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

Dr. Yadu Moharir ymoharir at yahoo.com
Tue Jul 5 18:38:11 CDT 2011

Dear List:

I have been following the thread on Vinayaka with interest: 

(References cited at the end)

History of Dharmashastra[i]explains Vinayakaas
being of evil spirit. There were fourVinaayaka in number[ii]. maanava gR^ihyasuutra (II. 14) names the four, while some texts
claim the number to be six[iii](Vinaayakaas mita, smamita, usmita,devayaj~na,
shaalakaTa.nkaTa, and kyShmaaNDaraajaputra).
However, all of them agree that possession by these Vinayaka, people get bad
dreams. A prince, although capable cannot become the king. Girls cannot get
married. Married women do not bear children and one fails at everything they attempt.
In theses situations performing Vinayakashantiis recommended in many religious texts. In
general Vinayakaçänti[iv]is erformed
to achieve their objectives, gain wealth and for maintaining a good health.
Procedural details can be found in Yaj~navaalkyasmR^iti, BR^ihatparaasharasmRE^iti, ViShNudharmapuraaNa and BaviShya puraaNa.
Salted fish, cooked and raw meat is offered as naivedya.
NaaraayaNa kavaca of Bhaagavata puraaNa (6.8.24) one prays to the  ViShNu’s weapon (gadaa known as kaumudii) to pulverize
KuaShamaaNDa and Vinaayaka[v], which
are again grouped with evildoers (Bhaagavata puraaNa 10.6.27-29)[vi].
Removal of evil things from a specific
location is practiced commonly before performing any pious activities,
including SatyanaaraayaNa puujaa. This is achieved by reciting BuutaapasaaraNa  mantra[vii]. Here ShivagaNasare ordered to go away as per Shiva’s order or instructions. In other words, the
process is essentially for removing or driving away bad elements in order to
complete the desired ritual without any hindrance. Baudhayaana-gR^ihya suutrarecognizes
Vinaayaka as Bhuutanaatha, Hastimukhaa and Vighaneshvara and
recommends the offering of modaka  and apuupa.  The
town of Kashi is known to have 56 Vinaayaka  temples and DhunDitraaja is considered to be
their leader.

Based on the above 
discussion (references cited below) it is clear that Vinaayaka were not 
only ugra but shuudra troublesome vindictive devataa's. 


Vinayaka is a very popular name at least in Maharashtra. Then,  why would some 
one name their child Vinaayaka? Any comments and thoughts would be 

Thank you in advance

Dr. Yadu

[i]    Kane,
P.V.; History of dharmaçästra,
Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute, Pune, 1977; Vol II, pp 213-216; Vol V,
pp 748. bhäratéya
saìkåtikoça, Edited by Mahadevashastri Joshi, Pune (1993);Vol 8, pp 706-707.
[ii]    catvaaraH
khalu vinaayakaa bhavanti | mitashca shaala kaTa~NakaTashca kuuShmaaNDoraajaputrashcati
|| yaj~navalkyasmR^iti 1.275 || 
[iii]   mita sanmita shaala kaTa.nkaTa kuuShmaaNDa
raajaputra (yaj~navalkyasmR^iti1.271). (cf. Chitravshastry, vaidika suuktapaTha;p. 130; Bharatiya Charitrakosh Mandal, 1975).
[iv]    Bhaaratiiya samskR^itikoSha, Edited by
Mahadevashastri Joshi, Pune (1993);Vol 8, pp 707.
[v]    gade.ashanisparshanavisphuli~Nge
niShpiNDhyajitapriyaasi | kuuShmaaNDavainaayakayaksharaksho bhuutagrahaa.nshcuurNaya
cuurNayaariin || bhaagavata puraaNa 6.8.24 ||
Meaning - O club (kaumudé) in the hand of the Supreme Personality of godhead,
you produce sparks of fire as powerful as thunderbolts, and you are extremely
dear to Viñëu. I am also His servant. Therefore kindly help me
pound to pieces the evil living beings known as kuñmäëòa, Vinayaka, yakña, räkñasa, bhütaand graha. Please pulverize them.
[vi]   Daakinyo
yaatudhaanyashca kuuShmaaNDaa | bhuutapretapishashca yakshovivaayakkaaH ||
revatii jeShThaa puutanaa paatR^ikaadayaH || unmaadaa ye hyapasmaaraa
dehapraaNendriyadruhaH || svapnadR^iShaa mahotpaataa vaRR^iddhaa
baalagrahashaashca ye | sarve naShyantu te viShNornaama grahaNabhiiravaH ||
Baagavata puraaaNa 10.6.27-29 ||
      Meaning - The evil witches
known as òäkiné(female goblin),yatudhänaù(an evil spirit, a demon) and kuñmäòaù(a Vinayakagaëa who gives false perception) are the greatest
enemies of children, and the evil spirits like bhütagaëa(a
whole class of spirits and devils), pretä’s(bodies of departed souls), piçäcaù(a goblin, devil, malevolent spirits), yakñaù(kind of ghosts and spirits), räkñasaù(demon, an evil spirit, a goblin) and Vinayaka (obstacle, impediment, an epitaph of Gaëeça), as well as witches like koöarä, revati, jeñöhä(elder
sister of lakñmi– wife of uddälaka), pütanäand mätåkä,
are always ready to give trouble to the body, the life air and the senses,
causing loss of memory, madness and bad dreams. Like the most experienced evil
stars, they all create great disturbances, especially for children, but one can
vanquish them simply by uttering Viñëu's
name, for when Viñëu's name resounds, all of them become afraid
and go away.
[vii]   OM apsarpantu te bhuutaa
bhmisa.msthitaaH | ye bhuutaa vighnakartaaraste gacchhantu shivaaj~nayaa |
apakramaantu bhuutaani pishacaaH sarvato disham | sarveShaamavirodhena
puujaakarma samaarabhet ||

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