[Advaita-l] Proper worship in Shankara's tradtion
arun103 at gmail.com
Wed Mar 1 05:35:48 CST 2006
Dear Sri Jaldharji
"Shankaracharya glosses it as beings like Vinayakas, Matrkas,
What do we mean by Vinayakas or Matrkas. Pls if you can elaborate.
Thx & regards
On 2/28/06, Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com> wrote:
> On Fri, 24 Feb 2006, harish subramanian wrote:
> > What is the position of Adi Shankaracharya on worship
> > of different Gods (other than the five priciple
> > gods
> > of panchayatana worship)?
> A clue as to his views can be given by examining the bhashya on Gita 10.24
> (I think that's the right shloka, I don't have a copy with me at the
> Here Krishna Bhagavan says (very rough translation):
> Those who sacrifice to the Devas go to the Devas, those who sacrifice to
> Pitrs go to the Pitrs, those who sacrifice to the Bhutas go to the Bhutas
> and those who sacrifice to me come to me.
> Lets' start with the Bhutas. This word is often translated as "ghost" and
> I have even seen some Gita translations say "evil spirits" but this
> misleading. Shankaracharya glosses it as beings like Vinayakas, Matrkas,
> etc. Other commentators have slightly different lists but the gist is it
> refers to the host of minor divinities which are still widely worshipped
> at the popular level of Hinduism today.
> It is wrong to call them evil. The problem is not they are evil but
> capricious. You can worship them and they might be favorably disposed to
> you or on a whim they may not. An interesting thing for me is how
> universal this idea of mischief making spirits is. I actually grew up in
> a village in England and despite the fact that my neighbors were nominally
> Christian they also had a lot of folk tales about "faeries", who if not
> treated with the proper respect could cause all kinds of bad luck to
> happen. I think this is a reflection of the precariousness of life most
> humans have had to live with until recently. One bad harvest, or failed
> monsoon, or cholera epidemic could spell total disaster. Thus the Gods of
> the farmer are as unpredictable as nature.
> Back to Shankaracharya, he classifies this kind of worship as Tamasic
> because it is not based on love of God, but fear of punishment. It may
> lead to good results or it may not. One never knows in advance.
> The Pitrs are our own divinized ancestors. They have worshipped the Devas
> properly through Vedic means and have reached their exalted position in
> Heaven due to their good deeds. However they have attempted to strike
> deals. They said "I will worship you if you give me this reward in
> return." whether the reward is wealth or progeny or heaven etc. it is
> selfish. Thus this type of worship is considered Rajasic.
> The worshippers of the Devas are those who do so simply out of love and
> duty. They ask for nothing and accept what comes or does not with a steady
> mind. This form of worship is Sattvik and leads to purification of the
> self. However it still has one flaw in that it considers the worshipper
> and worshipped to be seperate.
> The highest are those who are beyond the three gunas, who know Bhagavan in
> His true form and as not seperate from their own self.
> So we can see a clear progression from chaos to (external) order to
> > Though it is acceptable to worship any of the
> > different gods(Ultimately,all worship leads to the
> > lotus feet of Vishnu). I think it is not correct to
> > worship any Non Vedic deity as it may lead to delay or
> > even reversal of spiritual progress.
> > For instance , reverence of sai baba or Jesus may be
> > okay, but to worship them as God may be harmful or
> > even disastrous.
> Based on what I wrote above we can analyze any religion. We will probably
> find views that support sattva, rajas, and tamas to various degrees.
> Following Shankaracharya, I think we should try and see the good, and
> leave out the bad. See Shankaracharyas' critique of the Vaishnava 4 vyuha
> theory in the Brahmasutrabhashya. He carefully notes he is attacking the
> philosophy only not the practices such as going to mandir, nama parayana
> All forms of Theism (including "Hindu" ones) suffer from the huge defect
> of saying that you can come close to God but no further. Thus ultimately
> they will become dead ends to the sadhaka unless distorted out of all
> recognition and isn't it disrespectful for us to think we know more about
> how to interpret other peoples religions than their own followers do?
> > Can anyone provide me Information on texts that teach
> > panchayatana (according to vaidik tradition) form of
> > worship properly.
> Please note that panchayatana puja is strictly speaking not Vedic
> tradition but sampradayic because it was instituted by Shankaracharya. Of
> course it is firmly based on Vedic ideas.
> > There are some clarifications in this regard
> > 1. There is a story of Shankara stopping the worship
> > of Yama. Can I know the context surrounding this?
> I'm not familiar with that one. Perhaps someone else can jump in?
> > 2. What is Shankara's position on worship of Skanda.
> > He is not included on the original set of five gods.
> As far as I know, that is a custom only prevalent in the Tamil areas.
> > 3. What is Shankara's opinion on worship of Buddha. I
> > am aware of the differnces in the two sects.But what
> > is the position of Shankara.
> Buddhism was already extinct in Southern India when Shankaracharya
> flourished and on the decline elsewhere. He does not mention it at all in
> the context of worship and there is no doubt he thought it was the worst
> kind of heresy from the philosophical point of view.
> Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>
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