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

Satish Arigela satisharigela at yahoo.com
Thu Jul 7 09:14:36 CDT 2011

{{> which involve animal sacrifice? So is he saying then that it is okay to kill 
a pashu for a vedic yAga but not okay to do >it in a tAntrIka context?

>>Exactly.  Look at all the combinations:

>Vedic and vegetarian        --- OK
>Vedic and non-vegetarian    --- OK
>non-vedic and vegetarian    --- OK
>non-vedic and non-vegetarian --- Not OK.}}

Adi shankara is free to have a personal opinion on things outside the vedic 
arena...but of-course they remain his personal choices and they could be wrong 
or right. That is partially because, the veda does not explicitly ask any one to 
not follow the tAntrIka mode of worship.

>The Vedas have a general rule for ahimsa.
> They have a specific exception for the somayajas.  The tantras do not derive 
>their authority from the Vedas* so they >cannot claim the specific exemption and 
>are judged by the general rule.

The tantra-s have an independant authority and in a different sphere and a 
smArta might follow them to the extent that it does not transgress his normal 
vaidika AchAra. See the statement that shruti is two fold vaidikI & 
tAntrikI...in the bhAgavata The purANa seem to have no issues with performing an 
animal sacrifice in a tAntrIka mode for some devata-s. 

Similarly worshipping the devata-s with blood and flesh for the purpose of 
mokSha is acceptable to some purANa-s and assure that mokSha can be achieved 
through such kind of worship, though it is never mentioned as a strict 
requirement. So here again shankArachArya's views are more of a personal choice 
and are not entirely supported by the purANa. 

{{{That of course is impossible to say.  It could even be as simple as he had 
been debating a Tumburu upasaka that day.  What this shows is the futility of 
relying on text alone.  The texts attributed to Shankaracharya (however few or 
many they may be) are embedded in a tradition.  That tradition is still a living 
one today and should inform our reading.}}}

There is quite some evidence to show that there has been a change in the 
traditional stand over the centuries... so the so called tradition is not set in 
stone and not necessarily constant. So resorting to "tradition" to explain away 
a glaring inconsistency is like escaping and running back with cowardice. People 
are free to do this but atleats be aware that is what it is.

This is very similar to the Christian/Islamic fundamentalist replying to the 
pointing out of an inconsistency in the bible saying "What you say is not 
inconsistent because the bible says so or that you have to read it with the holy 
spirit or that the biblical tradition has a different opinion" As I said that is 
a very good escape strategy and is of no use to anyone except for people who 
like to day dream about an consistent tradition and pat each other's back.

Anyway the viShNudharmottara purANa clearly describes the worship of 
chaturbhagini-s along with tumburu. And there is nothing unsAttvic mentioned 
about their worship in the viShNudharmottara purANa. Since we have a purANic 
reference to the system which is not particularly unsAttvic, once again AchArya 
clubbing the chaturbhagini system as completely tAmasika seems to be personal 
choice and need not be true always.

Likewise in the tAntrika lore, the bhagini-s with tumburu are worshipped not 
just for material benefits but also with mokSha in mind.

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