Jaldhar H. Vyas
jaldhar at braincells.com
Thu Sep 8 23:18:19 CDT 2016
On Tue, 6 Sep 2016, Kathirasan K via Advaita-l wrote:
> Namaste Bhaskarji,
> The Manavagrhyasutra states the names of the four Vinayakas: athāto
> vināyakānvayākhyāsyāmaḥ. śālakaṭaṅkaṭaśca kūṣmāṇḍarājaputraścosmitaśca
> devayajanaśceti. (2.14.1-2)
> which are śālakaṭaṅkaṭa, kūṣmāṇḍarājaputra, usmita and devayajana.
> Those of you who are familiar with Sanskrit can find full text here:
> goettingen.de/gretil/1_sanskr/1_veda/5_vedang/2_grhya/manavgsu.htm (look at
> 2.14 onwards for the section on Vinayakas and the effects they create)
> The Yajnavalkya Smrti states 6 Vinayakas: mita, sammita, śāla, kaṭaṅkaṭa,
> kūśmāṇḍa and rājaputra (1.285). It also states that the Brahma and Rudra
> appointed the Vinayaka to be the remover of obstacles (1.271). Look at the
> effects of Vinayakas curse in verses 1.272 - 276. However, this text
> eventually relates that Mahaganapati needs to be worshipped daily along
> with Aditya to overcome the obstacles. The Yajnavalkya Smrti is available
While in certain contexts specific lists of named Vinayakas may be given
they should be probably thought of as numberless. An analogy is how
the Rudras are sometimes spoken of as 8 or sometimes 11. Or the
Rudradhyaya of the Yajurveda speaks of the 10 Rudras of the east, 10 of
the south etc. The devata of these mantras is simply described as
In many cultures of the world there are traditions of spirits who
are multiple, mostly anonymous, yet intimately connected with rural life.
They are not really "evil" per se but they are mischievous and capricious
and if angered they must be appeased or they will cause problems and
obstacles. This is why Shankaracharya calls their worship as tamasik
bhakti. They are being worshipped out of fear that bad things will
happen. Rajasik bhakti such as towards the pitrs is worship done for an
ulterior motive - to get wealth or blessings etc. A Rajasik bhakta is a
fair weather friend. Happy to pray when the going is good but turning on
Bhagavan the moment things take a turn for the worse. Sattvika bhakti is
done out of love only with no expectations of reward.
Panini mentions the grammatical rule that e.g Panchala can mean the people
or land of Panchala or the King of Panchala. Similarly Ganesh Bhagavan is
called Vinayaka because he has power over these vinayakas.
Another significant observation that came up the last time this issue was
discussed is that the examples given by Shankaracharya are not random.
The Vinayakas, Matrkas and Chaturbhagini are part of the pantheon of the
Vamashrotas. This is not to be confused with Vamachara but one of the 5
"streams" of Tantras emanating from Sadashiva. (In this classification,
Shrividya is part of the Dakshinashrotas.) Unlike the troublesome spirits
of folk religion this was a sophisticated sampradaya once prevalent from
Kashmir and Nepal to the South. It was however not Vedic.
Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>
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