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Kasakrtsna – Grammarian and Advaitin

Kasakrtsna (Kashakritsna) is an ancient grammarian known only from references in earlier grammatical works like Mahabhashya of Patanjali, Katyayana Srauta Sutra and Kavikalpadruma of Bopadeva. On the authority of Pravaradhyaya of Baudhayana Srauta Sutra, we are informed that he belonged to the Bhargava Gotra and his father’s name was also Kasakrtsna Bhatta. Parasara mentions that Kasakrtsna was a disciple of Badarayana, who was undoubtedly pre-Paninian. Kasakrtsna must have therefore, flourished before the 5th century BCE, and hailed from North India.

The grammar of Kasakrtsna seems to have consisted of three adhyayas (chapters), as can be surmised on the basis of Kasika (commentary) on Panini’s Sutra 5.1.48 and Amoghavritti (commentary) on Sakatayana’s sutra 3.2.161; and each adhyaya was divided into more than four padas. It was more extensive than the grammar of Panini, since the former discusses many more usages not covered by the latter. Further, the grammar of Kasakrtsna seems to have been  metrical to some extent, and Kalapa Vyakarana is an abridged version of Kasakrtsna’s work.

Kasakrtsna’s Dhatupatha is, like the one of Panini, a list of Sanskrit roots arranged according to ganas (groups) and is available with a commentary of the Kannada poet-scholar Cannavira. Unlike Panini’s Dhatupatha, it has nine ganas, the juhotyadi being included in the adadi class. There are about five hundred roots, more than those found in the Paninian work.

Kasakrtsna was an Advaita Vedantin who is mentioned in Brahma Sutra (I-4.22). He holds that the individual beings and Brahman are initially one, and non-different both in the empirical and metaphysical conditions, a view which is the same as that of Shankara who endorses it as in line with the knowledge text (shruti anusari) (Chandogya Upanishad VI-3.2 and Taittiriya Aranyaka of II-12.7).

Kasakrtsna thus is pre-Badarayana Advaitin. It is Brahman himself who appears as the soul. This view is quite in contrast to that of Asmarathya and Audulomi who are also mentioned by Badarayana (Brahmasutra, I-2.29; I-4.21; III-4.45 and IV-4.6)

Kasakrtsna opined that the Brahman and the individual soul are absolutely non-different, the apparent difference being due to the upadhis or the limiting adjuncts. The limiting adjuncts are the resultants of ignorance. Hence they are unreal. From the sage’s conclusion, it also follows that everything else is known by the knowledge of the Brahman.