A very serious and dense book. Here are my views on it. If you find time do read it, for the rigor of analysis. Its as good as it gets in the twentieth century kannada literature in terms of its rigor.
Recently, I read the book, Allama Prabhu matthu Shaiva Prathibhe by Dr.D.R.Nagaraj.
1.During the 9th century, there was a great thrust of Buddhist, Jain, and many locally spurn agnostic thoughts moving around. During the period, Adishankara, went on to take cognizance of the vedic pedigree in ideas, responded to the circumstance around. Epistemologically it can be explained by an example. Though it is true that in Itheriyopanishad, and thaithariopanishad, there are sublime references, about the origin of cosmos, saying what was there before everything was also sat, and what was there before was asat, respectively, I quote Shankara in his contribution, to the evolution of the ideas, introduced in Dakshinamurthy sthothra a more coherent idea.He calls the priori state as nirvikalpa; lacking diverging consequence. Its like this, kalpa(collection of mahayugas) is a huge measure of time. And time is a count of re-cognitions.If the present idea of cosmic singularity is to be taken into account, the sense of time ceases at the cosmic big bang. So, the consequence is not tangible. Hence the nirvikalpa is a fitting concept.
I mentioned the above to conclude that AdiShankara made original improvements to the MARGA, the traditional knowledge pedigree, he received. Now for me Shankara comes from a place, which had sheltered The disciple of Jesus and his further lineage since 800 years, in kerala. In spite of the social exclusiveness, with which the life might have been during that time, I don’t know for sure how much he was un-influenced by the such other thoughts. But proposing a new thing, apart from the traditionally accepted, realm of Darshana, in itself, has to be,AS A RULE, sourced by the living experience of the person.What comes like this, from the life lived, originated by the living experience, cannot be not called, DESI, as per the paradigmal definition.
In another sense What Adishankara brought into the collective thought is not , unqualified to be called DESI, as per the definitive norms used by Nagaraj himself. Adishankara, came during the time when Buddhist were having the royal patronage. Shankara’s voice was the voice of the poeple, and a minority at that. Thus it has all the qualifications, as per Nagaraj’s scale, to be called DESI.
2. Considering the collective distributed ideas of the Vedic heap available at that time, it was a very good effort to bring all of them in to consideration and make a sense out of them. It was a mammoth task. Shankara did it. Just like Vyasa had done to collect the body of ideas, edit them, and give it some coherence during his time. Of course it is very clearly discernible by any keen mind that , reducito absurdum in terms of refinement was way beyond his effort. TO bring all the things into consideration was itself a huge task.Now it had prepared the scene for the further refinements, in DArshana, based on contemporary ‘evolved’ living experience, for the further eager minds. Duely Ananda Theertha(Madhvaacharya) and RamanujaCharya , Nimbaraka others have done their part. Even today, eager minds are chipping in their own bit. What in later time makes Shankara’s work to look like MARGA , in essence, in content, was having a DESI origin during its creation. It became Marga because, it was thought relevant by the later minds to work upon, and relevant as reference to proceed further. If just the language, meter used were to be the deciding factor, then it becomes a trivial issue. So, lets rule out that. Other than that if bhava dvani,rasadhvani,kalpana dhvani,tatva dhvani and darshana dhvani are to be considered, then my present analysis covers the ground.
[Else even K.V.Puttappa should be called a Marga writer. Which would be absurd, taking his revolutionary stands, and quite antagonistic style , and very fiercely original, based on his time and place, style of ideas. This cannot be simplistically labeled as MARGA even if he , he writes , avalannu balasi avala prushtagalannu votthi votthikonllutthaliddanu, to describe copulation of two “villagers”, in Malegalalli madumagalu, written in late 20th century!!!]
So, the value of the contribution made by any one to the DARSHANA, has to be measured with both aspects.
1.The quantum of original novelty, inspired by the personal and contemporary living experience of the person, that is imparted to the tradition he has inherited.
2.How much that is affective to the subsequent consequence.
A person living in his own ways, if founds out a novel idea, its value of novelty is granted. But how much does it impact the collective’s on going evolution is a very important aspect which decides its value. To put it precisely, In fact value is scientifically decided by two specific things: use and relevance.
So, if Allama has got Novelty of Darshan Dhvani in his poems, its value of novelty is appreciated. But how much affective momentum it imparts in the evolution of the collective is what actually decides its “use”. Hence, it’s historical qualification as Marga.
In my field of mathematics and computer science, many times, many people work out obscure results and die. Centuries , some times, it takes for their work to be integrated usefully. Like most of us, you might also have experienced this during your school days. You, in some inspired moment, discovered a theorem in the second chapter, while just going through the first chapter! This also comes to the same. Both the delineations vary in having time and space as the variables!
So, it is not having any value other than descriptive, to measure any one’s contribution by considering only the novelty, into the consideration. In case of philosophy, it is true that Allama has many differing views than his forerunners. But , the novelty, that he is able to create, was only due to his own exclusiveness from the society; he was a sort of rebel, outside the operating strictures of the society, and his ideas (differing in their practical implementations by the anubhava mantapa, as mentioned by Nagaraj himself) are also lamed, both in form and content, from inability for integration. And his ideas to the collective idea. Thus fails to impart any practical impact, to the evolution. Any one can be eccentric, and find a new thing. But unless he can integrate it with the collective its useless to collective. Thus it also has no “use” for the collective. Thus collective’s neglect of it is justified as it was originated solely by the neglect of the collective! Thus it(Allama’s Darshana) is worth the seclusion it has got.
To me the DESI can be only the measure of the novelty, inspired by the person’s living experience, while Marga is that the tradition he inherits, to which he adds on, and what goes on. His roots come from the both; and value is decided by the use and relevance, time finds of the work.
This perspective is solely missed by Nagraj in his rage. I could only remember Tagore’s words, “What starts in anger must end in regret”. As Nagaraj says, what makes him angry, and inspired to write this book, is that Das Guptha saying “There is nothing effectively new in Dravida DArshana that cannot be found in the main stream of Sanskrit Indian line of thought”. By the way, he tries to impart the cognizance of value of Allama’s works, for its novelty, and finally trying to see it relatively to Shankara, for his justifications. He concludes, hege shankaranondige vagvada nadesi, allma marga matthu desi madhyada antharavannu visarjisutthane.
Its like Nagaraj, builds his own reference frame, which he of course obscures from Das Guptha’s statements, where he puts the works of shankara, abhinava guptha etc and Allama.Creates his own arguments around the structure. And finally dismantles the reference frame, trying to signify a ubiquitous value of Allma.
If Allama cannot give his head to the problems of the collective like Basava, then there is no logic in objecting the reduced relevance the collective gives to him than Basava. It is this truth, that makes , at the user level, to the collective, the esoteric difference Allama might have had in his Darshana with Basava, indistinguishable , in the larger picture.
Novelty from the collective, which cannot be put back into collective to give it newer momentum, is not the measure of the contribution to the collective. But that effective novelty to the collective from the collective inherited is the measure. Nagaraj solely misses it in his conjectures of some concoction of exalted value to the considered works.
Satyam Shivam Sundaram