Bhagavatpadabhyudaya by Lakshmana Suri (study)

by Lathika M. P. | 2018 | 67,386 words

This page relates ‘Shankaradigvijaya (list of available works)’ of the study on the Bhagavatpadabhyudaya by Lakshmana Suri: a renowned Sanskrit Scholar from the 19th century. The Bhagavatpada-abhyudaya is a Mahakavya (epic poem) narrating the life of Shankara-Acharya, a prominent teacher of Advaita Vedanta philosophy. This essay investigates the socio-spiritual conditions of 8th century AD in ancient India as reflected in Lakshmanasuri’s work.

Śaṅkaradigvijaya (list of available works)

The list of the available Some Śaṅkaradigvijaya is given below-

[1. Bṛhatśaṅkara vijaya (I)[1] :]

The work, believed to be of the famous Advaita teacher Citsukhācārya (c. 1220 A.D.?) is not fully available. Quotations from this work are found in other Śaṅkaravijaya’s that lead us to infer that it must have been a popular biography once.

[2. Brhatśaṅkara vijaya (II)[2] :]

This biography is said to have been written by Ānanadajṇāna Alias Ānandagiri and it is referred to by a commentator in his commentary on Mādhava’s Śaṅkaradigvijaya (No. 7). It is said that Ānandagiri follows the Śivarahasya tradition closely.

[3. Prācīna Śaṅkaravijaya[3] :]

The author of this work is unknown writer, is again known only in references and quotations in other Śaṅkaravijayā’s and in their commentaries.

[4. Śaṅkaravijaya (I)[4] :]

The author of this work is Brahmānanda, said to have been a disciple of one Sarvajṇātman, who is believed to be identical with his name sake, the celebrated author of the famous Advaita treatises ‘Saṅkṣepaśarīraka’ (c.900 A.D.). This work is said to consist of 10000 verses and it remains still unpublished.

[5. Śaṅkaravijaya (II)[5] :]

It is the work of Vyāsacala. He is believed to be identical with the monk Mahādevendra Sarasvatī, the Śaṅkarācārya (1498-1507 A.D) heading the Śaṅkarācārya Maṭha of the Kāñci Kāmakoti Pīṭham. This book is available in print.

[6. Śaṅkaravijaya (III)[6] :]

A work of this name is attributed to Anantānandagiri alias Ānandagiri who styles himself as the direct disciple of Śrī Śaṅkara. The author refers to Śaṅkara as ‘Paramaguru’ a term, if taken in its technical sense, should denote ‘grand perceptor’. But the work is of doubtful authenticity. For, here we read the views of the schools of Rāmānujācārya (1100 A.D) and Madhvācārya (14th century). This work is written in campu style-a mixture of prose and verse and it contains many quotations. It has been published three times. The life account of the Ācārya found in the earlier editions of the book shows notable differences, i.e, it tells us, for example, that Śrī Śaṅkara was born at Chidambaram in Tamilnadu. However, fresh manuscripts have recently been discovered and on the basis of these a new edition has been brought out. In it we find the account falling in line with the rest of the Śaṅkaravijayās in describing Kāladi as the Ācārya’s birth place.

[7. Śaṅkaradigvijaya[7] :]

The colophones of this work calls it as Mādhavīya Saṅkṣepa Śaṅkaravijaya meaning ‘An abridged Śaṅkaravijaya, i.e., Śaṅkaravijaya of Mādhava. This Mādhava is usually taken for his namesake who was a minister of the Vijayanagara empire. He lived in 14th century A.D. He wrote many well known Sanskrit works in different branches of learning; and who in the later part of his life became a monk under the name Vidyāraṇya and acted as the head of the Śaṅkara Maṭha at Śṛṅgeri. Because this work has thus an association with the name of that celebrated author, its poetic style is simple, elegant and good, this work is the first Śaṅkaravijaya to be published, this has gained wider popularity than the other biographies. Researchers assign it to a later date as it quotes a 17th century writer. It is said that it draws as many as 189 verses from the Śaṅkarābhyudaya of Rājacūḍamaṇi Dīkṣita of 17th century.

