[Advaita-l] Who is Narayana?

Kaushik Chevendra chevendrakaushik at gmail.com
Wed Dec 7 00:55:24 EST 2022

In his bhasyas, acharya Shankara often used the word Narayana, Vasudeva,
visnu etc to denote the supreme being.
Who is this Narayana?
While Narayana is used to denote the supreme Brahman beyond the avyaktha it
is also used to denote Krishna. Both are indicated when the words such as
narayana,krishna etc are used.
"सः आदिकर्ता नारायणाख्यः विष्णुः भौमस्य ब्रह्मण: ब्राह्मणत्वस्य रक्षणार्थं
देवक्यां वसुदेवात् अंशेन कृष्णः किल सम्बभूव । ब्राह्मणत्वस्य हि रक्षणे
रक्षितः स्यात् वैदिको धर्मः, तदधीनत्वात् वर्णाश्रमभेदानाम्"
Hence in the upodghata to gita acharya says-"Therefore, with a view to
ensuring the well- being of the world, the primal and all-pervading Agent,
celebrated as Nārāyaṇa, is held to have been born of Vasudeva from Devaki's
womb by an aspect of Himself as Krsna in order to safeguard the spiritual
power in the world or the state of Brahmanhood."

Further in the mandukya karika 4.1 acharya
Salutes to the "best among men", who obviously isn't nirguna brahman.
" I bow to the God, known as *Nārāyaṇa*,12 who by knowledge, non-different
from the nature of *Ātman* (the object of knowledge) and which resembles
*Ākāśa*, knew the *Dharmas* which, again, may be compared to *Ākāśa.* The
import of the words “*Dvipadām Varam*” (Supreme
the bipeds), is that *Nārāyaṇa* is the greatest of all men, characterised
by two legs, that, is to say, He is the “*Puruṣottama*”, the best of all

Hence without a doubt Narayana is used to denote nirguna brahman as well as
isvara Krishna.

Namo narayana

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