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Vacaspati and His Philosphy: A Rare Book
Vacaspati and His Philosphy: A Rare Book
Description
Foreword

Enticing language and sound argument ever appearing as fresh and convincing place Vcaspati on a high pedestal in the philosophical arena of ancient and mediaeval India. Vacaspai has always 'a sharp eye on his limitations as a commentator so as not to overstep the philosophical periphery drawn by the universally accredited rare genius like Sankaracarya. Only in three cases Vacaspati has been compelled to differ from Sankaracarya-under sutra 1.1.15, 2.1.15 and 2.4.18-19. Amalananda, the super-commentator on Vacaspati's Bhamai], has accepted this stance of Vacaspati to the extent that he (Amalananda) was ready to call Vacaspati an author of a Varttika since the author of a Varttika enjoys the right to differ on certain points on the strength of arguments.

It is a reality that had vacas,Pati not commented upon Brahmasutra-bhzsya the depth of Sankara's talent would have remained, to a great extent, unexplored and unfathomed. Although Padmapada, 41 direct disciple of Sankara, comments on this bhasya, Vacaspati's efforts have been hailed and greeted by all sections of Advaitins owing essentially to the fact that Padmapada's commentary, Poacapddika, stops at the close of only the fourth aphorism, and a host of 551 aphorisms remains unexplained. Prakasatmayati's Poncapodika-vivaranam on Padmapada's Poncapadika is doubtless regarded as a landmark in the history of Advaita literature, and scholars are in the habit of reading these two works together signifying thereby their integral unity leading to the admittance of a separate school or' prasthana as opposed to Bhamati-Prasthana initiated by Vacaspati.

When later Advaitins were confronted with the opposition of the Dualistic schools, they found the potentiality of meeting all challenges in this Vivarana - Prasthana of Padmapada and Prakasatmayati. The gateway of Vedanta is renunciation of this world, at least mentally. It is very difficult to develop this faculty by remaining in household atmosphere. In spite of this a large number of family-men has undergone the Vedanta system of learning, and have authored many texts and commentaries. Vacaspati, being a grhastha, did not lag behind in commenting upon Brahma-sutra-bhasya; on the contrary named this commentary after, as per the tradition, his wife Bhamati. Each and every author of the Vivarana-Prasthana- is a recluse, and these ascetic people could go deep into the Vedanta metaphysics by virtue of their meditative nature. Acceptances of manas as an indriya, rejection of the theory of s abdaparoksa are the major drawbacks of Bhamati cormmentary. Amalananda, a commentator on Bhiimail. restores the prestige of Bhamati-Prasthana by inducting from Vivarana-Prasthana most of the important and abstruse theories through Bhamafi's covert expressions.

Besides Vacaspati two more Vedantins have written the' commentaries on the entire bhasya. Govindananda's Ratnaprabha was written about six centuries later, and Anandigiri's commentary was posterior to Bhamatl by about four centuries. In spite of their late origin and the facility to have interaction with later Advaita scholars as also the dualistic commentaries of other schools these two commentaries could not excel Bhamati which maintains its venerable position to this day.

I am glad to write this Foreword to my student's book entitled "Vacaspati & His Philosophy". Dr. Tarapada Panda is a good student who secured First Class in his Post-Graduate Examination. He carried out research on Vedanta. Under my guidence, and his thesis was highly applauded by all the examiners. He started his teaching career as a Part-time Lecturer at Nabadwip Vidyasagar College. Then he joined Khatra Adibasi Mahavidyalaya as a Lecturer in 1980 and is working there as a Reader till date. He had also been the Lecturer-in-charge on two occasions for a total period of more than five years. Dr. Panda has won reputation as a teacher and a research-worker. 1 am glad that a book written by him is seeing the light. Hope this will enthuse the modem readers to know more about Vedanta in general and Vacaspati's tenets in particular. I bless Dr. Panda from the core of my heart.

