While reading from a Shaivite blog (though I am a Vaishnava) of whether the Srimad Bhagavatam or the Devi Bhagavatam is more authentic, I came across an interesting claim of the blogger that Ramanujacharya, prominent acharya of Sri-Vaishnavism and Adi Shankaracharya, the founder of Smartism never referred to the Srimad Bhagavatam. Here is what the blogger says:
In the Brahmasutras of ‘Badarayana’ the first verse is just a namesake verse which only sets forth what the objective of the Brahmasutras is – it says, “athāto brahmajijñāsā || (Brahmasutras 1:1:1)”, which means, “Then therefore the enquiry into Brahman”. Only the subsequent aphorisms deal with all sorts of topics such as – creation, jiva, jagat, brahmna, various schools of darshanas, etc. The very second verse of ‘Brahma sutras’ talks about – the creation, sustenance and dissolution of the world. That sutra is as follows:
“janmādyasya yataḥ ||” (Brahmasutras 1:1:2) “(Brahman is that) from which the origin (i.e. the origin, subsistence, and dissolution) of this (world proceed)”.
Let’s forget about who that ‘cause’ is who creates, sustains and dissolves the world, as the definitions vary across various schools. Advaitins term is ‘brahman’, vaishnavites call it ‘Narayana, Vishnu, Krishna…’, Shaivites call it as ‘Shiva’, Shaktas call it as ‘Devi’. Let’s only focus on the sutra and not on the translation and commentaries for now.
The sutra simply says, ‘janmādyasya yataḥ (that from which the origin of this world)’. This aphorism gives us a very interesting reasoning tool to us. Interestingly, the very first verse of Srimad Bhagawatam begins with exactly same words of this sutra and elaborates that verse further. The first verse from Srimad Bhagawatam is quoted below.
“janmādyasya yato ‘nvayāditarataścārtheṣvabhijñaḥ svarāṭ | tene brahma hṛdā ya ādikavaye muhyanti yat sūrayaḥ | tejovārimṛdāṃ yathā vinimayo yatra trisargo ‘mṛṣā | dhāmnā svena sadā nirastakuhakaṃ satyaṃ paraṃ dhīmahi ||” (SB 1:01:01) “(Translation is unimportant here, hence didn’t provide that)”.
In the commentaries of Shankara, as well as Ramanuja, we see them quoting extensively from various scriptures, including Vedas, Upanishads, Mahabharata, and even Puranas. On this second verse of ‘Brahma-sutras’ neither Shankara nor Ramanuja ever felt a need to cite Srimad Bhagawatam to expound the meaning of this aphorism. Why? If Veda Vyasa was truly the author of ‘Srimad Bhagawatam’ then ‘Srimad Bhagawatam’s very first verse is a ‘natural commentary’ and ‘the most authoritative elaboration ‘ on the very second verse of ‘Brahmasutra’! How could Shankara and Ramanuja dare to insult Vyasa by not cross-referencing Vyasa’s own elaboration of that verse in their commentaries? They had however all the liberty to ‘interpret’ that verse to be in sync with the philosophy they were championing. Then what stopped them from citing that verse from ‘Srimad Bhagawatam’?
Not only for that second verse of ‘Brahmasutras’, in any of the works of Shankara and Ramanuja ‘Srimad Bhagawatam’ has never been quoted. While both these scholars quoted extensively from Vishnu Purana, and other Puranas – Food for thought? Alright! Let’s forget Shankara. Ramanuja was a staunch devotee of Vishnu. He upheld Vishnu’s supremacy all throughout his works. Srimad Bhagawatam is replete with verses proclaiming Vishnu’s supremacy. Then what made Ramanuja not consider this text as worthy of referencing to establish Vishnu’s supremacy? Points to ponder!
The reason is simple – The bogus book called ‘Srimad Bhagawatam’ was a later day creation and was not a work of Veda Vyasa at all. Whosoever the author of Srimad Bhagawatam was – he was no doubt a great devotee of Krishna and a great author, who was inspired by the ‘Brahmasutras’ and considered to begin his work using Brahmasutra. To write a huge volume of thousands of verses mimicking Puranas of Veda Vyasa, is truly a herculean task.
Well, let me extend the arguments in the section to a further level to refute another belief from the ‘Dwaita’ school. It is said that during the times of ‘Madhavacharya (champion of dualistic school)’, ‘Srimad Bhagawatam’ was in circulation. In the legends of life history of ‘Madhwa’ it is said that Madhwa found that during his time there were in circulation, many mutually contradicting versions of ‘Srimad Bhagawatam’ and many mutually contradicting versions of ‘Mahabharata’ as well. Madhwa came forward as a superhero and without giving much importance to the ‘Mahabharata’ of Vyasa alleging it to had been interpolated extensively, he himself authored a book called ‘Mahabharata tatparya nirnaya’ and inserted many bogus stories in it to glorify Bhima and Vishnu to the skies. Similarly, that superhero had analyzed all those contradictory versions of ‘Srimad Bhagawatam’ and picked one version rejecting others as not authentic, and that version is what is available today.
Well, these stories of Madhwa are too fancy to believe, as like as many other stories from Madhwa’s mouth. His scholarly-heroic-deed of chaffing out the so called ‘correct’ version from the available ‘unauthentic’ versions of ‘Srimad Bhagawatam’ will get ‘automatically’ demolished by this article of mine (despite I having no specific agenda or section discussing Madhwa specifically). This article would naturally reveal the truth that – Madhwa is famous for ‘creating’ stories and ‘falsifying facts’ – His chosen book, which he declared as the ‘most authentic’ Bhagawatam would be rendered as ‘bogus scripture’ shortly. That is enough to reveal Madhwa’s lies, and this evidence could be rightfully extrapolated to reject Madhwa’s another self-propagated ‘story’ that Mahabharata was interpolated and his version of Mahabharata was the most authentic one.
Is the blogger right and if not, why did Adi Shankaracharya and Ramanujacharya never refer to the Srimad Bhagavatam in their works?
The website I referred to is this.