[Advaita-l] Anya Devata

Sunil Bhattacharjya sunil_bhattacharjya at yahoo.com
Sun Aug 1 10:26:32 CDT 2010

Some of our learned friends will know that Adi  Sankara's param-guru Gauapada said that what was at the beginning  has to be at the end and that is based on  sashtiriya sloka.Avatara, Maya and Shakti are intermediate forms. 

--- On Sat, 7/31/10, V Subrahmanian <v.subrahmanian at gmail.com> wrote:

From: V Subrahmanian <v.subrahmanian at gmail.com>
Subject: Re: [Advaita-l] Anya Devata
To: "A discussion group for Advaita Vedanta" <advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org>
Date: Saturday, July 31, 2010, 12:00 AM

On Sat, Jul 31, 2010 at 11:44 AM, Jaldhar H. Vyas
<jaldhar at braincells.com>quoted :

>  (b) In lalitaa sahasranAma we have the verse : karAnguli nakhOtpanna
>> nArAyaNa dashAkrutiH, from this we can understand that Adi mAta sri lalita
>> tripura sundari is the 'cause' for nArAyaNAdi dashAvatAra, but if you see
>> again durga sapta shati 12th adhyAya (!!?? not sure), we have the verse
>> like : nanda gOpa gruhe jAta yashOdA garbha saMbhava, devi says here she
>> will take birth in nanda gOpa's house at stays at vindhyAchala to kill
>> shumbha & nishumbha and in same sapta shati we have verses which address
>> devi as lakshmi (who is born during samudra maNthana), lajje, svadhe etc.
>> ..and in saptashati pArAyaNa we offer pooja to 'chandi' as mahAkAli,
>> mahAlakshmi and mahAsarsvati svarUpiNi..How can we reconcile these purANa
>> shloka-s with regards to relationship of devi to nArAyaNa??

I tend to look at the ' karAnguli nakhOtpanna nArAyaNa dashAkrutiH, 'Adi
mAta sri lalita tripura sundari is the 'cause' for nArAyaNAdi dashAvatAra'
concept this way:

In the Gita Bhagavan says:  ajopi sannavyayaatmaa.....prakRtim
svAmadhiShThaaya sambhavaami aatmamaayayaa.  Even though devoid of birth, I
take a form resorting to My Shakti.  In Vedanta Brahman is NirguNa,
Nirvishesha.  It is also nishkriya.  It cannot engage in any activity, even
creation, etc. by Itself.  Shankaracharya in the Brahmasutra bhashya says
that without PrakRti/Maya's aid Brahman cannot be Ishwara.  Thus any
activity in the universe, the very coming into being of the universe, is
possible only with the participation of Shakti, Maya.

When Brahman has to take an avatara, it is only with the help of this Shakti
it becomes possible.  This is because, Maya is made of gunas - sattva rajas
and tamas.  A combination of these alone can bring about any 'product'.
Brahman by itself being nirguNa cannot bring about anything on Its own.  So,
Maya provides the material for any utpatti.  The Avatara's utpatti is also
essentially a combination of these guNas.  As per the Lord's statement, any
avatara is possible only due to Shakti.  This is what that name:    '
karAnguli nakhOtpanna nArAyaNa dashAkrutiH' signifies figuratively.   Shakti
is infinite; Her capabilities are infinite.  When we talk of just one
particular manifestation of this Shakti, it is an infinitesimal amsha of
this mahA Shakti.  This is what is signified by saying ' the ten avataras of
Narayana are only as insignificant as the nail tips of the ten fingers of
that MahA Shakti.'  It need not be seen as derogatory to Vaishnava-s.  It is
a fact even admitted by Bhagavan that 'mayaa adhyakSheNa prakRtiH sooyate
sacharAcharam'.  It is with Consciousness as the adhiShThAnam, this Mayaa
produces the entire universe.  The ten avataras are just representative of
the various other avataras.  In fact, we can even see every manifestation in
this universe, of humans, animals, plants, insects, etc. as so many avataras
of Brahman.  All this is is Shakti alone.  Yaa devi sarvabhUteShu buddhi,
prANa, kshudhaa, dayaa, vidya, etc. rUpENa samsthitaa....All the shakti-s,
both positive and negative, in all the beings are only Shakti's
manifestations.  Bhagavan Himself says in the Gita:  ye chaiva saattvikaa
bhaavaaH raajasaaH taamasaashca ...matta eveti taan viddhi [All
manifestations of sattva, rajas and tamas in the universe are originating
from Me alone]. Thus Brahman as the basic consciousness and Maya as the
material is/are the source, moolam, for any and every manifestation in the

Durga, Laksmi, Saraswati are all manifestations of that one Shakti.  Every
faculty that is of help to us is that Shakti alone.  This is represented as
'ashvArUDhaadhiShThitaashva koTi koTibhiraavRtaa.  Her army, senA, consists
of Her own infinite manifestations. All are intended for one purpose:  deva
kArya samdyutaa - to aid the fulfilment of the Divine Purpose.

In fact every form of energy that is of hindrance, trouble, detrimental to
us, is also Her manifestations only.  And the power to overcome these is
also derived from Her alone in different forms.  In Yoga Vasishtha there is
a story of some viShUchikaa, something like the 'puTTaalamma,  Plague-amma'
that infects people.  This is also  Shakti's manifestation alone.

Some one can see Shakti, figuratively, as the consort, wife, of
Brahman/Narayana/Shiva.  One can also see Her as the sahodari, sister, of
Brahman/Narayana/Shiva.  After all, we are conceiving all these as having a
human form only to aid our bhakti, relating with those deities.  So, it
matters little whether we see Her as the wife or sister of Brahman/Narayana
or even daughter. The idea is just as a wife or sister or daughter will
naturally be of support, assistance, to the cause of the husband, brother,
father, Shakti helps in the furthering and accomplishment of the Divine
Cosmic Cause.

Sarvam Brahmamayam, VishNumayam, Shaktimayam, Shivamayam jagat.

Om Tat Sat

> Devi and Narayana are one.  The various relationships are expressed in
> different ways in different shastras (or even in the same shastra as you
> note) for the purposes of upasana by us limited mortals.

Very well said.

Om Tat Sat

> --
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