Sankara SampradhAyam - 1

Anand V. Hudli anandhudli at HOTMAIL.COM
Fri Aug 6 09:46:52 CDT 1999

>Even I'm considered to be a saivaite AchAryA by many. A professor
>from Japan (Hajme Nakamura) had come to me. He said, "I've studied
>[*Adi*] AchAryAl's sUtra bhAshyam, gIta bhAshyAm etc. In all of them,
>only advaita is elaborated but no mention had been made at all about
>Siva" and asked me "How is that you remain a Saivaite ?"
>I asked him back, "On what basis do you consider me a saivaite?".
>He replied,"You are wearing only vibhUthi? You are doing Shiva
>pUja (Chandhra moUlIswara pUja). All other ShankarAchAryAs are also
>happened to be saivaites like this. When [*Adi*] AchAryA hasn't found
>any bhEdha between Shiva and Vishnu, why is that you and those of
>other Shankara MathAs wear saivaite symbols and do Shiva pUja?"

 Thanks for the interesting article and I am looking forward to
 the next one. The dichotomy or should I say animosity between
 shaivas and vaishnavas is sharp in Tamilnadu and adjoining areas
 where there has been a history of kings of one faith persecuting
 people of the other. But as one proceeds further north, eg. Maharashtra
 and beyond, one does not see such animosity at all between shaivas
 and vaishnavas. Perhaps as a result of this, the smArtas, outside the
 area of influence of such relations between vaishnavas and shaivas, are
 more balanced in their worship of Shiva and Vishnu.

 Did the vaishnava  AchAryas take sides in the quarrel and push for Vishnu
 as the parabrahman? Or in other words, was  there a socio-political motive
 behind the identification of Vishnu with the Brahman of vedAnta, by the
 Vaishnava AchAryas? I am not alleging that this was indeed the case. I am
 just asking out of curiousity. As per history, Ramanuja is said to migrated
 to Karnataka to avoid persecution from the Shaivas. I would like to know
 what others have to comment on this.

 Also, if the smArtas of the area under question showed a slant towards
 Shiva, that would perhaps explain why Madhva comes out for Vishnu. True,
 Madhva may not have been persecuted by any Shaiva king, but it should
 be noted that he was a staunch opponent of advaita. As an opponent of
 smArtas, the-supremacy-of-Vishnu (hari-sarvottamatva) principle of Madhva
 would help in differentiating his own followers from the smArtas and in
 making his point, so to speak.

 So is it fair to at least speculate that the Shiva-Vishnu debate
 is the reason why 1) smArtas of the region show an _apparent_ slant
 towards Shiva, and 2) the Vaishnava AchAryas, either due to persecution
 from Shaivas or just to oppose smArtas, uphold the supremacy of
 Vishnu and identify only Vishnu as the Brahman of the upanishads?

 I agree these are only speculations and may easily be dismissed, but
 I would like to know.

 Of course, this is a minor issue and it is of little significance to
 advaita  philosophy, although it may give smArtas a proper perspective
 of the shiva-vishnu debate.


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