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Thread: Disparaging

  1. #21

    Re: Disparaging

    Quote Originally Posted by Sahasranama View Post
    Neo-Hinduism itself is not a sect, but there are various sects that can be considered neo-Hindu. Ganeshprasad is not a member of any neo-Hindu sect and his beliefs are typical of many traditional Hindus in north India. He may have been influenced a little bit by neo-Hindu thinkers, but he certainly is not a sectarian neo-Hindu. On the other hand, Srivaishnavism is a sect and Shaiva Siddhanta is also a sect. It's a bit odd for someone who always takes the Srivaishnava position to accuse someone like Ganeshprasad as sectarian.
    Not odd at all. It's just frank and honest recognition of the fact that Neo-Hindus and Neo-Hinduism are not above sectarian behavior, their claims to the contrary notwithstanding. They frequently lock arms on issues like "all devas are the same" and "all paths are equally valid," mostly modern in origin. Not uncommonly, they have very poor grasp of the evidence, and are not prepared to explain any evidence which contradicts their views, and yet they think they know enough to know that anyone who disagrees with them is wrong. This is the hallmark of sectarianism and GP is a model, sectarian Neo-Hindu.

    I am not calling any person non Vedic, but I am talking about the ideologies they propagate.
    Semantics. So you are going to tell me that Madhva and Ramanuja were Vedic, but the sects that they propagated were not? Either way, you are still painting quite a few, erudite scholars with a very broad, brush. Surely you can appreciate the irony of someone lecturing others on what Hinduism really is, while simultaneously denouncing other Hindu philosophical systems as "limited understandings."

    Actually, your exact words in this connection were, "Calling Shiva a jivatma is tremendously sinful and the srivaishnavas who make this claim will have to realise their mistake and perform prayaschitta or else suffer the grave consequences of their insults, no matter what arguments they can contrive."

    Note that this presupposes the idea that Shiva and Vishnu are the same, which is by no means obvious, and thus is just another sectarian view. Also, you never answered my question - since both Paraashara Muni and Vyaasa have written puraaNas describing Shiva as a jiiva, are they also sinners in your eyes?

    Ironically, Vaishnavas have no problem claiming that Shaivas are non Vedic and vice versa.
    Which is a strawman, since I made no such claim.

    Here, I claim from a standpoint that is closer to Smartha that the position of the Shaivas and Vaishnava's are both unvedic.
    In other words, you are speaking from the point of view of the Smaartha sect. Except of course, that you argued that those who had other ideas had "limited understandings." That certainly sounds sectarian to me.

    Let me be clear though, I am not claiming that their customs and culture is un-vedic, but the idea that either Shiva or Vishnu is a jivatma. The best arguments the Shaivas have is that when the Vedas speak of Vishnu, Shiva is actually meant. The best argument of the Vaishnavas is that when the Vedas speak of Shiva, Vishnu is meant. To any thinking person this sounds ridiculous, but it makes sense to people who are convinced of their sectarian ideologies.
    Well first of all, this is a very trite, and frankly sectarian, analysis. The fact remains that Shiva and Vishnu are treated as two different deities in the scriptures which even you accept. That being said, to argue that they are the same, and that differentiating between them is sectarian, is itself a one-sided, sectarian argument. It also flies in the face of what those scriptures teach us. When the Bhaagavatam shows Vishnu bewildering Shiva with His mAyA, or Krishna defeating Shiva in battle, or Shiva claiming that he always worships vAsudeva, how is a lay person supposed to derive from those statements that Shiva and Vishnu are the same? In fact, the straightforward meaning is that they are different, with one being above the other. Now you may not like that from your sectarian point of view, but it's obvious.

    Your entire argument rests on the view than whenever Shiva and Vishnu are depicted as two different beings, the reader was supposed to somehow know that they are actually the same being. This logic seems far more contrived than the logic of the Vaishnavas and Shaivas which you criticize.

    I am not speaking of BrahmA, because his position is more complicated and depends on which kalpa we are speaking of.
    Well, why not, since the subject came up? A common Neo-Hindu view is that Brahmaa is God also, but in the form of creator. Now, the purANas don't support that view, since they show brahmA taking birth from nArAyana (at least, the ones I read, possibly there are other accounts of his birth). So who gets to decide which idea is vedic or non-vedic? If I say brahmA is a jIva, does that also make me a sinner? Why or why not?

    I do not reject the puranas as non Vedic, but most sectarian Vaishnavas and Shaivas do reject the puranas.
    That is simply not true. Like the Vaishnavas and Shaivas, you reject those portions of the purANa which contradict your views. Except that, you don't "reject" them outright, you just argue that they mean something other than what they are plainly saying.

    The Bhagavata Purana clearly states that Shiva is para brahman, but Vaishnavas reject this and try to falsely represent what is clearly stated in the Bhagavatam with contrived arguments. "It must be Narayana, the inner dweller of Shiva that is praised and not Shiva himself, bla bla bla."
    If it truly said that, then I missed it. However, the Bhaagavata Puraana clearly has Shiva saying that he always worships vAsudeva, that he was defeated in battle by Sri Krishna, and that he was bewildered by Vishnu's mohinI-murthy after which the latter warned him about the dangers of mAyA. It doesn't take sectarian interpretation to recognize the fact that the bhAgavatam depicts Shiva as a powerful, respectable, but ultimately subordinate deity to nArAyaNa. The same theme emerges in the viShNu purANa and the varAha purANa, quite explicitly.

    This misses the bigger picture of the puranas. There are other passages in the puranas where you would think that Shiva is superior to Vishnu or that Durga is superior to both. For someone who does not look at the puranas with a myopic sectarian view can understand that Shiva and Vishnu are playing with each other. That is their lila, incomprehensible for those who try to dissect it with the blades of dry logic.
    Illogical. There is no single, consistent view of everything within the purANas, and no way to reconcile the contradictions if you accept every single statement within them as true. Ultimately, your interpretation is based on a contrived logic of accepting mutually contradictory statements and asserting that they are all somehow inconceivably true. It's not convincing, and certainly does not give me reason to abandon "medieval" vedAntic thinkers as being of "limited understanding."

    regards,
    Last edited by philosoraptor; 10 May 2013 at 08:47 PM.
    Philosoraptor

    "Wise men speak because they have something to say. Fools speak because they have to say something." - Plato

  2. #22
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    Re: Disparaging

    Namaste

    I am not a scholar of Sri Vaishnava, like I said I do like the vision and the hymns and the Bhakti of the Alwars but really the Sri Vaishnavas came after the Alwars, and in their own time of the Sri Vaishnavas they were "modern" compared to the Alwars.

    In one way, couldn't Sri Vaishnavas be considered "Neo-Alwars"?

    Om Namah Sivaya

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    Re: Disparaging

    Quote Originally Posted by philosoraptor View Post
    Not odd at all. It's just frank and honest recognition of the fact that Neo-Hindus and Neo-Hinduism are not above sectarian behavior, their claims to the contrary notwithstanding. They frequently lock arms on issues like "all devas are the same" and "all paths are equally valid," mostly modern in origin. Not uncommonly, they have very poor grasp of the evidence, and are not prepared to explain any evidence which contradicts their views, and yet they think they know enough to know that anyone who disagrees with them is wrong. This is the hallmark of sectarianism and GP is a model, sectarian Neo-Hindu.
    This is not universally true for all neo-Hindus. The neo-Hindu Swami Dayananda wrote an entire treatise explaining how all other paths are false. Interestingly, his philosophy was not derived from advaita, but was a modification of Madhva's dvaita ideology. I think GaneshPrasad is more of a neo-Hindu sympathiser and not necessarily a neo-Hindu himself. But are you going to deny that at least your views are sectarian Srivaishnavism? If not, then please stop accusing everyone else of sectarianism.

    Semantics. So you are going to tell me that Madhva and Ramanuja were Vedic, but the sects that they propagated were not? Either way, you are still painting quite a few, erudite scholars with a very broad, brush. Surely you can appreciate the irony of someone lecturing others on what Hinduism really is, while simultaneously denouncing other Hindu philosophical systems as "limited understandings."
    Being Vedic is not an all or one proposition. There are some aspects of Ramanuja and Madhva that were Vedic, like the rituals they performed and the lifestyle they lived. But clearly an assertion that Shiva is a Jivatma is based on sectarian Vaishnava scriptures and not on the Vedas. If you accept any single philosophy of medieval Vedanta, you are automatically rejecting the others as false. I personally do not accept any siddhanta from a medieval acharya above the Vedas, Itihasas and Puranas.

    Actually, your exact words in this connection were, "Calling Shiva a jivatma is tremendously sinful and the srivaishnavas who make this claim will have to realise their mistake and perform prayaschitta or else suffer the grave consequences of their insults, no matter what arguments they can contrive."

    Note that this presupposes the idea that Shiva and Vishnu are the same, which is by no means obvious, and thus is just another sectarian view. Also, you never answered my question - since both Paraashara Muni and Vyaasa have written puraaNas describing Shiva as a jiiva, are they also sinners in your eyes?
    If you read the works of Parashara and Vyasa without sectarian eyes, you will find assertions that Shiva is Vishnu and Vishnu is Shiva. But if you want to prove a sectarian ideology, you can draw very cheap conclusions from selective stories while ignoring other stories.

    shivasya hR^idayam viShNu viShnor hR^idayam shivam.
    shivAya viShNu rUpAya vishNave shiva rUpiNe

    This is the Puranic ideology which does not fly with either the ideas of the Alvars, Nayanmars, Shaivagamas or Pancharatras. The purpose of Srivaishnavas is to propagate the ideologies of the Alvars and the pancharatras under the guise of the Vedas. They are trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. To prove their points they will have to twist and turn or ignore the Vedas and Puranas.

    Which is a strawman, since I made no such claim.
    This is not a strawman I am making against you, but a highlight of the common arguments between sectarian Shaivas and Vaishnavas with which you have no problem.

    In other words, you are speaking from the point of view of the Smaartha sect. Except of course, that you argued that those who had other ideas had "limited understandings." That certainly sounds sectarian to me.
    The authentic meaning of the word smartha is derived from the word smriti and has very little to do with the sect of Shankaracharya, but over time the colloquial meaning of the word became associated with the followers of Shankaracharya. I am only saying that the point I am making based on shruti and smriti is also shared with the smArthas.

    When the Bhaagavatam shows Vishnu bewildering Shiva with His mAyA, or Krishna defeating Shiva in battle, or Shiva claiming that he always worships vAsudeva, how is a lay person supposed to derive from those statements that Shiva and Vishnu are the same? In fact, the straightforward meaning is that they are different, with one being above the other. Now you may not like that from your sectarian point of view, but it's obvious.
    I understand it is difficult for most Srivaishnavas to undertand prema bhakti, because their default mode is dAsya bhakti. When Shiva worships Vasudeva or when when Vishnu worships Shiva it's not because one is superior to the other, but because of their prema bhAva.

    Well, why not, since the subject came up? A common Neo-Hindu view is that Brahmaa is God also, but in the form of creator. Now, the purANas don't support that view, since they show brahmA taking birth from nArAyana (at least, the ones I read, possibly there are other accounts of his birth). So who gets to decide which idea is vedic or non-vedic? If I say brahmA is a jIva, does that also make me a sinner? Why or why not?
    I don't care what neo-Hindus claim, I am basing my views on shastra alone. I explained before that the position of brahmA is more complicated. Depending on the kalpa, the position of brahmA can be fulfilled by a Jiva. But if there is no jiva qualified to take this position, Vishnu can take the rUpa of brahmA.

    If it truly said that, then I missed it. However, the Bhaagavata Puraana clearly has Shiva saying that he always worships vAsudeva, that he was defeated in battle by Sri Krishna, and that he was bewildered by Vishnu's mohinI-murthy after which the latter warned him about the dangers of mAyA. It doesn't take sectarian interpretation to recognize the fact that the bhAgavatam depicts Shiva as a powerful, respectable, but ultimately subordinate deity to nArAyaNa. The same theme emerges in the viShNu purANa and the varAha purANa, quite explicitly.
    The Bhagavata Purana is very clear about it, it states praising Shiva: tvam brahma paramam... sarva jagata ishvaro... na param te maheshvara etc. etc.

    If you interpret the stories from the Bhagavata the way Vaishnavas do, you will have to reject the Shiva, Linga, Skanda, Vamana and other puranas. Or like Jiva gosvami you can just call them tamasik and make alterations to the padma purana to prove your point.

  4. #24
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    Re: Disparaging

    Quote Originally Posted by shiv.somashekhar View Post

    Besides, the Azhwars existed before the Sri Vaishnava tradition was formed and therefore, it is not entirely correct to identify one with the other.
    And who told you to assume 1) that sri vaishnavam came after the azhwars, 2) azhwars were not sri vaishavas, 3) these (azhwars and sri vaishnavam) are two 'traditions' that merged?

    Or maybe you think Sri Ramanuja 'founded' Sri Vaishnavism in someway alien to the azhwars?

