Posted by: adbhutam | February 25, 2015



In the following blog the blogger has given expression to his complete misunderstanding of the Advaita darśana. The endeavor in this article is to expose such misconceived ideas and show the correct method of Advaita in respect of those aspects.

//Hence, just as he (the Saguna Upasaka) does not reach (directly) the attributeless (nirguNa) nature of the double-natured Highest Lord, stopping at that form which is distinguished by qualities (saguNa), even in obtaining the Saguna form of the Lord, the upAsaka stops at limited aishvarya (in the form of rulership over certain spheres within the effected universe) and does not obtain the unlimited aishvarya of Ishvara.//

[The segment in the above ‘translation’ by the blogger // even in obtaining the Saguna form of the Lord,// has no basis whatsoever in the original bhāṣya. It is a mischievous interpolation. This is all what is said in the bhāṣya: अतश्च यथैव द्विरूपे परमेश्वरे निर्गुणं रूपमनवाप्य सगुण एवावतिष्ठन्ते, एवं सगुणेऽपि निरवग्रहमैश्वर्यमनवाप्य सावग्रह एवावतिष्ठन्त इति द्रष्टव्यम् [Also, just as in the two-formed Supreme Lord, without attaining the nirguna form, they (the sagunopasakas) stay in the saguna form (this ‘form’ is not any figure, only the world in the manifest and unmanifest forms – ‘one foot’ of Brahman), so too in the realm of saguṇa, the upāsakas remain with limited powers alone and not unlimited powers as that of Ishwara. ]

What the blogger says here:

// The section is begun by Shankara showing the twofold form of Saguna Brahman (vikAra and nirvikAra) to answer as follows: “Just as those who obtain saguNa brahman do not attain the nirguNa state (immediately) even though Brahman is one, what we have stated makes is in fact fitting very well.”]//

is wrong. Shankara nowhere is showing the twofold form of Saguṇa Brahman. This is an erroneous understanding and mischievous interpolation of the blogger. The meaning of the Chandogya shruti cited by Shankara in BSB 4.4.19 is explained by Anandagiri: the first and third quarters speak of the realm of transformation and the second and fourth, the transcendental, untransforming ‘form’ which is Nirguna Brahman which is the substratum of the transformed-realm containing the savitṛmanḍala, etc. The blogger is fundamentally wrong in thinking that Advaita holds that there are two forms of saguṇa Brahman; on the contrary it is that the saguṇa Brahman is kalpita in Nirguṇa Brahman. In the ‘ubhayalingādhikaraṇam’ BSB 3.2.11 Shankara has stated:

ब्रह्मसूत्रभाष्यम् । तृतीयः अध्यायः । द्वितीयः पादः । उभयलिङ्गाधिकरणम् । सूत्रम् ११ – भाष्यम्

न तावत्स्वत एव परस्य ब्रह्मण उभयलिङ्गत्वमुपपद्यते ; न हि एकं वस्तु स्वत एव रूपादिविशेषोपेतं तद्विपरीतं च इत्यवधारयितुं शक्यम्, विरोधात् ।

There cannot be two-forms for the Parabrahman naturally. It cannot be, indeed, said that one entity is by itself endowed with attributes such as form and not so, since it is contradictory to each other.

ब्रह्मसूत्रभाष्यम् । तृतीयः अध्यायः । द्वितीयः पादः । उभयलिङ्गाधिकरणम् । सूत्रम् २१ – भाष्यम् BSB 3.2.21:

तस्मात् निर्विकल्पकैकलिङ्गमेव ब्रह्म, न उभयलिङ्गं विपरीतलिङ्गं वा इति सिद्धम् ॥

Therefore, there is only one form for Brahman, which is free of differentiations.

This sets at rest the funny theory of the blogger that ‘saguṇopasakas first reach a certain abode, vaikuṇṭha, and then attain identity with the nirguna form of (Lakshmipati) Vishnu, the saguṇa Brahman of Advaita.’ Such a misconception has no place in Shānkaran Advaita.

For the above stated reasons, the following silly observation of the blogger is also completely faulty:

// [“You say there is an eternal changeless form of (Saguna) Brahman. Be that as it may. So what?” – This question is answered thus: “In reality, even though it is so (that the Saguna Brahman has an eternal form), the general rule of ‘obtaining of exactly the same form (i.e., rulership) as per the nature of upAsana’ is dependent on the specific rules in scripture. In the absence of a scriptural-based specification of obtaining such forms as unlimited Lordship etc. through upAsana, there is no attainment of what is not meditated upon.”] //

No one has said that // there is an eternal changeless form of (Saguna) Brahman//

The blogger has wrongly copied the words of the Nyāyanirṇaya:

// astu brahmaṇo vikārāvartirūpaṃ tathāpi kiṃ syāt, tatrāha//

It should be vikāravartirūpam and not as shown by him with an elongation on the second ‘a’. That is how it is printed in the Motilal Banarasidas edition, p.904: अस्तु तर्हि ब्रह्मणो विकारवर्तिरूपं…. That makes the reading a completely wrong one than that intended by Anandagiri. What the gloss intends is: ‘Let there be a form of Brahman that exists within the realm of transformation…’ And it is quite reasonable, for the question is on why the saguṇopāsakas do not gain total aiśvarya despite their getting sāyujyam of the saguṇa Brahman.

The prakaṭārtha vivaraṇa cited by the blogger adds nothing to the discussion.

This section of the blog is a complete misunderstanding:

// Question: How do you say that the Sutra Bhashya shows Ishvara’s existence beyond material creation?

Answer: To show the existence of this eternal form, Shankara gives the example of Gayatri-brahma-vidya in the Chandogya Upanishad which declares that while only one quarter of the Highest is saMsAra-maNDala, three quarters of it are immortal and in a realm beyond saMsAra-maNDala:

tāvānasya mahimā tato jyāyāṃśca puruṣaḥ

pādo ‘sya sarvā bhūtāni, tripādasyāmṛtaṃ divi

[Such is the greatness of it; greater than it is the Person. One foot of him are all beings; three feet of him is what is immortal and in its own self-effulgence (Chandogya Upanishad, 3.12.6).] //

For, in Advaita the status of Ishwara is aupādhika; created by upādhis generated by avidya. In the BSB 2.1.14 Shankara has very clearly stated this: the omniscience, lordship, etc. are not absolute. So, Ishwara, Ishwaratva is only relative to material world and there is no way these subsist in the transcendental realm. The Chandogya shruti cited is also not to show in any way that Ishwara (saguṇa Brahman) exists beyond the realm of creation, with an eternal form.

The blogger is clearly mistaken here too:

// Here, we should also cite Shankara’s Vishnu Sahasranama Bhashya, where the Acharya says that *the deity Vishnu* is the destination intended for those who are liberated, due to *no chance of returning* for those who reach Him:

muktānāṃ paramā gatiḥ – muktānāṃ paramā prakṛṣṭā gatirgantavyā devatā punarāvṛttyasaṃbhavāttadgatasyeti muktānāṃ paramāgatiḥ ‘māmupetya tu kaunteya punarjanma na vidyate’ iti bhagavadvacanam /

The word ‘devatā’ is what has misled the blogger. It is not any deity that he thinks to be. In the Chāndogya sixth chapter called sadvidyā where the tattvamasi occurs, the Upanishad does not use the word Brahman at all. It uses three words: devatā (in feminine), Sat (neuter) and Atmā (masculine). ‘सेयं देवतैक्षत हन्ताहमिमास्तिस्रो देवता अनेन जीवेनात्मनानुप्रविश्य नामरूपें व्याकरवाणीति ॥ ६.३.२ ॥ for which Shankara comments: सेयं प्रकृता सदाख्या that devatā which is called ‘Sat.’ So, what Shankara says in the above VS bhasya is not any saguṇa deity but the Nirguṇa Brahman. In Advaita the state of non-return to samsāra occurs only when attaining, realizing by knowledge, the identity with nirguna Brahman. Even for the BG 8.16 Shankara has said: माम् एकम् उपेत्य तु कौन्तेय पुनर्जन्म पुनरुत्पत्तिः न विद्यते ॥ By attaining Me, the One, there is no return….This One is no way any saguna Brahman.

Shankara has said what it means to ‘attain Him’ so as to not return to samsāra, in the BGB 8.15, just prior to the above cited verse by the blogger:

माम् उपेत्य माम् ईश्वरम् उपेत्य मद्भावमापद्य पुनर्जन्म पुनरुत्पत्तिं नाप्नुवन्ति न प्राप्नुवन्ति ।

‘Attaining/reaching’ Brahman is not moving to any physical location where Brahman resides, but attaining, realizing, by knowledge, Its very nature, madbhāvamāpadya. This is not at all possible with a saguṇa deity. That very word ‘māmupetya’ is repeated, for that very purpose of non-return, in the very next verse cited by Shankara in the VS bhashyam. And it never means any saguṇa deity.

In another chapter, 15, Shankara says:

ततः पदं तत्परिमार्गितव्यं
यस्मिन्गता न निवर्तन्ति भूयः ।
तमेव चाद्यं पुरुषं प्रपद्ये
यतः प्रवृत्तिः प्रसृता पुराणी ॥ ४ ॥


ततः पश्चात् यत् पदं वैष्णवं तत् परिमार्गितव्यम्, परिमार्गणम् अन्वेषणं ज्ञातव्यमित्यर्थः । यस्मिन् पदे गताः प्रविष्टाः न निवर्तन्ति न आवर्तन्ते भूयः पुनः संसाराय ।

The Supreme Abode is something to be known, realized, not reachable physically.

For a detailed understanding of the terms ‘padam’, etc. read this article:

The blogger says:

//Question: Well, what answer do you have to the objection that terms like “nirvikAra rUpa”, “vikArAvartI” etc., refer to formless Nirguna Brahman (Chaitanyam) state and not some eternal form of Vishnu in an eternal abode called Vaikuntha?

Answer:  Again, our position fits the context whereas the position that you state does not. Here is the reason:

The entire section talks about the niravagraha aishvarya which can belong to Saguna Brahman alone, and hence the scriptural statements quoted (Chandogya Upanishad, Mundaka/Katha, Gita) etc. refer to forms of Saguna Brahman only//


The above is simply completely wrong. The adhikaraṇa that is presently discussed is no doubt about the aishvarya of the sagunopāsakas in comparison with the Ishwara’s aishvarya which is unlimited. However, the sutra ‘vikārāvarti cha…..’ is to make a comparison at two levels:

//न च तत् निर्विकारं रूपम् इतरालम्बनाः प्राप्नुवन्तीति शक्यं वक्तुम् अतत्क्रतुत्वात्तेषाम् । अतश्च यथैव द्विरूपे परमेश्वरे निर्गुणं रूपमनवाप्य सगुण एवावतिष्ठन्ते, एवं सगुणेऽपि निरवग्रहमैश्वर्यमनवाप्य सावग्रह एवावतिष्ठन्त इति द्रष्टव्यम् ॥ १९ ॥//

The Nirguna (nirvikāra) ‘form’ of Brahman is not attained by the sagunopāsakas as they have not worked for it. Therefore, too, अतः च, just as of the two-fold form of Brahman, the upāsakas remain in the saguṇa realm only and not in the nirguṇa realm, so too, within the saguṇa realm, they remain with limited powers without attaining the unlimited powers (of Ishwara).

