[Advaita-l] Misinformation about Advaita/Advaitins
Sunil Bhattacharjya via Advaita-l
advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org
Thu Sep 25 16:29:32 CDT 2014
One, who has read the Bhagavad Gita prperly (I mean one, who has understood the Bhagavad gita properly), does not have that misconception. In the Bhagavad Gita the Lord was speaking from the level of the highest Brahman and the Lord says there that he is Shiva, He is Vishnu, he is Brahmaa, he is Kaala and he is everything. In fact that is the reason why, when he went on to describe the Parama-pada in the Bhagavad Gita, he did not repeat the Vedic dictum "Tadvishnu paramam padam". In the Bhagavad gita of 700 verses the Lord is shown to have skipped the description of the Prarama pada, though he said he would describe that. However, in the Original Bhagavad Gita of 745 verses (conforming to the Gitamana verse), the Lord goes on to give the Vedantic description of the Paramapada.
There is a belief that Adi Shankaracharya wanted to write a commentary on the Vishnusahasranama and he wanted someone to fetch a copy of that. The entrusted person got him the Bhagavad Gita (and obviously that was the version of the Bhagavad Gita of 700 verses). Adi Shankaracharya took it as the will of the Lord and wrote a bhshya on that.
The BhagavadGgita, which Vaishampayana told to Janmejaya during the Sarpa-yajna, that too in the presence of the original composer of the Mahabharata, Vedavyasa himself, had 745 verses. Later on Sauti was requested by the sages in the Naimisharanya and he narrated the Mahabharata to them. At that time he narrated the Bhagavad Gta (as part of the Mahabharata) and that obviously had 700 verses. Probably the conflicting definitions of Paramapada in the Veda and the Vedanta were too much for Sauti to explain.
On Thursday, September 18, 2014 3:35 AM, V Subrahmanian via Advaita-l <advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org> wrote:
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:
> 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
> 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.
> 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:
>> 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
>> 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
>> 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
>> 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
>> 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;
>> 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
>> 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
>> 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.
>> 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
>> 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
>> all such attributes as superimposed. The very idea of vyavaharika and
>> paramarthika is anathema to the vaishnava. Hence there is no way
>> were/are/will be vaishnavas.
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