[Advaita-l] 'VinAyaka' in ShAnkara GItA BhAShyam
Jaldhar H. Vyas
jaldhar at braincells.com
Tue Jul 5 10:35:58 CDT 2011
On Tue, 5 Jul 2011, Satish Arigela wrote:
> It looks like shankara is of the opinion that
> some forms of devata-s are tAmasika as opposed to criticizing tAmasika
> worship in general.
I think you've made a convincing case that Shankaracharya totally rejected
a particular tantrika cult based around saptamatrkas, chaturbhaginis, and
But does this generalize to all forms of worship of those devatas? To
Vinayaka in general? To tantra in general? To the panchayata devatas in
general? Here it gets murkier because Shankaracharya simply has not made
definitive statements on the subject. But I believe based on the other
scraps of evidence scattered throughout his works that the current popular
view is in fact the correct one. Here is another example where he treats
Shiva-Shakti in a complimentary or at worst neutral way.
In the 3rd khaNDa of kenopaniShad Brahman in the form of a yaksha
(noteworthy itself) confounds the Devas who cannot determine His true
nature. Eventually in 3.12 Indra learns it from bahushobhamAnAmumAM
haimAvatIM "the most beautiful Uma Haimavati"
Shankaracharya has this to say about it.
bahushobhamAnAM sarveShAM hi shobhamAnAnAM shobhanatamA vidyA
bahushobhamAneti visheShaNamupapannaM bhavati haimAvatIM
hemakR^itAbharaNavatInivabahushobhamAnAmityarthaH | athavomaiva himavato
duhitA haimavatI nityameva sarvaGYeneshvareNa saha vartata iti GYAtuM
samartheti kR^itvA tAmupajagAma |
"bahushobhamAnAM - beautiful in all ways. [brahma]Vidya is the most
beautiful in all ways so most beautiful is an appropriate term for it.
haimAvatI - ornamented and dressed in gold therefore most beautiful. Or
the daughter of Himavan [Himalaya] is haimAvatI. Because of Her constant
accompaniment of the all-knowing Ishvara, He [Indra] thought She would
know and approached Her [for instruction.]"
While the description doesn't reach the poetical heights the author of
saundaryalahiri etc. could achieve, it is not uncomplimentary either.
This devi svarUpa is not ignorance worshipped by the ignorant but jnAna
itself worshipped by the highest of the Devas.
Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>
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