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philosoraptor
23 September 2013, 12:15 PM
Pranams,

This is a continuation of a discussion begun elsewhere regarding Adi shankara's views on anya-devata worship. Traditionally, many are used to thinking of Adi shankara as being a smArtha in his outlook, i.e. equating various different deities as different forms of the same brahman (specifically - viShNu, rudra, durgA, sUryA, gaNesha as per pancOpAsana doctrine). A question came up as to Adi shankara's views on gaNesha worship specifically. I had a chance to look it up, and I am reproducing it here.

As always, I request those who are easily offended by discussions of views that don't match their own to steer clear. The purpose of this thread will be to explore what Adi shankara has said on this subject, with emphasis on his works whose authorship is not disputed.

Regarding his views on viNAyaka worship, here is his commentary on gItA 9.25 along with A.G. Warrier's translation. First the shloka:

yAnti devavratA devAn pitR^In yAnti pitR^ivratAH |
bhUtAni yAnti bhUtejyA yAnti madyAjino'pi mAm || gItA 9.25 ||

"To gods repair their devotees; to the manes go those devoted to the manes. The worshippers of the elemental go to these elementals. My worshippers come to Me."

And now Adi shankara's bhAShya:

yAnti iti || yAnti gachchanti devavratAH deveShu vrataM niyamaH bhaktishcha yeShAM te devavratAH devAn | yAnti pitR^In agniShvAttAdIn yAnti pitR^ivratAH shrAddhAdikriyAparAH pitR^ibhaktAH |bhUtAni vinAyakamAtR^igaNachaturbhaginyAdIni yAnti bhUtejyAH bhUtAnAM pUjakAH | yAnti madyAjinaH madyajanshILAH vaiShNavAH mAM eva | samAne api AyAse mAM eva na bhajante aj~nAnAt; tena te aLpaphaLabhAjaH bhavanti ityarthaH ||

A.G. Warrier's translation:

"To 'the gods' go the devotees of gods whose discipline and devotion are oriented to the gods. To the 'manes,' agniShvAtta etc., go those devoted to the manes and engaged faithfully in obsequies. To the 'elementals,' vinAyakas, the mother spirits, the four sisters, etc., go 'the worshippers of the elementals.' My worshippers - habitual devotees of Vishnu - come to Me alone. Though the labour involved is the same, due to their ignorance they fail to worship Me exclusively; therefore they gain but petty results. This is the idea."

The question that came up is whether viNAyaka is taken in the singular sense, i.e. as referring to a specific deity by the name viNAyaka, or in the plural sense, i.e. as a category of entities known as the viNAyaka-s. Looking at the Sanskrit, it appears that "viNAyaka" is part of a tat-puruSha compound, and thus (if memory serves), can be taken in either (singlular, plural) sense, with the complete compound being declined in the plural. Thus, it is not clear to me from this commentary at least, that a single viNAyaka (aka gaNesha) is being referred to. It is clear, however, that shankarAchArya is criticizing those who do pUja to other deities, stating that the labor involved is same, and that the results are miniscule.

Omkara
23 September 2013, 12:27 PM
And now Adi shankara's bhAShya:

yAnti iti || yAnti gachchanti devavratAH deveShu vrataM niyamaH bhaktishcha yeShAM te devavratAH devAn | yAnti pitR^In agniShvAttAdIn yAnti pitR^ivratAH shrAddhAdikriyAparAH pitR^ibhaktAH |bhUtAni vinAyakamAtR^igaNachaturbhaginyAdIni yAnti bhUtejyAH bhUtAnAM pUjakAH | yAnti madyAjinaH madyajanshILAH vaiShNavAH mAM eva | samAne api AyAse mAM eva na bhajante aj~nAnAt; tena te aLpaphaLabhAjaH bhavanti ityarthaH ||

A.G. Warrier's translation:

"To 'the gods' go the devotees of gods whose discipline and devotion are oriented to the gods. To the 'manes,' agniShvAtta etc., go those devoted to the manes and engaged faithfully in obsequies. To the 'elementals,' vinAyakas, the mother spirits, the four sisters, etc., go 'the worshippers of the elementals.' My worshippers - habitual devotees of Vishnu - come to Me alone. Though the labour involved is the same, due to their ignorance they fail to worship Me exclusively; therefore they gain but petty results. This is the idea."


Note the parts of the commentary which I have highlighted. Shankaracharya is criticizing worship of Durga in the forms of the matrikas and bhaginis. Unlike the reference to Vinayaka, this is unambiguous and cannot be interpreted in any other way. Modern day Advaitins try to justify this by saying that Shankaracharya is only criticizing tamasic worship of Devi as set out in the Vamachara tantras.

smaranam
23 September 2013, 01:06 PM
The question that came up is whether viNAyaka is taken in the singular sense, i.e. as referring to a specific deity by the name viNAyaka, or in the plural sense, i.e. as a category of entities known as the viNAyaka-s. Looking at the Sanskrit, it appears that "viNAyaka" is part of a tat-puruSha compound, and thus (if memory serves), can be taken in either (singlular, plural) sense, with the complete compound being declined in the plural. Thus, it is not clear to me from this commentary at least, that a single viNAyaka (aka gaNesha) is being referred to.

According to Shrila PrabhupAd, there is a group called vinAyaka, refers to a kind of ghost-spirits and has nothing to do with VinAyaKa as in GaNesh or VishNu-gaNa.

SB 10.6.27-29

ḍākinyo yātudhānyaś ca
 kuṣmāṇḍā ye ’rbhaka-grahāḥ
bhūta-preta-piśācāś ca
 yakṣa-rakṣo-vināyakāḥ
koṭarā revatī jyeṣṭhā
 pūtanā mātṛkādayaḥ
unmādā ye hy apasmārā
 deha-prāṇendriya-druhaḥ
svapna-dṛṣṭā mahotpātā
 vṛddhā bāla-grahāś ca ye
sarve naśyantu te viṣṇor
 nāma-grahaṇa-bhīravaḥ


The evil witches known as Ḍākinīs, Yātudhānīs and Kuṣmāṇḍas are the greatest enemies of children, and the evil spirits like Bhūtas, Pretas, Piśācas, Yakṣas, Rākṣasas and Vināyakas, as well as witches like Koṭarā, Revatī, Jyeṣṭhā, Pūtanā and Mātṛkā, are always ready to give trouble to the body, the life air and the senses, causing loss of memory, madness and bad dreams. Like the most experienced evil stars, they all create great disturbances, especially for children, but one can vanquish them simply by uttering Lord Viṣṇu’s name, for when Lord Viṣṇu’s name resounds, all of them become afraid and go away.

Context: PutanA vadh

Since vinAyaka (plural) is clubbed with bhut rAkshas as well as the mAtrikA, in SB 10.6.27-29 as well as in Adi Shankara's commentary to BG 9.25, the answer seems to be 'plural'
_/\_

Omkara
23 September 2013, 02:03 PM
Good catch, smaranam-ji. I am not so sure about the matrikas though. I have never heard of matrikas as demons before. Their mention along with the bhaginis suggests that it is forms of Uma being talked about gere.

Sri Vaishnava
23 September 2013, 02:37 PM
Well, I had been asked to create this thread and declined due to the recent Ganesha controversy, but since its a done deed, here are my 2 cents.

Firstly, let me clarify something. "vinAyaka" is a name of Ganesha as per mordern day hindus. In Adi Shankara's time, it is not as certain as that. I see no reason to equate even "vinAyaka" in the singular to the popular Ganesha, especially when such beings are mentioned as part of the bhUta-piSaca category.

Secondly, "vinAyaka" is not a vishNu gaNa or anything. There is a nitya sUri, a servant of Vishnu known as Gajanana, whose appearance is elephant like and has a tusk. This Gajanana and Vishvaksena are invoked to destroy the obstacles to Brahma jnAnam in the pAncharAtra and vaikhAnasa agamas. In Tirumala, a vaikhAnasa kshetra, you can see Vishwaksena blessing everyone in PadmAvathi sanndhi as well as near the sanctum of srI venkatEswara. The same Gajanana and VishvaksEna are even mentioned as the ones who destroy obstacles to Vishnu bhakti in the tantra agamAs that constitute the mode of worship for Kerala vaishnava temples. As a result, you can see Vishvaksena even in kerala temples of Vishnu, which do not run by pAncarAtra or vaikhAnasa, the two recommended agamas.

vinAyaka is not a name of Gajanana.

So, slokas like,

"durgam vinayakam vyasam..." seen in bhagavatam etc will mean "In order to remove (vinAyakam) obstacles that stand like a fortress between jivA and Vishnu (durgam), we worship vyasa, etc. It is within context to take vinayakam and durgam as adjectives qualifying vyasa, vishwaksena and the rest because that sloka occurs in the context of praising Vishnu, his weapons and ornaments, his nitya sUrIs and others. To interpret it as the deities durga and vinAyaka takes it out of context, especially when vinAyaka worship has not been encouraged in the bhagavatam itself.

Now, on to srI adi shankara's opinion.

Much has been mentioned already. Books have been written by many smArtas as well as vaishnavas to prove that he was a vaishnava by persuasion. For one thing, take his vishnu sahasranama bhAshya where he interprets "Soma" as "He (Vishnu) who has the consort of Uma (Shiva) as his vibhUtI" and "Keshava" as "Lord of Brahma and Rudra".

Then, take his brahma sUtra bhAshya, where (according to my friend who gave me this info.) that the Lord Pasupati was created by Brahman, and mentions the same about Surya. Also, in the same bhAshya, he rejects the pAsupata agama wholesale, but while rejecting the pAncharAtra agama, he says, "Although the agamA is not wholly vedic, we accept that nArAyaNa is the supreme self and must be worshipped in temples, and his bhagavatas who adorn his marks are sanctioned by the sAstra". Note, he says the philosophy of the agama is wrong, but not the deity. If he had a saivite inclination, he could have said the same about the pasupata sAstra, ie, that worship of Shiva could have been accepted.

Sri Rama Subbu Sastri of Thiruvisanallur, a smArta, has proven (in the late 1800s) that ShankarAcHArya was a vaishnava. This is again, a piece of news dug up by my knowledgeable friend and I claim to know little on this matter.

The rest of the proofs have already been given in the thread. And its not just Shankara. All the advaita acharyas barring appayya dikshitar were vaishnava in outlook and openly even condemned anya devata bhajana.

No wonder srI velukkudi varadAchAriar swami, the father of the now famous srI velukkudi krishnan swami, once remarked in a lecture, "The debate between Advaita, Vishishtadvaita and Dvaita is not on the basis of which deity is the Supreme. It is only on the basis of which philosophy constitutes the vedas. All 3 maThams are agreed on nArAyaNa as parabrahman."

EDIT: However, let us not forget that srI adi shankara indeed may have worshipped anya devatas as gurus. Among the vaishnava tradition, smArtas and mAdhvas worship the various devas as gurus for attaining hari bhakti, as do the other traditions like nimbArka, vallabhA, etc. It is only the sri vaishnavas who say that Shiva is a guru for upAsakas (bhakti yOgIs) and not for prapannAs. Hence, due to our postulation of a two-fold path to moksha, we do not worship Shiva as a guru either, though we of course, consider him a vaishnava of high stature.

DOUBLE EDIT: Here are a couple of quotes given by my friend (bhagavatafan) which establish this truth:

yoginām api sarveṣāṃ rudrādityādi-dhyāna-parāṇāṃ madhye mad-gatena mayi vāsudeve samāhitenāntarātmanāntaḥ-karaṇena śraddhāvān śraddadhānaḥ san bhajate sevate yo mām, sa me mama yuktatamo 'tiśayena yukto mato 'bhipreta iti (~Shankara gita bhAshya, 6.47).

Here, he says vAsudeva bhaktas are superior to the worshippers of Rudra and Aditya.

Another quote mentioned by my friend is from the tAtparya chandrikA of vedAnta desikan (must be in puttur swami's edition, I confess I haven't read tAtparya chandrika for the last 6 chapters of Gita; my edition has just 12 chapters!)

Sri VedAnta Desikan, a srI vaishnava achArya, remarks the following under the sloka 18.66:

"The conclusion 'Bhagavan (Narayana) is the Supreme Brahman. Taking refuge in Him alone, and resorting to none else is the highest of all dharmas.'-this has been unanimously accepted as the essence of the Bhagavad Gita by Shankara, Bhaskara, Yadavaprakasha, Narayanarya, Yajnasvami and others, though they were different in philosophy".

Note that achAryan would never have said this if it hadn't been true during his time. This makes it certain.

ShivaFan
23 September 2013, 04:32 PM
Namaste

Sri Maha Ganesha Pancharatnam was composed by Sri Adi Sankara Baghvad Pada in the 8th Century, and is giving worship to Ganesha Vinayaka in Five Gems or 5 eulogies.

So now I am being told that Sankara did not follow what is claimed is his "recommendation" to not worship Ganesha as it is a waste of time?

So is this Sri Adi Sankara Baghvad Pada not the same Adi Sankara noted in this thread? Is there a claim that Ganesha Pancharatnam is a fake, forgery or later eulogy and not actually by Adi Sankara?

