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

Anand Hudli ahudli at gmail.com
Wed Jul 21 08:31:29 CDT 2010

Sriram Sharma wrote:
* *>I would be excited to read that. Kindly also consider these other
>from other Acharyas in the sampradAya who have concurred with Ramatirtha's
>view. I have given a full list of links that support this point of view

Thanks for the references. These are based on the upadeshasAhasrI verse 100
of the tattvamasi prakaraNa and the samkShepa-shArIraka verse 2. 182, which
itself is likely an interpretation of the upadeshasAhasrI verse. In fact,
Ramatirtha's commentary on the upadeshasAhasrI verse explicitly mentions the
samkShepa shArIraka verse. So all the above references are to be taken as
clarifying the upadeshasAhasrI verse by Shankara BhagavatpAda. This verse
will be central to our discussion.

Ramatirtha says that the verse talks about the importance of hearing
(shravaNa) the great sentence (mahAvAkya), "tattvamasi", identifying one
with Brahman and cites as an example the case of shrIrAma when He heard from
BrahmA that He was ViShNu, not just the son of dasharatha. (he rAma, tvaM
viShNurasi na dasharathaputramAtrasya ityuktyaiva brahmA dAsharatheH
saMkalpamAtrakR^itaM tamo viShNutvAchchhAdanarUpamapAnudat.h). This tamas or
ignorance, that was created solely by the will of ViShNu Himself, was
removed by the upadesha of BrahmA, "You are Vishnu." The AcchhAdana or
concealment of shrIrAma's being ViShNu (ViShNUtva) was by done by the
volition or will (saMkalpa) of ViShNu Himself. In other words, He willed
that His identity be concealed from His avatAra for *some time* in order to
destroy the wicked rAkShasas (kaMchana kAlaM duShTarAkShasanAshaparyantaM
"nAhaM vijAne" ityetadajnatvaM saMkalpapUrvakamabhUt.h).

There are two points worth noting here. First, there is no denial of the
concealment (AcchhAdana) of ViShNutva in the case of shrIrAma, until BrahmA
told Him, "You are ViShNu".  Second, this concealment was through of the
will of ViShNu, not anything else. Next, if we consider what VidyAraNya says
in the VivaraNa-prameya-sangraha vis-a-vis what Ramatirtha says commenting
on the upadeshasAhasrI verse, there is no real contradiction. What
VidyAraNya is recognizing is the fact that mAyA may bewilder Ishvara just as
avidyA bewilders the jIva.

I also consulted the vivritti of Anandagiri on the upadeshasAhasrI. His
comments are brief. Here is the entire text of the commentary on the
relevant verse:
वाक्यश्रवणमात्रान्मोहापोहे दृष्टान्तमाह - ब्रह्मेति। दृष्टान्ते त्वं
विष्णुरसीत्युक्तमात्रादेव मोहनिवृत्तिरित्यत्र हेतुमाह - तस्येति ॥

(Shankara BhagavatpAda) mentions the example (of BrahmA's instruction to
shrIrAma) to show that the mere listening to the mahAvAkya (tattvamasi) is
enough to remove the ignorance (of the disciple). He mentions the cause of
removal of ignorance in the example as the mere saying of the words, "You
are ViShNu".

Finally, according to the smArta sampradAya, there is no hierarchy among
gods. It is not correct to hold that only Vishnu is Ishvara while other gods
can be deluded by mAyA. The panchAyatana pUjA is meant to recognize the fact
that the same Ishvara may be worshipped in different forms.


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