Siddhanta Sangraha of Sri Sailacharya

by E. Sowmya Narayanan | 2008 | 30,562 words

This page is entitled “author and his date” contained in the Siddhanta Sangraha (English translation and critical edition). The Siddhanta Samgraha is a Sanskrit philosophical text dealing with Vishishtadvaita in five hundred Sanskrit verses. It was written by Shri Shailacarya (18th century) and closely follows the philosophy of Vedanta Deshika (13th century).

Author and his Date

1. The contributions of Śrīvaiṣṇava Ācāryas

The advent of Śrī Vedānta Deśika gave rise to many Śrīvaiṣṇava Ācāryas, who followed the footsteps of the illustrious Ācārya. Each teacher had his own disciples and thus a number of scholars particularly in northern Tamil Nadu. But there where some reputed scholars in and around of Śrī Raṅgam, one of the main centre for the propagation of the Rāmānuja Vedānta. Of them mention must be made to Śrī Raṅgarāmānuja, Sri Mahācarya of Sholinger, Śrī Venkatadvarin of Nallūr, Arasānippalai, the Surapuram family, the Sogatthur family, the Nāvalpākkam tradition, the Somāsi Āṇḍān, the Tiruvaraṅgam Āṇḍān family and so on.

2. The Tiruvaraṅgam Āṇḍān family

The Tiruvaraṅgam Āṇḍān family supposed have inhabited in the Nerur village of Karur district in Tamil Nadu. This family is will known for their erudition in almost in all the branches of learning and also performed many sacrifices. It appears that they migrated from this place to a village near Mysore and which was named as Śrī Raṅgarājapuram. This village still exists now and was patronized by the then king Krishnaraja Wodeyar. This was donated by the king as the mark of honour to the learned family.

This illustrious family gave rise to a great preceptor by name Śrī Raṅgarāja Mahādesika. He had two sons by name Śrī Śailācārya and Śrīnivāsācārya.

3. The Author

Śrī Śailācārya was identified as the author of Siddhānta Saṅgraha from the colophon of the work[1]. It states that he belonged to Tiruvaraṅgam Āṇḍān Śrī Śailā family. He was the son and the pupil of Śrī Raṅgarāja Mahādeśika, by whose grace he has performed many sacrifices such as Vājapeya. He was also known as Śrī Śailā Deśika. This may be due to his mastery over the subject or due to the reverence paid to Śrī Vedānta Deśika or because of his father’s name.

His surname, namely, ‘māḍabhūśi’ is stated to be the ornament of the Siddhānta established by Śrī Rāmānujā. The author entered the Sanyāsa life in old age with the name Raṅgarāmānuja[2]. There is an anecdote regarding this incident which describes that while he was visiting the Trivikrama temple (Ulagalanda Perumal) in Kanchi and, as his wife was late in joining him there, he was feeling irritated. The priest pointed out that he was still too much attached to worldly cares and worries. This has made him to withdraw from the world[3]. Śrī Raṅgarāja Mahādeśika, the father of Śrī Śailācārya, had another son named Śrīnivāsācārya who was the author of Nyāsa Vidyā Vijaya[4]. This has been known from the colophon of the work. The first śloka of Siddhānta Saṅgraha is also seen in the second śloka of Nyāsa Vidyā Vijaya[5]. However, the author Śrī Śailācārya, also had a son named Śrīnivāsācārya, who is the author of Sahasrakiraṇī[6], which is an elaborate commentary on the 15th section of Śatadūṣaṇī of Śrī Vedānta Deśika, namely, Mithyātva Khaṇḍana Vādaḥ. The author’s son namely, Śrīnivāsācārya has also written a vivaraṇa on the Kaṭha Upaniṣad[7], a commentary on Varadarāja Pañcāśat[8], Natvatattvaparitrāṇa[9], Trayyanta Cintāmaṇi[10] and a commentaray for Śrīmad Rahasyatrayasāra[11] named Sāravivaraṇī. He was popularly known as Karūr Swāmi.

