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Sarvajnatma Muni – Advaita Scholar – Head Kanchi Kamakoti Peetham

Sarvajnatma Muni is an advaitic scholar, who was also a pontiff or head of the Kanchi Kamakoti Peetham at Kanchipuram. The period of Sarvajnatman coincides with that of Adi Shankaracharya. According to the tradition and records of Kanchi Kamakoti Matha, Adi Shankaracharya belonged to 500 BCE and not 788-820 CE, as is believed by many scholars.

The important work of Sarvajnatman in verse on Advaita is Samkshepa Saririka (The Enquiry Into The Spirit Of Man) which, as the title indicates, states in a nutshell the views of Adi Shankaracharya, as embodies in his commentary on Brahma Sutra. It is in four chapters and consists of 1,240 stanzas. He also wrote another independent work titled Pancha Prakriya, which deals with topics like the interpretation of the Vedantic texts on identity, like tat tvam-asi. It serves also as the further condensed summation of Samkshepa Sariraka. Another work of his, titled Pramana-lakshana, was on the criteria and epistemology of the school of Mimamsa.

Sarvajnatman holds that

  1. Brahman is both the locus and content of avidya (ignorance)
  2. The negative descriptions of Brahman like ‘not this, not this’ in Brihadaranyaka Upanishad imply confirmation of the positive descriptions.
  3. The pratibimbavada (reflection theory) to account for the rise of the selfhood
  4. Renunciation as sine qua non for knowledge
  5. Direct intuition of Brahman arises from the Upanishadic texts themselves

Sarvajnatma Muni is reverentially quoted by Appayya Dikshita, Madhusudana Saraswati and Brahmananda Saraswati to clinch the issues involved in Advaita (monism).