in 1874.[3] In 1870, he received the Premchand Roychand studentship.

Anadamohan and the Sadharan Brahmo Samaj

Anandamohan was a supporter of Brahmo Dharma from his student life. He was officially converted to Brahmo religion along with his wife Swarnaprabha Devi (sister of Jagadish Chandra Bose) by Keshab Chandra Sen in 1869. The young members of Brahmo Samaj differed with Keshab Chandra Sen regarding matters like child marriage, running of the organisation and various other matters. As a result, on 15 May 1878 he, along with Shibnath Shastri, Sib Chandra Deb, Umesh Chandra Dutta and others founded the Sadharan Brahmo Samaj . He was elected its first president. On 27 April 1879 he founded the Chhatrasamaj, the student's wing of the Sadharan Brahmo Samaj movement. In 1879, he founded the City College, Calcutta, as an initiative by the movement.

His political and educational contributions

Anandamohan was the founder of City School and City College in Kolkata. He founded the Students' Association with an objective of promoting nationalism among the students and along with Surendranath Banerjee and Shibnath Shastri organised regular lectures. He was also associated with Calcutta University and was elected a member of Education Commission. He protested against changing the composition of Educational Service.

Anandamohan was interested in politics from his student days. While in England, he founded "India Society" along with a few other Indians. He was also associated with "Indian League" founded by Sisir Kumar Ghosh. He was the secretary of "Indian Association" till 1884 and was its president throughout his lifetime. He protested against acts like Vernacular Press Act and the reduction of the maximum age for Indian Civil Service Examination. He presided in the protest meeting against Partition of Bengal held at Federation Hall in 1905, where his address was read by Rabindranath Tagore due to his ill health.

References

1. Islam, Sirajul (2012). "Bose, Ananda Mohan". In Islam, Sirajul; Jamal, Ahmed A. (eds.). Banglapedia: National Encyclopedia of Bangladesh (Second ed.). Asiatic Society of Bangladesh.
2. Ananda Mohan Bose Britannica.com.
3. "Ananda Mohun Bose profile". The Open University website. Retrieved 26 August 2019.
• Ananda Mohan Bose W.B.P.C.C. website

External links

• Ananda Mohan Bose Profile at Indian National Congress website
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