4. The discussion about the authorship of Siddhānta Saṅgraha

Initially, there is an ambiguity regarding the author of Siddhānta Saṅgraha, which has been caused by the information from the printed edition of the text in which, it is stated that Śrī Śailācārya, who was popularly known as Karur Śrīnivāsācārya[12]. The same has been witnessed from the first page of another work of the same author, namely Siddhānta Sāra[13] and in the introductory remarks of the commentary of Śrī Varadarāja Pañcāśat[14]. In both the printed editions of Siddhānta Saṅgraha and the Siddhānta Sārah, Śrī Śrīnivāsācārya alias Karur Swami was mentioned as the author and both Śrī Śailācārya and Śrī Śrīnivāsācārya are stated as one and the same. Even the Nyāsa Vidyā Vijaya of Śrīnivāsācārya (Son of Śrī Raṅgarāja Mahādeśika) also attributed to him. But the colophons of Nyāsa Vidyā Vijaya of Śrīnivāsācārya[15], Siddhānta Saṅgraha of Śrī Śailācārya[16] (son of Śrī Raṅgarāja Mahādeśika) and the Sahasrakiraṇī of Śrīnivāsācārya[17] (son of the Śrī Śailācārya) seems to be different and makes us to understand the authorship of each work.

The colophons which show the above distinction are given below:

iti Śramadāṇḍāñchriśailavaṃśakalaśodadhi kaustubha śrīmacchrīraṅgarāja
mahādeśikatanūjasya tadekadaivatasya śrīnivāsadāsasya kṛtiṣu nyāsa vidyā
vijaye paroktapuruṣākāratva pramāṇabhaṅgādhikāro'ṣṭamaḥ ||

iti śrī bhagavadrāmānujamatabhūṣaṇa māḍapūśi tiruvaraṅgamāṇḍān
tirumalai śrīraṅgarājamahadeśikatanūjena tadekadaivatena tatprasādalabdha
vājapeyādyanekapratuyajana dhanyatāvatā śrīśailācāryadāsena viracitaḥ
siddhāntasaṅgrahaḥ sampūrṇaḥ |

iti śrīmadāṇḍān śrīśailakulakalaśodadhikaustubhāyamāna bhagavannigamānta
deśikāparāvatāra śrīsailadeśika tanūjasya tadekadaivatasya śrīnivāsadāsasya
kṛtau sahasrakiraṇīsamākhyāyāṃ śatadūṣaṇī vyākhyāyāṃ
mithyātvaviśeṣanirvacanāndhakāra nirmūlanaṃ nāma prathamollāsaḥ ||

Having gone through the above colophons, the other works of the authors were referred. Finally, both Siddhānta Sāra and the Siddhānta Saṅgraha have the same colophon, the Nyāsa Vidyā Vijaya is different and the colophon of Sahasrakiraṇī and the commentary of Varadarājapañcāśat of Śrīnivāsācārya[18] are same. Śrī Śrīnivāsācārya the author of Sahasrakiraṇī etc., eulogizes Śrī Śailācārya with a śloka and mentions himself as his son. Therefore, from the above sources it is justified that Śrī Śailācārya (son of Śrī Raṅgarāja Mahādeśika) was the author of Siddhānta Saṅgraha and Siddhānta Sāra, Śrī Śrīnivāsācārya, the author of Nyāsa Vidyā Vijaya was his brother and Śrī Śrīnivāsācārya, the author of Sahasrakiraṇī etc., was his son[19].

According to the commentator of Varadarāja Pañcāśat[20] it is stated that Śrī Śrīnivāsācārya, known by the name Karūr Swami was born in the Tamil Month of Puraṭṭāsi in the constellation of Śravaṇa. This is traditionally considered to be the date of incarnation of Lord Venkateshwara of Tirupati as well of Śrī Vedānta Deśika[21].

Expounding the commentary of Varadarāja Pañcāśat, Śinnāmu Ranganathacariar, mistakenly identifies Karūr Swāmi (Śrī Śrīnivāsācārya) as the one who was born on the Tamil Month Puraṭṭāsi Śravaṇa which in turn can be attributed to his father Śrī Śailācārya (the author of Siddhānta Saṅgraha), who was praised as the incarnation of Śrī Vedānta Deśika by his own son. This is because of the fact that Śrī Śailācārya was already confused as Śrī Śrīnivāsācārya and some of the works of Śrī Śailācārya were also attributed to Śrī Śrīnivāsācārya which later on separated with the help of the colophons. There is no mention about the name in the above commentary, it merely says as ‘Karur Swami’. This title can be assigned to both Śrī Śailācārya and Śrī Śrīnivāsācārya.

