By Swami Harshananda
Origin of Śripatipaṇḍita
The Śrikarabhāsya is the magnum opus of Śripatipaṇḍita. The Brahmasutras is a basic work of Vedānta. Among the several ācāryas who have written commentaries on it, Śrīpati-paṇḍita is also the one. He most probably lived in the 14th century A. D. He was a sanyāsin belonging to one of the five famous monasteries, the Ekorāma Maṭha situated at Kedāra in the Himalayas. He was supposed to have been born with a part of the divine power of Nārayaṇa. Apart from being a great scholar he also had miraculous powers. He might have lived in the area near Vijayavada of the modern Andhra Pradesh.
Ideology of Śrikarabhāsya
He was a Vīraśaiva and hence his bhāsya reflects the philosophy of that sect. He declares that he has followed the Vrtti of Agastyamuni. However, this work has not been traced till now. He adores Revaṇa, Manila and Rāma, earlier teachers of his school. His philosophy in which the Purvamimānsā and the Vedānta are taken as forming one science and based mainly on this bhāṣya, may be summarized as follows:
- Brahman who is Śiva or Paraśiva is the only reality.
- His existence can be proved only by the Śrutis
- He is a person without any particular form but with infinite knowledge and power.
- Māyā is this power.
- Before creation, prakṛti or matter which is in the paramāṇu or atomic state and the jīvas are inherent in him.
- He creates the universe out of himself as per the karma of the individuals.
- In one sense, he is the efficient cause and in another the material cause also.
- The world is real and not an illusion.
- The jīvas are arhśas or parts of Brahman.
- Hence they are similar to him in nature.
- They are eternal and are aṇu in character.
- Their number is infinite.
- They have the capacity for understanding and also the power to act independently.
Results of Following Vedic Practices
By performing the duties prescribed in the Vedas in a desire-less manner, the jīva becomes pure in heart. By meditating on Brahman as Śiva and worshiping him, the jīva attains him. Becoming like him, he lives in eternal bliss in Śivaloka which is the same as Brahmaloka. He will never return to this world. He will continue to be obedient to Śiva and serve him for ever. Being a pioneer of Vīraśaiva philosophy, Śrīpatipaṇḍita supports the Saṭsthalasiddhānta and the wearing of the Śivaliṅga on the body.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore