Samkhya and Buddhism

50.1. Samkhya and Samkhya-like ideas certainly predate emergence of Buddhism. One of the teachers of the Buddha is said to have taught a doctrine that resembled Samkhya. There are certain similarities between Samkhya and the early Buddhism. It is likely each influenced the other, in their later stages. That does not however mean that Buddhism is the same as Samkhya. Their dissimilarities are perhaps more significant than their similarities.

50.2. The similarities between Samkhya and the early Buddhism could briefly be mentioned as: acceptance of the notion that life is characterized by suffering; rejection of the notion of absolute God; rejection of the concept of soul; emphasis on individual rather on cosmic; similarity in the theories of evolution; similarity in the view of the world as a constantly becoming and changing phenomena; acceptance of the concept of Gunas; acceptance of the Satkarya vada that the effect resides in its cause; similarity in enumeration of the basic elements or components of nature; similarity in the notions of liberation kaivalya or nirvana; rejection of both the Vedic authority and the validity of rituals; rejection of extreme practices and self torture etc.

50.3. In each of these similarities the Buddhist projections appear more radical or perhaps more elaborate. Having said that let me also mention that such similarities are not unique to Samkhya and Buddhism alone. One finds such features generally among other ancient Indian Schools too. For instance, the adoption of enumeration of various components of nature was a well accepted method among other systems of thought; rejection of Vedic authority and its ritualistic attitude was also a feature of other rational schools; the notion of aloofness kaivalya absolute independence was also the ideal of Jains. Similarly, the theories of Karma, Gunas and such other beliefs were commonly accepted by most schools.

50.4. But one similarity which is rather striking is the emphasis on Dukkha suffering and its eradication. That was the stated objective of both the systems. Buddhism however made that the central point of its doctrine. The Buddha’s second and the fourth

postulates on the origination of sorrow and the methods of elimination of sorrow are his original contribution to Indian thought; the former being his philosophical stand point and the latter his religious system.

50.5. The other distinctive characteristics of Buddhism are the emphasis on compassion and ethics. . The Buddha asserted that it is not adequate if one merely focuses on elimination of suffering; but one must acquire the skill of probing the nature of the object. Those efforts must essentially be rooted in ethics and a wholesome mental state. The cultivation of the four sublime virtues of lovingkindness, compassion, empathetic Joy, and equanimity is of great importance.

50.6. The Samkhya abandons the idea of the existence of the absolute, but it retains the idea of spirit (Purusha) and of material world (Prakrti); the Buddhism, on the other hand abandoned both these two conceptions, and retained only the fleeting series of mental states (stream of consciousness) as a quasi reality, In either case there is effort to disown the human psycho-physical apparatus and its functioning.

51.1. Samkhya teaches that we should look beyond our personal affinities with Prakrti and realize the timeless unchanging nature of our true self, which resides beyond Prakrti as Purusha the pure consciousness. This realization can be understood as the reverse process of evolution back into the Purusha. Whereupon the Purusha is established in its own nature as kaivalyasolitary and independent, indifferently observing the natural world.

51.2. Early Buddhism as also Samkhya attempted to do away with the illusion that empherical ego is the real Self; though the Buddha remained silent on the question of Self as also on the question of nirvana. But, the Buddha’s studious disapproval of metaphysical discussion on these aspects did not seem to have yielded the results he desired. Because, his silence spurred series of speculations in the later Buddhist Schools; and caused much confusion and bewilderment.

51.3 . The nature of Nirvana is perhaps the most debated issue of Buddhist philosophy, probably because the Buddha himself refused to speculate on it. His attitude was, in effect: If you want to know what nirvana is like, then experience it. But clearly Nirvana does not involve the isolation of a pure consciousness as in the case of Samkhya, because there is no such thing as permanent consciousness in early Buddhism. The unique feature of Buddhism is that there is no permanent Self at all, and never was; there are only five skandhas, "heaps" of elements, which constantly interact. It is significant that the skandhas do not constitute a Self; the sense of a Self is merely an illusion created by their interaction. The Buddha emphasized that one should not identify anything as the Self.

X. Samkhya and Vedanta

52.1. Even prior to the emergence of Samkhya as a system , the Samkhya-like ideas and terms appeared in the Vedas, Upanishads, the Bhagavad-Gita, the epics and other texts .This suggests that the monistic trends in Vedic thought and dualistic concepts of Samkhya had common origins.