    As I said before, what do you define as sri vaishnava/vishishtadvaita? If you mean the tradition that accepts sriman nArAyaNa as parabrahman, subordinate state of devas, the jivas and prakrti as his sarIra, yathArtha-khyAti vAda of error, Lakshmi as purushakArA, bhakti yoga and prapatti as the two sAdhanas, acharya abhimAnA as a separate path, omniscience of jivA and its role as a kinkara in mukti - then, this is exactly the philosophy of azhwars.

    Even the way we perform sandhyA (reciting certain mantras differently as compared to smArtas and mAdhvas) and the urdhva pundra dhArana vidhi, come from instructions ad pramAnams on the same in divya prabandham and has been described in detail by acharyas like Vedanta Desika in Saccharitra Raksha!

    Sri Vaishnava/Vishishtadvaita Vedanta was not 'founded' by Ramanuja Muni. It was pre-existent and has been attested to in even neutral tamil works like paripAdal, etc. Its prior gurus include yAmunAchArya, nAthamuni, tanka, dramida, bhAruchi, guhadeva, kapardi and the azhwars.

    Heck, even as per mordern historians, the azhwars are among the first Vishishtadvaitins!

    Do not think the azhwars were simple poets who composed random praises on Vishnu. The divya prabhandham is highly philosophical and requires a knowledge of sanskrit veda to understand. And, all its tenets completely reflect Vishishtadvaita and Sri Vaishnavism. Whethr yo accept its philosophical stand is another matter. Not even other Vaishnavas like Madhva can accept its contents fully.

    the Sri Vaishnavas came after the Alwars


    To say azhwars were not sri vaishnavas is like claiming Madhva was an advaitin or Basavanna was a devout sri vaishnavite.

    Regarding the other posters' claims on Shiva being maligned by Sri Vaishnavas, etc...well, I reteirate what I have said before - learn the traditions of Ramanuja and Madhva as well as Shankara (who advocated Vishnu as saguna brahman only). Most of their childish 'objections' are not even worth addressing...and I shall not waste my precious time on jalpa.

    Ganeshprasad has admitted that he should not have quoted the azhwars. Fair enough. Although I have and never will see eye-to-eye with him, I hold this matter finished between us at the least.

    EDIT: Anyone who wants to know the position of nArAyaNa and other devas like shiva, etc as per the traditions of Shankara, Ramanuja and Madhva can visit this blog:

    http://www.narayanastra.blogspot.ae/

    This blog is maintained by a friend of mine, who is a smArta. Upon his request, I contributed to the site with an article summarizing nArAyaNa paratva nirnaya in shruti as per the traditions of the 3 acharyas as well as a vaishnava commentary on Rudram (which I have discussed with some members of this site). The language my friend used may be a bit strong, but he was speaking in the heat of a debate, so I apologise in advance if anyone reads his words and feels offended.

    This is just for reference in a hope to ensure ridiculous statements like 'Interpreting shiva as vishnu in veda is stupid' is contained to a minimum.
    Last edited by Sri Vaishnava; 11 May 2013 at 05:25 AM.
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  5. #25
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    Re: Disparaging

    Pranam


    I wasn't going to dignify my self responding to yet another accusation, well the word neo would not bother me in the least if it did not have a ring to it of being abusive, besides there is no place for it in Hindu dharma, such divisive words does nothing for Hindu unity.

    Phil will do well to stop making accusation that he can't defend, I am still waiting for his response instead of this sidetrack that once again accuse me, this time of being sectarian.

    I shouldn't get too perturbed about it after all, If I learnt anything from reading Ramchritra Manas I should take heed to what Tulsidas wrote,

    '' I adore the feet of saint and wicked soul both of whom give pain,
    though some difference is said to exist between them. Whereas the former class cause mortal pain while parting, the latter give agonizing torment during their meeting. "

    Now I am not suggesting anyone is wicked here, far from it but people should be careful and think before tarnishing everyone with broad brush. Vast majority of Hindus have greatly been influenced and i am no exception to that,by Go swami Tulsidas a Ram Bhakta who also wrote Rudrashtakam says it all.

    Is anyone man enough to call him 'NEO' is sruti vakya Eakum Sad Vipra neo concept or when Yagnavalkiya say there are 33 and finally says there is only one what does one deduct from that?
    To defend the Devas position sometimes can be very difficult but I must carry on, that is if I have faith in my conviction. Not that I worship them all although in a fire sacrifice we propitiate them all, but this defence (as if they need defending)of mine is mainly due to Shiva v Vishnu debate.

