by Surendranath Dasgupta | 1940 | 232,512 words | ISBN-13: 9788120804081
This page describes the philosophy of the precursors of the vishishtadvaita philosophy: a concept having historical value dating from ancient India. This is the third part in the series called the “an historical and literary survey of the vishishtadvaita school of thought”, originally composed by Surendranath Dasgupta in the early 20th century.
The bhedābheda interpretation of the Brahma-sūtras is in all probability earlier than the monistic interpretation introduced by Śaṅkara. The Bhagavad-gītā, which is regarded as the essence of the Upaniṣads, the older Purāṇas, and the Pañcarātra, dealt with in this volume, are more or less on the lines of bhedābheda. In fact the origin of this theory may be traced to the Puruṣa-sūkta. Apart from this, Dramidācārya, as Yāmuna says in his Siddhi-traya, explained the Brahma-sūtra, and that it was further commented upon by Śrīvatsāṅka Miśra.
Bodhāyana, referred to by Rāmānuja as Vṛtti-kāra and by Śaṅkara as Upavarṣa, wrote on the Brahma-sūtras a very elaborate and extensive vṛtti, which formed the basis of Rāmānuja’s bhāṣya. Ānandagiri also refers to Drāviḍa-khāṣya as being a commentary on the Chāndogy Upaniṣad, written in a simple style (rju-vivaraṇa) previous to Śaṅkara’s attempt. In the Saṃkṣepa-śārīraka (III. 217-27) a writer is referred. to as Ātreya and Vākya-kāra, and the commentator Rāmatlrtha identifies him with Brahmanandin.
Rāmānuja, in his Vedārtha-saṃgraha, quotes a passage from the Vākya-kāra and also its commentary by Dramidācārya. While the Vākya-kāra and Dramidācārya, referred to by Rāmānuja, held that Brahman was qualified, the Dramidācārya who wrote a commentary on Brahmānandin’s work was a monist and is probably the same person as the Dravidācārya referred to by Ānandagiri in his commentary on Śaṅkara’s bhāṣyopodghāta on the Chāndogya Upaniṣad. But the point is not so easily settled.
Sarvajñātma muni, in his Saṃkṣepa-śārīraka, refers to the Vākya-kāra as a monist. It is apparent, however, from his remarks that this Vākya-kāra devoted the greater part of his commentarv to upholding the pariiiāma view (akin to that of Bhāskara), and introduced the well known example of the sea and its waves with reference to the relation of Brahman to the world, and that it was only in the commentary on the sixth prapāthaka of the Chāndogya that he expounded a purely monistic view to the effect that the world was neither existent nor non-existent. Curiously enough, the passage referred to Sar-vajñātma muni as proving decidedly the monistic conclusion of Ātreya Vākya-kāra, and his commentator the Dramidācārya is referred to by Rāmānuja in his Vedārtha-saṃgraha, as being favourable to his own view.
Rāmānuja, however, does not cite him as Brahmanandin, but as Vākya-kāra. The commentator of the Vākya-kāra is referred to by Rāmānuja also as Dramidacārya. But though Sarvajñātma muni also cites him as Vākya-kāra, his commentator, Rāmatirtha, refers to him as Brahmanandin and the Vākya-kāra’s commentator as Drāvidācārya, and interprets the term “Vākya-kāra” merely as “author.”
Sarvajñātma muni, however, never refers to Brahmanandin by name. Since the passage quoted in the Saṃkṣepa-śārīraka by Sarvajñātma muni agrees with that quoted by Rāmānuja in his Vedārtha-saṃgraha, it is certain that the Vākya-kāra referred to by Sarvajñātma muni and Rāmānuja, and the Dramidācārya referred to by Sarvajñātma, Rāmānuja and Ānandagiri are one and the same person. It seems, therefore, that the Vākya-kāra’s style of writing, as well as that of his commentator Dramidācārya, was such that, while the monists thought that it supported their view, the Śrīvaiṣṇavas also thought that it favoured them.