Preface

It may undoubetedly be said that the name of Vacaspati Misra hill been considered a radiant star in the firmament of Indian philosophy, especially of Advaita Vedanta. That Vedanta possesses two-fold divisions (prasthanasi as Bhamail-prasthana and Yivarana-prasthana is well known to the scholars of Advaita philosophy. Needless to mention, these prasthanas have originated from the commentaries composed on Sankara-bharya of Badarayana's Brahma-sutra. Although the authorship of so many works of various standards is attributed to Sankara, yet what made him immortal in the mind of one and all in this transient world is his this bhasya (annotation).

The commentary entitled Paiicapadika written on that bhasya is regarded as the first work in the field of Yivarana-prasthana. But the case of Bhamaii-prasthana is quite different as it originates from the commentary entitled Bhhmati written by Vacaspati on that bhasya and is also considered later on the introducer of the Bhamatl-prasthana, as a result of which scholars recognise Vacaspati as the founder of the aforesaid school of Advaita Vedanta. Not only that. This commentary has achieved such a reputation that it is still being read deeply by the posterity in a body and bound to admit its importance as well as specialty without the least hesitation. Vacaspati's invaluable contribution revealed through this work made him more popular not only among the beginners of the Advaita school of Vedanta but also among the veterans too. As such, an humble attempt is only being made by the author to discuss some philosophical, especially Advaita, view-points of Vacaspati in this monograph.

This book contains two chapters.

Before going to discuss the philosophical view-points of a philosopher like Vaccaspati it is necessary, I think, to observe some matters relating to his works, date, preceptor etc. Accordingly, my honest endeavour centres round illuminating these matters with my limited capacity in the first chapter of the book.

The philosophical views of Vacaspati are to be traceable, in my opinion, through the discussion of some topics related with the Advaita Vedantaof Indian philosophy. Naturally, in the second chapter a few important rather controversial topics of such category have been discussed.

I do not know how far I have been succeesful in this respect, 1 do hope that scholars will be kind enough to forgive me if there is any shortcoming in course of such discussion.

I have not the audacity to assert my understanding of all queries and arguments posed by Vacaspati through his respective works in this connection. I have tried to discuss all the relevant topics only with the help of Bhamati which according to the Advaitins, is the best product of Vacaspati.

I can say unhesitatingly that the inspiration which I have received from my teacher Professor Dr. Sitanath Goswami, M.A, D.Phil, Veda-Vedanta- Vyakaranatirtha, formerly Head of the department of Sanskrit, Jadavpur University and the author of a good number of books in the field of Indian philosophy has guided me for undertaking, as a first attempt, this type of difficult work. I, therefore, convey my deepest gratitude to my great teacher Dr. Goswami at first.

I am also very much grateful to my other teachers, senior scholars and previous authors who have extended their direct or indirect help to me in this connection.

It is to be mentioned here that I am very much oblilged to my learned colleagues who have encouraged me to write such a work.

I am duly bound to recognise the help extended in this connection to me by my beloved wife.

Words fail mei to express a sense of gratitude to Sri ashis Paul and also others of Lynobite, 55, K. K. Majumdar Road, Santoshpur, Calcutta-700 075 for undertaking all necessary works required for publication of this book under computerised system.

Contents

Chapter-I1-8
Date of Vacaspati1-4
His Preceptor4-5
His Works5-6
His favourite Deities6-8
Chapter-II9-43
Introduction9-11
Whether Brahman maybe an object of enguiry?12-17
Mutual Strenght of Perception and Testimony17-18
Superimosition (Adhyasa)18-26
Locus of avidya26-29
Theories of limitation and reflection30-43
Conclusion44-48
Role of Amalananda in the system of Vacaspati45-48
Appendix-II-II
An Index of the books referred to in this work.
Appendix-IIII-III
An index of authors, editors, teachers, places and some important personages
Appendix-IIIIV-V
An Index of Some Important Words.
Appendix-IVV
Abbreviation