    Jai Shree Krishna
    Rig Veda list only 33 devas, they are all propitiated, worthy off our worship, all other names of gods are derivative from this 33 originals,
    Bhagvat Gita; Shree Krishna says Chapter 3.11 devan bhavayatanena te deva bhavayantu vah parasparam bhavayantah sreyah param avapsyatha Chapter 17.4 yajante sattvika devan yaksa-raksamsi rajasah pretan bhuta-ganams canye yajante tamasa janah
    The world disappears in him. He is the peaceful, the good, the one without a second.

  6. #26

    Re: Disparaging

    Quote Originally Posted by Sahasranama View Post
    This is not universally true for all neo-Hindus. The neo-Hindu Swami Dayananda wrote an entire treatise explaining how all other paths are false. Interestingly, his philosophy was not derived from advaita, but was a modification of Madhva's dvaita ideology. I think GaneshPrasad is more of a neo-Hindu sympathiser and not necessarily a neo-Hindu himself. But are you going to deny that at least your views are sectarian Srivaishnavism? If not, then please stop accusing everyone else of sectarianism.
    Exceptions aside, there is no getting around the fact that Neo-Hindus indulge in as much sectarian behavior as others, and Neo-Hinduism need not be privileged in any way as somehow non-sectarian.

    Yes, I am going to deny that my views are sectarian Sri Vaishnavism. For starters, I was not born or raised as a Sri Vaishnava. I am a seeker, as I explained in my introduction. I was born as a smartha who, like you, was raised to believe that Vishnu and Shiva were the same. Even the officiating priest at my upanayanam ceremony told me this to my face. When I became old enough to read the scriptures, I began noticing the discrepancies between what they said and what I read. Even the early stories my parents told me all seemed to point to Vishnu's supremacy, a question I raised to my parents who could not give any satisfactory answer. Since then, I have been studying other philosophical systems to see how well they explain the evidence, and I just happen to be studying Sri Vaishnavism now. Previously I studied Advaita and Gaudiya Vaishnavism, and I intend to study Tattvavada and possibly Nimbarka and Sridhar Swami if time permits. Just out of curiosity, do you mind if I ask to what extent you have studied philosophical systems other than your own?

    I also don't denigrate those who have views contrary to mine, or even contrary to shAstra, as sinners who have to perform prayashchitta. That would seem to make me far less sectarian than you by any reasonable estimation.

    Being Vedic is not an all or one proposition. There are some aspects of Ramanuja and Madhva that were Vedic, like the rituals they performed and the lifestyle they lived. But clearly an assertion that Shiva is a Jivatma is based on sectarian Vaishnava scriptures and not on the Vedas. If you accept any single philosophy of medieval Vedanta, you are automatically rejecting the others as false. I personally do not accept any siddhanta from a medieval acharya above the Vedas, Itihasas and Puranas.
    We are just going round and round in circles. You claim to know what is "Vedic" and to hold the scriptures above the comments of any acharyas. Yet, you cannot give a satisfactory explanation for the contradictory material in the puranas, other than a vague allusion to some "bigger picture" or "higher purpose" which the puranas themselves do not speak of. There is much in the puranas which depicts Shiva as a jiva, yet you just ignore that in favor of material that depicts Shiva as a supreme brahman.

    Let me ask you this - where in the Veda do you see Shiva and Vishnu being explicitly equated to each other? It's a bit of a trick question, you see. Because while Brahman is clearly addressed as both Vishnu and Rudra, it is also the case that Brahman is addressed as Indra, Vayu, Agni, Prana, Apa, tejas, etc. If you argue, as the Neos do, that all these devas are equally different forms of Brahman, then you have to similarly argue that the non-sentient entities are also Brahman on the same basis - a ludicrous proposition without offering further explanation. If you argue that Indra, Vayu, Agni, Mitra, etc are not Brahman, but Rudra is, then you have to explain why that double standard.

    If you read the works of Parashara and Vyasa without sectarian eyes,
    I have an eye towards consistency and clarity. An ideology that teaches that two gods are the same is not consistent with a body of literature that treats them as two different beings. This is what I call logical but which you call "sectarian."

    you will find assertions that Shiva is Vishnu and Vishnu is Shiva. But if you want to prove a sectarian ideology, you can draw very cheap conclusions from selective stories while ignoring other stories.

    shivasya hR^idayam viShNu viShnor hR^idayam shivam.
    shivAya viShNu rUpAya vishNave shiva rUpiNe
    Verse numbers and source, please. We all know the evils of selective, out-of-context quoting. There is a similar statement in viShNu purANa which Neos try to argue is proof that Shiva and Krishna are the same. However, when you look at the actual context, in which Shiva is pleading with Krishna not to falsify his (Shiva's) boon given to Baanaasura, it is clear that absolute identity is not being suggested, but merely oneness of purpose. This is only logical, since they had just fought a battle, and Krishna was merely reassuring all present that there was in reality no rivalry between them. It is the ignorant who think they can fight with one deity by propitiating another.