From Sarvajñātma muni’s statement we understand that the Vākya-kāra was also called Ātreya, and that he devoted a large part of his work in propounding the bhedāhheda view. Upavarṣa is also referred to by Śaṅkara as a reputed exponent of the Mīmāṃsā philosophy and the Brahma-sūtra ; and as having been the author of one tantra on Mīmāṃsā and another on the Brahma-sūtra. Our conclusion, therefore, is that we have one Vākya-kāra who wrote a commentary on the Chāndogya Upaniṣad, and that he had a commentator who wrote in a clear and simple style and who was known as Dramidācārya, though he wrote in Sanskrit and not in Tamil. If we believe in Rāmatīrtha’s identification, we may also believe that his name was Brahmanandin. But, whoever he may be, he was a very revered person in the old circle, as the epithet “bhagavān” has been applied to him by Sarvajñātma muni.
Regarding Upavarṣa we may say that he also was a very revered person, since Śaṅkara applies the epithet “bhagavat” to him, and quotes him as an ancient authority in his support. He seems to have flourished sometime before Śabara Svāmin, the great Mīmāṃsā commentator. Ānandagiri and Veṅkaṭanātha, in the fourteenth century, identify Upavarṣa with the Vṛtti-kāra, and Veṅkaṭanātha further identifies him in a conjectural manner with Bodhāyana. Even if Upavarṣa was the Vṛtti-kāra, it is doubtful whether he was Bodhāyana. On this point we have only the conjectural statement of Veṅkaṭanātha referred to above.
Śaṅkara, in his commentary on the Brahma-sūtra, i. 3. 28, refers again to Upavarsa in support of his refutation of the sphota theory. But this point is also indecisive, since neither Śaṅkara nor the Śrīvaiṣṇavas admit the sphota theory. There seems, however, to be little evidence. We are therefore not in a position to say anything about Upavarsa, the Vṛtti-kāra and Bodhāyana. If the testimony of the Prapannāmṛta is to be trusted, Bodhāyana’s Vṛtti on the Brahma-sūtra must have been a very elaborate work, and Dramidācārya’s work on the Brahma-sūtra must have been a very brief one. This was the reason why Rāmānuja attempted to write a commentary which should be neither too brief nor too elaborate.
Now we have in MS. a small work called Brahma-sūtrārha-saṃgraha by Śaṭhakopa, and vve do not know whether this is the Dramida commentary referred to in the Prapannāmṛta. Yāmuna, in his Siddhi-traya, refers to a bhāṣya-kāra and qualifies him as “parimita-gambhīra-bhāṣiṇā,” which signifies that it was a brief treatise pregnant with deep sense. He further says that this bhāṣya w'as elaborated by Śrīvatsāṅka-Miśra. The views of these two writers were probably consonant with the views of the Śrīvaiṣṇava school. But Yāmuna mentions the name of Taṅka, Bhartr-prapañca, Bhartrmitra, Bhartrhari, Brahmadatta, Śaṅkara and Bhāskara. An account of Bhartṛprapañca’s interpretation of the Brahma-sūtra has been given in the second volume of the present work. An account of Bhāskara’s view has been given in the present volume. Nothing is definitely known about the interpretations of Taṅka, Bhartrrnitra, Bhartrhari and Brahmadatta, except that they were against the views of the Śrīvaisṇavas.
Rāmānuja, in his bhāṣya on the Brahma-sūtra, says that Bodhāyana wrote a very elaborate work on the Brahma-sūtra and that this was summarized very briefly by the older teachers. He says, further, that in making his bhāṣya he has closely followed the interpretation of the Sūtra, as made by Bodhāyana. Rāmānuja also owes a great debt of gratitude to Yāmuna’s Siddhi-traya, though he does not distinctly mention it in his bhāṣya .
It is said that Yāmuna had a large number of disciples. Of these, however,
- Śrīśailapūrṇa, also called Tātācārya (Rāmānuja’s maternal uncle),
- and Śrīraṅganātha-gāyaka
Of the seventy-four prominent disciples of Rāmānuja,
- Praṇatārtihara of Ātreya gotra,
- Kureśa or Śrīvatsāṅka Miśra,
- Andhrapūrṇa or Vata-pūrṇa,
- Yādava-prakāśa or Govinda
- and Yajñamūrti are the most important.