Om Namah Sivaya

Ganeshprasad
23 September 2013, 04:57 PM
वक्रतुण्ड महाकाय सुर्यकोटि समप्रभ

निर्विघ्नं कुरु मे देव सर्वकार्येषु सर्वदा

Pranam

This will be my only post on this thread, who will be the arbiter here to decide whose authorship is authentic or not, On an Adwaita forum one would expect a follower, surely not PS or Omkara who is on record of saying and I quote



Other than the prasthanatrayi bhashyas of Shankaracharya, most other works of his are considered of doubtful authenticity.


In his prasthanatrayi Bhashyas, he does not once call Brahman by any name other than Narayaba. He calls Surya and Rudra as Jivas.
Isn't it bit disingenuous to ascribe it to Shankara when you later qualified saying this

Also, Sri Vaishnava says Shankaracharya has referred to Surya and Rudra as jivas in his upanishad bhashyas.

So there goes the myth that Shankaracharya was a Smarta.


Samaranam ji's post here is concise and to the point, makes it adequately clear what Sri pad Sankaracharya is alluding to, taking Bhutas in consideration it is very obvious but not for some, why?
Because when we have predilection, we then proceed to doctrine that was defined first and the scripture was then read/interpreted to be an exact match.

I see no objective consideration, so I will concede to Phil's desire and let him be.

Jai Shree Krishna

philosoraptor
23 September 2013, 05:25 PM
Good catch, smaranam-ji. I am not so sure about the matrikas though. I have never heard of matrikas as demons before. Their mention along with the bhaginis suggests that it is forms of Uma being talked about gere.

I agree, smaranam - that was a good catch. Thank you! Based on this information, I would tend to think that the bhAgavata and Adi shankara were referring to the same concept of viNAyaka-s and mAtrika-s.

I had never heard of mAtrika-s and was not aware they (along with bhAginI-s) were forms of uma. Having said that, Adi shankara appears to be mentioning these forms in the context of commenting on the worship of bhUta-s as mentioned in the gItA shLoka. Would that not make it less likely that he was referring to forms of uma?

Omkara
23 September 2013, 05:54 PM
I agree, smaranam - that was a good catch. Thank you! Based on this information, I would tend to think that the bhAgavata and Adi shankara were referring to the same concept of viNAyaka-s and mAtrika-s.

I had never heard of mAtrika-s and was not aware they (along with bhAginI-s) were forms of uma. Having said that, Adi shankara appears to be mentioning these forms in the context of commenting on the worship of bhUta-s as mentioned in the gItA shLoka. Would that not make it less likely that he was referring to forms of uma?
Namaste, please read Satish Argela's posts on the thread I had linked. He makes it clear what Shankaracharya is referring to. A quote-


Speculation is okay but it should have some basis. There is a good reason why gaNesha, mAtR^ika-s and chaturbhagini system is mentioned here. It is not coincidence that they are grouped together. The central devata of the chaturbhagini system is called tumburu rudra or tumburu shiva, a great form of parameshvara which belongs to the vAma srotas(not that in the great shaiva system originated from the vAmadeva mukha of the fived faced sadAshiva. The other four being gAruDa, bhUta, dakShiNa, and Urdhva srotas The names of the chaturbhagini-s are jayA, vijayA, ajitA & aparAjitA. In the middle of the four bhagini-s is seated the great form of parameshvara tumburu middle of the four bhagini-s is seated the great form of parameshvara tumburu shiva, holding a vINa among other things. The worship of tumburu along with the worship of these four bhagini-s is mentioned in the prapa~nchasAra tantra.(Does this ring a bell? I guess not - otherwise i would not be writing all these) Now in the matsya purAna a story is described on how shiva took a form holding a vINa and he danced along with the mAtR^ika-s. If you see various old sapta mAtR^ika panels, you will notice that on these panels the mAtR^ika-s along with gaNesha, and a vINa holding shiva(the central devata of the chaturbhagini system) are depicted on the same panel. In some panels instead of the vINAdhara shiva one sees vIrabhadra. Do you see the proper context now as to why the gaNesha, mAtR^ika and the chaturbhagini system are clubbed together? Now anybody who says the mAtR^ika-s on these panels and the gaNesha represented on these panels is different from popular gaNesha worshipped these days is going to make out of himself for obvious reasons Do you see now why it is not coincidence that these devata-s are mentioned together? We have rock solid(in both senses of the term) evidence in the form of sculptures. If you think about this, it is very clear which devata worship is shankara condemning in the b gIta bhAShya.

philosoraptor
23 September 2013, 05:58 PM
Firstly, let me clarify something. "vinAyaka" is a name of Ganesha as per mordern day hindus. In Adi Shankara's time, it is not as certain as that. I see no reason to equate even "vinAyaka" in the singular to the popular Ganesha, especially when such beings are mentioned as part of the bhUta-piSaca category.

Pranams,

This is where I am leaning as well. It seems that Adi shankara was mentioning viNAyaka(-s) along with mAtrika-s and bhAginI-s as different types of bhUta-s. I have never heard of gaNesha described as a type of bhUta. Especially in light of the bhAgavata shLoka mentioned by smaranam in which viNAyaka-s and mAtrika-s are spoken of in the context of bhUta-s and pishAcha-s, this seems more consistent.



Secondly, "vinAyaka" is not a vishNu gaNa or anything. There is a nitya sUri, a servant of Vishnu known as Gajanana, whose appearance is elephant like and has a tusk. This Gajanana and Vishvaksena are invoked to destroy the obstacles to Brahma jnAnam in the pAncharAtra and vaikhAnasa agamas. In Tirumala, a vaikhAnasa kshetra, you can see Vishwaksena blessing everyone in PadmAvathi sanndhi as well as near the sanctum of srI venkatEswara. The same Gajanana and VishvaksEna are even mentioned as the ones who destroy obstacles to Vishnu bhakti in the tantra agamAs that constitute the mode of worship for Kerala vaishnava temples. As a result, you can see Vishvaksena even in kerala temples of Vishnu, which do not run by pAncarAtra or vaikhAnasa, the two recommended agamas.

Aside from tantra Agama, do we have any other sources that would help establish the antiquity of gajAnana-worship with specific reference to his distinguishing features as an associate of viShNu and a nitya-sUri? This might be helpful to driving home the point.



vinAyaka is not a name of Gajanana.

So, slokas like,

"durgam vinayakam vyasam..." seen in bhagavatam etc will mean "In order to remove (vinAyakam) obstacles that stand like a fortress between jivA and Vishnu (durgam), we worship vyasa, etc. It is within context to take vinayakam and durgam as adjectives qualifying vyasa, vishwaksena and the rest because that sloka occurs in the context of praising Vishnu, his weapons and ornaments, his nitya sUrIs and others. To interpret it as the deities durga and vinAyaka takes it out of context, especially when vinAyaka worship has not been encouraged in the bhagavatam itself.

Agreed on the context part. However, (and forgive me for asking the dumb question since my Sanskrit is rusty), grammatically speaking, with the above interpretation, wouldn't viNAyaka be in chaturthi-vibhakti (dative case)? Also, durgAM cannot be an adjective describing vyAsa if durgA refers to the fortress which the worship of vyAsa is meant to remove.

regards,

Omkara
23 September 2013, 06:14 PM
http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matrika

Sri Vaishnava
23 September 2013, 06:32 PM
However, (and forgive me for asking the dumb question since my Sanskrit is rusty), grammatically speaking, with the above interpretation, wouldn't viNAyaka be in chaturthi-vibhakti (dative case)? Also, durgAM cannot be an adjective describing vyAsa if durgA refers to the fortress which the worship of vyAsa is meant to remove.

regards,

Sorry, I wrote that in a hurry and had not noted the entire sloka. That interpretation was not right. And yes, durgam is not an adjective of vyAsa - I had never intended it to sound like that.

If I had the vIrarAghavIyam with me, I could probably check it up. As it so happens, I don't. But no matter, this is the position of sampradAyam anyway.

EDIT: One thought occured to me that Durga could indeed be interpreted as "vishNu durga", who is often present in pAncarAtra temples as one who safe-guards the temple as a service to bhagavAn. She had a boon that she would be installed in all vishNu temples for her service to Krishna, so I believe it could very well be Durga indeed. If so, vinAyaka could indeed refer to a separate deity, although by sri vaishnava interpretation, it would definitely not be Ganesha - srI velukkudi swami himself has mentioned Ganesha is referenced nowhere in the bhagavatam in his lectures. Plus, unlike Durga, Ganesha is never installed in vaishnava temples

I apologise for the earlier interpretation I gave without consulting my acharya's commentaries and looking at the verse properly. Will update if I get more information.

Omkara
23 September 2013, 06:38 PM
I agree, smaranam - that was a good catch. Thank you! Based on this information, I would tend to think that the bhAgavata and Adi shankara were referring to the same concept of viNAyaka-s and mAtrika-s.

I had never heard of mAtrika-s and was not aware they (along with bhAginI-s) were forms of uma. Having said that, Adi shankara appears to be mentioning these forms in the context of commenting on the worship of bhUta-s as mentioned in the gItA shLoka. Would that not make it less likely that he was referring to forms of uma?
Namaste, please read Satish Argela's posts on the thread I had linked. He makes it clear what Shankaracharya is referring to. A quote-


Speculation is okay but it should have some basis. There is a good reason why gaNesha, mAtR^ika-s and chaturbhagini system is mentioned here. It is not coincidence that they are grouped together. The central devata of the chaturbhagini system is called tumburu rudra or tumburu shiva, a great form of parameshvara which belongs to the vAma srotas(not that in the great shaiva system originated from the vAmadeva mukha of the fived faced sadAshiva. The other four being gAruDa, bhUta, dakShiNa, and Urdhva srotas The names of the chaturbhagini-s are jayA, vijayA, ajitA & aparAjitA. In the middle of the four bhagini-s is seated the great form of parameshvara tumburu middle of the four bhagini-s is seated the great form of parameshvara tumburu shiva, holding a vINa among other things. The worship of tumburu along with the worship of these four bhagini-s is mentioned in the prapa~nchasAra tantra.(Does this ring a bell? I guess not - otherwise i would not be writing all these) Now in the matsya purAna a story is described on how shiva took a form holding a vINa and he danced along with the mAtR^ika-s. If you see various old sapta mAtR^ika panels, you will notice that on these panels the mAtR^ika-s along with gaNesha, and a vINa holding shiva(the central devata of the chaturbhagini system) are depicted on the same panel. In some panels instead of the vINAdhara shiva one sees vIrabhadra. Do you see the proper context now as to why the gaNesha, mAtR^ika and the chaturbhagini system are clubbed together? Now anybody who says the mAtR^ika-s on these panels and the gaNesha represented on these panels is different from popular gaNesha worshipped these days is going to make out of himself for obvious reasons Do you see now why it is not coincidence that these devata-s are mentioned together? We have rock solid(in both senses of the term) evidence in the form of sculptures. If you think about this, it is very clear which devata worship is shankara condemning in the b gIta bhAShya.

Omkara
23 September 2013, 06:45 PM
Samaranam ji's post here is concise and to the point, makes it adequately clear what Sri pad Sankaracharya is alluding to, taking Bhutas in consideration it is very obvious but not for some, why?


Anyone who has studied tantra will understand that it is Shaiva/Shakta practices being critiqued here, as Arigela points out.

philosoraptor
23 September 2013, 06:50 PM
Namaste, please read Satish Argela's posts on the thread I had linked. He makes it clear what Shankaracharya is referring to. A small quote-

Speculation is okay but it should have some basis. There is a good reason why gaNesha, mAtR^ika-s and chaturbhagini system is mentioned here. It is not coincidence that they are grouped together. The central devata of the chaturbhagini system is called tumburu rudra or tumburu shiva, a great form of parameshvara which belongs to the vAma srotas(not that in the great shaiva system originated from the vAmadeva mukha of the fived faced sadAshiva. The other four being gAruDa, bhUta, dakShiNa, and Urdhva srotas The names of the chaturbhagini-s are jayA, vijayA, ajitA & aparAjitA. In the middle of the four bhagini-s is seated the great form of parameshvara tumburu middle of the four bhagini-s is seated the great form of parameshvara tumburu shiva, holding a vINa among other things. The worship of tumburu along with the worship of these four bhagini-s is mentioned in the prapa~nchasAra tantra.(Does this ring a bell? I guess not - otherwise i would not be writing all these) Now in the matsya purAna a story is described on how shiva took a form holding a vINa and he danced along with the mAtR^ika-s. If you see various old sapta mAtR^ika panels, you will notice that on these panels the mAtR^ika-s along with gaNesha, and a vINa holding shiva(the central devata of the chaturbhagini system) are depicted on the same panel. In some panels instead of the vINAdhara shiva one sees vIrabhadra. Do you see the proper context now as to why the gaNesha, mAtR^ika and the chaturbhagini system are clubbed together? Now anybody who says the mAtR^ika-s on these panels and the gaNesha represented on these panels is different from popular gaNesha worshipped these days is going to make out of himself for obvious reasons Do you see now why it is not coincidence that these devata-s are mentioned together? We have rock solid(in both senses of the term) evidence in the form of sculptures. If you think about this, it is very clear which devata worship is shankara condemning in the b gIta bhAShya.

I will go over his postings in more detail. These are concepts with which I am not familiar. One question though - is it possible that the chaturbhAginI system is a concept later to the one mentioned in the bhAgavatam? I think knowing that would make a big difference in interpretation.

