[Advaita-l] Shankara authenticates Shiva as the son of Brahma

Venkatraghavan S agnimile at gmail.com
Wed Aug 17 04:25:57 CDT 2016

Thanks Gayatri ji. I agree with your answers below. However, there are some
issues with your position - you do not have to reply here if you don't wish
to, just some points for you to consider.

1) When you say that Vishnu is Brahman, are you referring to sarva vyApaka
chaitanyam as Vishnu and take Brahman to mean nirguNa Brahman? If so, that
is acceptable.

2) If not, do you take Vishnu to be Ishvara and Brahman to be saguNa
Brahman? If so, that is also acceptable.

3) Now, when you take Vishnu to be Ishvara, you also say Shiva is not
Ishvara. Are you saying that Vishnu's Ishvaratvam is limited by Shiva? If
so, then you are making Ishvara paricChinna, by limiting him. If on the
other hand, you say that Ishvara is unlimited, then he has to be Shiva too.
If any aspect of Shiva is individual to him, that individuality limits the
infinitude of Ishvara.

If you say that ultimately Shiva and Ishvara are abhinna; it is only in
vyavahAra they they are bhinna, then that Ishvara cannot be infinite in
vyavahAra. He has to be paricChinna only. However, that position is
incompatible with advaita, as it does not admit any paricChinnatvam to
Ishvara, even in vyavahAra.

4) Alternatively, are you saying Shiva is not NirguNa Brahman? That also is
impossible, as there is no object that can be said to be not Brahman,
because the Upanishad itself says sarvam khalvidam brahma.

5) You could alternatively say that one cannot do upAsana of Shiva as
saguNa Brahman. That would be incompatible with the VedAs (Sri Rudram,
portions of the Mahanaryana Upanishad, Kaivalya Upanishad, ShvetAshvatara
Upanishad, etc) as they themselves prescribe upAsanas of Shiva as saguNa
Brahman - for the purposes of chitta shuddhi and ekAgrata .

6) Further, Shankaracharya himself established the panchAyatana puja and
prescribed the shanmatha system of worship  into Shaiva, VaishNava, ShAkta,
GANapatya, KaumAra and Saura. One of the names in the Shankara ashtottara
nAmAvali as preserved by Sringeri Sharada Peetham is षण्मतस्थापनाचार्य
(number 18 here:
Tradition does recognise AchArya as having established the shaNmathas. One
cannot easily dismiss this, because AchArya himself placed great value in
tradition, as he said in BGB 13.2 - तस्मात् असम्प्रदायवित् सर्वशास्त्रविदपि
मूर्खवदेव उपेक्षणीयः |

So if we are prepared to believe in the tradition preserved by the Sringeri
maThA (the first monastery to be established by AchArya), it follows that
Shankaracharya himself advocated the worship of Shiva and the other 5
deities as a preparatory step to jnAna sAdhana. That being the case, to
argue that the worship of Shiva as saguNa Brahman is not acceptable to
Shankara seems odd. However, to each his/her own.



On 17 Aug 2016 9:17 a.m., "D Gayatri via Advaita-l" <
advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org> wrote:

> > If so, why argue for who is superior? Do anyone argue whether snake seen
> on
> > rope illusion is Adi Shesha or Taksha ? Both are equally unreal.
> Advaitins give importance to vyavahAra also. Just because rice and
> stones are both superimposed on brahman and are both mithya, it does
> not mean that one can eat stones instead of rice.
> > Let me ask you, you argued for Vishnu's superiority based on so many
> > pramANa-s including critical edition of Mbh and that is good. In the same
> > line, I am curious to see how you can support illusory nature of VishNu
> > based on the same set of pramANa-s. Could you please do that?
> Check Shankara's bhAshya on BSB 3.2.17. Narayana shows his Vishwaroopa
> to Narada and implies that it is due to mAyA that Narada is seeing Him
> like that.
> Also, check out bhagavatpAda's interpretation for neti neti in BU. If
> brahman is forever guNapUrNa, then neti neti is not the best
> description of brahman at all. But the BU itself says this is the best
> description. So brahman is truly nirvishesha.
> >> Vishnu, devoid of His Ishwaratva is NB and I, devoid of my jIvatva am
> NB.
> >> Difference is that he knows and I don't know. And his grace is needed to
> >> obtain jnAna and only this jnAna can destroy avidya.
> >
> >
> > What is the locus of this knowing/unkowing? Is Vishnu's knowing aspect
> > belongs to His chid (which is real)? or is it one of many arOpita guNa-s
> on
> > Him which are illusory?
> When He is knowing the world with all its jIvas and their karmas, the
> knowing is illusory because the world is also illusory.
> > If it is later, such knowledge of Him is equally mithya and itself does
> not
> > exist at all in all three period of times,
> > and what to speak about granting
> > you that knowledge and destroying your avidya.
> Even that granting the knowledge and destruction of avidya are equally
> mithya! Acharya GaudapAda says that there is no bondage, no one
> seeking liberation, nothing has been ever created etc.
> However, none of this reduces the importance of vyavahAra, as long as
> one is not a mukta. Advaitins still work for a living, eat normal food
> and take care of their families in day to day life.
> _______________________________________________

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