CONTRIBUTION OF ANDHRA
I have often felt a strong impulse to bring to light the glorious contribution of Andhras to Advaita Vedanta. (Incidentally, my thesis for Ph.D. was also on Advaita -Vedanta.) My guide and mentor, Prof. P.Srirama Murthy, has acted as a catalyst in encouraging me repeatedly to go ahead and has wished me Godspeed.
However, I have faced annoying hurdles and have had to take the matter as a challenge. I had to search a lot for obtaining authoritative literature at different places and at different times with grit and determination. As the saying goes, all is well that ends well. Finally, I seem to have made it, hopefully, to a not inconsiderable extent.
It is common knowledge that quite a number of Andhras have contributed considerably to Advaita Vedanta. This revelation made me at once happy and unhappy : happy because I happen to be an Andhra myself, and unhappy because it became very difficult to get the personal data of most, if not all, of the Advaitins.. This was because they did their research and published the results after, and not before, abdicating their normal family lives and anointment of sanyasa, in which avatar, naturally, their past biography went into limbo and they assumed personal identity related to ascetic milieu. This put me on the nerves and it was very difficult to fathom their original names and their heritage. Among my probes were the anecdotes related to them , which I could cull from rare sources. I have also had to rely upon authentic accounts available from the pundits associated with Advaita Vedanta.
There are two kinds of literary works, vis-à-vis- Advaita Vedanta. One class comprises just a literary translation from the Sanskrit original and a few scholars have commented upon these works. The other class is literature in Sanskrit itself shedding lights on many aspects of Advaita Vedanta. I have confined myself to this latter section.
Acquisition of material has been a sort of hide and seek. I have visited a number of libraries at different places, consulted some rare manuscripts as well as printed material and have met with a number of scholars spread far and wide. It has been a race for me to procure their material and encouragement. Naturally, the only return I can give them is to acknowledge their help and encouragement from deep within my heart. In particular, I am highly indebted to :
Prof. P.Srirama Murty, who planted this seed of Advaita Vedanta in me;
Sri Maddulapalli Manikyasastry for unwinding the various items of Advaita Vedanta, but for which I could not have ventured into this project;
Dr.O.S.R.L. Sarma, my erstwhile teacher, for offering his valuable advice on and off;
Prof. G. A. Sarma, also my erstwhile teacher, for his scintillating verbal flow of wisdom;
Prof. M.V. Ramana, Head of the Department of Sanskrit, Andhra University, who readily and heartily blessed me and supplied valuable literature;
Director of M.G.O.M.L., Madras;
Director of Adyar Library;
Director of Sanskrit Academy, Hyderabad ;
Chief Librarian, Osmania University, Hyderabad ;
Chief Librarian, Rashtriya Samskrita Vidyapeet, Tirupati ;
Chief Librarian, Andhra University, Visakhapatnam ; as well as
Prof. B. Ramaraju ;
Prof. P. Sriramachandrudu ;
Prof. V. Anjaneya Sarma ;
Sri V. Sundararama Sastry ;
Dr. Srikala, Department of Philosophy, Sri Sankaracharya University of Sanskrit, Kaledy, Kerala ;
Dr.S.Ranganath, Head, Department of Sanskrit, NMKRV college for women, Banglore;
Dr.C. Rajendran; Professor and Head of the Department of Sanskrit, University of Calicut and
Authorities of Various Mutts for giving me valuable advice.
I must express my deepest thanks to Sri K.V. Satyanarayana, retired head of the department of chemistry and Vice-Principal of A.N.R. College for advising me to make some suitable alterations in the composition..
I Should be failing in my duty if I do not record my intense feelings of intimacy and indebtedness to Dr. Y. Venkateswara Rao, retired Principal of A.N.R. College, for always shedding light on various types of literature including Advaita Vedanta.
I must also express my gratitude to my college authorities who have readily allowed me to take up the project.
Last in the order but first and foremost in priority is University Grants Commission, S.E.R.O, Hyderabad, without whose financial offer this project could not have been taken up.
I also thank Dr. Chirravuri Sivarama Krishna Sarma for providing required material.
Finally, I express my hearty thanks to all those who have directly or indirectly helped me in completing this project.
In course of essaying the various aspects of the Advaita Vedanta, I have had to quote the relevant original stanzas (slokas) for the purpose of roundedness. Since some, at least, of the readers may not find it easy to understand them properly, and since a word-for-word translation is both difficult and undesirable (because of the complexity of the subject), I have taken the liberty of deviating from the tradition of literal translation, but, to make them intelligible, I have ventured to suggest the essence of the slokas. I seek the indulgence of litterateurs for this digression.