Sri Vaishnava
23 September 2013, 06:52 PM
Now anybody who says the mAtR^ika-s on these panels and the gaNesha represented on these panels is different from popular gaNesha worshipped these days is going to make out of himself for obvious reasons Do you see now why it is not coincidence that these devata-s are mentioned together? We have rock solid(in both senses of the term) evidence in the form of sculptures. If you think about this, it is very clear which devata worship is shankara condemning in the b gIta bhAShya.

Pardon me if I am wrong, but are we are to equate the ganesha with the vinAyaka mentioned in the bhAshya based on the panels? The actual purAna apparently doesn't say anything other than Shiva and the mAtrikas.

Note, gAnapatyam is indeed an old sect and the worship of ganesha is old. But there are evidences that it fused with shaivam at a later date. Ganesha, while missing in the sangam literature of ancient tamils, is mentioned by avvaiyar, a later saivite/skanda worshipper. The same ganesha is not mentioned anywhere in the works of kAlidasa.

So, I may be wrong, and this is clearly a befuddling subject for me, but do the presence of the panels have any impact on the bhAshyam? The panels could simply allude to the fusion of gAnapatyam at a later date with this story.

To my mind, this still doesn't represent conclusive proof as the author claims.

philosoraptor
23 September 2013, 06:56 PM
Sorry, I wrote that in a hurry and had not noted the entire sloka. That interpretation was not right. And yes, durgam is not an adjective of vyAsa - I had never intended it to sound like that.

If I had the vIrarAghavIyam with me, I could probably check it up. As it so happens, I don't. But no matter, this is the position of sampradAyam anyway.

I apologise for the earlier interpretation I gave without consulting my acharya's commentaries and looking at the verse properly. Will update if I get more information.

Please let us know what you find - I would be very interested in a more erudite commentary on this verse. I can get vishvanAtha chakravarti's commentary, but it would be nice to get one from the Sri Vaishnava point of view.

One thought I had - isn't durgA mentioned as one of the names of yOga-mAyA, the female deity who assists Sri Krishna just prior to His appearance, and takes the place of yashOda's female child? And is yOga-mAyA one of the nitya-siddhas?

Omkara
23 September 2013, 06:58 PM
I will go over his postings in more detail. These are concepts with which I am not familiar. One question though - is it possible that the chaturbhAginI system is a concept later to the one mentioned in the bhAgavatam? I think knowing that would make a big difference in interpretation.

According to indologist dating (:D ) the chaturbhagini system is older.
From a traditional Hindu perspective, I can't say.
My personal theory is that in the time period in which Shankara lived, the matrikas, bhaginis and vinayaka must have been considered pretas by Vaishnavas and Smartas. In time the Shaiva position got gradually integrated into the mainstream.

Sri Vaishnava
23 September 2013, 06:58 PM
One thought I had - isn't durgA mentioned as one of the names of yOga-mAyA, the female deity who assists Sri Krishna just prior to His appearance, and takes the place of yashOda's female child? And is yOga-mAyA one of the nitya-siddhas?

I wrote that in the EDIT section. vishNu durga is indeed installed (although not worshipped) in pAncharAtra temples like Thiruvallikeni and Thirukkovalur. She performs the service of being the guardian of the temple. But she is not a nitya mukta. She is a baddha still operating in the field of karma (which is obviously why we don't worship her).

I will get more information on the verse later. One point to note is we don't worship Durga, yet that verse talks of obeisances, so it will be interesting to see the commentary on that.

Omkara
23 September 2013, 07:01 PM
Pardon me if I am wrong, but are we are to equate the ganesha with the vinAyaka mentioned in the bhAshya based on the panels? The actual purAna apparently doesn't say anything other than Shiva and the mAtrikas.

Note, gAnapatyam is indeed an old sect and the worship of ganesha is old. But there are evidences that it fused with shaivam at a later date. Ganesha, while missing in the sangam literature of ancient tamils, is mentioned by avvaiyar, a later saivite/skanda worshipper. The same ganesha is not mentioned anywhere in the works of kAlidasa.

So, I may be wrong, and this is clearly a befuddling subject for me, but do the presence of the panels have any impact on the bhAshyam? The panels could simply allude to the fusion of gAnapatyam at a later date with this story.

To my mind, this still doesn't represent conclusive proof as the author claims.

I should have made myself more clear. The panels depict a tantric procedure for the worship of tumburu rudra. It is this form of worship which Shankaracharya is criticizing, ie. ge is criticizing Tantric Shaiva/Shakta Ganesha worship.

Sri Vaishnava
23 September 2013, 07:07 PM
I should have made myself more clear. The panels depict a tantric procedure for the worship of tumburu rudra. It is this form of worship which Shankaracharya is criticizing, ie. ge is criticizing Tantric Shaiva/Shakta Ganesha worship.

Possibly. But he says that the worshippers of these deities go to these deities. Now, even avidhi pUrvakam, can only be interpreted as "doing vedic rites with wrong knowledge". Tantric rites are not considered vedic and hence, cannot be considered to yield even the trivial phalan of going to the worlds of those deities.

There are differences between doing rites not prescribed by vaidikas and doing rites prescribed by vaidikas in a wrong manner. SrI rAmAnuja interprets those verses in the latter way - they worship without knowing these deities are my (nArAyaNa's) body and the worship goes to me. But that much only is their error - the rite itself is vedic.

Now, the question is whether srI sankara bhagavatpAda considered the tantric rites to also yield the ephemeral phalan of going to the worlds of these deities? Because he says the worshippers of vinAyaka reach vinAyaka, etc.

Omkara
23 September 2013, 07:10 PM
But this rite has a vedic basis. It is also contained in the paippalada samahita of the atharvaveda. I will post references if there is interest.

Omkara
24 September 2013, 12:37 AM
After thinking over it a bit, my opinion is- There are pretas in the puranas called vinayakas, matrikas,bhaginis etc and it is possible that Shankarachary is referring to them. On the other hand, there is no evidence that worship of pretas was common in 8th century India, so it would be slightly unlikely that Shankaracharya is using a near-extinct tradition as an example.
Both interpretations of Shankaracharya's words are feasible.

Amrut
24 September 2013, 02:03 AM
According to Shrila PrabhupAd, there is a group called vinAyaka, refers to a kind of ghost-spirits and has nothing to do with VinAyaKa as in GaNesh or VishNu-gaNa.

SB 10.6.27-29

ḍākinyo yātudhānyaś ca
 kuṣmāṇḍā ye ’rbhaka-grahāḥ
bhūta-preta-piśācāś ca
 yakṣa-rakṣo-vināyakāḥ
koṭarā revatī jyeṣṭhā
 pūtanā mātṛkādayaḥ
unmādā ye hy apasmārā
 deha-prāṇendriya-druhaḥ
svapna-dṛṣṭā mahotpātā
 vṛddhā bāla-grahāś ca ye
sarve naśyantu te viṣṇor
 nāma-grahaṇa-bhīravaḥ


The evil witches known as Ḍākinīs, Yātudhānīs and Kuṣmāṇḍas are the greatest enemies of children, and the evil spirits like Bhūtas, Pretas, Piśācas, Yakṣas, Rākṣasas and Vināyakas, as well as witches like Koṭarā, Revatī, Jyeṣṭhā, Pūtanā and Mātṛkā, are always ready to give trouble to the body, the life air and the senses, causing loss of memory, madness and bad dreams. Like the most experienced evil stars, they all create great disturbances, especially for children, but one can vanquish them simply by uttering Lord Viṣṇu’s name, for when Lord Viṣṇu’s name resounds, all of them become afraid and go away.

Context: PutanA vadh

Since vinAyaka (plural) is clubbed with bhut rAkshas as well as the mAtrikA, in SB 10.6.27-29 as well as in Adi Shankara's commentary to BG 9.25, the answer seems to be 'plural'
_/\_

Namaste,

nice catch Smaranam ji

Adi Shankara would not condemn anything that complies veda-s and encourages practice of dharma, as evident from his commentary and Varttikas by Sureshvaracharya on Tai. Up 1/11, Satyam vada, dharmam chara, matru devo bhava ...

since tantra-s are supplementary texts that comply and help practice veda-s, I do not think Adi Shankara's would have targeted pure tantra, but as Omkara has pointed out, it should point out to vAmachAri-s, who worship bhUta-piSAcA-s, etc.

From Srila-PrabhupAda's translation of SB 11.3.47

ya asu hrdaya-granthim
nirjihirsuh paratmanah
vidhinopacared devam
tantroktena ca kesavam
SYNONYMS

yah -- one who; asu -- quickly; hrdaya-granthim -- the knot of the heart (false identification with the material body); nirjihirsuh -- desirous of cutting; paratmanah -- of the transcendental soul; vidhina -- with the regulations; upacaret -- he should worship; devam -- the Supreme Personality of Godhead; tantra-uktena -- which are described by the tantras (the supplementary Vedic literatures that give detailed instructions for spiritual practice); ca -- as well (in addition to those regulations which are directly vedoktam); kesavam -- Lord Kesava.

TRANSLATION

One who desires to quickly cut the knot of false ego, which binds the spirit soul, should worship the Supreme Lord, Kesava, by the regulations found in Vedic literatures such as the tantras.

Purport not quoted :)

EDIT: or may be it has something to do with Buddhists, but Buddhisim was already declining during Adi Shankara's time.

http://kamakoti.org/hindudharma/part12/chap3.htm

Aum

Sri Vaishnava
24 September 2013, 02:16 AM
After thinking over it a bit, my opinion is- There are pretas in the puranas called vinayakas, matrikas,bhaginis etc and it is possible that Shankarachary is referring to them. On the other hand, there is no evidence that worship of pretas was common in 8th century India, so it would be slightly unlikely that Shankaracharya is using a near-extinct tradition as an example.
Both interpretations of Shankaracharya's words are feasible.

In my opinion, he was talking about the pretas. I find it difficult to think of this as a form of tantric worship. The argument you give against it is not really an obstacle. srI rAmAnuja talks about worship of Indra, which, while possibly prevalent earlier, was not in his time.

IMO, the worship of the pretas, like Indra is probably a vedic rite ( possibly considered tAmasic like the syena yAga), and Shankara was alluding to that indeed.

Amrut
24 September 2013, 02:38 AM
Just for record purpose, cross posting from another closed thread

Sanskrit:

भूतानि विनायकमातृगणचतुर्भगिन्यादीनि यान्ति भूतेज्याः भूतानां पूजकाः। यान्ति मद्याजिनः मद्यजनशीलाः वैष्णवाः मामेव यान्ति। 9.25

Hindi

भूतोंकी पूजा करनेवाले विनायक, षोडशमातृकागण और चतुर्भगिनी आदि भूतगणोंको पाते हैं तथा मेरा पूजन करनेवाले वैष्णव भक्त अवश्यमेव मुझे ही पाते हैं। 9.25

Translation by Shri Goenka ji of Gita Press
Aum

Sri Vaishnava
24 September 2013, 06:37 AM
Update on the bhagavata sloka:

I asked a friend of mine, who is an erudite scholar on the issue. He says that he does not have the vIrarAghava bhAshyam either, but has interpreted the sloka from his own knowledge for me as follows:

durgam vinayakam vyasam
visvaksenam gurun suran
sve sve sthane tv abhimukhan
pujayet proksanadibhih

In this sloka, "durgam" refers to vishNu durga only. The sloka is meant for offering respects and this is part of nitya karmas. vishNu durga, who obtained a boon from Krishna, is present in many vishNu temples facing bhagavAn and hence, respect is given to her.

Now comes the part which surprised me. Vinayaka mentioned here is indeed gajanana! The relevant sloka as under, interpreted in this way by srI parAsara bhattar in his vishnu sahasranAma bhAshya:

yasya dviradavaktraadyaaH paariShadyaaH paraH shatam .
vighnaM nighnanti satataM viShvakasenaM tamaashraye'

Meaning:
gajAnana (the double-tusked elephant-faced nitya-sUri in vaikuntam) an hundreds of such sUris, who always remove all obstacles, form the members of the army commanded by Vishvaksena. I take resort to them.

As you can see, GajAnana is interpreted to be the remover of obstacles, in addition to Vishwaksena, and hence, Vinayaka describes Gajanana. My friend says that in all vaishnava temples, there is a deity known in tamil as "thumbikkai azhwar" (meaning: devotee (azhwar) with a trunk) on the pillar facing the sanctum of bhagavan. Indeed, I have seen this myself in Thiruvallikeni near srI narasimha sannidhi. This "thumbikkai azhwar" is Gajanana, the remover of obstacles and a part of Vishvaksena's army.

So, my earlier observation that Vinayaka is not a name of Gajanana was obviously wrong as per my friend's observation and I retract that statement.

Durga, Gajanana, Vishvaksena are all seen to surround Vishnu in his temples, that is certainly a fact I have observed for myself. In place of vyAsa, we sri vaishnavas normally consecrate srI rAmAnuja, the azhwars and achAryAs. That is more than acceptable, obviously, for us.

Now, I have asked some others for the vIrarAghavIyam (sri vaishnava commentary on bhagavatam by srI vIrarAghavAchArya of the 14th century) to get the achAryan's view in this matter. If it differs from my friend's opinion, I will post it here.

brahman
24 September 2013, 06:44 AM
Pranams,

The question that came up is whether viNAyaka is taken in the singular sense, i.e. as referring to a specific deity by the name viNAyaka, or in the plural sense, i.e. as a category of entities known as the viNAyaka-s. Looking at the Sanskrit, it appears that "viNAyaka" is part of a tat-puruSha compound, and thus (if memory serves), can be taken in either (singlular, plural) sense, with the complete compound being declined in the plural. Thus, it is not clear to me from this commentary at least, that a single viNAyaka (aka gaNesha) is being referred to. It is clear, however, that shankarAchArya is criticizing those who do pUja to other deities, stating that the labor involved is same, and that the results are miniscule.








