Shankaracharya & Authorship of Stotra


Do we know who was बुधकौशिक who composed the रामरक्षास्तोत्र or  पुष्पदन्त who composed the शिवमहिम्नस्तोत्र?  These strotras as recited by thousands each day but we do not know how old they are, who composed them and when and where.



At least we know that puShpadanta was a gandharva. Time, etc. are not known. Now, it is another thing that the new way to go is to say that there is nothing called gandharva and these are mere stories to eulogise.

But, even then the recitation generates dharma, because it is eulogy of devatA. That needs name of author as R^iShi. But, for accruing puNya, it is never said that his family and birth-place should be remembered. So, people don’t give that much importance to that and they become lost with time. That doesn’t affect result, puNya.

If even that is not acceptable, then accept that some type of pleasure is obtained by reciting them. That doesn’t need knowledge of author’s history.


In the absence of any known history, legends get attached to the popular stotras.  One such legend is to attach the name of आदि शंकराचार्य to a popular stotra.. Counting all peethas, there have been hundreds of शंकराचार्यs  over the last 12 centuries, many of them quite erudite and also with the poetic faculty.  A stotra composed by any one of them would be called श्रीमच्छंकराचार्यविरचितम्.  Taking off from there, we presume that it was composed by आदि शंकराचार्य.  But what is the historical evidence for saying so?



It is quite evident that no sha~NkarAchArya uses the word ‘sha~NkarachArya’ apart from this sannyAsa name, as someone uses sha~NkarAchArya bharata-tIrtha. So, it is not acceptable that their usage of ‘same word’ may have contributed to the present problem.

Some gentlemen go a few more steps and say that those sha~NkarAchArya-s knowingly did it, so that there composition becomes famous. I don’t know how much ignorant such persons are and how much wicked at heart. Because, only those who are ‘very familiar’ with crookedness can superimpose their ‘own quality’ on a sannyAsI whose vrata is to say truth, and who is adorning a respected seat.

If someone wants to say that scribes were lazy and they left some parts from puShpikA, even then it is difficult to accept that all scribes from all different places and times did the same mistake.

We may however blame the unavailability of manuscripts ‘written by sane scribe’. But, this should be done only after it is proved that these are not works of sha~NkarAchArya or any such person. Before that it is mere speculation based on other set of speculations, as authors style is not same, etc. Even my writings on different subjects at different times are very different, and if I don’t mention my email address it will be difficult for you to ascertain my authorship.


he thinks are unworthy of आदि शंकराचार्य:

1) A conscious effort to create a sound effect – सुरेश्वरं निधीश्वरं गजेश्वरं गणेश्वरंमहेश्वरं … V.2

2) Inappropriate use of a word and an unnecessary use of पादपूरक to balance the meter – महागणेशपञ्चरत्नमादरेण योऽन्वहंप्रजल्पति प्रभातके ह्रदि स्मरन् गणेश्वरम् ॥  v. 6

Here,  प्रजल्पति strictly means ‘;jabbering.’  To use it in the sense of ‘reciting’ is beneath आदि शंकराचार्य.   In प्रभातके,  the पादपूरक  के is added only to balance the requirement of the meter.  It makes the language very inelegant.

3) In V.5, ह्रदन्तरे निरन्तरं वसन्तमेव योगिनांतमेकदन्तमेव तं विचिन्तयामि संततम् , the use of एव twice is superfluous and undeserving of आदि शंकराचार्य.



1) I think any such conscious effort is called poetry. And trying to get similar sound is not something out of range of poetry. If you think that some other poets or you could have done better, even then why not accept that sha~Nkara was not at his best at that time. Why expect that a person will write in same style with same quality at all times. Our capacities are limited and so were his. Why expect super-human like capacities from him at all times in all areas. First you imagine that ‘he must perform in a specific way’ and then you blame him for not performing. I think there is some serious problem in your thinking.

Moreover, it is evident that some other poets are/were better than sha~Nkara. Isn’t it? I’m not ready to accept that his all poems are best of all times. Even later advaita works are clearer than his bhAShya-s. It is another thing that they polished the same base which was provided by him.

2. For प्रजल्पति , I don’t think that there is any problem. If jabbering like recitation can produce results, what to say about any sincere repetition. BTW, जल्पः doesn’t mean वृथाप्रलापः only, it means कथनम्  also. I think that person was trying too hard to establish things!!

For प्रभातके, if पादपूरणम् is done by क without altering meaning and at same time giving it rhyme; what is the problem. This is allowed in व्याकरणम् and काव्यम् both. Only a person, who doesn’t understand these things, limit of creativity, etc., superimposes super-human-qualities and expects results which he desire (from author), can say such things.

It is clear that whatever his ‘thesis’ mentions are not एकान्तहेतवः, and that which is not अव्यभिचारि can’t prove anything. It falls in category of speculation. Moreover, it is against unbroken sampradAya, accuses adultery on part of people who were sannyAsin-s(striving to stay truthful), and superimposes his own illusions on others. So, his ‘reasons’ become very weak.

I think that those who want to study ‘AchArya and elders’ critically, fail to critically examine their own ideas, and ‘traditional-s’ somehow fail to give any reply to them, so they are being considered as ‘absolutely correct and scientific’ now.


These are some of the reasons, for which he thinks that the गणेशपञ्चरत्नस्तोत्र is unlikely to have been composed by आदि शंकराचार्य.  There are other reasons too, the chief among them being that the अद्वैत philosopher in him would not descend yo the level of offering devotion to any physical deity and composing poetry,, extolling the virtues of this or that deity.



This reason just shows that he didn’t study advaita and he fails to grasp that advaitin-s accept veda-s as pramANa and don’t refute karma-upAsanA. purANa-s are also accepted as pramANa, because they are AptapraNIta and shIShTa-parigR^ihIta. But, that doesn’t make sense to ‘these people’, because they may be in hurry to prove something.

For more you may head to Advaita-l Group, where archives will help you understand few things related to this last ‘reason’.

यतिरहं श्रीमतो भगवतः शङ्कराचार्यस्य भगवत्पादाभिधां बिभ्रतः सम्प्रदायानुगतो वेदतदनुकूलसकलशास्त्रनिचये श्रद्धावान् गुरुणाऽनुल्लङ्घनीयशासनेन विदितवेदवेदान्तशैवाद्यागमतन्त्रादिरसरहस्येनाऽनुगृहीतो निश्चितवेदप्रामाण्यस्तादृशविद्वत्त्वलोभी येन जीवन्मुक्त्यादिक्रमेण विदेहकैवल्याप्तिरुपदिष्टा मात्रा श्रीमत्या स्नेहपरयोमया हैमवत्या श्रुत्या॥

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