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Ista Siddhi Vivaranam (An Old and Rare Book)

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Item Code: NAO780
Author: Dr. R. Krishnamurthi Sastrigal
Publisher: Adi Sankara Advaita Research Centre, Chennai
Language: Sanskrit Text With English Translation
Edition: 2006
Pages: 664
Other Details 9.00 X 6.00 inch
Weight 900 gm
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About The Auhor

Brahmasri R. Krishnamurthi Sastrigal (b.1944) hails from an orthodox family, native of Mullaivasal, a village in Thanjavur District. He completed the adhyayanam of Krsna-Yajurveda at the age of thirteen under the tutelage of his father Brahmari S.Rajagopala Ghanapatigal. Soon after he joined the Madras Samkrit College for higher studies in Sastras and had the privilege of learning Advaita Vedanta under stalwarts like Brahmasri Polagam Rama Sastrigal and S.R. Krishnamurthi Sastrigal. Later, he joined as a faculty in the same institution and retired as Principal in the year 2003.

For the rare distinction of mastering both Veda and Sastra at an early age he has been honoured by the Acaryas of Kanchi and Sringeri Pithams on different occasions. He is also recipient of coveted titles such as Vedabhasya-ratna, Veda-sastra-parangata, Advaita-siddhi-ratnakara and Advaita-Vadavisarada, Samskrita Seva Bhusana Vedanta-vibhasana Darfana Kalanidhi etc.,

A Versatile Speaker in sanskrit and participant in all the Vidwat Sadas conducted by Sankaracarya, Ramanujacarya and Madhvacarya Mutts. He is a member, Board of Studies in Sanskrit Madras University and Member of Academic Council, Sri Lalbahadur Sastry Rashtriya Sanskrit Vidyapeet, Delhi and Tirupati. Currently, he has dedicated himself to the noble task of teaching Sastras to a group of young students, who have already completed a rigorous course in the Vedas. This mission has been undertaken with a view to uphold the traditional methods of teaching different branches of sastras and in particular the Veda-bhasyas in three Vedas.


Istasiddhi, by Vimuktatman (c.1050 AD), forms one of the most important works in Advaita Vedanta. Madhusudana Saraswati in his magnum opus Advaita-siddhi mentions that he is adding one more siddhi to the already existing three siddhi texts, one of them being the Istasiddhi. It is noted in that not only the scholars of Advaitic tradition like Citsukha, Amalananda, Anandabodha etc., but also those belonging to other persuasions like Yamunacarya, Ramanuja and Vedanta Desika reckon with this text.

One of the remarkable features of the Istasiddhi is that , here one finds a deep and exhaustive analysis of the theories of error as a prelude to establish the inexplicable nature of the world. Particularly, one doctrine that has come to be closely associated with Vimuktatman is that of the fifth-mode of the removel of nescience called Pancamaprakara-avidhya-nivritti.

Among the commentaries on Istasiddhi, the following are the most prominent:
i) Istasiddhiviviaranam by Anubbhutisvarupacarya, ii) Padarthatattvanirnaya by Anandanubhava, iii) Commentary by Jnanottama based on the commentary of Anubhutisvarpacrya and iv) Commentary by Ramyadeva mentioned in the Srikanthacharita written by a contemporary Mankuka.

Vimuktatman, the author of Istasiddhi, occupies a prominent place in the history of DaVita Vedanta literature His work has been published along with the commentary of Jnanottama in the Gaekwad Oriental Series Baroda, In His work entitled ‘ Anubhutisvaupacarya and his works’ the late Dr. V. Raghavan confirms the view that the commentary of Jnanottama is based on Istasiddhiviviranam.

The commentator Nubhutisvarupacarya is also well-known for his work on Sanskrit grammar, Saravatsutraprakriya. Among his other contributors to DaVita Vedanta literature the following works are prominent:

Commentary on Brahmasutrabhasya named
Commentary on Gitabhsya,
Commentary on the bhasya on Mandukyopanishad, named Madukyatippanam,
Commentaries on three works of Anandabodhacarya-Pramanamala, Nyayadipavali and Nyayamakaranda,
Commentary on Khandanakhandakhadya of Sriharsa, one copy of which alone is said to be available in manuscript form in the Jain Bhandar at Jaisalmer.