Dear Phil,

Bhutas can be translated as elements, spirits etc. But in the commentary Vinayaka also is included among the bhutas by the acharya. To millions in the world Vinayaka is nothing but God and therefore the translation of the word ‘bhutas’ as spirit or element would result in wounding the feelings of many. To leave the word as ‘bhuta’ itself seems to be harmless.

Also any method of conduct in relation to the denial of a deity is not seen here; for we would rather prefer to see the message of this verse as something that is related to the vastness and the limitlessness of Vishnu, the Absolute of the Upanishad understood in the context of the Gita whose expansiveness is beyond the boundary of names and forms, against the other deities in the Hindu pantheon.



Translation of the original text by V. Panoli:

Worshippers of gods go to the gods; to the mane go the worshippers of the manes; sacrifices of the bhutas go to the bhutas; but my worshippers come unto me. BG9:25

Those who have devotion and vows for the gods (Deva vtatas) go to the gods and those who are devoted to the manes, agnishvatta and the rest, and are enthusiastic in performing rites such as sraddha, go to them. Those who worship the Bhuta such as vinayaka, the Matrugana, and the four Bhaginis go to them. Those Vishnu-Bhakthas who are ever devoted to Me exclusively, owing to ignorance. Therefore they enjoy only little results. Bhashya

Just an opinion alone. Love:)

smaranam
24 September 2013, 07:49 AM
Namaste, praNAm,

my Conclusion:
Just as
Shiva = bhUtanAtha, Lord of, but not a bhUta Himself (bhuta pishacha kushmAnDa bhairav...?)
GaNesh = gaNapati, controller of, but not a 'vinAyaka' as in goblin Himself, but vighna-nAshak (remover of obstacles).

similarly
Gauri = mAtR-jyeshTha-swAmini, Queen-Goddess of the semi-beings, but not one Herself (although she becomes KAli to the unrighteous - be they Her own devotees - ref: Jada Bharat story - Bhagvat canto 5).


Below - explains my conclusion, (but Bramhan, your request for political correctness is noted)

Gana and bhuta - the transcendental hooligans (http://www.harekrsna.com/sun/features/01-13/features2695.htm) :)

Srila Prabhupada, in his purport on Gita 9.25, explains the following:


"If one has any desire to go to the moon, the sun or any other planet, one can attain the desired destination by following specific Vedic principles recommended for that purpose, such as the process
technically known as darsa-paurnamasi. These are vividly described in the fruitive activities portion of the Vedas, which recommends a specific worship of demigods situated on different heavenly planets.
Similarly, one can attain the Pita planets by performing a specific yajna. Similarly, one can go to many ghostly planets and become a Yaksha, Raksha or Pishaca. Pishaca worship is called "black arts" or "black
magic." There are many men who practice this black art, and they think that it is spiritualism, but such activities are completely materialistic. Similarly, a pure devotee, who worships the Supreme Personality
of Godhead only, achieves the planets of Vaikuntha and Krishnaloka without a doubt.

In his Gita Bhasya, Shankaracharya described Bhutas as being "the hosts (ganas) of Vinayakas and Matrs, the Four Sisters, etc."

The Yajnavalkya Smrti (Vinayaka Kalpa), 7th prakarana, mentions Vinayakas, describing a ritual for subduing these troublesome spirits, who cause much difficulty for humans who anger or disturb them. Ganesh is known as the Lord of the Ganas, and as the controller of obstacles, he is the commander of these transcendental hooligans.

---------------

FYI: When Gauri (plural, 2) arrive during GaNesh festival, they are two Gauris called JyeshThA (older) and KanishThA (younger). This JyeshThA appears to be from that list - mAtRkA, pUtanA, jyeshThA, bhagini...
Some articles on the net say mAtRkA are semi-demoniac (- good to good, bad to bad, bad on UmA's order, bad at night... ?). Also, didn't two bhaginis share Uma's blood when the three went out, the bhaginis were hungry and had no food, so Uma did this - She is annapUrNA after all. This could be symbolic, but all falls in one category which makes Adi Shankara mention it.

_/\_

smaranam
24 September 2013, 07:56 AM
Regarding SB 11.27.29 (durga vinayaka vyasa vishvaksena sve sve sthane...), I see that we are back to what Shrila Jiva Goswami had been saying all along -
http://www.hindudharmaforums.com/showpost.php?p=107775&postcount=7

:)

I still wonder (owing to personal experience) if these are not two sets of devas (spiritual and material), but it is [the eyes of] the sAdhak (aspirant) that makes them so. i.e. a tAmasic bhakta interacts with tAmasic aspects of devas in material world, sAttvic - sAttvic and nirguN nirguN.

Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder after all. To put it in jagatguru Yogeshwar Shri KRshNa's language -
BG 4.11
ye yathā māṁ prapadyante tāṁs tathaiva bhajāmy aham mama vartmānuvartante manuṣyāḥ pārtha sarvaśaḥ

As all surrender unto Me, I reward them accordingly. Everyone follows My path in all respects, O son of Pṛthā.


namah: kamalanAbhAya namaste jalashAyine
namaste keshavAnanta vAsudeva namostute _/\_

Omkara
24 September 2013, 08:04 AM
Regarding mAtRkA - they are assistants of UmA and help Her when She kills the real demons.

No, they are forms of the Divine Mother herself according to Markandeya Purana.


Also, if memory serves me right, the 7 mAtRkA (mothers) are so named because they took care of, hence mothered, nurtured baby kArtikeya when it was too dangerous to keep Him in KailAsh, since The asura (tripurasura family) knew the reason of His birth - to destroy them.


No, those are the Krittikas, and they are 6 in number.

smaranam
24 September 2013, 08:14 AM
No, they are forms of the Divine Mother herself according to Markandeya Purana.


No, those are the Krittikas, and they are 6 in number.
Oh yes of course, the KRttikAs. Thanks for the corrections, Omkara :)
Even if mAtrkA are forms of UmA it does not surprise me, isn't KAli Her form as well? It has a purpose.

_/\_

Omkara
24 September 2013, 08:18 AM
Translation of the original text by V. Panoli:

Those Vishnu-Bhakthas who are ever devoted to Me exclusively, owing to ignorance. Therefore they enjoy only little results.
This translation seems to be the exact opposite of what Shankaracharya seems to be saying.

smaranam
24 September 2013, 08:22 AM
This translation seems to be the exact opposite of what Shankaracharya seems to be saying.
I noticed that statement does not make sense. It is a typo or some phrase is cut deleted ? That was my first impression on reading it.

I edited the previous post to remove the story of kArtikeya (where I confused mAtRkA with kRttikA, sorry)

smaranam
24 September 2013, 08:32 AM
No, they are forms of the Divine Mother herself according to Markandeya Purana.


No, those are the Krittikas, and they are 6 in number.

I found that information from wikipedia (not an ideal source), and unknowingly, i notice now, my memory coincides with what it says about Skanda (kArtikeya). The article notes - some say 6, some 7 and some say there are 8 mAtRkA.

The Matrikas assume paramount significance in the goddess-oriented sect of Hinduism (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hinduism), Tantrism (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tantra).[4] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matrikas#cite_note-W41-4) In Shaktism (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shaktism), they are "described as assisting the great Shakta Devi (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Devi) (goddess) in her fight with demons."[5] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matrikas#cite_note-5) Some scholars consider them Shaiva (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shaiva) goddesses.[6] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matrikas#cite_note-A-6) They are also connected with the worship of warrior god Skanda (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murugan).[7] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matrikas#cite_note-ReferenceA-7) In most early references, the Matrikas are described as having inauspicious qualities and often described as dangerous. They come to play a protective role in later mythology, although some of their inauspicious and wild characteristics still persist in these accounts.[8] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matrikas#cite_note-8) Thus, they represent the prodigiously fecund aspect of nature as well as its destructive force aspect.[9] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matrikas#cite_note-Jain162-9)


The article goes on to say they are shaktis of the gods who associate with Shiva. So, if there is a bhairav, there has to be a bhairavi right?

smaranam
24 September 2013, 08:45 AM
Don't want to go on about this topic, but in the ShAkta tradition, all are Devi, but one (your IshTa) is the Chief Devi, Shakti, and all others are Her associates, assistants, some pAlya dAsis etc.
e.g. your IshTa could be Lalita-tripurasundari, Durga, KAli, ... and all other forms are either Her subordinates or sakhis (peers).

So, of course these other 'forms' are interacting and assisting UmA - be they Her own forms.

smaranam
24 September 2013, 08:53 AM
LAst but not the least (my goodness am i monopolizing this thread?)

To those Shri VaishNav who say that GaNesh does not exist:

Then who wrote down the puranas and mahabharat as VedaVyAsa dictated them?
I guess your answer is GajAnana in VaikunTha - from SB 11.27.29?

Omkara
24 September 2013, 10:16 AM
The article goes on to say they are shaktis of the gods who associate with Shiva. So, if there is a bhairav, there has to be a bhairavi right?

There is a goddess called Bhairavi, but she is not one of the Matrikas. The Matrikas are Brahmani, Maheshvari, Kaumari, Vaishnavi, Varahi, Indrani, Chamunda.

According to Wikipedia the Matrikas are mentioned in Matsya Purana, Vamana Purana, Varaha Purana, Kurma Purana,Mahabharata.

Omkara
24 September 2013, 10:24 AM
It seems you were not wrong after all.

Apparently there are versions of Skandas birth story in the Mahabharata that have the Matrikas as his mothers. My apologies.

Sri Vaishnava
24 September 2013, 10:34 AM
Then who wrote down the puranas and mahabharat as VedaVyAsa dictated them?
I guess your answer is GajAnana in VaikunTha - from SB 11.27.29?

Before trying to be sarcastic, one must check his sources.

The portions describing Ganesha as the scribe of the mahAbhArata are considered as late interpolations. There have been numerous works written by srI puttur swami showing this and it is not mentioned before the 15th century. Even in the harivamSha, it is said that bAnAsura obtained a boon that he would be considered the second son of shiva and pArvati (the first being kArtikEya; no mention of a "third" son there as well).

The author of mahAbhArata was srI veda vyAsa.

Secondly, even if we interpret durga and vinayaka as "vishNu-durga" and "gajanana", it doesn't agree with srila prabhupada's theories of an "original durga" and a "original ganesha" at all, as you tried to claim earlier. The vishNu durga is still a baddha jivA as per sri vaishnavas.

Thirdly, I am still waiting for a response from my side with the vIrarAghavIyam. Will communicate it when (or rather, if) it arrives, for that particular verse.

However, believe what you want. As I said, nobody is forcing anybody to accept one or the other opinions.

ShivaFan
24 September 2013, 12:29 PM
Namaste

Advaita is a philosophy and religion based on the Vedas that teaches among other things the non-duality of the individual soul and God. Shankaracharya is an exponent of this.

In this spirit, Sankara wrote eulogies of praise to a number of the well known and cherished Hindu Devatas as a path to such unity including Ganesha as exampled in the Ganesha Pancharatnam. I already asked why a single quote, a single verse, of Sankara which in my opinion is being misrepresented is being used as the sole arbitrator for an agenda to belittle Ganesha who is beloved by millions of Advaitans, ignoring the Ganesha Pancharatnam where Sankara gives praise to Ganesha and Vinayaka and whether some claim this work Ganesha Pancharatnam by Sankara is a forgery of another author. There was no response.

I believe this thread is authored by those who do not ascribe to Advaita philosophy, It is simply an attempt by a few Vaishnavas (not all Vaishnava responders) to continue harping on belittling Lord Ganesha, couched under the agenda of a single, misrepresented, verse of Adi Sankara and actually has nothing to do with Advaita which I believe the OP does not adhere to in the first place. Therefore I request this thread be moved out of the Advaita forum and into the Vaishnava forum where it belongs.

In the Deodar Forest Darukavana, some sages had performed black magic to invoke an elephant-demon called Gajasura who was a vinayaka. Vinayakas are a type of demon, as documented in the Manava Grhyasutras.
Shiva slayed this demon and became known as Gajasurasamhara the slayer of the elephant-one sura. Some Saivas traditions hold that the head of an elephant, or even this very demon, was placed on the Son of Shiva and Ganesha became the Commander of Shiva's Ganas. There are also vinayakis or female forms on lists of matrikas. Ganesha is not a demon, He wears the head of an elephant. He is certainly a destroyer of such demons or can even change their hearts and enlist them as a Gana, and He removes their obstacles . Such elephant demons are commonly known and found in ancient sculptures (I read a very interesting archeological analysis which included discussion of vinayakas).

According to the advice of monks of an ancient Sampradaya, they recommended to me "not to associate" (including on the internet) with those who make a habit to belittle Lord Ganesha and wasting their life in such matters instead of glorifying the Name of their own Lord. I would pass on this advice to other Saivas.

I would again like to request this thread to be moved to the Vaishnava forum where it belongs.

Om Namah Sivaya

Sri Vaishnava
24 September 2013, 12:56 PM
Ok, touchy. One last post - my final reply on this thread, as I am being branded a ganesha dveshi.

