Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at BRAINCELLS.COM
Mon Jan 21 01:14:47 CST 2002

On Sat, 19 Jan 2002, Malolan Cadambi wrote:

> Please note that not all vaishnavas share the same ideology. The views of
> Gaudiya Vaishnavas and that of Sri Vaishavas differ a lot, they both are
> not the same kittens in the litter.

Oh absolutely.  I did not mean to tar all Vaishnavas with the same brush.
it was specifically the Gaudiya and Pushtimargi Vaishnavas I was thinking

> This was not the purpose of my post. My post was purely meant to
> philosophically understand how Adi Shankara classifys the avataras and his
> views on Pradyumna, Sankarshana and the vyuha theory.

Shankaracharya discusses this in the bhashya on Brahmasutra 2.2.42-45.
This adhikarana, he says refutes the vyuha thery of the Bhagavatas or
Pancharatrins becuase it implies that the jivas are created by God.  What
is created is finite and this goes against the words of the Upanishads.
It would also imply that true mukti is impossible because the mukti of a
finite jiva would also be finite.  Again this contradicts Shruti.
furthermore the vyuha theory says the individual self is the cause of
buddhi and buddhi the cause of ahamkara.  But each one is actually an
instrument of the prior.  It is not observed that an instrument (karana)
is produced from an agent (kartr).  For example, if Devadatta wants to cut
down a tree he has to find an axe to use.  We can't assume he will grow an
axeblade on his hand or something just because he has a need for one.  In
the same way, why and how does the supreme self (Vasudeva) create the
individual self (Sankarshana) which creates the buddhi (Pradyumna) which
creates the ahamkara (Aniruddha)?  The Bhagavatas need to explain this and
back up their theories with evidence from the Vedas.  They do not seem
able to do so.  The Pancharatra agamas cannot be relied upon as their
teachings are contrary to the Vedas.  (For instance they claim to be
higher than the Vedas.)

They proponents of the vyuha theory may say that Sankarshana etc. are not
literally the atma etc. but the lords of those particular things.  Then we
ask are you implying there are four Brahmans?  Shruti clearly states there
is one.  If you say they are all the manifestations of the one Vasudeva
then why stop at four?  What about Matsya and the other avatars mentioned
in Shruti and smrti?  In fact doesn't that same Vasudeva declare in the
Gita that His avatars are innumerable?

Thus Shankaracharya rejects the "doctrine of the Bhagavatas" as not being
founded on Shruti and hopelessly contradictory.  However he says their
idea that Bhagawan Vasudeva is the supreme lord who is to be worshipped is
acceptable because this is in harmony with Vedic teachings.

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

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