A History of Indian Philosophy Volume 2

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

This page describes the philosophy of appaya dikshita (a.d. 1550): a concept having historical value dating from ancient India. This is the twenty-seventh part in the series called the “the shankara school of vedanta (continued)”, originally composed by Surendranath Dasgupta in the early 20th century.

Part 27 - Appaya Dīkṣita (a.d. 1550)


Appaya Dīkṣita lived probably in the middle of the sixteenth century, as he refers to Nṛsiṃhāśrama Muni, who lived early in that century. He was a great scholar, well-read in many branches of Sanskrit learning, and wrote a large number of works on many subjects. His grandfather was Ācārya Dīkṣita, who is said to have been famous for his scholarship from the Himalayas to the south point of India: the name of his father was Raṅgarāja Makhīndra (or simply Rāja Makhīndra). There is, however, nothing very noteworthy in his Vedāntic doctrines. For, in spite of his scholarship, he was only a good compiler and not an original thinker, and on many occasions where he had opportunities of giving original views he contents himself with the views of others. It is sometimes said that he had two different religious views at two different periods of his life, Śaiva and the Vedānta.

But of this one cannot be certain; for he was such an all-round scholar that the fact that he wrote a Śaiva commentary and a Vedāntic commentary need not lead to the supposition that he changed his faith. In the beginning of his commentary Śivārka-maṇi-dīpikā on Śrīkaṇtha’s Śaiva commentary to the Brahma-sūtra he says that, though the right interpretation of the Brahma-sūtra is the monistic interpretation, as attempted by Śaṅkara and others, yet the desire for attaining this right wisdom of oneness (advaita-vāsanā) arises only through the grace of Śiva, and it is for this reason that Vyāsa in his Brahma-sūtra tried to establish the superiority of the qualified Brahman Śiva as interpreted by Śrīkaṇthācārya. This shows that even while writing his commentary on Śrīkaṇtha’s Śaiva-bhāṣya he had not lost respect for the monistic interpretations of Śaṅkara, and he was somehow able to reconcile in his mind the Śaiva doctrine of qualified Brahman (saguṇa-brahma) as Śiva with the Śaṅkara doctrine of unqualified pure Brahman.

It is possible, however, that his sympathies with the monistic Vedānta, which at the beginning were only lukewarm, deepened with age. He says in his Śivārka-maṇi-dīpikā that he lived in the reign of King Cinnabomma (whose land-grant inscriptions date from Sadāśiva, mahārāja of Vijayanagara, a.d. 1566 to 1575; vide Hultzsch, S.I. Inscriptions , vol. 1), under whose orders he wrote the Śivārka-maṇi-dīpikā commentary on Śrīkaṇtha’s commentary. His grandson Nīlakaṇtha Dīkṣita says in his Śiva-līlārṇava that Appaya Dīkṣita lived to the good old age of seventy-two. In the Oriental Historical Manuscripts catalogued by Taylor, vol. 11, it is related that at the request of the Pāṇḍya king Tirumalai Nayaka he came to the Pāṇḍya country in a.d. 1626 to settle certain disputes between the Śaivas and the Vaiṣṇavas. Kālahasti-śaraṇa-Śivānanda Yogīndra, in his commentary on the Ātmārpaṇa-stava , gives the date of Appaya Dīkṣita’s birth as Kali age 4654, or a.d. 1554, as pointed out by Mahāmahopādhyāya Kuppusvami Sastri in his Sanskrit introduction to the Śiva-līlārṇava.

Since he lived seventy-two years, he must have died some time in 1626, the very year when he came to the Pāṇḍya country. He had for his pupil Bhaṭṭojī Dīkṣita, as is indicated by his own statement in the Tantra-siddhānta-dīpikā by the latter author. Bhaṭṭojī Dīkṣita must therefore have been a junior contemporary of Appaya Dīkṣita, as is also evidenced by his other statement in his Tattva-kaustubha that he wrote this work at the request of King Keladī-Veṅkatendra, who reigned from 1604 to 1626 (vide Hultzsch’s second volume of Reports on Sanskrit Manuscripts)[2].

It is said that Appaya Dīkṣita wrote about four hundred works.