I do not deny that Ganesha is a hindu god. He is very much a god for shaivas and according to shaiva philosophy, and even mAdhvas, nimbarka sampradaya etc., he is the son of shiva.

I was merely stating the sri vaishnava view-point, which everyone is free to disagree with.

However, in respect of sentiments, I post no more. If anyone wants the opinion of my sampradaya, send me a PM. I had indeed earlier discussed with Omkara that this thread was likely to rub people the wrong way.

jignyAsu
24 September 2013, 01:03 PM
I wanted to post this in the Ganapathi Pooja thread before it got closed and have been waiting ever since. When a notable Sri Vaishnava scholar says that Lord Ganesha does not have a proper reference in the Vedas(and 18 Puranas), he does not mean that Ganesha does not exist. Nor does that mean that the devotees are interacting with an imagined deity or that he is not a respected hindu god. It just means that when we hear accounts like him having defeated Lord Shiva, Vishnu etc, or with Aiyappa swami being the son of Vishnu/Shiva, we don't integrate it into our philosophy. But not all Vaishnavas accept all accounts and not all Hindus accept Vaishnava philosophy. Hundreds are Vishnu and Shiva GaNAs and various are the PramAn and interpretation upheld by various Hindus.

That there's no one falsifying Ganesha in Sri Vaishnavam is apparent by seeing so many iyengars still worshipping him. One can imagine as to what reactions an iyengar would face if he goes to a church for e.g.

So, lets not think that SriVaishnavas hold that any Hindu deity is a false god.

I apologize much for the derail.

Omkara
24 September 2013, 01:12 PM
In this spirit, Sankara wrote eulogies of praise to a number of the well known and cherished Hindu Devatas as a path to such unity including Ganesha as exampled in the Ganesha Pancharatnam. I already asked why a single quote, a single verse, of Sankara which in my opinion is being misrepresented is being used as the sole arbitrator for an agenda to belittle Ganesha who is beloved by millions of Advaitans, ignoring the Ganesha Pancharatnam where Sankara gives praise to Ganesha and Vinayaka and whether some claim this work Ganesha Pancharatnam by Sankara is a forgery of another author. There was no response.


As has been previously discussed, the consensus among scholars is that only the prasthana trayi bhasyas of Shankaracharya can be unambiguously considered genuine. Some scholars even go so far as to question the authenticity of the gita bhashya.

This is my last post on this thread too.

smaranam
24 September 2013, 01:45 PM
Before trying to be sarcastic,
I wasn't being sarcastic. It was an honest question.

Secondly, even if we interpret durga and vinayaka as "vishNu-durga" and "gajanana", it doesn't agree with srila prabhupada's theories of an "original durga" and a "original ganesha" at all.
That is Jiva Goswami's theory, not PrabhupAd's. Jiva is one of the famous shaD-goswAmI. He says this DurgA and vinAyaka are eternal associates of NArAyaNa in VaikunTha. To be so, they have to be liberated.


The vishNu durga is still a baddha jivA as per sri vaishnavas.
Then how can she be in VaikunTha or be a nitya sUri? This VishNu-Durga is YogamAyA, the internal potency, not the external potency - acc. to GauDiya AchArya, the kAtyAyani that the Gopis worship is also YogamAyA is also subhadrA.

The new VaishNo-devi mandir in VrindAvan has SubhadrA as the Devi (YogamAyA), and a Baal Gopal next to Her.

To me however, it is the same Deity, who reciprocates differently with different devotees - predominantly sattvic, predominantly rajasic, tamasic or nirguN. Those interested can see post #30 on page 3 regarding that.


_/\_

smaranam
24 September 2013, 01:51 PM
There is a goddess called Bhairavi, but she is not one of the Matrikas.
I Understand. I was just giving an example of shakti associated with a Shiva's associate, form, devotee, gaNa...

Hare KRshNa

charitra
24 September 2013, 02:39 PM
Namaste all,
Ganesha is getting bad press on an exclusive hindu forum, can things get any worse than this? As pointed out above, this thread should be relocated to vaishnava forum (anti shaivas thrive there).

This ongoing diatribe is like some bad chest infection, no signs of remission for crying out loud. This is yet another thread attempting to throw poor Ganesha under the bus, a third thread in just as many weeks. In fact affable Ganeha gets more respect and cheer in Non Hindu threads. With Venkateswara as our family deity, I must say, some vaishnava’s are no different than some abrahamics. Looks like they hate anyone and everything that are not directly a part of Srimad Bhagavatam or Vishnu purana.

Answer a simple question- would you like to have a Ganesha’s murti in your homes or not, if the answer is in the negative just back off and talk about something else. Why so? Because enough is already said about Ganesha , especially efforts to downsize His importance in Hindu faith were firmly in place with a textual frame work supporting the animosity (sic). What more would you like to accomplish, if this thread gets closed , would starting a 4th thread makes the counter rebuttal appropriate? What are the objectives in that case over and above the ones already accomplished?
Presumably, the message from Admin was to exercise restraint, and not to bring in some more interpolations to substantiate meaningless claims as to which Gyani (wise man) belittled Ganesha when and where. Consider this then, many said wrong things about Vishnu and Krishna as well, does it mean we run a 200 post thread ‘beefing up’ on those intolerant assertions against Vishnu. Think!

Viraja
24 September 2013, 03:04 PM
I posted the thread 'Ganesh puja in Vaishnavam' without any intention of ridiculing the importance of Sri Ganeshji, it was a genuine question intended to know other Vaishnavas' stand on the point, stemming from their belief gained through scripture or otherwise. But I have to admit I do get a strange feeling of having put down this great and beloved god of many, although I am not sure what is the reason behind this, as I had no such intention. I think it is not of good taste to bring up such discussion when among Ganesh ji worshipers, maybe posting them in an exclusive Vaishnava community is the choice. So I am writing this note, sorry I had no other place to put it except here, seemed to have started off of the stopping point of the Ganeshji thread..

Ganapathi Bappa Moraya!

May Sri Mahaganapathi bestow all of us with the right guidance in our spiritual quest:

http://www.shreeganesh.com/images/ganesh13g_eps.jpg

philosoraptor
24 September 2013, 05:32 PM
I thought this was a fascinating discussion until certain intolerant individuals started up with the whole "don't talk about that... it hurts my feelings!" angle.

Look, what Adi shankara did or did not think about viNAyaka is fair game in a forum where advaita philosophy is discussed. Though I'm still leaning towards the view that he was not referring to gaNesha in gItA 9.25 bhAShya, I found the shaivite point of view on this very interesting to say the least. It honestly never occurred to me that shaivites had an issue with Adi shankara's gItA commentary. Where do I go to learn about such things if not on a Hinduism forum?

The existence or non-existence of gaNesha is somewhat tangential to the topic of this thread. I don't have a strong opinion on it one way or another, but I thought smaranam's question about vyAsa's scribe was a good one, and I found Sri Vaishnava's answer to be quite interesting. I was totally unaware that the verses mentioning gaNesha were considered by some Hindu scholars as interpolated. Again, where do I go to learn about such things if not on a Hinduism forum?

Personally, I would rather that we discuss these theories here, among insiders, rather than being exposed to them for the first time in other forums where people inimical to Hinduism are lurking. You can't say to such people, "You can't think those thoughts... they will offend millions of Hindus!" There has to be a place where such things can be examined in light of the evidence, the views for or against can be aired, and people be allowed to make their own decisions about what to believe, hopefully coming out stronger for it. If all such discussions are going to be branded offensive, then we should just tell practicing Hindus who have any knowledge about the subject to get lost, and let rowdy people who want to control discussion content by shouting down those they don't like run everything.

I very specifically asked that those not interested in a discussion about the subject matter to exclude themselves from this discussion. Still, troll-like, they came uninvited, and now one very knowledgable participant has already left as a result. When I ask myself who I would rather listen to: (1) an intelligent person who disagrees with me but is well-read and can cite evidence to support his position, and (2) an armchair vedantist who demands that all views which don't match his own be suppressed, I am forced to admit that (1) is what I come here for. I am disappointed once again that (2) has reared its ugly head, ever ready to lay down the standards of political correctness for one and all to follow.

ShivaFan
24 September 2013, 08:36 PM
Namaste Omkara and Smaranam

I didn't realize scholars considered most of the so-called writs of Adi Sankara as later forgeries, thanks for this information.

Makes me wonder if even the one writ or commentary is 100% legit as well, I may do some of my own research.

But to tell the truth, I am not much interested in Sankara's "writs", in terms of Saiva I look to the writings and scriptures of Nandinatha Sampradaya, their Saints and Satgurus, and in terms of Vaishnava I look to the writings and commentaries on scriptures from Prabhupad, and in terms of all-purpose including Shakta and others the commentaries of Jayaram V.

In relation to the Saiva Siddhanta tradition, and also the writings of Jayaram V, Ganesha is greatly adorded and respected. Prabhupad is also fair in terms of calling Shiva the Greatest Devotee.

So this one verse from Sankara means not much to me, other that it seems to be totally misrepresented by some (but not all), vinayakas and such elephant demon manifestations are (or should be) well known (perhaps not by some Vaishnavas) and it clearly means that one should not worship demons and has nothing to do with Ganapati who just happens to be sporting the elephant head of a other. I should point out, that not all demons are forever bad, some change and are even recruited as Ganas. Actually, I wouldn't mind being a Gana in Shiva's army under the command of Ganapati for the battles to come.

Namaste Viraja

Yes, I know that. You are a great devotee, and Narayana is your Guide.

Namaste Others

This has nothing to do with hurt feelings. I am too much of an action verse emotion based jiva to get feelings hurt. It has to do with Hinduism, and I stand by my statements that this thread actually has nothing to do with Advaita, actually is not in the spirit of Advaita, and is an exercise of not glorifying one's Lord but trying to marginalize another.

In one way, it has reawaken a relook, and dynamic in my personal path, of the valid reasons behind Advaita aspects of Saivism as I am a dualist, and searching out an Advaita framework that does not tend to try and divide Hindus.

This thread should be moved to the Vaishnav forum where it better belongs.

Om Namah Sivaya

Amrut
25 September 2013, 02:15 AM
Namaste,

Just logged in and found a lot has been said in this thread.

If we read BG 9.26, Shankara Bhasya, we can know that bhava is given importance.

Reading the whole chapter, including intro makes understanding better. Commentary on last verse says that 'Me' can be taken as 'Atman'. Advaita does not consider Stay at Vaikuntha as the last stage. Also advaita do not give importance to any form of God as far as meditation is concerned. When it comes to karma-kand, cleansing mind and attaining purity, so that one could qualify for Jnana, one has to give importance to different deities and worship them.

Commentary by Madhusudan Saraswati would be of interest. Also studying chapter 17 would help us understand this better. But all has to be done from advaita POV. If only prasthAntrayi has to be counted, then even puranas should not be discussed.

Though there may be interpolations, I wonder how much it is interpolated and after removing interpolations what would be left out?

Generally I do not like to say but, no one has seen any of the acharya-s. In this context, chances of interpolations by lesser evolved disciples cannot be ruled out and applies to all sampradAya-s. Even enquiries by scholars cannot be considered as unbiased.

I think it is better not to discuss this topic any further.

Viraja di, please do not feel guilty, as the question asked by you was genuine, but we do not have control about what other say and perceive.

Aum

Amrut
25 September 2013, 08:27 AM
Swami Sivananda's commentary, which closely follows Adi shankara's commentary makes things more clear. Here. Vinayaka is given in plural form

English commentary by Swami Sivananda

9.25 यान्ति go, देवव्रताः worshippers of the gods, देवान् to the gods, पितृ़न् to the Pitris or ancestors, यान्ति go, पितृव्रताः worshippers of the Pitris, भूतानि to the Bhutas, यान्ति go, भूतेज्याः the worshippers of the Bhutas, यान्ति go, मद्याजिनः My worshippers, अपि also, माम् to Me.

Commentary: The worshippers of the manes such as the Agnisvattas who perform Sraaddha and other rites in devotion to their ancestors go to the manes. Those who worship the gods with devotion and vows go to them. Bhutas are 'elemental beings' lower than the gods but higher than human beigns; they are the Vinayakas, the hosts of Matris, the four Bhaginis and the like.Those who devote themselves to the gods attain the form of those gods at death. Similar is the fate of those who worship the manes (their own ancestors) or the Bhutas. The fruit of the worship is in accordance with the knowledge, faith, offering and nature of worship of the devotee.Though the exertion is the same, people do not worship Me on account of their ignorance. Consequently they get very little reward.My devotees obtain endless fruit. They do not come back to this mortal world. It is also easy for them to worship Me. How? (Cf.VII.23)

this might be also helpful

http://www.advaita-vedanta.org/archives/advaita-l/2011-July/027946.html

hinduismā™„krishna
25 September 2013, 12:52 PM
Namaste, all of you.

If Adi shankara really was of the view ' we should worship only vishnu' , then he wouldn't have praised lord Ganesha as a bramhan and a giver of moksh. His Ganesha pancharatnam is praising lord Ganesha beautifully. He was of the view 'all gods are manifestations of same bramh.' Adi shankara was a realised bramh. So he knew who is krishna or Ganesha much better than us. At the final state of mukti, we come to know that self is not different from God or world / god or world is not different from self. So worship of supreme gods as bramhan or worship of ishwara as self is certainly allowed according to shankara.