52.2. But Samkhya as a doctrine was ever distinct from the Vedic stream of speculative intutions. The early Samkhya, in sharp contrast, refused to speculate on god and rejected the scriptures and rituals as means for human attainments. It stepped aside cosmological explanations or implications. It affirmed the existence of the objective-world; emphasized the world has to be understood in the context of human existence; and said the world is inextricably wound up with the presence of human existence. One has to therefore deal with the world positively.

52.3. The Samkhya separated itself from the scripture- based Vedanta and preferred to be a group of reason-based free thinkers with only a loose scriptural affiliation. But the Samkhya never

rejected the Veda completely unlike the Buddhists and the Jains; but maintained that Vedas cannot be accepted as unquestioned sole authority. Besides, the Samkhya brand of atheism never collapsed into the materialism of Charvakas and naturalists (Lokayatas). Samkhya always maintained spiritual and salvationoriented outlook.

52.4. Though both the Upanishads and Samkhya identified knowledge (jnana) and effective discrimination (viveka) as the means for attaining human aspirations, which is realizing one’s true identity, Samkhya was dualistic to its core whereas the Upanishads adopted a non-dual approach saying that the absolute consciousness encompasses the entire universe, everything that resides in it is but a transformation of that principle.

53.1. The Samkhya insisted that the individual consciousness, the true identity of man , is distinct from everything else and there are infinite number of such unit consciousness. It said consciousness (Purusha) which sees the world (Prakrti) is separate from what it sees. It asserted that confusing the seer for the seen or mixing both is the cause for man’s suffering.

53.2. Vedanta, on the other hand, asserted the notion of identity of the individual consciousness and the Universal consciousness. It declared that the entire manifest universe is an expression or transformation of that absolute consciousness. Vedanta sharply differed from the Samkhya theory of evolution of the manifest world as emanating through a series of causes and effects.

53.3. Samkhya maintains two independent realities and infinite numbers of Purushas. Vedanta does not accept two infinites and multiplicity of Souls.

The extreme form of dualism between subject and object was seen as a basic inadequacy of Samkhya as it left no room for coexistence of the two categories.

53.4. The later variations of the Samkhya School attempted to resolve these difficulties by (1) conceiving Purushas not as distinct from each other, but as various aspects or reflections of one unitary consciousness; and (2) conceiving prakrti not as distinct from this unified consciousness, but as an aspect of it. But this, of course, transformed Samkhya into a completely different system, because it gives up the basic dualism of Purusha and Prakrti.

53.5. With these modifications Samkhya came to resemble the monistic system of Sri Shankara. It was also rendered theistic with Samkhya accepting the existence of a Supreme Being (Parama Purusha) the God. But, these adaptations rendered Samkhya acceptable to Vedic Schools; and Samkhya came to be regarded, since about the sixteenth century, as one of the six accepted Schools of traditional Indian philosophies (Darshana).

53.6. With or without its modifications Samkhya is a very important School of thought; and has contributed to the richness, profundity and breadth of the Indian philosophy. The explanations and elaborations offered by most other Schools of Indian thought are based in the foundations provided by the terms and concepts provided by the Samkhya. Swami Vivekananda in his exposition of Samkhya philosophy aptly remarked, “If we take into consideration Advaita Vedanta, then our argument will be that the Samkhya is not a perfect generalization ...and yet all glory really belongs to the Samkhya. It is very easy to give a finishing touch to a building when it is constructed."

Y. Kaivalya, Nirvana and Moksha

54.1. Samkhya, Buddhism and Vedanta are the three most important philosophical systems. The three together represent almost the whole of Indian philosophies. Nearly every shade of metaphysical discussion revolves round these three pillars. They may also be viewed as three basic ways of resolving the relation

that exists between God and world; Man and God; Man and world; and in general the nature of relation between subject and object.

54.2. All the three systems regard realizing ones true identity and gaining release from suffering of all sorts as the goal of human evolution. There are similarities as also differences among the three modes of enquiry. All the three instruct the individual to avoid identifying with any physical or mental phenomenon but to let-go all identities. All three agree that enlightenment – variously called as kaivalya, nirvana or moksha- is not an intellectual construct. They point out that liberation cannot be attained through theoretical knowledge of the scriptures because it is a state that is beyond all categories of thought. In other words, enlightenment or liberation is beyond philosophies. Enlightenment is an experience.

55.1. The question is: since all the three systems regard enlightenment as a state beyond intellect, are they all referring to the same experience or whether there are different kinds of enlightenment?

That question arises because the basic tenets and methods of the three systems are irreconcilably different.Samkhya is dualistic, the early Buddhism may be considered pluralistic, while Advaita Vedanta is monistic.

