Generally the Advaita philosopher Adi Shankaracharya has only given one Bhashya or commentary for each of the Mukhya or primary Upanishads. But in the case of the Kena Upanishad, he composed two Bhashyas: the Kena Upanishad Pada Bhashya and the Kena Upanishad Vakya Bhashya. There are many competing explanations for the reason for this. Some think it's just that he thought the Kena Upanishad was so important that it deserved two commentaries. Others think that the Pada Bhashya is authentic and the Vakya Bhashya is a later work. Still others think that the Pada Bhashya is a direct commentary on the Kena Upanishad while the Vakya Bhashya is a subcommentary on an ancient commentary, namely Tanka's Vakya. (Tanka is only known to have composed a Vakya on the Chandogya Upanishad, though, and Adi Shankaracharya doesn't mention or quote Tanka in the Vakya Bhashya.)

Now there are several English translations of the Pada Bhashya, for instance this one. It's the standard work given when you see book called "Adi Shankaracharya's commentary on the Kena Upanishad". But my question is, has the Kena Upanishad Vakya Bhashya ever been translated into English?

You can read both Bhashyas in Sanskrit here, by the way.

  • Can you read Hindī? There's a Hindī transl. (by Gita Press) of vākyabhāsya on Kenopaniṣat. Also, could you please cite source for who holds which view regarding vākya and pada bhāṣya. For e.g. who holds that vākyabhāṣya is a subcommentary (i.e. commentary on a commentary)?
    – Bingming
    Dec 14, 2023 at 18:45

1 Answer 1


Yes, it is difficult to get the Vakya Bhashya of Adi Shankaracharya on Kena Upanishad, since most of the translations only covers the Pada Bhashya.

I've found one pdf book that contains only Vakya Bhashya Sanskrit text of Adi Shankaracharya with English translation on Kena Upanishad from Chinmaya International Foundation

You can download the pdf which contains the text of Vakya Bhashya of Adi Shankaracharya in tabular form i.e first column contains the Sanskrit Bhashya and in the second column the English translation is provided. The original Upanishad verse is provided as the header of table.


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