[Advaita-l] is narayana apara brahman ?

Nagarjuna Siddhartha nagarjunasiddhartha at yahoo.com
Wed Jul 2 13:11:58 CDT 2003

venkata subramanian <venkat_advaita at yahoo.com> wrote:

>some hold that the Acharya has used Narayana to denote Saguna Brahman and Shiva >as Nirguna Brahman. honestly, i do not find it so,

You are right here. Sankara never uses Siva for nirguNa brahman. Philosophically speaking, such a usage would have exposed advaita to criticism from other schools. If nirguNa brahman is attributeless, how can it be denoted by Siva who has a form, name etc? Also, I dont remember one place in his prasthana traya bhashyas (excluding Svetasvatara, which I dont think belongs to prasthana traya) where he uses Siva for Ishwara, but maybe Jaladhar or someone else can tell us if he has used it. (But he uses the word Siva in his vivekachudamani)

>infact, he has emphatically used the title Narayana at par with Nirguna Brahman.  is it >not !!

I am not sure. In the first place, the usage of Narayana itself is quite less compared to the usage of brahman and Atman. If by Narayana one means the one with a discus, conch, mace, four arms, the husband of Lakshmi, the one who sleeps on a serpent in the middle of an ocean etc., then it cannot denote nirguNa brahman for the same reasons stated above. But if Narayana has been used for nirguNa brahman, then there cannot be any temples or worship for Narayana as nirguNa brahman is not an object of worship! 

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