[Advaita-l] sapta-mAtR^ika-s in ShAnkara GItA BhAShyam

Satish Arigela satisharigela at yahoo.com
Tue Jul 5 07:27:29 CDT 2011

Perhaps shrI Anand or someone else, can give us the correct meaning of the 
following words of AchArya in bh. gItA bhAShya 17.4

"yajante pUjayanti sAttvikAH sattvaniShThAH devAn, yakSha rakShAMsi rAjasAH, 
pretAn bhUtagaNAMshcha *saptamAtR^ikAdIMshcha* anye yajante tAmasAH janAH"

The sAttvika janAH worship of-course the devata-s, those of rAjasic nature the 
next set of semi divine beings i.e. yakSha-s along with the rakSha-s, the third 
i.e. those of tAmasik nature worship the preta-s, bhUta-s and the sapta 

Notice clearly what AchArya is saying: Those with sAttvik nature worship the 
devata-s meaning the deva-s are not worshipped with preference by the other two 
classes. Notice the gradation here deva-s, yakSha-s & rakSha-s, pretas, bhUta-s 
& sapta-mAtR^ika-s.. So AchArya is basically clubbing brAhmI, vaiShNavI, etc 
with preta-s, bhUtagaNa-s i.e. or in other words he is saying they are not 
deva-s, neither do they belong to type of yakSha-s, rakSha-s but even lower than 

Keep in mind this distinction: The statements are not talking about sAttvika, 
rAjasa, tAmasa worship of devata-s. It is clearly saying those with rAjasic 
nature worship yakSha, rakSha-s so on so forth.

Is this not clear that he has a very poor view of the sapta mAtR^ika-s like 
brAhmi etc.?

Now read this in conjunction with commentary on 9.25. Then emerges the 
consistent view of AchArya that he does not even treat the sapta mAtR^ika-s as 
semi divine beings, let alone view them as normal devata-s.
And his clubbing the vinAyaka, chaturbhagini etc is consistent.

But of-course the mArkanDeya purANa(devI saptashati) along with other purANa-s 
do not give any support to shankarAchArya's view on this one, as they mention 
the sapta mAtR^ika-s as aspects of devI. Hence this personal(because the 
bhagavadgIta does not single out vinAyaka and saptamAtR^ika-s) view of AchArya 
is clearly in conflict with purANa-s.

Or it is just that by sapta mAtR^ika-s, shankarAchArya means something else 
other than brAhmI, vaiShNavI etc.. . Anyone ever heard of a different set of 
sapta mAtR^ika-s? I did not(simply because I did not do enough research)..so if 
any one did, please inform with references. If such a different sapta mAtR^ika 
set exists, then of-course we can say AchArya's view is not against the purANa.

Even if such a different set exists, it still does not resolve the issue with 
vinAyaka, chaturbhagini-s

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