[Advaita-l] Re: paJNchAyatana pUja

Annapureddy Siddhartha Reddy annapureddy at gmail.com
Tue Sep 5 20:28:47 CDT 2006

praNAM Abhishekji, Bhaskarji,
        Thanks for the information on the paJNchAyatana pUja. Could you
clarify a few more issues. Thanks.

> Looking at the number of questions you have asked, I feel it is upto
> the *worshipper* to imagine all these qualities or more upon the
> paramAtma to begin worshipping. :)

So, would I be right in saying that advaita vEdAnta as a tradition does not
uphold one view over the other; that all of these views are fine in as far
as they make the sAdhaka realize the nirguNa nature of brahma?

A related question -- how then do we approach the itihAsas and the purANas
(as Bhaskarji already pointed out the numerous inconsistencies encountered)?
For example, arjuna is portrayed as an amsha of indra. Now, if we uphold the
view that the entity referred to by the name "indra"  is Ishvara Himself,
then the episode of indra being chastised by bhava etc. would have to be
taken as a lIla. Similarly, if we consider the episode of ahalya and indra,
we either have to interpret it as lIla or attribute the dOSha of desire to
Ishvara (And since Ishvara cannot have dOSha, it must have been a lIla). Is
this a position acceptable to advaita vEdAnta?

Also, shiva sEnAniji mentioned that the pUrva mImAmsakas treated the dEvatAs
as masses of light, but that shaN^kara treated them as having distinct
personalities. Thus, it seems like shaN^kara treated these dEvatas to be
different from Ishvara, and by extension, lower than Ishvara as there can
only be one Ishvara.

The point I am trying to get at is this. If we call a comparison between
shiva and vishNu unwarranted, what warrants saying that indra is lower than
shiva or vishNu (as is done in the case of the episode of ahalya and
numerous other instances in the purANas)? Also, this raises questions
regarding the interpretation of verses like the "ekam Sat" which was pointed
out by Bhaskarji and Abhishekji.

> -- Can the ishTa dEvata be anybody? For example, is Jesus Christ
> acceptable?
> The accepted category for a devata to be worshipped is it should be
> mentioned in the vedas and shAstras.

iShTa dEvata is precisely that form which can raise devotion in you. For
example, your guru or someone whom you respect. How could these forms be
described in the vEdas? For example, how about vEnkatEshvara svAmi? I am not
sure if He is mentioned in the vEdas at all. Could we not have Him as an
iShTa dEvata then?


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