Of these Dāśarathi of Vādhūla gotra and Varadaviṣṇu or Varadaviṣṇu Miśra were the sister’s sons of Rāmānuja. Varadaviṣṇu was better known as Vātsya Varadaguru. Kureśa or Śrīvatsāṅka Miśra had a son by Āṇḍāḷ, called Parāśara Bhaṭṭārya, who defeated the Vedāntin Mādhavadāsa and afterwards became the successor of Rāmānuja. Parāśara Bhaṭṭārya had a son called Madhya Pratoḷi Bhaṭṭārya or Madhya-vīthi Bhaṭṭārya. Kureśa had another son named Pad-manetra; Padmanetra’s son was called Kurukeśvara. Kurukeś-vara’s son was Pundarikākṣa, and his son was Śrīnivāsa.
Śrīnivāsa had a son Nṛsiṃhārya. They belonged to the Śrīśaila lineage, probably from the name of Bhūri Śrī Śailapūrṇa, Kureśa’s father. Nṛsiṃhārya had a son called Rāmānuja. Rāmānuja had two sons, Nṛsiṃhārya and Raṅgācārya, who lived probably in the fifteenth century. Rāmānuja’s disciple, Yajñamūrti, was an exceedingly learned man. When Rāmānuja accepted him as a disciple, he changed his name to Devarāt or Devamannātha or Devarāja and had a separate matha established in Śrīraṅgam for him.
Yajñamūrti had written two very learned works in Tamil, called
Rāmānuja had four of his disciples,
- and Yajṅeśa, initiated into Yaisṇavism by Yajñamūrti.
Another pupil of Rāmānuja, Tiruku-rugai-piran Pillai, wrote a commentary of Nāmm’āḻvār’s Tiru-vāy-moḻi.
Praṇatārtihara Pillan, another pupil of Rāmānuja, of Ātreya gotra, had a son Rāmānuja, a disciple of Nadadur Ammal of the lineage of Vātsva Yarada.
This Rāmānuja, alias Padmanābha, had a son called Śrī Rāmānuja Pillan, a disciple of Kidambi Rāmānuja Pillan. This Padmanābha had a son called Rāmānuja Pillan and a daughter Totārambā, who was married to Anantasūri, the father of Veṅkaṭanātha.
Rāmānuja’s other disciple and nephew, Dāś-arathi, of Vādhūla gotra, had a son called Rāmānuja,
who had a son called
- or Vāraṇādrīśa
- or Lokārya
- or Lokācārya.
After Parāśara Bhaṭṭārya the Vedānti Mādhavadāsa, called also Nanjiar, became his successor.
Mādhavadāsa’s successor was Nambilla or Namburi Yaradārya or Lokācārya. He had two wives
- and Śrīraṅganāyakī
and a son called Rāmānuja.
Nambilla’s other name was Kalijit or Kalivairī. Now Vāraṇādrīśa became a disciple of Nambilla or the senior Lokācārya. Vāraṇādrīśa was known as Pillai Lokācārya.
Varada had a son called Padmanābha who had a disciple called Rāmā-nujadāsa.
Rāmānujadāsa had a son called Devarāja, who had a son called Śrīśailanātha,
and Śrīśailanātha had a pupil called Saumya Jāmātṛ muni or Ramyajāmātṛ muni, also called
- Yaravara muni
- or Yatīndrapravaṇa
- or Manavalamahāmuni
- or Periya-jiyar.
It is said that he was the grandson of Kattur-āḻagiya-vanavalapillai.
All these people were influenced by the Sahasra-gīti-vyākhyā of Kureśa.
Namburi Yaradārya, otherwise called Kalijit, had two other pupils called
Rāmānuja’s brother-in-law Devarāja, of Vātsya gotra, had a son called Varadaviṣṇu Miśra or Vātsya Varada, who was a pupil of Viṣṇucitta, a pupil of Kureśa. This Vātsya Varada was a great writer on Vedāntic subjects.
