[Advaita-l] Modern science and Vedanta (meaning of the word 'vinAyaka)

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Sat Jul 2 02:27:16 CDT 2011

On Thu, Jun 30, 2011 at 4:59 PM, V Subrahmanian <v.subrahmanian at gmail.com>wrote:

> Who is 'vinAyaka'?
> There is a popular composition of Sri Muthuswamy Dikshitar in the rAga
> 'suraTi' with a commencement as under:
> श्रीवेङ्कटगिरीशमालोकये विनायक-तुरगारूढम्...
> shrIvenkaTagirIshamAlokaye vinAyaka-turagArUDham...
> [I behold the Lord of Venkatagiri who is mounted on a horse...]
> What is the meaning of the word 'vinAyaka' here? Does it refer to
> someone/something that has no lord (vi-nAyaka)? Does the word go with the
> horse or with the Lord Himself?

Just for the record:

'vinAyaka' in the above context means 'garuDa', 'vi (bird) nAyaka (foremost)
or 'vihanga nAyaka'.  In Tirupati, etc. there is a 'garuDa vAhana', 'ashva
vAhana' sevas for the Utsava mUrti of the Lord.  The song captures these two
postures of the Lord by the two words: vinAyaka-turagArUDham.

Incidentally, the word 'विः’ also means a horse!!.  Then the meaning of the
compound: विनायक-तुरगारूढम् could mean (leaving out the 'garuDa'): the
foremost, best, horse (could be उच्चैःश्रवा - Bh.Gita 10.27) which the Lord
chooses to ride - उच्चैःश्रवा नामतुरगारूढम्.   Shankara comments for this
word:  उच्चैःश्रवा नामाश्वराजः तं मां विद्धि विजानीहि अमृतोद्भवं
अमृतनिमित्तमथनोद्भवम् ।  [ucchaiHshravA is the King of horses that emerged
during the churning of the Ocean of Milk for extracting amRtam.]

The dictionary lists yet another meaning for the word 'vinAyaka' - a
Buddhist deifiedTeacher.

> Regards,
> subrahmanian.v

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