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

Sunil Bhattacharjya sunil_bhattacharjya at yahoo.com
Wed Jul 6 13:05:29 CDT 2011

Dear Anand Hudliji,

I think both of you understood Adi Sankara well on both 9.25 and 17.4  yet you are being critical of each other. There is no doubt that the Saptamatrikas and Vinayaka are of divine origin. The Saptamatrikas helped liquidate the evil monster by drinking its blood while it was being killed so that more monsters should not be born out of the blood. It was a good deed for the world. As for Lord Vinayaka he is the controller of the evil forces and that is why one prays to him so that he would save one from the obstacles created by the evil forces. While both these deities are as benign as the other deities their manifestations are for a purpose and so is their worship for a special purpose of controlling the evil forces in one's life. As they have their specified tasks, however laudable that can be, they are not to be dragged for seeking their help for Rajashik or sattvic ends, ie. for seeking power and wealth as well for help in the path to Moksha.   Then
 there are the evil forces like the bhootas, who are worshipped by some (Tamasic people) and  that is done to take the help of the evil forces to get evil things done. These tamasic evil-doers also worship the Saptamatrikas so that the latter become kind to them and connive at their evil-doings. For a similar reason the evil forces also worship Lord Vinayaka. Adi Sankaracharya must have expected the intelligent students  to analyse his statements and in case of doubt to ask their learned gurus.  Adi Sankara certainly did not want to write the most  exhaustive treatises to explain each and everything in the greatest details in order to remove each and every doubt for all eternity.


Sunil K. Bhattacharjya

--- On Tue, 7/5/11, Anand Hudli <anandhudli at hotmail.com> wrote:

From: Anand Hudli <anandhudli at hotmail.com>
Subject: [Advaita-l] 'VinAyaka' in ShAnkara GItA BhAShyam
To: advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org
Date: Tuesday, July 5, 2011, 9:30 PM

*Satish Arigela wrote:*
>Finally we come to the core point. I recommend that you follow the thread once
>more then. It looks like shankara is of the opinion that some forms of devata-s
>are tAmasika as opposed to criticizing tAmasika worship in general.

This is getting ridiculous. The emphasis of both 9.25 and 17.4 is on the
Worshipper, not so much on the Worshipped. In fact, as MadhusUdana's
commentary on 17.4 says, pUjAtraividhyena jIvAnAM niShThAtraividhyaM
jnAtavyam. The whole idea of 17.4 is to show how we can infer the sattva, or
other guNas in a person, by looking at what he worships. If he worships the
Gods he is sAttvika, if he worships Yakshas, etc. he is rAjasika, and if he
worships Pretas and Bhutas, he is tAmasika. Now, what you seem to have done,
creating all this fuss, is to turn the gItA verse and its bhAShya  on its
head and got down to the business of identifying specific bhUtas such as
sapta mAtrikas and Vinayaka with popular deities and saying shankara is
inimical towards those deities! Wow! First, you quote shankara to say
sAttvikas worship devas, etc. Then you say Vinayaka and the sapta Matrikas
are clubbed with the pretas and bhUtagaNas. And then you pronounce this
"contradiction" between shankara and the Puranas, which treat the sapta
Matrikas as aspects of the devI. The resolution of this "contradiction" is
quite simple. shankara clearly does not include the beings sapta mAtrikas
and Vinayaka among the devas. However, Vinayaka and sapta mAtrikas, are
treated as devas in the Puranas. The only logical conclusion is that the two
sets- that mentioned by the shankara and that mentioned in the Puranas- are
not the same. The Vinayaka mentioned in the BhAShya (9.25) as a bhUta is not
the same as the God Vinayaka/Ganapati of the Puranas. Why? Because, as
MadhusUdana says, devas are sAttvika, Yakshas and Rakshasas are rAjasika,
and Pretas and Bhutas are tAmasika. The deva Vinayaka, a sAttvika, cannot be
the same as the bhUta Vinayaka, a tAmasika. The same logic holds for sapta
mAtrikas as well. Furthermore, accepting your positon that shankara
prohibits the worship of some deities, leads to a tAratamya among Gods,
reminiscent of some of the Vaishnava schools. This is also inconsistent with
the advaitic position.

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