[Advaita-l] Chronology and Traceability
Raghav Kumar Dwivedula
raghavkumar00 at gmail.com
Thu Jun 17 12:32:13 EDT 2021
Please read 'salama purposes' as 'sakAma purposes'.
On Thu, 17 Jun, 2021, 9:59 pm Raghav Kumar Dwivedula, <
raghavkumar00 at gmail.com> wrote:
> Namaste Anand ji
> Most of the graama devatas are placeable in the vedic devatas scheme. Sri
> Krishna mentioned the grama devatas like the (sapta) mAtR gaNa devatas,
> chatur-bhaginIs etc. in gItA 9.24.
> येऽपि अन्यदेवताभक्तिमत्त्वेन अविधिपूर्वकं यजन्ते, तेषामपि यागफलं अवश्यंभावि । कथम् ?
> यान्ति देवव्रता देवान्पितॄन्यान्ति पितृव्रताः ।
> भूतानि यान्ति भूतेज्या यान्ति मद्याजिनोऽपि माम् ॥ २५ ॥
> यान्ति गच्छन्ति देवव्रताः देवेषु व्रतं नियमो भक्तिश्च येषां ते देवव्रताः
> देवान् यान्ति । पितॄन् अग्निष्वात्तादीन् यान्ति पितृव्रताः
> श्राद्धादिक्रियापराः पितृभक्ताः । भूतानि विनायकमातृगणचतुर्भगिन्यादीनि यान्ति
> भूतेज्याः भूतानां पूजकाः । यान्ति मद्याजिनः मद्यजनशीलाः वैष्णवाः मामेव
> यान्ति । समाने अपि आयासे मामेव न भजन्ते अज्ञानात् , तेन ते अल्पफलभाजः
> भवन्ति इत्यर्थः ॥ २५ ॥
> Even these hierarchically lower devatas if worshipped with a sattvik
> attitude confer results equivalent to Ishvara worship. This is what the
> popular worship of vinAyaka is likely to have modified in to over the
> centuries. This vedicization/sanskritization is quite awareful and
> validated by the gIta itself. (The communist historians of India falsely
> allege that such 'sanskritization' is 'brahminical' and with ulterior
> The idea is, that the same devatA, when performed with a different
> attitude, leads to the devata himself/herself being evoked in a more saumya
> / refined form.
> Next is the question of "non-vedic gods". The Astika view would be that
> the vedas are the last word in ateendriya viShayas. Therefore all these
> other non-vedic gods too are part of the vedic/agamic pantheon which has a
> place for the most refined Ishvara worship as also departed ancestor
> worship (pitRs) and the bhUta worship (lower devatas mostly for salama
> Please note that the entire universe both gross and subtle has been
> partitioned or mapped out so to speak among these 33 categories of vedic
> deities who represent Ishvara's powers or partial aspects . So any 'new' or
> 'non-vedic' deity like Harihara or Santoshi mAtA (of 20th century vintage
> according to some) or even tribal worship of the Sun or Earth or Rivers, is
> only either an amsha or combination of these original vedic deities.
> When the tribals of Arunachal as part of their Donyi-Polo tradition
> worship Surya and Chandra, its not hard to see correspondences. Elsewhere
> it may be weaker but never altogether absent. This is the principle.
> I had occasion to stay for an year in the Biligiri Rangana Hills of Mysuru
> where the Soliga tribals revere a huge ancient champaka tree called the
> Doddasampige. Its hanging twines are identified as the jaTa or matted locks
> of God. The correspondence to Shiva worship is evident although the names
> of Shiva are not explicitly invoked for that particular Sacred tree.
> On Thu, 17 Jun, 2021, 6:40 pm Anand N via Advaita-l, <
> advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org> wrote:
>> Thank you Jaldharji for the interesting references, especially that of
>> Shiva and Garuda.
>> Those references to Shiva as a bowman helped a lot!
>> The way I am trying to see this, is like you pointed out very aptly to the
>> "Vision" being granted to a Rishi(Seer).
>> "For instance, the Greek
>> poet Homer does not begin his Illiad "now I'm going to sing about the
>> wrath of Achilles" but "Sing Muse of the wrath of Achilles"
>> Subbuji had made a point that Ayyapa though not part of the Vedic fold,
>> later accepted
>> as per Shishtachaara.
>> So, that would imply that some Rishi had the vision of Ayyapa, through
>> which the tradition of
>> Ayyapa came along. This was then accepted into the vedic fold.
>> Raghav Kumar Ji had also pointed out that this acceptance to the vedic
>> is very conservative.