Here, the comparison is so very clear. That is why the idea of Nirguṇa Brahman is brought in by the sūtra by the word ‘vikārāvarti’. The common aspect between the two levels is: one can attain to only what he has worked for and not that for which he has not put efforts.

The bhāṣyam uses four expressions: नित्यसिद्धस्यैव ईश्वरस्य (4.4.17), पर ईश्वरः, पूर्वसिद्ध ईश्वरः(4.4.18), अनादिसिद्धेनेश्वरेण (4.4.21). All these mean the same saguna Brahman, Ishwara, who rules the created world. They do not mean what the blogger thinks: //who is eternally perfect (nityasiddha//

And the blogger enters into a misadventure citing the Chandogya bhāṣyam for 3.12.7, etc. //Evidence from Gayatri-brahmavidya in Chandogya Upanishad Bhashya This is examined in the sequel:

The blogger says:

// Note several points here. First, Shankara clearly says that the brahmaprApti arising from the Gayatri-Brahmavidya, a form of Saguna Vidya, is described as “a heavenly abode”. Is Shankara intending an abode within the material universe, or an abode of an eternal nature beyond material existence? Surely the latter, since by saying “yaccoktaṃ tripādasyāmṛtaṃ divīti tat“ Shankara brings up the immortality of this “svargaloka” (hence not to be confused with the ordinary svarga-loka of Indra, etc.) by a connection with the imperishable three-quarters that was just described in 3.12.6. Also, the three quarters do not include even the satyaloka, since “vishvAnibhUtAni” in 3.12.6 which Shankara explains as “tejobannAdIni sthAvarajaN^gamAdIni” (fire, food, air, etc. constituting plants, animals, etc.) has to include Brahma, who has been declared by Shankara as a bhUta (being that comes into existence during the course of creation) in innumerable places in the Bhagavad Gita Bhashya etc. Also, “saMsArAdupari” also shows that these unmatched Highest loka-s are beyond saMsAra that includes all material existence. Brahma’s saMsAritva has been declared by Shankara in many places, for example in Sutra Bhashya, 1.3.30 and in 1.1.4.//


For chandogya 3.12.6 the bhāṣyam is:

तावानस्य महिमा ततो ज्यायंश्च पूरुषः । पादोऽस्य सर्वा भूतानि त्रिपादस्यामृतं दिवीति ॥ ६ ॥


तावान् अस्य गायत्र्याख्यस्य ब्रह्मणः समस्तस्य महिमा विभूतिविस्तारः, यावांश्चतुष्पात्षड्‌विधश्च ब्रह्मणो विकारः पादो गायत्रीति व्याख्यातः । अतः तस्माद्विकारलक्षणाद्गायत्र्याख्याद्वाचारंभणमात्रात् ततो ज्यायन् महत्तरश्च परमार्थसत्यरूपोऽविकारः पूरुषः पुरुषः सर्वपूरणात् पुरि शयनाच्च । तस्य अस्य पादः सर्वा सर्वाणि भूतानि तेजोबन्नादीनि सस्थावरजङ्गमानि, त्रिपात् त्रयः पादा अस्य सोऽयं त्रिपात् ; त्रिपादमृतं पुरुषाख्यं समस्तस्य गायत्र्यात्मनो दिवि द्योतनवति स्वात्मन्यवस्थितमित्यर्थ इति ॥

Anandagiri says: paramārthasatye hetumāha avikāra iti.

That which is vācārambhaṇamātram in advaita is the created universe mithyā, and that which is not that is Nirguna Brahman. That is how the Chandogya sixth chapter teaches. ‘aitadātmyam idam sarvam, tat satyam, sa ātmā, tat tvam asi shvetaketo’ [All this universe which is a transformation of tejas, ap and annam – fire, water and earth – has this Sat as its Self and that is satyam and you, shvetaketu, are that Sat]. And that is specified by the bhāṣya as ‘paramārthasatyarūpa, avikāra…’. It is well known that the parmārtha satya in advaita is Nirguṇa Brahman. Nowhere Shankara is talking about a saguṇa entity and his worlds that are beyond, outside, creation.

In the Chandogya 13.3.7 bhāṣyam विश्वतः पृष्ठेष्वित्येतस्य व्याख्यानं सर्वतः पृष्ठेष्विति, संसारादुपरीत्यर्थः; संसार एव हि सर्वः, असंसारिणः एकत्वान्निर्भेदत्वाच्च । it is very clear that ‘sarvaḥ’ (‘all, everything, multiplicity’) is samsāra and that which is above samsāra is the asamsāri, One and devoid of divisions. This is undoubtedly the Nirguna Brahman, stated as nirvikalpam by Shankara in the ubhayalingādhikaraṇa, cited in this article. Shankara is not at all talking about any transcendental lokas here by the term ‘samsārādupari’, for in advaita, Ishwara’s relevance is within samsāra. If the ‘lokas’ were to be meant by Shankara as obtaining ‘above’ the samsāra manḍala, the above cited असंसारिणः एकत्वान्निर्भेदत्वाच्च would be contradicted, for the loka-s above samsara is in plural, and one loka has to be distinct from the other. So, the blogger has got the entire Chandogya section wrong.

And coming to the bhāṣyam: // anuttameṣu tatpuruṣasamāsāśaṅkānivṛttaya āhottameṣu lokeṣviti //

what it means is: Anandagiri explains: All the lokas that have no lokas excelling them are ‘anuttama loka-s’ This is the meaning derived from the bahuvrīhi compound. And Shankara says that these lokas are that of hiraṇyagarbha, namely satya lokas. These are the highest lokas. Anandagiri explains this as: Since these uttama lokas are the kārya, effect, of Brahman, the latter is manifest forever in these lokas as hiraṇyagarbha, etc. [the basis for this is the Kaṭhopaniṣad mantra 2.3.5: च्छायातपयोरिव ब्रह्मलोके, and Shankara says: छायातपयोरिव अत्यन्तविविक्तं ब्रह्मलोक एवैकस्मिन् । – Atman/Brahman is extremely clearly graspable only in Brahmaloka and not so in the others.] And Brahman that transcends all the effects is specified as being above these lokas: samsārāt upari, for the purpose of meditating. Anandagiri has very explicitly clarified in the earlier paragraph that this is an upāsanā where the jīvbrahma aikyam is involved. If Shankara had intended any vaikuntha loka in this section, he would not have said ‘in satya loka, etc. the Hiraṇyagarbha, etc. which are the effects of the Supreme Lord, are very clearly manifest…’.‘सत्यलोकादिषु हिरण्यगर्भादिकार्यरूपस्य परस्येश्वरस्य आसन्नत्वादुच्यते उत्तमेषु लोकेष्विति । On the other hand he would have said: vaikuṇṭhādi lokeṣu….viṣhṇvādirūpeṇa ..etc. For according to the blogger the vaikunṭha is certainly above satyaloka and hiranyagarbha is surely lower than viṣṇu. That Shankara does not say so is the evidence that goes against the imagination of the blogger.

Chandogya 3.12.9

तदेतद्धार्दाकाशाख्यं ब्रह्म पूर्णं सर्वगतम्, न हृदयमात्रपरिच्छिन्नमिति मन्तव्यम्, यद्यपि हृदयाकाशे चेतः समाधीयते । अप्रवर्ति न कुतश्चित्क्वचित्प्रवर्तितुं शीलमस्येत्यप्रवर्ति, तदनुच्छित्तिधर्मकम् । यथा अन्यानि भूतानि परिच्छिन्नान्युच्छित्तिधर्मकाणि, न तथा हार्दं नभः । पूर्णामप्रवर्तिनीमनुच्छेदात्मिकां श्रियं विभूतिं गुणफलं लभते दृष्टम् । य एवं यथोक्तं पूर्णाप्रवर्तिगुणं ब्रह्म वेद जानाति इहैव जीवन् तद्भावं प्रतिपद्यत इत्यर्थः ॥

Chandogya 3.13.6 bhashyam:

ते वा एते यथोक्ताः पञ्चसुषिसम्बन्धात् पञ्च ब्रह्मणो हार्दस्य पुरुषाः राजपुरुषा इव द्वारस्थाः स्वर्गस्य हार्दस्य लोकस्य द्वारपाः द्वारपालाः ।…….. ततश्च स्वर्गलोकप्रतिपत्तये पारम्पर्येण भवतीति स्वर्गलोकप्रतिपत्तिरेवैकं फलम् ॥

The above is not anything but the attaining, realizing, the Para (Nirguna) Brahman. There is an imagery here: the ‘svarga’ is not any heavenly abode, not even any transcendental abode of Vishnu as the blogger erroneously thinks, but the vedāntic ‘heart’. Anandagiri says in 3.13.1: svargalokaśabdaḥ paramātmaviṣayaḥ, ‘svargam lokamita ūrdhvam vimuktāḥ’ …svargalokasya paramātmano bhavanam āyatanam’ The word ‘svarga’ means Paramātman. The place in the body where that svarga, paramātman, is located/visible/perceptible is called ‘heart-space’. This heart-space is none other than Brahman तदेतद्धार्दाकाशाख्यं ब्रह्म पूर्णं सर्वगतम् (ch.bhashyam 3.12.9). Just like a team of soldiers guard the King/palace/city, so too the team of sense organs ‘guard’ the Brahman, that is, they do not permit anyone to enter, realize, Brahman. So, one has to ‘befriend’ the sense organs, that is, make them amenable to sādhana, and finally attain the realization of Brahman. That is the imagery here.

In the seventh mantra bhashyam: अथ यत् असौ विद्वान् स्वर्गं लोकं वीरपुरुषसेवनात्प्रतिपद्यते, यच्चोक्तं त्रिपादस्यामृतं दिवीति, तदिदं लिङ्गेन चक्षुःश्रोत्रेन्द्रियगोचरमापादयितव्यम्, यथा अग्न्यादि धूमादिलिङ्गेन । Shankara clearly says: hereafter, that ‘svarga loka’ (heart-ākāsha, Brahman) that this Knower attains, and that which was stated much earlier as the one that subsists transcending the created world, is to be clearly stated through indicatory marks, just as fire is inferred, known, through the indicatory mark that is smoke.   By resorting to such reasoning alone one will attain certainty with regard to Brahman, as ‘This is how/what It is’.

This statement of the blogger is incorrect, misleading:

// We also have confirmation from Anandagiri who says in the Chandogya-Bhashya-Tika that it is saguNa-brahman here who for the purpose of upAsana described as the resident of these transcendental loka-s:

tasya upāsyatvārthaṃ saṃsārādupariṣṭādavasthānamuktaṃ (Anandagiri in 3.13.7) //


Anandagiri’s statement no way amounts to what the blogger tries to convey. It simply says: With a view to meditate on That (Brahman), it is stated to be beyond samsāra. This in no way means that Brahman is taught to be resident of these transcendental lokas.  No lokas have been specified anywhere in the Upanishad or bhashya as transcendental and where Brahman resides. This is a mischievous interpolation of the blogger to mislead his gullible readers. One who has the capacity to read the texts in the original and understand them correctly, as per a good sampradāya, will never fall a prey to such tricks as the blogger employs to push his ‘Vishnu, the deity, is the saguna Brahman in Shankara Vedanta and Vishnu lokas are imperishable, eternal, etc.’ Such un-vedantic concepts are in no way part of the Advaita Vedanta taught by Shankara. In fact the Ratnaprabhā says: //योषितोऽग्नित्ववत् द्युमर्यादत्वादिकं ध्यानार्थं कल्पितं ब्रह्मणॊ युकमित्याह – अत्रोच्यते इत्यादिना //p.145. [Just as the female is taught as being of the nature of fire (for meditation purpose, while in truth the female is not fire), so too the limitedness, etc. of Brahman in the dyuloka, etc. is devised, kalpitam, for the purpose of meditation.]