55.2. Samkhya is the most radical possible dualism between subject and its object. The separation between the two (Purusha and Prakrti) is so extreme that the system-connect virtually fails because the two neither can come together nor communicate with each other.

55.3. Early Buddhism attempts to combine subject into object. Consciousness according to Buddhism has no independent existence; it is something that is conditioned and arising out of the interaction with other factors (skandas). Buddhism does not believe in a permanent Self. The Self is merely an illusion created

by the interaction of the five aggregates (skandas). The Self shrinks to nothing and there is only a void; but the Void is not a thing -- it expresses the fact that there is absolutely nothing, no-thing at all, which can be identified as the Self.

Both Samkhya and Buddhism focus on the individual and do not discuss cosmic aspects of existence. Both are basically radical and dualistic in their approach. And, both disregard the Vedas, Vedic authority and its rituals.

55.4. Advaita Vedanta on the other hand conflates object into subject. There is nothing external to Brahman, the One without a second. Since Brahman is a non-dual, self-luminous consciousness, it encompasses the entire universe. And the universe is nothing but the transformation of Brahman. Everything is the Self the Brahman.

56.1. What do kaivalya, nirvana or moksha mean in these systems

According to Samkhya, the Purusha in its true form is ever pure and ever-present. The Arhat, said the Buddha, is "deep, immeasurable, and unfathomable, like the mighty ocean." The Brahman of Vedanta is an infinite pure consciousness pervading everywhere.

The Samkhya ideal of Kaivalya consists in Purusha (pure consciousness) realizing its distinction from Prakrti (everything else) with instruction of Buddhi (knowledge of discrimination). Kaivalyawhich is essentially based in dualism was viewed as an inadequacy of the Samkhya. The Yoga which has its theoretical base in Samkhya sought to correct the position. In Samadhi the pure consciousness becomes one with the object of meditation. The distinctions between the knower, knowing and the

known is obliterated .It is akin to the Advaita ideal of realizing the whole universe as the Self.

56.2. The term Nirvana derived from the root va (to blow like the wind) qualified by a negative prefix nir denotes a state of motionless rest where no wind blows, where the fire has been quenched, where the light is extinguished and where the stars have gone out .The Buddha explained it with a simile of an oil-lamp sinking upon itself and expiring when its fuel has been consumed .Nirvana suggests a state of emptiness and nothingness. At the same time Nirvana is described as a state of blessedness, unbound peace and deliverance.

Nirvana is characterized as a state beyond conditioned consciousness.The Buddha however refused to speculate on the nature of it. We therefore do not really know how the Buddha understood Nirvana. The Pali Canon speaks of a state beyond all conceptual thoughts; and yet, it could be experienced in meditation.

But nirvana does not seem to involve the isolation of a pure consciousness, (as in the case of Samkhya) because such concept is not present in the early Buddhism. The concept of a permanent Self is also not there.The Buddha emphasized that one should not identify anything as the Self. Nirvana , in essence is complete freedom by abandoning all sensations, all perceptions, all volitions, and acts of consciousness. It is a state of bliss which is entirely different from and free from all that exists in the Samsara.

The Buddhist Nirvana is not the eternal essence, which is the basis of everything and from which the whole world has arisen (like the Brahman of the Upanishads) but the reverse of all that we know, something altogether different which must be characterized as a nothing in relation to the world, but which is experienced as highest bliss by those who have attained to it (Anguttara Nikaya, Navaka-nipata 34).

56.3. Vedanta says Brahman is One without a second; Brahman is unbound there is nothing outside it. For Sri Shankara, moksha, liberation, is the realization that I am, and always have been, Brahman. One does not attain or merge with this Brahman; one merely realizes that one has always been Brahman. Sri Shankara uses the analogy of the space within a closed jar: that space has always been one with all space; their separateness is nothing but the illusion.

57.1. On the face of it the early Buddhism and Vedanta appear to have serious differences. While Buddhism does not believe in a Self, Vedanta says everything is the Self. There is apparently no consciousness in nirvana, but everything is consciousness in moksha. The one appears to be the mirror image of the other.They are extreme positions, trying to resolve the relation between the Self and the non-self by conflating the one into the other. The not-self of Buddhism holds within it the Self; while the Self of Advaita swallows the not-self.

57. 2. How different are they? Or do they mean the same thing in reverse?

