The present work of Sri Panoli bears evidence to an exhaustive study of the topics such as Chaturvarnya, smritis, etc. This work which holds in itself the essence of the entire Sankara-bhashya and other texts written by the Acharya is the touchstone of Bharatiya-darsana. The book of which the aim is to portray Sri Sankara in reality, casting aside all the superstitions that have gathered around him through centuries, begins with forty precious saying of the Acharya.
It is with much expectation that we bring out the book, Adi Sankara’s Vision of Reality’, authored by Vidyavachaspati V. Panoli. Earlier we had published his work, Upanishads in Sankara’s Own Words (4 vols) which found unprecedented response from the reading public, and from our experience we say, no other book on philosophy published by us had run out with such speed as did the above volumes.
As far as the present work of Sri. V. Panoli is concerned, we have unfailing confidence that it will be acclaimed and accepted with all enthusiasm by the readers at large, for it is the product of the study and research of five decades. Moreover, it stands distinct from the other books for the reason that its only objective is to reveal Sri Sankara, casting aside all superstitious imaginations with which the people generally look at him. When we published recently Sri Panoli’s work entitled ‘Sreesankara darsanam’ (Malayalam), no less eminent a scholar than Panditaratnam K.P. Narayana Pisharoti wrote that for all those who want to know Sri Sankara Acharya in all reality this book would be ‘a precious treasure’. Now, no further evidence is necessary to prove the author’s Competence in portraying Sri Sankara together with his message in the manner it ought to be.
We are earnestly looking forward to all our readers for their continued support.
Sri Adi Sankara came from a higher sphere which is far beyond the reach of mortal ken. He appeared as a miracle on the terrestrial globe twelve hundred years ago. He had the divine afflatus by which he could shake the world to its very foundation.
It is no wonder that the commentaries on the Prasthanatraya written by such a great Acharya which have raised through centuries an eternal monument for the Indian philosophy have immortalized him also.
In this humble work, Adi Sankara’s Vision of reality’, an attempt is made to portray the Acharya in all his divine splendour, by removing the interpolations that have crept into his major works and polluted his sacred vision. Besides, the superstitious imaginations and myths about the Acharya which too have marred the purity of his teachings have been particularly pointed out, making the path smooth for the reader to obtain a true image of the greatest philosopher of India of the historic period.
I need not state anything further about the peculiar characteristics of this work, since the name of the book itself is suggestive of the very nature of its content. However, I must make one point clear so that I man not be misunderstood or misjudged. The Acharya’s main works are the bhashyas, for they alone reveal his message in all its distinction, purity and excellence. But such is not the case with the Prakarana- grandhas. Most of them cannot be considered to be belonging to Sri Adi Sankara and the reason for it has been explained in detail in this book. The Prakarana-grandhas really written by the Acharya himself and those written later by others and bearing the same name, viz. Sri Sankara, cannot easily be distinguished unless they are examined critically. Therefore, in order to arrive at the truth in any particular case, it is imperative that the attention should immediately turn to the bhashyas only to find out how the same case was treated by the Acharya in it, what meaning he has assigned to it, and on what ground. That alone should be accepted as a valid guideline. In other words, if any view or idea stated in the Prakarana-grandha contradicts that revealed in the bhashya, the former should be summarily rejected.
The several topics involving a variety of conflicting views and discussed in this book are totally based on the teachings of the Acharya given in the bhashya which cannot err. Of course, the evidences from those Prakarana-grandhas which truly belong to the Acharya have also been cited in some places in this book.
Again, I must request the readers to kindly bestow their attention on the chart appended to this book which will offer unerring information about many things, as explained in the last chapter.
I had, on different occasions, discussed with Justice Sri V.R. Krishna Iyer all the topics featured in this book. Besides he had been kind enough to go through the typescript and offer highly enlightening and encouraging remarks, as is evidenced by his letter dated 1-5-1995. Besides, the very title of this book- Adi Sankara’s Vision of Reality- is his inspired choice. I had nothing to rethink before accepting this wise suggestion, for he has always been a tower of strength to me. I express my heart-felt gratitude to Justice Sri V.R. Krishna Iyer.
I owe a great deal to Sri M.P. Veerendrakumar, the Hon’ble Minister of state for Labour, India, New Delhi for the most valuable foreword he was written to this book. Although he is in a thick of battle himself, he has taken pains to study the whole matter. I am very much indebted to him for the praise worthy information he has given in the Foreword, by making a reference particularly to the Pratyabhijna system of thought which has been influenced to a large extent by the vision of Sri Sankara. Undoubtedly it goes to strengthen my view that Sri Sankara is not the author of Saundaryalahari and that he had nothing to do with the Tantric system etc.
Even earlier I happened to speak to him about this humble attempt of mine to discover the great Acharya, cutting asunder the veil of superstitions, legend and myths that have gathered around him over centuries. He appreciated the idea very much and we had long discussions thereafter about the several topics dealt with in this book. When he found the line of approach towards many vital issues concerning the Acharya in particular and the Vedic religion in general was to the logical effect without any sort of deviation from the accepted principles, he went so far as to express heart-felt admiration and say that this book depicting Sri Sankara in his pristine glory should appear in print as quickly as possible. These expressions which poured out from his heart were no less than ‘the first reward’ for this humble work. This word of honour form him is only an extension of the great favour he had done already to me. I express my gratitude to Sri M.P. Veerendrakumar from the inmost shrine of my heart.
Sri P.V. Chandran, Managing editor, The Mathrubhumi is not a whit behind in stretching his helping hand to me. He has explained the importance of this work in the Publisher’s Note. As far as I am concerned, it is a matter of pride that I have his goodwill all through my long association with him. I express my gratitude to Sri P.V. Chandran from the depth of my heart.
My thanks are due to Sri G. Parameswaran (Pokkunnu) for his sincere efforts to gather some of the valuable books required for reference.
|Letter of Justice V.R Krishna Iyer||VIII|
|Foreword by Sri M.P. Veerendrakumar||IX|
|Sparks From The Eternal fire||3|
|Chapter 1||Acharya’s Message||17|
|Chapter 2||Acharya’s Works||25|
|Chapter 3||The bhashyas foisted on the Acharya||33|
|(1) Svetasvatara Upanishad||33|
|Chapter 4||The Prakarana-grandhas||70|
|(7) Satasloki or Vedantakesari||145|
|(3) Sex-knowledge, not alien to the Acharya||247|
|Chapter 7||Sri Sankara and Varnasramadharma||253|
|Chapter 9||Advaita Philosophy||311|
|Chapter 10||The Chart||325|