Since the mantra involved here ‘pādo’sya sarvā bhūtāni….’ is verisimilar to the Puruṣasuktam, the sāyana bhāṣya for that segment is given here:

यद्यपि सत्यं ज्ञानमनन्तं ब्रह्मेत्याम्नातस्य परब्रह्मण इयत्ताया अभावादंशचतुष्टयं न निरूपयितुं शक्यं तथाऽपि जगदिदं ब्रह्मस्वरूपापेक्षयाय़्त्यल्पमिति विवक्षित्वा पादत्वोपन्यासः ।

[The Taittiriyopanishat has defined Brahman as ‘Satyam, Jnānam, Anantam’ which is svarūpa lakṣaṇam for Brahman, Nirguna Brahman, in Advaita. Such a Brahman has no confines and therefore it is impossible to demonstrate the ‘four parts’ the mantra is mentioning. Yet, in view of the fact that the universe is infinitesimal in comparison to the infinite Brahman, anantam, the ‘four quarter’ imagery is employed.]

This is cited to show that the blogger’s idea of ‘above’ everything is vaikuntha located is baseless.

It is also significant that the sāyana bhāṣya cites the BG 10.42 –

विष्टभ्याहमिदं कृत्स्नमेकांशेन स्थितो जगत् ॥ ४२ ॥ where the bhashyam cites this mantra, though from the Rg.veda:


अथवा बहुना एतेन एवमादिना किं ज्ञातेन तव अर्जुन स्यात् सावशेषेण । अशेषतः त्वम् उच्यमानम् अर्थं शृणु — विष्टभ्य विशेषतः स्तम्भनं दृढं कृत्वा इदं कृत्स्नं जगत् एकांशेन एकावयवेन एकपादेन, सर्वभूतस्वरूपेण इत्येतत्; तथा च मन्त्रवर्णः — पादोऽस्य विश्वा भूतानि (ऋ. १०-८-९०-३) इति; स्थितः अहम् इति ॥

The purpose of showing all the above is to prove that in Advaita this mantra specifying the ‘transcendental three parts’ is to teach the nirguna, asamsāri, Brahman and not any saguna deity located in any abode. No special abode above creation is admitted in Advaita. The Advaita Siddhi explicitly denies eternality to viṣṇu lokas and admits their existence only during the period between maha pralayas. Therefore such lokas are very much within samsāra mandala.

The fundamental error of the blogger is in taking the word ‘svarga loka’ as being a special loka, abode, beyond creation. That such is only an imagery, hārda brahman’ is shown in the bhāṣya. All that the blogger says on the Chandogya mantras taken up by him for discussion along with Anandagiri is therefore faulty and shatter his hopes of proving an eternal vaishnava loka in vyavaharika satyam in advaita.

Here is another desperate attempt by the blogger to somehow bring in his pet theories into advaita. Responses are placed between [ ]:

// Again, do we have statements from Shankara himself that the description in this passage is a description of sopAdhika saguNa brahman and not of nirupAdhika state? Affirmative, since Shankara has dealt with this passage again in the Brahma Sutra Bhashya, 1.1.24 where Gayatri-Brahmavidya is discussed: //

[It has been shown beyond doubt that the Chandogya mantra in question is not teaching any sopādhika Brahman as obtaining in a loka beyond creation. That which transcends creation, the lokas, is the nirupādhika Brahman alone. The very attempt to bring in this Sūtra bhāṣua 1.1.24 is futile since Shankara has not admitted any loka that is named vaishnava or another, in a realm beyond creation. All lokas, grouped under uttama lokas in the chandogya mantra and explained as ‘hiranyagarbhādi (satya) lokas’ in the bhashya come under the created category and therefore within samsāra. Since this is clearly settled, the sutra bhashya topic is irrelevant as it is dealing with a different topic of upasana-specific locations. All such dyu loka, etc. based upasanas are within the created range and not at all beyond creation. Hence there is absolutely no scope for this sutra bhashya here. It does not alter the situation settled in the chandogya bhashya: Brahman, asamsāri, is beyond created lokas. ]

The blogger adds a note:

//Note: by “limiting adjuncts” or “upAdhivisheShasaMbandhAt” we need to take it as “sattva upAdhi-s in the context of upAsana. While all beings are nirguna Brahman under rajo/tamo guNa upAdhi-s, Vishnu alone is under shuddhasattvaupAdhi-s and hence he alone is worthy of upAsana as Saguna Brahman for liberation. This has already been pointed out by Anandagiri in his TIka on to Shankara’s BSB, in the kAryAdhikaraNa section, and identified as Vishnu by agnicit puruShottama mishra as well in his commentary to the introductory (invocatory) verse of Sarvajnatman’s saMkShepa shArIraka.//

This needs to be clarified: The upAdhivisheShasaMbandha is not with any person, individual, deity. The upadhis are all certain locations in the body such as eye, heart, or any loka, mandala. Hence the question of Vishnu being sattva upadhi is not at all relevant. In fact there are innumerable Hiranyagarbhopasanas in the Upanishads and presenting Hiranyagarbha (Brahmā) as extremely pure, superior. Hiranyagarbha is no different from brahmā, prajāpati, and if he is rajopādhi, the blogger is only faulting the Upanishad/Shankara for enjoining this upasana. Here are shown a sample of such instances about Brahmā in the bhāṣyam. I am not giving exact translations which can be had from any standard book, based on the references shown below:

ब्रह्मसूत्रभाष्यम् । प्रथमः अध्यायः । द्वितीयः पादः । अदृश्यत्वाधिकरणम् । सूत्रम् २३ – भाष्यम् Brahmasutra bhāṣyam (BSB) 1.2.23

श्रुतिस्मृत्योश्च त्रैलोक्यशरीरस्य प्रजापतेर्जन्मादि निर्दिश्यमानमुपलभामहे — ‘हिरण्यगर्भः समवर्तताग्रे भूतस्य जातः पतिरेक आसीत् । स दाधार पृथिवीं द्यामुतेमां कस्मै देवाय हविषा विधेम’ (ऋ. सं. १०-१२१-१) इति

Hiranyagarbha, called Prajāpati, is having the three worlds for his body.

बृहदारण्यकोपनिषद्भाष्यम् । पञ्चमोऽध्यायः । पञ्चमं ब्राह्मणम् । मन्त्रः १ – भाष्यम् Bṛ.up.B 5.5.1

कथं पुनर्यक्षमित्युच्यते — ते एवं सृष्टा देवाः पितरमपि विराजमतीत्य, तदेव सत्यं ब्रह्म उपासते; अत एतत् प्रथमजं महत् यक्षम् ; तस्मात् सर्वात्मना उपास्यं तत् ;— समवर्ततेति अजायतेत्यर्थः — तथा, ‘स वै शरीरी प्रथमः स वै पुरुष उच्यते । आदिकर्ता स भूतानां ब्रह्माग्रे समवर्तत’ इति च । Hiranyagarbha is to be meditated upon by all means.

काठकोपनिषद्भाष्यम् । प्रथमोऽध्यायः । प्रथमा वल्ली । मन्त्रः १७ – भाष्यम् Kathopanishad 1.1.17

किञ्च, ब्रह्मजज्ञम्, ब्रह्मणो हिरण्यगर्भाज्जातो ब्रह्मजः ब्रह्मजश्चासौ ज्ञश्चेति ब्रह्मजज्ञः । सर्वज्ञो ह्यसौ । तं देवं द्योतनाज्ज्ञानादिगुणवन्तम्, ईड्यं स्तुत्यं विदित्वा शास्त्रतः, निचाय्य दृष्ट्वा चात्मभावेन इमां स्वबुद्धिप्रत्यक्षां शान्तिम् उपरतिम् अत्यन्तम् एति अतिशयेनैति । वैराजं पदं ज्ञानकर्मसमुच्चयानुष्ठानेन प्राप्नोतीत्यर्थः ॥ The virāt who is born of Hiranyagarbha, brahmā, is a Jnani and is to be meditated upon.

मुण्डकोपनिषद्भाष्यम् । प्रथमं मुण्डकम् । प्रथमः खण्डः । मन्त्रः ८ – भाष्यम् Mundakopanishat 1.1.8

अन्नात् प्राणः हिरण्यगर्भो ब्रह्मणो ज्ञानक्रियाशक्त्यधिष्ठितो जगत्साधारणोऽविद्याकामकर्मभूतसमुदायबीजाङ्कुरो जगदात्मा अभिजायत इत्यनुषङ्गः । Hiranyagarbha is endowed with the Jnanakriyashakti of Brahman….

मुण्डकोपनिषद्भाष्यम् । प्रथमं मुण्डकम् । द्वितीयः खण्डः । मन्त्रः ११ – भाष्यम् Mundakopanishat 1.2.11:

ये पुनस्तद्विपरीतज्ञानयुक्ता वानप्रस्थाः संन्यासिनश्च, तपःश्रद्धे हि तपः स्वाश्रमविहितं कर्म, श्रद्धा हिरण्यगर्भादिविषया विद्या, ते तपःश्रद्धे उपवसन्ति सेवन्तेऽरण्ये वर्तमानाः सन्तः । शान्ताः उपरतकरणग्रामाः । विद्वांसः गृहस्थाश्च ज्ञानप्रधाना इत्यर्थः ।


समस्तमपरविद्याकार्यं साध्यसाधनलक्षणं क्रियाकारकफलभेदभिन्नं द्वैतम् एतावदेव यद्धिरण्यगर्भप्राप्त्यवसानम् । तथा च मनुनोक्तं स्थावराद्यां संसारगतिमनुक्रामता — ‘ब्रह्मा विश्वसृजो धर्मो महानव्यक्तमेव च । उत्तमां सात्त्विकीमेतां गतिमाहुर्मनीषिणः (मनु. १२-५०) इति ॥

The above speak of the glories of Hiranyagarbha as attainable through highly sāttvik path.

तैत्तिरीयोपनिषद्भाष्यम् । शीक्षावल्ली । षष्ठोऽनुवाकः । मन्त्रः २ – भाष्यम् Taittiriya bhashyam 1.6.2

भूर्भुवः सुवः स्वरूपा मह इत्येतस्य हिरण्यगर्भस्य व्याहृत्यात्मनो ब्रह्मणोऽङ्गान्यन्या देवता इत्युक्तम् । यस्य ता अङ्गभूताः, तस्यैतस्य ब्रह्मणः साक्षादुपलब्ध्यर्थमुपासनार्थं च हृदयाकाशः स्थानमुच्यते, सालग्राम इव विष्णोः । तस्मिन्हि तद्ब्रह्म उपास्यमानं मनोमयत्वादिधर्मविशिष्टं साक्षादुपलभ्यते, पाणाविवामलकम् । Hiranyagarbha upāsana is enjoined here.

बृहदारण्यकोपनिषद्भाष्यम् । प्रथमोऽध्यायः । प्रथमाध्यायस्य चतुर्थं ब्राह्मणम् । मन्त्रः ६ – भाष्यम् Bṛ.up.bhāṣyam 1.4,6

हिरण्यगर्भस्तूपाधिशुद्ध्यतिशयापेक्षया प्रायशः पर एवेति श्रुतिस्मृतिवादाः प्रवृत्ताः । Hiranyagarbha (brahmā) is indeed of extremely pure upādhi….and therefore is more or less the Supreme Itself…

बृहदारण्यकोपनिषद्भाष्यम् । प्रथमोऽध्यायः । प्रथमाध्यायस्य पञ्चमं ब्राह्मणम् । मन्त्रः २० – भाष्यम्

तथा अद्भ्यश्चैनं चन्द्रमसश्च दैवः प्राण आविशति । स वै दैवः प्राणः किंलक्षण इत्युच्यते — यः सञ्चरन् प्राणिभेदेषु असञ्चरन् समष्टिव्यष्टिरूपेण — अथवा सञ्चरन् जङ्गमेषु असञ्चरन्स्थावरेषु — न व्यथते न दुःखनिमित्तेन भयेन युज्यते ; अथो अपि न रिष्यति न विनश्यति न हिंसामापद्यते । सः — यो यथोक्तमेवं वेत्ति त्र्यन्नात्मदर्शनं सः — सर्वेषां भूतानामात्मा भवति, सर्वेषां भूतानां प्राणो भवति, सर्वेषां भूतानां मनो भवति, सर्वेषां भूतानां वाग्भवति — इत्येवं सर्वभूतात्मतया सर्वज्ञो भवतीत्यर्थः — सर्वकृच्च । यथैषा पूर्वसिद्धा हिरण्यगर्भदेवता एवमेव नास्य सर्वज्ञत्वे सर्वकृत्त्वे वा क्वचित्प्रतिघातः ; स इति दार्ष्टान्तिकनिर्देशः । किञ्च यथैतां हिरण्यगर्भदेवताम् इज्यादिभिः सर्वाणि भूतान्यवन्ति पालयन्ति पूजयन्ति, एवं ह एवंविदं सर्वाणि भूतान्यवन्ति — इज्यादिलक्षणां पूजां सततं प्रयुञ्जत इत्यर्थः ॥

Hiranyagarbha is spoken of as omniscient.

बृहदारण्यकोपनिषद्भाष्यम् । द्वितीयोऽध्यायः । षष्ठं ब्राह्मणम् । मन्त्रः ३ – भाष्यम् Bṛ.up.2.6.3

ब्रह्मणो हिरण्यगर्भात् ; ततः परम् आचार्यपरम्परा नास्ति । यत्पुनर्ब्रह्म, तन्नित्यं स्वयम्भु, तस्मै ब्रह्मणे स्वयम्भुवे नमः ॥

Brahmā, that is Hiranyagarbha, is the Supreme Achārya. Obeisance to Him.

The blogger says:

//To those who say that the vaikuNTha vAsin and vaikuNTha loka must be subject to pralaya in Advaita Vedanta because of its association with a certain place, we have the same reply as Shankara. The statements of Shankara in Mundakopanishad 3.2.6 to the effect that Brahman cannot be associated with a specific place is in the context of sadyomukti/jIvanmukti that constitutes immediate realization of Nirguna Brahman//

The blogger is fundamentally mistaken about what Shankara said in the BSB on upadhi-specific teaching of Brahman. While those specific teachings about Brahman ‘in’ the eye, heart, dyuloka, etc. is for the purpose of upāsana, there is no such injunction in the Upanishads that teach the contemplation of Brahman located in a loka called Vaikunṭha. Not even is there an upasana that teaches one to contemplate Brahman ‘as’ located in brahmaloka. So, the blogger has no ‘same reply’ as Shankara whatsoever. And the Mundakopanishad 3.2.6 bhāṣyam is a universal statement and not limited to just sadyomukti/jivanmukti/videhamukti. The blogger cannot take shelter under the supposed logic that since that Mundaka 3.2.6 statement is about Advaitic mukti, there is allowance in advaita for the unvedantic idea of eternal Vishnu in Vaikuntha that is not subject to pralaya. Shānkaran Advaita nowhere admits of any loka outside the created 14 lokas, of which the Satya is the highest, as not subject to pralaya.

In fact the Chandogya expression anuttameṣūttameṣu lokeṣu (ChUp, 3.13.7) is misunderstood by the blogger, as evidenced by his statement:

//That Brahman is now described as the “jyotis” which shines above the universe, above everything, in the highest worlds, beyond which there are no worlds.//

And in another blog:

//Then, the commentator says that these “Abodes” of Vishnu are places where kramamukti is granted (kramamuktidAn) and that they exist above all loka-s and beyond them there are no other worlds (anuttamān yebhyaḥ pare uttamā na santi tān lokān).//

The blogger is fundamentally wrong in understanding the Chandogya shruti, the Shankara bhāṣyam, Anandagiri’s gloss and the Ramayana and the gloss he cites thereon. None of these talk of a vaikuntha that exists ‘above’ all other lokas. The ‘anuttama’ expression is explained by Shankara in the bhashyam thus: If it is taken as tatpuruṣa samāsa, it will mean: ‘na uttamā iti anuttama’ [‘they are not superior’]. Hence, the Upanishad itself uses the word ‘uttameṣu’ immediately after that first expression, which, as the bahuvrīhi compound means: those lokas that do not have other lokas excelling them ‘na uttamā lokāḥ yebhyaḥ iti anuttamalokāḥ’. Even by saying so, Shankara never means any vaikuntha loka as existing ‘above’ these most exalted lokas. For, Shankara says in that bhāṣya, the asamsāri Brahman (tripād) is ‘above’ these exalted lokas, all of which come under the created, one-foot, category: ‘tasmādupari’. Shankara gives the example of Hiranyagarbhādi lokas for those uttama lokas and nowhere says vaikunthaadi. If, as the blogger thinks, Shankara admits of a vaikuntha which is superior to satya loka of hiranyagarbha, Shankara would have mentioned it by name. But he does not. He simply groups all those uttama lokas where Brahman is especially manifest in comparison to other lower lokas. (the Ramayana commentary too says: brahmalokān kramamuktidān). And then Shankara says the transcendental Brahman, three-foot, is above these exalted lokas described as Hiranyagarbhādi. In advaita, krama mukti happens only with the hiranyagarbha loka entering pralaya. There is absolutely no evidence in advaita for a loka designated for krama mukti that escapes pralaya. Every loka where bhoga is there, is within creation according to advaita. For in such lokas there is duality, dvaita. Any loka that has dvaita is created and destroyed during pralaya. That is why Madhusudana Saraswati, despite saying in the BG.8th chapter ‘mallokabhogānte’, denies even vyavaharika eternality escaping pralaya, to all bhagavallokas in the Advaita siddhi. Any bhogabhūmi is a created one where alone there can be multiple bhoktas, multiple bhogya vastus, etc. All this is dvaita according to advaita, subject to creation and destruction.

The blogger thinks that just because the Ramayana commentator says ‘kramamuktidān’ about the lokas where one goes, they are all imperishable. He is thoroughly mistaken. In advaita no loka that is fit for gaining krama mukti is eternal, even in the vyavaharika, creation-sustenance-pralaya, scheme.

The blogger now gives the BG as evidence for his Vishnu-loka theories in Advaita:

// Right after 15.6, Shankara raises the objection “But it is well-known that if one can go to a certain place, returning is always possible. How do we say for sure that there is no return of those?” and answers it in the next few verses by saying that these upAsakas attain nirguNa prApti at the end by giving the pot-sky analogy of avaccheda-vAda pakSha as well as the water-reflection analogy of AbhAsa-vAda pakSha. Note that there won’t be any such serious objection deserving a long explanation if “prApti”, “gamana”, “pravesha” etc. (respectively, “attainment”, “reaching”, and “entering”) only meant nirguNa-brahman realization. The idea is that they attain saguNa Ishvara, who is Vishnu and then attain His highest state, ie, nirguNatattva.//

It should be noted that the candidate in the BG 15th Ch. is not any upāsaka, who will have to go to a loka for krama mukti. He is someone who gains the advaita nirguna brahmātmaikya jnānam in this life itself. The blogger thinks he is intelligent in citing the subsequent verses, with the avaccheda and ābhāsa’ specific examples taken up by Shankara. It can be easily seen how the blogger has missed the key element in that analogy as stated by Shankara. Here is the relevant commentary:

For the BG 15.7 Shankara comments:

ममैव परमात्मनः नारायणस्य, अंशः भागः अवयवः एकदेशः इति अनर्थान्तरं जिवलोके जीवानां लोके संसारे जीवभूतः कर्ता भोक्ता इति प्रसिद्धः सनातनः चिरंतनः; यथा जलसूर्यकः सूर्यांशः जलनिमित्तापाये सूर्यमेव गत्वा न निवर्तते च तेनैव आत्मना गच्छति, एवमेव; यथा घटाद्युपाधिपरिच्छिन्नो घटाद्याकाशः आकाशांशः सन् घटादिनिमित्तापाये आकाशं प्राप्य न निवर्तते । अतः उपपन्नम् उक्तम् ‘यद्गत्वा न निवर्तन्ते’ (भ. गी. १५-६) इति । ननु निरवयवस्य परमात्मनः कुतः अवयवः एकदेशः अंशः इति? सावयवत्वे च विनाशप्रसङ्गः अवयवविभागात् । नैष दोषः, अविद्याकृतोपाधिपरिच्छिन्नः एकदेशः अंश इव कल्पितो यतः । दर्शितश्च अयमर्थः क्षेत्राध्याये विस्तरशः ।

The idea behind giving the analogies is only to show that mokṣa in Vedanta is not going to some place but mere realizing one’s true nature, here and now itself. The idea of being a samsārin is due to the upādhis which make one a finite being. And once it is known that the upadhis are mithyā and therefore do not and cannot finitize the infinite Brahman, that itself is freedom from bondage. The first example of a reflection of the sun in the reflecting medium, a water body: When the water-body medium that reflects the sun is destroyed (due to evaporation or any other reason), there is no longer the reflection. Where did the reflected sun ‘go’? It simply disappears, it is figuratively said to have ‘returned’ to the sun above, being non-different from the sun. In the same way, when the upadhis that are finitizing the infinite Brahman are ‘destroyed’ by knowing their falsity, the one that claimed jivahood no longer does so; he identifies himself with the infinite Brahman. The second analogy of the pot-space that is no different from the infinite space: when the pot, etc.-upādhis cease to be, that is when they are destroyed, the space in the enclosure ‘reaches’ the outer space and never regains the finitude. Here, both in the sun and the space analogies, there is no ‘physical returning’ to the source. Anyone can understand that when the pot breaks the space confined by the pot need not physically travel to reach the outer space. One can easily see that the two words ‘gatvā’ and ‘prāpya’ used by Shankara in the two analogies are only figurative and not literal, just to be in tune with the verse. So too, the term ‘gatvā’, ‘prāpya’ etc. in the case of the jnānin, only literal. In the BSB 4th sutra Shankara has said there is nothing else to be done to ‘attain’ liberation, ‘after’ securing the knowledge:

‘तदात्मानमेवावेदहं ब्रह्मास्मीति, तस्मात्तत्सर्वमभवत्’ (वाजसनेयि ब्रह्मण. उ. १-४-१०) ‘तत्र को मोहः कः शोक एकत्वमनुपश्यतः’ (ई. उ. ७) इत्येवमाद्याः श्रुतयो ब्रह्मविद्यानन्तरमेव मोक्षं दर्शयन्त्यो मध्ये कार्यान्तरं वारयन्ति । तथा ‘तद्धैतत्पश्यन्नृषिर्वामदेवः प्रतिपेदेऽहं मनुरभवं सूर्यश्च’ (बृ. उ. १-४-१०) इति ब्रह्मदर्शनसर्वात्मभावयोर्मध्ये कर्तव्यान्तरवारणायोदाहार्यम् — यथा ‘तिष्ठन्गायति’ इति तिष्ठतिगायत्योर्मध्ये तत्कर्तृकं कार्यान्तरं नास्तीति गम्यते ।//

The blogger’s hopes of showing up the words such as ‘paramam ‘dhāma’, gatvā, etc. in the BG as ‘evidences’ for the existence of a physical Vishnu loka admitted in advaita are dashed by this BGB 8.21:

अव्यक्तोऽक्षर इत्युक्तस्तमाहुः परमां गतिम् ।
यं प्राप्य न निवर्तन्ते तद्धाम परमं मम ॥ २१ ॥

8.21 He who has been mentioned as the Unmanifested, the Immutable, they call Him the supreme Goal. That is the supreme abode of Mine, reaching which they do not return.