>> There is however one thing nagging me here. There are several Non Vedic
>> Gods in the Indian and
>> outside the Indian context. There is also a tendency to take the
>> "Gramadevata" and sanskritize
>> and vedicize him. So it's not very clear to me how this can be accounted
>> Om Namo Narayanaya,
>> On Fri, 11 Jun 2021 at 09:07, Jaldhar H. Vyas via Advaita-l <
>> advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org> wrote:
>> > I have been wanting to respond to this post for some time but it has
>> > me a long time to formulate my thoughts on this subject.
>> > On Sun, 18 Apr 2021, Anand N via Advaita-l wrote:
>> > > I was a little hesitant about posting this question in a Vedanta
>> > but
>> > > I am doing it anyway. Ishwara is Brahma Sahita Maya, and this question
>> > can
>> > > be ignored too :-)
>> > On the contrary this is a very good question and one more students
>> > ask if they wish to increase their understanding.
>> > >
>> > > We say that Vedas, being Apaurusheya and timeless are the basis from
>> > which
>> > > even Smrutis and Puranas have developed.
>> > Apaurusheyatva is orthogonal to timelessness. We speak of Newtons law
>> > gravity. Isaac Newton was a devout Christian who lived in England in
>> > 17th century. But gravity existed long before Isaac Newton and would
>> > exist even if there had never been an Isaac Newton. We call it Newtons
>> > law because he was the first to "see" it. So too, the Rshis are not the
>> > authors of the mantras but the ones who first "saw" them (the literal
>> > meaning of rshi is mantradrashta) Or they "heard" them (Shruti = "that
>> > which is heard") in any case this was not a deliberate mental act. We
>> > a similar mindset in other ancient cultures too. For instance, the
>> > poet Homer does not begin his Illiad "now I'm going to sing about the
>> > wrath of Achilles" but "Sing Muse of the wrath of Achilles" (The Muses
>> > were the nine Goddesses of the Arts in Graeco-Roman religion.) In other
>> > words Homer did not think he was composing a poem but that divine
>> > inspiration was posessing him and speaking through him. Divine
>> > inspiration could have made the Rshis see or it could have been the
>> > hallucinogenic properties of the Soma plant or a state of samadhi caused
>> > by yogic practices. Whatever the cause, for the Mimamsakas (from whom
>> > Vedantins take the doctrine of apauresheyatva) it is clear that Rshis
>> > not authors.
>> > Smrti deriving from Shruti is for a different reason. Take for instance
>> > Sandhyavandana. Everyone will agree even if they don't practice it
>> > themselves that this is the basic daily ritual obligation for a
>> > Yet in the Shuklayajurvedic tradition which is the one I am familiar
>> > the only mention of sandhya is in the Shatapathabrahmana,
>> > aharaharsandhyaamupaset "From day to day he should practice the sandhya.
>> > But what does that mean "from day to day"? And how exactly do you
>> > "practice sandhya"? The Rshis pondered on subjects such as these and
>> > these are the vedangas. The vedanga kalpa deals with rituals and there
>> > are different works in this genre for different shakhas (more of
>> > which below) In shuklayajurveda it is in the paraskaragrhyasutra that
>> > can learn that sandhya is to be done at morning, noon and night, it
>> > involves offering arghya, reciting Gayatri etc. Other Rshis thought
>> > the big picture and worked to consolidate these particular traditions
>> > grand theories of Dharma. These are what we normally call Smrtis, by
>> > Manu, Yajnavalkya, Parashara etc. As that literature became
>> > there developed nibandhas or digests such as Nirnayasindhu etc. Then
>> > people who just wanted a practical guide to e.g. sandhya, there
>> > prayogas which just give the facts without much or any discussion. One
>> > project I've been working on and off for my own benefit is a comparison
>> > between different prayoga books. And so the general-particular cycle
>> > continues.
>> > > Ramayana and Mahabharata being events which actually took place.
>> > So that was a description of the Smrtis that deal with karmakanda but
>> > another important class deals with the events mentioned in the shruti.
>> > The terms Purana and itihasa are used in the Veda itself. During
>> > (yajnas lasting three days or more) it was the custom to pass the time
>> > between sessions telling stories of old. And the frame story of the
>> > extant puranas is usually that of a 100 year sattra held in
>> > by Shaunaka Rshi. In the chandogyopanishad, Narada tells Sanatakumar of
>> > the various subjects he has studied including Rk, Yajus, Sama, and
>> > Atharva veda "and itihasapurana which is the fifth."
>> > While astikas do believe the events in itihasa and puranas did take
>> > according to the Mimamsakas it is a mistake to treat them as "history".
>> > These kind of statements whether in shruti or smrti are arthavada -
>> > auxilliaries to injunctions to act (or to know according to Vedantins)
>> > Another example: the scientist Schrodinger came up with a thought
>> > experiment involving a cat in a box to illustrate a theory about quantum
>> > physics. And "Schrodingers cat" has been much debated by physicists
>> > then. It has even entered popular culture. But if you ask "Is the cat
>> > striped? Does it like milk?" you are missing the point. Yes, cats do
>> > different colours of fur. Yes they do eat different things. But these
>> > details are irrelevant to the task of explaining a principle of physics.
