Bhāskara

The Vedānta system of philosophy based mainly on the Brahmasūtras, which itself is a systematization of the doctrines of the major Upaniṣads, gained greater currency and respectability due to Śaṅkara (A. D. 788-820). Out of the several post-Śaṅkara Vedāntins, who criticised his views, Bhāskara was one. Since Rāmānuja (A.D. 1017-1137) in turn criticises the views of Bhāskara, the latter may have lived prior to him, around A.D. 900.

Bhāskara wrote a commentary on the Brahmasūtras, the Bhāskara-bhāṣya, wherein he has expressed his views. His school is generally called the Bhedā-bhedavāda, a doctrine that upholds the reality of both unity and multiplicity.

This world of souls and matter is a real evolution of Brahman. Brahman is not an undifferentiated mass of consciousness. In the causal state, it is a unity and in the evolved state it is a multiplicity. In its causal and generic aspect, this world is non-different from Brahman, but different as effects and individuals. Both are equally real.

Matter as evolved into bodies and senses acts on Brahman as an upādhi or limiting adjunct and results in the rise of the jīvas or individual souls. However, the jīvas are related to Brahman as sparks to fire and are atomic in size. The life of saṁsāra or bondage brought about by transmigration is due to the confusing between Brahman and the upādhis. Libe-ration comes through karma or actions prescribed by the Vedas, done in the right spirit, and jñāna or knowledge of the soul that arises in the mind purified by karma. Thus he advocates jñāna-karma-samuccaya or a balanced combination of action and knowledge.

There was another Bhāskara, who probably lived in the 7th century A. D. He was the author of two works on astronomy—Mahābhāskarīya and Laghu-bhāskarīya—which were used for astronomical calculations in South India upto the end of the 15th century.