Sankara Criticism - Essay

Daniel H. H. Ingalls (essay date 1954)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: "Samkara's Arguments against the Buddhists," Philosophy East and West, Vol. III, No. 4, January, 1954, pp. 291-306.

[In the essay below, Ingalls suggests a comparative textual analysis of Sankara's writings for exploring his complex views on Buddhism.]

Much has been said on the relation of Samkaracarya to the Buddhists, and the views which are current on this topic differ as much as black differs from white. The more enthusiastic of Samkara's followers claim that he is chiefly responsible for driving the Buddhists out of India. Their sectarian opponents, on the other hand, have claimed that far from opposing Buddhism Samkara secretly accepted its doctrines and...

(The entire section is 7258 words.)

Y. Keshava Menon and Richard F. Allen (essay date 1960)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: "Epistemology" in The Pure Principle: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Shankara, Michigan State University Press, 1960, pp. 37-55.

[Below, Menon and Allen discuss Sankara's theory of knowledge and how his epistemology "steered a middle course between the two main Hindu schools of thought."]

How can we come to know the Self? The answer is that if we truly know anything at all, it is the Self; and everything else we seem to know is a product of avidya or ignorance, which splits up the pure or integral knowledge into subject and object. For if the Self is universal and is the only reality, then, as Sir S. Radhakrishnan has said, it is not the real that calls...

(The entire section is 7028 words.)

S. S. Roy (essay date 1965)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: "The Heritage of Sankara: A Meeting of Extremes" in The Heritage of Sankara, Udayana Publications, 1965, pp. 139-82.

[In the following essay, Roy discusses how the Advaitic philosophy embodied in Sankara's work is a synthesis of two extreme schools of Hindu philosophical thought.]

(1) The Heritage of Sankara: A Meeting of Extremes.

… The question is—What are the extremes in the Indian philosophical thought? And what do we actually mean by saying that these extremes have met in the heritage of Sankara? For answering the first question, we need a fundamentum divisionis, whereby we could indicate the extreme points of...

(The entire section is 7191 words.)

John A. Taber (essay date 1983)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: "Indian Philosophy, Western Philosophy, and the Problem of Intelligibility" in Transformative Philosophy: A Study of Sankara, Fichte, and Heidegger, University of Hawaii Press, 1983, pp. 27-67.

[In the essay below, Taber argues that understanding Sankara's theory as transformative philosophy is an essential element in making his notions of the self and self-consciousness "intelligible" to western minds.]

After more than a hundred years of research in Indian philosophy by Western philologists, the prevailing attitude toward Indian philosophy among Western philosophers—I mean especially Anglo-Saxon philosophers—is still one of disregard. The following remarks...

(The entire section is 21662 words.)

Y. Masih (essay date 1987)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: "The Modem Relevance of Shankara" in Shankara's Universal Philosophy of Religion, Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers Pvt. Ltd., 1987, pp. 130-46.

[In the following essay, Masih discusses Sankara in several contexts including comparative religion, psychology, and modern philosophy in exploring his relevancy to the modern world.]

The most important commitment of Shankara was to find out the way out of human miseries involved in earthly existence. Ontologically he established that the supreme reality is Brahman, which is eternal, unchangeable and untouched by the vicissitudes of any existents. After giving an ontological reason and defence of non-dual Brahman he...

(The entire section is 6032 words.)

Jonathan Bader (essay date 1990)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: "Approaches to the Study of Sankara" in Meditation in Sankara's Vedanta, Aditya Prakashan, 1990, pp. 7-24.

[Below, Bader outlines various schools of Sankara scholarship, noting their strengths and weaknesses.]

In 1952 Professor [Daniel H. H.] Ingalls called attention to the need for new efforts in the application of historical methods to the study of Sankara.1 He suggested that the philosophical analysis of Sankara's thought could not proceed much further without the assistance of historical study. At this very time two other scholars, [Paul] Hacker and [Hajime] Nakamura, were engaged in research which was to give new direction to the study of...

(The entire section is 5876 words.)

Anantanand Rambachan (essay date 1991)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: "The Vedas as a Pramana" in Accomplishing the Accomplished: The Vedas as a Source of Valid Knowledge in Sankara, University of Hawaii Press, 1991, pp. 31-54.

[In the following essay, Rambachan analyzes Sankara's belief in sruti as the essential and true source of knowledge of brahman.]

Sabda can be seen as a pramana for our knowledge of the empirical world as well as ultimate reality. Advaita, however, is not primarily concerned with sabda-pramana as a vehicle of secular knowledge. As such a medium, sabda cannot lay claim to any particular uniqueness, for the knowledge which it conveys is, in most cases, available...

(The entire section is 13955 words.)

Natalia Isayeva (essay date 1993)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: "Biography of Sankara and His Main Works" in Shankara and Indian Philosophy, State University of New York Press, 1993, pp. 69-104.

[Below, Isayeva surveys the various hagiographies of Sankara's life, outlines the three categories of his writings, and discusses the difficulty scholars have encountered in authenticating some of his work.]

1. Sankara's Life

We know both too much and too little about Sankara's life. The hagiographical tradition of Vedanta overflows with descriptions of wonderful signs and prophecies, fantastic occurrences and brilliant aphorisms that accompanied literally every day and hour of the Advaitist's earthly...

(The entire section is 11515 words.)