Kumārila Bhaṭṭa

From Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia

By Swami Harshananda

Sometimes transliterated as: Kumarila Bhatta, KumArila BhaTTa, Kumaarila Bhatta


Kumārila Bhatta was one of the two most important teachers and scholars who fought against the nihilistic philosophies of Jainism and Buddhism to re-establish the glory of Vedic religion. The other teacher was Śaṅkara (CE 788-820) who was his junior contemporary.

Kumārila Bhaṭṭa probably hailed from Mithilā in Bihar and might have lived during the period CE 650-700. He was a rich householder and a great scholar. The tale narrates that he was defeated by a well-known Buddhist teacher named Dharmakīrti. After adopting Buddhism and studying its tenets deeply under Dharmapāla, he is said to have defeated Dharmapāla himself. As per the agreement, Dharmapāla had to commit suicide by burning himself in paddy husk set on fire.

He is also credited with the victories over the Jains in the court of the king Sudhanva in Karṇāṭadeśa, in South India. When Śaṅkara came to Kumārila with a view to have a philosophical disputation, he was burning himself as an expiation for the sin of cheating his Buddhist guru. As per his directions, Śaṅkara is said to have gone to Maṇdana Miśra for the same.

He was a very great scholar. He has written a detailed commentary on the Sābarabhāsya of the Mīmāmsāsutras of Jaimini in the vārttika form [1]. They are in three parts known as:

  1. Slokavārttika
  2. Tantravārttika
  3. Tuptīkā

Other works attributed to him by certain later writers such as Brhattīkā and Madhyamatīkā are not available now. His chief disciples were:

References

  1. Vārttika form means explanatory notes in verses.
  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore