[Advaita-l] Proper worship in Shankara's tradtion

harish subramanian athibuddhi at yahoo.com
Thu Mar 2 23:23:59 CST 2006

Thanks for your clarification on bhutas. Reading some
of the translations done by Sri Vaishnavas and
Gaudiyas, I was confused.

I found this Information about  yama in internet,
which describes his journey to "yamasthapura".
I am not sure from which source this Information was
taken.Can anyone tell me that?

Coming back to the Panchayatana worship,why is it that
Shankara instituted only five deities. Is it to keep
the number simple, or is to advocate only that
worship,which will ultimately take  to vedic
realization.Does that mean worship of even other vedic
gods,such as skanda is not good enough!, to move
towards the truth.

I hear some people in this group saying that "bhakti"
is not perfect. If my understanding is right,there is
nothing wrong to start believeing that the individual
is different from the deity to start with.

My understanding is as follows.Correct me If I am
The one entity manifests into different identities(One
can have an analogy with MPSD problem experienced by
some people) and each entity even though is borne out
of the single mind starts looking at the universe in a
dual state.
That is why, I feel confidant , that you are not the
same as me.So just as single form manifests into
multiple identies, this process needs to be reversed
so that the dual identity starts uniting with the
original identity.But, the cause(parabrahman),for all
this remains intact(in mind). Just like a dreamer
prserves his assumed identity(based on the level of
understanding of oneself) even in his dream with many
So bhakti is reversal process, so one ultimately
through love unite with the bhagwan.
Lord Shiva, Vinayaka,Devi are all the same. But that
does not make them untrue, they actually exist,in the
worlds imagined/created for unrealized souls,to the
minds manifested as dual identities,as some would like
to suggest.So an unqualified mind will need the help
of  bhakti, to unite with the deity and see the truth
as percieved by the deity. So if I were to worship an
unrealized soul, I Will merge in that perspective,
without seeing the real truth.

Imagine untying knots in a length rope. The end of the
rope is moved this way and that to finally untie
it.But if one is not carfeful, there would be more
knots and in a certain situation, untying the knots
would have become far more difficult, then it was in
the beginning.It is not sufficient to believe that the
rope is a single straight rope, one should also know
how the knots have arisen in the first place, and
follow  plan and follow systematic steps in a
particular order to untie them.

One can sympathasize on advaita, but one must
experience it, and to do that worship is extremely
important.It does not matter, that the worship is
conducted , with a dual perspective, as long as the
deity worshipped is proper. The deity rescues the

That is why all the greatest advaitic seers were
devotees in  the first place-
Shankracharya, Appaiah deekshita, Ramakrishna
paramahamsa etc.
Worship and bhakti is not merely a prelimiary step,
bhakti is needed until the penultimate step.at the
ultimate step even words have no difference.The
knowing is jnana. But then  jnana has become bhakti at
this stage.
Can Someone give me the names of the works,which
describe worship as instituted by shankara.

Subramanian V.

--- "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 
> moment.)
> Here Krishna Bhagavan says (very rough translation):
> Those who sacrifice to the Devas go to the Devas,
> those who sacrifice to the 
> 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
> self-knowledge.
> >     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 
> etc.
> 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>
> _______________________________________________
> Archives:
> http://lists.advaita-vedanta.org/archives/advaita-l/
> To unsubscribe or change your options:
> For assistance, contact:
> listmaster at advaita-vedanta.org

Do You Yahoo!?
Tired of spam?  Yahoo! Mail has the best spam protection around 

More information about the Advaita-l mailing list