[Advaita-l] Krishna-Banasura Encounter - clarification

Satish Arigela satisharigela at yahoo.com
Tue Jun 15 02:33:09 CDT 2010

This is to clarify that the reason for responding to the article is not to show that shiva jvara won or that somehow shiva is greater than viShNu. 

I intended to only show that these so called mystical interpretations (or some call advaitic interpretation) by neo-vedantins do not make any sense if observed closely. 


From: V Subrahmanian <v.subrahmanian at gmail.com>
To: A discussion group for Advaita Vedanta <advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org>
Sent: Tue, June 15, 2010 12:43:28 PM
Subject: Re: [Advaita-l] Krishna-Banasura Encounter


The following is my understanding of concept of 'ViShNu mAyA':

In the Bhagavadgita the Lord says:

दैवी ह्येषा गुणमयी मम माया दुरत्यया ।
मामेव ये प्रपद्यन्ते मायामेतां तरन्ति ते ॥  7.14

This Divine MAyA of Mine made of three guNa-s is extremely difficult to
cross over.  Whoever surrenders to Me alone succeeds in fording this
terrible Maayaa.

From this we conclude:

   1. This Maya is a Shakti
   2. It 'belongs' to the Lord; He is its locus.
   3. It is powerful
   4. It creates aavaraNa of the (our) knowledge of the Atman, the Lord
   5. It creates also the vikshepa and brings about samsara
   6. It is made of sattva rajas and tamas
   7. It has, fortunately, an in-built ladder to come out of it
   8. That is the favourable 'sattva'
   9. When sattva is predominant, chitta shuddhi is there
   10. Then Jnana is there
   11. Jnana transcends all petty divisions based on sectarian
   12. Seeking to increase Sattva is what is known as 'prapatti' to the Lord
   in the above verse.
   13. Crossing over Maya is crossing over Vishnu Maya

The great Poet-Saint Annamacharya sang:   హరియవతారములే అఖిల దేవతులు  (in
భావములోన...song) 'All the devataa-s are only manifestations of the Supreme
Brahman' (called Hari.  It could be Hara, It could be Devi).  Hear this song


The Ganapatyatharva shIrsha Upanishad:

त्वं ब्रह्मा त्वं विष्णुस्त्वं रुद्रस्त्वं  इन्द्रस्त्वं  (You are Brahma,
Vishnu, Rudra, Indra….)

(In this Upanishad, belonging to the Atharva Veda, popularly chanted in many
traditions, Lord Ganapati is depicted as the Supreme Brahman and all other
deities are spoken of as manifestations of this Consciousness.)

Ganapathi here is Supreme Brahman whose manifestations, vivarta, are all the
other deities.  In this scheme, even Ganapathi as the son of Shiva is a
manifestation of that Supreme Brahman. The name and form of Ganapathi is
only acquired thru mAyA. It is not man-made.  There is no heirarchy here.
When the Highest Jnana leading to the transcending of petty sectarian views
is not attained one will be bogged down by holding one or the other purANa
as the supreme.  Thus we have the Vaishnava-s discriminating against Shiva
iupsetting Shaivites.  When Shaivites hold Vishnu as low in the line,
Vaishnavas are disturbed.  Advaita transcends such sectarian thinking by
holding that all divinities are only manifestations of that NirguNa Brahman,
in association with Maya.  Thus only Advaita does not upset anyone who is
prepared to transcend all sectarian thinking.

Shankara says in the Sutra bhashya: स्यात् परमेश्वरस्यापि इच्छावशात् मायामयं
रूपं साधकानुग्रहार्थम्.  Ishwara can take any form He pleases, thru Maya, in
order to bless, help, an aspirant.  So, that form is not absolute; it is
purpose-specific and person-specific.  There is no ultimate reality to
these; they operate in the avidya-projected vyavahara.  So, if anyone holds
on to a hierarchy it is certainly man-made and Vyasa or any other text only
becomes an alibi.  Shankara quotes in the sutra bhashya  another verse of
Vyasa from the Vishnupuranam (?) or Mahabharatha :

माया ह्येषा मया सृष्टा यन्मां पश्यसि नारद ।
सर्वभूतगुणैर्युक्तं *मैवं मां ज्ञातुमर्हसि* ॥

[Showing His vishwarupa to Narada He says:  This is My form created by Me
out of Maya.  *You aught not to know Me as endowed with all this.*]  The
message is:  In My absolute Nature I am devoid of any of these forms.  And
these forms include all the forms of gods, humans, etc. None of these is

Purana-s have come as aids for those who are not in a position to
straightaway appreciate/understand the ultimate teaching of the Upanishad:
the NirguNa Tattvam non-different from one's Self.  They are like picture
books that are meant for children.  The method of imagery is exploited
variously for benefiting man.  Often the hidden message is missed and people
end up in taking the image for the real.  And then ensue quarrels.

The four names : वासुदेवः, संकर्षणः, अनिरुद्धः and प्रद्युम्नः.  We get
these names from the commentary of Shankara to the Brahma sutra
(2.2.42) where the ‘bhAgavata’ school is taken up for refutation.  The
relevant portion is:
तत्र भागवता मन्यन्ते – भगवानेवैको वासुदेवो निरञ्जनज्ञानस्वरूपः
परमार्थतत्त्वं, स *चतुर्धा* आत्मानं प्रविभज्य प्रतिष्ठितो वासुदेवव्यूहरूपेण,
संकर्षणव्यूहरूपेण, प्रद्युम्नव्यूहरूपेण, अनिरुद्धव्यूहरूपेण च । वासुदेवो नाम
परमात्मा उच्यते । संकर्षणो नाम जीवः । प्रद्युम्नो नाम मनः । अनिरुद्धो
नामाहंकारः ।

As per the above, Vaasudeva is representative of the ParamAtmA.  SankarShaNa
is representative of Jiva.  Pradyumna is the imagery for the Mind, manas.
Aniruddha is the depiction of the ego, ahankAra.

Thus all stories in the Puranas involving these names are only imageries for
these tattvas: jiva, manas, ahankara.  All Shakti-s will be required in
their specified 'doses' and combinations for the spiritual evolution of

With humble pranams to all
Om Tat Sat
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