The first shlok of Ganesha pancharatnam starts with this :

1.1: (Salutations to Sri Vinayaka) Who Holds the Divine Joy in His Hand as Modaka (a sweetmeat) and Who Always strives to Accomplish the Liberation of His Devotees towards that Divine Joy,
1.2: Who Holds the Digit of the Moon as His Ornament and with a Joyful Spirit Protects the World,
1.3: Who is without any Master but is Himself the only Master for His Devotees, and Protects them by Destroying the (inner) Demons,
1.4: To those who Surrender to Him, He Destroys the Inauspicious tendencies Quickly; I Salute Sri Vinayaka and surrender to Him.

2.4: Who is the Great God; To His Refuge, Who is Superior than the Best , I Continually place myself in devotional surrender.

5.2: Whose essential Form is Inconceivable and without any Limit, and which Cuts through the Obstacles of His Devotees,
5.3: Who Continually Abides in the Cave of the Heart of the Yogis.

Jai shri hari govinda narayana

Omkara
25 September 2013, 01:47 PM
I had announced that I was not going to post on this thread anymore, but....



If Adi shankara really was of the view ' we should worship only vishnu' , then he wouldn't have praised lord Ganesha as a bramhan and a giver of moksh.
And he did not. The stotras he supposedly wrote praising various deities are all of dubious authenticity. In his prasthantrayi bhashyas Shankaracharya refers only to Narayana as Brahman.

Even though Shiva Purana and Skanda Purana identify the supreme being who humiliated the devas in kena upanishad as Shiva Shankara does not refer to this in his kena upanishad bhashya.



He was of the view 'all gods are manifestations of same bramh.'
No.See these quotes from his works-

1.3.26. Also (beings) above them, (viz. men) (are qualified for the study and practice of the Veda), on account of the possibility (of it), according to Bādarāyana. It has been said above that the passage about him who is of the size of a thumb has reference to the human heart, because men are entitled to study and act according to the sāstra. This gives us an occasion for the following discussion.--It is true that the sāstra entitles men, but, at the same time, there is no exclusive rule entitling men only to the knowledge of Brahman; the teacher, Bādarāyana, rather thinks that the sāstra entitles those (classes of beings) also which are above men, viz. gods, and so on.--On what account?--On the account of possibility.--For in their cases also the different causes on which the qualification depends, such as viz. gods, and so on.--On what account?--On the account of possibility.--For in their cases also the different causes on which the qualification depends, such as having certain desires, and so on, may exist. In the first place, the gods also may have the desire of final release, caused by the reflection that all effects, objects, and powers are non-permanent. In the second place, they may be capable of it as their corporeality appears from mantras, arthavādas, itihāsas, purānas, and ordinary experience. In the third place, there is no prohibition (excluding them like Sūdras). experience. In the third place, there is no prohibition (excluding them like Sūdras). Nor does, in the fourth place, the scriptural rule about the upanayana-ceremony annul their title; for that ceremony merely subserves the study of the Veda, and to the gods the Veda is manifest of itself (without study). That the gods, moreover, for the purpose of acquiring knowledge, undergo discipleship, and the like, appears from such scriptural passages as 'One hundred and one years Indra lived as a disciple with Pragāpati' (Kh. Up. VIII, ii, 3), and 'Bhrigu Vāruni went to his father Varuna, saying, "Sir, teach me Brahman"' (Taitt. Up. III, 1).-- And the reasons which have been given above against gods and rishis being entitled to perform religious works (such as sacrifices), viz. the circumstance of there being no other gods (to whom the gods could offer sacrifices), and of there being no other rishis (who could be invoked during the sacrifice), do not apply to the case of branches of whom the gods could offer sacrifices), and of there being no other rishis (who could be invoked during the sacrifice), do not apply to the case of branches of knowledge. For Indra and the other gods, when applying themselves to knowledge, have no acts to perform with a view to Indra, and so on; nor have Bhrigu and other rishis, in the same case, to do anything with the circumstance of their belonging to the same gotra as Bhrigu, &c. What, then, should stand in the way of the gods' and rishis' right to acquire knowledge?--Moreover, the passage about that which is of the size of a thumb remains equally valid, if the right of the gods, &c. is admitted; it has then only to be explained in each particular case by a reference to the particular size of the thumb (of the class of beings spoken of). admitted; it has then only to be explained in each particular case by a reference to the particular size of the thumb (of the class of beings spoken of)

Kena Upanishad Bhashya-

"the subsequent passages clearly show the folly of thinking that that Brahman, who is controller of all in every way even superior to all Devas, Lord over lords, not easily known, the cause of the victory of the Devas and of the defeat of the Asuras does not exist. Or (it is related) for eulogising the knowledge of Brahman. How? By showing that it was, indeed, by the knowledge of the Brahman that Agni, etc. attained pre-eminence among the Devas; and Indra specially more than the rest. Or, it shows how difficult it is to know Brahman, because even Agni, etc with all their great powers, and even Indra, lord of the Devas knew the Brahman only with considerable difficulty. It may be that the whole Upanishad to follow is intended to lay down an injunction (to know the Brahman) or the story may have been intended to show the fallacious nature of the notion of doer, etc., found in all living beings, by contrasting it with the knowledge of the Brahman - fallacious like the notion of the Devas that the victory was theirs. The Brahman already defined won a victory for the benefit of the Devas; i.e. the Brahman in a battle between the Devas and the Asuras defeated the Asuras, the enemies of the world and the violaters of the limitations imposed by the Lord and gave the benefit of the victory to the Devas for the preservation of the world. In this victory of Brahman, the Devas, Agni, etc, attained glory, and not knowing that the victory and glory belonged to the Paramatman, seated in their own Atman, the witness of all perceptions, Lord of the universe, omniscient, the dispenser of the fruits of all Karma, omnipotent, and desirous of securing the safety of the world, looked upon the victgory and the glory, as achieved by themselves - the Atman enclosed with the limitations of their own forms, Agni, etc; that the glory - their being Agni, Vayu, Indra and the like, resulting from the victory - was theirs and that neither the victory nor the glory belonged to the Lord, over all the Atman within them. So they cherished this false notion." them. So they cherished this false notion.


Adi shankara was a realised bramh.

According to you. Others may consider Ramanuja to be realized, or Meykandar,etc.
It is precisely because of this that an apaurusheya shruti exists.

Omkara
25 September 2013, 02:07 PM
Makes me wonder if even the one writ or commentary is 100% legit as well, I may do some of my own research.


It is not just one work. There are 10 upanishad bhashyas, a gita bhashya and a bhashya on the brahma sutras that are almost unanimously accepted as authentic. The Vishnu Sahasranama Bhashya and some of the Prakarana Granthas are probably authentic too.



In one way, it has reawaken a relook, and dynamic in my personal path, of the valid reasons behind Advaita aspects of Saivism as I am a dualist, and searching out an Advaita framework that does not tend to try and divide Hindus.


There is no such franework within traditional hinduism. Even Smartas only accept Vishnu, Shiva, Devi, Ganesha, Kartikeya and Surya as forms of Brahman. Within Shaivism, the farthest you can go is Appaya Dikshita, Srikanra and Abhinavagupta's position that Vishnu and Uma are the upadana and nimitta Shaktis of Shiva, and are thus have a relatiobship of simultaneous identity-cum-differenxe with Him.
This is actually the principal probem with Hinduism today. Hindus look for a theology that fits their ore existing beleifs instead of trying to understand what the scriptures say.

philosoraptor
25 September 2013, 02:25 PM
This is actually the principal probem with Hinduism today. Hindus look for a theology that fits their ore existing beleifs instead of trying to understand what the scriptures say.

+1....

philosoraptor
25 September 2013, 02:28 PM
Commentary by Madhusudan Saraswati would be of interest.

Amrut,

I have Madhusudana Saraswati's commentary and he also takes a Vishnu-centric position on those verses, just as Adi shankara did.

This only makes one wonder that what is described as advaita to most may not in fact be the actual doctrine propagated by these great scholars. Of course, no one should feel forced to change their beliefs. We're just having a discussion, not a war.

ShivaFan
25 September 2013, 04:41 PM
Namaste Omkara


ShivaFan: searching out an Advaita framework that does not tend to try and divide Hindus

Perhaps due to my English construct here, I am being misunderstood. All I am saying is, even though I am a dualist (dvaita), I am seeing that those sects which emphasize duality seem to often engage in these types of threads, pitting one Devata against another over wasteful jalpa instead of just praising their Lord. Fixations such as this on a single quote of some commentator (though renown) really takes the cake, it becomes almost laughable, and so I now wonder if I have made a mistake in sort of ignoring the Advaita aspects of the Saiva Siddhanta tradition in my zeal for devotion (which, devotion is not discounted in Advaita either, I am refering to dualists). Simply said, it seems among Avaitans that they are more kind, more respectful to all the Family within Hinduism, especially within a public forum (while reserving the right to be sectarian in some aspects among themselves), and this being said from someone as me who obviously has dualistic nature. Not all dvaitans are raw on the edges, especially those who love devotees as next to God, it's just some who are makes one reconsider Advaita as a house that has many respectful and tempered Hindus, level headed, not like those who have chips on their shoulders and walk around with "machine gun minds".

Jai Ganapati.

I am finished with this thread.

Om Namah Sivaya

philosoraptor
25 September 2013, 06:39 PM
My observation is that people who like moral relativism and religious universalism tend to decry those who look for objective truth as having impure, sectarian motives.

Such people will only be happy if we ban discussion of all potentially controversial topics and simply fawn over each other's so-called realizations all day long.

Amrut
26 September 2013, 01:44 AM
Amrut,

I have Madhusudana Saraswati's commentary and he also takes a Vishnu-centric position on those verses, just as Adi shankara did.

This only makes one wonder that what is described as advaita to most may not in fact be the actual doctrine propagated by these great scholars. Of course, no one should feel forced to change their beliefs. We're just having a discussion, not a war.

Namaste,

I know that you have Madhusudan Saraswati's commentary, probably by Swami Ghambhirananda. Also please check 9.26 and the last verse of chapter 9. Hence, without any prejudice, I just stated that it should be referred. Also sub-commentaries like that of Dhanpati and Neelkanth can be helpful i.e. can give more clarity. Neelkanth's commentary (available on Gita Super Site) does not describe specific names.

Sure Advaita has undergone some changes. Swami Sacchidanandendra of Shringeri Math agrees too. Change is the nature of time. That it why great men incarnate from time to time to re-establish what is right or wrong. Nothing wrong in having discussion.

All I was pointing out is that we should have proper reference, as trying to interpret from non-advaita POV would not be fair. It is natural for a vaishnav to instinctively think from his POV.

I think that too much speculation and R & D would result in losing faith. It may also make one skeptical, as not all reading HDF as members or guests, are scholars and they do not have much information.

At times, Adi Shankara may not give direct reference to some sort of teaching, but he gives hints or is portrayed by his life, like Shivalanada Lihiri, Saundarya Lahiri, or from Shankara Digvijay, etc. For proper methods of checking authenticity, I may open another thread.

Please continue the discussion

Pranams

---

just for info


The word "vada" itself is nowadays wrongly taken to mean stubbornly maintaining that one's view is right. As a matter of fact it truly means finding out the truth by weighing one's view against one's opponent's. It was in this manner that Sankara held debates with scholars like Mandanamisra and it was only after listening to the other man's point of view that he arrived at non-dualism as the ultimate Truth. Vada means an exchange of thoughts, not a refusal to see the other man's point of view. To maintain that one's view of a subject is the right one without taking into account the opinion of others is "jalpa", not vada. There is a third attitude. It is to have no point of view of one's own and being just contrary: it is called "vitanda".

http://www.kamakoti.org/hindudharma/part13/chap8.htm

philosoraptor
26 September 2013, 04:34 PM
As per my recollection, madhusUdana sarasvatI does not mention names of anya-deva-s, but he is very clear in his commentary that srI kriShNa/nArAyaNa only is to be worshiped. This is hardly a "non-advaitin POV" - it's a very clear statement that simply cannot be interpreted any other way. It's meaningless to comment on a scripture if the direct meaning of the comments as they are written must be rejected, and alternate, more oblique meanings must be sought merely for political reasons.

As far as the changes advaita has undergone, I would ask this: do you follow advaita because it represents the timeless philosophy of sanAtana-dharma, or do you follow it because you like what it is now? Because if the former is the case, then I would imagine that the changes on major points of siddhAnta like this one would be cause for concern.

Amrut
27 September 2013, 01:36 AM
As far as the changes advaita has undergone, I would ask this: do you follow advaita because it represents the timeless philosophy of sanAtana-dharma, or do you follow it because you like what it is now? Because if the former is the case, then I would imagine that the changes on major points of siddhAnta like this one would be cause for concern.

All I can say is that I have not chosen the path, but was given to me. I have surrendered to my Guru and have full trust on him. All the knowledge about advaita is because of his and Guru's grace. Even this fact came to be known after I learned and practiced advaita. I met my guru after repeated prayers to show me a way.

So in my case, I have to follow what my guru says. I understand what you say, that we must follow what is authentic. Method of adhyAropa apavAda is the authentic and traditional. We find these words it is 13.13, 9.5 in Man. Up. 7 in Shankara Bhasya. To talk more on the topic is itself a new topic, means another thread and at times the discussion is very exhausting and time consuming. I will remain busy in the coming days.