सोऽसौ अव्यक्तः अक्षरः इत्युक्तः, तमेव अक्षरसंज्ञकम् अव्यक्तं भावम् आहुः परमां प्रकृष्टां गतिम् । यं परं भावं प्राप्य गत्वा न निवर्तन्ते संसाराय, तत् धाम स्थानं परमं प्रकृष्टं मम, विष्णोः परमं पदमित्यर्थः ॥

English Translation of Sri Sankaracharya’s Sanskrit Commentary – Swami Gambhirananda

//8.21 He Himself who has been uktah, meantioned; as avyaktah, Unmanifest; the aksarah, Immutable; āhuh, they call; tam, Him – that very unmanifest Reality which is termed as the Immutable; the paramam, supreme; gatim, Goal. Tat, That; is the paramam, supreme; dhama, abode, i.e. the supreme State; mama, of Mine, of Visnu; yam prāpya, attaining which Reality; na nivartante, they do not return to the worldly state.//

Here, both in the original and the translation, nowhere is a physical location stated that has to be physically reached for liberation. That Reality itself is the Goal and upon attaining that bhāva, state, there is no return. The Lord never says that the attainment of that state is accomplished by traveling to a specific location. And to top it all, the BGB 15.4 says: ततः पश्चात् यत् पदं वैष्णवं तत् परिमार्गितव्यम्, परिमार्गणम् अन्वेषणं ज्ञातव्यमित्यर्थः ।   The paramam padam vishnavam has to be known.

In Br.up.Bh. 1.4.7 Shankara says: न तु ब्रह्मविज्ञानव्यतिरेकेण अन्यत् मोक्षसाधनमवगम्यते । [Other than securing the Direct Knowledge of Brahman no means for liberation is seen taught in the scripture] If going to vaikuntha is an unavoidable, inevitable, condition to be liberated, even after securing realization, then the above words of Shankara will be contradicted. Even in the case of krama mukti it is not that one has to go from Brahma loka to any other loka to get mukti; the upasaka who has reached brahmaloka gains the advaita jnanam there and becomes a sadyomukta/jivanmukta there. He is alive there till the mahapralaya and when the brahma loka gets destroyed, along with Brahmā and the others who have gained self-realization, will become liberated. This is nothing but videha mukti for all of them; with no more confines of the body, loka etc.

Br.up.3.3: न च अज्ञानव्यतिरेकेण मोक्षस्य व्यवधानान्तरं कल्पयितुं शक्यम् — नित्यत्वान्मोक्षस्य साधकस्वरूपाव्यतिरेकाच्च — यत्कर्मणा निवर्त्येत । [Other than ignorance there is nothing that blocks liberation since moksha is eternal and is non-different from the svarupa of the aspirant. If, as the blogger thinks, one has to travel to vaikuntha to get moksha, then the above statements would be contradicted. Shankara clearly says that nothing need be done other than removal of ignorance, for liberation. Not just that, liberation is the very svarupa of the aspirant. In the BG 8.21 above the Lord says His bhāva, State, is that Brahman. One who attains to that bhāva, state, has no return to samsara. Since samsara is avidyākalpita, once the avidya is annulled, there is no going to some place for liberation. Non-return is simply not getting into ignorance and not a denial of physically coming back to samsara. The blogger in his proverbial ignorance of Advaita thinks that the 15th chapter is about saguṇopāsana and krama mukti is what is spoken of there. In the 19th verse there is said:

यो मामेवमसंमूढो जानाति पुरुषोत्तमम् ।
स सर्वविद्भजति मां सर्वभावेन भारत ॥ १९ ॥

15.19 O scion of the Bharata dynasty, he who, being free from delusion, knows Me the supreme Person thus, he is all knowing and adores Me with his whole being.


यः माम् ईश्वरं यथोक्तविशेषणम् एवं यथोक्तेन प्रकारेण असंमूढः संमोहवर्जितः सन् जानाति अयम् अहम् अस्मि इति पुरुषोत्तमं सः सर्ववित् सर्वात्मना सर्वं वेत्तीति सर्वज्ञः सर्वभूतस्थं भजति मां सर्वभावेन सर्वात्मतया हे भारत ॥

15.19 Bharata, O scion of the Bharata dynasty; yah, he who; asammudhah, being free from delusion;

janati, knows; mam, Me, God, having the aforesaid qualifications; purusottamam, the supreme Person;

evam, thus, in the way described, as ‘I am this One'; sah, he; is sarva vit, all knowing he knows everything through self identification with all i.e. (he becomes) omniscient; and bhajati, adores; mam Me, existing in all things; sarva bhavena, with his whole being, i.e. with his mind fixed on Me as the Self of all. Now then, having stated in this chapter the knowledge of the real nature of the Lord, which has Liberation as its fruit, it is being eulogized.

One can see clearly that the entire 15th chapter is a teaching the Absolute Brahman and the one who realizes that as ‘I am He’ is never a saguṇopāsaka requiring to go to some loka, to gain a further knowledge there. Shankara says, on the words of the Lord, that such a one is a sarvajna. The sagunopasaka is still an ajnani since he has to gain the real knowledge only in that loka where he is destined to go. So, the blogger’s hope of putting up the 15th chapter to sell his theories is a pathetic failure. And it is all the more laughable that he cites Shankara for all such nonsensical ideas.

And the blogger tries to show that he is aware of the ‘difference’ between going, attaining, etc. where there are two interpretations that are possible:

//Another point is also noteworthy here. In places where an interpretation in the secondary sense as “realization” i.e., “svarUpa-pratipatti” is warranted for the terms “prApti”, “gamana” etc., Shankara’s explanation is seen to be explicit and markedly different:

‘brahmavidāpnoti param'(tai. 2.1.1) ityādiṣu tu satyapi āpnoteḥ gatyarthatve varṇitena nyāyena deśāntaraprāpti asaṃbhavāt svarūpapratipattiḥ eva iyam avidyā adhyāropita nāma rūpa pravilaya apekṣayā abhidhīyate ‘brahmaiva sanbrahmāpyeti’ (bṛ. 4.4.7) ityādivat iti draṣṭavyam //

Nowhere in the Bhagavad Gita Bhashya where statements like “attainment of Vishnu’s paramaM padam” (8.21, 15.6, 18.56, 18.62), “attaining Me” (8.16, 9.25) etc. are mentioned, Shankara takes this route to say that the “attainment” is to be strictly taken in a secondary sense as “realization of the Atman’s true nature” or as “brahmaiva lokam” etc. In fact, Shankara explains “gatvA” as “prApya” in one place “prApya” as “gatvA” in another in the Gita Bhashya, instead of “AtmasvarUpaM pratipAdya” etc.//


Shankara need not say all that he said in one place, in all places too. He expects his followers to be intelligent enough to apply what he has said once or more in places where he has not said.

ब्रह्मसूत्रभाष्यम् । तृतीयः अध्यायः । तृतीयः पादः । गतेरर्थवत्त्वाधिकरणम् । सूत्रम् २९ – भाष्यम्

अन्यथा हि अविशेषेणैव एतस्यां गतावङ्गीक्रियमाणायां विरोधः स्यात् — ‘पुण्यपापे विधूय निरञ्जनः परमं साम्यमुपैति’ (मु. उ. ३-१-३) इत्यस्यां श्रुतौ देशान्तरप्रापणी गतिर्विरुध्येत ; कथं हि निरञ्जनोऽगन्ता देशान्तरं गच्छेत् ; गन्तव्यं च परमं साम्यं न देशान्तरप्राप्त्यायत्तम् इत्यानर्थक्यमेवात्र गतेर्मन्यामहे ॥ २९ ॥

The paramam sāmyam, absolute identity, with Brahman is not dependent on going to some other place. How indeed can one who is unattached, non-goer, go, reach, another place? Asks Shankara in the above passage.

In the Kathopanishad 1.3.4 Shankara, prior to introducing the series that leads to the tad visnoḥ paramam padam, says: वैष्णवस्य पदस्यात्मतया प्रतिपत्तिरुपपद्यते, नान्यथा स्वभावनतिक्रमात् [ Since another shruti teaches that the Pure atman is abhoktā (not an enjoyer/experience), it would be appropriate only when the vaishnava padam is realized as one’s self.]

If the vaishnava pada, as the blogger thinks, is a place, then it is impossible in advaita to teach the realization of that place as one’s self. Also, as pointed out in the foregoing, the BGB 8.21 clearly uses the words ‘यं प्राप्य न निवर्तन्ते तद्धाम परमं मम’ where Shankara has not said anything about reaching an abode: यं परं भावं प्राप्य गत्वा the ‘state’, bhāva, is not to be reached physically; it is to be realized. I have explained, with Shankara’s commentary, in the article

// Br.up.4.4.23 bhashyam:

तस्मात् तस्यैव महिम्नः, स्यात् भवेत्, पदवित् — पदस्य वेत्ता, पद्यते गम्यते ज्ञायत इति महिम्नः स्वरूपमेव पदम्, तस्य पदस्य वेदिता ।

For the word ‘padavit’ occurring in the above mantra, Shankara says: padam is padyate, gamyate, jñāyate and therefore the word ‘padam’ means verily the ‘svarūpam’ the true essence. He who has known (jñāyate) this is called padavit. [It should be noted that the Sanskrit root ‘pad’ has the meaning ‘gam’ which has also the meaning ‘know’.] //

Therefore ‘gatvā’ in those Bh.Gita usages means jnātvā. The 18.56 expression is to be understood as taught by Shankara in the Kaṭha bhāṣya: वैष्णवस्य पदस्यात्मतया प्रतिपत्तिरुपपद्यते, नान्यथा स्वभावनतिक्रमात्. Vaikuntha, a place, if that is the blogger’s meaning for the expression ‘vaishnavam padam’, it can never be realized to be his own svarupam of the aspirant since that place is characterized by duality and is a physical one, within creation, as established by the Advaita siddhi (see ).

