[Advaita-l] Supremacy of Shiva over Vishnu
dgayatrinov10 at gmail.com
Thu Sep 1 15:07:40 CDT 2016
Among Western scholars, Paul Hacker was probably one of the first persons
to recognize Shankara's affinity to vaishnavism. Hacker writes that there
is not even the slightest indication from Shankara's authentic works that
he was a champion of Hindu unity.
Hacker also says that he tried to verify the tradition that Shankara
established maThas, but he could not find any evidence for maThas before
14th century CE. Hacker theorizes that it was vidyAraNya who actually
started the Sringeri maTha in the name of Shankara. Hacker's conclusions
seem plausible as far as the Sringeri maTha is concerned, but they do not
explain how the Northern Indian Shankara maThas originated.
On Thursday, 1 September 2016, Gerald Penn via Advaita-l <
advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org> wrote:
> Supremacy of Shiva over Vishnu / Vishnu over Shiva are irrelevant topics
>> in advaita.
>> And that is why, to sort of these petty issues, Acharya Sankara
>> incarnated to unify us.
> That's what I had thought, but I was recently reading a summary of the
> arguments that Adi Shankaracarya was a vaishnava in Matthew Clark's
> recent book on the Dashanami samnyasis. Some of them are more in the
> vein of absence-as-evidence, which I find rather specious, but others are
> rather more affirmative:
> - an alleged refutation in the Brahmasutrabhasya (2.2.36-41) of shaiva
> (spec. Maheshvara) doctrine.
> - Padmapada's expression of reverence in his Pancapadika to his teacher,
> who "had merely the name of Shankara, whom he contrasts with the real
> Shiva. He states that Shankara (the teacher) did not wear ashes smeared
> over his body like Shiva and his ascetic devotees, nor does [his teacher]
> have any of the marks or emblems of Shiva."
> - the BSB refers to the shalagrama three times in the context of a
> metaphysical analogy, but not the lingam.
> - the BSB refers to the superimposition of the spiritual vision of Lord
> Vishnu onto idols (pratimaa) four times, as instances of religious ideas
> being superimposed on objects.
> - similar vaishnava imagery occurs throughout Adi Shankaracarya's
> commentaries on the Upanishads.
> - imaginary persons used by Adi Shankaracarya in explanations are
> frequently vaishnava characters, e.g. Devadatta, Yajnadatta, Vishnumitra,
> - in his commentary on the Gaudapada mandukyakarika, Adi Shankaracarya
> equates Sambuddha with Narayana.
> - in the BSB (3.4.20), Adi Shankaracarya equates vanaprasthas with a
> group of orthodox vaishanavas called vaikhaanasas.
> - a disparaging remark that Adi Shankaracarya allegedly makes on the
> worship of Vinayaka in his Gitabhasya, to the effect that it amounts to the
> worship of a bhuta.
> What do the learned members of this list think of these observations?
> This matter is important, I believe, to advaita philosophy, particularly
> as Clark adduces this evidence on the way to making a different point,
> namely calling into question the legitimacy of claims that Adi
> Shankaracarya had founded either the Sringeri or Kanchi maths, both
> of which Clark regards as predominantly shaiva institutions.
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