Therefore, the birth date, Puraṭṭāsi Śravaṇa can be attributed to Śrī Śailācārya, who was actually praised as the incarnation of Śrī Vedānta Deśika by his own son, who was none other than Śrī Śrīnivāsācārya.[22]

vyākhyāya svaprabandhān viśadamavikalai vājapeyādiyajñaiḥ[?]
iṣṭā(n) dharmānyatīnāmanitara suśakānapyanuṣṭhāya bhūyaḥ |
śrīśaṃ santoṣayiṣyan śrutiśikharagururyanmayaḥ prādurasī
chrīmachrīśailasūrirjayati sa yatirāḍraṅgarāmānujākhyaḥ ||

5. The date of the Author

As per the reference given by the author’s son, Śrī Śrīnivāsācārya in Sahasrakiraṇī that he has composed 23 the work when Krishnaraja was reigning at Mysore.[23] There were four rulers ruled the Mysore Kingdom with the same name[24]. Among them the date of first Krishnaraja Wodeyar is too early compared to the date of the author’s son Śrī Śrīnivāsācārya. Whereas, the Second and the Third Krishnaraja Wodeyar had flourished, honoured the poets and ruled for many years. The Second Krishnaraja Wodeyar ruled Mysore during (1734-1766), whereas, the other one during (1799-1868). The period of fourth Krishnaraja Wodeyar (1895-1902) is not matching with the period of the author and there is also a gap of twenty seven years in between Krishnaraja Wodeyar III and IV. As the period of Krishnaraja Wodeyar II and III correlate with the date of Śrī Śrīnivāsācārya, the author of Sahasrakiraṇī, is supposed to be lived during 1780-1850. Śrī Śrīnivāsācārya mentions in his work that while composing his work Krishnaraja was ruling Mysore, who was popularly known as Mummadi Krishnaraja Wodeyar and who ruled during 1799-1869. This correlates with the date of poetic activity of Śrī Śrīnivāsācārya, which could be around 1800AD.

If the date of Śrī Śrīnivāsācārya is certain, the probable date of the author Śrī Śailācārya, who was his father and preceptor, could be around 1750AD. During this period also the Second Krishnaraja Wodeyar was ruling the Kingdom of Mysore, who had a role of honour among the kings and honoured the poets.

6. The native of the author

It is observed that the origin of Śrī Śailā Tiruvaraṅgam Āṇḍān family was supposed have inhabited in the small village named Nerur, situated near Karur District of Tamil Nadu. It is stated that Karur Śrī Saila Śrīnivāsācārya was born in Nerur village of Karur[25] which results in assuming the native of the author Śrī Śailācārya, who was his father, also as same. From the colophon of the work it is found that the author belongs to ‘māḍabhūśi’. From this it is understood that author belongs to Naitrupa Kāśyapa Gotra. It is believed that the family lived in Śrī Raṅgarājapuram located in Mysore which was formed by them. The family has a number of disciples, performed many sacrifices and the descendants still living there.

There is hearsay that the family of Tiruvaraṅgam Āṇḍān was partronised by the king Krishnaraja, participated in various discussions in the kingdom, got gifts and settled in Śrī Raṅgarājapuram. They did many sacrifices and donated lands to many scholars and honoured them as a part of the yajñā.

7. The works of the author

The author Śrī Śailācārya was known to have written many works, of which some of them are available and rest of them are not available or incomplete. The author has contributed a lot to Visistadvaitic Literature by following the foot steps of Śrī Vedānta Deśika.