For the word ‘praveṣṭum’ (literally, to enter) Shankara says: ‘mokṣam ca gantum’. If one were to read this again literally it would translate to: ‘to go to mokṣa’. And that would not make any sense. In Vedanta mokṣa is not going to some place; it is realization of one’s true self. Shankara has said that mokṣa is the very nature of everyone and its realization, knowing, is what is meant by ‘gantum’/praveṣṭum’:

The Bh.G.11.54 says:

भक्त्या त्वनन्यया शक्य
अहमेवंविधोऽर्जुन ।
ज्ञातुं द्रष्टुं च तत्त्वेन
प्रवेष्टुं च परंतप ॥ ५४ ॥


भक्त्या तु किंविशिष्टया इति आह — अनन्यया अपृथग्भूतया, भगवतः अन्यत्र पृथक् न कदाचिदपि या भवति सा त्वनन्या भक्तिः । सर्वैरपि करणैः वासुदेवादन्यत् न उपलभ्यते यया, सा अनन्या भक्तिः, तया भक्त्या शक्यः अहम् एवंविधः विश्वरूपप्रकारः हे अर्जुन, ज्ञातुं शास्त्रतः । न केवलं ज्ञातुं शास्त्रतः, द्रष्टुं च साक्षात्कर्तुं तत्त्वेन तत्त्वतः, प्रवेष्टुं च मोक्षं च गन्तुं परंतप

So, praveśa, literally entering, is not so in the above context. Even in the famous Taittiriya Upanishad, tat sṛṣṭvā tadevānu prāviśat [Having created, Brahman entered it], Shankara has explained at length the meaning of the word ‘praveśa’ and concluded that the ‘availability of Brahman in the heart of everyone to be recognized, realized, for liberation’ is what is meant by praveśa. Otherwise, he reasons, the all-pervading Brahman cannot be expected to ‘enter’ any finite place. It is always everywhere.

The blogger further says:

// Also note here that Anandagiri has explained “sthAnam” (Abode) as “the (place) where the liberated ones reside”. The usage of plural “liberated ones” (muktAH) indicates an eternal realm where a plurality liberated Jivas reside makes it inappropriate to associate “Vishnu’s highest padam” exclusively with nirguNaprApti, a state where there is no plurality.//

Here is another reference from Anandagiri:

संन्यासिभिः प्राप्यते स्थानं मोक्षाख्यम्// BGB 5.5 Shankara says: sthānam means that which is called mokśa.

आनन्दगिरि ८.२८: ऐश्वरं विष्णोः परमं पदं तदेव तिष्ठत्यस्मिन्नशेषमिति स्थानं, योगानुष्ठानादशेषफलातिशायिमोक्षलक्षणं फलं क्रमेण लब्धुं शक्यमिति भावः।

And Anandagiri, for the above bhāṣya gives enough material to complete the Gītā-Kaṭha connection. He annotates the Kaṭha ‘viṣṇoḥ paramam padam’ and says ‘that alone which is well established completely is ‘sthānam’, which one can gradually attain by sādhana. One also has to note that the ‘krameṇa’ is not any krama mukti indicated here, but the process of the aspirant evolving in sādhana by undertaking karma yoga, etc. Compare the above with Shankara bhashyam: स्थानं = तिष्ठति अस्मिन् इति, for BG 9.18 word स्थानम् . I have also pointed out before, in another article, that in the Chandogya, Sanatkumara instructs Nārada: ‘yadi vā na mahimni’: If you want to know ‘where that Bhūman (Brahman) is established, the reply would be: In Its own Glory, sve mahimni pratiṣṭhitaḥ. But even that is not correct; not in its glory.’ For Brahman does not require any support, like vaikunṭha, for its existence. It is infinite, ananta, satya. So, Existence and Infinite nature are not different in Advaita. That which is absolute Existence cannot be but absolutely infinite.

It is extremely silly on the part of the blogger to suggest that advaitins admit of a place where liberated ones, in plural, reside. In the above cited example, Anandagiri himself, uses the word in singular. And moreover clarifies that it is mokṣa. In advaita mokṣa is not a place but the very svarūpam of the aspirant. That svarupa cannot be many. It can be only one. And advaita does not admit of many ātmans. So, the blogger’s wishful thinking that there is evidence in advaita for a place where several muktas live is dismissed summarily. He desperately searches for singular/plural, etc. to somehow push in his vishistadvaitic ideas in advaita. If Ramanuja had identified his ideas in advaita, he would not have invented a new school. Nor would he have badmouthed Shankara (and Sureshwara and Sarvajnatman) as sinners. How can a vaishnava, if Shankara was one, be a sinner? If ending up being a sinner is what being a vaishnava amounts to, there is no special advantage in being one over being any other.

Om Tat Sat



Posted by: adbhutam | February 17, 2015


The latest parts of the two ongoing upanishad article series are available here:—Part-4.ashx—Part-14.ashx

The names ‘Nārāyaṇa’ and ‘Vāsudeva’ denote the Nirguṇa Brahman


The above topic is discussed in the sequel in the light of Shankara’s bhāṣyas with Sureshwara’s vārtika, Anandagiri’s gloss and Sāyana’s commentary.


ब्रह्मसूत्रभाष्यम् । द्वितीयः अध्यायः । प्रथमः पादः । स्मृत्यधिकरणम् । सूत्रम् १ – भाष्यम्


एवमप्यन्या ईश्वरकारणवादिन्यः स्मृतयोऽनवकाशाः प्रसज्येरन् ; ता उदाहरिष्यामः — ‘यत्तत्सूक्ष्ममविज्ञेयम्’ इति परं ब्रह्म प्रकृत्य, ‘स ह्यन्तरात्मा भूतानां क्षेत्रज्ञश्चेति कथ्यते’ इति चोक्त्वा, ‘तस्मादव्यक्तमुत्पन्नं त्रिगुणं द्विजसत्तम’ इत्याह ; तथान्यत्रापि ‘अव्यक्तं पुरुषे ब्रह्मन्निर्गुणे सम्प्रलीयते’ इत्याह ; ‘अतश्च संक्षेपमिमं शृणुध्वं नारायणः सर्वमिदं पुराणः । स सर्गकाले च करोति सर्वं संहारकाले च तदत्ति भूयः’ इति पुराणे ; भगवद्गीतासु च — ‘अहं कृत्स्नस्य जगतः प्रभवः प्रलयस्तथा’ (भ. गी. ७-६) इति ; परमात्मानमेव च प्रकृत्यापस्तम्बः पठति — ‘तस्मात्कायाः प्रभवन्ति सर्वे स मूलं शाश्वतिकः स नित्यः’ (ध. सू. १-८-२३-२) इति ।


The above cited verse from the smṛti is similar to the opening verse cited by Shankara in the introduction to the BGB:

नारायणः परोऽव्यक्तादण्डमव्यक्तसम्भवम् ।
अण्डस्यान्तस्त्विमे लोकाः सप्तद्वीपा च मेदिनी ॥


[From Narayana the avyakta emerged….]


The Bh.gita 13th chapter teaches the kṣetrajña, the knower-of-the-field, to be the very self of the jīva, the nirguṇa chaitanyam.


A smṛti cited in the foregoing says, the avyakta dissolves in the Puruṣa that is Nirguṇa.

Another smṛti says: The Narayana, the Ancient, creates everything and withdraws that.


In all these places the Cause, Narayana, is not identified as the consort of Lakshmi, resident of Vaikuntha, etc. This Narayana is also the kṣetrajna, the very self of the jiva.


Continues the above cited bhāṣya:

मनुना च ‘सर्वभूतेषु चात्मानं सर्वभूतानि चात्मनि । सम्पश्यन्नात्मयाजी वै स्वाराज्यमधिगच्छति’ (मनु. स्मृ. १२-९१) इति सर्वात्मत्वदर्शनं प्रशंसता कापिलं मतं निन्द्यत इति गम्यते ; कपिलो हि न सर्वात्मत्वदर्शनमनुमन्यते, आत्मभेदाभ्युपगमात् । महाभारतेऽपि च — ‘बहवः पुरुषा ब्रह्मन्नुताहो एक एव तु’ इति विचार्य, ‘बहवः पुरुषा राजन्सांख्ययोगविचारिणाम्’ इति परपक्षमुपन्यस्य तद्व्युदासेन — ‘बहूनां पुरुषाणां हि यथैका योनिरुच्यते । तथा तं पुरुषं विश्वमाख्यास्यामि गुणाधिकम्’ इत्युपक्रम्य ‘ममान्तरात्मा तव च ये चान्ये देहसंस्थिताः सर्वेषां साक्षिभूतोऽसौ न ग्राह्यः केनचित्क्वचित् ॥ विश्वमूर्धा विश्वभुजो विश्वपादाक्षिनासिकः । एकश्चरति भूतेषु स्वैरचारी यथासुखम्’ — इति सर्वात्मतैव निर्धारिता । श्रुतिश्च सर्वात्मतायां भवति — ‘यस्मिन्सर्वाणि भूतान्यात्मैवाभूद्विजानतः । तत्र को मोहः कः शोक एकत्वमनुपश्यतः’ (ई. उ. ७) इत्येवंविधा ।


The sarvātmadarśanam, the one-only puruṣa as opposed to multiple beings, spoken of there in many texts cited above is the nirguna chaitanyam alone and not a saguna deity. This is the realization for mokṣa in Advaita. That chaitanyam is the witness, the sākṣī which Shankara specifies Nārāyaṇa to be in the Br.up.antaryāmi brahmaṇam 3.7.3 and teaches through the mahāvākya: ‘you are that antaryāmi.’ All these are about the niguna Brahman:

देवताकार्यकरणस्य ईश्वरसाक्षिमात्रसान्निध्येन हि नियमेन प्रवृत्तिनिवृत्ती स्याताम् ; य ईदृगीश्वरो नारायणाख्यः, पृथिवीं पृथिवीदेवताम्, यमयति नियमयति स्वव्यापारे, अन्तरः अभ्यन्तरस्तिष्ठन्, एष त आत्मा, ते तव, मम च सर्वभूतानां च इत्युपलक्षणार्थमेतत्, अन्तर्यामी यस्त्वया पृष्टः, अमृतः सर्वसंसारधर्मवर्जित इत्येतत् ॥


The Sureshwara vārtika for the above bhāṣyam annotates the BGB introductory verse too and also says:

The following part is taken from the


My comments are stated in between [ ]

tasmai namostu devAya nirguNAya guNAtmane |

nArAyaNAya vishvAya devAnAM paramAtmane ||

[It specifies Narayana to be nirguna and the self of the guṇas. He is the adhiṣṭhānam of all the gunas and all duality, creation. This is exactly the way Shankara has stated in the BSB cited above. Anandagiri glosses on the above words of Sureshwara:]

na kevalaM purANAgamAbhyAMeva so.adhigamyate, kiM tu shrutyakSharair api ityarthaH | etameveti | sahasrashIrShaM devaM vishvAkShaM vishvashaMbhuvaM vishvaM nArAyaNaM devaM akSharaM paramaM padaM’ ityAdi mantraH vedavidbhir antaryAmiNaM uddishya viniyukto.ataH sa vaidikaH ityarthaH

Translation: (surEshvarAcArya explains here that) not only is nArAyaNa’s greatness known from Puranas and Agamas, but from Vedic mantras such as ‘sahasrashIrShaM devaM vishvAkShaM vishvashaMbhuvaM vishvaM nArAyaNaM devaM akSharaM paramaM padaM’ that serve to show this as the Vedic position.

This shows that the Narayana Sukta mantras praise the Puranic Vishnu only.

Moreover, in Sayanacarya’s commentary on the Narayana Sukta, we find the following statement pertaining to the mantra “nArAyaNaH paraM brahmA” etc: [TASyB:1]

“purANeShu nArAyaNashabdena vyavahriyamANo yaH parameshvaraH, sa eva ‘paraM’ utkR^iShTaM”

Translation: The Supreme Lord who is denoted by the term ‘nArAyaNa’ in the purANas – He alone is the Highest.

