anandhudli at HOTMAIL.COM
Sat Apr 1 22:14:50 CST 2000
On Sat, 1 Apr 2000 23:55:11 +0530, elmec <elmec at GIASBG01.VSNL.NET.IN> wrote:
>But this shaNmatha is still giving me problem. Why did shankara
>institute them ? Are the shaiva, vaishnava of these shaNmathas same as
>shaivism, vaishnavism etc ? As I understand, shaivites usually follow
>the advaita philosophy, vaishnavites follow dvaita philosophy and
>srivaishnavites follow vishishtaadvaita. In what way are they different
>from the shaNmathas established by shankara ? My confusion is worsening.
>Kindly help !
The important purpose of doing the panchAyatana pUjA is to overcome
the bheda-bhAva among the different deities of various sects. Among the
different sects of shaivas, vaiShNavas, etc., each views its own
deity as the Supreme and makes the others inferior to its main deity.
This creates a bheda-bhAva among the deities and this is simply a
trick played by mAyA. Says the mAyA-panchaka:
bata virachayya budhAnapi prakAmam.h |
naghaTitaghaTanApaTIyasI mAyA ||
Alas! Even in the indivisible Brahman, it (mAyA) creates
differences called BrahmA, ViShNu, and Shiva and deludes
or tricks exceedingly even the intelligent into feeling
differences of Hari and Hara. mAyA is an expert in
making incompatible things compatible!
As advaitins, we should understand that this bheda-bhAva is due to
mAyA only. Therefore, we should always view all the deities of the
panchAyatana or the shhaNmata as being equivalent to each other.
We should worship all of them as equals, not as a hierarchy, as some
sects do. The panchAyatana system, however, recognizes that there may
be some personal preferences among people and there should be enough
freedom to worship one's ishhTa-devatA in a special way. We should not
confuse personal preference of a deity with a systematic and deliberate
elevation of a deity over others by sects. It is after all human nature
to choose a favorite among several good things. If there are some
delicacies, such as bisi-beLe-bhAt, hoLige, and, pAyasa, one person
may like pAyasa more than the other two, another person may prefer
hoLige, and so on. We cannot ask why a person should like pAyasa more
than the other two dishes. We cannot blame a person for making a deity
his or her favorite as long as the person acknowledges that all deities
are in fact the same.
Regarding the shaivas' inclination for advaita, this seems to be a
misconception arising out of some circumstances peculiar to southern
India. Last year, Shri Marur posted some excellent talks by the
ParamAchArya of Kanchi regarding why shaivas are predominant among
advaitins in the south. It is instructive to go through these posts.
Prior to the times of vaiShNava AchAryas, rAmAnuja and madhva, there
appears to have been a more balanced representation of bhaktas of shiva,
viShNu, devI, and other deities among the smArtas of the South. But the
VaiShNava AchAryas could have wooed the ViShNu-bhaktas from among the
advaitins in the south, which could have resulted in a disproportionate
number of Shiva-bhaktas among advaitins. In other places, like
Maharashtra, we see that the advaitins appear to be more balanced in their
love for Shiva and ViShNu. For example, ViTThala, who stands on a brick
in the bhUvaikuNTha that is Pandharapur, is worshipped with as much
fervor as Shiva and there is a strong tradition of the bhAgavata
sampradAya among the smArtas.
bhava shankara deshikame sharaNam
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