[Advaita-l] Paul Hacker's erroneous view

Sunil Bhattacharjya sunil_bhattacharjya at yahoo.com
Fri Sep 23 13:28:42 CDT 2016

Dear friends,

May be this is a late reply, but it appears to me that the issue as to whether Adi Shankara applied bhashma in his body has not been answered yet. Kindly correct me if I am wrong. 

There is no doubt that Adi Shankara was a great yogi and he is said to have written a yoga text "YogatArAvali" as well as a commentary on a Yoga text. He was adept in Vajroli, as he told his disciples before the "parakAya pravesha". That was to allay the fearsr of his disciples and convince them that he was beyond the wiles of Kaama or sensuousness. Being a sanyashi he could have practised only the Sahajoli version of  the Vajroli, which requires the practicants to smear the bhashma on parts of the body after the Sahajoli.  The Hathayogaratnavali clearly says that  the yogis should always practice Sahajoli and thus can remain in a  bliss unmindful of the worldly affairs.

Probaly because of this, the disciples of Adi Shankara, from his times down to thist day, smear the bhashma on the parts of the body, irrespective of whether they are practicing Vajroli or not. 

Sunil KB

On Sat, 9/3/16, D Gayatri via Advaita-l <advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org> wrote:

 Subject: Re: [Advaita-l] Paul Hacker's erroneous view
 To: "V Subrahmanian" <v.subrahmanian at gmail.com>
 Cc: "A discussion group for Advaita Vedanta" <advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org>
 Date: Saturday, September 3, 2016, 6:47 AM
 Explanation given by
 Govind Chandra Pande -
 "Padmapada's verse uses double
 entendre brilliantly.......I bow to the
 Shankara (Shiva) who does not have the rich entourage of
 (or worldlings),  who does not smear
 ashes (but who has extinguished
 the cycle of
 rebirth), whose other half is not Uma (but logical
 inference), who is not fierce, who has
 eradicated the stigma of time,
 and who is
 without Ganesha (or who has set aside the
 So it is clear that Shankara did not smear
 ashes! (no mischief here,
 the words are from
 the book, which you can verify). Nor was he
 considered the same as Shiva, since he is
 without Uma, ashes, Ganesha.
 On 3
 September 2016 at 19:07, D Gayatri <dgayatrinov10 at gmail.com>
 > Look at how beautifully the
 Narayanastra blog explains the meaning of
 > Padmapada's verse -
 > http://narayanastra.blogspot.in/p/blog-page_3.html
 namAmyabhogiparivArasampadaM nirastabhUtiM
 > anugraM
 unmR^iditakAlalA~ncanaM vinAvinAyakaM apUrvashaN^karaM
 > The above sanskrit
 verse is a double entendre. Each word/sentence can
 > be interpreted in two ways:
 > apUrva shaMkaraM
 namAmi = I salute the new Shankara who is different
 > from the commonly known Shankara
 > abhogiparivAra sampadaM = He is
 surrounded by sages (abogi-s or those
 who do not indulge in “bhoga” or enjoyments) / he is not
 surrounded by
 > snakes (bhogi-s)
 > nirasta bhUtiM = He has got no material
 wealth (bhUti) (as he is a
 > sannyasi) /
 he is devoid of ashes (bhUti)
 > anumArdha
 vigrahaM = He has logic (anumA) as his other half / he
 > not have Uma as his other half
 > anugraM = He is not fierce
 > unmR^idita kAla lA~ncanaM = He has
 surpassed the mark of time (ie.,
 samsara, as he is a jIvanmukta)/ he is devoid of the
 black-mark (on
 > the throat)
 > vinA vinAyakaM = He is not accompanied by
 > On 3 September 2016 at 19:03, D Gayatri
 <dgayatrinov10 at gmail.com>
 >>> The very comparison by Padmapada
 arises only because of the fact that he
 >>> believed that Shankara was Shiva
 avatara. Otherwise there is no reason to
 >>> make that comparison for the mere
 name being Shankara.
 PadmapAda's comparison is in fact differentiating
 Shankara from Shiva.
 >> Therefore
 Padmapada most certainly does not consider Shankara as an
 >> incarnation of Shiva, because (Adi)
 Shankara is without bhasma,
 >> without
 Uma, without Vinayaka, without snakes etc. PadmapAda's
 >> can be interpreted to have
 two meanings.
 >> Almost exactly the same interpretation
 that is given in the
 >> Narayanastra
 blog is also given in the book "Life and thought of
 >> Shankaracharya" written by Govind
 Chandra Pande. page 92, note 7,
 which considers this as double entendre.
 >> Thus, the
 purpose of PadmapAda's verse is to differentiate Adi
 >> Shankara from Shiva, who is Umapati. 
 Therefore, to say that Padmapada
 considers Shankara as an incarnation of Shiva is
 >>> The above conclusion about bhasma
 is wrong: (Your smearing remark is quite
 >>> mischievous, though):
 >> The conclusion is correct because the
 original Shankara (Shiva) dons
 >> the
 bhasma, while Adi Shankara does not don the bhasma
 >> bhUtim). Padmapada is
 differentiating the original Shankara from his
 >> guru who is also a Shankara.
 >>> The commentators are some five
 centuries later than Padmapada. While the
 >>> first one gives the meaning bhasma
 rahitam first, not satisfied with that,
 >>> gives the second meaning: without
 the aishwaryam that Shiva has.
 >> The
 commentary gives two meanings because Padmapada has
 >> double entendre! Thus the
 commentary is doing exactly what it is
 >> supposed to do.
 >>  The second
 >>> commentator does not make any
 mention about bhasma at all with reference to
 >>> Shankara.
 >> I have not verified it. Give me link
 where I can find this.
 >>> Do
 not try to deceive your reader. I have also seen the
 original of the
 >>> commentaries
 the blog cites. The blogger's affirmation that //The
 >>> commentaries "Ruju
 Vivarana" (by Vishnu Bhatta) and "Tattva
 Dipana" (by
 >>> Akhandananda
 Muni) conform to this interpretation. // is also aimed at
 >>> misleading the gullible reader,
 for only one commentator says about bhasma,
 >>> that too, alternatively only.
 >> It is alternative meaning, because the
 verse of padmapAda is
 >> deliberately
 intended to have two meanings! I am not trying to deceive
 >> anybody. So relax with your
 >>> Neither of the commentators
 succeeded in proving that Shankara was not
 >>> donning the bhasma. In fact,
 Amalananda, whom the bloggers hailed as a
 >>> vaishnava and was favourable to
 them has explicitly stated that Shankara was
 >>> Shiva avatara.
 >> By your own
 logic this does not matter since Amalananda was hundreds
 >> of years after Shankara!
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