[Advaita-l] chanDI yAga at Madhwa institutions

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Thu Jul 7 01:02:15 CDT 2011

On Wed, Jul 6, 2011 at 10:04 PM, Venkata sriram P
<venkatasriramp at yahoo.in>wrote:

> Namaste Subbuji,
> ////
> Is durgA a deity worshiped/worshipable by sattvika-s?
> //
> Yes.  The Vanadurga Kalpa details out 3 modes of worship.  The satvik,
> rajasik & tamasik.
> Depending upon the mode of worship, the corresponding dhyAna slokAs and
> bija samputikarana is done.
> In satvika dhyana, the Durga is meditated as having 8 hands and the bhAvana
> of worship
> is for chitta shuddhi.
> In rajasika dhyana, the Durga is meditated as having 16 hands and the
> bhAvana of
> worship is for iShTa kAmya siddhi.
> In tamasika dhyana, the Durga is meditated as having 32 hands and the
> bhAvana of
> worship is for shatru saMhAra and mAraNa prayOga.
> So, the same deity Vana Durga is used for 3 different aspects and depending
> upon the
> "mood & taste of the upasaka", the upAsana guNa is decided.
> ///

That is very well said Sriram.  That is what tallies with the Anandagiri's
gloss which I cited (vidyA is the *sattvapradhAnA *manifestation of

When Shankara mentions these deities/beings as propitiated by tamasika-s, it
is only the tamaHpradhAnaa manifestation of these deities that becomes the
object of worship by these people.  When, however, Shankara engages these
very deities in His stotras like BhavAnyaShTakam, Ganeshapancharatnam, etc.
He is keeping the sattvapradhAnA aspect in mind.  Thereby these deities
become even mokShadAyaka-s.  Thus there is absolutely no
conflict/contradiction in holding Shankara, the BhashyakAra, as the author
of the innumerable stotras.

In fact, way back in the times of Madhusudana Saraswati itself Shankara's
compositions have been famous with Him as the author.  For example in the
'siddhAntabindu' Madhusudana says the 'dashashlokI' is Shankara's work:

इह खलु साक्षात्परम्परया वा सर्वान् जीवान् समुद्दिधीर्षुः भगवान् शङ्करः
अनात्मभ्यो विवेकेन आत्मानं नित्यशुद्धबुद्धमुक्तस्वभावं संक्षेपेण बोधयितुं *
दशश्लोकीं* प्रणिनाय ।

Before saying this, Madhusudana writes a verse in salutation to

श्रीशङ्कराचार्यनवावतारं विश्वेश्वरं विशवगुरुं प्रणम्य ।
वेदान्तशास्त्रश्रवणालसानां बोधाय कुर्वे कमपि प्रयत्नम् ॥

>From the above verse it becomes clear that by the time of Madhusudana itself
the titulary epithet 'jagadguru' ( विशवगुरुं) was popular.

The gloss, nyAyaratnAvaLI, of GaudabrahmAnanda sarasvati gives a lot of
explanation on the above verse.

I am glad that this thinking, stated by Sri Sriram above, is what is
endorsed by other learned members too.  My conversation with Dr.Mani Dravid
SastrigaL on this also comes to this very conclusion as the right one, from
the overall shruti, smRti, bhAShya and sampradaya angles with no internal

I made a small research into the use of the Ganapati devatA in the mangaLa
(invocatory) shlokas of AchAryas very close to Shankara in time.  It
revealed that Padmapada in his PanchapAdikA takes the name of vinAyaka, if
not in prayer, in extolling Shankara:

vinA vinAyakam apUrva-shankaram (the last line of the third verse at the
commencement of the panchapAdikA)

The above Vidwan told me that this line is interpreted in two ways and both
are admissible in the sampradAya:

1. Bhagavatpaada Shankara is none other than Shiva *without the
vinAyaka*with Him.  There are names like 'shambhusUnuH' as epithet of
Ganapathi. This
AchArya Shankara is a sannyAsi with sannyAsi disciples (this is said by
Padmapada in the first two lines of this same verse) and therefore no
'family' is depicted. Dr.Mani Dravid Sastrigal said that it is a 'vyatireka
alankAra' adopted in the said verse, where Shankara, the Acharya, is
'contrasted' with Shankara, the Lord. It also throws light on the belief
even during the Acharya's time that Shankaracharya was the incarnation of

2. BhagavatpAda Shankara is the unique AchArya who rid the path to moksha of
bauddha/buddha (vinAyaka) influence.  The amarakosha gives this name for the

The BhAmati which is dated very close to Shankaracharya has this line in one
of its invocatory verses:

मार्तण्ड-तिलकस्वामि-महाणपतीन् वयम् ।
*विशववन्द्यान्* नमस्यामः सर्वसिद्धिविधायिनः ॥ ४

We offer our salutations to mArtanDa (sUrya), tialakasvaamin
(subrahmanya/skanda) and mahAgaNapati who are the givers of all good and are
worshiped by the entire world.

The yajnavalkya smriti in the chapter on the worship of Ganapati, at the end
takes the name of Aditya also and the mitAkShara gloss includes the name of
skanda too in that group and says that all these deities can give one moksha
too by giving them Atma jnAnam.

So, we have confirmation from  Padmapada, a direct disciple of
Shankaracharya and Vachaspati mishra, the bhAmatikAra, who came very soon
after Shankara, about the status of Vinaayaka as a deity to be invoked, by
noble-minded people for the attainment of their noble goals, in the
tradition.  Then itself, that is even during the time of Shankara, there has
been the tradition of worshiping Ganapathi for sreyas.

PrakAshAtman who preceded Ramanuja and perhaps VAchaspati mishra too, also
has invoked Ganapati at the beginning of his work on vivaraNa.  I do not
have the verse with me, which the great Vidwan quoted from memory.

The pUrvaachAryas of the Advaita sampradaya, including the author of the
sankShepashArIraka have invoked Ganapati for blessings. In fact one of them
has said in an invocatory verse that  Ganapati is capable of hindering even
Brahmaa's agenda!!.  I think even the author of the 'iShtasiddhi', perhaps
the oldest Advaitic work and one of the closest to Shankara's date, too has
prayed for Ganapathi's grace.

The Vidwan remarked that BhagavatpAda did not have the occasion, 'prasakti',
to present the sattvapradhAna aspect/facet of Ganapati in the prasthAnatraya
bhashya. And one who has the larger picture, as stated by Sri Vidyasankar
ji, will have no confusion/conflict with the mention of 'vinAyaka' in the
manner it is done in the gitAbhAShya, once the bhashya of Shankara, and the
stotras and the sampradaya are all considered as 'One'

My note to Dr.Yadu:

Your question: But why worship the the ugra and taamasika manner is another
conundrum that needs addressing.

I think is addressed by Sri Sriram which I have quoted at the beginning of
this post.


> At the end of the details of vinAyaka worship, the above smRti says that
> vinAyaka would even bless one with mokSha by giving Atma jnAna.  Would
> Shankara denounce the worship of 'such'  a vinAyaka
> //
> One of the acharyas of Sringeri is Shri Sacchidananda Bharati (not sure)
> who had a
> vision of ganapati while entering a room on a wall above the threshold and
> the place
> where he had the vision is said to be tOraNa gaNapati now.
> Another acharya had just made a gaNapati vigraha with turmeric in
> malahanikareshwara
> temple and it bulged out which is known as sthambha ganapati.
> Abhinava Vidyatirtha used to take delight in worshipping his own personal
> gaNapati idol
> right from his childhood.
> Brahmasri Dravida Rajeshwara Sastrigal of Kasi used to chant gaNapati
> sahasranama
> daily and he had a small personal copy of the same which he used to carry
> always.
> He was a gaNapati bhakta.
> So, vinAyaka is something different, which is related to mAtrika varNa mAla
> & tat-adhiShTAtru devata.
> sriram

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