    This is the Puranic ideology which does not fly with either the ideas of the Alvars, Nayanmars, Shaivagamas or Pancharatras. The purpose of Srivaishnavas is to propagate the ideologies of the Alvars and the pancharatras under the guise of the Vedas. They are trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. To prove their points they will have to twist and turn or ignore the Vedas and Puranas.
    There is no single, homogenous "Puranic ideology," at least, not based on the entirety of the Puranas we have today. They contain multiple statements which contradict each other, and they do not explicitly teach any sort of "grand unified theory" by which those statements can be reconciled. Trying to argue otherwise is serious denial of reality.

    I understand it is difficult for most Srivaishnavas to undertand prema bhakti, because their default mode is dAsya bhakti. When Shiva worships Vasudeva or when when Vishnu worships Shiva it's not because one is superior to the other, but because of their prema bhAva.
    Gaudiya Vaishnavas have an understanding of prema-bhakti which is well-developed, and they would argue that it is you who do not understand prema at all. According to them, prema-bhakti is bhakti in its purest form, devoid of the desire for material results, or even the personal desire for liberation, and is solely directed at nArAyaNa. You may wish to consult rUpa gosvAmI's bhakti-rasAmRita-sindhu for an in-depth discussion on this subject, assuming prema-bhakti is something you are truly interested in understanding.

    Invoking prema to explain how a Supreme Deity could worship Himself is a desperate, illogical argument. It is certainly not consistent with its usage in any AchArya's commentary with which I am familiar, and certainly not explained in any smRiti that I have studied to date. The most logical reason for one being A to worship another being B is because B is the superior entity and A is the subordinate, devotee. Trying to argue otherwise based on "prema bhAva" is highly contrived.

    Let's look at some scriptural instances in which the Lord worshiped Himself. In rAmAyaNa of vALmIki, rAma worshipped the Deity of nArAyaNa prior to His coronation ceremony (VR 2.4.32-33, VR 2.4.41, VR 2.6.1-4) - however, He was playing the role of a kShatriya king and His family were devotees of nArAyaNa. The bhAgavata 9.11.1. notes that He worshipped himself (bhagavān ātmanātmānaṁ rāma uttama-kalpakaiḥ / sarva-devamayaṁ devam īje ’thācāryavān makhaiḥ//). In Sri Krishna's dvAraka-LILA, it is noted that Krishna would awaken early in the morning and meditate on Himself (brāhme muhūrta utthāya vāry upaspṛśya mādhavaḥ /dadhyau prasanna-karaṇa ātmānaṁ tamasaḥ param// SB 10.70.4-5). If He had so much prema on Shiva, then why worship Himself? These would be instances where one would expect Him to worship Shiva, if your theory were true. But that is not what is observed here.

    The Bhagavata Purana is very clear about it, it states praising Shiva: tvam brahma paramam... sarva jagata ishvaro... na param te maheshvara etc. etc.
    I can't find this verse anywhere. However, let me assume for now that it's a variant reading on SB 4.6.42-45. So, according to one instance that you quoted, the bhAgavatam holds shiva to be the supreme brahman, correct? Now in the spirit of not being one-sided, let's consider some other statements in the bhAgavatam. First, the same Shiva mentioned in 4.6 is the one who states he always worships vAsudeva:

    sattvaṁ viśuddhaṁ vasudeva-śabditaṁ yad īyate tatra pumān apāvṛtaḥ |
    sattve ca tasmin bhagavān vāsudevo hy adhokṣajo me namasā vidhīyate || SB 4.3.23 ||

    He also says that he attains the abode of viShNu after the termination of his current existence:

    sva-dharma-niṣṭhaḥ śata-janmabhiḥ pumān
     viri˝catām eti tataḥ paraṁ hi mām |
    avyākṛtaṁ bhāgavato ’tha vaiṣṇavaṁ
     padaṁ yathāhaṁ vibudhāḥ kalātyaye || SB 4.24.29 ||

    (Shiva is speaking here) "A person conscientiously and firmly devoted to his own righteous duties, attains to the position of god Brahmaa after hundred births, and reaches me if possessed of still more excessive merits. But a votary of Lord Vishnu, after the end of this mundane body, attains tot he region of Lord Vishnu which is beyond samsaara, just as we do after the termination of our office." (- translation from J.L. Shastri)

