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Gaudapada


Gaudapada (c 8th century) sanskrit pundit, philosopher and noted scholar of the ancient advaita (non-dualist) community, the preceptor of the famous Vedantist Adi Sankaracharya. He is traditionally believed to be a Bengali. Some scholars think that Gaudapada and the Gaudiya saint named in the account of the Arab Indologist Al-Biruni are the same.

Gaudapada's name perhaps derives from his being a resident of Gauda. He also referred to himself as 'Gaudacharya' (a teacher from Gauda) in his book Gaudapadakarika (c 780).

Gaudapadakarika, which contains annotations on the Mandukyopanisad, is a famous Vedantist philosophical treatise, containing 215 shlokas (couplets) divided into four sections: agama, vaitathya, advaita and alatashanti. The treatise is about the Vedantist philosophy that precedes Sankaracharya and the Buddhist secondary nihilism. Later, Sankaracharya quoted slokas from Gaudapada in Shabkarabhasya (1/4/14), annotations on the Brahmasutra. Two other books by Gaudapada are annotations on Sangkhyakarika by Ishwarkrishna and Uttaragita. Gaudapada is believed to be the first Bengali to study the vedas. [Suresh Chandra Banerjee]