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N S Anantakrishna Shastri – Advaita Vedanta Scholar

N S Anantakrishna Shastri is an outstanding scholar of Advaita Vedanta. Mahamahopadhyaya N S Anantakrishna Shastri (1886) was born in the village of Nurani in the Palakkad district of Kerala. He studied sahitya (Sanskrit literature) in pathashala in Chittoor, Kerala and went to Chidambaram in 1904 to study Vyakarana (Sanskrit grammar) under Harihara Shastri. After studying different subjects under eminent scholars of this time (Kuppuswami Shastri, Panchapakesa Shastri, Venkatasubba Shastri among others), he worked in the Sanskrit colleges at Tirupati, Kolkata and Mumbai. When he was teaching at the Calcutta Sanskrit College, he wrote many independent treatises on Advaita and edited a number of texts. Prof Shastri was a committed Advaitin and his writings were mostly aimed at refuting the arguments of the Visishtadvaita and Dvaita schools.

His Advaita Martanda establishes the soundness of the Advaitic doctrine by refuting dualistic texts like Vyasa-siddhanta-martanda. In Vedantarakshamani (also known as Sribhashyasamalocanam), he engages himself in a debate to point out that Advaita Brahman is the purport of Vedas. One of his well known writings is Satabhusani, which thoroughly examines Satadusani of Vedanta Desika and refutes the claims made in favor of Visishtadvaita. In this, he tries to prove that the so-called defects raised by Desika are not really defects but ornaments of the Advaita school. His other important writings are Prakasika, which is a commentary on Dharmaraja’s Vedanaparibhasha, Adavaitadipa, Caturgranthi on Madhusudana Sarasvati’s Advaitasiddhi, Advaitatattvasudhi, Advaitavedantabindu, Pradipa on Shankara’s Brahmasutrabhashya, Sarirakanyayasangrahadipika, Mimamsasastrasara, Saugandhavimasrsha, a sub-commentary on Vanamali Mishra’s commentary Saugandha on Nyayamrita-Advaitasiddhi and Sanatana-dharma-pradipa.  Apart from these independent treatises, he edited a number of Advaita and other texts which stand as testimony to his deep scholarship.