>> > In the shatapathabrahmana it is said that Janamajaya Parikshita
>> > the ashvamedha. The idea is to extol the ashvamedha. i.e. if someone as
>> > illustrious as Janamajaya performed the ashvamedha, you should too. In
>> > the Bhagavatapurana it also says that Janamajaya the son of Parikshita
>> > the grandson of Arjuna the Pandava performed a great yajna as he was
>> > to die from snakebite. (in fact this is the occasion for the first
>> > recital of the Bhagavata.) Both sources are presumably talking about
>> > same event but actually you cannot compare them as they are being told
>> > two different purposes.
>> > > I was interested to know if there is a linear chronological
>> > of
>> > > these works.
>> > >
>> > Yes there is. Even according to the astika point of view. At the
>> > beginning of each creation cycle, Chaturmukha Brahma "breathes" out the
>> > mantras. The Rshis "see" them. This could be a process that takes many
>> > generations. For instance at the end of each kanda of the
>> > shatapathabrahmana (of which the Brhadaranyakopanishad is a part) there
>> > is a vamshabrahmana that gives the parampara of that section. In the
>> > Dvaparayuga Maharshi Krshna Dvaipayana forseeing the decline in
>> > of people in the upcoming kaliyuga collects all these vedic texts and
>> > arranges them into four (hence he is called Veda Vyasa - the arranger
>> > of the Vedas) and teaches them to his students who teach them to
>> > their own students thus founding the shakhas we have today plus many
>> > others which did not survive for whatever reason. And out of compassion
>> > for the dvijetara who have no adhikara for Vedas, he took their essence
>> > and composed the Mahabharata and the 18 Mahapuranas. This illustrates
>> > another principle of our chronology. The passage of time is not seen as
>> > progress towards a final or even merely greater levels of revelation but
>> > as a degeneration. We have more shastras in number and volume now not
>> > because we are more spiritually advanced but because we are less. What
>> > took one word in "the good old days" takes one thousand now.
>> > > For example:
>> > > If we look at Rudra Prashna, we see Rudra as wielding bow and arrow
>> > > other weapons. The same Rudra then transformed into Shiva who is
>> > wielding a
>> > > Trishul. So if we take the Veda's Rudra Prashna as the source, and
>> > the
>> > > source gets multiplied by the later literature, we are arriving at
>> > we
>> > > have today as the Pradosha Puja, Shivaratri etc.
>> > We have hardly stopped referring to Shiva Bhagavan as a bowman though.
>> > In the Ramayana it is told how Shri Rama won Sita ma's hand at her
>> > svayamvara by successfully drawing (and breaking) the Pinaka bow which
>> > temporarily passed from Shiva Bhagavan into the Mithila royal families
>> > hands due to events. The Rudri also mentions his blue throat, matted
>> > hair, snake ornaments not to mention the name Shiva itself in the
>> > of the panchakshari mantra no less. Why does it not mention trishula?
>> > mentioned before the Shruti does not necessarily give all the details.
>> > >
>> > > We could take any other God too. For e.g. Garuda who is there in the
>> > > Shatapatha Brahmana, further in the Mahabharata as the son of Kadru.
>> > There
>> > > is the whole Garuda Purana too.
>> > >
>> > Garuda is in the samhita too. The mantra suparNo'si... in the
>> > samhita is used in smarta prayoga for ghanta puja but the shrauta
>> > application is for the agnichayana. In this yajna a vedi made of bricks
>> > in the shape of a bird and this bird-altar is honored with this mantra.
>> > It is called Suparna, Garutman (Garuda,) and Tarkshya which are names of
>> > his in Puranas too.
>> > > So can we do a bidirectional traceability between our current image of
>> > Gods
>> > > and the Vedic Gods? Is there a clear chronological development and
>> > > transformation of our Gods and our practices?
>> > This implies that the material in the puranas is later which is not
>> > necessarily a settled fact even if we accept the editorial shape of the
>> > Puranas as we have them is later. But as this post is already really
>> > I should write about that separately.
>> > --
>> > Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>
>> > _______________________________________________
>> > Archives: https://lists.advaita-vedanta.org/archives/advaita-l/
>> > http://blog.gmane.org/gmane.culture.religion.advaita
>> > To unsubscribe or change your options:
>> > https://lists.advaita-vedanta.org/cgi-bin/listinfo/advaita-l
>> > For assistance, contact:
>> > listmaster at advaita-vedanta.org
>> Archives: https://lists.advaita-vedanta.org/archives/advaita-l/
>> To unsubscribe or change your options:
>> For assistance, contact:
>> listmaster at advaita-vedanta.org
More information about the Advaita-l mailing list