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Sureśvara (also known as Sureśvarācārya, c. 750 CE) was an Indian philosopher, who studied under Śankara. Śankara is said to have entrusted to Sureśvara his first monastic institution, the Sringeri Sharada Peetham. Suresvara is believed to have founded the famous Naduvil Matham in Thrissur.
Little is known for sure about Sureśvara's life. According to a strong tradition within Advaita Vedānta, before he became a disciple of Śankara, Sureśvara was known as Maņdana Miśra, a Mīmāmsāka. After being defeated in debate by Śankara, Miśra renounced his life as a householder, and became a sannyāsin. Whether this Maņdana Miśra was the same as the author of Brahmasiddhi is questioned by modern scholars, on the basis of textual analysis.
Sureśvara was the Advaita tradition's Vārttikakāra (commentator), meticulously and critically examining Śankāra's work. In his non-commentary work, the Naişkarmyasiddhi, he presents Avdaita philosophy clearly and simply.
Identification with Sureśvara
Maṇḍana Miśra has often been identified with Sureśvara. Sureśvara (fl. 800-900 CE) and Maṇḍana Miśra were contemporaries of Shankara. Both explained Sankara "on the basis of their personal convictions."
According to Kuppuswami Sastri, it is not likely that Maṇḍana Miśra, the author of Brahmasiddhi, is identical with Sureśvara, but the tradition is correct in describing Maṇḍana Miśra and Śankara as contemporaries. His critical edition of the Brahmasiddhi also points out that the name Maṇḍana Miśra is both a title and a first name, which is a possible cause for a confusion of personalities. Maṇḍana Miśra's brand of Advaita differs in certain critical details from that of Śhankara, whereas Sureśvara's thought is very faithful to that of Śhankara.
According to Sharma, Hiriyanna and Kuppuswami Sastra have pointed out that Sureśvara and Maṇḍana Miśra had different views on various doctrinal points:
- The locus of avidya: according to Maṇḍana Miśra, the individual jiva is the locus of avidya, whereas Suresvara contents that avidya regarding Brahman is located in Brahman. These two different stances are also reflected in the opposing positions of the Bhamati school and the Vivarana school.
- Liberation: according to Maṇḍana Miśra, the knowledge which arises from the Mahavakya is insufficient for liberation. Only the direct realization of Brahma is liberating, which can only be attained by meditation. According to Suresvara, this knowledge is directly liberating, while meditation is at best a useful aid.
- Bŗhadāraņyakopanişadbhāşyavārttika (commentary on Śankāra's works on the Bŗhadāraņyaka Upanişad)
- Naişkarmyasiddhi (non-commentary)
- Sambhandhavārttika (commentary on Śankāra's introduction to the Bŗhadāraņyaka Upanişad)
- Taittirīyavārttika (commentary on Śankāra's work on the Taittirīya Upanişad)
- Mansollasa (commentary on Dakshinamurty Stotram of Śankāra)
- Panchikarana Vartikam (commentary on Śankāra's Panchikaranam)
- Kuppuswami Sastri, S. (1984), Brahmasiddhi, by Maṇḍanamiśra, with commentary by Śankhapāṇī. 2nd ed., Delhi, India: Sri Satguru Publications<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
- Roodurmum, Pulasth Soobah (2002), Bhāmatī and Vivaraṇa Schools of Advaita Vedānta: A Critical Approach, Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass Publishers Private Limited<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
- Sharma, C. (1997), A Critical Survey of Indian Philosophy, Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN 81-208-0365-5<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
- John Grimes, "Sureśvara" (in Robert L. Arrington [ed.]. A Companion to the Philosophers. Oxford: Blackwell, 2001. ISBN 0-631-22967-1)
- Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, et al. [edd], History of Philosophy Eastern and Western: Volume One (George Allen & Unwin, 1952)
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