    Now let's look at 8th skandha, 12th adhyAya. Therein, Lord Shiva glorifies Vishnu as the Supreme Brahman and explicitly states that neither he nor brahmA nor any of the humans or demons bewildered by mAyA can understand viShNu (SB 8.12.10). With his wife gaurI present, he asks to see Vishnu's mohinI-avatAra (SB 8.12.12-13). Then upon beholding that form of mohinI, it is said that Shiva got so enamored of her that, his mind agitated, he forgot his own wife (strī-prekṣaṇa-pratisamīkṣaṇa-vihvalātmā nātmānam antika umāṁ sva-gaṇāṁś ca veda - SB 8.12.22). It is further stated that shiva became very attracted to her (evaṁ tāṁ rucirāpāṅgīṁ darśanīyāṁ manoramām / dṛṣṭvā tasyāṁ manaś cakre viṣajjantyāṁ bhavaḥ kila // SB 8.12.24), and that he became "deprived of his wisdom, sense of decency and discernment," and "overcome with erotic passions evoked by her, he lost his shame and approached her even while his divine consort Paarvatii stood gazing" (tayāpahṛta-vij˝ānas tat-kṛta-smara-vihvalaḥ / bhavānyā api paśyantyā gata-hrīs tat-padaṁ yayau // SB 8.12.25). It is further mentioned that, bewildered by lust, he embraced her despite her unwillingness (SB 8.12.28), and due to lust was discharging semen (SB 8.12.32), after which he realized he had been "befooled by by the mAyA of Lord Vishnu" (skanne retasi so ’paśyad ātmānaṁ deva-māyayā / jaḍīkṛtaṁ nṛpa-śreṣṭhasannyavartata kaśmalāt // SB 8.12.35).

    So, this makes complete sense to you, right? He is the "supreme brahman," but he worships Vishnu, he attains the realm of Vishnu after his current life is ended, and he was deluded by Vishnu's mAyA to the point of becoming lusty for another woman in the presence of his wife?

    The shruti says repeatedly that Brahman transcends mAyA (RV 10.90.1, BU 4.2.4, CU 1.6.8, shvetAshvatara 3.8, IshopaniShad 8, etc etc), and is one without a second, there being no one equal to or higher than Him (BU 4.4.20, IU 4, mahAnArAyaNa upaniShad 85, etc). Yet, when we accept your "Vedic interpretation," we end up with a supreme brahman who transcends mAyA yet is deluded by mAyA, and worships a being higher than himself, despite being one without a second.

    Those who live in glass houses....

    The lesson here, I think, is not to dismiss the merits of other systems of scriptural interpretation without giving them their due consideration. You are entitled to your views, certainly. But if you are going to dismiss the conclusions of well-respected traditions as non-Vedic, having contrived interpretations, being started by sinners who must perform prayaschitta, etc then it's only fair to invite scrutiny of your own position and the soundness or lack thereof of the assumptions upon which it is based.

    If you interpret the stories from the Bhagavata the way Vaishnavas do, you will have to reject the Shiva, Linga, Skanda, Vamana and other puranas. Or like Jiva gosvami you can just call them tamasik and make alterations to the padma purana to prove your point.
    What a strange thing to say for someone who claims to accept everything in the purANas as true. Both the matsya purANa and the padma purANa contain the threefold classification of purANas as sAttvik, rAjAsik, and tamAsik. If you really accept everything in the purANa, then you should accept that to. If you believe it to be an "alteration," then you have to acknowledge that even the Shaivite verses you quote could be alterations, too. Am I the only one here who notices the double-standard?

    regards,
    Last edited by philosoraptor; 11 May 2013 at 10:07 AM.
    Philosoraptor

    "Wise men speak because they have something to say. Fools speak because they have to say something." - Plato

  7. #27

    Re: Disparaging

    A quick addendum regarding Lord Shiva. I am not satisfied merely with noting the bhAgavatam evidence attesting to his susceptibility to mAyA. We are all susceptible to mAyA, but Lord Shiva is still in a superior position compared to us. In the bhAgavatam, Lord Vishnu praises Shiva for coming to his senses very quickly, and notes that no other deva would have been so quick to recover, which is why He considers Shiva the greatest among the devas. So yes, while Shiva is susceptible to mAyA according to the bhAgavatam, he is still superior to other devas and to other jIvas as a general principle.

    This I feel compelled to add because Shiva is a respected devotee of Vishnu according to the Vaishnava point of view, and I did not feel satisfied making my point by citing his weakness when he is still worthy of veneration. No one should disrespect Lord Shiva, and I request members not to take these bhAgavatam statements as indicating anything other than the point I was trying to make - which is that Shiva is a jIvAtmA and not brahman.

    The bhAgavata says "vaiShNavAnam yathA shambhu...." As shiva is among vaishnavas, as the Ganga is among the rivers, so is the bhAgavatam among purANas. The Bhaagavatam is the best purANa, the Ganga is the greatest of the holy rivers, and so Lord Shiva is the greatest of the Vaishnavas.
    Philosoraptor

    "Wise men speak because they have something to say. Fools speak because they have to say something." - Plato

  8. #28
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    Re: Disparaging

    They say 'proof is in the pudding', the 'pudding' in spiritual matters being the attainment of moksha.

    If you go to Shaivam.org, there is evidence of how Lord Shiva granted mukti to the 63 Nayanmars... if Shiva was a 'Jiva', he wouldn't be able to grant this moksha.

    On the contrary, if it is said Sri Brahma is a 'Jiva' turned deva, that can be understood. But not Lord Shiva.
    jai hanuman gyan gun sagar jai kapis tihu lok ujagar

  9. #29

    Re: Disparaging

    This is not a Vishnu vs Shiva debate. Far from it. This is a debate between those who dismiss Vaishnava and Shaiva perspectives as contrived and sectarian, and those who who don't see smArthaism as the obvious, one correct, Vedic explanation of shAstra that it is made out to be.

    EDIT: OF course, by "smArtha" I am referring to the tradition as it has come to be known, endorsing such doctrines as panchopAsana and so on. I am not referring to the literal belief in the authority of smRiti as being somehow incorrect.
    Last edited by philosoraptor; 11 May 2013 at 10:54 AM.
    Philosoraptor

    "Wise men speak because they have something to say. Fools speak because they have to say something." - Plato

  10. #30
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    Re: Disparaging

    Namaste.

    No, what this is about, is a level of self-richeousness where a very small number of persons who are pretty much layman like most albeit book worms, who are not Gurus nor authorized spiritual intructors (who are not even likely Hindu priests of temples), and who do not represent the vast and glorius body of the huge and diverse Hindu Family, ganging up on another Hindu and carrying on such pointless dialectics in such a mean manner on a public platform it makes others wonder is this behavior an embarrassment to Hinduism?

    Having the blessing and frankly unworthy opportunity to meet and even know many Gurus and teachers, and the blessed experience of having the association of devotees and Hindus of the popular lay adherents of all denominations, and many temples, and certainly such teachers are expected to instruct specific doctrine or even secrets that would differ from another notably, but I really have not seen such pointless behaviors between one Guru to another Guru in a public forum, nor among Hindus in the many temples, nor with each other and at least with Hindus in California and when I have been to India, it is the refined (really divine) nature of such that there is a kinder, gentler way of each to the other with love and is immediate and exemplary that is why Hindus have the renowned respect deservingly so all over the world by those who are not deluded by hate and ignorance. Nor is it true that it is only about one perspective as contrived or sectarian, but turning another into a heretic unless they tow the line to only their verse, their carving on a stone, as only theirs. And when translations of Tamil or Sanskrit are rendered to English, or French, or Russian, or Spanish, or Arabic, or Aramatic, or into even lost languages, it is very rare that this Hindu translated it him or herself. If they quote a translation of another, the issue another may have with the translation is with the translator, there is no need to pointless singling out the Hindu who quotes it, rather better to become empowered in the world by distributing your authorized translation from your leaders and teachers of your sect to all over the world. This is not hard to do, when there is love and devoted adherents who were welcomed into your world who are ready to make that happen.

    Once I donated a typewriter to a Guru. I was told decades later, this Guru typed some pages of commentary on the Srimad Bhagavatam using that typewriter. I do not know if that is true, but supposedly this same typewriter is in some little room in India, just one item of collection of memorabilia. You see, doing little things may be better than pointless arguments.

    When those who cannot try to use the same approach exemplified by most Hindus, it in fact does turn into pointless dialectics on putting one Lord as being the lesser of another Lord and not the Glory of your Lord, it is not true that the pointless "gotcha's" are only about dismissing sectarianism, it turns into yet more quotes that again emphasize the divide and not the glory. I am guilty of doing that sometimes, even though I am not big on quoting scripture.

    Om Namah Sivaya.

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