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

Sunil Bhattacharjya sunil_bhattacharjya at yahoo.com
Tue Jul 5 14:05:34 CDT 2011

One prays to the Saptamatrikas for protection of children from diseases. That may be the reason for considering that the spiritual aspirants or Sanyashis may not need to propitiate them.

Sunil KB

--- On Tue, 7/5/11, Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com> wrote:

From: Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>
Subject: Re: [Advaita-l] sapta-mAtR^ika-s in ShAnkara GItA BhAShyam
To: "A discussion group for Advaita Vedanta" <advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org>
Date: Tuesday, July 5, 2011, 8:36 AM

On Tue, 5 Jul 2011, Satish Arigela wrote:

> "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 mAtR^ika-s.
> 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 them.
> 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.

But look at the next shloka:

ashAstravihitaM ghoraM tapyante ye tapo janAH |
dambhAhaMkArasaMyuktAH kAmarAgabalAnvitAH || 5 ||

"Those people who practice terrible practices contrary to the shastras because of hypocrisy and ego are filled with the power of lust and passion."

Shankaracharya explains "terrible practices" as:

ghoraM pIDAkaraM prANinAm AtmanaH cha tapaH

"terrible - causing suffering to animals and oneself - practices"

Although it is not explicitly said it seems what is the issue here is not the nature of the matR^ikas themselves but that they are worshipped with non-vegetarian sacrifices and contrary to Vedic methods.  In the digvijayas also we have stories of Shankaracharya "pacifying" a devi not by abolishing Her worship but by replacing animal sacrifices with vegetarian ones.

As today smArtas worship the saptamAtR^ikas in a sattvika way, there is no contradiction with the Acharyas prescriptions.

-- Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>
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