Appayya Dikshita

Appayya Dikshita (IAST Appayya Dīkṣita, often "Dikshitar"), 1520–1593 CE, was a performer of yajñas as well as an expositor and practitioner of the Advaita Vedanta school of Hindu philosophy but with a focus on Shiva or Shiva Advaita.


Appayya Dikshitar samadhi

Appayya Dikshitar was born as Vinayaka Subramanian in Adayapalam, near Arani in the Tiruvannamalai district, in the Krishna Paksha of the Kanya month of Pramateecha Varsha under the Uttara Proushthapada constellation of the Hindu calendar. He belonged to the Vadadesa Vadama subsect .

His father’s name was Rangarajadhwari. Appaya had the name Vinayaka Subramanya after the Namakarana or naming ceremony took place. Acharya Dikshitar or Acchan Dikshitar was the younger brother of Appayya. Appayya studied the Hindu scriptures under his Guru, Rama Kavi. He completed the fourteen Vidyas at his young age.

Dikshitar travelled widely, entering into philosophical disputations and controversies in many centers of learning. He had the rare good fortune of being revered and patronized in his own lifetime by kings of Vellore, Tanjore, Vijayanagara, and Venkatagiri.


He was well-read in every branch of Sanskrit learning and wrote as many works, large and small. Only 60 of them are, however, extant now. These include works on Vedanta, Shiva Advaita, Mimamsa, Vyakarana, Kavya vyakhyana, Alankara, and devotional poetry. By conviction, he was an advaitin, and true worship of Lord Siva was the religion of his heart.[citation needed] Though the followers of the Siva-advaita school claim him as belonging to their school, it is not so easy to determine whether he was more inclined to Sivadavaita or advaita.[citation needed] Sivadvaita is very much akin to Vishishtadvaita of Ramanuja, except for the role of Vishnu being taken by Shiva.[citation needed]

He (Dikshita) wrote the Chatur-mata-sara to illustrate the philosophical thoughts of the four prominent schools of interpretation of Brahma sutras. The Naya-manjari deals with advaita, the Naya-mani-mala with Srikanta mata, the Naya-mayukha-malika with Ramanuja's philosophy, and the Naya-muktavali with Madhva's philosophy.

Siddhanta lesha-sangrahaEdit

Among the Vedantic works of Appayya Dikshitar, the Siddhanta-lesha-sangraha is most famous. In this elaborate and original treatise, he brings together in one place, all different dialectical thinking belonging to the advaitic school. Traditional students of Vedanta begin their study of Vedantic commentaries only after studying this Siddhanta Lesha sangraha. All the different views of different subschools of advaita, like those of `eka-jiva-vada', `nana-jiva-vada', `bimba-pratibimba vada' `sakshitva-vada' etc. are all discussed and the contrary views properly explained in this work with Appayya Dikshitar's masterly touch.


It is a Vedantic work, an extremely readable commentary on the very difficult commentary called Kalpataru by an advaitic teacher named Amalananda. That Kalpataru is itself a commentary on Bhāmatī by Vācaspati Miśra, which in turn is the famous commentary on the Sutra-Bhashya of Adi Shankara. While the Parimala follows the advaitic approach, Dikshitar has written another commentary Sivaarka-mani-deepika on the Brahmasutras. But this is written from the point of view of Siva-visishtadvaita.. These two works – Sivaarka-mani-deepika and Parimala – are his magnum opus both in bulk and importance. Though both are commentaries on the Brahma sutra, Parimala aligns itself to the advaitic interpretation while the other work expounds on the Sivadvaita philosophy of Srikanta Shivacharya. Dikshitar's patron, King Chinna Bomma Nayak of Vellore, made endowments for the maintenance of a college of 500 scholars who studied Sivaarka maniDipika under Sri Dikshitar himself, thus equipping themselves for the Saivite propaganda work, which had been organized with a view to stemming the tide of Vaishnavite attacks and encroachments.[citation needed]

Other schools as approximations to advaitaEdit

Dikshitar graphically describes Shivadvaita and Advaita, which are very close to each other as the highest steps. He makes it clear in his work that Srikantha-Bhashya on the Brahmasutra has been written in very close approximation to the trend of thought of Adi Sankara in his own bhashya. Srikanta, according to Dikshitar, propagated his cult on the understanding that sagunopasana (Worship of name and form) is only the first step to nirgunopasana (Propitiation of the nameless and formless), and that it was the real intention of Srikanta that the final truth lies only in Advaita. Dikshitar's great dialectical skill is fully reflected in the work called 'Anandalahari chandrika', where he tries to narrow down the differences between the apparently divergent schools of thought.


Special issue of Journal of Indian Philosophy (March 2016, edited by Christopher Minkowski):

  • Minkowski, Christopher (2016). "Apūrvaṃ Pāṇḍityam: On Appayya Dīkṣita's Singular Life". Journal of Indian Philosophy. 44 (1): 1–10. doi:10.1007/s10781-014-9230-y. S2CID 170955384.
  • Bronner, Yigal (2016). "A Renaissance Man in Memory: Appayya Dīkṣita Through the Ages". Journal of Indian Philosophy. 44 (1): 11–39. doi:10.1007/s10781-014-9251-6. S2CID 153827853.
  • Rao, Ajay K. (2016). "The Vaiṣṇava Writings of a Śaiva Intellectual". Journal of Indian Philosophy. 44 (1): 41–65. doi:10.1007/s10781-014-9260-5. S2CID 170181275.
  • Duquette, Jonathan (2016). "Reading Non-Dualism in Śivādvaita Vedānta: An Argument from the Śivādvaitanirṇaya in Light of the Śivārkamaṇidīpikā". Journal of Indian Philosophy. 44 (1): 67–79. doi:10.1007/s10781-014-9231-x. S2CID 171076332.
  • McCrea, Lawrence (2016). "Appayyadīkṣita's Invention of Śrīkaṇṭha's Vedānta". Journal of Indian Philosophy. 44 (1): 81–94. doi:10.1007/s10781-014-9229-4. S2CID 170783184.
  • Minkowski, Christopher (2016). "Appayya's Vedānta and Nīlakaṇṭha's Vedāntakataka". Journal of Indian Philosophy. 46 (1): 95–114. doi:10.1007/s10781-014-9252-5. S2CID 170190119.
  • Deshpande, Madhav M. (2016). "Appayya Dīkṣita and the Lineage of Bhaṭṭoji Dīkṣita". Journal of Indian Philosophy. 46 (1): 115–124. doi:10.1007/s10781-014-9254-3. S2CID 170146119.

Other (scholarly journal articles):

  • Bronner, Yigal (2007). "Singing to God, Educating the People: Appayya Dīkṣita and the Function of Stotras". Journal of the American Oriental Society. 127 (2): 113–130. JSTOR 20297244.
  • Bronner, Yigal (2014). "South meets North: Banaras from the perspective of Appayya Dīkṣita". South Asian History and Culture. 6 (1): 10–31. doi:10.1080/19472498.2014.969008. S2CID 143713505.

Still other:

External linksEdit