[Advaita-l] Supremacy of Shiva over Vishnu
sunil_bhattacharjya at yahoo.com
Thu Sep 1 18:30:11 CDT 2016
The Vedanta equates Shiva and Vishnu (e.g., Shivasya Hrdayam Vishnu, Vishnoccha Hrdayam Shiva) and that is exactly what it is for Adi Shankara and the other advaitins at the paramarthika level. Lord Krishna himself was initiated by his guru Sandipani into the Mahapashupata doctrine, according to which Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu are equal. One who has read the Mahabharata well, knows that in the Mahabharata (which has the Bhagavad Gita in it), Arjuna prayed to Lord Shiva by Chanting " Namah Shivaya Vishnuroopine, Vishnave Shivaroopine. . . . . .".
At the vyavaharika level there are pujas for the different deities and one may have more devotion to one's favored deity, one's Ishtadevata. . Though the general impression of the people is that at the Vyavaharika level, Adi Shankara is considered as a Shaivite, it is also quite natural for scholars like Matthew Clark to observe that Adi Shankara appears to be more Vaishnavite than a Shaivite he was. That is because Adi Shankara wrote bhashya on Vishnusahasranama but not on Shivasahasranama, on Bhagavad Gita but not on Shiva Gita, on Bhajagovindam but not on Bhajamaheshwaran etc. It is believed that Adi Shankara's mother was a devotee of Lord Vishnu and his father was a devotee pf Lord Shiva. I can personally understand the situation as my mother was from a Vaishnava family and my father from a Shaivite family and I worship both Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva. One can argue till the cows come home, but what is important for the advaitins is that Shiva and Vishnu are the same.
As regards the Dashanami Samprdaya, I have not read Matthew Clark's recent book on the Dashanami samnyasis, but to my knowledge nowhere did Adi Shankara mention that he created the Dashanami sects. This being the case, many people may think that the Dashanami sects could have been established by another Shankaracharya. May be, the scholars of this list have the answer to this.
On Thu, 9/1/16, Gerald Penn via Advaita-l <advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org> wrote:
Subject: Re: [Advaita-l] Supremacy of Shiva over Vishnu
To: advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org
Date: Thursday, September 1, 2016, 12:39 PM
> Supremacy of Shiva over Vishnu / Vishnu over Shiva are
> topics in advaita.
> And that is why, to sort of these petty issues, Acharya
> incarnated to unify us.
That's what I had thought, but I was recently reading a
summary of the
arguments that Adi Shankaracarya was a vaishnava in Matthew
recent book on the Dashanami samnyasis. Some of them
are more in the
vein of absence-as-evidence, which I find rather specious,
but others are
rather more affirmative:
- an alleged refutation in the Brahmasutrabhasya (2.2.36-41)
(spec. Maheshvara) doctrine.
- Padmapada's expression of reverence in his Pancapadika to
who "had merely the name of Shankara, whom he contrasts with
Shiva. He states that Shankara (the teacher) did not
wear ashes smeared
over his body like Shiva and his ascetic devotees, nor does
have any of the marks or emblems of Shiva."
- the BSB refers to the shalagrama three times in the
context of a
metaphysical analogy, but not the lingam.
- the BSB refers to the superimposition of the spiritual
vision of Lord
Vishnu onto idols (pratimaa) four times, as instances of
being superimposed on objects.
- similar vaishnava imagery occurs throughout Adi
commentaries on the Upanishads.
- imaginary persons used by Adi Shankaracarya in
frequently vaishnava characters, e.g. Devadatta, Yajnadatta,
- in his commentary on the Gaudapada mandukyakarika, Adi
equates Sambuddha with Narayana.
- in the BSB (3.4.20), Adi Shankaracarya equates
vanaprasthas with a
group of orthodox vaishanavas called vaikhaanasas.
- a disparaging remark that Adi Shankaracarya allegedly
makes on the
worship of Vinayaka in his Gitabhasya, to the effect that it
the worship of a bhuta.
What do the learned members of this list think of these
This matter is important, I believe, to advaita philosophy,
as Clark adduces this evidence on the way to making a
namely calling into question the legitimacy of claims that
Shankaracarya had founded either the Sringeri or Kanchi
of which Clark regards as predominantly shaiva
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