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शंकर सिध्दान्त संग्रह (संस्कृत एवं हिन्दी अनुवाद) - A Source Book of Sankara (A Rare Book)

शंकर सिध्दान्त संग्रह (संस्कृत एवं हिन्दी अनुवाद) - A Source Book of Sankara (A Rare Book)
Item Code: NZC558
Author: डॉ. एन. के. देवराजा (Dr. N. K. Deveraja)
Publisher: Banaras Hindu University
Language: Sanskrit Text with Hindi Translation
Edition: 1971
Pages: 126
Cover: Hardcover
Other Details: 9.5 inch X 7.5 inch
While the general aim of the centre of Advanced study in Philosophy, Banaras Hindu University, as that of the other similar Centres, all functioning on an all India basis, is the pursuit and promotion of excellence in philosophical thought, one of the objectives set before it by this Centre is the preparation of source Books or Books of Readings relating to important Indian philosophers and philosophical system. The Centre has already published Readings from Yogacara Buddhism prepared by Dr. A. K. Chatterjee. This source Book is our second venture in the same direction. The selections from Sankara's various commentaries included here have been made under my direction. The translations have been done by Dr. N. S. Hirematha, Senior Research Fellow, at the Centre. It is hoped that this Source Book will be found useful by scholars and students interested in obtaining authoritative understanding of Sankara's views.

Attempt has been made to make these selections comprehensive in scope. Passages have been drawn from all the important commentaries of Sankara comprising those on the Upanisads, the Bhagavadgita and Brahamasutras. Care has been taken to include passages relating to important metaphysical, epistemological and ethico-religious issues. The passages have been so arranged as to impart progressive understanding of the subtleties of the concepts and problems under discussion.

I take this opportunity to express my indebtedness to Dr. N. S. Hirematha who, apart from making the translations, looked after the printing of the book. Sri A. P. Mishra, Junior Research Fellow at the Centre was also associated with the preparation of the text in early stages; he also rendered active assistance in the preparation of the index. I thank him for this on behalf of the Centre and myself. My thanks are also due to Shri R. K. Berry, Manager, B. H. U. Press, and his staff who have been responsible for neat and speedy printing of this Source Book.

Sankaracarya, the founder or systematiser of Advaita Vedanta, is among the greatest philosophers of India. However, the philosophers of this land did not like to call, or to look upon, themselves as original thinkers. Sankara has commented on several Upanisads, the Bhagavadgita and the Brahmsutras, and in his own view he is no more than a commentator, or the expositor of the aforesaid texts (called Prasthanatrayi). As the Hindus look upon the Upanisads (as also the Bhagavadgita) as sacred religious scriptures, Sankara's Advaita has been accepted and admired both as a philosophy and as a religion. One reason why the philosophies in India were accorded religious recognition was that these philosophies were at the same time doctrines of Salvation. A t Upanisads, the notion became current here that the highest goal of life, i.e. salvation, could be obtained only through knowledge of reality was a task assigned to philosophy, philosophy here came to have a special status. As a consequence of this not only did philosophy come to be associated with religion, it gradually came to dominate the latter. Thus the question, 'What is salvation and how can it be achieved?' began to be tackled mainly by philosophical systems. While the orthodox thinkers, who accepted the authority of the Vedas, put forth the claim that their views conformed to the Vedas, the so called heterodox thinkers, who discarded or opposed that authority, sought to offer philosophical justification of the teachings of their religious prophets. A yet another circumstance emerged; different interpreters of the Vedas began to advance divergent views regarding the nature of reality, salvation, etc. As a consequence not only the Jainas and the Buddhists, but also the different Schools of Hindu philosophy, came to formulate different standpoints in metaphysics and theory of salvation. Thus, for instance, the views of the Nyaya-Vaisesika and the Sankhya-Yoga regarding salvation, as also their views about reality, are quite different from those accepted by the several Vedanta systems. The so-called Vedanta-i.e. the doctrine that claims to derive from the Prasthanatrayi-itself assumes diverse forms, e.g. the Advaita-Vedanta of Sankara, the Visistadvaita of Ramanuja, the Suddhadvaita of Vallabha, the dvaita or Dualistic Vedanta of Madhava, etc.

Among the Vedantic schools Sankara's Advaita is generally considered to be the most important; next to it, Ramanuja's philosophy of Visistadvaita occupies a pre-eminent position. These Vedanta's owe their importance to the philosophical schemes, elaborated respectively by Sankara and Ramanuja that came to be attached to them. Both these claim to derive from the Srutis or scriptures. Modern scholars, however are of opinion that, while Sankara's system is nearer to the Upanisads, that of Ramanuja seems to conform better to the teachings of the Bhagavadgita and the Brahmsutras. But inasmuch as the Brahmsutras of Badarayana claim to systematize the teachings of the Upanisads, their greater affinity with Ramanuja's system may imply that Sankara has succeeded better in interpreting the Upanisads than Badarayana himself.

As a matter of fact, the Upanisads, particularly the oldest among them, viz. the Brihadaranyaka and the chandogya, seems to lean heavily towards the Advaita. The statements termed the Mahavakyas by the Advaitins (viz."That thou art'; 'I am Brahman'; 'All this is Brahman and there is no plurality here' 'This Atman is Brahman') explicitly support the doctrine of the identity of Atman and Brahman; they also clearly disavow plurality. Similarly, the famous statement in the Chandogya that the effect is non-different from the cause and that the former differs from the latter in name and form only (Vacarambhanam Vikaro namadheyam mrittiketyeva satyam) lends powerful support to the Mayavada of Sankara. Apart from this, the Brahman has been described both as cosmic and as acosmic in the Upanisads.

Philosophically, the special importance of Sankara's Vedanta lies in the fact that system constitutes itself in a well-knit, consistent doctrine on the basis of few fundamental concepts only. The Nyaya-Vaisesika recognize a plurality of real entities; the inter–relations of these pose philosophical problems. The Sankhya-Yoga postulate a plurality of purusas along with prakriti as ultimate realities. The dualism of these leads to philosophical difficulties. Judged by the principle of parsimony, the Advaita-Vedanta claims a high place as a philosophical system. In this connection another important factor deserves our notice: the different concepts of the Advaitic system, being mutually well-connected, lend support to one another. Thus the Advaita of Sankara is a thoroughly consistent and a well-oraganized system. These points call for some clarification.

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