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Books > Philosophy > Shankaracharya > The Unique Teaching of Shankara: A Discussion on His Adhyasa Bhashya (An Old and Rare Book)
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The Unique Teaching of Shankara: A Discussion on His Adhyasa Bhashya (An Old and Rare Book)
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The Unique Teaching of Shankara: A Discussion on His Adhyasa Bhashya (An Old and Rare Book)
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Introduction

His Holiness Shri Satchidanadendra Saraswati Swami ji had written more than 15 books on Vedanta in English besides editing the book, "Vedanta or the Science of Reality", by the late K.A. Krishnaswamy lyer. He has also written masterly introduction in English to his own two magnificent Sanskrit works, viz. Mandukya Rahasya Vivrutihi and Vedanta Prakriyaa Pratyabhijna. His presentation of Vedanta in a precise, classical style has earned the admiration of several Indian scholars as well as critics from the west. Etre, a quarterly French journal on philosophy, published from paris, has serialized a couple of translations of Shri Swami ji's works. However, shri Swami ji confined himself mostly to writing in kannada to help the common earnest seekers of the land in which he was born. He was also the editor of the monthly kannada magazine, "Adhyatma Prakasha" for more than 50 years, and it was his ambition to see that the magazine had a section devoted to English articles on Vedanta which, however, was not fulfilled owing to unforeseen circumstances in fact, for some months he himself wrote some articles specially for the magazine and they were published, but after his demise this English section had to be discontinued. We cherish this desire of publishing various books on pure Vedanta as presented and propounded by shri Swamiji in English. Also.

Shri D.B. Gangolli, a retired journalist of long standing and experience, has been devoting his time and energy for the study and propagation of Shri Swami ji's teachings as outlined in his works. Shri Gangolli was responsible for deciphering a handwritten English manuscript of Shri Swami ji and later editing it in the book form entitled, "The Science of Being".

Shri Gangolli got a deep insight into the nethodology,which was implicit in the Upanishadic lore but was almost lost to the world had it not been for the timely appearance of Shri Swami ji on the spiritual horizon and his masterly exposition of this unique methodology adopted in and through the Upanishadic lore. Fascinated by this wonderful methodology as taught by Shri Swami ji through his 170 and odd books in Sanskrit, Kannada and English, shri Gangolli associated himself with the Adhyatma Prakasha karyalaya, both at Holenarsipur and Bangalore and took active interest in translating some of Shri Swami ji's Kannada books into English and "The Unique Teaching of Shankara" (A Discussion of his Adhyaasa Bhaashya) is one of them. His maiden attempt at translating one shri Swami ji's important works is highly commendable. We are thankful to him for his kind gesture of permitting the publication of his English translation in our monthly magazine, besides sharing the cost of Printing along with several of his friends and admirers, including a devotee of shri Swami ji from Bombay.

We hope that the discerning readers will appreciate out attempt to present shri Swami ji's enlightening thoughts and teachings to the English knowing aspirants. We also hope to publish many more such books in English mainly translations of Shri Swami ji's kannada books which are acknowledged as his masterpieces by scholars and critics alike.

 

Preface

Adhyaasa Bhaashya, an introduction by Adi Shankara to his Brahma Sutra Bhaasgya, has a Preeminent position in the Achaarya's works. If the implicit techings in the Adhyaasa Bhaashya are understood properly, it gives the clue to unravel the secrets and subtleties of the traditional methodology of Adhyaaropa Apavaada Nyaaya or the maxim of Superimposition and Rescission adopted in and through the Upanishads lore as well as in Shankara's Bhaashyas. This little known methodology is a superb means to gain the intuitive experience of the self, the Ultimate Reality.

Adhyaasa in an innate, natural and beginning-less ignorance of the nature of delusion or misconception and in order to help remove this intrinsic misconception alone all the Upanishads undertake to propound their teachings. This salient fact has been emphasized time and again by Adi Shankara in hsi Bhaashyas. In spite of this, it is a great wonder that this innate ignorance, denoted by the word 'Avidya' has cast its spell on the present – day Vedaantins who are interpreting the word Avidya to mean-the seed form of the world, with the result a situation has arisen which is virtually shaking up the very foundation of Vedaantic teaching and is jeopardizing it.

