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Is there a mention of commentaries on the Brahma Sutras before Adi Shankaracharya? How many commentaries on these works have survived?

Please provide list from the existing commentaries as well as the lists cited by previous commentators.

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    for the brahma sutras, read the "Introduction" here - wisdomlib.org/hinduism/book/brahma-sutras/d/doc62753.html – Swami Vishwananda Feb 2 '18 at 16:29
  • Asking for all the commentators on two different tests would make your question too broad, so I'm limiting your question to the Brahma Sutras. You can ask a separate question about Bhagavad Gita commentaries. – Keshav Srinivasan Feb 2 '18 at 17:59
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    "How many" - i don't think it's an appropriate word..are you expecting just numbers like 13 or 15 in answer? Better replace this with List or some other suitable word.. – YDS Feb 2 '18 at 18:09
  • Listed here also. – Pandya Feb 3 '18 at 14:22
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Well, I'm aware of sixteen commentaries on the Vedanta Sutras:

  1. Shankara Bhashya, the most popular commentary on the Vedanta Sutras, written by Jagadguru Adi Shankaracharya, advocating the Advaita Vedanta philosophy.
  2. Sri Bhashyam, the commentary by the great Sri Vaishnavite, Ramanujacharya, advocating the Vishishtadvaita Vedanta philosophy.
  3. Madhvacharya's commentary on the Vedanta Sutras, advocating the Dvaita Vedanta philosophy.
  4. The Philosophy of Spiritual Life, the commentary by Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan on the Vedanta Sutras, advocating the Advaita Vedanta philosophy.
  5. Swami Sivananda's commentary on the Vedanta Sutras, advocating the Advaita Vedanta philosophy.
  6. Bhaskaracharya's commentary on the Vedanta Sutras, advocating the Aupadhika Bhedabheda commentary.
  7. Vedanta Parijata Saurabha, Nimbarkacharya's commentary on the Vedanta Sutras, advocating the Dvaitadvaita Vedanta philosophy.
  8. Sarvajnabhashya, Vishnuswami's commentary on the Vedanta Sutras, advocating the Advaita Vedanta philosophy.
  9. Anubhashya, Vallabhacharya's commentary on the Vedanta Sutras, advocating the Shuddhadvaita Vedanta philosophy.
  10. Govinda Bhashya, Baladeva Vidyabhushana's commentary on the Vedanta Sutras, advocating the Achintya-Bheda-Abheda commentary.
  11. Yadava Prakasha's commentary on the Vedanta Sutras.
  12. Siddhanta Dipika, Acharya Srikantha's commentary on the Vedanta Sutras, advocating the Vishishtadvaita Vedanta philosophy.
  13. Vijnanamritabhashya, Vijnanabhiksu's commentary on the Vedanta Sutras, advocating the Avibhagadvaita Vedanta philosophy.
  14. Lakshmi-Vishishtadvaita, Srinivasan Dikshitar's commentary on the Vedanta Sutras, advocating the Vishishtadvaita Vedanta philosophy.
  15. Brahma Sutra Bhashya Ratnam, Muktanand Swami's commentary on the Vedanta Sutras, advocating the Vishishtadvaita Vedanta philosophy.
  16. Shri Raghava Kripa Bhashyam, Swami Ramabhadracharya's commentary on the Vedanta Sutras, advocating the Vishishtadvaita Vedanta philosophy.

Note 1: I don't think Yadava Prakasha's commentary on the Brahma Sutras have survived. For those who are not aware of the Yadava Prakasha, he was the Guru of Ramanujacharya. However, the Guru-shishya relationship between the two was not a great one since Ramanujacharya often disagreed with Yadava Prakasha's views on Vedanta. Nevertheless, Yadava Prakasha turned Vishistadvaitin later in life and became a disciple of Ramanujacharya due to divine circumstances.

