[Advaita-l] Who is Vighneshwara?

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Mon Sep 5 01:54:44 CDT 2016

On Mon, Sep 5, 2016 at 10:35 AM, Anand Hudli via Advaita-l <
advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org> wrote:

> >There is a separate category of 'vināyaka-s' who are evil spirits featured
> >in the Srimadbhāgavatam several times and in some other puraṇas. This
> >should not be confused with the Ganapati. Shankara, the vaidika, in his
> >Gita bhashya is referring to the above group of vinayakas only.
> In connection with this remark on VinAyaka by Shankara BhagavatpAda, please
> see my brief note below:
> http://advaita-vedanta.org/archives/advaita-l/2011-July/027896.html
> Essentially, when we have shruti, smRti, and purANa support for GaNapati
> worship, it does not make sense to equate the specific instance of
> "VinAyaka" of the gItA bhAShya with GaNapati.

This is true and admissible to Shankaracharya who has made a very profound
and categorical statement:

In the Īśāvāsya bhāṣya 8 he says: न हि शास्त्रविहितं किञ्चिदकर्तव्यतामियात्
। [Nothing that the scripture enjoins is unworthy of adherence.]

The range of this statement is very wide. Shankara places very high value
to śiṣṭācāra.  What is practiced by śiṣṭa-s and not censured by them and
the śāstra is admissible according to Shankara. Moreover, the
Taittiriyopaniṣad says: ये तत्र ब्राह्मणाः सम्मर्शिनः युक्ता
आयुक्ताः..those noble minded persons are the role model for people to draw
guidance from. Vidyaranya, while commenting on this says:
रागद्वेषादिराहित्येन संयक्शास्त्रार्थनिर्ण्यकुशलाः सम्मर्शिनः those people
are noble minded who, devoid of desire, etc. and are capable of deciding on
the purport of the scripture.  The Upanishad enjoins one to follow these
people in whichever region/time they are.

On the above rule, all devotional practices such as visiting the Ayyappa
Shrine, which is said to be over 1000 years old, is also admissible to
śiṣṭa-s.  None other than the great Sri Appayya Dikṣitar has approved this
worship and even composed a verse on the Lord.  The Sringeri Jagadgurus
have visited the shrine and the present Jagadguru has even composed a hymn
on the Lord Ayyappa.  Thousands of Brahmins of all sampradayas visit the
shrine. I have seen such people devout, not missing their sandhyavandanam,
veda adhyayanam, etc. and undertake the vow sincerely.

The śāstra is intended not to be a rigid one but an evolving and inclusive
one.  That is the seminal message of the above Taittiriya Upanishad and
Shankara's statement.  A practice therefore gets sanctified irrespective of
whether or not found in books, puranas, etc. but when adhered to by śisṭas.


> Anand
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