[Advaita-l] Shankara says 'Vaikuṇṭha, etc. are anitya'

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Fri Nov 17 14:28:56 EST 2017

On Fri, Nov 17, 2017 at 6:52 PM, sreenivasa murthy <narayana145 at yahoo.co.in>

> Dear Sri Subramanian,
>  Mantra 3-7-23 of BruhadaraNyaka Upanishad states:
>      nAnyO^tO^sti draShTA nAnyO^tO^sti SrOtA nAnyO^tO^sti mantA
> nAnyO^tO^sti
> vijnAtaiSha ta antaryAmyamRutO^tO^nyadAratm ||
>   The final say is *anyad*  *atO anyadArtam*. Therefore Other than Atman
> which is one's true svarUpa all the other things includings dEvatAs are *Artam
> *. All names and forms are *Artam*.

Dear Sir,

Thank you for this seminal quote. It is a mahavakya of the Upanishad which
says: This Consciousness (Antaryami) that impels all inert entities like
the body mind complex of all jiva-s, is none other than you, O jiva. That
shows that the antaryami is not any deity but the nirguna brahman, for all
deities are also having body-mind complex and are impelled by that
Consciousness, Antaryami.

That the trimurti-s are also created ones, from pancha bhuta-s, is stated
by Shankara in the text Sarva vedanta siddhanta sara sangraha:

verses 417-429 The deities presiding over the senses
 ॥ २४ ॥इन्द्रियदेवताः ॥

जिह्वाया वरुणो दैवं घ्राणस्य त्वश्विनावुभौ ।
वाचोऽग्निर्हस्तयोरिन्द्रः पादयोस्तु त्रिविक्रमः ॥ ४१७॥

पायोर्मृत्युरुपस्थस्य त्वधिदैवं प्रजापतिः ।
मनसो दैवतं चन्द्रो बुद्धेर्दैवं बृहस्पतिः ॥ ४१८॥

रुद्रस्त्वहङ्कृतेर्दैवं क्षेत्रज्ञश्चित्तदैवतम् ।
दिगाद्या देवताः सर्वाः खादिसत्त्वांशसम्भवाः ॥ ४१९॥

सम्मिता इन्द्रियस्थानेष्विन्द्रियाणां समन्ततः ।
निगृह्णन्त्यनुगृह्णन्ति प्राणिकर्मानुरूपतः ॥ ४२०॥

After enumerating the various deities that preside over the various organs,
Shankara says in verse 491 above that all these deities starting from dik
(direction/space) are created from the pancha bhūtas such as ākāśa. In that
list Shankara includes Trivikrama (Vishnu), Rudra, Prajāpati, Brhaspati,
etc. Thus all deities in creation, including the trimurtis, are created
ones from pancha bhutas.

In the Anubhūti prakāśa, a work of Vidyaranya, that condenses in verse form
each of the ten principal upanishads and the Kaivalya, Koushitaki, and
Nrsimha uttara tapini, says in the Kenopanishat chapter:

भावनाजन्यवृत्त्या एव स्फोर्यं ध्यायन्ति उपासकाः । उपासकेन दृश्यं तत् ब्रह्म
मुख्यं कथं भवेत् । 50 |  The meditators meditate upon the deity, the
upāsya, which is illumined by the contemplative mental vṛtti, mode by the
upāsaka. Such a deity, how can it be the Upanishadic Brahman?

[The logic is that which is an object for a subject cannot be Brahman. Only
because they are all created, they become upāsya mūrtis.]

न दृस्यते चक्षुषा यत्, चक्षुषो भासकं तु यत् । तत् ब्रह्म, विष्णुमूर्त्यादेः
न मुख्यब्रह्मताऽस्ति हि ॥ 51 || That which is not perceived by the eye, but
which illumines the eye, that is Brahman. How can the formed deities such
as Viṣṇu be the Upanishadic Brahman?

Here we instantly recall what Shankara has said in the same context in the
Kenopanishat bhashya 1.5: The upasyas such as Vishnu, being different from
the upasaka, are not to be realized to be Brahman; they are a-brahma,

Again in the Nrsimha uttara tapini  chapter Vidyaranya says.

हिरण्य़गर्भः सूत्रात्मा त्रिमूर्तिः च इति उदीर्यते ।
ब्रह्मा विष्णुः च रुद्रः च मूर्तयो गुणभेदतः ॥ 151

The Samashti jiva is called variously as 'Hiranyagarbha, Sūtrātmā, Trimūrti
- Brahmā, Viṣnu and Rudra, on the basis of the three guṇa-s.

This is in complete agreement with the scriptural position. Shankara has
stated in the Mundakopanishat bhashyam that Vishnu is a samashti jiva.
Also, what Vidyaranya says about the trimurtis is in exact agreement with
what Shankara has said in the Vishnu sahasra nāma bhāṣya on the names
bhūtakṛt, etc. The trimurtis are manifestations of one Brahman which is in
truth none of the trimurti-s, who are created so based on guṇa-s. The
Supreme Brahman is nirguna.

Thus, the deities such as Viṣṇu are all created ones and are only
manifestations of the Upanishadic Para Brahman. This proves wrong beyond
doubt that the malicious claims of some self-styled 'vaiṣṇava-s' in the
garb of 'vedantins' that 'Visṇu' is the 'Supreme Brahman' as per 'prominent
Acharyas' (one among whom they say is Shankaracharya).


//Vishnu – The Supreme Brahman according to all Vedas, Upanishads, Smritis,
and prominent Acharyas//

Without knowing what constitutes 'Supreme' Brahman for Shankara, these
bloggers tried to propagate their own ignorance to their gullible readers.
They did not know that the 'Visnu' of their conception, who is no more than
a formed deity, is not at all the Brahman of the Upanishads as taught by
Shankara and all advaitins of all times.

Becoming confused, they shifted to another erroneous position: 'Vishnu
alone is the saguna brahman for Shankara':


//Here, we establish Sriman Narayana's paratva and prove Adi Shankara and
early advaitins held Vishnu alone as Saguna Brahman. We also expose Shaivas
in advaitic garb as proponents and adherents of newer tradition which is in
no way connected to the ancient system of advaita vedanta which was purely
vaishnava in nature.//

One can see how laughable the above claim is!! Nowhere has Shankara stated
Vishnu 'alone' to be the saguna brahman. If anything, for Shankara, the
saguna brahman is identified with Hiranyagarbha, brahma loka and not vishnu
or vaikuntha. So much for the 'purely vaishnava nature' of 'early advaita,
which held vishnu to be anātmā, abrahma, vaikuntha to be anitya, vishnu to
be samashti jiva, etc.!!

One can easily see, both from the pramāṇa-s from the pen of Shankara, in
the prasthāna traya and prakaraṇa works, that such a claim is completely
baseless. For Shankara only Nirguna Brahman is the Supreme Brahman and not
the deity Vishnu, who is explicitly stated by Shankara as 'anātmā,
abrahma', product of the pancha bhūta-s, no different from other deities
such as Brahmā and Rudra. In their enthusiasm to 'expose' Shaivas....they
have ended up exposing their own ignorance of Vedanta in general and
Advaita in particular.

Om Tat Sat


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