In the extant manuscript form of Istasiddhivivaranam, Jnaottama is mentione das its author. However, this does not appear to be correct. Comaring Anubhutisvarupacaya’s well-known works, Prakatarthavivaranam and Mandukyatippanam, with Istasiddhivaranam leads us to conclude that they are all composed by the same author. In all these three works there is similarity in language and uniformity in diction.

The work Istasiddhi has been translated into English by Prof. P.K. Sundaram of the Dr. S. Radhakrishnan Institute for Advanced Study in Philosophy and published by the University of Madras. This work Presents the essence of Advaitya Vedant as expunded in Istasiddhi in the light of the commentary Istasiddhivivaranam.

In the first chapter, which forms an introduction to the work, we discuss the date of Anubhutisvarupacarya and his works, and also adduce evidences to thefact that he indeed is the author of Istasidhivivaranam.

This is followed by an exposition of Maya and avidya after establishing that avidya is anirvacaniya (neither sat nor asat) we present the different schools of thought on i) whether maya and avidya are the same or different, ii) whether avidya is one or many and iii) the locus and contents of avidya.

In the third chapter, various theories on Brahman and jiva are summarized. The different conceptions of jiva in relation to Brahman, such abhasavada, pratibimbavada, and avacchedavada, as also the question of whether there is only one jiva or many jivas, are prominent among the topics discussed here.

The fifth chapter commences with a discussion on the means for moksa (liberation). The presentation of four different views on the nature of the cessation of avidhya forms a major part of this chapter. The chapter concludes with a discussion on Jivanmukti and videhamukti.

In the last chapter, some of the topics in which Anubhutisvarupacarya contributed original ideas in his Istasiddhivivaranam are presented. Among the topics discussed here are the nature of maya and its role in the apparent distinction between jiva and Isvara, refutations of the schools of Nyayavaisesika and Bhedabheda, and the revolutionary view that maha exists even in liberation. This is followed by an analysis by the author of this thesis of the acceptability of the abovementioned position. The text concludes with some observations on the style of Anubhutisvarupacarya.

This work is based on the thesis submitted for Ph.D. degree in the University of Madras, titled ‘A study of the Istasiddhi of Vimuktatman in the light of the commentary, the Istasiddhivaranam, by Anubhutisvarupacarya.’ The thesis was prepared under the guidance of Dr. N. Veezhina than, Head, Department of Sanskrit, University of Madras. I am deeply indebted to him for the encouragement and able guidance I received from him.

I also express my deep gratitude to Sri. S.N. Sastri (Member - Retired, Central Board of Direct Taxes, Govt. of India.) for his help in translating the work into English.

My thanks are also due to Sri. V. Swaminatha Iyer, Smt. Kshama Rangarajan, and S.P. Suresh for their help in proof-reading the manuscript. I profusely thank Sri. C.N. Ramachandran, President, Advaita Research Centre, Chennai, for his constant encouragement in preparing the work for its publication in the present form.

Finally, my thanks are also due to G. Periaswamy, for type-setting the work and Sri Rajan Printers for producing the book in a short period of time.


This book is a reproduction of the thesis in Sanskrit submitted by Dr.R. Krishnamurthi Sastri to the University of Madras for the Ph.D. degree. An English translation of the thesis has been added. Dr.R. Krishnamurthi Sastri was Professor of Vedanta in the Madras Sanskrit College and retired as the Principal of that reputed institution. He is acknowledged to be an eminent scholar in Vedanta as well as Purvamimamsa, Vyakarana, etc. He is held in high esteem by the Acaryas of the Kanchi Kamakoti Peetham and the Sringeri Sarada Peetham as well as by other established scholars in the field of Vedanta. Dr.Krishnamurthi Sastri is well known for the clarity and richness of content that are the hallmarks of his discourses on Vedantic topics.

This thesis is based on the Istasiddhi of Vimuktaman in the light of the commentary Istasiddhivivaranam by Anubhatisvarupacarya. It consists of six chapters. The most notewor thy feature of this thesis is that even the intricate aspects of Vedanta have been expounded with remarkable lucidity.

Chapter 1 is introductory. It deals with the date and works of Vimuktaman as well as of Anubhutisvaruupacarya. The views of several scholars have been referred to in this context.