Some of them maybe mentioned here:

  • Advaita-nirṇaya,
  • Catur-mata-sāra-saṃgraha
    (containing in the first chapter, called Nyāya-muktāvalī, a brief summary of the doctrines of Madhva,
    in the second chapter, called Naya-mayūkha-mālikā, the doctrines of Rāmānuja,
    in the third chapter the decisive conclusions from the point of view of Śrīkaṇtha’s commentary called Naya-maṇi-mālā
    and in the fourth chapter, called Naya-mañjarī , decisive conclusions in accordance with the views of Śaṅkarācārya);
  • Tattva-muktāvalī, a work on Vedānta;
  • Vyākaraṇa-vāda-nakṣatra-mālā, a work on grammar;
  • Pūrvottara-mīmāṃsā-vāda-nakṣatra-mālā (containing various separate topics of discussion in Mīmāṃsā and Vedānta);
  • Nyāya-rakṣā-maṇi, a commentary on the Brahma-sūtra following the monistic lines of Śaṅkara;
  • Vedānta-kalpa-taru-parimala, a commentary on Amalānanda’s Vedānta-kalpa-taru, a commentary on Vācaspati’s Bhāmatī commentary;
  • Siddhānta-leśa-saṃgraha, a collection of the views of different philosophers of the monistic school of Śaṅkara on some of the most important points of the Vedānta, without any attempt at harmonizing them or showing his own preference by reasoned arguments, and comprising a number of commentaries by Acyutakṛṣṇānanda Tīrtha (Kṛṣṇā-laṃkōrd), Gaṅgādharendra Sarasvatī (Siddhānta-bindu-śīkara), Rāmacandra Yajvan (Gūḍhārtha-prakāśa), Viśvanātha Tīrtha, Dharmava Dīkṣita and others;
  • Śivārka-maṇi-dīpikā , a commentary on Śrīkaṇtha’s Śaiva-bhāṣya on the Brahma-sūtra ;
  • Śiva-karṇāmṛta ;
  • Śiva-tattva-viveka ;
  • Śiva-purāṇa-tāmasatva-khaṇḍana ;
  • Śivādvaita-nirṇaya;
  • Śivānanda-laharī-candrikā, a commentary on Śaṅkara’s Śivānanda-laharī ;
  • Śivārcana-candrikā ;
  • Śivotkarṣa-candrikā ;
  • Śivotkarṣa-mañjarī ;
  • Śaiva-kalpa-druma;
  • Siddhānta-ratnā-kara;
  • Madhva-mukha-bhaṅga, an attempt to show that Madhva’s interpretation of the Brahma-sūtra is not in accordance with the meaning of the texts of the Upaniṣads;
  • Rāmānuja-mata-khaṇḍana ;
  • Rāmāyaṇa-tātparya-nirṇaya ;
  • Rāmāyaṇa-tātparya-saṃgraha ;
  • Rāmāyaṇa-bhārata-sāra-saṃgraha ;
  • Rāmāyaṇa-sāra ;
  • Rāmāyaṇa-sāra-saṃgraha ;
  • Rāmāyaṇa-sāra-stava ;
  • Mīmāṃsādhikaraṇa-mālā Upa-krama-parākrama, a short Mīmāṃsā work;
  • Dharma-mīmāṃsā-paribhāṣā ;
  • Nāma-saṃgraha-mālikā ;
  • Vidhi-rasāyana ;
  • Vidhi-rasā-yanopajīvanī;
  • Vṛtti-vārttika, a short work on the threefold meanings of words;
  • Kuvalayānanda, a work on rhetoric on which no less than ten commentaries have been written;
  • Citra-mīmāṃsā, a work on rhetoric;
  • Jayollāsa-nidhi, a commentary on the Bhāgavata-purāṇa ;
  • Yādavābhyudaya-ṭīkā, a commentary on Veṅkata’s Yādavā-bhyudaya ;
  • a commentary on the Prabodha-candrodaya nātaka , etc.

Footnotes and references:


He was also called Appayya Dīkṣita and Avadhāni Yajvā, and he studied Logic (tarka) with Yajñeśvara Makhīndra. See colophon to Appaya Dīkṣita’s commentary on the Nyāya-siddhānta-mañjarī of Jānakīnātha, called Nyāya-siddhānta-mañjarī-vyākḥyāna (MS.).


See Mahāmahopādhyāya Kuppusvami Sastri’s introduction to the Śiva-līlārṇava, Srirangam, 1911.

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