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Citsukhacharya – 13th Century Scholar Advaita

Citsukhacharya is a scholar of the 13th century CE who contributed to the development of the dialectical phase of Advaita. Chitsukha, who belonged to Simhachalam in Andhra Pradesh, studied under Jnanottama, author of Jnana Shuddhi. Chitsukha refers to himself as acharya of Gauda kings.

Citsukhacharya pays obeisance to Narasimha of Simhadri (near Waltair on the Chennai – Kolkata railway route in Andhra Pradesh). His preceptor was Jnanottama, author of Tattva Shuddhi. Seventeen works are attributed to him, many of which are commentaries. He commented on works including Brahmasiddhi and Vishnu Purana. He also wrote epitomes on Brahma Sutra and many other texts. He is known more for his independent work Tattva Pradipika.

Pratyog Swarupa, who has commented on Tattva Pradipika, has summarized the topics discussed in each of its four chapters. He says thirteen topics are discussed in the first chapter. It starts with the establishment of the self-luminosity of the Brahman. As many as sixteen possible objections or counter-definitions are proposed and, after refuting each of them, an Advaitin’s position is established. Citsukha includes the objections of other systems and anticipates their criticism, too. He indicates the topic of discussion to follow at the end of the preceding topic. The refutation of counter arguments is followed by a deposition of the atman on the nature of knowledge, the falsity of the world, and impartible cognition, among other subjects. Of the five definitions of falsity, the fourth one, that the unreality of an object may be defined as the character of being negated by the Absolute negation located in its own substratum is said to be that of Citsukha.

The second chapter deals with the criticism of the Nyaya Vaisesika doctrines, especially that of difference as a property like distinctness or separation or mutual non-existence o as a thing in itself.

The third chapter deals with the method of realizing the Brahman. Citsukha establishes the cognition can arise from verbal testimony and rejects the need for religious acts coupled with knowledge for moksha. The fourth chapter deals with the nature of moksha.

The explanations and criticisms of Citsukhacharya are so definite and free from ambiguities, that all later Advaitins consider them as standard ones and the prominent authors of rival schools like Venkatanatha, Jayatirtha and vyasatirtha refer to his works in order to criticize Advaita.