[Advaita-l] Misinformation about Advaita/Advaitins

V Subrahmanian via Advaita-l advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org
Thu Sep 18 05:25:41 CDT 2014

In continuation of my first post in this thread, I have written a lengthy
response, which I am not posting here as that will entail making it into
several parts.  Hence I have posted it in the following URL from where one
can read it if interested:



On Tue, Sep 16, 2014 at 1:32 PM, Sujal Upadhyay <sujal.u at gmail.com> wrote:

> Namaste,
> To add to the above,
> smArta dharma existed prior to Adi Sankara. Adi sankara had completed his
> commentaries on prasthAntraya at the age of 16. brahma sUtra is the topmost
> canonical text and hence it was the last one which was commented by Adi
> Sankara after the order and blessings of Lord Siva. *In gItA bhASya, BG
> 2.10, Adi Sankara mentions the words 'smArta' and 'shruta'. Hence we can
> understand that this worship existed prior to him.*
> gaNeSa gItA, part of gaNeSa purANa mentioned pancayatna pUja. *Sri
> nilakanThAcArya / srikAntAcArya (both are same person), a great SaivAcArya
> / SivAcArya has written a tikA on SrI gaNeSa gItA.* Hence gaNeSa gItA is
> authentic.
> This gItA is non-sectarian, as in chapter 1, verse 20, it describes all
> five devatA-s worshipped in pancayatna pUjA as confirmed by SrI nilakanTha
> in his tikA on sloka 1.20.
> gaNeSa gItA says
> *Any yoga involving a fixed mind resting on Siva, Visnu, Shakti, Surya and
> on me (Ganesha), protector of men, is the right yoga in my opinion. 1.20*
> I alone, having taken various forms, create, protect and destroy the world
> for my own play. 1.21
> I alone am Maha Visnu, I alone am Sadasiva, I alone am the great Shakti, I
> alone am Aryaman, dear one. 1.22
> Since the philosophy of smArta-s is all five Gods ar manifestations of one
> brahman, hence no sectarian sampradAya-s would have practiced. This
> indicates that smArta-s were all advaitins.
> Adi Sankara in his viShNu sahasranAma bhASya in intro makes it clear about
> Siva-viShNu abheda. while explaining names 27 Siva and 114 rudra Adi
> Sankara indicates Siva-viShNu abheda.
> Still some people will not accept it :)
> Intro of viShNu sahasranAma bhASya, though very long, is worth reading. It
> gave me a lot of clarity.
> OM
> Sujal
> On Tue, Sep 16, 2014 at 12:29 PM, V Subrahmanian via Advaita-l <
> advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org> wrote:
>> In the following blog there are some comments/replies which portray
>> 'ancient'/early Advaitins as vaishnavas:
>> http://narayanastra.blogspot.in/2012/04/sarvajnatmans-sankshepa-shariraka-lucid.html?showComment=1410418506101#c8637519144828852903
>> The purpose of posting these responses here is solely to bring to the
>> attention of students of advaita that there are views unathenticated that
>> are floating in the public domain and it is possible that one takes them
>> to
>> be genuine and led astray.
>> The blog's claims are shown between // - // and my responses are given
>> beneath each of them:
>> //Historically, you are right in saying that vidyAraNya was the first to
>> introduce worship of other deities in the advaita tradition. Later came
>> appayya dikshita who forced this direction into a full blown shaiva
>> siddhAntha way.//
>> This is wrong. First of all, there was no rule for 'worship this deity
>> only' in Advaita.  There is no evidence to the above claim.  Nowhere in
>> the
>> Shankara bhashya and other works is the identification of any particular
>> deity as the saguna brahman.
>> //Prior to vidyAraNya, there were some free thinkers like vAchaspati
>> mishra
>> and shriharsha. These scholars were anya devata worshippers who had no
>> specific affliation and dabbled in several systems of philosophy, of which
>> advaita was one that they had a compelling interest in. Some of their
>> works
>> are famous in the advaita tradition.//
>> It is immaterial as which deity one worships for Advaita knowledge to
>> arise.  The various deities authors invoked in their works are purely
>> IshTadevatA based.  Do not conclude from that about the advaitin-deity
>> connection.  The Advaita system of philosophy is not any deity-specific;
>> it
>> adopts a deity for practice of karma yoga and upasana and gives up
>> deity-specific affiliations in the jnanayoga. The very idea of a deity is
>> in the realm of avidya in Advaita.
>> //Also, though ancient advaitins were vaishnavas, they worshipped shiva
>> and
>> other deities as gurus who provide knowledge of vishNu. Even sarvajnAtman
>> salutes saraswati and vinAyaka in his work and madhusudhana saraswati in
>> his vyAkhyAna, says that sarvajnAtman is saluting vishNu, the antaryAmin
>> of
>> these deities. In this respect, they are like mAdhvas who worship all
>> deities as hari bhaktas.//
>> This is wrong.  There is no such thing as 'knowledge of Vishnu' in
>> Advaita.  The advaitic paramarthika liberating knowledge is not any
>> knowledge of Vishnu, the resident of Vaikuntha and the consort of Lakshmi,
>> etc.  For Shankara 'VasudevaH sarvam' /; na anyo'ham vAsudevAt' (For
>> Madhusudana: sarvam idam aham cha VasudevaH) is not any saguna brahman
>> realization/identification.  That Vasudeva / Vishnu is not any saguna
>> brahman.  For Shankara it is the same as 'ShivaH kevalo'ham' of the
>> Dashashloki for which Madhusudana has composed the Siddhanta bindu
>> commentary, acknowledging Shankara's authorship of the dashashloki.  The
>> Shiva there is also not any deity but Pure Consciousness/Bliss.
>> The Dakshinamurty, a form of Shiva, is not worshiped as a 'mere Guru' but
>> the very substratum of the creation.  If Madhusudana said that Vishnu is
>> the antaryamin of Saraswati and Vinayaka, he has also said in the
>> commentary to the Shivamahimna stotram that Shiva is no different from
>> Vishnu.  In advaita the antaryamin is no deity but Pure Consciousness.
>> See
>> Br.up. bhashya on antaryamin where Shankara takes the name of Narayana and
>> in the same breath says: it is the nishkriya controller, no other than the
>> jiva's pratyagatman, free of all samsara dharmas.
>> There is no evidence in the advaitc tradition to concocted idea  that
>> advaitins are like mAdhvas who worship all deities as hari bhaktas.
>> Advaitins worship Vinayaka, Saraswati, etc. during particular occasions in
>> the year.  In not a single place in their ashtottaram is a name that these
>> deities are worshipers of or subordinate to Hari.
>> //Overall, traditional advaitins were vaishnavas before the period of
>> vidyAraNya and even after this period, there were some who still remained
>> so.//
>> There is absolutely no substance in this claim.  Advaitins cannot be
>> Vaishnavas nor vaishnavas can be advaitins.  The term 'vaishnava' as is
>> understood popularly means unrelenting allegiance to that deity who is a
>> resident of vaikuntha, whose bears the conch, etc. and is the consort of
>> Lakshmi.  The Advaitin never regards this deity to be the Supreme Reality.
>> For the Advaitin the Supreme reality is the Pure Consciousness devoid of
>> all attributes.  Nor will a vaishnava be an advaitin where he has to
>> negate
>> all such attributes as  superimposed.  The very idea of vyavaharika and
>> paramarthika is anathema to the vaishnava.  Hence there is no way
>> advaitins
>> were/are/will be vaishnavas.
>> subrahmanian.v
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