Pāśupata, Pāncharātra, etc. composed by Śiva and Viṣṇu as mohaka śāstra
In the Kūrmapurāṇa we have these verses where Lord Viṣṇu and Lord Śiva decide to compose certain doctrines to be followed by those who are outside the vedic fold:
तस्माद्धि वेदबाह्यानां रक्षणार्थाय पापिनाम्
विमोहनाय शास्त्राणि करिष्यामो वृषध्वज १११
[Viṣṇu says: Therefore for the protection/saving of those who are outside the vedic fold (due to adverse karma/sin/curse), to delude them we shall compose doctrines, O Śiva] [there is a reading करिष्याबो indicating dual number]
एवं संबोधितो रुद्रो माधवेन मुरारिणा
चकार मोहशास्त्राणि केशवोऽपि शिवेरितः ११२
[Told thus by Mādhava, Rudra composed deluding doctrines and Keśava too, asked by Rudra (composed such doctrines)]
कापालं नाकुलं वामं भैरवं पूर्वपश्चिमम्
पञ्चरात्रं पाशुपतं तथान्यानि सहस्रशः ११३
[A few of the thousands of such doctrines the Two composed are: kāpāla, nākula, vāma, bhairava, pūrvapaśchima, pāncharātra, pāśupata..]
From this it can be concluded that the Pāncharātra was composed by Lord Viṣṇu with a view to ‘delude’ certain people.
In the Vāsiṣṭhalainga appear the following verses:
मत्तन्त्राश्रयणेनैव मत्पूजा च कृता त्वया । तपसा प्रीतवानस्मि तव शाण्डिल्य मे प्रिय ।।
[Lord Viṣṇu addresses Śāṇḍilya: Only by adhering to My doctrine (Pāncharātra), you have performed My worship. My dear Śāṇḍilya, I am pleased by your austerities.]
कुमार्गेणापि शाण्डिल्य मम पूजा त्वया कृता । अतः कालेन महता वेदमार्गं गमिष्यसि ॥
[Even by adhering to this inferior path (Pāncharātra), O Śāṇḍilya, you have performed My worship. As a result of this, over time, you will come to be included in the vedic fold.]
From the above it can be seen that the Pāncharātra has been composed by Lord Viṣṇu as a mohaka śāstra. It is not that he caused Rudra or some other person to compose it; he did it himself.
As to what is meant by ‘mohaka śāstra’ is explained here (in the Sri Rudra Bhāṣyam by Sri Abhinava Shankaracharya for the second anuvāka) where the word त्विषीमते occurs:
’विमोहनाय’ (of the Kūrmapurāṇa cited above) इत्यस्य चायमर्थ: –
अस्ति च पाशुपतपाञ्चरात्रादितन्त्रेषु वेदविरुद्धार्थप्रतिपादनम्; यथा – केवलनिमित्तेश्वरवादः, जीवोत्पत्त्यादिवर्णनम्, तद्विषये वेदनिन्दा चेति, तच्च सर्वमप्रमाणमेव, व्यवस्थापितं हि तदंशे तदप्रामाण्यं ब्रह्ममीमांसायाम्, तेषु च वेदनिन्दायाः तद्विरुद्धवर्णनस्य च प्रयोजनम् – ये वैदिका एव सन्तः पापवशाद्वेदेष्वविश्वासं कुर्वन्ति, तान्विमोहयितुम्, तच्च विमोहनं तेषामनुग्रहायैव । ते हि वेदद्विषः तन्त्रेषु स्थितां वेदनिन्दामुपश्रुत्य बहुमन्यमाना वेदं विहाय तान्त्रिकमार्गमनुप्रविश्य तेन विधिना परमेश्वरमाराध्य तत्पुण्यक्षतवेदद्वेषदोषाः क्रमेण जन्मान्तरे वेदनिष्ठां प्रतिपद्य कृतकृत्या भवन्ति । अत एव वैदिकस्यैव सतः शाण्डिल्यस्य वेदनिष्ठां विहाय पाञ्चरात्रादिदीक्षाविधिना विष्णुमाराधितवतो निन्दापूर्वकं तं प्रति चिराय वेदमार्गं गमिष्यसीति भगवता वासुदेवेन वरो दत्त इति वासिष्ठलैङ्गे श्रूयते – मत्तन्त्राश्रयणेनैव मत्पूजा च कृता त्वया । तपसा प्रीतवानस्मि तव शाण्डिल्य मे प्रिय ।। कुमार्गेणापि शाण्डिल्य! मम पूजा त्वया कृता । अतः कालेन महता वेदमार्गं गमिष्यसि ॥ इति । पापिष्ठविषये परमेश्वरस्य मोहकत्वं तद्विषये द्वेष इव तदनुग्रहपर्यवसितत्वान्न दोषमावहति । अत एव खलु बुद्धाद्यवतारेषु भगवतो नारायणस्य विमोहकत्वं बहुशः प्रख्यायते । न हि तत्तस्य दूषणं भवतीति । तदेत्सर्वमत्र ’विमोहनाय शास्त्राणि ’ इत्यनेनाभिप्रेतम् । एवमन्यान्यप्यस्मिन्विषये बहूनि वचनानि सन्ति, तानि सर्वाण्यप्यस्माभिः पाषण्डगजकेसरिण्युदाहृतानि, तत्रैव द्रष्टव्यानि ।
The meaning of the above is: The word ‘vimohanāya’ (‘with a view to delude’) of the Kūrmapurāṇa means this: There is indeed in the doctrines such as the pāśupata and pāncharātra aspects that are opposed to the Veda such as – holding the Supreme cause as mere instrumental, delineation of concepts such as the origination of the jīva, also denouncing the veda etc. All these are undoubtedly without any basis (in the veda). In the Brahmasūtras these aspects of these doctrines that are opposed to the veda has been well discussed (the reference is the BS 2.2 section where pāśupata, pāncharātra are discussed by Shankaracharya). -The purpose of incorporating in these doctrines such aspects that are opposed to the veda is: Those who are vaidikas alone, owing to sinful acts, give up their faith in the veda. These people have to be blessed by deluding them. They come to hear about the censure of the veda in those doctrines, give up the vedic fold and enter the tāntric path. They worship the Lord by the methods taught in those tantras (pāśupata, pāncharātra, etc.) and purified by such worship, with their sins annulled, in subsequent births come to the vedic fold and thereby attain liberation. Hence alone (it is seen in the case of) Śānḍilya who was a vaidika himself, gave up the vedic path and took up the Pāncharātra and by that method worshiped Viṣṇu, was given a boon by Lord Vāsudeva even though censuring him thus:
‘Only by adhering to My doctrine (Pāncharātra), you have performed My worship. My dear Śāṇḍilya, I am pleased by your austerities. Even by adhering to this inferior path (Pāncharātra), O Śāṇḍilya, you have performed My worship. As a result of this, over time, you will come to be included in the vedic fold.’
The deluding of those who have wronged, though appearing to be an expression of anger by the Lord, is not so as it (the deluding) is aimed at their ultimate emancipation alone. Hence alone the deluding act of Lord Narayana is well described in His avatāra-s of Buddha, etc. Never does such deluding amount to a blemish in the Lord. All this has been condensed in the words ‘ to delude them we shall compose doctrines’ in the Kūrmapurāṇa. In this vein there are several other scriptural references which are elaborately cited in the work ‘Pāṣaṇḍagajakesarī’ by the author (Sri Abhinava Shankaracharya).
From the above explanation of the author of the Sri Rudra Bhashyam we conclude:
- The Pāśupata and Pāncharātra are both doctrines composed for deluding those who are outside the vedic fold
- The two doctrines are composed by Lord Śiva and Lord Viṣṇu themselves
- The ‘deluding’ does not mean anything negative or detrimental to the audience for which those doctrines are composed
- On the other hand, they are intended to help them return to the vedic path and attain liberation thereby.
- The Bauddha, etc. doctrine is also composed by Lord Narayana alone with a view to ‘delude’.
- The method of the Pancharatra is termed as ‘kumārga’ by the Lord himself.
- It is not that Viṣṇu causes the composing of such ‘śāstra-s’ through someone else.
- Śiva and Viṣṇu ‘instruct’ and ‘obey’ each other in this ‘partnership’
In the above background it will be beneficial to recall Shankaracharya’s comments on the Pāncharātradhikarana of the Brahma sutras. Of especial significance and relevance to the above explanation is the Bhashyakara’s view on the censurability of the jīvotpatti in the Pāncharatra. Also his statement of Śānḍilya’s act of deserting the vedic fold and taking up the pancharatra as ‘vedanindā’ (censure of the veda) is also corroborated by the above explanation and the cited Vāsiṣṭhalainga verses. As a corollary of the above discussion is the non-maintainability of Sri Amalananda’s view in the Kalpataru about the reasons for considering the ‘jīvotpatti’ as gauṇa.
Om Tat Sat