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Thread: Determining Authenticity of work attributed to a saint

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    Determining Authenticity of work attributed to a saint

    Namaste,

    Quite often here on HDF and elsewhere on net, the authenticity of works attributed to a saint, in most cases Adi Shankara are questioned. The reason for questioning comes as Adi Shankara had short life span and there are more than 400 works attributed to him, which are done by later acharya-s or maybe by someone else.

    I think it is reasonable to discuss or educate members and guests, who are not knowledgeable (that includes me ), to know a proper method to determine authenticity of any works or shastra-s.

    As far as analysis is concerned, I think opinion of an acharya or an esteemed member of that particular sampradaya should be counted.

    e.g. individuals who are bestoved titles like Mahopadhyaya, 108, 1008, Mahamandeleshwar and Shankaracharya.

    These people have earned their respect and proved their authority on shastra-s.

    I request knowledgeable members to please shed some light on this issue and I hope that it remains a healthy discussion.

    I also request those who make claim that according to 'some scholars' should give names of scholars and the sampradaya they are attached to along with their honorific title.

    I may not reply, as I prefer to learn.

    Pranams
    Only God Is Truth, Everything Else Is Illusion - Ramakrishna
    Total Surrender of Ego to SELF is Real Bhakti - Ramana Maharshi

    Silence is the study of the scruptures. Meditation is the continuous thinking of Brahman which is to be meditated upon. The complete negation of both by knowledge is the vision of truth – sadAcAra-14 of Adi SankarAcArya

    namah SivAya vishnurUpAya viShNave SivarUpiNe, MBh, vanaparva, 3.39.76

    Sanskrit Dict | MW Dict | Gita Super Site | Hindu Dharma

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    Re: Determining Authenticity of work attributed to a saint

    The basic rule of thumb is this- Adi Shankara is unquestionably the author of the brahma sutra bhashya, gita bhashya and 10 upanishad bhashyas. Any work that contradicts them is to be rejected, which means virtually all his other works except the upadesha sahasri abd perhaps vishnu sahasranama bhashya. Any work that differs from these in writing stule, vocabulary, usage of technical terms etc is to be rejected. Any work that mentions events occuring after Shankaracharya's death is to be rejected. Any work not mentioned by members of his or other Sampradayas or in any other literature is to be rejected.
    There are other criteria but these are the main ones.

    Many of these criteria are highly subjective, so different scholars come up with different lists.

    TThe only thing everyone agrees on is that the prasthana trayi bhashyas are definitely by Adi Shankara, and that at most, he could have written maybe 40-50 works so most works attributed to him are fake.
    namastE astu bhagavan vishveshvarAya mahAdevAya tryaMbakAya|
    tripurAntakAya trikAgnikAlAya kAlAgnirudrAya nIlakaNThAya mRtyuJNjayAya sarveshvarAya sadAshivAya shrIman mAhAdevAya ||

    Om shrImAtrE namah

    sarvam shrI umA-mahEshwara parabrahmArpaNamastu


    A Shaivite library
    http://www.scribd.com/HinduismLibrary

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    Re: Determining Authenticity of work attributed to a saint

    Thank you Omkara

    EDIT:

    Should also events in Shankara Digvijaya could be considered e.g. after seeing Lord shiva he praised him and composed a hym manisha panchakam or during last days, he upon request of his devotees composed upadesha panchakam.
    Only God Is Truth, Everything Else Is Illusion - Ramakrishna
    Total Surrender of Ego to SELF is Real Bhakti - Ramana Maharshi

    Silence is the study of the scruptures. Meditation is the continuous thinking of Brahman which is to be meditated upon. The complete negation of both by knowledge is the vision of truth – sadAcAra-14 of Adi SankarAcArya

    namah SivAya vishnurUpAya viShNave SivarUpiNe, MBh, vanaparva, 3.39.76

    Sanskrit Dict | MW Dict | Gita Super Site | Hindu Dharma

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    Re: Determining Authenticity of work attributed to a saint

    Quote Originally Posted by Indiaspirituality Amrut View Post
    Thank you Omkara

    EDIT:

    Should also events in Shankara Digvijaya could be considered e.g. after seeing Lord shiva he praised him and composed a hym manisha panchakam or during last days, he upon request of his devotees composed upadesha panchakam.
    Shankara Digvijaya is also considered of doubtful authenticity. It cpntains so many grammatical errors, factual errors and inconsistencies that it could not have been the work of a great scholar like Madhavacharya(Not to be confused with the founder of Dvaita Vedanta).
    namastE astu bhagavan vishveshvarAya mahAdevAya tryaMbakAya|
    tripurAntakAya trikAgnikAlAya kAlAgnirudrAya nIlakaNThAya mRtyuJNjayAya sarveshvarAya sadAshivAya shrIman mAhAdevAya ||

    Om shrImAtrE namah

    sarvam shrI umA-mahEshwara parabrahmArpaNamastu


    A Shaivite library
    http://www.scribd.com/HinduismLibrary

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    Re: Determining Authenticity of work attributed to a saint

    Quote Originally Posted by Omkara View Post
    Shankara Digvijaya is also considered of doubtful authenticity. It cpntains so many grammatical errors, factual errors and inconsistencies that it could not have been the work of a great scholar like Madhavacharya(Not to be confused with the founder of Dvaita Vedanta).
    Namaste,

    This means there is no biography of Adi Shankara which is authentic and extant
    Only God Is Truth, Everything Else Is Illusion - Ramakrishna
    Total Surrender of Ego to SELF is Real Bhakti - Ramana Maharshi

    Silence is the study of the scruptures. Meditation is the continuous thinking of Brahman which is to be meditated upon. The complete negation of both by knowledge is the vision of truth – sadAcAra-14 of Adi SankarAcArya

    namah SivAya vishnurUpAya viShNave SivarUpiNe, MBh, vanaparva, 3.39.76

    Sanskrit Dict | MW Dict | Gita Super Site | Hindu Dharma

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    Re: Determining Authenticity of work attributed to a saint

    Namaste Amrut,

    I would like to give an example from my sampradaya (Sri) relating to the topic. "Mukunda Malai" is a very popular stotra to Vaishnavas in general and is attributed to Kulasekara Alwar. However, this view is doubted even within the sampradaya itself.

    The basis for the doubt is this. The work is in sanskrit while all Alwars have only rendered hymns in tamil. There is no reference to the work till about 13-14 century (just reference not any claim). Sri Periyavachan Pillai (vyAkyAna chakravarthy) of 12th century had extensively commented on every works of alwars and even acharyas but has not even referred to this.

    Its quite possible that some descendent of Sri Kulasekara could have composed that and so the name of Kulaskekara would have been associated with this. This is especially believable because the stotra does not contradict the Sri Vaishnava philosophy at all and is also a beautiful rendition and so is held in high regards. In which case, no one is cheating here but works of a "kulasekara" or "Kuresha" gets mistaken as belonging to the original person. But if someone has a difference of opinion on, say, the Alwar's thoughts we cannot quote this stotra as a proof.

    So, the best way to understand the original works/philosophy of any Acharya would be to collect the quotes of the disciples and the refutations from Poorva paksha from various times.

    However, I myself don't take the evaluation from western scholars seriously and won't blame anyone for discounting them. For example a sanskrit scholar can change his style of writing. However, the standard of sanskrit used is a valid tool for analysis. Also one factor that is often missed out by many scholars is that the more we go into the past, the more credible quotes become as the density of sanskrit pundits and scholars increases.

    Kindly note that I did not make any claim as yet regarding the original works of Adi Shankaracharya but gave some inputs on the topic of the thread in general.

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    Re: Determining Authenticity of work attributed to a saint

    Thank you jignyAsu. It's very helpful
    Only God Is Truth, Everything Else Is Illusion - Ramakrishna
    Total Surrender of Ego to SELF is Real Bhakti - Ramana Maharshi

    Silence is the study of the scruptures. Meditation is the continuous thinking of Brahman which is to be meditated upon. The complete negation of both by knowledge is the vision of truth – sadAcAra-14 of Adi SankarAcArya

    namah SivAya vishnurUpAya viShNave SivarUpiNe, MBh, vanaparva, 3.39.76

    Sanskrit Dict | MW Dict | Gita Super Site | Hindu Dharma

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