Chapter 2 deals with the purport of the scriptures. It is pointed out that the essence of Advaita-vedanta is that what appears as God, the individual soul and the universe are all in reality not different from the one absolute reality, Brahman. The nature of maya and avidya is explained. After stating the possible objections and refuting them effectively, it is established that avidya is beginning-less, indeterminable and positive and that it is revealed by the witnessing consciousness. The alternative theories of difference and non-difference between maya and avidya are discussed. Questions such as whether avidya is only one or many, and the different views about the locus and content of avidya are also dealt with in this chapter.

Chapter 3 establishes the nature of Brahman as bliss. The indivisibility and omniscience of Brahman are brought out. The nature of the jiva is explained, referring to the theories of re-flection, limitation and semblance. The question whether there is a single jiva or multiple jivas is discussed threadbare. Lastly, the Carvaka doctrine is refuted after stating the various doubts and questions that may arise and answering them.

The subject-mater of chapter 4 is the Universe (prapanca). The various theories about the origin of the universe such as asatkaryavada and stkaryavada with its two divisions, namely parinamavada and vivartavada are discussed elaborately. Vivartavada is established after refuting all objections. The various theories of erroneous cognition (khyativada) are examined minutely and the Advaita theory of anirvacaniyakyati established. It is stated — "Thus it is established that anirvacaniyakhyati is the most appropriate in respect of an illu-sion. By this theory the non-duality of Brahman, declared by the scriptures, is firmly established because the indeterminable universe does not attain the status of a second entity". The theory of sabda-advaita of the grammarians is examined and proved to be unsound.

The subject of chapter 5 is Liberation (moksa). The nature of liberation is explained. The questions as to how Self-knowledge arises and how nescience is removed by Self-knowledge are dealt with in detail. The view that realisation arises from the words of the Veda and the view that the mind is the instrument for the realisation of the reality are examined elaborately. The conclusion is stated thus — "The non-dualistic realisation, even when actually born, remains wearing the turban of doubt be-cause of the obstruction in the form of the doubt about difference, non-difference, etc. On the obstruction being destroyed by reasoning, determination arises from the sentence itself'. Thus it is established that immediate realisation arises only from verbal testimony.

The nature of the cessation of nescience is then dealt with. Various doubts are raised and answered. The next item is jivanmukti. This is also discussed elaborately. The conclusion is — "Therefore it is clear that jivartatukti is established by the scriptures, proved by the experience of the enlightened and should necessarily be accepted by seekers of knowledge".

The last item in this chapter is videhamukti. After stating the view of Anubhutisvarupacarya in regard to videhamukti, this chapter concludes with the following observations — "Such a postulation of the nature of liberation was made for the first time by Anubhutisvarupacarya; it has not been mentioned by any one else. If this postulation is accepted, the objection as to how the universe can continue to exist if it is destroyed along with its cause by the knowledge of the liberated person, would be answered. All the same, this view needs to be deliberated on. This deliberation will be done in the next chapter entitled `Conclusion'."

Chapter 6 is the conclusion of the thesis. It is pointed out that the fact that Anubhutisvarupacarya has dealt in an original manner with (1) the description of the nature of maya, (2) the distinction between jiva and Isvara, (3) the refutation of Nyaya and Vaisesika and (4) refutation of the theory of difference-cum-non-difference entitles him to a special place in Advaita. On the subject of the nature of liberation also his view is original.

The author of the thesis is of the opinion that the view propounded by Anubhutisvarupacarya, that maya continues to exist even in the state of liberation, needs further deliberation. This chapter concludes with the statement that "it is clear that Anubhatisvarupacarya has enriched the science of Advaita by composing a detailed, lucid commentary on Istasiddhi of Vimuktatman, an important gem of a work on the subject of maya, which has been quoted by many others, and by also making his own special contributions to the subject".

I have been a student of Dr. Krishnamurthi Sastri in Vedanta for some years. I am very grateful to him for the confidence he has reposed in me by entrusting me with the task of translating his thesis into English. This work has been a very rewarding experience for me and has helped me to advance my knowledge of Vedanta considerably. I had the benefit of the guidance of Dr. Krishnamurthi Sastri in carrying out the translation. I take this opportunity to thank also Shri V. Swaminatha Iyer who helped me with the translation of some difficult quotations.

It is hoped that the English translation will be of help to those whose knowledge of Sanskrit is not sufficient to understand the original thesis.



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