Protagonists of other schools of Philosophy are taking these misrepresentations by these pseudo-Shankarites, who have written many sub-commentaries on shankara's original Bhaashyas, to be the genuine teachings of the great teacher and are condemning them. Some of these present-day Vedaantins are calling Prakriti or Maya as Avidya only and this misrepresentation has led to the misconception that Vedaanta is a philosophical system which teaches us to believe in the scriptural statements and not gain the intuitive experience of the Self here and now. And today Vedaanta has been mixed up with several tenets of Patanjali's Yoga, on the one hand, and the dielec-tics of the logicians, on the other, and pristine pure Vedaanta as taught originally by Adi Shankara (and even today available fortunately to all true seekers in his extant Bhaashyas) is contaminated and camouflaged. To undo this great damage and in justice done to Shankara's genuine Vedaanta and to help the true aspirants to overcome these formidable obstacles a meticulous study of the fool-proof methodology that is implicit in the original bhaashyas of the great world teacher, Adi Shankara, is the only solution.

This booklet is being serialized in the monthly magazine, Adhyatma Prakash, and now it is brought out for the benefit of the earnest students of Vedaanta. I am grateful to the Trudtees of the Adhyatma for allowing me to associate myself with the Karyalaya's endeavours in propagating Sri Satchida- Kannada. To the best of my Knowledge I have translated our Swami Ji's original Kannada book Adhyaasa Bhaas hyaartha Vimarshe, covering the first 36 pages of original book.

Contents

 

I The Need for the study of Shankara's Original Bhaashyas, Particularly His Adhyaasa Bhaashya 1
II The Purport of the Upanishads 4
III Adhyaasa or Misconception is in One's Experience 9
IV The 'I' – Notion Innately Associated with the Body, Senses and Mind is Misconception Alone. 12
V Our atman or Self is the Essential Nature of Witness. 15
VI The Varieties of Adhyaasa 18
VII Doubts About Adhyaasa and Their Solutions. 21
VIII The Cause for Avidya 31
IX Is the Characteristic of Adhyaasa Acceptable to All the Schools? 33
X The Essential Natures of Vidya (Knowledge) and Avidya (Nescience or Ignorance) 34
XI Adhyaasa is Established by Intuition 36
XII The Dealings of Pramaana and Prameya are in the Region of Avidya 41
XIII Scriptural Transactions are also Prompted by Avidya Only 46
XIV The Greatness of Vedaantic Knowledge 51
XV How is the Non – Dual Knowledge of Atman Obtained 53
XVI The Relationship Between the Brahma Sutras and the Upanishads. 57

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The Unique Teaching of Shankara: A Discussion on His Adhyasa Bhashya (An Old and Rare Book)

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1983
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Introduction

His Holiness Shri Satchidanadendra Saraswati Swami ji had written more than 15 books on Vedanta in English besides editing the book, "Vedanta or the Science of Reality", by the late K.A. Krishnaswamy lyer. He has also written masterly introduction in English to his own two magnificent Sanskrit works, viz. Mandukya Rahasya Vivrutihi and Vedanta Prakriyaa Pratyabhijna. His presentation of Vedanta in a precise, classical style has earned the admiration of several Indian scholars as well as critics from the west. Etre, a quarterly French journal on philosophy, published from paris, has serialized a couple of translations of Shri Swami ji's works. However, shri Swami ji confined himself mostly to writing in kannada to help the common earnest seekers of the land in which he was born. He was also the editor of the monthly kannada magazine, "Adhyatma Prakasha" for more than 50 years, and it was his ambition to see that the magazine had a section devoted to English articles on Vedanta which, however, was not fulfilled owing to unforeseen circumstances in fact, for some months he himself wrote some articles specially for the magazine and they were published, but after his demise this English section had to be discontinued. We cherish this desire of publishing various books on pure Vedanta as presented and propounded by shri Swamiji in English. Also.

Shri D.B. Gangolli, a retired journalist of long standing and experience, has been devoting his time and energy for the study and propagation of Shri Swami ji's teachings as outlined in his works. Shri Gangolli was responsible for deciphering a handwritten English manuscript of Shri Swami ji and later editing it in the book form entitled, "The Science of Being".

Shri Gangolli got a deep insight into the nethodology,which was implicit in the Upanishadic lore but was almost lost to the world had it not been for the timely appearance of Shri Swami ji on the spiritual horizon and his masterly exposition of this unique methodology adopted in and through the Upanishadic lore. Fascinated by this wonderful methodology as taught by Shri Swami ji through his 170 and odd books in Sanskrit, Kannada and English, shri Gangolli associated himself with the Adhyatma Prakasha karyalaya, both at Holenarsipur and Bangalore and took active interest in translating some of Shri Swami ji's Kannada books into English and "The Unique Teaching of Shankara" (A Discussion of his Adhyaasa Bhaashya) is one of them. His maiden attempt at translating one shri Swami ji's important works is highly commendable. We are thankful to him for his kind gesture of permitting the publication of his English translation in our monthly magazine, besides sharing the cost of Printing along with several of his friends and admirers, including a devotee of shri Swami ji from Bombay.