Kureśa had a son called Śrī Rama Pillai, or Vedavyāsa bhaṭṭa, who had a son called Vādivijaya, who wrote Kṣamā-ṣoḍaśī-stava. Vādivijaya had a son called Sudarśana bhaṭṭa, who was a pupil of Vātsya Varada, a contemporary of Varadaviṣṇu. Sudarśana bhaṭṭa was the famous author of the Śruta-prakāśikā. The celebrated Aṇṇayācārya also was a pupil of Pillai Lokācārya, the pupil of Kalijit. Śrīśaila Śrīnivāsa, or Śrīśailanātha, was the son of Aṇṇayācārya.
Ramyajāmātṛ muni had a number of disciples, such as
- Paravastu Prativādibhayaṅkara Aṇṇayācārya,
Parakāladāsa and Śrīraṅgācārya were probably pupils of Kṛṣṇapāda, or Kṛṣṇasūri, the pupil of Kalijit or Namburi Vara-dārya. Abhirāma Varādhīśa was a pupil of Rāmānuja, son of Saumya Jārnātr muni.
The pontifical position of Śrīvaiṣṇavism was always occupied in succession by eminent men in different important maṭhas or temples, and there arose many great preachers and teachers of Vedānta, some of whom wrote important works while others satisfied themselves with oral teachings.
The works of some of these have come down to us, but others have been lost. It seems, however, that the Viśiṣṭādvaita philosophy was not a source of perennial inspiration for the development of ever newer shades of thought, and that the logical and dialectical thinkers of this school were decidedly inferior to the prominent thinkers of the Śaṅkara and the Madhva school.
There is hardly any one in the whole history of the development of the school of Rāmānuja whose logical acuteness can be compared with that of Śrīharṣa or Citsukha, or with that of Jayatlrtha or Vyāsatlrtha. Veṅkaṭanātha, Meghanādāri or Rāmānujācārya, called also Vādihamsa, were some of the most prominent writers of this school; but even with them philosophic criticism does not always reach the highest level. It was customary for the thinkers of the Śaṅkara and the Madhva schools in the fourteenth, fifteenth and sixteenth centuries to accept the concepts of the new School of Logic of Mithilā and Bengal and introduce keen dialectical analysis and criticism. But for some reason or other this method was not adopted to any large extent by the thinkers of the Śrīvaiṣṇava school. Yet this was the principal way in which philosophical concepts developed in later times.
In dealing with the names of teachers of the Rāmānuja school, one Guru-paramparā mentions the name of Paravādibhayaṅkara, who was a pupil of Ramyajāmātṛ muni and belonged to the Yātsya gotra. Prativādibhayaṅkara was the teacher of Śaṭhakopa Yati. The treatise speaks also of another Ramyajāmātṛ muni, son of Anantārya, grandson of Prativādibhayaṅkara and pupil of Śrīveṅkateśa.
It also mentions
- Vedāntaguru; of the Yātsya gotra, a pupil of Ramyajāmātṛ muni and Yaradārya;
- Sundaradeśika, of the Yātsya gotra, son of Prativādibhayaṅkara;
- Aparyātmāmrtācārya, son of Śrīveṅkaṭa-guru and grandson of Prativādibhayaṅkara.
This Veṅkatācārya had a son called Prativādibhayaṅkara. Ramyajāmātṛ muni had a son called Śrīkṛṣṇa-deśika. Puruṣottamārya, of the Vātsya gotra, was the son of Śrīveṅkaṭacārya. Śrīkṛṣṇa-deśika had a son called Ramyajāmātṛ muni, who had a son called Kṛṣṇa Sūri. Anantaguru had a son called Yeṅkata-deśika. Śrīnivāsaguru was pupil of Yeṅkatārya and Yātsya Śrīnivāsa, who had a son called Anantārya. It is unnecessary to continue with the list, as it is not very useful from the point of view of the development of the Śrīvaiṣṇava school of philosophy or literature. The fact that the names of earlier teachers are reverently passed on to many of those who succeeded them makes it difficult to differentiate them one from the other. But the history of the school is unimportant after the sixteenth or the early part of the seventeenth century, as it lost much of its force as an intellectual movement.
