[Advaita-l] 'VinAyaka' in ShAnkara GItA BhAShyam

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Fri Jul 1 21:09:48 CDT 2011

On Fri, Jul 1, 2011 at 6:03 PM, Satish Arigela <satisharigela at yahoo.com>wrote:

> namaste,
> >The term 'vinAyaka' therefore should refer to some spirit/ugra devatA.
> What is the basis for making this jump or assumption?

It is neither a jump nor an assumption.  It is purely based on the other
reference within the Bh.Gita:

*यजन्ते सात्त्विका देवान्* यक्ष-रक्षांसि राजसाः ।
प्रेतान् भूतगणांश्चान्ये यजन्ते तामसा जनाः ॥17.4॥

For the portion प्रेतान् भूतगणांश्चान्ये Shankara has commented:

One can easily see the consistency of Lord Krishna and Shankara in the usage
of the words in the verse and in the commentary.  In 9.25 Shankara has
commented: विनायक*मातृगण*चतुर्भगिन्यादीनि  यान्ति भूतेज्या भूतानां पूजकाः |

So, Shankara is undoubtedly referring to certain ugra devatA-s.  Clearly
17.4 is talking about people of tAmasa orientation and the type of devatA-s
they choose to propitiate.  Nowhere is the prasiddha VinAyaka, ambAsuta, is
shown / popular as a tAmasa devatA.  And we have seen the name of a ugra
devatA 'vinAyakA' in the smRti.

Thus it turns out that there is absolutely no basis for your view: 'Shankara
was hostile to (the worship of) popular deities like vinAyaka'.

I have no intention to engage in commenting on the various other
observations you have made.


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