Sankara SampradhAyam - 14

Dr. S.R.Marur smarur at EASI.SOFT.NET
Fri Sep 17 10:33:29 CDT 1999

Even then, the very identification of AchAryAl either as a saivaite
or as a sAkthA or as a vaishnavaite, is nothing but viewing Him in
a very narrow prespective. It is not correct to categorise Him, thus,
as a bhakthA of a particular deity alone.

If it is asked as to why He has identified the saguna bhrahman as
NArAyanA, in His bhAshya granthAs, it is because MahA Vishnu has been
entrusted with the responsibility of lOka rakshanAm, during the
division of three primary activities. He has referred to the one who
is incharge of protection [*of this creation*] as the very energy
which takes care of this entire 'prapancham'.

AchAryAl is a saivaite and also a vaishnavaite and sAkthA too. We,
the smArthAs also should be like that. The one who remains as a
role-model for all smArthAs is srI Muthuswamy DhIkshidhar. He has
viewed all the deities including even mAriamman [1], iyyanAr [2] and
navagrahAs as the svarUpa of paramAathmA and worshipped all of them
through [*His*] kIrthanAs.

The only paramAthmA, appearing as various deities is our objective.
The attitude to view all of them with equanimity should be cultivated
in us. Though, it is pointed out that even among advaitins, there
existed  vIra saivaities and vIra vaishnavaites, actually it [*such
groupings*] is not in conformance with the manObhAva of AchAryAl and
also with His advice/ instructions to us.

There is nothing wrong in having extra-oridnary devotion towards any
particular ishta-dEvathA like Appaya dhIkshitA who remained a devout
sAmbhavA (devotee of Siva) and LIlA sukar who was a devout
bhAghavathA having deep love for Krishna, to quote a few from among
advaitins. But, as these saints dissolved themselves in their
bhakti for their ishta dEvathA without indulging in the 'nindhA' of
other deities, we should also develop deep devotion towards our
ishta mUrthy, without resorting to any criticism of any other deity.

This is one of cardinal principles of the vEdic religion known as
smArthA matham. While denigrating the other deity, if one's dEvathA
is claimed to be 'the' dEvathA, then it can not be considered to
have the acceptance of vEdA. Going by this test, only we - the
smArthAs, who follow the AchAryAl alone are 'pUrna vaidIkAs'.

I don't say thus. It is wrong, if I say so. It may appear as though
I'm talking quite high of it, because it is my sampradhAyam.
Therefore, this is not my opinion. It happened to be the opinion of
three great personalities of yore.

Even the opinion of the mUla purushA of dvaithins, advaitins and
vishistAdvaitins - vyAsa maharshi Himself- was this. In the anusAsana
parvA of Bharatham, when He lists out the names of five mathams, that
were in existence from time immemorial, through BhIshma pithAmahar,
He says,

sAnkhyam yOga: pAncha rAthram vEdhA: pAshupatham thathA:

In these, 'vEdhA:' is the vEdic religion; smArtha matham of later
days. It contains arAdhana for all dEvathAs. The triad of karma-
bhakthi- gyAna also is there [*in the vEdic religion*]. The school of
thought which does the philosophical research, the SankhyA, is also a
part of that. Even the yOga sAdhana is a part of vEdic dhAyanA. All
these things do exist in the smArthA sampradhAyam also, which was
rejuvenated by our AchAryAl.

In works such as SivAnandha lahari, Soundharya lahari and shatpathI
sthOthram which is addressed towards srI MahA vishnU, even our
advaitha AchAryAl has accepted dvaitA and vishistAdvaitha at
different levels. In His 'yOga thArAvali', He has completely
elaborated the nuances of Pathanjala yOga. Also, He has mentioned
the twenty four 'thathvAs' of sAnkhyA, at many places, in His bhAshyAs.

[1]: mAriamman is the (non-vEdic?) form of ambAl worshipped in
Tamil Nadu. She is particularly known to protect devotees from
small-pox. The most famous mAriamman temple is at Samayapuram,
a suburb of Trichy. Generally, non-bhramin priests known as
'pUjAris' offer worship to Her. Sacrificing goats etc is still a
part of Her worship.

[2]: IyyanAr is considered to be (again, the non-vEdic?) deity
incharge of protecting the villages - Oork kAval dEivam in Tamil. He
is seen to be seated on a horse with sickle/sword and His temples
are always located beyond the village limits. Even He is worshipped
by pUjAris with animal sacrifices.

                                .... to be continued



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).

bhava shankara deshikame sharaNam

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