[Advaita-l] Bhakti in Advaita Tradition

Satish Arigela satisharigela at yahoo.com
Thu Jun 23 00:42:03 CDT 2011


From: Rajaram Venkataramani <rajaramvenk at gmail.com>

>I think Sankara is Vaishnava and Vishnu is not only the four-handed deity)

When we call someone as vaiShNava, in textual terms, it usually refers to an 
individual who has vaiShNava dIkSha.

Similarly shaiva & shAkta. Being a viShNu bhakta does not automatically make you 
a vaiShNava in the same way as being a shiva bhakta does not make you a shaiva.

So shankara is a smArta brAhmaNa who is devoted to viShNu. 

To make you see wider, I will also mention to you that one can be shaiva 
technically and be devoted to viShNu or any other devata. What this statement 
means: This means that the individual has shaiva dIkSha i.e. according to the 
shaiva Agama-s and considers shiva as supreme. He does shaiva sandhya etc but 
his favorite upAsya devata is viShNu or nArAyaNa. See! Here we have someone very 
much devoted to viShNu but is technically a shaiva. This is not unusual.

Likewise, shankara happens to be a smArta(meaning his ritual frame work, world 
view etc are smArta) but his favorite devata is viShNu and hence calling him a 
vaiShNava will be inaccurate.

There was a time when I aggressively argued that prapa~nchasAra, 
saundaryalahari  etc were by shankara, but these days I take my words back.

A look at some of his works shows that shankarAchArya will not go anywhere near 
that stuff. He either does not care about mantra shAstra or he is just 
completely ignorant of tAntrIka mantra shAstra.

Either these works were authored by later shankarAchArya-s who 
deviated(certainly a wise thing to do) from Adi shankara on this point(i.e. on 
the upAsana of various tAntrIka devata-s shrIvidyA lalitA etc) or the shankara 
tradition just appropriated tAntrIka works and added Adi shankara's name. But i 
would like to beleive that the former is the case.

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