Hence, Sayana also understands the Narayana of the Narayana Sukta as the puranic nArAyaNa only.//

My comments

Anandagiri does not say anything about the ‘greatness’.

The above citations and translations are not only incomplete but also misleading. Here is what Sāyana says for those portions of the nārāyaṇa sūktam:

At the beginning itself Sayana says: āropitasya jagataḥ adhiṣṭhāna-vyatirekeṇa vāstavarūpābhāvāt. [Since the superimposed world has no reality apart from the substratum.]

Sāyana sets the tone for the delineation of the Nirguna Brahman in the Narayana sukta at the outset itself. And says the etymological meaning of the word ‘nārāyaṇa’ is shown in the purāṇs: nārāyaṇaśabasya nirvacanam purāṇeṣu darśitam:

आपो नारा इति प्रोक्ता, आपो वै नरसूनवः। अयनं तस्य ताः पूर्वं तेन नारायणः स्मृतः।।

This is purely an etymological verse for the name ‘nārāyaṇa’ and no way denotes a deity who is the consort of Lakshmi, etc. This is the ‘purāṇa prasiddhi’ that Anandagiri denotes in the Sureshvara vārtika commentary and not any deity.

Also, this is what Sayana says in that commentary for the sūkta:

//”purANeShu nArAyaNashabdena vyavahriyamANo yaH parameshvaraH, sa eva ‘paraM’ utkR^iShTaM” // (this part alone is cited by the blogger and the following part which is a continuation of the above sentence is cited by me here)

‘satyajñānānandādivākyaiḥ pratipādyasya brahmaṇaḥ tattvam. Ato nārāyaṇaḥ paraḥ para eva ātmā na tu aparo mūrtiviśeṣaḥ. tathā paro jyotih yadetat utkṛṣṭam jyotiśchandogaiH ‘paraM jyotirupasampadya’ ityāmnātam tadapi nārāyaṇa eva. Tasmāt nārāyaṇaḥ parmātmā’

All the above is decidedly about the nirguṇa svarūpam and not anything else. Sāyana explicitly says that the nārāyaṇa here is not any deity with form. And it is the svarūpa lakshana of Brahman: satyam jñānam anantam as per the Taittiriya upanishat. The last Chandogya shruti 8.3.4 he cites is a very important nirguṇa mantra for advaitins for it shows the svarūpa that the jiva realizes upon getting the samyag jñānam. One can see the Shankara bhashya for that.

The blogger has evidently, for obvious reasons, left out the crucial nirguna-establishing portions of the sāyana bhashya and tried to show to his unwary readers that Shankara, Sureshwara, Anandagiri and Sayana are all supporting a saguṇa deity called Vishnu/narayana in the bhashyas. The ‘purānic’ prasiddhi is also not what the blogger thinks to be but the Brahman that is given the name narayana for which sayana provides the puranic etymology. The author of the Tamil book ‘sankararum vaiṇavamum’ is the originator of the above misconceived idea.

Here is the translation for the above cited BSB where all the references Shankara makes from smriti are about the nirguna Brahman which is the non-dual, jiva svarupa-identical mahāvākya-specific entity and not at all a saguṇa deity. The ‘1000-heads,eyes, etc.’ expression is also about the Nirguna Brahman on which the adhyāropa is made deliberately by the shruti.


Brahma sutra bhāṣya: 2.1.1

//In one passage the highest Brahman is introduced as the subject of discussion, ‘That which is subtle and not to be known;’ the text then goes on, ‘That is the internal Self of the creatures, their soul,’ and after that remarks ‘From that sprang the Unevolved, consisting of the three gunas, O best of Brâhmanas.’ And in another place it is said that ‘the Unevolved is dissolved in the Person devoid of qualities, O Brâhmana.’–Thus we read also in the Purâna, ‘Hear thence this short statement: The ancient Nârâyana is all this; he produces the creation at the due time, and at the time of reabsorption he consumes it again.’ And so in the Bhagavadgîtâ also (VII, 6), ‘I am the origin and the place of reabsorption of the whole world.’ And Âpastamba too says with reference to the highest Self, ‘From him spring all bodies; he is the primary cause, he is eternal, he is unchangeable’ (Dharma Sûtra I, 8, 23, 2). In this way Smriti, in many places, declares the Lord to be the efficient as well as the material cause of the world. As the pûrvapakshin opposes us on the ground of Smriti, we reply to him on the ground of Smriti only; hence the line of defence taken up in the Sûtra.

Manu himself, where he glorifies the seeing of the one Self in everything (‘he who equally sees the Self in all beings and all beings in the Self, he as a sacrificer to the Self attains self-luminousness,’ i.e. becomes Brahman, Manu Smriti XII, 91), implicitly blames the doctrine of Kapila. For Kapila, by acknowledging a plurality of Selfs, does not admit the doctrine of there being one universal Self. In the Mahâbhârata also the question is raised whether there are many persons (souls) or one; thereupon the opinion of others is mentioned, ‘There are many persons, O King, according to the Sânkhya and Yoga philosophers;’ that opinion is controverted ‘just as there is one place of origin, (viz. the earth,) for many persons, so I will proclaim to you that universal person raised by his qualities;’ and, finally, it is declared that there is one universal Self, ‘He is the internal Self of me, of thee, and of all other embodied beings, the internal witness of all, not to be apprehended by any one. He the all-headed, all-armed, all-footed, all-eyed, all-nosed one moves through all beings according to his will and liking.’ And Scripture also declares that there is one universal Self, ‘When to a man who understands the Self has become all things, what sorrow, what trouble can there be to him who once beheld that unity?’ (Îs. Up 7); and other similar passages. //



Here is a passage from the BSB 3.2.17:


ब्रह्मसूत्रभाष्यम् । तृतीयः अध्यायः । द्वितीयः पादः । उभयलिङ्गाधिकरणम् । सूत्रम् १७ – भाष्यम्


दर्शयति च श्रुतिः पररूपप्रतिषेधेनैव ब्रह्म — निर्विशेषत्वात् — ‘अथात आदेशो नेति नेति’ (बृ. उ. २-३-६) ‘अन्यदेव तद्विदितादथो अविदितादधि’ (के. उ. १-३) ‘यतो वाचो निवर्तन्ते अप्राप्य मनसा सह’ (तै. उ. २-४-१) इत्येवमाद्या । बाष्कलिना च बाध्वः पृष्टः सन् अवचनेनैव ब्रह्म प्रोवाचेति श्रूयते — ‘स होवाचाधीहि भो इति स तूष्णीं बभूव तं ह द्वितीये तृतीये वा वचन उवाच ब्रूमः खलु त्वं तु न विजानासि । उपशान्तोऽयमात्मा’ इति । तथा स्मृतिष्वपि परप्रतिषेधेनैवोपदिश्यते — ‘ज्ञेयं यत्तत्प्रवक्ष्यामि यज्ज्ञात्वामृतमश्नुते । अनादिमत्परं ब्रह्म न सत्तन्नासदुच्यते’ (भ. गी. १३-१२) इत्येवमाद्यासु । तथा विश्वरूपधरो नारायणो नारदमुवाचेति स्मर्यते — ‘माया ह्येषा मया सृष्टा यन्मां पश्यसि नारद । सर्वभूतगुणैर्युक्तं नैवं मां ज्ञातुमर्हसि’ इति ॥१७ ॥


All the passages Shankara cites there are about Nirguna Brahman, denying all differences. Perhaps the best ever definition of nirguna Brahman from the veda itself is cited by Shankara here from an unidentified (by editors and scholars) source: the Bāṣkalī-Bādhvā dialogue. This says that Atman is quiescence. And the BG quote is also about the knowable Brahman which is nirguna brahman as opposed to the meditatable, upāsya, Brahman, which alone is saguna. And the passage ends with the Lord Narayana instructing Narada that He is to be known as nirguna Brahman alone and not with attributes. The above BSB is cited to show that Shankara, in the same breath, talks about the quiescent Brahman and Nārāyaṇa who Himself teaches that one ought not to know Him as endowed with guṇas and that the saguṇa world that is a projection is only out of Māya.




  1. (This scripture) also shows, and it is likewise stated in Smriti.

That Brahman is without any difference is proved by those scriptural passages also which expressly deny that it possesses any other characteristics; so, e.g. ‘Next follows the teaching by No, no’ (Bri. Up. II, 3, 6); ‘It is different from the known, it is also above the unknown’ (Ke. Up. I, 4); ‘From whence all speech, with the mind, turns away unable to reach it’ (Taitt. Up. II, 9). Of a similar purport is that scriptural passage which relates how Bâhva, being questioned about Brahman by Vashkalin, explained it to him by silence, ‘He said to him, “Learn Brahman, O friend,” and became silent. Then, on a second and third question, he replied, “I am teaching you indeed, but you do not understand. Silent is that Self.”‘ The same teaching is conveyed by those Smriti-texts which deny of Brahman all other characteristics; so, e.g. ‘I will proclaim that which is the object of knowledge, knowing which one reaches immortality; the highest Brahman without either beginning or end, which cannot be said either to be or not to be’ (Bha. Gîtâ XIII, 12). Of a similar purport is another Smriti-passage, according to which the omniform Nârâyana instructed Nârada, ‘The cause, O Nârada, of your seeing me endowed with the qualities of all beings is the Mâyâ emitted by me; do not cognize me as being such (in reality).’


Here is a concluding sentence from the BG introduction:

परमार्थतत्त्वं च वासुदेवाख्यं परं ब्रह्माभिधेयभूतं विशेषतः अभिव्यञ्जयत्..

Shankara says that the Paramārtha tattvam is Vāsudeva, who has the name Param Brahma. This is what is being especially taught in the Gitāśāstram. For those who have not had an exposure to the traditional teaching of Advaita the term ‘paramārtha tattvam’ is incomprehensible. That it means the Nirguṇa Brahman, the substratum of the world-duality and the jiva, is what that term means. So, the purport of the entire BG according to Shankara lies in the Nirguna Brahman called Vāsudeva. It is this Vāsudeva that is taught as ‘I am non-different from Vāsudeva’, a mahāvākya. Only those who have studied the Advaita shāstra under traditional Acharyas can understand the meanings of the terms: Vāsudeva, Nārāyaṇa, Viṣṇu, Ananta, mahāvākya, etc. Others who are outside the Advaita sampradaya invariably end up with erroneous understanding of these terms. For them these terms can mean no more than certain deity, resident of certain loka, consort of a deity, and so on. The concept of adhyāropa-apavāda and the mahāvākya with the terms tat and tvam are not understood unless one takes up a devoted study of the Advaita shastra under a traditional Acharya.

In the foregoing is shown that the usage of the names ‘Nārāyaṇa’ and ‘Vāsudeva’ in the Shankara Bhāṣya is to denote the Nirguna Brahman and not at all a saguna deity. The Nārāyaṇa sūktam and the Sāyana Bhāṣya eminently establish this, along with the antaryāmi brāhmaṇa of the Br.up. with the Bhāṣya and the Sureshvara vārtika with Anandagiri’s gloss. The ‘Purāna prasiddhi’ is not any deity but the etymology available in the Purāṇa for the name Nārayāna, Vāsudeva, etc. Shankara cites these verses from the Purāṇas in the Vishnusahasranāma bhāṣya for the names Nārayaṇa and Vāsudeva.

