Author Topic: Appayya Dikshita  (Read 2573 times)


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Appayya Dikshita
« on: August 31, 2010, 01:17:17 PM »

Appayya Dikshita 1520–1593 CE, was a performer of yajnas as well as an expositor and practitioner of the Advaita Vedanta school of Hindu philosophy but however, with a focus on Shiva or Siva Advaita.

Appayya Dikshitar was born as Vinayaga Subramanian in Adayapalam, near Arani in the Tiruvannamalai district.

Appayya studied the Hindu scriptures under his Guru, Rama Kavi. He completed the fourteen Vidyas while he was quite young.

Dikshitar travelled widely, entering into philosophical disputations and controversaries in many centres of learning. He had the rare good fortune of being revered and patronised in his own life-time by kings of Vellore, Tanjore, Vijayanagara and Venkatagiri.

In addition to his poetic skills and achievements on the philosophical propagations and Saivite missionary work, Dikshitar was a great Siddha-yogi. One of his yogic experiments was as great as it was thrilling. In the later years of his life, he was subject to attacks of colic pain. He was convinced that it was due to his Prarabdha and past karma. Whenever he wanted to meditate deeply or worship the Almighty, he made a bundle of his towel and put it in front of him. By his yogic power he transferred his malady to the towel and sat in meditation. His disciples watched the towel jumping about the place. To them he explained later that he transferred his ailment which was in the form of an evil spirit to the cloth and then took it back soon after his meditation was over.

He was well read in every branch of Sanskrit learning and wrote as many works, large and small. Only 60 of them are, however, extant now. These include works on Vedanta, Siva-advaita, Mimamsa, Vyakarana, Kavya vyakhyana, Alankara, and devotional poetry. By conviction he was an advaitin and true worship of Lord Siva was the religion of his heart. Though the followers of the Siva-advaita school claim him as belonging to their school, it is not so easy to determine whether he was more inclined to Sivadavaita or advaita. Sivadvaita is very much akin to Vishishtadvaita of Ramanuja, except for the role of Vishnu being taken by Shiva.

As an advaitin, Dikshitar saw no differences between the different manifestations of the Supreme Absolute. Partly because of Vaishnavite attacks on Shaivism during the previous century, one of his missions was a reconciliation of creeds, cults, and philosophy. He did not think that rival interpretations of the Vedas and Puranas were entirely in the wrong, asking: Who can prevent different interpretations when the Brahma Sutras themselves are capable of different meanings?

He wrote the Chatur-mata-sara to illustrate the philosophical thoughts of the four prominent schools of interpretation of Brahma sutras. The Naya-manjari deals with advaita, the Naya-mani-mala with Srikanta mata, the Naya-mayukha-malika with Ramanuja's philosophy, and the Naya-muktavali with Madhva's philosophy. His remarkable catholicity of outlook, his thoroughness in writing, his impartiality, his unerring sense of values, and his concern for truth are all so evident in these writings that the Vaishnavas have adopted the Naya-Mayukha-Malika as their manual for study, and the Madhvas the Naya-Muktavali.

Dikshitar graphically describes dvaita as the lowest step, vishishtadvaita as the middle step and sivadvaita and advaita which are very close to each other as the highest steps. He makes it clear in his work that Srikantha-Bhashya on the Brahmasutra has been written in very close approximation to the trend of thought of Adi Sankara in his own bhashya.


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Re: Appayya Dikshita
« Reply #1 on: August 31, 2010, 01:44:25 PM »

Dear prasanth,

Appayya Dikshitar was an erudite scholar with a lot of kavya-rasa
appreciation in his ideas.  Once he went with a king to a temple
in Thanjavur district.  One Veera Vaishnava scholar also went with
them.  The king saw an idol of Harihara putra [Ayyappa] and in the
image, Ayyappa was placing his right index finger on his nose.  This
is a pose for showing astonishment or doubt.  There was a general
belief among the people in that place, that, when correct answer is given by anyone, Ayyappa would take away his index finger from
the nose!

The Vaishnava pandit was asked to explain, by the king.

He explained in with all his anti-Siva feelings:

"Ayyappa is telling Vishnu:  O Narayana!  You are so handsome.
How come your brother in law [Siva] is very unclean with kabala
garlands, begging bowl and serpents and holy ashes all over the body?"   

Ayyappa did not remove his index finger.

Then Appayya Dikshitar's chance came.  Appayya Dikshitar sings:

"O Ayyappa, are you now astonished with this fact?  You think,
'I can call Siva as my father and Vishnu as my mother.  But how
can I call Lakshmi?  How can I call my Mother's wife?' "

Ayyappa immediately removed his index finger from his nose!

Arunachala Siva.