By Swami Harshananda
Sometimes transliterated as: Sarvadarsanasangraha, SarvadarZanasaJgraha, Sarvadarshanasaygraha
Sarvadarśanasañgraha literally means ‘an abridged version of all the philosophical systems’.
Origin of Bhāṣyas
Various systems of philosophy have their own basic scriptures, mostly in the form of sutras or aphorisms. Since they were too laconic to understand clearly, later followers of those schools brought up in that tradition, wrote bhāṣyas or commentaries on the same. These were further followed further by sub-commentaries to elucidate the subtler and finer points of the doctrines and also the arguments for and against them.
List of Bhāṣyas
For an earnest student who wanted to know only the essentials of these systems there were no brief compendiums or summaries available in one place. This prompted several scholars of the later period to produce such treatises. The following is a list of such compendiums available now:
- Prasthānabheda by Madhusudana Sarasvatī in A. D. 1490-1580.
- Saddarśananirnaya by Merutuṅga in 14th century A. D.
- Saddarśanasamuccaya by Rājaśekharasuri in 13th century A. D.
- Saddarśanasamuccaya by Haribhadrasṅri in 750 A. D.
- Sarvadarśanakaumudī by Mādhava Sarasvatī in 14th century A. D.
- Sarvasiddhāntapraveśaka by a Jaina muni in 12th century A. D.
- Sarvasiddhāntasañgraha by a Śaṅkarācārya of a Sāṅkarite monastery.
- Sarvamatasañgraha edited by Gaṇapati Sāstri. The author is unknown.
- Sarvamatasañgrahavilāsa by Rāmasubrahmaṇyācārya.
- Vivekavilāsa by Jinadattasuri in 1200 A. D.
Significance of Sarvadarśanasañgraha
The Sarvadarśanasañgraha of Mādhava is not only the best of such compendiums but also unique in many ways. It's peculiarities are as follows:
- It deals with each of the systems as its protagonist himself would have done in it's sixteen chapters.
- The language is elegant prose, interspersed with appropriate quotations.
- The systems treated here are:
- Ārhata or Jaina
- Rāmānuja or Viśiṣṭādvaita
- Purṇaprajña or Dvaita
- Nakulīśa Pāśupata, a form of Saivism
- Pratyabhijñā or Kāśmīr Saivism
- Raseśvara or glorifying mercury
- Aulukya or Vaiśeṣika
- Akṣapāda or Nyāya
- Jaimini for Purvamīmānsā
- Pāṇini for philosophy of śabda or sound
- Pātañjala for Yoga
- Saṅkara for Advaita
- Sāyaṇa lived in A. D. 1315-1387.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore