Saturday, June 2, 2007

Vedanta Paribhasha - Introduction - 1

Hari Aum

Prostrations to Guru. Prostrations to All

Let us all offer our prostrations to Guru and start learning Vedanta Paribhasha of Dharmaraja Adhvarindra.

The Vedanta-Paribhasha is an epistemological work (Epistemology is the study of the origin, nature and validity of knowledge) on Advaita Vedanta following Vivarana school of Prakasatma Yati, the commentator on Padmapada’s Pachapadika. The name of the author of this work is Dharmaraja Adhvarindra. Dharmaraja Adhvarindra was a native of Kandramanikkam Village, Tanjavur district and seem to have flourished in seventeenth century. He was a scholar of Nyaya-Vaisheshika and Vedanta philosophy. His few works on Nyaya are Tarkachudaamani (a commentary on Gangesha's Tattvacintamani) which has a subcommentary by his son Ramakrishna Adhvarindra, Nyayaratna or Nyayasidhantadeepaprakaasha (a commentary on the Nyayasidhantadeepa of Mahamahopaadhyaaya shashadhara), in all these works of Nyaya Dharmaraja adopted Navya Nyaya introduced by Gangesha Upadhyaya in 14th century. The known Vedanta works of his are only two, Vedanta Paribhasha and Padayojanika or Padadipika, a commentary on Panchapadika.

Vedanta Paribhasha has few commentaries as well. The most notable commentary is by his son Ramakrishna Adhvarindra which has a sub-commentary called Maniprabha and another notable commentary is by his nephew Peddaa Dikshita. There is also a commentary by Narayanabhatta Sastrin called Bhushanam. There are two books with English translation one by Swami Madhavananda of Ramakrishna Mutt and other by Prof S.S.Suryanarayana Shastri. There are eight chapters in this work, and first 6 chapters explains each of 6 pramanams in the light of Vedanta.

Pramanam means valid knowledge.
Six pramanas:
Prathyaksham (Perception)
Anumanam (Inference)
Upamanam (Comparison)
Agama (Verbal testimony)
Arthapathi (presumption)
anupalabdhi (non-apprehension)
As regard to valid means of knowledge there is difference among different systems.
Charvakas – Only Prathyaksham
Buddhists and Vaiseshikas – Prathyaksha and Anumana
Sankhya and Yoga – Prathyaksham, anumanam, agama
Nyaya – prathyaksham, anumanam, agama, and upamana
Prabhakara Mimamsa – Prathyaksham, Anumanam, Agamam, Upamanam and Arthapathi
Vedanta and Bhatta Mimamsa - Prathyaksham, Anumanam, Agamam, Upamanam, Arthapathi and Anupalabdhi.
In this work, each of the six pramanams are explained in detail from Vedanta view point and also refutes other systems mainly Nyaya system. This work is in prose form except for the introduction part in which the author introduces himself.


Yadvidhyaavilaasena bhoothaBhouthikasrushtayah
Tam nowmi paramaathmaanam satchitaanandha vigraham

To that Supreme Self, the embodiment of Existence, Consciousness and Bliss Absolute, by the manifestation of the nescience (avidya) relating to which the projection of the (simple) elements and things made up of these elements takes place, I bow.

Any vedantic work will start by prostrating either Guru or Isvara or Brahman. Here, Dharmaraja prostartes to Brahman which is of the nature of Existence-Consciousness – Bliss Absolute. And it is because of ignorance of this Ultimate Reality, the world got manifested by the 5 elements. Avidya doesn’t have a separate existence other than Brahman, and yet it is different from Brahman. Here the author prostrates to that Ultimate Reality because of whose grace the entire manifestation of Universe is existing.

Yadhanthevaasipanchaasyairnirasthaa Bhedhivaaranaah
Tham pranaumi nrusimhaakyam yatheendhram paramam gurum

I salute that prince of monks, my teacher’s teacher, named Nrsimha, whose pupils have routed dualists, as lions do elephants

Shreemadh venkatanaaThaaKhyaan velaangudinivaasinah
Jagadhgurunaham vandhe sarvathanthrapravarthakaan

I salute the world-teacher named Srimad Venkatanaatha, resident of Velangudi, who was an expounder of all systems of philosophy.

Yena chinthaamanau teekaa dhashateekaaviBhanjinee
Tharkachoodaamanirnaama krthaa vidhvanmanoramaa

He who has written a commentary on the Chintamani, called Tarkacudamani, in which he has smashed ten commentaries and which has been appreciated by scholars

Tika shashaDharasyaapi baalavyuthpaththidhaayinee
Padhayojanayaa panchapaadhikaa vyaakrthaa thaThaa

Who has also written an illuminating commentary for the students on ShaShadhara (author of Nyaya-Siddhanta-dipa) and has besides expounded the Panchapadika by construing its words

Thena bhoDhaaya mandhaanaam vedaantharThaavalambinee
Dharmaraaja adhvarindrena paribhasha vithanyathe

That Dharmaraja Adhvarindra is composing this Paribhasha based on Vedantic teachings, for the enlightenment of backward students.

After these introduction verses about himself, Dharmaraja starts his explanation on what is valid knowledge, which we will see in the next day.

Prostrations to All

Hari Aum


1 comment:

vedanta said...


Prostrations to all.

Pardon the very late reply to this thread.

There are very few works which delve into the pramaanaas which are the basis of any logical analysis. Without pramaana study, a person cannot claim even intellectual knowledge about anything be it worldly things or the ultimate reality of Brahman. The very fact that Sankara kept Sruthi as the highest pramaana (valid means of knowledge) itself shows the importance of pramaana for a spiritual seeker. Unless a person knows what is valid knowledge (pramaa) and what is not valid knowledge (aprama or bhrama or delusory knowledge), he will not be able to understand the subtle truth in the scriptures. The very fact of acknowledging the world to be mithyaa or illusory is due to the world being not supported by pramaanaas as real and the world being proved through pramaanas as illusory. We all have been using pramaanas in our daily life as well as in the scriptures but most of that has been either unknowingly or just by following some Mahatma's words.

It is thus essential that we get a good grasp of the various pramaanas and the rules for the same so that we will be able to appreciate the truth in the scriptures as well as judge things in our day-to-day life.

The two main sub-schools of Vedanta namely Bhamathi and Vivarana emphasize on different things. The Bhamathi school emphasizes on ontology or the reality status as such of things whereas the Vivarana school (following the Pracheena Nyaaya and Navya Nyaaya) emphasizes on epistemology or pramaanas (valid means of knowledge). Though the Vivarana school has a great number of commentaries (and the current day Chinmaya mission too seem to be appreciating certain concepts of Vivarana including Ishwara as Bimba Chaitanya), still there wasn't any systematic explanation of the pramaaanas in their works. This was taken up by Dharmaraja Adhvarindra in Vedanta Paribhasha wherein he puts forth the concepts of pramaana as per Advaita on the basis of Vivarana school works. This doesn't mean that Dharmaraja was biased towards Vivarana school as in the later parts of this work he does put forth the different views about moksha etc. of the two schools of Advaita Vedanta.

This work though an advanced work in terms of logical depth will give us a peek into the basics of Nyaaya in Advaita as well as to the differences between Advaita and Nyaaya. This work will also give us an idea as to how the logical works of Prakaashatman (panchapadika vivarana), Sri Harsha, Chitsukha etc. will be.

As Rajesh has mentioned, Dharmaraja was in a time when Navya Nyaaya was picking up and all systems had to use the concepts of Navya Nyaaya. Also Dharmaraja was basically a Naiyayika and hence this work contains lot of logical aspects. Mahamahopadhyaaya Ananthakrishna Shastri has written a detailed commentary on Vedanta Paribhasha which explains most of the concepts relating it to Advaita as well as countering many of the arguments of Dvaita-Vishistadvaita schools. This one commentary is a bit deep but recommended for people who want to get a good grasp of this work (unfortunately there is no translation of this commentary and hence it can be understood only by those who are well versed in Vyakarana, Advaita, Nyaaya, Dvaita and vishista advaita:)).

:)One important thing that would like to mention over here is the mention of Nrsimha in one of the dhyaana slokas by Dharmaraja. This Nrsimha is none other than the great Nrsimhaasrama who wrote many works on Vivarana school and started (as well as pioneered) the dvaita-advaita debacle through his bhedha dhikkara work (unfortunately haven't yet got to see/read this work). Some of his works include advaita dipika, vedanta tattva viveka and few commentaries on Vivarana school. Appayya Dikshitar's life-history speaks about Nrsimha meeting him and requesting him to do service to Advaita (as Appayya unlike his father was more writing on Saiva and against Vaishnava rather than Advaita) by writing a commentary on the Bhamathi school. Appayya then created history by writing the parimala commentary on Vedanta kalpatharu of Amalaananda (which itself is a commentary on Bhamathi which is a commentary on Sankara's Brahma Sutra Bhashya).

Sorry for the very boring and long history mail:).

Prostrations to all.


Let a moment not pass by without remembering God