Surrender to nArAyaNa is the easiest way to gain inner purity and hence it is prescribed here.

That is why I have told to read even the intro, which says that earlier, it was mentioned that only through Yoga only can attain brahman, which is not so. As said, it is in chapter 9 that it is taught that one who surrenders to Vishnu reaches him. but this is not an end. There are more chapters and there is chapter 13, from where Jnana begins. We have to study full gita as verses and chapters are connected to each other like a chain. Again if we talk on this matter, we could keep going.

Krishna teaches Karma, Bhakti and Jnana.

I would end this by saying that, according to Adi Shankara, Krishna in this verse talks about surrendering to Vishnu

Aum

philosoraptor
27 September 2013, 11:10 AM
Pranams,

My interest in religion is pretty much this. I'm dying. I've been dying ever since the day I was born. Some day this body will breathe no more. When that day will come, I cannot say. But as it is a foregone conclusion that everything will be taken from me at the time of death, I feel the need to spend at least some time understanding the purpose of life, even if that isn't entirely consistent with the opinions of some individuals or sects. Nothing will be served by comforting myself with a popular philosophy which fails to acknowledge or even conceals the Truth. I don't need a religion or a "personal philosophy" that I can put on like a coat and later take off when it gets too warm. I need authentic guidance.

Now, what was given to me was pAnchopAsana and other smArtha traditions. All gods are equal, and bhakti is just one of many paths. shAstra-s like bhagavad-gItA should be studied and followed. Some of these views I later came to realize were not authentic smArtha views, and many of them I came to realize were not consistent with the actual opinions of shAstra-s like bhagavad-gItA. When there is a difference of opinion between shAstra and guru, I cannot force myself to follow the guru and his tradition merely due to accident of birth. This is why I introduced myself on this forum as a seeker. I have to put aside considerations of sectarian loyalty and see which point of view really seems to represent the shAstra. And then find the guru that teaches that point of view.

Now, what I find interesting about this discussion is that, contrary to what I was taught as a child, Adi shankara does indeed place a premium on the worship and meditation on nArAyaNa, and does NOT equate His worship with the worship of other gods. This comes out clearly from bhagavad-gItA, but it also comes out clearly from his commentary to the same. When so many so-called advaitins make harsh criticisms of Vaishnavas for their exclusive devotion to nArAyaNa and their acknowledgement of the subordinate position of deva-s, why do these so-called advaitins fail to acknowledge the fact that Adi shankarAchArya and commentators like madhusUdana sarasvatI made the same distinctions? Nothing in gItA 9.5 or 13.13 changes that. The obvious, non-sectarian conclusion that is crystal clear from an objective reading of the texts, is that brahman, though He pervades the universe and the deva-s, is superior to both. Yet, because the truth of this was obscured from me by neo-smArtha thinkers, I and many others have been diverted from meditation on brahman to meditation on entities which are not brahman. I have wasted my time following such views, not realizing them to be false. Now I feel the pressure to catch up on doing what I should have done all these years.

Again, let me reiterate. I am dying. Perhaps some other people on this forum think they will live forever, but I know that I will not. I don't have time for partisan ideologies or "new-and-improved" interpretations. I don't care if the truth about dharma and moral codes does not meet with approval by my Western, egalitarian-minded friends. I don't care if not believing in "all gods are the same God" will make me unpopular with peers. Truth is what it is, and believing otherwise will not change that.

Let me give an example that came up recently. I worship rAdhA-kRiShna at home. However, it came to my attention that not all Vaishnava sects consider rAdhA to be an authentic deity. Such opinions no longer offend me. On the contrary, I have recently begun to question this and have collected arguments both for and against her worship. At this stage, I am not really convinced one way or another, but the point is - I would want to know what the Truth is, and follow that, even if it means i have to change my practice. I don't want to simply do something because I belong to this sect and this is how it is always done in that sect.

It's precisely with this mood that I question things. If I can question my own beliefs, then I expect that people who want to argue with me should have the maturity to be able to question theirs. On the other hand, when some people denounce these kinds of discussions as "jalpa," I just feel that they are not on my wavelength and probably never will be.

regards,

Amrut
27 September 2013, 12:07 PM
In my case it was reverse. I was practising Pranic Healing, which is a new age phenomenon and not traditional. The Pranic healing acharya handed over me to an advaita acharya. This happened after repeated prayers to show me correct way. Faith showed me the way and not fact finding.

To expect others to think and behave in the same same leads one to misery. Nor you nor others can be happy. Everyone wants to see their impression (their image) in others.

If you are born a smarta, then it suits you the most, else why would god give you birth in Smartha Family? Why do not not practice the correct Advaita and search authentic Advaita? You may say Shastra-s does not support advaita (after some research). In that case why is it so much compelling to discuss about Adi Shankara?


I have to put aside considerations of sectarian loyalty and see which point of view really seems to represent the shAstra. And then find the guru that teaches that point of view.

Being neutral is a good thing.

If everybody can read and correctly understand shastras on their own, then there is no need to find a guru. It is like going to a doctor and then saying that 'give me this medicine' or search and visit to a doctor who gives me the medicine I want, because according to me after years of research this is the correct medicine.

Sure our wavelengths do not match. Continue your discussion and fact finding good luck.

brahman
27 September 2013, 03:03 PM
Namaste Omkara



Perhaps due to my English construct here, I am being misunderstood. All I am saying is, even though I am a dualist (dvaita), I am seeing that those sects which emphasize duality seem to often engage in these types of threads, pitting one Devata against another over wasteful jalpa instead of just praising their Lord. Fixations such as this on a single quote of some commentator (though renown) really takes the cake, it becomes almost laughable, and so I now wonder if I have made a mistake in sort of ignoring the Advaita aspects of the Saiva Siddhanta tradition in my zeal for devotion (which, devotion is not discounted in Advaita either, I am refering to dualists). Simply said, it seems among Avaitans that they are more kind, more respectful to all the Family within Hinduism, especially within a public forum (while reserving the right to be sectarian in some aspects among themselves), and this being said from someone as me who obviously has dualistic nature. Not all dvaitans are raw on the edges, especially those who love devotees as next to God, it's just some who are makes one reconsider Advaita as a house that has many respectful and tempered Hindus, level headed, not like those who have chips on their shoulders and walk around with "machine gun minds".

Jai Ganapati.

I am finished with this thread.

Om Namah Sivaya



Dear ShivaFan,

I see this post worth considering and feel delighted to share my views on certain errors pointed out by you. Also I take the opportunity to transfer the contents of this post to a more suitable arena, where these naturally complex but seemingly natural, thoughts have significance. Love:)

I welcome you to read this post: Duality,Non-Duality etc are mere Blanket Terms (http://www.hindudharmaforums.com/showthread.php?p=109494#post109494)

philosoraptor
27 September 2013, 05:34 PM
To expect others to think and behave in the same same leads one to misery. Nor you nor others can be happy. Everyone wants to see their impression (their image) in others.

I actually don't feel the need to see myself in others. Really and truly, what motivates me is a desire to know the truth about things. Not relative truth, but Absolute Truth.



If you are born a smarta, then it suits you the most, else why would god give you birth in Smartha Family?

Put simply, I don't believe it's appropriate for me to follow something blindly, merely due to accident of birth. By the same logic, I could argue that, had I been born in a non-Hindu family, then it's ok to be non-Hindu, otherwise why would God put me there?

There are a lot of nice benefits to being born in a smArtha family, not the least of which is exposure to culture and a certain standard of piety that is expected. But, at the end of the day, "smArtha" is not a divinely created category, but a man-made one. This is unlike categories like brahmin, kshatriya, vaishya, shudra, man, woman, etc which are divinely created and so, we do have an obligation to be who we are within those limits.


Why do not not practice the correct Advaita and search authentic Advaita? You may say Shastra-s does not support advaita (after some research). In that case why is it so much compelling to discuss about Adi Shankara?

Put simply, had I known in my youth that Adi shankara endorsed nArAyaNa-sarvottamatva, as opposed to panchopAsana, it would have made a big difference to me. All along, advaita was represented to me as "all gods are same," with viShNu-bhakti being considered an optional path. You should worship, but it does not matter who you worship. In that case, why do the worship? Any intelligent person will naturally ask. If you say that I am free to think of Vishnu as supreme or non-supreme, then how will that instill the basic shraddha in me to approach Vishnu with sincere feeling? Right knowledge leads to right action. Wrong knowledge does not lead to right action. One does not act on a certain bit of information (i.e. Vishnu is Brahman) unless he is convinced of the correctness of that information. Saying "all gods are same" and "you have freedom to decide which path is right for you" sends mixed signals to a young person who is searching for the truth.

How does one know what the authentic advaita is? Is Adi shankara's commentary not representative of the authentic advaita? One would think so, but look at all the furious opposition that is generated when someone points out that Adi shankara did not endorse "all gods are same" philosophy in his commentary. It just reminds me that while we all say we want truth, some people would prefer comfortable lies over unpleasant truths.

regards,

Amrut
28 September 2013, 01:27 AM
Namaste,

Judging from your posts and general behaviour here on forums, I would ask you one question.

There is something that must have happened in the past that must have made you to dislike advaita. Did such an incident happened? Would you like to share it here?

We must not have blind faith. I will give one e.g.

Recently, in shaiva forum, when Omkara said that Atharvashirsha Upanishad is genuine, you didn't questioned his sincerity and honesty and decided put this upanishad in a to-do list. During first few visits, you may cross check an acharya, but when we know that a saint has digested all shastras and is sincerely speaking from shastras then you should develop faith in him and stop questioning him. I do not like to sit in chair of judge and cross check every statement a saint makes.

Like I have earlier quoted, Paramacharya, has said 'one God as many' and have asked us (his believers) to adopt 'Nahi Ninda Nyaya'. My guru says the same. I should not question his sincerity and honesty (like you didn't question Omkara's honesty, since you think that he has done his homework).

You must be aware that I have changed my opinion on Varna Dharma, after reading Paramacharya. unfortunately, one chapter is missing in online version, hence it took time to understand the topic. After ShivaFan ji asked about quotes from authentic source, I quoted from Adi Shankara's bhasya 18.41 and that was enough for me. On personal level, no more proof needs to be hunted. Faith helps to speed up progress. I am not talking about blind faith. Pray to God and not to any human being, says my Guru. During first few meetings, he used to say, in case of doubt pray to God and have faith. He didn't say come and ask me.

In this case, I was merely pointing out that since no decisive conclusion could be arrived, lets have a look at other commentators. I didn't even gave my personal opinion for two post. This suggestion came after you all scholars and fact finders could not arrive at definite conclusion, not before. This is an unbiased as I can get.

I was not focussing on 'Narayana is supreme deity', though in another thread, according to my understanding in Ke. up. 3.12 Adi Shankara does say Shiva is Ishvara and Parvati (Uma), who is knowledge (vidya), appeared as Lady.

Paramacharya says the same thing. Now it is left to us how to interpret acharya's words (both Paramacharya and Adi Shankara)

If our wavelength does not match, it is better that you continue your discussion with whom you respect.

Aum

Omkara
28 September 2013, 01:50 AM
Like I have earlier quoted, Paramacharya, has said 'one God as many' and have asked us (his believers) to adopt 'Nahi Ninda Nyaya'. My guru says the same. I should not question his sincerity and honesty (like you didn't question Omkara's honesty, since you think that he has done his homework).

Most Advaitins after Shankaracharya and his immediate followers were Smartas, including Kanchi Paramacharya.

As Dr.Jeffrey Long has pointed out, Shankaracharya may not have necessarily shared the ideas of later Advaitins on Maya and Avidya too.

In my humble opinion, important points of theology like supremacy of one deity over another should be decided on BEFORE approaching a guru.

Amrut
28 September 2013, 02:16 AM
In my humble opinion, important points of theology like supremacy of one deity over another should be decided on BEFORE approaching a guru.

Pranams,

Thank you. I understand, but laymen do not read shrutis or may not have access to shrutis. Not many can understand shrutis.


As Dr.Jeffrey Long has pointed out, Shankaracharya may not have necessarily shared the ideas of later Advaitins on Maya and Avidya too.

This is possible, but I need a Guru who can guide me, as I am not capable enough to understand subtle concepts by myself. The technique of meditation has to be taught by someone. when one finds it difficult to practically apply teaching of shastras, one will have to consult someone. This is the practical difficulty. To make task difficult, there are many paths, many commentaries written on Gita and other shastras. Practically one has to approach the best available option or 'do it yourself'.

At times one can find himself in difficult situation :)

Belief comes from reading authentic sources shastras and to understand shastras we need someone who explains them.

egg or chicken?

First I will learn to swim then I will dive in swimming pool
First dive, then you will learn to swim :)

EDIT: the danger I see in approaching a Guru after reading shastras is that one may develop some fixed ideas, while not knowing anything means to believe what is said. In todays time, this can lead one to be exploited (faith in exploited)

OM Namah Shivaya

philosoraptor
28 September 2013, 09:54 AM
Namaste,

Judging from your posts and general behaviour here on forums, I would ask you one question.

There is something that must have happened in the past that must have made you to dislike advaita. Did such an incident happened? Would you like to share it here?

Pranams,

You have it all wrong. I don't dislike Advaita. I disagree with it, but that does not mean I dislike it.