Vacaspati and His Philosphy: A Rare Book

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Foreword

Enticing language and sound argument ever appearing as fresh and convincing place Vcaspati on a high pedestal in the philosophical arena of ancient and mediaeval India. Vacaspai has always 'a sharp eye on his limitations as a commentator so as not to overstep the philosophical periphery drawn by the universally accredited rare genius like Sankaracarya. Only in three cases Vacaspati has been compelled to differ from Sankaracarya-under sutra 1.1.15, 2.1.15 and 2.4.18-19. Amalananda, the super-commentator on Vacaspati's Bhamai], has accepted this stance of Vacaspati to the extent that he (Amalananda) was ready to call Vacaspati an author of a Varttika since the author of a Varttika enjoys the right to differ on certain points on the strength of arguments.

It is a reality that had vacas,Pati not commented upon Brahmasutra-bhzsya the depth of Sankara's talent would have remained, to a great extent, unexplored and unfathomed. Although Padmapada, 41 direct disciple of Sankara, comments on this bhasya, Vacaspati's efforts have been hailed and greeted by all sections of Advaitins owing essentially to the fact that Padmapada's commentary, Poacapddika, stops at the close of only the fourth aphorism, and a host of 551 aphorisms remains unexplained. Prakasatmayati's Poncapodika-vivaranam on Padmapada's Poncapadika is doubtless regarded as a landmark in the history of Advaita literature, and scholars are in the habit of reading these two works together signifying thereby their integral unity leading to the admittance of a separate school or' prasthana as opposed to Bhamati-Prasthana initiated by Vacaspati.

When later Advaitins were confronted with the opposition of the Dualistic schools, they found the potentiality of meeting all challenges in this Vivarana - Prasthana of Padmapada and Prakasatmayati. The gateway of Vedanta is renunciation of this world, at least mentally. It is very difficult to develop this faculty by remaining in household atmosphere. In spite of this a large number of family-men has undergone the Vedanta system of learning, and have authored many texts and commentaries. Vacaspati, being a grhastha, did not lag behind in commenting upon Brahma-sutra-bhasya; on the contrary named this commentary after, as per the tradition, his wife Bhamati. Each and every author of the Vivarana-Prasthana- is a recluse, and these ascetic people could go deep into the Vedanta metaphysics by virtue of their meditative nature. Acceptances of manas as an indriya, rejection of the theory of s abdaparoksa are the major drawbacks of Bhamati cormmentary. Amalananda, a commentator on Bhiimail. restores the prestige of Bhamati-Prasthana by inducting from Vivarana-Prasthana most of the important and abstruse theories through Bhamafi's covert expressions.

Besides Vacaspati two more Vedantins have written the' commentaries on the entire bhasya. Govindananda's Ratnaprabha was written about six centuries later, and Anandigiri's commentary was posterior to Bhamatl by about four centuries. In spite of their late origin and the facility to have interaction with later Advaita scholars as also the dualistic commentaries of other schools these two commentaries could not excel Bhamati which maintains its venerable position to this day.

I am glad to write this Foreword to my student's book entitled "Vacaspati & His Philosophy". Dr. Tarapada Panda is a good student who secured First Class in his Post-Graduate Examination. He carried out research on Vedanta. Under my guidence, and his thesis was highly applauded by all the examiners. He started his teaching career as a Part-time Lecturer at Nabadwip Vidyasagar College. Then he joined Khatra Adibasi Mahavidyalaya as a Lecturer in 1980 and is working there as a Reader till date. He had also been the Lecturer-in-charge on two occasions for a total period of more than five years. Dr. Panda has won reputation as a teacher and a research-worker. 1 am glad that a book written by him is seeing the light. Hope this will enthuse the modem readers to know more about Vedanta in general and Vacaspati's tenets in particular. I bless Dr. Panda from the core of my heart.

