V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Wed Mar 24 13:11:30 CDT 2010

 श्रीगुरुभ्यो नम:

Traditional Advaitins recite the following verse as a part of their daily

शंकरं शंकराचार्यं केशवं बादरायणम् ।

सूत्र-भाष्यकृतौ वन्दे भगवन्तौ पुन: पुन: ॥

Shankaram shankarAchAryam keshavam bAdarAyaNam.

sUtra-bhAShya-kRitau vande bhagavantau punaH punaH.

[My repeated reverential obeisance to Lord Shankara, verily Shankaracharya,
and Lord Keshava, verily bAdarAyaNa-vyAsAchArya who are the authors of the
commentary and the BrahmasUtras respectively.]

व्यासाय विष्णुरूपाय व्यासरूपाय विष्णवे ।

All Advaitins revere the two great luminaries whose contribution is
invaluable. Tradition holds that Lord VishNu (Keshava) Himself incarnated as
Bhagavan BAdarAyaNa VyAsa who composed the Bhagavadgita (Mahabharata) and
the Brahmasutras. Also, Lord Shiva Himself incarnated as Acharya Shankara
who penned the commentaries to the Brahma sutras, Gita and the Upanishads.

Tradition also holds the two Divinities Lord Shiva and Lord VishNu as
non-different from each other: (See footnote 5 & 6 below)

शिवाय विष्णुरूपाय शिवरूपाय विष्णवे ।

शिवस्य हृदयं विष्णु: विष्णोश्च हृदयं शिव: ॥

Shivaaya viShNurUpAya shivarUpAya viShNave

Shivasya hRidayam viShNuH viShNoshcha hRdayam shivaH

[(obeisance to) Lord Shiva who is of the form of Lord ViShNu and to Lord
ViShNu who is of the form of Lord Shiva. Shiva’s heart is VishNu and
VishNu’s heart (essence) is Shiva.]

Thus, according to tradition, the One Supreme Brahman, as Vishnu and Shiva,
has authored the Scripture and its commentaries for the supreme benefit of
those in bondage. This scheme assures us that the commentaries of Acharya
Shankara reflect the *true purport* of Scripture *owing to the unity of
authorship of the Scripture and the commentaries.*

In the sequel, a brief study is undertaken to bring out a very unique way of
viewing the ‘change of roles’ by VishNu (Keshava) and Shankara.

Generally when we require a clarification while reading the Upanishad or the
Bhagavadgita, we look into the bhAShyam. Here is a case where we get an
elucidation for a bhAShya-statement in the Bhagavadgita.

In His commentary to the BrahmasUtra ‘tat tu samanvayAt’ (1.1.4) Acharya
Shakara makes a laconic statement, pregnant with meaning:

तस्मात् मिथ्याप्रत्यय*-*निमित्तत्वात् सशरीरत्वस्य*, *सिद्धं जीवतोऽपि
विदुषोऽशरीरत्वम् ।

//The embodiedness of the Self is caused by wrong conception and so the
person who has reached true knowledge *is free from his body* even while
still alive (Brahma sutra bhashya 1.1.4).//

This pithy statement is easily understood and its purport appreciated if we
study the following verses of the Bhagavadgita (5.8,9):

नैव किंचित् करोमीति युक्तो मन्येत तत्त्ववित् ।

पश्यन् शृण्वन् स्पृशन् चिघ्रन् गच्छन् अश्नन् स्वपन् श्वसन् ॥

प्रलपन् विसृजन् गृह्णन् उन्मिषन् निमिषन्नपि ।

इन्द्रियाणीन्द्रियार्थेषु वर्तन्त इति धारयन् ॥ (५. ८,९)

[The man of Knowledge, a Jnani, even while engaged in - seeing, hearing,
touching, smelling, walking, eating, dreaming/sleeping, breathing, talking,
discharging (ejecting), holding/grasping, closing and opening the eyes (even
while still alive) – is of the firm conviction ‘I do nothing at all; the
senses/organs interact with their respective objects.’ (*is free from his
body) *]

Even though the Acharya has left us in no doubt about the Jnani, at the
body-mind-organs level, engaging in all action, yet, we find the above
verses of the Gita a quick reference manual for understanding the Acharya’s
statement in the BSB quoted above.

