Sureśvara

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By Swami Harshananda

Sometimes transliterated as: Suresvara, SureZvara, Sureshvara


Sureśvara (A. D. 800) was one of the four chief disciples of Śaṅkara (A. D. 788-820). He has written two vārttikas or sub-commentaries on the bhāṣyas of Śaṅkara on the Brhadāranyaka Upanisad and the Taittirlya Upanisad.

The first one is one of the longest works (spread over 11,151 verses) in Indian philosophy. The introductory part of it consisting of 1135 verses is known as Sambandhavārttika. It tries to establish the sambandha or relation between the Karmakāṇḍa portion and the Jñānakāṇḍa portion of the Veda (which deal with rituals and knowledge respectively).

The work is highly polemical.


References

  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore

OLD CONTENT

Sureśvara Sureśvara was one of the four chief disciples of Śaṅkara (A.D. 788-820). Not much is known about him. According to the traditional bio¬graphies of Śaṅkara—like the Sañkara- digvijaya—he was Maṇḍana Miśra, a great scholar of Mīmāriisā, whom Śaṅkara defeated in a disputation. As per the earlier agreement, he accepted saxñnyāsa from Śaṅkara and became his disciple, assuming the new name Sureśvara. Modern scholars however do not subscribe to this view. According to them he was an entirely different person, known earlier as Viśvarupa. Sureśvara’s works are Vārttikas (poetical expositions) on Śaṅkara’s bhāṣyas (commentaries) on the Brhadāranyaka and the Taittirīya Upanisads; Mānasollāsa a (vārttika) on the Daksināmurtistotra; a bhāṣya on Saṅkara’s Pañcikarana; Naiskarmyasiddhi (an independent trea¬tise on Advaita Vedānta). He was the first pontiff of the Śāradāpītha of Srrigeri, one of the four monasteries established by Śaṅkara. According to another version, he was the first pontiff of the Kāñcī Kāmakoṭi- pīṭham (after Śaṅkara), a fifth monastery supposed to have been established by Saṅkara himself for his own stay. The controversy regarding this point is still very much alive. It is however true that this Maṭha also has produced many great ācāryas.