Was ShrI Shankara a Vaishnava?

Venkataraman venkataraman at pacific.net.sg
Mon Aug 16 09:06:20 CDT 1999

"Jaldhar H. Vyas" wrote:
> On Thu, 12 Aug 1999, Venkataraman wrote:
> > Advaita does not talk of multiple *deities*. We are free to worship
> > any one or more of many different names and forms, ALL of which
> > represent the ONE and ONLY sat-cit-aananda svaruupam.
> >
> I agree.  That's why IMO the word polytheism falls short of the mark.  It
> is true of Hinduism at the popular level, because nearly everyone worships
> Krishna Bhagavan on Janmashtami, Shiva Bhagawan on Shivaratri etc. But at
> the philosophical level, Advaita Vedanta does not recognize any difference
> between the forms of Bhagawan.
> I would answer yes Shankaracharya was a Vaishnava.  And a Shaiva, and a
> Shakta, and a Saura, and a Ganapatya, and ...
> --
> Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>

This is the correct position.  Therefore, discussing whether Sankara
was a vaishnavite, or was Ramanuja influenced by Christianity, etc is
a waste of time.  I think it is more useful
to analyse   advaita, dvaita, and vishishtaadvaita,   identify the
commonalities and understand  the specific points of difference in the
views of the three acharyas -- After all, all three of them seem to
claim authority from the same source viz Vedanta.  They all accept the
authority of the Vedas unlike Buddha who seems to reject the Vedas as

To begin with, can you kindly elucidate the following as Question no
1.  Further questions can be taken up by and by.


All three viz Advaita (A), Dvaita (D), and Vishishtaadvaita (VA), seem
to accept the concept of an ultimate reality which is also the source,
sustainer and sink, of the universe.  They also accept an Isvara , who
is SaguNa, and encourage worship of Isvara.

Is there any difference of opinion among the three as to

(1)  which is the ultimate-- Isvara or Brahman ?

(2)  whether Brahman is Nirguna or not ?

If there are differences, what are the arguments on which such
differences are based ?

Books of Hare Krishna Movement decry *Mayavada*
which is the term they use to refer to A , on both the above counts.
Only assertions are made, no logic is discussed.

Can you please provide a simhaavalokana of the arguments adduced by
each school of thought ?
Thank you.----     VMSundaram


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