It perhaps depends on the way one looks at it. In either case there is no duality between the object (that which is observed) or the subject (that which observes).If you look at it in another way there is not a great deal of difference between the two systems.

In both the systems the right understanding is the key to salvation. It is the right understanding that liberates. In Vedanta, one does not attain or merge with this Brahman; one merely realizes that one has always been Brahman. Similarly in Buddhism too one does not achieve anything new, but realizes ones true nature (or Buddha nature) as being always been pure and unstained. All that one needs to do is to realize that fact.

The concept of Shunya emptiness of later Buddhism is rather fascinating. Shunyata transcends human thoughts and speech. In Mahayana Buddhism shunyata, emptiness not merely refers to the absence of a Self but is also the fundamental characteristic of all reality; shunyata is the category which corresponds to the Vedanta concept of Brahman.

57.3. But can shunyata be reconciled with the One without a second?

Yes, it can be done. The explanation offered is that there is essentially only one thing; and to put it more accurately it is not even one in the numerical sense. We cannot say that it is One, yet, we cannot say it is not one, not two or not any number. The term selected by Vedanta to give expression to its idea of Reality is: ‘it is not two’ (a-dvaita).

To call it One is just a way of saying that it is a unity and there is nothing outside it -- no duality of a subject and an object. The it (tat) would not even be aware of itself as being one or being alone. It is absolute wholeness. In another way of saying, because there is nothing outside it, its phenomenal experience would be of nothing or nothing, which is shunyata.

58.1. There are some passages in the Pali Canon which almost sound Vedanta- like. Its language too resemble the mysticism of Vedanta

There is Oh disciples an unborn, unoriginated, uncreated and unformed. Were it not there … Oh disciples,.. there would be no possibility of existence of the world of the born, generated, created and formed.(Udana 8.3)

The great ocean is deep, immeasurable and unfathomable..So also the Perfect One is deep, immeasurable and unfathomable as the great ocean.(Samyutta Nikaya 4)

58.2. The Buddha emphasized that nirvana is neither annihilation nor eternal life. In the Brahmanimantanika Sutra (MajjhimaNikaya), the Buddha said: Do not think that this [nirvana] is an empty or void state. There is this consciousness, without distinguishing mark, infinite and shining everywhere (Vinnanam anidassanam anantam sabbato-pabham); it is untouched by the material elements and not subject to any power.

On another occasion the Buddha describes the state of an Arhant the one who has realized;

He who has gone to rest, no measure can fathom him. There is no word to speak of him. What thought could grasp has blown away. And every path to speech is barred. (Suttanipata)

58.3. Just as there are passages in the Pali Canonwhich sound like Vedanta, so there are passages in the Upanishads which seem Buddhist-like. Perhaps the most famous among them is Yajnavalkya's instruction to his wife Maitreyi in the Brhadaranyaka Upanishad: "Arising out of these elements (bhuta), into them also one vanishes away. After death there is no consciousness (na pretya samjna 'sti)...."

Yajnavalkya explains: For where there is a duality, as it were (iva), there one sees another.... But when, verily, everything has become just one's own self, then what could one see and through what... Through what could one know that owing to which all this is

known? So, through what could one understand the Understander? This Self... is imperceptible, for it is never perceived. (II. iv. 12-15)

Thus, the notions of infinity and nothingness appear in both the systems. Nothingness is an image or a reflection of the infinity.

59.1. But, why did Sri Shankara preferred to speak of the One and the Buddha of nothingness?

It seems that the answer to this lies in the nature of their philosophies. In referring to Brahman as One without a second, Sri Shankara tries to describe reality from outside, as it were, because that is the only perspective from which it can be understood as One. Sri Shankara was basically a philosopher; and as all philosophers do, he looks upon the whole of reality objectively and to comprehend its structure. It is as if the philosophizing intellect takes a look at the whole of existence from outside of it.

59.2. But the Buddha was describing his experience. He realized that one cannot get outside of reality and describe it as an object; because one is inseparable from that reality. He also believed too much philosophizing and clinging to ideas is an obstruction to enlightenment. He advocated meditation as a process to let go all attachments, even the attachment to ideas and concepts.

59.3. But both the savants accept that conceptual thinking is part of the problem; not in itself the way to enlightenment. If one accepts that the goal is to attain liberation rather than to understand it, then philosophy too must ultimately be transcended or let go. Philosophy might try to view things externally, but ultimately it is one’s experience that really matters.

59.4. Can nirvana or moksha be experienced? I do not know. But it appears these states suggest a condition where the boundaries of individual identity would simply dissolve. It would perhaps be a

complete absence of tension and effort, a letting go of all identities and of everything that was previously clung to; and one would eventually become that everything which in fact one always was.