The list of the works is given below:

[1-3 = A commentary on Śrīmad Rahasyatrayā Sāra]

  1. Vedānta Sampradāya Sudhā[26],
  2. Sārārtha Kusumāñjali[27],
  3. Tātparya Kaumudi[28],
  4. Sārasaṅgraha[29],
  5. Sārasaṅgraha Vyākhyā[30],
  6. Sāra Niṣkarṣa[31],
  7. Sārasarvasva[32],
  8. Jayanti Nirṇaya[33],
  9. Tattva Viveka[34],
  10. Prapatti Śataka[35],
  11. Prapatti Tattva[36].

Family tree:

Footnotes and references:


See Adyar Library Series, Vol.X, p.489.


See Descriptive Catalogue of Manuscripts, Adyar Library Library, Vol.X, p.413. Also in Madras (Triennial Catalogue)1273, p.1580-81, verse-2.


See Varadarāja Pañcāśat with Sanskrit commentary by Karūr Śrīnivāsācārya, p.17.


See Adyar Library Series, vol.X, p.313, TR.234, MG.R.2129, My I p.472, Sri Venkateshwara Oriental Research Institute 3133. Śrīnivāsācārya has also written Sampradāya Sudarśana, My. Mss. No.B.705, pp.416, 624-25 and Brahmavidya Vilāsa My. C.705.


See R.2129, p.2903-04, Madras (Triennial Catalogue) Vol. III, 1922.


Adyar Library Series Vol. X, P.413, TR.262, Madras (Triennial Catalogue)-1273, MG-D.5044, D-16304, R.6511, Tp.2134, 6628, My.pp.380-382 Mss No. P.4944, P.10106, A 728.


My. Vol. XI, p.262-63, P.6021.


Published with English translation by Pierre Sylvain Filliozat, AIRI, 1990. See also Varadarāja Pañcāśat, pub. By Srimad Andavan Sri Poundarikapuram Ashramam, Srirangam, 2006.


My. Vol. XI, 4942 p. 272-73, Madras (Triennial Catalogue).R.2212, p. 3014-15.


See Varadarāja Pañcāśat, Introduction, Sri Poundarikapuram Ashramam, Srirangam, p.2


See My. Vol.XI,,2795, 2796.


Pub. by Sri Poundarikapuram Ashramam, Srirangam, 1972.


Pub. by Sri Poundarikapuram Ashramam, Srirangam, 1973.


Pub. by Sri Poundarikapuram Ashramam, Srirangam, 2006.



Adyar Library Series, Vol. X, p.92, p.489. Mss. No. 75700, MG-D.5068, R.5641, Tirupati (Catalogue)1107, My.4915/2.



Pub. by Sri Poundarikapuram Ashramam, Srirangam, 2006.


See Varadarāja Pañcāśat, p. 17. Published by Anantacarya Indological Research Institute, Bombay-5, 1990. Also in The History of Visistadvaita Literature by VKSN Raghavan. Published by Ajanta Press, Delhi, p.67


Ibid, p.450.


In Śrīvaiṣṇava tradition Śrī Vedānta Deśika was considered to be the Ghaṇṭāvatāra of Lord Venkateshwara.


R.1273, pp.1580-81, Verses 2 and 3. See also in the Colophon of the work. And also in Varadarāja Pañcāśat, Sri Poundarikapuram Ashramam, Srirangam, p.2. 2006.


R.1273, p.1580-81.


See mysoresamachar [dot] mysorekings [dotcom]


See Varadarāja Pañcāśāt, p.2, Pub. by Sri Poundarikapuram Ashramam, Srirangam, 2006.


My. MSS. No. B.380


My. MSS. No. 2208


Ibid. P.3422/4, P.6020, B.779.Vol.XII, pp.108-109, 1987.


Ibid. P.6049, P.420.


Ibid. P.6050


Ibid. P.4919/1, 6044. p.628


Ibid. P.919, P.6045, pp.628-629.


Mys. Vol.I&II, p.24








Rasasastra category This concludes Author and his Date according to Vishishtadvaita philosophy explained by Shri Shailacarya. This book follows the model of Vedanta Deshika although the Vishishta Advaita school was originally expounded by Shri Ramanuja. Vishishta-Advaita is one of the various sub-schools of Vedanta which itself represents one of the six orthodox schools of Hindu Philosophy. They highlight the importance of the Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita and the Brahma Sutras.

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