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Yadavaprakasha: A Brief Biography
Date: Wed Jan 10 2001 - 21:09:25 PST

Here is a brief biography of Sri Yadavaprakasha. I have left out the 
references which can be supplied upon request. The matter below 
represents only the bare outline of my proposed website on the 


Yadavaprakasa (11th Cent. C.E.) 

Life and Age: 

According to Sri Vaisnava traditions, he was a very renowned scholar 
of his 
times and students came to his school at Kancipuram from great 
distances to 
be his disciples. He is said to have been a follower of 
Samkaracarya.  The 
traditional biographies of Sri Ramanujacarya paint him in very dark 
Sri Ramanuja is said to have disagreed with his teacher over the 
Advaitic interpretations of the Scriptures. The final break between 
the two 
is recorded as a very emotional event. Sri Yadava Prakasa was 
expounding the 
meaning of the phrase 'Kapsyasam pundarikam' in Chandogya Upanisad 
to Sri Samkaracarya's interpretation (' red like the buttocks of a 
when tears of distress fell from Sri Ramanuja's eyes. When the 
teacher asked 
the cause of tears, Sri Ramanuja replied that he was pained at such a 
frivolous interpretation of the Holy Scriptures, and proposed a new 
etymological interpretation ('the Lord whose eyes are red like a 
blossomed by the Sun'). 

It has also been speculated that he followed Mandana Misra's school 
Advaita Vedanta. His philosophy, in reality, is a form of the 

Later in his life, he is said to have accepted Sri Ramanuja as his 
under the influence of his mother, who was a devotee of Lord Varada. 
inititiating him to the Sri Vaisnava order of ascetics, Sri Ramanuja 
him a new title- Govinda Jiyar, and asked him to compose a compendium 
rules for Sri Vaisnava ascetics. This compendium was named 

Works of Yadavaprakasa 
1. Commentary on the Brahmasutras: This is refuted by Sri Ramanuja at 
several places. In his Srutaprakasika, Sri Sudarsana Suri reproduces 
gist of his commentary at the end of virtually every `adhikarana' 
(topic of 
2. Commentary on the Bhagavad Gita: This is referred to by 
Sudarsanacarya in 
Srutaprakasika, by Venkatanatha in Tatparyadipika and by Vyasaraja in 
3. Vaijayantikosa: This is a lexicon and has been published. Of all 
famous Sanskrit lexicons available, this is the longest one. 
4. Yatidharmasamuccaya: This is a manual on the duties of ascetics, 
and is 
the most comprehensive text in its class. It is said to have been 
upon the wish of Sri Ramanujacharya, his past disciple turned Guru. 
5. Commentary on Pingala's Chhanda Sutras: Again, a very scholarly 
work and 
explains the historical evolution of the laukika chhandas from Vedic 
6. Taittiriya Sarvanumkramani 

Citations from works of Yadavaprakasa: 
Few verbatim citations from his works are found but his views are 
alluded to 
in several places. 
A. Vadaratnavali of Visnudasacarya: 
Visnudasacarya is a follower of the Madhva's Dvaita school of 
Vedanta. In 
chapter 5 of this work, the following verse of Yadavaprakasa is cited-
Veda is unreal, the Buddhist scriptures are unreal; The authority of 
one and 
the other is unreal; The knower is unreal; intelligence and its fruit 
unreal- You and the Buddhists have accomplished the same result." 
This verse 
is actually to be found in the Vaijayantikosa of Yadavaprakasa. 
B. Vedarthasamgraha of Ramanuja: 
1. " The third school (of vedantins) assumes that the individual soul 
Brahman are different and non different: It follows that Brahman is 
identical with soul and that in the same way as Saubhari is different 
himself, the Lord is different from his incarnations, everyone is 
from the Lord." According to Sudarsanasuri's commentary on 
called Tatparyadipika, this is the opinion of Yadavaprakasa. 
C. Sri Bhasya of Ramanuja 
D. Sarvartha Siddhi of Venkatanatha or Vedantadesika28 
1. At I.69, the following view on the theory of Time (kala) is 
attributed to 
Yadavaprakasa- "Kala is beginningless and endless, but continuously 
transforms itself through moments by which the divisions of time as 
days and nights can be spanned, through which again transformations 
of all 
changeable objects can be measured. In this view, the conditions are 
relative from the point of view of each person, who collects the 
time units and forms his own conception of minutes, hours and days 
from his 
own point of calculation according to his needs." 
E. Tattvamukta-kalapa of Venakatanatha or Vedantadeshika 
1. Action removes the obstruction in the way of attaining moksa, 
knowledge actually leads to moksa. Thus, he subscribes to a modified 
jnana-karma smuccayavada. 
2. At 2.16, a view is attributed to Yadavaprakasa according to 
which "the 
individual souls are parts of Brahman which is a pure being. Just as 
atoms in the Universe are many and differ from one another and from 
the individual are also different from one another and from Brahman. 
in this 
view, there is no problem in accounting for the difference that 
between the happiness or suffering of different individuals and also 
3. Yadavaprakasa defends the theory of Brahmaparinamavada against the 
objection that the defects inherent in the world would apply to 
Brahman also 
by stating that consciousness is present in all things in the 
Universe. If 
it is not directly experienced, it is due to the fact that it is 
latent, in 
the same way as odour, though present in the gem (being a material 
is not cognized. That consciousness is present everywhere is proved 
on the 
strength of the scriptural texts. The Upanishadic text says : 
Everything is 
Brahman. Another text points out that Brahman itself is constituted 
of the 
three entities- the Lord, Consciousness and the Insentient. In view 
of the 
fact that the whole Universe is Brahman, the Upanishad even speaks of 
fishermen as Brahman. Thus, Brahman which is capable of undergoing 
modifications is present in everything in the Universe. That is, the 
which is constituted of cit, acit and Isvara in an unmanifest form 
manifest as cit, acit and Isvara. The example given to explain this 
is a 
piece of multicolored cloth. The colors present in the three 
threads become manifest in the woven cloth. 
4. Brahman is the material cause only in an indirect sense and 
admits the concept of sakti as associated with Brahman. 
5. Sarvartha Siddhi I.69: Yadavaprakasa states that kala is 
and endless but continuously transforms itself through moments by 
which the 
divisions of time as hours, days and nights can be spanned, through 
again the transformation of all changeable objects can be measured. 
In this 
view, the conditions are relative from the point of view of each 
person, who 
collects the passing time units and forms his own conception of 
hours and days from his own point of calculation, according to his 