The author refers in the main text of the work to himself as Abhinava Kālidāsa, ‘Modern Kālidāsa’, obviously a title. The author also tells us that he had commited sins all the time by eulogising some insignificant monarch and that with a view to cleansing himself of this sin, he wrote this Śaṅkaravijaya (1.8,9). But the famous Mādhava, even in his serious works on different systems of philosophy, is known for his invariably favourable references to the ruling kings whom he served. Our present author refers to some earlier Śaṅkaravijaya and also praises the earlier poet Vyāsācala and his sublime narrative on the life of the Bhagavatpāda, The work has been fortunate enough to have commentaries in the 18th–19th centuries A.D. Among them the Ḍiṇḍima was written by Dhanapati Sūri. The shorter one was Advaitarājalakṣmi, by Acyuta of Pañcavaṭī. By quoting different sources these commentaries try to fill up lacunae they find in the text and draws our attention to the different versions of other biographers of Śrī Śaṅkara. One such important quotation found in the commentary narrates what Śrī Śaṅkara did in his last days and where he left his corporeal body. This Mādhavīya Śaṅkara vijaya along with these commentaries gained much popularity and publicity.

[8. Śaṅkaravijayavilāsa (I)[8] :]

The author of this work was Cidvilāsa. The work is in the form of dialogue between the author and his monk pupil Vijñānakanda. This work is also available in print.

[9. Śrī Śaṅkarācārya caritam (I)[9] :]

The work, written in a simple Sanskrit narrative verse style by one Govindanātha (17th century) of Kerala. It has been published twice. Its translation in Malayalam verse by a modern author is also available in print. In certain details, notably those regarding the place where Śaṅkara breathed his last. More over this work strikes a note it is totally different from all the other Śaṅkaravijayas. For, this book tells us that the Ācārya abandoned his body in the Śiva Mahādeva temple at Thrissur, Kerala.

[10. Śaṅkarābhyudaya (I):]

The author of this poem is Rajacūḍāmani Dīkṣita. He was a famous poet and literary critic who adorned the court of the ruler Raghunāthanāyaka (1614-1633 A.D) of Thanjavaur. The author says that he wrote this verse narrative as desired by the monk Gīrvāṇendra a contemporary of Śaṅkarācārya presumably of the Kāṃci Kāmakoti Pīṭam. This work has been recently published along with short notes (ṭippaṇi) in Sanskrit, by Dr. S.V. Radhakrishna Śāstri. There is also an incomplete commentary on the work and it remains in the form of a manuscript (Adyar library, Tr. 333)

[11. Śaṅkarābhyudaya (II):]

This is written by a poet called Nīlakaṇṭha, a pupil of Śaṅkarānanda Sarasvatī. He pays homage to Nṛsiṃhabhārati (19th century). He gives the date of birth of Śaṅkara as Kali 3889 corresponding to 788AD. The work remains unpublished.

[12. Śaṅkaramandarasaurabham:]

This work is also a narrative in verse written by the same Nilakantha who wrote the last work (No. 11). He mentions the same Kali year as the year of Śrī Śaṅkara’s birth. This work has a commentary called ‘Śaṅkaramandārasaurabha samīra’. Both the text and the commentary have been edited by Sri V.H. Subrahmanya Sastri. He was the late Principal of the Madras Sanskrit college; but they are yet to be printed.

[13. Guruvaṃśa kāvya:]

This poem is written by one Kāśi Lakṣmaṇa Śāstri at the instance of Saccidananda Bhārati (1772 -1814 A.D), a Śaṅkarācārya of Śrīṃgeri Śrī Sārada Pīṭha. This poem is meant to sketch the lives of the Śaṅkarācārya’s of the line of the Śṛṅgeri Math. The first three cantos of the work contains details of the life of Ādi Śaṅkara. This work has been published in full with a partly available commentary.

