What has the politically correct Left-Liberal class of Historians and Public Intellectuals done to preserve the memory of the debate between Sankara and Mishra?
Why have the “nuance” and “complex layers” of this seminal debate no place in our Public Memory?
A way of life guided by multiple Philoshophies with a robust tradition of debate between them.Diversity in Philosophies extending all the way from Spiritualism to nihilistic Materialism
A historic and contentious philosophic debate between two male Scholars refereed by a woman
And the scholar who had given up everything being told to by the woman referee to first experience sensuality before being considered to have qualified to debate a Householder on the nuances of Philosophy
“It is dialogue which produces no anger or retribution. One of the greatest examples of such dialogue was the one between Adi Sankara and Mandana Mishra.
It is worth recalling and describing this ancient example for our modern times. Adi Sankara, a vedantic who did not give high marks for rituals, was a young man, while Mandana Mishra was an elderly scholar and high ritualist who believed even in animal sacrifice.
Adi Sankara wanted to establish through dialogue and debate with the highest authority on ritualism that rituals were not necessary for attaining Mukti, while Mandana Mishra wanted to prove that Sankara was wrong in dismissing rituals.
This was how, in ancient India, debates on sensitive issues between scholars avoided such issues being settled in streets. Adi Sankara and Mandana Mishra held a debate and Sankara won. But the more important point is not the debate itself, but how was the debate was conducted. It is a fascinating story that will ever remain one of the highest forms of debate for all times for humanity.
It was agreed that if Mandana Mishra lost, he would cease to be a householder (gruhasta) and accept sanyasa. If Adi Sankara lost, he would give up his sanyasa and marry and settle down as householder or in gruhasta life. Mandana Mishra, a high scholar, offered to Adi Sankara, who was young and therefore someone that Mishra considered unequal, to choose a referee of his choice. Adi Sankara chose Mandana Mishra’s wife, a scholar herself, as the referee! If Mandana Mishra lost, she would lose her husband! But see what she did! She asked both Sankara and Mishra to wear fresh garlands and then begin the debate, and said that the one whose garland loses its freshness would be declared as the loser! Why? Because if one gets angry, the body will develop heat, and, as a result, the garland flowers will lose their freshness in that heat. Anger within is a sign of defeat. On this logic, Mandana Mishra was declared as having lost the debate! And he accepted sanyas and became a disciple of Sankara. This demonstrates the vitality of dialogue and that too dialogue without anger or conflict.”
-Honourable Prime Minister of India, Mr Narendra Modi while addressing the Global Hindu Buddhist Initiative on Conflict Avoidance and Environment Consciousness