[Advaita-l] Hari-Hara abheda in Vishnupurana

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Sat Jan 6 21:51:10 EST 2018

Hari-Hara abheda in Vishnupurana

In the Vishnu Sahasra Nama bhashya, Shankara at the beginning, even before
the actual names start, gives several verses that bring out Hari-Hara and
Trimurti aikya concept. Amidst these is a verse from the Vishnupuranam:

त्वया यदभयं दत्तं तद्दत्तमखिलं मया  ।

मत्तोऽविभिन्नमात्मानं द्रष्टुमर्हसि शङ्कर  ॥ ५,३३.४७ ॥

योहं स त्वं जगच्चेदं सदेवासुरमानुषम्  ।

मत्तो नान्यदशेषं यत्तत्त्वञ्ज्ञातुमिहार्हसि  ॥ ५,३३.४८ ॥

अविद्यामोहितात्मानः पुरुषा भिन्नदर्शिनः  ।

These verses occur in the context of the Banasura vadha episode narrated in
the VP. At the end the Lord Vishnu addresses Lord Shiva with the above
words: The boon of fearlessness that you gave to Banasura is given by Me.
(Hence) O Shankara, you aught to view me as non-different from you. I, you,
this world consisting of devas, asuras, humans, is entirely non-different
from me. Know this to be the Truth. However, people deluded by avidya,
ignorance, comprehend difference (between You and Me and the entire

[After these lines cited by Shankara, occur these lines in the VP:

वदन्ति भेदं पश्यन्ति चावयोरन्तरं हर  ॥ ५,३३.४९ ॥

प्रसन्नोऽहं गमिष्यामि त्वं गच्छ वृषभध्वज  ॥ ५,३३.५०

People talk of and also view difference between us, O Hara. I am pleased
and shall move on. You, O Vrshabhadhvaja (Shiva), too depart.]

For the segment मत्तोऽविभिन्नमात्मानं द्रष्टुमर्हसि शङ्कर  ॥ ५,३३.४७ ॥
cited by Shankara, Sridhara Swamin just makes this comment: the word is to
be parsed as: matto avibhinnamiti cchedah (not different from me).]

Shankara cites this verse just before the other verses from other sources
in the VSN bhashya.  Some of these other verses are:

Two seminal verses from the Bhaviṣyottara purāṇa in the introduction to the

Maheśvara (Śiva) says:

विष्णोरन्यं तु पश्यन्ति ये मां ब्रह्माणमेव वा ।

कुतर्कमतयो मूढाः पच्यन्ते नरकेष्वधः ॥

[Those fools who, devoid of proper thinking, consider Me and Brahmā as
different from Viṣṇu, will be baked in the lowly hells.] This idea is
reflected in a famous Tamil saying: ariyum aranum onnu, ariyadavar vaayile

ये च मूढा दुरात्मानो भिन्नं पश्यन्ति मां हरेः ।

ब्रह्माणं च ततस्तस्माद् ब्रह्महत्यासमं त्वघम् ॥

[Those fools, wicked ones, by seeing Me and Brahmā as different from Hari
are committing the heinous sin of brahmahatyā.]

One can recall a similar verse in the Śrīmadbhāgavatam (Dakṣayajña section)
as said by Viṣṇu: such jiva-s will not attain liberation.

Clearly, such verses of the scripture are never a favorite of

Another verse, in the same genre, cited here by Shankara is:

Harivamśa verses, spoken by Maheśvara (Śiva) to Vishnu:

अहं त्वं सर्वग देव त्वमेवाहं जनार्दन ।

*आवयोरन्तरं *नास्ति शब्दैरर्थैर्जगत्त्रये ॥ (3.88.60)

[O, the all-pervading one, I am Thee, and Thou are me alone. There is no
difference between the two of us either by word or meaning in all the three

One can appreciate the similarity of expression by Veda Vyasa in the VP
verse cited above: वदन्ति भेदं पश्यन्ति *चावयोरन्तरं* हर  ॥ ५,३३.४९ ॥

Another instance of the VP expressing non-difference is:

श्रीपराशर उवाच

अविकाराय शुद्धाय नित्याय परमात्मने  ।

सदैकरूपरूपाय विष्णवे सर्वजिष्णवे  ॥ १,२.१ ॥

नमो हिरण्यगर्भाय हरये शङ्कराय च  ।

This is a stuti of Brahman, .......Prostrations to Hiranyagarbha, Hari and

Sridhara Swamin comments: ब्रह्मादित्रिमूर्तिरूपेण प्रणमति
हिरण्यगर्भादिरूपाय  तैः रूपैः सर्गस्थित्यन्तकारिणे वासुदेवाय नमः |
[Vasudeva, by his three forms Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva, performs the cosmic
acts of creation, etc.]  Sridhara swamin, in the Bhagavatam commentary
(2.10.4o, 42,43) too, has used a similar expression to say that the
trimurtis are only three forms of the same Brahman:

*ब्रह्मरूपेण* स्रष्टृत्वमुक्त्वा *विष्णुरूपेण* पालकत्वमाह
।.....*रुद्ररूपेण* संहर्तृत्वमाह
..। [After having stated the creatorship *as Brahmā, *the sustainership* as
vishnu *is being stated*.*]

This is in perfect tune with what Shankara has commented in the VSN

Further in the same stuti in the VP we find:

ज्ञानस्वरूपमत्यन्तनिर्मलं परमार्थतः  ।

तमेवार्थस्वरूपेण भ्रान्तिदर्शनतः स्थितम्  ॥ १,२.६ ॥

In Absolute terms, Brahman is Pure Consciousness, absolutely
uncontaminated. This very Absolute Entity is, owing to delusion, bhranti,
seen as the experienced, observed, world.

Sridhara Swamin says here: अर्थस्वरूपेण दृश्यरूपेण
द्रष्टृजीवभ्रान्तिज्ञानेन स्थितम्, प्रतीतम् | [to the observer jiva, owing
to his erroneous perception, (the Absolute (nirguna) Brahman stated above)
is appearing, comprehended by, as the entire world of objects.]

One can once again see the parallel here between the verse of the VP cited
at the beginning: अविद्यामोहितात्मानः पुरुषा भिन्नदर्शिनः  । VP 4.33.49
[People see difference owing to delusion due to ignorance.]

It is the Drg-drshya viveka is eminently taught in the VP.

Thus, the VP, Sridhara Swamin has stated at the beginning, is a text that
teaches Advaita. He has said: By being exposed to the repeated instances of
the non-difference across the jagat jivatma and Paramatma, this Purana is
the most ideal place for a seeker of liberation.

The bheda between Hari-Hara, Trimurtis, and the created world, is censured
by the VP as caused by avidya, bhranti. It is rather ironical that the Yoga
Vasishtha, the Suta samhita and the Kashikhanda of the Skanda purana  are
grouped as heretic works, (avaidikatrayaM j~nAnaM vAsiShThaM
sUtasamhitA | kAshIkhaNDaM
parityAjyaM vaidikasya virodhataH ||) not worthy of even being touched, by
the Vaishnavas, while the VP, held as the foremost among the so-called
'sattva puranas' ('Puranaratnam'), is conveying the primary message that is
no different from those black-listed works.

Sridhara Swami's invocation to the Srimadbhagavatam commentary:

माधवोमाधवावीशौ सर्वसिद्धिविधायिनौ। वन्दे परस्परात्मानौ    परस्परनुतिप्रियौ॥

   I bow to Mādhava and Umādhava (Shiva) who are both 'Isha-s' Supreme
   Lords. They are capable of bestowing all accomplishments (to their
   devotees). They are both the selves of each other and both love to
   engage in the stuti of each other.

Thus the Veda, Veda Vyasa, Shankara, Sureshwara (in the vartika has
explicitly said: One Ishwara is spoken of by names such as Hari, Brahma and
Pinaki), Anandagiri, Amalananda (who authenticated the Prapanchasara as
that of Shankara), down to the present day advaitins - all vedantins
denounce the Hari-Hara bheda and Trimurti bheda.  Theological schools
outside the purview of Vedanta cannot survive if this Vedic truth is
admitted. Hence they stoke animosity among the followers of sanatana dharma
by denigrating Shiva.

Om Tat Sat


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