We hope that the discerning readers will appreciate out attempt to present shri Swami ji's enlightening thoughts and teachings to the English knowing aspirants. We also hope to publish many more such books in English mainly translations of Shri Swami ji's kannada books which are acknowledged as his masterpieces by scholars and critics alike.

 

Preface

Adhyaasa Bhaashya, an introduction by Adi Shankara to his Brahma Sutra Bhaasgya, has a Preeminent position in the Achaarya's works. If the implicit techings in the Adhyaasa Bhaashya are understood properly, it gives the clue to unravel the secrets and subtleties of the traditional methodology of Adhyaaropa Apavaada Nyaaya or the maxim of Superimposition and Rescission adopted in and through the Upanishads lore as well as in Shankara's Bhaashyas. This little known methodology is a superb means to gain the intuitive experience of the self, the Ultimate Reality.

Adhyaasa in an innate, natural and beginning-less ignorance of the nature of delusion or misconception and in order to help remove this intrinsic misconception alone all the Upanishads undertake to propound their teachings. This salient fact has been emphasized time and again by Adi Shankara in hsi Bhaashyas. In spite of this, it is a great wonder that this innate ignorance, denoted by the word 'Avidya' has cast its spell on the present – day Vedaantins who are interpreting the word Avidya to mean-the seed form of the world, with the result a situation has arisen which is virtually shaking up the very foundation of Vedaantic teaching and is jeopardizing it.

Protagonists of other schools of Philosophy are taking these misrepresentations by these pseudo-Shankarites, who have written many sub-commentaries on shankara's original Bhaashyas, to be the genuine teachings of the great teacher and are condemning them. Some of these present-day Vedaantins are calling Prakriti or Maya as Avidya only and this misrepresentation has led to the misconception that Vedaanta is a philosophical system which teaches us to believe in the scriptural statements and not gain the intuitive experience of the Self here and now. And today Vedaanta has been mixed up with several tenets of Patanjali's Yoga, on the one hand, and the dielec-tics of the logicians, on the other, and pristine pure Vedaanta as taught originally by Adi Shankara (and even today available fortunately to all true seekers in his extant Bhaashyas) is contaminated and camouflaged. To undo this great damage and in justice done to Shankara's genuine Vedaanta and to help the true aspirants to overcome these formidable obstacles a meticulous study of the fool-proof methodology that is implicit in the original bhaashyas of the great world teacher, Adi Shankara, is the only solution.

This booklet is being serialized in the monthly magazine, Adhyatma Prakash, and now it is brought out for the benefit of the earnest students of Vedaanta. I am grateful to the Trudtees of the Adhyatma for allowing me to associate myself with the Karyalaya's endeavours in propagating Sri Satchida- Kannada. To the best of my Knowledge I have translated our Swami Ji's original Kannada book Adhyaasa Bhaas hyaartha Vimarshe, covering the first 36 pages of original book.

Contents

 

I The Need for the study of Shankara's Original Bhaashyas, Particularly His Adhyaasa Bhaashya 1
II The Purport of the Upanishads 4
III Adhyaasa or Misconception is in One's Experience 9
IV The 'I' – Notion Innately Associated with the Body, Senses and Mind is Misconception Alone. 12
V Our atman or Self is the Essential Nature of Witness. 15
VI The Varieties of Adhyaasa 18
VII Doubts About Adhyaasa and Their Solutions. 21
VIII The Cause for Avidya 31
IX Is the Characteristic of Adhyaasa Acceptable to All the Schools? 33
X The Essential Natures of Vidya (Knowledge) and Avidya (Nescience or Ignorance) 34
XI Adhyaasa is Established by Intuition 36
XII The Dealings of Pramaana and Prameya are in the Region of Avidya 41
XIII Scriptural Transactions are also Prompted by Avidya Only 46
XIV The Greatness of Vedaantic Knowledge 51
XV How is the Non – Dual Knowledge of Atman Obtained 53
XVI The Relationship Between the Brahma Sutras and the Upanishads. 57

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