nobody knows the mind of śaṁkara better than ānandagiri

I’ve come across the sentiment above in various forums, but hadn’t observed it first hand … until now.

After observing the level of scholarship displayed by some scholars who studied in the Kailash Ashrama, I looked at their methodology. Here the Gita and Upanishads are taught with śankara’s bhāṣya and ānandagiri’s tīkā. And their published books reflect this – they include both commentaries, along with a Hindi commentary that includes the salient points from both.

The style of śaṁkara’s commentary is said to be “prasāda gambhīra”. It is written in a sweet pleasant style, but the words are carefully chosen and convey great depth. It’s hard to appreciate this without resorting to ānandagiri. The later has contemplated deeply on the bhāṣya, until he has been able to rationalize every word and clearly establish the connection between each of śankara’s thoughts.

The muṇḍaka upanishad starts with a list of teachers, and śaṁkara has a brief comment on this:

asyāśca vidyā-saṁpradāya-kartr̥-lakṣaṇa-sambandhaṁ ādavevāha svayam eva stutyartham

Swami Gambhirananda translates this as follows:

By way of eulogy, the Upanishad itself reveals at the very beginning the connection, forged by a succession of teachers of the knowledge, that this Upanishad has (with the knowledge of Brahman).

The real beauty of the statement is brought out by ānandagiri, who addresses pauruṣeyatva and kartr̥tva, as well as svavr̥tti prasaṅga as a doṣa, and why it doesn’t apply here. The whole siddhanta is nicely explained by ānandagiri, though he does so only to explain śaṁkara’s word choices.