A History of Indian Philosophy Volume 2

by Surendranath Dasgupta | 1932 | 241,887 words | ISBN-13: 9788120804081

This page describes the philosophy of nrisimhashrama muni (a.d. 1500): a concept having historical value dating from ancient India. This is the twenty-sixth part in the series called the “the shankara school of vedanta (continued)”, originally composed by Surendranath Dasgupta in the early 20th century.

Part 26 - Nṛsiṃhāśrama Muni (a.d. 1500)

Nṛsiṃhāśrama Muni (a.d. 1500) was a pupil of Gīrvāṇendra Sarasvatī and Jagannāthāśrama and teacher of Nārāyaṇāśrama, who wrote a commentary on his Bheda-dhikkāra. He wrote many works, such a.sAdvaita-dipikā,Advaita-pañca-ratna,Advaita-bodha-dīpikā, Advaita-vāda , Bheda-dhikkāra , Vācārambhaṇa , Vedānta-tattva-viveka, and commentaries on the Saṃkṣepa-śārīraka and Pañca-pādikā-vivaraṇa, called Tattva-bodhinī and Pañca-pādikā-vivarana-prakāśikā.

Nṛsiṃhāśrama was very well reputed among his contemporaries, but it does not seem that he introduced any new ideas into the Vedānta. He is more interested in emphasizing the fact of the identity of Brahman with the self and the illusory character of the world-appearance than in investigating the nature and constitution of māyā and the way in which it can be regarded as the material stuff of world-appearance.

He defines the falsehood of world-appearance as its non-existence in the locus in which it appears (pratipannopādhāv abhāva-pratiyogitva)[1]. When a piece of conch-shell appears to be silver, the silver appears to be existent and real (sat), but silver cannot be the same as being or existence (na tāvad rajata-svarūpaṃ sat). So also, when we take the world-appearance as existent, the world-appearance cannot be identical with being or existence; its apparent identification with these is thus necessarily false[2]. So also the appearance of subjectivity or egoistic characters in the self-luminous self is false, because the two are entirely different and cannot be identified. Nṛsiṃhāśrama, however, cannot show by logical arguments or by a reference to experience that subjectivity or egoism (ahamkāra, which he also calls antaḥkaraṇa or mind) is different from self, and he relies on the texts of the Upaniṣads to prove this point, which is of fundamental importance for the Vedānta thesis.

In explaining the nature of the perceptual process he gives us the same sort of account as is given by his pupil Dharmarāja Adhvarīndra in his Vedānta-paribhāṣā , as described in the tenth chapter in the first volume of this work[3]. He considers the self to be bliss itself (sukha-rūpd) and does not admit that there is any difference between the self and bliss (sa cātmā sukhān na bhidyate)[4]. His definition of ajñāna is the same as that of Citsukha, viz. that it is a beginningless constitutive cause, which is removable by true knowledge[5]. There is thus practically no new line of argument in his presentation of the Vedānta. On the side of dialectical arguments, in his attempts to refute “difference” (bheda) in his Bheda-dhikkāra he was anticipated by his great predecessors Śrīharṣa and Citsukha.

Footnotes and references:


Vedānta-tattva-viveka, p. 12. The Pandit, vol. xxv, May 1903. This work has two important commentaries, viz. Tattva-viveka-dīpana, and one called Tattva-viveka-dīpana-vyākhyā by Bhaṭṭojī.


Vedānta-tattva-viveka, p. 15.


vadā antaḥkaraṇa-vṛttyā ghaṭāvacchinnaṃ caitanyam upadhīyate tadā antaḥkaraṇāvacchinna-ghaṭāvacchinna-caiṭanyayor vastuta ekatve ’py upādhi-bhedād bhinnayor abhedopādhi-sambandhena aikyād bhavaty abheda ity antaḥkara-ṇāvacchinna-caitanyasya viṣayābhinna-tad-adhiṣṭhāna-caitanyasyābheda-siddhy-artham vṛtter nirgamanaṃ vācyam.
p. 22.


Ibid. p. 29.


anādy upādānatve sati jñāna-nivartyam ajñānam, nikhila-prapañcopādāna-brahma-gocaram eva ajñānam. Ibid. p. 43.

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