Sankara SampradhAyam - 3

Dr. S.R.Marur smarur at EASI.SOFT.NET
Tue Aug 10 02:07:15 CDT 1999

It is advised in the vEdAs that all should conduct the yajna
karmAnushtAnAs and should wear the resulting 'hOma basmA'
[*Ashes obtained from the hOma*]. That is why, initially, all
smArthAs did only basma dhAranam (smearing of the vibhUthi).
Including those who worshipped Vishnu as their
favorite deity. Even now, when yAgas are conducted, both
vaishnavaites and mAdhwAs have to wear the hOma basmA.

The practice of wearing 'nAmam' and in that, wearing with
'pAdham' and also with out it came in to vogue due to Vaishnava
AchAryAs, who came later [*than Shankara*] is known from their
guru parampara stories themselves, as retold by vaishnavAs.
Later, when a separate religion and a sub sect were established
based on Vishnu as the sole presiding deity, it became a
necessity to give a new identity to the converts of this faith.

Similarly, 'gOpi chandhan' and 'chAndhu' were employed by
mAdhwAs, when their new 'sampradhAyam' came into existence as a
separate (social) group. For those, who didn't choose to follow
any of these new faiths but continued to practice the original
vEdic path as advocated by BhaghavadpAdhA, no new names such as
vaishnavA or mAdhwA were given. The same old title, smArthAs,
continued.   Similarly, the practice - advocated by vEdAs from
the very beginning and employed from generation to generation -
of wearing vibhUthi (basma dhAranam) stayed back with smArthAs.
A vEdic mantra for recitation exists, only for mixing vibhUthi
with water and smearing.

Though a wrong impression that smArthAs are saivaites as they
wear vibhUthi, has gained currency in present days, it can be
said that, in reality the practice of vibhUthi dhAranam of
smArthAs has got nothing to do with Shiva; but is based on its
vEdic roots.

Before the establishment of vishistAdvaitam as a separate
sampradhAyam by srI RamAnujar, even the vaidhIkAs who worshipped
Vishnu with all devotion as their ishta dEvathA would have been
smArthAs wearing only bhasmA. A SanyAsi does not have the right
to conduct yajnas. Hence, he can not conduct a hOma and wear the
resulting basmA. Even then, he will sport the vibhUthi.

During the 'pAncha rAthra dhIkshA', the vaishnavaites have to
wear the hOma basmA, even today.

BhuddhA objected to the vEdic religion. He opposed yajnas and
karmAnushtAnAs.   He made no mention of IshvarA. Hence, there is
neither (vEdic) karma nor bhakti in Bhudhism. During his days,
smArthAs engaged in a lot of karmAnushtAnAs. If BhuddhA didn't
speak of IshvarA, then, there was a section of followers of the
path of (vEdic) karma, who believed, "What if IshvarA existed?
Or what if He didn't? We have the karmAs enunciated in vEdAs.
We'll have srEyas by simply practicing them". They are known as
pUrva mImAmsakAs.   They believed only in karmAs. Neither in
bhakti nor in gyAna. They abhorred the principles of gyAna mArga
such as contemplating the absolute truth continuously, doing
Athma vichAra, becoming a sanyAsi by renouncing all karmAs and
remaining always in the thoughts of Atman etc.

>From among these pUrva mImAmsakAs, emerged a giant known as
Kumarila bhattA, who severely criticized the tenets of Buddhism and
established the validity of vEdic karmAs. He condemned Bouddham for
rejecting (vEdic) karmAs. Similarly, another person of great standing
strongly criticized Bouddham for not considering IshvarA and
bhakti in its school of thought. The name of that great
personality is UdayanAchAryAr. He was an authority on tarka
shAstra also known as nyAya. He had contributed a lot by arguing
and establishing through logic that there has to be an IshvarA
as a primary reason behind all the lOka-vyavahArA.

                                    .... 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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