F. Tatparyacandrika of Vedantadesika: 
1. On Gita 2.28: "Avyaktavyaktadisabdanam 
yadavaprakasoktasbrahmadiparatvasya ca prakrtanubyogajnapanayoktam"  
this fragment, it appears that Yadava Prakasa connected the 
terms `Avyakta' 
and `Vyakta' with states of Brahman while according to Desika, they 
states of Prakrti. This shows that Yadava Prakasa was a pantheist. 
2. On Gita 3.10: Here, the reading of Yadava Prakasa is given as 
`Sahayajnaah' and rejected. 
3. On Gita 3.15: "Yadavaprakasadyuktam Brahmasabdasya 
sphotadiparatvamaksaranam tadvancakatvadikam ca 
nirastam." From this it appears that Yadavaprakasa accepted 
4. On Gita 3.36: Here. a textual variant in Yadava's commentary is 
and dismissed. Curiously, this variant reading is identical to the 
occurring in the longer recension of Gita comprising of 745 verses. 
5. On Gita 11.37: Here, Desika reads 5 additional verses that occur 
in the 
commentary of Yadava Prakasa (1 of Arjuna followed by 4 of Krsna 
followed by 
3 more. He then states that an additional verse is also found after 
Desika declares all these verses as spurious. Incidentally, none of 
verses is found in the longer version of Gita100 although some are 
found in 
the Kasmirian recension of the text commented upon by Abhinavagupta. 
6. On Gita 11.53: Here, the commentary on Gita 6.42 is quoted. The 
state that higher and higher yogins respectively become denizens of 
Svetadvipa or the planet of Narayana, soldier of Visnu, head soldier, 
sentry, fan wielding servant of Vishnu, a minister of Visnu and 
finally he 
becomes co-existent with Visnu." From this citation, it is clear that 
was an ardent Vaisnava. 
7. On Gita 13.1: Here, the view of Yadava that `the last three 
chapters of 
Gita are of the nature of Khilas (Appendices) that discuss several 
is stated and criticized." 
8. On Gita 18.66: Yadava is reported to have commented that 
by `sarvadharman 
parityajaya' is meant abandonment of `virodhi dharmas' (evil 
G. In Srutaparakasika of Sudarsana Suri (Chatuhssutri portion): 
1. In the introduction part (pg. 12)103, Sudarsana says that in his 
on Brahmasutra 1.1.1, Yadava raises a doubt regarding the meaning of 
word "Brahman" and then concludes that "Knowledge of Brahman alone is 
enjoined for man- this is the meaning of the sutra. Knowledge of 
and other entities in the systems of Kapila and Sugata etc. are not 
here." Later, Sudarsana (pg. 25) states that according to Yadava, the 
Brahmasutras were a natural sequel to the Purva Mimamsa Sutras. 
2. Pg. 53: Meaning of Avidya in Isopanishad 11: Sudarsana Suri quotes 
Yadava's interpretation of the word as- "Avidya sabda 
upeyavirodhinivartakakarmavaciti." i.e. The word 'avidya' denotes 
Karmas that are a hindrance in the efforts to attain salvation, i.e., 
actions and the like. This corresponds to his commentary on Gita 
F.8 above). 
3. Pg. 172: Sudarsana Suri states that in his commentary on 
1.1.1, Yadava states that "Dukhatrayabhighatajnanantaram 
purusapravrtereva hetoh- Brahmaiva jijnasa, na tu pradhanadini." 
Yadava interprets Brahmasutra 1.1.1 according to Samkhya Sutra 1.1 
states that the means of removal of threefold afflictions is not 
of Pradhana, as stated in the Samkhya Sastra, but rather a knowledge 
Brahman- this is the import of the first sutra. 
Sri Sudarshana Suri actually reproduces the interpretation of 
on EACH adhikarana of Brahmasutras- we have not dealt with it here. 

Views of Yadavaprakasa: 
These can be discerned from the citations above. In short, according 
Yadava Prakasa, Brahman is of the nature of pure Universal Being, 
with 3 distinct powers as consciousness, matter and God, and through 
these 3 
powers it passes through the various phenomenal changes which are 
held up in 
it and at the same time, are one with it, just as the one ocean 
appears in 
diverse forms as foam, billows and waves. 

           - SrImate rAmAnujAya namaH -
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