In the days of the Āḻvārs the Śrīvaiṣṇava movement was primarily a religious movement of mystic and intoxicating love of God and self-surrender to Him. In the davs of Rāmānuja it became intellectualized for some time, but it slowly relapsed into the religious position. As with Śaṅkara, and not as with Madhva, the emphasis of the school has always been on the interpretations of Yedic texts, and the intellectual appeal has always been subordinated to the appeal to the Upaniṣadic texts and their interpretations.
The chief opponents of the Rāmānuja school were the Śaṅkarites, and we may read many works in which copious references are made by writers of the Śaṅkara school who attempted to refute the principal points of the bhāṣya of Rāmānuja, both from the point of view of logical argument and from that of interpretations of the Upaniṣadic texts. But unfortunately, except in the case of a few later works of little value, no work of scholarly refutation of the views of Rāmānuja by a Śaṅkarite is available. The followers of Rāmānuja also offered slight refutation of some of the doctrines of Bhāskara, Jādava-prakāśa, and Madhva and the Śaivas. But their efforts were directed mainly against Śaṅkara.
It has already been noted that Rāmānuja wrote a bhāṣya on the
- Vedānta-sāra and Vedānta-dīpa,
- a commentary on the Śrīmad-bhagavad-gītā, Gadya-traya,
- and Bhagavad-ārādhana-krama.
According to traditional accounts, Rāmānuja was born in A.D. 1017 and died in 1137. The approximate dates of the chief events of his life have been worked out as follows:
study with Yādavaprakāśa, 1033;
first entry into Śrīraṅgam to see Yāmuna, 1043;
taking holy orders, 1049;
flight to Mysore for fear of the Cola king’s persecution, 1096;
conversion of Bitti-deva, the Jain king of Mysore, the Hoysala country, 1098;
installing the temple God at Melukot, 1100;
stay in Melukot, up to 1116;
return to Śrīraṅgam, 1118;
His nephew and disciple Dāśarathi and his disciple Kureśa were about fifteen or sixteen years junior to him. Rāmānuja’s bhāṣya, called also Śrī-bhāṣya, was commented on by Sudarśana Sūri. His work is called Śruta prakāśikā, and is regarded as the most important commentary on the Śrī-bhāṣya.
Footnotes and references:
Veñkatanātha in his Tattva-ṭīkā says
“Vṛtti-kārasya Bodhāyanasyai’va hi Upavarṣa iti syān nāma.”
In his Seśvara-nūmāṃsā, however, he refutes the view of Upavarsa, for in the Vaijuyantī lexicon Kṛtakoti and Halabhūti are said to be names of Upavarsa.
See also the second volume of the present work, p. 43 n.
Vedārtha-saṃgraha, p. 138. The Vākya-kāra s passage is “y uktam tad-guṇopāsanād," and Dramiḍācārya’s commentary on it is “yady-api sac-citto ti a nirbhugna-daivataṃ guṇa-gaṇam manasa nudhāvet tathā'py antar-guṇōm eva deva-tāṃ bhajata iti tatrā’pi sa-gun??ti'va devatā prāpyata iti." The main idea of these passages is that, even if God be adored as a pure qualityless being, when the final release comes it is by way ot the realization of God as qualified.
MM.S. Kuppusvāmī Śāstrī, M.A., identifies Dramiḍācārva with Tiru-marisai Pirān, who lived probably in the eighth century a .». But the reasons adduced by him in support of his views are unconvincing. See Proceedings and Transactions of the Third Oriental Conference, Madras, 1924, pp. 468-473.
ata eva ca bhagavato ’ pavarṣeṇa prathame tantre ātmā-stitvā-bhidhāna-prasaktau śārīrake vyakṣyānia ity uddhāraḥ kṛtaḥ. Śaṅkara’s bhāṣya on Brahma-sūtra, in. 3. 53.
Govindānanda, in his Ratna-prabhā, identifies Upavarsa with the Vṛtti-kāra. Ānandagiri also agrees with this identification. In the Brahma-sūtra-bhāṣya, 1. 1. 19 and 1. 2. 23, Śaṅkara refutes views which are referred to as being those of the Vṛtti-kāra. What can be gathered of the Vṛtti-kāra's views from the last two passages, which have been regarded by the commentator Govindānanda as referring to the Vṛtti-kāra, is that the world is a transformation of God. But we can never be certain that these views refuted by Śaṅkara were really held by the Vṛtti-kāra, as we have no other authority on the point except Govindānanda, a man of the thirteenth or fourteenth century.
