Works of Sri Sureshwaracharya
Sri Sureshwaracharya works expound the philosophy of non-dualism. He explains that Bramhan is the only Reality(Sat) and the substratum of the world. Following is the list of His works.
- Vartika on Taittriya Upanishad Bhashyam
- Vartika on Brihadaranyaka Upanishad Bhashyam
- Panchikarana Vartikam
- Naishkarmya Siddhi
It is well known that the Brahma Sutras, Sri Shankara’s bhashyas and the Vartika are together like the confluence of the Ganga, Yamuna and Sarasvati, and this Triveni removes our sin and emancipates us.
Among the hundreds of Sishyas of Sri Shankara, the four, namely Padmapada, Sureshvara, Totaka and Hastamalaka were the most important, and among these Sureshvara, the Vartikakara, was the foremost.
Sri Shankara who through his instruction was spreading the Advaita Vidya throughout the land, desired that a Vartikam should be composed for his bhashyas, similar to the Mimamsa and Vyakarana Vartikas, and expressed it to his sishyas. Sri Shankara told Sureshvara to write a Vartika on the bhashya of the Brhadaramyaka Upanishad belonging to the Kanvasakha of Sukla Yajus and on the Taittiriya Upanishad bhashya and in addition to write an independent work. Sureshvara wrote the Naishkarmya siddhi which Immensely pleased the Master and then the other two works.
Being a prakarana, Naishkarmya siddhi lays down the Vishaya (topic) its significance, adhikara (qualification) and Correlation(sambhanda). The first adhyaya inquires into the authority of the shruti and lays down that all of them have for their final goal (Parama tatparya), the Brahman. The second chapter correlates the other authorities, the third deals with the disciplines. Shravana, manana etc. and tie fourth and concluding chapter explains Kaivalya or liberation and Jivanmukti. The Vartikakara concludes with adoration to his great Master.
Naishkarmya siddhi, of Sri Sureshvaracharya padah wellknown as Vartikakarapadah, is though comparatively short, an outstanding accomplishment of exceptional importance among the works of the Advaita Vedantins. The other ‘siddhi’ works are. Ista siddhi by Sri Vimuktatman and Advaita siddhi by Sri Madhusudana Saraswati which, like the Naishkarmya Siddhi, closely follow the Bhashyas of Pujya Sri Shankara Bhagavatpadah, and the earliest of these viz Brahmasiddhi by Mandana presumably an elderly contemporary of the Bhashyakara, which differs in certain respects from the view points of the Bhashyas.
Naishkarmya siddhi-the name could be believed to have arisen from the word in the Gita verse-“ Naishkarmyasiddhim paramam sanyasenadhigachhati” rendered in the Bhashya as ‘Naishkarmyam cha tat siddhischa’ or Naishkarmyasiddhi meaning attainment of the state of Actionlessness i. e , Brahman-Atman or the decisive conclusion as to the Actionlessness of Brahman- Atman, the work being called so because of its role in leading to that state -is an independent work (Madhaviya Shankara Vijaya Sarga 13, Sloka 49, and Guruvamsa Kavya, Sarga 2 and Sloka 89) of Sri Sureshvara which has won the appreciation of his Master who initiated him into the Sanyasa asrama after his defeat in controversy. It is a manual of Advaita-Vedanta, in four chapters. in verse, and providing the necessary links between them and the elucidations of their contents given in prose by the author himself, written not for securing fame, return or praiseworthiness but as a measure intended to purify and elevate his own intellect. It establishes the Nishprapancha Brahma, the transcendental Reality unconnected with and unconditioned by the world which itself is shown to be mithya i.e., devoid of fundamental existence. The work, like the Vartikas, revels in Yuktis, upholds the view point of the Bhashyakara and refutes those of others especially of Mandana. A few illustrations are given below.
It is the decision of the Vedantin that whatever ‘appears’ in our parlance is to be regarded as due to Ajnana (Nescience), The question arises as to what are the locus (Asraya) and the object (Vishaya) ignorance. That Brahman is the Vishaya is agreed upon by all without dispute. Mandana and Bhamatikara who follows Mandana in this respect as also in a few other respects, believe that Jiva is the Asraya. Sri Sureshvaracharya, however, maintains that Brahman is the Asraya in accordance with the Bhashya. He is faithfully followed by Samskhepa Sariraka charya.
A second question arises when Maadana, a kind of Jnana karma Samuchchayavadin that he is says that Tattvadarsana Abhyasa (a kind of upasana) as also the performance of Yagnas are to be resorted to till the end of one’s life even if Sabda Jnana has been attained As a corollary it is maintained that a Grihasta has greater chances of gaining Visuddha vidya than a Sanyasin who has renounced even the Nitya and Naimittika Karmas. These views are strongly refuted by Sri Sureshvaracharya, who maintains and supports the view point of the Bhashyakara that in their cause, context and results (means, make up or constitution, fruit) the Karmas turn out to be very different, nay the very opposite of SamyaJnana, and as such, like light and darkness the two cannot co-exist. Nidhidhyasana on this view is only to get rid of Viparitabhasvana. Necessarily, it follows that renunciation of all action is vital for securing Atmajnana. The Nitya and Naimittika karmas are not absolutely useless. They cannot coexist with Jnana. They work themselves out on producing Vividisha. No Jnana karma Samuchchaya is possible. At least only karma Samuchchaya with the karmas as preliminary to jnana.
Regarding Mukti, Sri Sureshvaracharya subscribes to the doctrine of sadyo mukti, release immediately on attaining Jnana. He explains the text ‘Tasya tavadeva chiram’ accordingly and solvely the problem of the Gurusishya parampara by analogy of the dream or by tracing the wholething to the Avidya of the Sishya who regards the Mukta as his Guru etc., though the latter is not aware of anything else except the only abiding Reality viz., Brahmana-Atman. He also mentions the ‘Sampradayika View’ as it is called of the Jivan Mukti and refutes the possibility of Yathestacharana by pointing out its absence even in the Mumukshu. The texts like ‘Na me Matr vadhena’ etc., are only eulogies in praise of Jivanmukti. This view also solves the problem of the Brahma vidya Sampradaya by Gurusishaparampara.
The Mahavakyas such as Aham Brahmasmi are to be understood on the basis of Abheda samanadhikaranyam. This again is faithfully followed in Samkshepa sariraka. However, in the case of Aham Brahmasmi the principle of Badhayam samanadhi karanyam may be employed as well. If the ‘Aham’ buddhi is removed, the duality disappears as the snake (in the rope ) does on the disappearance of darkness.
Thus, the Great Srimat Sureshvaracharyapadah, the expert in pada, Vakya and Pramana, Master of both the Karma Kanda and Jnana Kanda, who is always faitful to the views of his Acharya has, by composing the Nishkarmya siddhi, conferred Anugraha on his Sishyas in every respect.