By Swami Harshananda
Śāṇḍilya literally means 'son or descendant of Śaṇḍila'.
The problem with the ancient religious scriptures is that we come across the same name, especially that of a ṛṣi or sage, at many places. It obviously refers to different periods of time. The name Śāṇḍilya is one such. Several Śāṇdilyas that we find in these scriptures may be listed as follows:
- Śāṇḍilya is mentioned several times in the Śatapatha Brāhmana as a great authority of agnicayana where his agni has been called Śāṇḍila’. He was the teacher of Vātsya and a pupil of Kuśrī.
- According to other lists of lineage, several sages have been mentioned as his teachers. Some of them are:
- In the Chāndogya Upaniṣad an important teaching of Śāṇḍilya is given. It has been called Sandilyavidyā.
- One Śāṇḍilya is mentioned in the Mahābhārata several times as a sage in the court of Yudhiṣṭhira
- His opinion on dāna or giving gifts has been quoted in the Anuśāsanaparva.
- The author of an ancient treatise on bhakti or devotion was also a Śāṇḍilya. The work is actually known by his name as Śāndilyaśatasutriyam. Two more works, Śāndilyopanisad and Śāndilyasamhitā, are also attributed to him.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore