Advaita-siddhi

(‘fulfilment of Advaita’)

If Hindu philosophical systems have grown both in width and depth revealing power and energy, it is not a little due to the freedom of thought enjoyed by the various writers. It was perhaps Śaṅkara (A. D. 788-820) the doyen of Advaita Vedānta who initiated and also gave a fillip to voluminous writing on abstruse philosophical subjects. Criticism, defence and counter-criticism of his views by sub-sequent writers gave rise to a phenomenal growth of Vedānta literature. When Vyāsa Tīrtha, a pontiff of the Mādhva school (15th-16th cent. A. D.) caused a jolt to Advaita metaphysics by his well-known polemical work Nyāyāmṛta, the Advaita tradition met his challenge through the Advaitasiddhi, the most celebrated work of Madhusūdana Sarasvatī (16th cent. A. D.).

The point of dispute between the two works is the definition of what is true (satya) and what is false (mithyā). Any object is considered as satya (true, real) only as long as it is not bādhita (contradicted or negated) by subsequent experience. All the criticisms of Nyāyāmṛta against the five definitions of falsity given by the previous writers on Advaita have been met by the Advaitasiddhi. The book also discusses and supports many of the conflicting theories regarding the unity or plurality of the selves, unity or plurality of avidyā (nescience), Brahman or the jīva as the locus of avidyā thereby implying that any of the theories can be resorted to in explaining the indeterminable false world since the main interest of the advaitin is the one absolute Brahman. The different theories of Advaita can be adopted by the different aspirants according to their fitness (adhikāra).

The work has three Sanskrit commen-taries of which Laghucandrikā of Brahmā-nanda Sarasvatī is popular among the scholars.

See also ADVAITA VEDĀNTA DARŚANA, MADHUSŪDANA SARASVATĪ, NYĀYĀMṚTA and VYĀSATĪRTHA.