What I dislike is the persistent dishonesty that takes place in these modern Hindu discourses on forums and elsewhere, usually displayed by Neo-Hindu thinkers, and examples of which include, but are not limited to:

1) Equating philosophical disagreement with intolerance and bigotry.
2) Equating preferences for a particular ishta-devata, even when it is based on shAstric considerations, as "sectarian" and "intolerant."
3) The indiscriminate hijacking of Adi shankara's advaita philosophy to support humanistic, neo-Hindu paradigms of socio-political discourse.
4) Revisionist attempts to claim that Hindu morality on matters pertaining to caste- and gender-relations matched post-modern, Western views on these issues, followed by violent lashing out against anyone who tries to point out (with facts and evidence) that this was not really the case.
5) Preaching of "tolerance" and "respect" by self-appointed arbiters of Hindu morality, not uncommonly themselves self-declared advaitins or "non-dualists," and yet who habitually lash out at those who discuss topics with which they are uncomfortable.
6) #5 in particular have a tendency to barge in on discussions for which they were not invited and try to discourage discussions on subjects with which they are uncomfortable.
7) The attempts by Neo-Hindus to portray Adi shankara's advaita as a morally and philosophically permissive ideology, one in which the individual gets to decide for himself what is and is not right, and what is and is not correct.

I would like to add that, I know traditionally-minded advaitins who are just as offended by the above as I am.

bhagavatafan
29 September 2013, 10:09 AM
I can totally relate to Philosoraptor's following comments, with me too being born a smArtha and having convinced myself later that Shankara's position was indeed Vishnu sarvottamatva.


Now, what I find interesting about this discussion is that, contrary to what I was taught as a child, Adi shankara does indeed place a premium on the worship and meditation on nArAyaNa, and does NOT equate His worship with the worship of other gods. This comes out clearly from bhagavad-gItA, but it also comes out clearly from his commentary to the same...
...
Yet, because the truth of this was obscured from me by neo-smArtha thinkers, I and many others have been diverted from meditation on brahman to meditation on entities which are not brahman. I have wasted my time following such views, not realizing them to be false. Now I feel the pressure to catch up on doing what I should have done all these years.



Put simply, had I known in my youth that Adi shankara endorsed nArAyaNa-sarvottamatva, as opposed to panchopAsana, it would have made a big difference to me. All along, advaita was represented to me as "all gods are same," with viShNu-bhakti being considered an optional path. You should worship, but it does not matter who you worship. In that case, why do the worship? Any intelligent person will naturally ask. If you say that I am free to think of Vishnu as supreme or non-supreme, then how will that instill the basic shraddha in me to approach Vishnu with sincere feeling? Right knowledge leads to right action. Wrong knowledge does not lead to right action. One does not act on a certain bit of information (i.e. Vishnu is Brahman) unless he is convinced of the correctness of that information. Saying "all gods are same" and "you have freedom to decide which path is right for you" sends mixed signals to a young person who is searching for the truth.


I would like to add that to say that contemporary flag-bearers of Advaita are aloof to the worship of Vishnu is a very mild way of describing what is much more serious and damning. In the last 60 years or so, neo-Advaitins (including the head of a mutt who was fondly called 'walking god' etc) have flooded mass media with anti-Vaishnavite concocted purANic stories, commentaries, and diatribe. The head of a certain mutt in Tamil Nadu has spread several anti-Vaishnavite notions such as 'Vishnu exhibited tamo guna in his avatara as Narasimha and Rama', 'Urdhvapundra was started by Ramanuja since he wanted to rebel against ashes-wearing advaitins', 'Ramanuja's sishya kUrattAzhvAn was defeated in debate with Shaivites' and many more such falsehoods among the ignorant masses. Thiruvisanallur Rama Subba shastri (a vidwAn who lived between 1850 and early 20th century and identified Shankara as Vaishnava) and his excellent works are little known among the masses, but his bitter rival Mannargudi Raju Shastri, a staunch shaivite, is celebrated by the mutt I mentioned earlier with all media attention and fanfare. This is the status of the so-called 'traditional' advaitins. Then what to speak of Vivekananda who said "Vaishnavites, being dualists, are a most intolerant sect in India". Such is the plight of smArthas, be they traditional or non-traditional.

ShivaFan
29 September 2013, 03:17 PM
Namaste

This is very simple in someways even as the world becomes more complex yet boundaries seem not as far away by distance as they have been in the past, which in one way is why some are so fearful, hopefully a clarification to those who see a boogy man hiding under their bed wearing a mask of the dreaded Hindu who is not an adherent of their sect putting poison in their milk and wearing a cross stamped on their forehead.

1) Advaitans are not the enemy of Hinduism because they are different from one's particular sect, they are members of the Hindu family.

2) Fixations on disparaging the Ishta Lords or Shri Devatas on a public internet forum of those who do not belong to your sect is not benificial to the Family of Hinduism, it gives fodder including Vedic and Hindu scripture based misrepresentations to like-minded Abrahamic forces who gleefully use such examples to disparage Hinduism, which in turn even provide debating points to such fixated Hindu sectarians to disparage and make fun of other Hindus. Glorify your own Ishta.

3) Do not hyjack single quotes of Adi Sankara to play these endless put downs on other Hindu sects who do not belong to yours, especially if you are not an Advaitan which I am told Adi Shankara was. Even if He wasn't an Advaitan, this is a waste of time if the purpose of using single quotations is to fixate on belittling another Devas or Devi like a commercial on television. You are being a humbug by doing so. Honestly, did someone's Guru or Acharya tell them disparaging is their duty in this life?

4) Sectarians who engage in such fixations are the last to know what is actually a "Neo-Hindu". They also have a tendency to barge in on a post of an OP and try to narrow the question to the equivalent of horse-blinders and single a
scriptural quotes that really take the OP post into tangent paths. Also many if not most true Advaitans have better things to do then sit in such fodder and so you never hear from them anyway on such matters. Some Advaitans also do not consider Adi Shankara as the "end all and be all" of Advaita or Ishta anyway, but it is worse when you use Adi Shankara in such manners to fixate on disparaging while you do not yourself follow Adi Shankara's school. So even those Advaitans who do not follow Shankara as the end-all source do not want to participate either and thus swim in the same fodder and so as is expected do not participate and you don't hear much from them either.

5) It should not be surprising however, that those who such disparage is directed towards and against their Lord specifically will react, in fact the public disparage is really all about trolling for such reaction in the first place.

Om Namah Sivaya

philosoraptor
29 September 2013, 10:00 PM
"First they ignore you. Then they make fun of you. Then they attack(*) you. And then you've won."

--- Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi

"Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds."

--- Albert Einstein

(*) By, for example, misrepresenting you in public, lying about what you said, knocking down their own strawmen, calling your culture "vile," etc.

philosoraptor
30 September 2013, 11:18 AM
Then what to speak of Vivekananda who said "Vaishnavites, being dualists, are a most intolerant sect in India". Such is the plight of smArthas, be they traditional or non-traditional.

Pranams,

My observation on the internet has been that it is usually the Neo-Hindus who display intolerance, often, ironically, in the name of promoting "tolerance."

They tolerate Vaishnavas only as long as Vaishnavas appear to tacitly accept their views on "all religions are right" and "all gods are the same." But when Vaishnavas start discussing the distinctive nature of their beliefs, then the Neos feel it is their duty to point out the error of these misguided Vaishnavas. Not uncommonly, the Vaishnavas in these discussions will present logical, evidence-based arguments in favor of their position, while the Neos will rely on sentimental arguments and then get upset when those arguments are not accepted as valid. Here is one such example (paraphrased) which I saw, several times on this forum:



V: "According to shruti, brahman is The Lord of the devas, because it is said in Katha Upanishad that devas like Surya, Indra, Vayu, and Agni perform their respective functions out of fear of Him, and in the Kena Upanishad it is said that these devas depended on Brahman for their victory."

Neo: "Oh yeah? Well, then how do you explain Tulasi das?......."

What is even more bizarre is when the term "Vaishnava" acquires the connotation of a dirty word among these Neo-Hindus. It is increasingly becoming the case that anyone who reads, thinks about what he believes, and expresses those beliefs in a logical, coherent, and evidence-based fashion, is denounced as a "Vaishnava" by the Neos. One of our forum members, whom everyone knows is a staunch Shaivite, was recently accused of being a Vaishnava in disguise. The absurdity of this becomes obvious when people read this particular Shaivite's attempts to prove the supremacy of Shiva in the shruti.

Finally, it ought to be pointed out that Vaishnavas are not the reason why several threads got reclassified as "jalpa," or were just closed down with no explanation.

Omkara
30 September 2013, 11:41 AM
Interesting. I was born in a smarta family too.:)

bhagavatafan
01 October 2013, 02:50 AM
Now, I have asked some others for the vIrarAghavIyam (sri vaishnava commentary on bhagavatam by srI vIrarAghavAchArya of the 14th century) to get the achAryan's view in this matter. If it differs from my friend's opinion, I will post it here.

In response to Sri Vaishnava's quote above, I have confirmation from the commentary on Bhagavata by vIrarAghavAcArya. The above explanation is exactly what vIrarAghavAcArya gives. Those who can read Telugu lipi (just the script, you don't need to know Telugu language) can read the Sanskrit original here:

http://www.dli.gov.in/data_copy/upload/0084/856/PTIFF/00000381.tif

Sri vIrarAghavAcArya says that Durga is bhagavan-mAyA-abhimAna devatA and vinAyaka is viShvaksena-pArShadaH, i.e. one of the chieftains of Vishvaksena's army.

The original question was about the identity of "Durga" and "Vinayaka" in Srimad Bhagavatam 11.27.29/30:

durgāḿ vināyakaḿ vyāsaḿ
viṣvakṣenaḿ gurūn surān
sve sve sthāne tv abhimukhān
pūjayet prokṣaṇādibhiḥ

A verse that starts with "satyAcyutAnanta durgA viShvaksena gajAnanAH nityAH sarve pare dhAmni..." from Padma Purana is quoted by Jiva Goswami in his commentary. It is to be examined if the authenticity of this verse and its implication that viShNu durgA is a nityasUri is accepted in Srivaishnavism.

bhagavatafan
01 October 2013, 08:19 PM
I have dug out another piece of information regarding the name 'Ganapathi' commonly understood as Shiva's son Ganesha:

There is an ancient Smriti text called "Shandilya Smriti" published as Trivandrum Sanskrit Series, no. CXX, in 1935, edited by one C.K. Sambasiva Sastri. It is mentioned by the editor that the Smriti has been compiled using three manuscripts that were more than 300 years old at his time. The author Shaunaka, is the AcArya of AshvalAyana, the author of the AshvalAyana Grhya Sutras.

In this Smrti, it is mentioned that a Vishnu temple is to be built at the center of every village, and that shrines for Vishnu's consorts and 'Ganapati' must be established inside the temple itself. Here, Vaishnavite commentators have taken 'Ganapati' as the epithet of Vishvaksena, who is the Lord of Vishnu-gaNas.

philosoraptor
02 October 2013, 09:56 PM
Dear bhagavatafan and other learned members,

So, just to be clear, durgA in the bhAgavatam verse above is "viShNu-durgA" (not the same as the wife of shiva), and viShNu-durgA is the same as yoga-mAyA, correct?

And yoga-mAyA aka viShNu-durgA is not considered a nitya-sUri as per Sri Vaishnavism, correct?

I am curious to know if there is any significance to the fact that yoga-mAyA has many names in common with umA/durgA/pArvatI as mentioned in the 10th skandha of the bhAgavatam (bhAgavata 10.2.11-12):

nāmadheyāni kurvanti sthānāni ca narā bhuvi |
durgeti bhadrakālīti vijayā vaiṣṇavīti ca ||
kumudā caṇḍikā kṛṣṇāmādhavī kanyaketi ca |
māyā nārāyaṇīśānī śāradety ambiketi ca ||

"Lord Kṛṣṇa blessed Māyādevī by saying: In different places on the surface of the earth, people will give you different names, such as Durgā, Bhadrakālī, Vijayā, Vaiṣṇavī, Kumudā, Caṇḍikā, Kṛṣṇā, Mādhavī, Kanyakā, Māyā, Nārāyaṇī, Īśānī, Śāradā and Ambikā."

It's clear from verse 10.2.6 that the Lord is addressing yoga-mAyA. However, in the previous verse (verse 10) He mentions that she will be propitiated with animal sacrifices.

arciṣyanti manuṣyās tvāṁ sarva-kāma-vareśvarīm |
dhūpopahāra-balibhiḥ sarva-kāma-vara-pradām ||

"By sacrifices of animals, ordinary human beings will worship you gorgeously, with various paraphernalia, because you are supreme in fulfilling the material desires of everyone." (bhAgavata purANa 10.2.6 - BBT)

It sounds to me like it is equating yoga-mAyA with durgA of the shaiva pantheon. However, looking at the Sanskrit, it appears the BBT translator is translating "baLibhiH" as meaning by means of animal sacrifice. I checked MW for this - it appears that it can be translated as gift or tribute in a general sense, or as an animal sacrifice.

Also of related interest, the varAha-purANa discusses the shakta legend behind navarAtrI with the slaying of the asura by durgA. Except that it's not "durgA" who does the slaying as per the popular tradition - it's yoga-mAyA. Once again, it seems that yoga-mAyA is being equated to durgA. But that seems not entirely consistent with the view that the durgA mentioned in the 11th skandha verse is a personal associate of viShNu.

Comments?