Bhaskararaya is probably the most well-known Acharya and authoritative figure from modern history about matters related to Shakti worship. My question is about a debate that happened between him and a host of other scholars at Kashi.

Quoting from the article "Bhaskararaya Makhin" hosted@ Kamakotimandali:

If any one deserves special mention in the field of Srividya after Sri Adi Shankaracharya, it is undoubtedly Sri Bhaskaracharya. He descended to earth in the first half of the eighteenth century. He is known to have been such a great philosopher, scholar, commentator and an Upasaka that the only phrase suitable to describe him would be: na bhUto na bhaviShyati'. Though he advocated Tantra, he was a devoted follower of the Shrauta path (the path ordained by the Vedas) and also was as much a Shaiva as a Shakta. Though a householder, his Vairagya and Jnana were greater than any accomplished Sanyasin. His works Saubhagya Bhaskara' and `Setubandha' serve as encyclopedias in the field of mantra Shastra to this day. Though some of his views are not quiet agreable to the ShAnkara Vedanta, his immense respect for Acharya Bhagavatpada displays his final faith in Kevaladvaita.

Sri Bhaskararaya, who needs no introduction, introduces himself (in his work `Saubhagyabhaskara') in the following way:

shriigambhiiravipashchitaH piturabhuudyaH konamaambodare
vidyaaShTaadashakasya marmabhidyaH shriinR^isimhaadguroH |
yashcha shriishivadattashuklacharaNaiH puurNaabhiShikto.abhavat
sa tretaa tripuraa trayiiti manute taameva naathatrayiim ||

To establish Shakta Vidya in its pristine purity, Bhaskaracharya traveled through the length and breadth of the subcontinent and wrote many fine books. Bhaskaracharya was born in the period between the last part of the seventeenth century and the beginning of the eighteenth century. In his own works, we find a mention of his birth date. He is known to have completed his commentary on Sri Lalita Sahasranama in 1728 (Ashwina Shukla Navami) and Setubandha in 1748 (Shivaratri). Though Sri Bhaskaracharya was proficient in all branches of learning, he was essentially a Shakta. Under the leadership of Narayana Bhatta (the grandfather of Kamalakara Bhatta, the author of `Nirnayasindhu'), a large group of scholars assembled in Kashi to defeat and humiliate Bhaskaracharya in a debate. In the debate the ensued, Bhaskaracharya answered all questions of the scholars to their complete satisfaction. A Sanyasin named Kumkumananda, who was present there and who himself was great Upasaka of Sridevi, told the group of scholars that they could never defeat Bhaskaracharya in a religious debate because it was none but Sri Mahatripurasundari who was speaking from his mouth.

Narayana Bhatta refused to accept this truth without a proper proof. He questioned Bhaskaracharya regarding a name `mahAchatuHShaShThikoTiyoginIgaNasevitA' from the Rahasya Sahasranama. He challenged Bhaskaracharya to list the names of the sixty-four crores of Yoginis mentioned in this name. Bhaskaracharya accepted this challenge and began to list the names, seated behind a curtain. The scholars began to write the names that were uttered by him, but soon had to give up the impossible task of writing down sixty-four crore names. Sri Kumkumananda swami suddenly removed the curtain and the scholars were astonished to see Sridevi seated on the shoulders of Bhaskaracharya. Though they were unable to have a complete vision of the form of Sridevi, they were able to see the luminous form of Amba on his shoulders. Accepting their defeat, they fell at the feet of Bhaskaracharya.

My questions about this debate are who were all the scholars who were asking Bhaskararaya questions? What were all the questions and what were Bhaskararaya's responses to those questions? Do we have works/books where these information are recorded in detail?

  • 1
    i heard about one debate in gujarat with pushti sampradaya .. this one there is a book bhaskara raya bharati .. you can see on net – Rakesh Joshi Mar 6 at 20:57
  • But this debate happened in Kashi. If you find a reference you can answer it. @RakeshJoshi – Rickross Mar 7 at 5:19

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