[Advaita-l] Who Is the Ultimate GOD in Vedic dharma ?

Shrinivas Gadkari sgadkari2001 at yahoo.com
Wed Jan 17 01:48:58 EST 2018


Over the last several months, we have seen many posts
on this forum showcasing Shiva as the Ultimate GOD in 
Vedic dharma. I understand that most of these posts 
were largely motivated by a desire to counter posts 
in other forums where Vishnu is showcased at the 
Ultimate GOD in the Vedic dharma. I would like to 
present a view point wherein these differences can be 
easily resolved. 

To begin with, please do not comment by saying "brahma 
which is non dual is the only reality and hence the 
only GOD". We all are well aware of this "para tattva". 

These type of discussions certainly fall in the realm 
of dvaita - advaita. That is, that realm of vyavahAra 
where knowledge and working of para tattva is integrated 
with the knowledge and workings of other tattva-s. 

While there is enough evidence in our Puranas that 
glorify viSNu or shiva or gaNapati or any other deity, 
as the Ultimate GOD, there is also equally compelling 
evidence to start thinking that none of these are the 
Ultimate GOD. 

Who then in the Vedic dharma is the Ultimate GOD? 

Here is my understanding: 
- The "Adi-puruSa" who is glorified in the puruSa sUkta is the 
  most promising candidate for the Ultimate GOD of Vedic dharma. 
- Very likely, this is the uttama puruSa of gitA chapter 15. 
- Even bhAgavatam clarifies in Book 1, Chapter 3, Shloka 1, 
  (and indirectly at other places) that puruSa is the original 
  avatAra of bhagavAn (the GOD of bhAgavatam). And all other 
  avatAra-s of bhagavAn are parts of this puruSa avatAra. 
- brahmA, viSNu, shiva, gaNapati are major avatAra-s of this 
  puruSa avatAra. 

For sake of completeness, upAsanA texts of the any specific deity 
include a reference to puruSa avatAra as the supreme form of their 
chosen deity (which is not incorrect), and also the source of 
"other" deities (this is also not incorrect). 

For example, a vaiSNava text would use a term like "mahA viSNu" 
to refer to the puruSa avatAra, and go on to say that brahmA, 
and shiva are parts of "mahAviSNu". On the other hand a shaiva 
text would use a term like "sadAshiva" or "paramashiva" to refer 
to puruSa avatAra, and go on to say that brahmA, and viSNu are parts 
of "sadAshiva" or "paramashiva". Note that, in principle this is 
accurate, however for most of the people, these statements can be 
the primary source of misunderstanding or confusion. 

With regards, 
Shrinivas Gadkari

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