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

Satish Arigela satisharigela at yahoo.com
Sat Jul 2 03:41:10 CDT 2011

namaste Jaldhar,

>If vinayakas are taken as plural, they are one of these types of devayonis.  
>They can cause obstacles in >successful pursuit of purusharthas if not 
>propitiated.  Ganesha Bhagavan is the remover of all obstacles.  He >has power 
>of these vinayakas so he is called Vinayaka on the analogy of a king who is 
>called by the name of >the country or people that he rules.

gaNesha pArvatI-putra is earlier works are seen is described both as causing 
obstacles and also removing them. This aspect of causing obstacles is not missed 
out by later works. Being the putra of rudra he is also rudra-like. See old 
mantra-s where rudra is asked not to harm. We have clear parallel.

>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.

This works both ways. There are certain yakShiNi-s which are worshipped for some 
things. Normally one does not do this but it is possible that one can take up a 
yakShiNi or a similar lesser deity with good intentions. The intention does not 
change the manner of worship in this case and can remain tAmasic.

>tamasika bhakti - done out of fear.  "Bad things will happen to me if I don't 

I think the gIta(or a bhAShya on it) mentions tAmasika bhakti as being done with 
the intention of causing hurt to someone. For shatrunAshana etc.

>So the hostility is not towards the devata per se but particular modes of 
>worship.  This is also a more >satisfying explanation in my opinion as to why 
>worship of vinayaka, matrkas are still accepted by Smartas >when other "hostile" 
>forms such as Buddhism as roundly rejected rather than "it was snuck in later 

The first time when I noticed this, this is where my thoughts ran to i.e. I was 
content thinking that it perhaps was referring to some vAmAchAra procedures. But 
rethinking about it again after some years, I was asking myself if the procedure 
is what is AchArya against, why chose these devata-s in specific. In vAmAchAra 
the devata-s propitiated are not any different. It is the same 
shiva/rudra/bhairava, viShNu, gaNesha, devI, various entities familiar to the 
smArta-s. Why limit the criticism to only one group? Let us make a guess here 
and say maybe it is just that he is aware of only particular group which 
indulges in extreme vAmAchAra practices. This is not necessarily so, because by 
the time of shankara the bhairavAchAra(which certainly has practices which 
smArta-s which object to) is well established as can be seen from various works 
on kAvya, and we know for sure that the central deity of bhairavAchAra is not 
parameshvara in the glorious form of tumburu shiva/rudra but it is a parallel 
form with another clear name. bhairava/svacchanda-nAtha or svacchanda bhairava

>Also, it has been been mentioned before but I must once again bring up 
>brahmasUtrabhAshya 2.2.44 where an >agamic doctrine (the chaturvyuhavAda of the 
>pa~ncharAtrAgamas is explicitly criticized but Shankaracharya >takes pains to 
>note that the worship of Vishnu bhagavan in temples etc. is _not_ being 

I remember this one. Yes he is very clear in this case. So here there is no 
scope for speculation whether based on some evidence or without it.

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