[Advaita-l] Supremacy of Shiva over Vishnu

Praveen R. Bhat bhatpraveen at gmail.com
Fri Sep 2 05:29:47 CDT 2016


My reply is inline...

On Fri, Sep 2, 2016 at 1:09 AM, 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.
If nothing, this can be taken on mere shraddhA.

> 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.

Even Bhagavatpadacharya's not being an avatAra of Shiva would take away
nothing from his teachings, with no parallel, of non-duality, not

> Some of them are more in the
> vein of absence-as-evidence, which I find rather specious,

That is to say, which is really no proof at all. This is something that is
talked about as an error even in archeological findings too. An absence of
proof doesn't no mean proof of absence.

> but others are rather more affirmative:

I particularly find that the orthodox culture that is needed as the
foundation of such "analysis" is amiss among most of these Western/ modern
scholars. There seems to be absolutely no understanding of kuladevatA,
iShTadevatA and rUDhyartha and other possible meanings of the words in the
language during such analysis. Some of these points are seen in the
examples given below.

> - 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."

I could argue either way with this. Padmapadacharya may be merely saying
that his teacher though Shiva Himself didn't wear any marks of Shiva. But
since you start by saying that he had "merely the name of Shankara", lets
say he was not an avatAra, and he was not a Shaivite, but it is far-fetched
to say that he was a Vaishnava.

> - the BSB refers to the shalagrama three times in the context of a
> metaphysical analogy, but not the lingam.

This can easily be set aside by saying that Bhagavatpadacharya's
pUrvAshrama kuladevatA was Vishnu.

> - 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.

Same as above. Also I could even argue that it is more likely that Shiva
avatAra would give examples of Vishnu than himself. This is seen in many
stories related to Shiva, including the interpretation of the samAsa
rAmeshvara which Shiva seems to have told Narada Muni to be rAmaH Ishvara
yasya saH. :)

> - similar vaishnava imagery occurs throughout Adi Shankaracarya's
> commentaries on the Upanishads.

Along with kuladevatA, it can also be seen as iShTadevatA.

> - imaginary persons used by Adi Shankaracarya in explanations are
> frequently vaishnava characters, e.g. Devadatta, Yajnadatta, Vishnumitra,
> Krishnagupta.

Sorry, this is absolutely funny. :) Moreover, I don't see how Devadatta and
Yajnadatta are Vaishnava names!

> ...

> - 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.

Could you please quote the Gita verse here please? Meanwhile, bhUta has
many meanings in the language, one being devatA. Moreover, Bhagavatpada
established panchAyatana pUja, which includes Ganesha.

> 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.

Sringeri and Kanchi are not Shaiva institutions. I am afraid Clark doesn't
barely understands whats Shaiva means!!

Kind rgds,

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