Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at BRAINCELLS.COM
Wed Jan 16 23:29:25 CST 2002

On Wed, 16 Jan 2002, Shridhar Dixit wrote:

> In Advaita parampara, there are many avataras. While some are described
> as "Poornaavatars" like Ramavatara, Krishnavatara, some are called
> amshika avataras.

The later mails in this thread confirm what I felt that these distinctions
are mainly used by Vaishnavas.  They want to classify a hierarchy of Devas
which is something we Advaitins are not so interested in.

>  Shankara Bhagavatpada is also beleived be an avatara.
> Is he a poornavatara or amshika avatara? Can somebody throw light on
> this?

Yes it was mentioned on the list earlier that works such as Shivarahasya
and the digvijayas say Shankaracharya is an avatara of Shiva Bhagawan who
came to reestablish Dharma which had been laid low by the onslaught of the

Oddly enough it is certain Vaishnavas who are particularly insistent on
this avatarahood of Shankaracharya.  They claim his life and philosophy
was all a trick to confuse the nastikas and "good" people were never
supposed to have believed in Advaita Vedanta.  Or he was only supposed to
teach  the tamasika people who were too stupid to take up Vaishnavism.  It
is sad to see such personal attacks instead of measured criticism of
ideas.  The type of people who indulge in such things are surprised when I
tell the the divinity or otherwise of Shankaracharya are totally
irrelevant to our belief and practice of Advaita Vedanta.  It's truth
comes not being founded by any God or Guru but from its' being firmly
based in the Vedas which are apaurusheya.  Shankaracharya is the greatest
exponent of Advaita Vedanta yes, but the parampara was already old before
him.  Even if someday it were proved he never existed, it would make no
difference to the truths of Adaita Vedanta.

In the introduction to the Gitabhashya, Shankaracharya says that for the
benefit of Dharma and the welfare of the world, Bhagwan manifests a part
(amsha) of Himself in this world.  But he says nothing about different
avatars being at different levels.

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>
It's a girl! See the pictures - http://www.braincells.com/shailaja/

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