Just as the BSB quote states, in one go, the Jnani’s unembodiedness as well
as his being alive, the Gita verses quoted above too state, in one go, the
Jnani’s freedom from agency even while engaging in all activity.

While what has been said above is with an assumed ‘writer’s licence’, one
can also look at the Bhashyam quote as a laconic commentary of the two Gita
verses. Either way, the mutual conformity of the Gita verses and the Bhashya
quote give the seeker a feeling of joy and increased faith in the Bhashyam
and the Gita as guiding lights in the spiritual journey.

शंकरं शंकराचार्यं केशवं बादरायणम् ।

सूत्र-भाष्यकृतौ वन्दे भगवन्तौ पुन: पुन: ॥

Shankaram shankarAchAryam keshavam bAdarAyaNam.

sUtra-bhAShya-kRitau vande bhagavantau punaH punaH.

Om Tat Sat

*Foot notes On Shiva-Vishnu Abheda:*

 1. The Maitrayani Upanishad:


VI prapaathaka, 8th mantra. And the same Self is also called Isana (lord),
Sambhu, Bhava, Rudra (tamasa); Pragapati (lord of creatures), Visvasrig,
(creator of all), Hiranyagarbha, Satyam (truth), Prana (breath), Hamsa
(ragasa); Sastri (ruler), Vishnu <http://everything2.com/title/Vishnu>,
Narayana <http://everything2.com/title/Narayana> (sattvika);
Savitri <http://everything2.com/title/Savitri>, Dhatri (supporter), Vidhatri
(creator), Samrag (king), Indra <http://everything2.com/title/Indra>, Indu
(moon). He is also he who warms, the Sun, hidden by *the thousand-eyed
golden egg*, as one fire by another. He is to be thought after, he is to be
sought after. Having said farewell to all living beings, having gone to the
forest, and having renounced all sensuous objects, let man perceive the Self
from his own body.

(Incidentally, this Up. Is quoted by Madhwa in the Vishnu Tattva Vinirnaya.
See this link):

2. 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.)

3. SrimadBhagavatam: Daksha yajna (IV.7.50 – 54)

(50) *Lord Vishnu said: 'I, Brahmâ and Lord S'iva as well, do not differ in
being the supreme cause and Supersoul, the witness and the self-sufficient
one of the material manifestation.**) Him the Supreme Brahmân that is
without a second, is as one Supersoul with both Brahmâ and S'iva, but the
living ones who are not conversant with this, think of them as being
separate.* (53) The way a person sometimes does not make a difference
between the head, hands and other parts of his own body, so does *My devotee
thus make no difference between living beings. (54) He who having the one
nature of the three, verily does, of the Supersoul in all beings, not see
the separateness, o brahmin, realizes the peace.'***

 4. Bhagavadgita: 10.23:

रुद्राणां शंकरश्चास्मि…

[The Lord says ‘I am Shankara (Shiva) among the (eleven) Rudras.’]

*5. Andhra/Karnataka Smarta sampradaya*

Millions of those belonging to the above traditions chant this verse thrice
daily during their sandhya worship.

*6. Dravida (Tamil) smarta sampradaya*

Likewise, millions of those of the above tradition chant this prayer as part
of their daily sandhya worship thrice:

नम: सवित्रे जगदेक-चक्षुषे जगत्प्रसूतिस्थितिनाशहेतवे

त्रयीमयाय-त्रिगुणात्मधारिणे विरिंचि-नारायण-शंकरात्मने ॥

[Oh! Sun God! You are the One and Only Eye of the entire world.  You are the
Cause of Creation, Sustenance and Dissolution of the world.  You are the
embodiment of Veda, the bearer of the three guNas – sattva, rajas and tamas,
*and are verily Brahma, VishNu and Shankara (Shiva)*.]

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