60.1. In summary, the difference between the Buddhist nirvana and the Vedantic moksha is one of perspective. The Vedanta explanation -- that of realizing ones true identity -is a philosophical view. The Buddhist interpretation of letting go all identities is objective description. But in each case the actual experience appears to be the same. Ones experience is the truest test of all, as Sri Shankara observed.

Duality is a normal reality of experience.. So Samkhya talks of a framework to link up with the dual world as elementising becomes logical and reasonable..and easier to comprehend. Advaita is an unusual reality... an abstract experience and perhaps can be obtained in a particular state. You can’t understand it as even elemntaising of a whole kills the essence. Buddhism is like Samkhya as it does not delve on question of god and is very practical to remove dukkha... and so is Samkhya. All theses are true but in different locations... and if all locations exist within us...all these are experiential realities. So one does not contradict the other.


The Links to other Parts;

Samkhya: Part One: The Beginnings Samkhya: Part Two: Samkhya Teachers Samkhya: Part Three: Samkhya Texts and Samkhya Traditions Samkhya: Part Four: Samkhya Karika Samkhya: Part Five: Samkhya Karika – continued Samkhya: Part Six: Samkhya - Buddhism - Vedanta

References and sources

Vedanta and Buddhism

Enlightenment in Buddhism and Advaita Vedanta

   CreativeNirvanaVedantaBuddhism

All Comments on this article
Sreenivasarao S / 4 yrs ago

Dear Shri Subrahmanian, That was a very valid observation. Thank you for mentioning it.I think , I should include it in the blog for benifit of all readers. Thank you.Regards. Comment

Subrahmanian V / 4 yrs ago

Dear Rao, There is this very nice verse that summarises the evolutionary path that leads to the Supreme System: Advaita: । ॥ (I think this verse is from the Sankshepa shArIraka) [In Vedanta doctrine, the precursor to VivartavAdaH (Advaita) is the PariNAmavAda of Saankhya. When one is well grounded in the PariNAma concept, the vivarta concept crystallizes all by itself.] The satkArya vAda of sAnkhya is explained thus: the effect resides in the cause as effect. The satkArya vAda of Vedanta (Advaita) is: the effect resides in the cause AS CAUSE. This major difference makes Vedanta a kevala Brahma vAda; the effect being a mere appearance of the cause itself, vivarta. Best regards and thanks for that fine series, subbu Comment

Ushasuryamani / 4 yrs ago

Shree Rao "I am sorry you had to read them over and again to drum some sense out of the posts." Actually this was only due to my "Dumb" buddhi !! You have written so well...I have to raise myself to that level to understand this.. A friend of mine gave me a copy of The treatise on Lalitha Sahasranama by Swami Chitbhavananda . some how I found it rather complicated. Sri Kanchi Paramacharya gives a very simple and graspable(hope there is such a wod !!) explanation of the naamaas. So does a lady named Sudha Seshayyan..She writes very well.


Sreenivasarao S / 4 yrs ago

Dear ushasuryamani , yes, as you mentioned Samkhya is rather complicated as compared to Advaita. Samkhya with its variations is a many layered maze. It not easy either to understand it or to interpret it to everyone’s satisfaction. Add to that my own inadequacies. I admire your patience in reading all the six parts. I am sorry you had to read them over and again to drum some sense out of the posts. I share your regard and enormous reverence for Sri Sankara, his ideals, achievements and his relevance to the Traditional Religion. Please keep talking. Regards

Ushasuryamani / 4 yrs ago

Sree Rao I have been reading all the posts twice & thrice. Samkhya is rather complicated and in comparison Adwaitha is more lucid. True, what you have said. Sree Shankara did not drive out Buddhism. People would have found it easier to follow Adwaitha & Dwaitha than a complicated vague philosophy of Buddhism ( vague- not the Buddhist philosophy..but the human mind which could not comprehend the Buddhist philosophy.Shree Shankara, Madhwacharya and Ramanuja made Bhakthi & philosophy easier. But when I think of Sree Sankara I am in awe. My father gave me a copy of Viveka Chudamani & used to talk a lot about His Philosophy. But when I think of Shankara, all ideas of philosophy vanish from my mind. I can only see and experience to a certain extent, His Bhakthi.His establishing of Shanmathas..His Bhaja Govindam, the Soundarya Lahari, Sivananda Lahari.. As they say, in Kaliyuga we don't need any homams, or yagaas or philosophy. The mere utterance of Bhagwan Nama is enough to carry us through.When Bhakthi floods the heart and mind, philosophy just happens. Self analysis vanishes. Self too vanishes.And every day turns out to be a day with it Rama or Krishna or Siva or Sakthi. They become part of us and we do keep experiencing nirvana at the most unexpected moments. Thank you Shree Rao... your posts are making me think a lot... Comment

N K Ravi / 4 yrs ago

Dear Rao, on the point explained by Sampath Sir - it is true Buddhism is very similar to Samkhya . As I understand both of them reject God - but Buddhism rejects Purusha and Prakirti too.On Atma question also there is a difference.Both of them belong to almost same time period and talks of Mukthi.Almost 1200 years later may be Sankara's advocacy of Vedanta - had to bring the absolute element to negate Buddhism which was anti brahmnical.In order deal with Buddhism he chose to rope in Samkhya as an ally. No doubt the credit goes to to the original frame work of Samkiya Karikai by Eswara Krishnan - on which it is easier to develop further thought processes and make a building on the foundation.It was the need of the time that philosophers emerge with thoughts of relative time frame of civilization and impact of other sciences that develop along. Once an Arab was boasting to an Indian Muslim lawyer friend of mine in the club that all great prophets be it Mohammed or Jesus - or Jewish thoughts all emerged from middle east.And this chap who was his colleague in the law firm retorted - You guys needed them - because you were barbaric and uncivilized. If a prophet were to reappear today in Middle east I am sure he would re write the religion.


Sreenivasarao S / 4 yrs ago

Dear Shri Sampath .I am glad you read. I agree, each system in its context is true. They represent different perspectives of the same reality; and there is no real contradiction. You might not have agreed with all that I said about Samkhya. That is understandable for two reasons: One Samkhya is a many-layered maze, it is not easy to interpret; and the second is my own inadequacies in understanding the subject and putting it across lucidly. As , I mentioned at the commencement of the series , those who are familiar with Samkhya find these articles rather inadequate or even flawed; while those who are new to the subject find these just tedious. I think, I will take a relook at these after a while and see how they look from a distance in time. Thank you for reading these articles. Please keep talking. Regards

Sreenivasarao S / 4 yrs ago

Dear Shri Ravi, Yes, I agree. The facts and myths are so mixed up it is no longer possible to get a realistic pictures of these persons. Even in case of Sri Sankara it is made to appear that he lived in a distant mythical age of demons of dragons; or ever perpetually immersed in Samadhi. I tried to put together a picture of him as I understood. Please check Sri Sankara a genius, misunderstood . Similarly, please check Life of the Buddha- the Pali tradition . Regards

DSampath / 4 yrs ago

duality is a rnnormal reality of experience.. so samkhya talks of a framework to link up with the dual world as elementising becomes logical and reasonable..and easier to comprehend. advaita is an unusual reality.. an abstract experience and perhaps can be obtained in a particular state. you cant understand it as even elemntaising of a whole kills the essence. Buddhism is like samkhya as it does not delve on question of god and is very practical to remove dukha.. and so is samkhya. all theses are true but in different locations.. and if all locations exist within us...all these are true experiential realities.. so one does not contradict the other. Comment

N K Ravi / 4 yrs ago

Dear Rao, Thank you for the details .I have read in great detail about Gyna Sambandar - and of other saivite scholars in Tamil.There is lot of jain literature in Tamil - Tamil kings patronized them before his time.More than history ( which was never fomally written ) there are strong literary evidences that Jains had to leave on account of a organized popular movement by poets known as Nalver ( Nalver is four some ) - appar.Manikka vasakar ( I have gone through his entire work in Tamil poetry known as Thiruvasakam ),sambandar and Sundarar among the 63 nayanmars ( savite scholars like 12 Azhwars of Vaishanivism - stories of their lives and deeds in Tamil poetry exists) - debate or no debate. Mandana Misra is associated with Sankara's life story .The problem with all these information is its authenticity - many people after add their own information and hearsay the communication lapse was terrible - so no wonder it took 2 centuries for India to know who Adi Sankara was in spite of his super

human wisdom and clarity of all confusions that existed before.His demise was at the age of 32. sometimes doubts arise all the works attributed to him was by one man - or were there many Sankaras ?( it is a common name after all ).Really it does not matter - his clarification of Vedanta undoubtedly appeals to many as the best to truth seekers of this complex relationship between individual and universe. Regards, NKR

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