Preface

It may undoubetedly be said that the name of Vacaspati Misra hill been considered a radiant star in the firmament of Indian philosophy, especially of Advaita Vedanta. That Vedanta possesses two-fold divisions (prasthanasi as Bhamail-prasthana and Yivarana-prasthana is well known to the scholars of Advaita philosophy. Needless to mention, these prasthanas have originated from the commentaries composed on Sankara-bharya of Badarayana's Brahma-sutra. Although the authorship of so many works of various standards is attributed to Sankara, yet what made him immortal in the mind of one and all in this transient world is his this bhasya (annotation).

The commentary entitled Paiicapadika written on that bhasya is regarded as the first work in the field of Yivarana-prasthana. But the case of Bhamaii-prasthana is quite different as it originates from the commentary entitled Bhhmati written by Vacaspati on that bhasya and is also considered later on the introducer of the Bhamatl-prasthana, as a result of which scholars recognise Vacaspati as the founder of the aforesaid school of Advaita Vedanta. Not only that. This commentary has achieved such a reputation that it is still being read deeply by the posterity in a body and bound to admit its importance as well as specialty without the least hesitation. Vacaspati's invaluable contribution revealed through this work made him more popular not only among the beginners of the Advaita school of Vedanta but also among the veterans too. As such, an humble attempt is only being made by the author to discuss some philosophical, especially Advaita, view-points of Vacaspati in this monograph.

This book contains two chapters.

Before going to discuss the philosophical view-points of a philosopher like Vaccaspati it is necessary, I think, to observe some matters relating to his works, date, preceptor etc. Accordingly, my honest endeavour centres round illuminating these matters with my limited capacity in the first chapter of the book.

The philosophical views of Vacaspati are to be traceable, in my opinion, through the discussion of some topics related with the Advaita Vedantaof Indian philosophy. Naturally, in the second chapter a few important rather controversial topics of such category have been discussed.

I do not know how far I have been succeesful in this respect, 1 do hope that scholars will be kind enough to forgive me if there is any shortcoming in course of such discussion.

I have not the audacity to assert my understanding of all queries and arguments posed by Vacaspati through his respective works in this connection. I have tried to discuss all the relevant topics only with the help of Bhamati which according to the Advaitins, is the best product of Vacaspati.

I can say unhesitatingly that the inspiration which I have received from my teacher Professor Dr. Sitanath Goswami, M.A, D.Phil, Veda-Vedanta- Vyakaranatirtha, formerly Head of the department of Sanskrit, Jadavpur University and the author of a good number of books in the field of Indian philosophy has guided me for undertaking, as a first attempt, this type of difficult work. I, therefore, convey my deepest gratitude to my great teacher Dr. Goswami at first.

I am also very much grateful to my other teachers, senior scholars and previous authors who have extended their direct or indirect help to me in this connection.

It is to be mentioned here that I am very much oblilged to my learned colleagues who have encouraged me to write such a work.

I am duly bound to recognise the help extended in this connection to me by my beloved wife.

Words fail mei to express a sense of gratitude to Sri ashis Paul and also others of Lynobite, 55, K. K. Majumdar Road, Santoshpur, Calcutta-700 075 for undertaking all necessary works required for publication of this book under computerised system.

Contents

Chapter-I1-8
Date of Vacaspati1-4
His Preceptor4-5
His Works5-6
His favourite Deities6-8
Chapter-II9-43
Introduction9-11
Whether Brahman maybe an object of enguiry?12-17
Mutual Strenght of Perception and Testimony17-18
Superimosition (Adhyasa)18-26
Locus of avidya26-29
Theories of limitation and reflection30-43
Conclusion44-48
Role of Amalananda in the system of Vacaspati45-48
Appendix-II-II
An Index of the books referred to in this work.
Appendix-IIII-III
An index of authors, editors, teachers, places and some important personages
Appendix-IIIIV-V
An Index of Some Important Words.
Appendix-IVV
Abbreviation
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