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In hinduism, advaita propounds the doctrine of two truths - vyavahArika satya and paramArthika satya.

However, long before Shankara (8th - 9th century CE) , the foremost exponent of advaita, the mAdhyamika buddhist philosopher nAgArjuna (2nd - 3rd century CE) propounds the doctrine of two truths - samvRti satya and paramArtha satya.

Is there any explicit reference to any two truths doctrine in hindu/vedic/smriti/commentary/grammar sources before the time of nAgArjuna? I am looking for explicit references and not vague statements that can be interpreted in multiple ways.

I do not want to go into whether advaita's two truths are same or different from that of mAdhyamika buddhism. I just want to know if there is(are) any hindu source(s) before nAgArjuna, that talks of any sort of two truths - whatever those two truths may mean.

PS: Please dont quote some obscure "upanishads" (not quoted by Shankara or his contemporaries) or post-Shankaran advaitic sources. The sources that I am looking for, must be pre-nAgArjuna. Also, please dont quote statements from upanishads like - brahman has two aspects, x and y, satyam cha anrtam cha satyam abhavat, yatra hi dvaitam iva bhavati...., vacharambhanam vikaro namadheyam.... I am not looking for these kinds of statements. These statements can have multiple interpretations. Thank you for understanding.

EDIT: My question is not duplicate because my question is specific to scriptures which are pre-nAgArjuna. Also I am looking for explicit references to the two truths doctrine. Not some vague references which can be interpreted in multiple ways.

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  • Your statement - sources that I am looking for, must be pre-nAgArjuna, may not be correct. As per one school of thought, Sri Sankara belongs to 500 BCE. Nagarjuna belongs to 2 - 3 AD. Then it amounts to Nagarjuna drawing inspiration from Sri Sanaa. Please check. @Lazy Lubber – Srimannarayana K V Nov 4 '19 at 13:58
  • You can go through the article (ramchandrakamath.blogspot.com/2011/03/…) @Lazy Lubber – Srimannarayana K V Nov 4 '19 at 14:06
  • @srimannarayanakv Regarding date of Shankara, please see advaita vedanta home page - advaita-vedanta.org/avhp/dating-Sankara.html There are lot of difficulties with the 500 BCE date. Shankara also criticizes Shunyavada, which was first propounded by Nagarjuna, so Shankara cannot be earlier than Nagarjuna. – user16581 Nov 4 '19 at 14:17
  • There is problem with literature available in the name of Sri Sankara, regarding which many believe that they were attributed to him by later day scholars. Anyway, it is your question and your choice :-)@Lazy Lubber – Srimannarayana K V Nov 4 '19 at 14:26
  • @srimannarayanakv I am aware of that problem. But Shankara criticizes Shunyavada in his Brahmasutra bhashya - which is universally attributed to Shankara. In fact, Shankara, by definition, is taken as the author of the Brahmasutra bhashya, which goes under his name. – user16581 Nov 4 '19 at 14:32