Śavara, in his bhāṣya on the Mīmāṃsā-sūtra, 1. 1. 5, refers to Upavarsa with the epithet “bhagavān" on the subject of sphoṭa.
vaiṇā eva tu śabdāḥ iti bhagavān upavarṣaḥ. Śaṅkara’s commentary on the Brahma-sutra, I. 3. 28.
Deussen s remark that the entire discussion of sphota is derived from Lpavarsa is quite unfounded. According to Kathā-sarit-sāgara Upavarsa was the teacher of Pānini.
Savara, also, in his commentary on the 5th sūtra of the Mīmāṃsā-sūtra, I. 1. 5, refers to a Vṛtti-kāra, a Mīmāṃsā writer prior to Śavara. The fact that in the bhāṣya on the same sūtra Śavara refers to bhagavān Upavarsa bv name makes it very probable that the Vṛtti-kāra and Upavarsa were not the same person.
Sudarśana Sūrī, in his commentary on the bhāṣya called the Śruta-prakāśikā, explains the word “pūrvācārya” in Rāmānuja’s bhāṣya as Dramiḍa-bhāsya-kārādayaḥ.
On the phrase bodhāyana-matā’nusāreṇa sūtrā-kṣārāṇi vyākhyāyante, he says
“na tu svo-tprekṣitamatā-ntareṇa sūtrā-kṣarāṇi sūtra-padānāin prakṛti-pratyaya-vibhāgā-nuguṇaṃ vadāmaḥ na tu svot-prekṣitā-rtheṣu sūtrāṇi yathā-kathañ cit dyotayitavyāni.”
It is interesting to note that Yāmuna’s son Vararaṅga later on gave instruction to Rāmānuja and had his younger brother Sottanambi initiated as a disciple of Rāmānuja. Vararaṅga had no son. He had set the Sahasra-gīti to music. Prapannāmṛta, 23. 45.
Rāja Gopalacariyar also mentions the name of Tirukurugaipiran Pillai as a prominent disciple of Rāmānuja. He wrote a commentary on Nāmm’āḻvār’s Tiru-vāymoḻi.
Kureśa had another son named Śrī Rama Pillai or Vyāsa Bhaftār.
It is rather common in South India to give one’s son the name of his grandfather.
See Prapannāmṛta, Ch. 26.
“See Govindāchāryar’s Life of Rāmānuja.
He wrote two works called Sārā-rtha-saṃgraha and Rahasya-traya. Prapannāmṛta, 119/3.
The Tamil names of some of the disciples have been collected from the Life of Rāmānujācārya by Govindāchāryar.
viṣṇv’arcā-kṛtam avanotsukojñānaṃ śrīgītā-vivaraṇa-bhāṣya-dipa-sārān tad gadya-trayam akṛta prapanna-nityā-nuṣṭhāna-kramam api yogi-rāt pravandhāti.
Reference to the Vedārtha-saṃgraha of Rāmānuja is also found in the same work.
ity uktvā nigama-śikhā'rtha-saṃgrahā-khyam
bhinnas tām kṛtim urarīkriyā-rtham asya.
Govindāchāryar’s Life of Rāmānuja. Yāmuna, according to the above view, would thus have died in 1042, corresponding with the first visit of Rāmānuja to Śrīraṅgam; but Gopī-nātha Rāu thinks that this event took place in 1038. The date of the Cola persecution is also regarded byGopī-nāthaRāuas having occurred in 1078-79, which would correspond to Rāmānuja’s flight to Mysore; and his return to Śrīraṅgam must have taken place after 1117, the death of the Cola king Koluttuṅga. Thus there is some divergence between Govindācārya and Gopī-nātha Rāu regarding the date of Rāmānuja’s first visit to Śrīraṅgam and the date of his flight to Mysore. Gopī-nātha Rāu’s views seem to be more authentic.
Apart from the Sahasra-gītī-bhāṣya, Kuresa wrote a work called Kureśa-vijaya.