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Is there any authentic history of Yadava Prakasha? Was he really an Advaitin? There is the popular belief that he was a Svabhavika Bhedabheda Vaadin. His views are said to be examined by the Sri Bhashya. And now followers of Ramanuja are 'reconstructing' Yadava Prakasha doctrine and Bodhayana doctrine from the Sri Bhashya.

So, is there any finality about Yadava Prakasha having been an Advaitin and later a Bhedabheda Vadin and finally a Vishishtadvaitin? Madhvas list 21 schools which he rejected and one is Yadavaprakasha's.

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Very little is known about Yadavaprakasa. He is considered to be an exponent of bhedabhed Vedanta.It is not clear if he taught Ramanuja even though one Yadavaprakasa is believed to have been a teacher of Ramanuja.

The Bhedabheda of Yadava is so closely allied to that of Bhaskara that one is often confounded with the other, and this confusion is further increased by the identification of Bhedabheda with the Visistadvaita of Ramanuja. Very little is known of Yadava and his system of Vedanta; and his commentary on the Vedanta-sutras is not, at present, available. According to tradition there was one Yadavaprakasa who lived at Kanchi in the eleventh century A.D. and taught Ramanuja for some time; the latter could not accept his teaching and so he formulated his Visistadvaita tradition which was a clear break away from the interpretation of Yadava. There is, however, no clear evidence to establish the identity of this Yadava with the exponent of Bhedabheda-vada.The philosophy of Yadava is, like other Vedanta systems, based on the authority of immemorial tradition and may be ultimately traced to the Upanishads. Sudarsana Bhatta, in his gloss on the Sribhasya of Ramanuja known as Srutaprakasika, identifies the view of Asmarathya, summed up in the Vedanta-sutra, I.4.20, with the philosophy of Yadava; and Thibaut translates the comment of Bhamati on the same Sutra and states that the doctrine represented by Asmarathya is known as Bhedabheda. The systematic account of Yadav's teaching that is here attempted is mainly based on the critical references to it that are contained in the works of Ramanuja and Vedanta Desika. The latter devotes a brief chapter in his Paramatabhanga to the critical examination of Bhaskara and Yadava.

The Philosophy of Bhedabheda, Book II, Part 1, Chapter 1, The philosophy of Yadavaprakasa by P. N. Srinivasachari

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    Thanks for the above account on Yadava Prakasha. It appears from the above that Yadava Prakasha's association with Advaita does not find place in any authentic works of Vishishtadvaita school. Could anyone please confirm this? – v subrahmanian Jun 6 at 17:17
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Since Sankaran Advaita is the primary purvapaksha for Visistadvaitins, the association of Yadava with "Advaita" is really an outcome of post-Ramanuja / post-Vedanta Desika rivalries between Visistadvaitains and Nirveseshadvaitins (Sankaran advaita). It became convenient to use the label "Advaita" for many pUrvapakShas.

Thus you will find Visistadvaita scholars (in lectures) refer to Bhaskara's school as Bhaskaraadvaita and Yadava's school as Yadavaadvaita when describing the respective philosophies. For example the scholar Sri Adoor Asuri Madhavachariar who explicitly says that Sankara, Bhaskara and Yadavaprakasha all are expounding on "Advaita" only (in the context of explaining the second verse or Ramanuja's Vedartha Sangraha). See around minute 6 of this YouTube video.

There are other modern scholars who will take the effort to explicitly liken the school to Bhedabheda or at the very least call it "Yadava-mata" alone without labeling it Advaita. In fact, Sudarshana Suri in his commentary on the Vedartha Sangraha called Tatparya Dipika refers to the school as Yadavaprakasha-mata. (I will try to find a link to a YouTube video for a modern scholar using this term.)

Interestingly, Patrick Olivelle in his introduction to the Yatidharmasamuchchaya of Yadavaprakasha remarks:

The Sri-Vaishnava tradition, indeed, claims Bhaskara and Yadava as its spiritual ancestors in in their opposition to the absolute monism of Advaita and to its understanding of ascetic renunciation.

Now I do agree that Yadava's YDS is revered in the Srivaishnava circles and even Vedanta Desika and Nadadur Ammal have high regards for it. However I have never heard of Yadava's philosophy being considered as foundational in its criticism of Sankaran Advaita. Yadava's interpretation of the Chandogya verse "tasya yathA kapyAsam puNDarIkamevamakShiNI" being identical to that of Adi Sankara, and Ramanuja being deeply disturbed by the analogy in the interpretation occupies an significant point in hagiographies about Ramanuja's life.

If Olivelle is right (he doesn't cite anything to back up his claim) about Visistadvaitins building up on Yadava's arguments against Sankara, then it is all the more likely that the labeling of Yadava's philosophy as Advaita is a recent development due to ideological/sectarian rivalries.

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  • Thanks for the response and additional inputs. The associating of 'Advaitin' with the so-called plot to eliminate Ramanuja is also an element that needs to be addressed in this discourse of ascertaining Yadava's true antecedents. I have also seen that Bhaskara agrees with Shankara on the Pancharatra adhikaraNa and many other topics. I have heard that the Sarva Darshana Sangraha of Madhavacharya says that the Ramanuja school is 'bhedabheda.' There are many versions of bhedabheda which sometimes get expressed as many versions of Advaita. – v subrahmanian Jul 18 at 7:00
  • I agree that the association of Yadava with the so-called plot to kill Ramanuja is likely a later fabrication. I have reservations against Maadhava's interpretation of Ramanuja; that is a different story though. However Ramanuja in the Sribhashya very clearly says that there are three existing interpretations of the Brahmasturas: (1) Nirvisesha-vastvaikyam (2) Bhedaabhedam, (3) Kevalam-Bhedam and all three are incomplete in explaining all possible shrutis. This means that at the very least Ramanuja did not consider his thesis to be 'Bhedaabheda'. – hashable Jul 19 at 4:14
  • Is any reference available for the (3) Kevalam-Bhedam school by name of the bhashyakara, etc.? I am curious to know this because Shankara has said in the Brihadaranyaka 2.1.20 bhashya: सर्वोपनिषत्सु हि विज्ञानात्मनः परमात्मना एकत्वप्रत्ययो विधीयत इत्यविप्रतिपत्तिः सर्वेषामुपनिषद्वादिनाम् ; [All votaries of the Upanishads are unanimous that the Upanishads teach the unity (non-difference) of the jivatma and the Paramatma.] Bhedabheda vadins too admit of this identity in the state of moksha. – v subrahmanian Jul 20 at 9:05
  • According to Rangacharya & Varadaraja Aiyangar who were the first to translate the Sribhashya to English, the kevalabhedavAdins are the Vaiseshikas. See footnote 236 (archive.org/details/…) – hashable Jul 20 at 10:50
  • The Srutaprakashika commentary of Sudarshana Suri on this line says - kevalabhedaśabdena svaparyavasita bhedo vivakṣitaḥ। tadvādinaśca vaiśeṣikādayaḥ। – hashable Jul 20 at 11:17

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