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

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Fri Jul 1 21:19:16 CDT 2011

On Sat, Jul 2, 2011 at 3:22 AM, Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>wrote:

> On Fri, 1 Jul 2011, V Subrahmanian wrote:
>  श्रीगुरुभ्यो नमः
>> In the Bhashyam to the Bh.Gita 9.25:
>> *यान्ति देवव्रता देवान्* पितृ़न्यान्ति पितृव्रताः। भूतानि यान्ति भूतेज्या
>> यान्ति मद्याजिनोऽपि माम्।।9.25।।
>> Shankaracharya, for the word 'bhUtAni' comments: भूतानि
>> विनायकमातृगणचतुर्भगिन्यादीनि  यान्ति भूतेज्या भूतानां पूजकाः ।  [Those who
>> worship the spirits like vinAyaka-mAtRgaNa, etc. attain to those very
>> spirits.]
>> [Bhutejyaah, the Beings such as Vinayaka, the group of Sixteen (divine)
>> Mothers, the Four Sisters, and others.]
> It seems to me that vinayaka should be taken as plural because all the
> others mentioned are also groups so vinayakamatR^igaNa = "the hosts of
> vinayakas and matrs" not "vinayaka and the hosts of mothers"  Would anyone
> care to comment on the legitimacy of this interpretation?

This is certainly a possible non-contradictory interpretation. I have also
checked with an appropriate authority about the grammatical validity of the
interpretation:  विनायकvishiShTaमातृगण....

>  None of the traditional sub-commentators has elucidated on what Shankara
>> means by the term 'vinAyaka...etc.'
> However if we compare the comments of other Advaitic tikakars such as Swami
> Shankarananda, Swami Madhusudana Saraswati, etc. we see their lists of
> bhUtAni do not include the same items but do include kShetrapAlas, yakShas,
> rAkShasas etc.  In other words the minor devayonis which are part of folk
> Hinduism to this very day.
> In fact it seems it is a widespread belief in many cultures that there are
> minor spirits who range from malignant to mischeivious but whose chief
> characteristic is that they can cause chaos in the lives of men if not
> properly appeased.

This is true.

 The Gita verse in question has for its basis the different types of
> aspirants and the particular type of aspirant discussed is the
> rajasic/tamasic type who worship the spirits.  The term 'vinAyaka' therefore
> should refer to some spirit/ugra devatA.

I think we are looking at this from the wrong direction.  It is not the
> worship of spirits that makes bhakti tamasic but the tamasic attitude to
> bhakti that leads people to worship certain forms of devatas.
> sattvika bhakti - done purely out of love of God with no expectations.
> rajasika bhakti - done for ulterior motives such as heaven or material
> wealth, power, etc.
> tamasika bhakti - done out of fear.  "Bad things will happen to me if I
> don't worship."
> We can worship Ganesh Bhagavan or mataji in any of these three ways.  We
> can worship Krishna Bhagavan in any of these ways.  Or any other devata. It
> is the bhaktas attitude which is important.

What you say is definitely correct but what I meant to show was, based on
the 17.4 verse of the Gita,  that the tAmasic type people choose to
propitiate a different set of deities/beings which are clearly not the
choice of the saattvic and raajasic type of people.

> Regards,

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