Note 2: Though it is accepted as "false rumours" by most, it is said Chaitanya Mahaprabhu had once written a commentary on the Vedanta Sutras. The work is rumoured to be present in the Prakashananda Math.

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    Yes, Yadava Prakasha's commentary on the Brahma Sutras, which advocated a philosophy of Sbahavika Bhedabheda, is lost. The three oldest surviving commentaries on the Brahma Sutras are Adi Shankaracharya's Brahma Sutra Bhashya, Bhaskaracharya's commentaries, and Ramanujacharya's Sri Bhashya. – Keshav Srinivasan Feb 2 '18 at 17:53
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    @AnubhavJha Who's "Panini"? – Surya Kanta Bose Chowdhury Feb 2 '18 at 18:03
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    @SuryaKantaBoseChowdhury Svabhavika Bhedabheda is a Vedantic philosophy which says that Jivatma and Paramatma are simultaneously the same and different, and that this simultaneous sameness and difference is natural, not artificial like in Bhaskaracharya's philosophy of Aupadhika Bhedabheda. It's a philosophy that has a lot in common with Advaita, which is why Yadava Prakasha was teaching his students Adi Shankaracharya's Chandogya Upanishad Bhashya, which is what led to the "monkey's butt" incident. – Keshav Srinivasan Feb 2 '18 at 18:07
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    @SuryaKantaBoseChowdhury panini was a grammarian, he is the reason for the present state of Sanskrit. The Sanskrit of puranas is different from the Vedic Sanskrit, paninis Sanskrit is used in puranas. – Anubhav Jha Feb 2 '18 at 18:08
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    @SuryaKantaBoseChowdhury just like ved vyasa wrote Mahabharata at the end of dwapara Yuga, valmiki -ramayana, panini wrote jamwati jayam another itihasas about Krishna and the end of yadava race, this itihasa is well lost. Tradition puts panini in the end of dwapara Yuga. – Anubhav Jha Feb 2 '18 at 18:11
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There are at least 34 commentaries. Let me try to enumerate as many commentaries as I can. Note that I'm only naming one commentary from each commentator, even if they wrote multiple. And for the most part, I'm only enumerating one commentator from each sect/philosophy, and I'm not enumerating modern books which merely summarize other commentaries.

Now a good starting point is the Dvaita philosopher Narayana Panditacharya's list of 21 commentators on the Brahma Sutras who lived before Madhvacharya:

  1. Bharativijaya
  2. Sacchidananda
  3. Brahmaghosa
  4. Shatananda
  5. Udvarta
  6. Vijaya
  7. Rudrabhatta
  8. Vamana
  9. Yadavaprakasha
  10. Ramanuja
  11. Bhartriprapancha
  12. Dramida
  13. Brahmadatta
  14. Bhaskara
  15. Pishacha
  16. Vrittikara
  17. Vijayabhatta
  18. Vishnukranta
  19. Vadindra
  20. Madhavadasa
  21. Shankara

Note that this list is not in chronological order. Now most of these are lost, and a lot of the lost ones aren't even recognizable. But ten of them are recognizable:

  1. Baudhayana: He was a shishya and Vyasa wrote the first Vritti or commentary on the Brahma Sutras on the Brahma Sutras, which is now lost. He is traditionally known as the Vrittikara.
  2. Dramidacharya: He wrote an ancient Bhashya or commentatary on the Brahma Sutras, as well as a commentary on the Chandogya Upanishad, both of which are lost. He is traditionally known as the Bhashyakara.
  3. Vamana: He wrote an ancient Tika or subcommentary on Dramidacharya's Bhashya, which like the text it comments on is now lost. He is traditionally known as the Tikakara.
  4. Brahmadatta: He wrote a commentary on the Brahma Sutras which is now lost. He believed that the Jivatma stops existing as a distinct entity upon attaining Moksha, and that lifelong meditation on Brahman is required for Moksha; see page 181.
  5. Bhatriprapancha: He wrote a commentary advocating a Bhedabheda philosophy that may have been similar to Bhaskaracharya's philosophy of Aupadhika Bhedabheda, which is now lost.
  6. Adi Shankaracharya: He belonged to the Smartha sect, and he wrote the Brahma Sutra Bhashya, the oldest surviving commentary on the Brahma Sutras, advocating a philosophy called Advaita. You can read it here and here.
  7. Bhaskaracharya: He wrote the second-oldest surviving commentary on the Brahma Sutras, advocating a philosophy called Aupadhika Bhedabheda. It's never been translated into English, but it's available in print form in Sanskrit here.
  8. Yadava Prakasha: He wrote a commentary advocating a philosophy called Svabhavika Bhedabheda, which is now lost. He was Ramanujacharya first guru, but then Ramanujacharya left his Ashram and became a Sri Vaishnava, and years later Yadava Prakasha became Ramanujacharya's shishya, renamed as Govinda Jiyar!
  9. Ramanujacharya: He belonged to the Sri Vaishnava sect, and he wrote the Sri Bhashya, the third-oldest surviving commentary on the Brahma Sutras, advocating a philosophy called Visistadvaita. You can read it here.
  10. Madhavadasa: He wrote a commentary advocating Advaita, which is now lost. He lost a debate to the Sri Vaishnava Acharya Parashara Bhattar, and then became Parashara Bhattar's chief disciple, renamed as Nanjiyar.

Now here's a list of the rest of the commentators on the Brahma Sutras who are not on Narayana Panditacharya's list, or at least not known to be on the list.

  1. Srivatsanka Mishra: He lived after Dramidacharya and wrote an ancient commentary on the Brahma Sutras which is now lost.
  2. Vishnuswami: He belonged to the Rudra Sampradayam of Vaishnavism and wrote the Sarvajna Bhashya, which is now lost.
  3. Madhvacharya: He founded the Madhwa sect and he wrote the Brahma Sutra Bhashya, advocating a philosophy called Dvaita, which you can read here.
  4. Srikantha Shivacharya: He belonged to the Shaiva Siddhanta sect and wrote the Srikantha Bhashya, advocating a philosophy called Shivadvaita, which you can read here.
  5. Sripati Pandita: He belonged to the Lingayat sect and wrote the Srikara Bhashya, advocating a philosophy called Shakti Visistadvaita, which you can read in Sanskrit here.
  6. Srinivasa Dikshitar: He belonged to the Vaikhanasa sect and wrote the Lakshmi-Visistadvaita Bhashya, advocating a philosophy called (quell surprise) Lakshmi Visistadvaita, which you can read here.
  7. Baladeva Vidyabhushana: He belonged to the Gaudiya Vaishnava and wrote the Govinda Bhashya, advocating a philosophy of Achintya Bhedabheda, which you can read here.
  8. Nimbarkacharya: He belonged to the Kumara Sampradayam of Vaishnavism and wrote the Vedanta Parijata Saurabha, advocating a philosophy called Dvaitadvaita, which you can read here.
  9. Ramanandacharya: He founded the Ramanandi sect and wrote the Ananda Bhashya, advocating the Ramanandi version of Visistadvaita, which you can read in Sanskrit here, although his authorship is disputed as I discuss here.
  10. Vijnanabhikshu: He wrote the Vijnanamrita Bhashya, advocating a philosophy called Avibhagadvaita.
  11. Vallabhacharya: He founded the Pushtimarga sect and wrote the Anubhashya, which advocates a philosophy called Shuddhadvaita, which you can read in Sanskrit here.
  12. Muktanand Swami: He belonged to the Swaminararayan sect, and wrote a commentary advocating a philosophy called Panchatattva Visistadvaita, which you can read in Sanskrit here
  13. Shuka: He wrote a commentary using the Bhagavatam to interpret the Brahma Sutras.

Whew!

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