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

Venkata sriram P venkatasriramp at yahoo.in
Mon Jul 4 00:27:45 CDT 2011

Namaste Subbuji,
'vinAyaka' in the above context means 'garuDa', 'vi (bird) nAyaka (foremost)
or 'vihanga nAyaka'.  
There is a commentary on Ganapati Sahasranama by Shri Bhaskararaya Makhin
with the name "khadyOta".  Among the 1000 names of Ganapati, there is a name
called "vinAyaka" & "saptamAtrikAsEvitaH".  
Shri Bhaskararaya Makhin interprets the name vinAyaka from the standpoint of
vishnu and says that vi means garuda as well as Jiva. So, it is also explained
as the one who is alighted on garuDa as well as controller of jivas who are also
called bhUtAs.  
And the name saptamAtrikAsEvitaH implies 7 Mothers as brAhmi, mAhEshwari...
There are certain temples in Andhra that were constructed by Badami Chalukyas and 
the vinAyaka is seen alongwith sapta mAtrikAs and sometimes alongwith vIrabhadra.  
This can be seen in Alampur Jogulamba Temple which is in Kurnool District of AP which is the 5th sakti pitha. 
Now, the references of vinAyaka, saptamAtrikAs & chaturbaginis are traced back to a lost
tantra which is tamasic in nature called "vINAshikha tantra" where vinAyaka
is projected as having negative character who creates obstacles to the upAsaka. There 
is a prayoga in this tantra that is deployed to counter the attack of vinAyaka, sapta mAtrikAs and chatur bhaginis.  
The name vINAshika stuck because among one of the mUrtis of Shiva, He has a tuft of
hair and in the tuft (shikha), a vina is seen to be hanging down.  
Now, the bAhya upAsana is of 2 types depending upon the varNa ashrama a) vaidika
b) tAntrika.  
The vaidika upAsana is for trai-varNikAs (brAhmaNa, kShatriya, vaishya) and the
tAntrika upAsana is for shUdrAs.  
So, basically, sankara urges us to follow vaidika mArga and worship the dEvataAs like
Aditya (Shankarananda Bharati mentions in His BG commentary for sloka 9.25) and 
eventually inculcate ahaMgrahOpAsana which paves the way for chitta shuddhi.  
So, dEvavratAs indicate dEvayAna mArga and pitruvratAs indicate pitriyAna mArga.

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