[14. Ācāryavijayam:]

This work is partly printed. But it is fully available in manuscripts. This is written in campu style by a poet Parameśvara Kanthirava. The author refers in the beginning of the poem to Mādhava, the author of the Śaṅkaradigvijaya (No. 7 above) and also to the famous Appayya Dīkṣita. Hence he may be assigned to a date slightly later than 1700 A. D.

[15. Puṇyaśloka Mañjari:]

This work is by Sarvajña Sadāśiva Bodhendra Sarasvatī. He was the Śaṅkarācārya of the Kāñci Kāmakoti Pīṭha. It is meant to give the details of the dates and place of birth and death, the pre-pontificial and the pontificial names of the Monks who are believed to have headed the Maṭha. It contains also the names of their respective parents.

[16. Gururatnamālāstava]

This work claims to have been written by the well known Paramahaṃsa Sadāśiva Brahmendra Sarasvatī. He was a disciple of Paramaśivendra Sarasvatī, a Śaṅkarācārya of Kāmakoti Maṭha of Kāñci. He lived in 17th century. But its authenticity is doubted in certain quarters. This work is written in beautiful Sanskrit verses mainly in Ārya metre. Some verses of the work are devoted to describe the life and work of Śrī Śaṅkara. On this there is a commentary, bearing the name Suṣama, which is ascribed to Ātmabodha. He was a disciple of Mahādevendra Sarasvati, another Śaṅkarācārya of the same Matha of Kāñci. He lived in 18th century, 1st quarter. It quotes what it calls Keraliya Śaṅkaravijaya.

[17. Keralīya Śaṅkaravijaya:]

This work of some unknown author is known only from quotations found in other works. It is also called Ācāryacaritam (cf. No.9).

[18. Śaṅkaravijaya Vilāsa (ll):]

This is written by Sārasvata Sadānanda. Its commentary, by name ‘Dundubhi’ is also known. Apart from the above, the following biographies of Śrī Śaṅkara are also known to exist.

[19. Ācāryadigvijaya, written by Vadhula Vallisahaya Kavi.]

[20. Śaṅkaravijaya Saṃgraha by Purusottama Bhārati.]

[21. Śaṃkarabhyudaya (III) by Tirumala Dīksitha.]

[22. Śaṅkarācāryacaritam (II) by Ananta Kavi.]

[23. Śaṅkaradigvijayasara (I) by Vrajaraja.]

[24. Śaṅkaradigvijayasara (II) by Govindacala.]

[25. Śaṅkaravijayasara by Kāśi Sadananda Kavi]

[26. Śaṅkarācāryotpatti by some unknown writer.]

[27. Patañjalicarita:]

This poem is written by Rāmabhadra Dīkṣita. He was a protege of the Maratha king Sahaji (1684 -1711A.D) of Thanjavur. The main theme of the poem is the life of Patañjali. It contains some legendary accounts of Śrī Śaṅkara’s grand-perceptor and preceptor, viz. Gaudapadācārya and Govinda Bhagavatpāda respectively. According to the author, the last two were respectively pupil and grand pupil of the celebrated Sanskrit grammarian Patañjali who wrote the Mahābhāsya. The work also briefly narrates where Śrī Śaṅkara met his preceptor Govinda Bhagavatpāda and got himself initiated into the Saṃnyāsa order and when he wrote his major Bhāsyas.

[28. Keralotpatti:]

It is a Malayalam work by some unknown author. This is not much earlier than the 17th century A.D, intending to record a history of ancient Kerala. This work is only partly published. It also claims to be translation of an earlier work in Sanskrit. It records the names of Śrī Śaṅkara’s native village, of his family and of his parents and also the Kali year 3501, i. e. 400 A.D, as the year of his birth. According to this authority, Śrī Śaṅkara lived a life of thirty eight (not thirty two) years and breathed his last in the Śiva Mahādeva Temple on the Bull-Hill at Trichur, Kerala (cf. No. 9 above).

