Sankara SampradhAyam - 2

Dr. S.R.Marur smarur at EASI.SOFT.NET
Mon Aug 9 02:03:27 CDT 1999

Which religion or how many of them were there in this land, before the
advent of AchAryAl? It becomes known from the 'Shankara Vijaya' texts
that there was the vEdic religion of sanAdhana dharmA and there were
other seventy-two heterodox sects. But, among the non-vEdic faiths,
the predominant one was only Bhudhism. The majority of the general
and of the intellectual class, which carried out the philosophical
have been either with the sanAdhana vaidhIka dharma or with Bhudhism.
Other faiths had only a small group of following here and there.
Though the small groups of followers of these splinter faiths had very
vigorously embraced and followed their respective paths - Even now, are
not witnessing the adherents of various 'isms' and 'schools' following
their ideologies rather vigorously though the size of following in terms

of numbers could rather be meager - in general the religious scene then
was such that it could be divided into two big groups such as vaidhIka
matham and Boudham.

Those who followed this sanAthana-dharma-vaidhIka-matham are known by
name - 'SmArthAs'. [*The word*] SmArthAs means those who follow
Smrithi means dharma shAsthrAs. The work that properly collects,
classifies the dharmAs enunciated at various places in vEdAs and
presents them as a single source of information so as to guide different

sections of the society, regarding their code of conduct - prescribing
dos and don'ts for a jIvan right from its conception in the mother's
to its birth, growth, learning phase, marriage, procreation and finally
its cremation after the death - through a set of rules is dharma
They are also known as smrithis. Those who follow them are SmArthAs.
The followers of vEdic religion, addressed today as 'Hindus', were
originally known only by this name [*SmArthAs*].

Neither the 'exclusive' upAsanA of Vishnu nor the 'exclusive' upAsanA of

Shiva had been advocated by dharma shAstras. All the 'vEda pradhipAdhya'

deities (those mentioned in the vEdAs) are considered to be equal here.
There is nothing wrong in choosing any one of them for upAsanA. It would
creditable, if the upAsanA is carried out with the basic understanding
all the deities are essentially one in nature. SmArthAs do pUjA for five

deities such as sUryan, ambAl, mahA Vishnu, PillayAr and paramEswaran as

indicated by the verse, 'Adhithyam-ambikAm- vishnum-gananAtham-

As five deities are worshipped, this is known as 'PanchAyathana pUjA'.
One can have additional devotion (prIthi) towards one's favorite (ishta)
deity. In the same family, Parama Sivan could be the ishta dEvathA for
the elder brother while mahA Vishnu could be for the younger one. They
wouldn't get separated into two different faiths such as Saiva -
Vaishnava, because of this [*difference*]. Without getting split into
two distinct sub sects, both Shiva and Vishnu upAsakAs had even
matrimonial alliances between them. The common ground for all of them
was - vEdAs. The 'karmAnushtAnAs', advocated therein were also the
common basis for them.

                                    .... to continue



Translated from,
HH Sri Chandhra sEkharEndhra Saraswathi Swamiji, 'Sankara
SampradhAyam'. Deivathin Kural (in Tamil), Vol. II, Second
Edition, ed. rA. Ganapathi, Vanathi padhippagam, Chennai,
pp: 119-157 (1980).

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