panchayatana puja

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at BRAINCELLS.COM
Tue Mar 28 22:24:59 CST 2000

On Tue, 28 Mar 2000, Vivek Anand Ganesan wrote:

> 1. I have heard that the Panchayatana puja and the Smartha
>    tradition were both very old ( i.e. since vedic times ).
>    Adi Shankara revived these and re-instated them.
>    Or, did he actually institute them?  Are there any
>    evidences for pre-Shankaran origins of the Smartha
>    tradition ( like temples, monuments etc. )?

Shankaracharya is not the founder of the Smarta sampradaya but its
rejuvenator.  If you look in the archives, there was a series of posts by
Shri S.R. Marur about the history of our sampradaya a few months ago.

The Panchayatana puja on the other hand was founded by Shankaracharya at
least according to what I've heard.

> 2. At least in Tamil Nadu, most of the conflict between
>    shaivites and vaishnavites seems to have occurred AFTER
>    ShrI Shankara.  This has lead to some views that there
>    was sectarian squabbling by the various bhakti cults
>    which put paid to the essendtial "unity" of gods.
>    So, did ShrI Shankara unite what were disparate elements
>               OR
>        did ShrI Shankara establish a unified, undivided
>        tradition which was later on split in to sects?

Shankaracharya criticizes the vyuha theory of the Pancharatra Agamas
(which are the basis of Shrivaishnavism) and there is literary and
monumental evidence for Shaivism and Shaktism before that too.  It is
possible to find sectarian messages in the Vedas and Puranas but where we
think the theistic schools have gone wrong is in thinking that is the
_whole_ message of the Vedas.

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at>

bhava shankara deshikame sharaNam

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