[Advaita-l] Opinions about Rama and Krishna avataras flying around in this list -- (Part I)

Sriram Sharma prahladadasa at gmail.com
Fri Jul 16 17:25:58 CDT 2010

Recently, there have been several posts in this list that run contradictory
to Acharyas' statements about Avataras. I would like to quote from
authoritative sources to dispel these wrong opinions about the Avatara

About Ishvara, Maya, and delusion in General: Let us take what Bhagavatpada
Adi Sankara says in (Bhagavad GIta 7.25):

"That Yoga- Maya by which I am veiled and on account of which people do not
recognise Me, is Mine, i. e, subject to My control, and, as such, *it cannot
obstruct My knowledge — the knowledge of the Isvara*, of the possessor (or
wielder) of the Maya, *just as the glamour (maya) caused by a juggler
(mayavin) does not obstruct his own knowledge.*"

(1) The opinion that Rama was deluded during his Avatara:

(a) Swami Ramatirtha on Upadesa Sahasri commentary (Chapter 18, Verse 99 in
the padya-bhAga, "brahmA dAsharather..."):
"brahmeti -- dAsharathinA rAmeNa *devakAryasiddhaye manuSyAvatAra-nATyena*
sva-mAhAtmyAcchAdanaM sa^nkalpa-pUrvakaM yatkRtaM tad-iha 'tamaH' shabdena
ucyate. *na tu Ishvarasya sammohaH sambhavati.*"

Translation -- "What is said here as 'tamas' is actually the *mock-act
played by Rama* as a human being, which He did by veiling His greatness, in
order that the task that He took up for the benefit of the Devas will be
fulfilled. Surely, Isvara cannot become deluded."

http://www.new.dli.ernet.in/data_copy/upload/0070/642/PTIFF/00000294.tif and

(b) In Samksepa Sariraka II-182 and its sub-commentaries, Sarvajnatman,
Swami Ramatirtha, Madhusudana Saraswati, Nrisimhashrama -- all of them
concur on the same truth about Rama avatara -- that Rama was actually
play-acting for various reasons, and it was well under His freedom to do so.
Madhusudana Sarasvati says it was just a "naTana". Swami Nrsimhashrama says
that Lord Vishnu, the one who favors His Bhaktas, took up this mock-act in
order that the words of His devotee Bhrigu (who actually cursed Him) will be
true (sva-bhaktasya shApa paripAlanArthaM). Appayya Dikshita also concurs on
this fact about Avataras in his Siddhanta-lesha-sangraha. If need be, I can
elaborate this in a further post by providing proper links.

(to be continued)

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