[29. Śrīvidyārṇavatantra:]

This work is written by one Vidyaranya Yati, who a disciple of Pragalbācārya, a pupil of Viṣṇuśarmācārya. The latter’s preceptor was Śrī Śaṅkarācāarya, the disciple of Govindācārya, who was a disciple of Mahāmahopāndhyāya Bhagavat Pūjyapāda. It contains eulogy of Śaṅkara. In this book the Ācārya is variously described as an incarnation of Viṣṇu and of Savitā (the sun god) and also of Śiva.

[30. Stotras:]

There are numerous small stotras or eulogies written by many advaita teachers like Toṭakāṣṭaka of Toṭakācārya, the Guruvāstaka of Citsukācārya, all singing the glory of Śrī Śaṅkara. There are also stray verses, beyond number, found in the works of Padmapadācārya, Sureśvarācārya, Vācaspati Miśra and many other Advaita writers praising the Ācārya.

[31. Micellanies:]

Aryavidyasudhakara, the manual of the rituals to be performed by Brahmins, Kongudesa-rajakkal caritam, is a tamil annal of the latter medieval period. The annals like Guruparamparastotras, preserved in different Śaṅkara Maṭhās. That claim was founded by Śaṅkara himself and other works, all contains fragments of information about the Ācārya’s life and work and furnish details that suggest, directly or indirectly, conflicting dates for Śrī Śaṅkara’s birth.

[32. Purāṇās:]

a) The Śivarahasya Purāṇa devotes one full chapter (the sixteenth chapter and its ninth section) to a brief description of the Ācārya’s birth, life, work and attainment of liberation.

b) The Markandeya Saṃhitā, a Purāṇa contains in the seventh and eighth chapter of its seventy-second part, some details of the events in Śaṅkara’s life. Likewise-

c) The Kūrmapurāṇa (the 27th chapter)

d) The Bhavisyottarapurāṇa (the 36th chapter)

e) The Liṃgapurāṇa (the 40th chapter)

f) The Vāyupurāṇa (35th chapter)

g) The Śivapurāṇa

h) The Viṣṇudharmottarapurāṇa

i) The Bhairavapurāṇa and

j) The Brahmanandapurāṇa.

Are also known to contain portions giving some details of the Ācārya’s life and work.

[33. Śaṅkaravijayamakaranda]

This is a recent compilation. It made and published by Dr. S.V Radhakrishna Śāstri by collective verses from different sources. The verses mostly taken from popularly known Śaṅkaravijayas, from the philosophical mannuals. The devotional poems of Śrī Śaṅkara himself and also from eulogies of the Ācārya found in the devotional and philosophical works of Advaita writers. All interspersed with some of the verses of the compiler’s own and arranged with a view to workout, as synthesis of different Śaṅkaravijayās and to give an overall picture of Śrī Śaṅkara’s life history.

Footnotes and references:


Dr. S Sankaranarayanan, Śrī Śaṅkara, His Life, Philosophy and Relevence in Modern Times, (Vol.I), Madras: Adayar Library and Research Centre, 1995, p. 5.






Ibid, p. 6.


Vyāsācala, Śaṅkaravijaya, Ed., T. Chandrasekharan, Delhi: Govt. Press Madras: Delhi, 1954.


Dr. S. Sankaranarayanan, Śrī Śaṅkara, His Life, Philosophy and Relevence in Modern Times, p. 6.


Mādhava Vidhyāraṇya, Śrīmad Śaṅkaradigvijaya (text in Sanskrit with Tamil translation and notes), Ed., Paṇḍit N.S Anandakrishna Sastri, Palaghat: Sankara Publishing house, 1956.


Vyāsācala, Śaṅkaravijaya, Ed., T. Chandrasekharan, Delhi: Govt. Press Madras: Delhi, 1954.


Dr. S Sankaranarayanan, Śrī Śaṅkara, His Life, Philosophy and Relevnce in Modern Times, pp. 8-15.

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