Om Tat Sat

Posted by: adbhutam | February 12, 2015


Turīya Śiva of the Kaivalyopaniṣat

We have these mantras in the Kaivalyopaniṣat:


हृत्पुण्डरीकं विरजं विशुद्धं विचिन्त्य मध्ये विशदं विशोकम् ।

अचिन्त्यमव्यक्तमनन्तरूपं शिवं प्रशान्तममृतं ब्रह्मयोनिम् ॥ ६॥


तमादिमध्यान्तविहीनमेकं विभुं चिदानन्दमरूपमद्भुतम् । var तथादि

उमासहायं परमेश्वरं प्रभुं त्रिलोचनं नीलकण्ठं प्रशान्तम् ।

ध्यात्वा मुनिर्गच्छति भूतयोनिं समस्तसाक्षिं तमसः परस्तात् ॥ ७॥

  1. (Who is) unthinkable and unmanifested; (whose) forms are infinite; who is (Śiva) peaceful, immortal and all-pervading, and who is the cause (of all); and, who has no beginning, nor middle nor end; who is one and omnipresent; who is chit and Ānanda; who is without forms and wonderful.

Sankaranada’s commentary – ‘S’iva': the form of beneficance. ‘Peaceful, devoid of the fault of Avidyā.

Uma’s spouse, (Umasahāya) the supreme Lord (Parameshwara) who is powerful (Prabhu); the three-eyed and beneficent Nilakantha; by meditation, a Muni reaches Him who is the origin of all beings, the witness of all and passes beyond Tamas.

स ब्रह्मा स शिवः सेन्द्रः सोऽक्षरः परमः स्वराट् ।

स एव विष्णुः स प्राणः स कालोऽग्निः स चन्द्रमाः ॥ ८॥

He is Brahma, He is S’iva, He is Indra, He is imperishable, supreme and self-luminous. He is Himself Vishnu. He is Prana, He is Kālāgni, He is the moon.

स एव सर्वं यद्भूतं यच्च भव्यं सनातनम् ।

ज्ञात्वा तं मृत्युमत्येति नान्यः पन्था विमुक्तये ॥ ९॥

He is all, – what is past and what is to pass, and eternal Knowing Him one crosses death. There is no other path to liberation.

The seventh mantra above is the teaching of the Turiya Śiva whose manifestations are the other trimurtis, Brahmā, Viṣṇu and Śiva who engage in creation, sustenance and dissolution.

The annotation, उपबृम्हणम्, upabṛmhaṇam, of the above upaniṣad mantra is available in the Skandapurāṇa, sūta samhitā, making the upanisad and the teaching of the Turiya Śiva in the Upaniṣad a valid one :

आदिमध्यान्तनिर्मुक्तमेकं साक्षाद्विभुं तथा ।

अरूपं सच्चिदानन्दमनन्तं प्रमेश्वरम् ।

उमासहायमोमर्थं प्रभुं साक्षात्त्रिलोचनम् ।

नीलकण्ठप्रभान्तस्थं ध्यायेन्नित्यमतन्द्रितः ।

एवं ध्यानपरः साक्षान्मुनिर्ब्रह्मात्मविद्यया ।

भूतयोनिं समस्तस्य साक्षिणं तमसः परम् ।

गच्छत्येव न सन्देहः सत्यमुक्तं मया सुराः ॥

The meaning of the above is what is contained in the translation shown in the mantra portion above.

Henceforth, the annotation of the latter part of the Kaivalyopanishat is present in the sūta samhitā:

यतस्तु जातं सकलं विचित्रं सत्यवत् सुराः

The concept of Turiya Śiva is widely present in the scriptures. A sample of quotations are Mahabharata Anushasanika parva, Ch.45. Here Krishna says about Shiva that from Shiva have Brahma, Vishnu and Rudra have emerged. I have not given the translation of each verse:
योऽसृजद्दक्षिणादङ्गाद्ब्रह्माणं लोकसम्भवम् |
वामपार्श्वात्तथा विष्णुं लोकरक्षार्थमीश्वरः ||१८३||

युगान्ते चैव सम्प्राप्ते रुद्रमङ्गात्सृजत्प्रभुः ||१८३||

स रुद्रः संहरन्कृत्स्नं जगत्स्थावरजङ्गमम् |
कालो भूत्वा महातेजाः संवर्तक इवानलः ||१८४||

एष देवो महादेवो जगत्सृष्ट्वा चराचरम् |
कल्पान्ते चैव सर्वेषां स्मृतिमाक्षिप्य तिष्ठति ||१८५||

सर्वगः सर्वभूतात्मा सर्वभूतभवोद्भवः |
आस्ते सर्वगतो नित्यमदृश्यः सर्वदैवतैः ||१८६||

From the Adityapurana: Aditya says to Manu:

आत्मभूतान्महादेवाल्लीलाविग्रहधारिणः ।
आदिसर्गे समुद्भूता ब्रह्मविष्णुसुरोत्तमाः ॥
तमेकं परमात्मानमादिकारणमीश्वरम् ।
प्राहुर्बहुविधं तत्त्वमिन्द्रम्मित्रमिति श्रुतिः ॥
न तस्मादधिकं कश्चिन्न ज्यायान्न समः कुतः ।
तेनेदमखिलं पूर्णं शंकरेण महात्मना ।

आदिसर्गे महादेवो ब्रह्माणमसृजद्विभुः

(The idea conveyed by the above cited MB verses is contained in the Adityapurana too. The underlined part is the alluding to the famous Rg. vedic passage: indram mitram varunam…. Ekam sat viprāh bahudhā vadanti as the pramana for the concept of One Paramatma having various forms.)

In the Padmapurana, Shiva tells Rama:

Here is just the gist of the few verses: From the right side Shiva created Brahmā and from the left, Hari. From the heart region Shiva created Mahesha. These three sons he created. Just upon being born the three asked ‘Clearly let us know who You are and who we are?’ Shiva replied: ‘You are my sons and I am your father.’ तानाह च शिवः पुर्त्रान् यूयं पुत्रा अहं पिता.

[The bloggers propagate the idea that Rudra is born of Brahma and Brahma is Vishnu’s son]

In the Shaivapurana, Vāyavīyasamhitā, Dadhīchi says to Dakṣa:

ब्रह्मविष्णुमहेशानां स्रष्टा यः प्रभुरव्ययः

The ‘ṛight side left side’ creation by shiva of brahma and vishnu is contained in several purans. In the shaiva, the section cited ends with this line: संसारमोचको देवः पश्यन्नन्य इति श्रुतिः । [It is alluding to a shruti passage which contains the word ‘paśyannanyaḥ’ as pramana for the concept]

The skanda purana: Nandikeshvara addresses Sanatkumara about the same concept.

सृजते सकलं देव ग्रससीश पुनः पुनः

ब्रह्मविष्णुसुराः सर्वे स्थावराणि चराणि च

Shiva purana, vñavīyasamhitā:

यस्मात्सर्वमिदं ब्रह्मविष्णुरुद्रेन्द्रपूर्वकम् ॥ 2ab
सह भूतेन्द्रियैः सर्वैः प्रथमं संप्रसूयते ॥ 2cd
कारणानां च यो धाता ध्याता परमकारणम् ॥ 3ab
न संप्रसूयते ऽन्यस्मात्कुतश्चन कदाचन ॥ 3cd

There itself in the 8th chapter:

ततस्तेभ्यो विकारेभ्यः रुद्रविष्णुपितामहाः


यं वातमाहुर्यं रुद्रं शाश्वतं परमेश्वरम्
परात्परतरञ्चाहुः परात्परतरं शिवम्
ब्रहमणो जनकं विष्णोर्वह्नेर्वायोः सदाशिवम्

The shruti pramana for the concept of One Para Shiva being the cause of the Brahma Vishnu and Rudra is:

सोमः पवते जनिता मतीनां जनिता दिवो जनिता पृथिव्याः …जनितोत विष्णोः .

The alluding, rephrasing, of the above shruti, called ‘upabṛhmaṇam’ is found in several puranas, and the most direct one is:

Sanatkumara samhita where Vishnu tells Prabhakara:

मतीनाञ्च दिवः पृथ्व्या वह्नेः सूर्यस्य वज्रिणः ।
साक्षादपि च विष्णोश्च सोमो जनयितेश्वरः ॥


द्यावापृथिव्योरिन्द्राग्नेभ्यो विष्णोर्धातुर्यमस्य च ।
वरुणस्य शशांकस्य जनिता परमेश्वरः ॥

Kurmapurana, skandapurana too give out this concept. In the latter it is said that even the three consorts of the three murtis are born of the Supreme Shiva:

Brahma tells Vasishtha:

आत्मशक्त्या ससर्जाथ कन्यात्रयमनिन्दितम्


अजायां जज्ञिरे पुत्राश्चिदानन्दात् सदाशिवात्
त्रयस्त्रेताग्निसंकाशा एकपञ्चचतुर्मुखाः
सृष्टिस्थितिविनाशानां कर्तारः कार्यकोविदाः
ब्रह्मा विष्णुश्च रुद्रश्च मात्रास्तिस्रः प्रकीर्तिताः

Here, by eka, pancha and chatuḥ, Vishnu, Shiva and Brahma are indicated.

In the Brahmandapurana, Brahma says to Bhṛgu:

He says: Shiva created me from his right side and created Vishnu from his left and instructed us both to engage in creation and sustenance. At the time of dissolution, he, out of his own amsha, will be instructed in that act.

Ishānasamhitā too contains this concept. There is a shruti passage too cited:

त्रिणेत्रं त्रिगुणाधारं त्रयाणां जनकं विभुम् ।
स्मरन्नमस्शिवायेति ललटे तु त्रिपुण्ड्रकम् ॥

[The above have been cited in very great detail in the book ‘Vedantanāmaratna sahasram’ authored by Sri Paramashivendra Saraswati, the guru of Sri Sadashivendra Saraswati. This book is a compilation of 1000 names from the shruti. In support of those names, as far as possible, the author has cited references from Itihasa and puranas. That list contains names such as Vishnu, Vasudeva and Narayana, and shown as names of Brahman, with references from shruti/smrti none of them are about a vaikuntha vāsin, lakshmipati, etc. just the same way they are found in the Shankara’s bhashyas. The book is available for download in DLI.]

What is shown above is with reference to the upanishadic/vedic name त्रयाणां जनकः {The progenitor of the ‘three’} for which alone the author has given copious references from the Mahabharata onwards.

The Kaivalyopaniṣat is cited in the Viṣṇusahasra nāma bhāṣyam by Shankaracharya to establish Shiva-Vishnu abheda. The Upanishad also contains the teaching that the shatarudrīyam is to be chanted to be free from all defects. The contemplation that the entire universe is a creation of the self is explicitly taught here. It is a very valuable teaching of Advaita that is contained in the Kaivalyopanishat.

Om Tat Sat






Posted by: adbhutam | February 10, 2015


Double standards of some ‘Vaishnavas’

In the following blog some indecent remarks about the Kanchi Paramāchārya are found for which responses are given by me:

// Vishnu, who is considered as symbolising Satvaguna, has, on occasions, taken upon Him self Tamoguna, standing for destruction, as His Avataar as Narasimhaa. In the Rama Avataara, when He fought Khara Dooshana, Kumbha Karna and Ravana, and also when he threatened to dry up the ocean, He assumed Tamoguna. //


In the Vishnusahasranama bhashyam Shankara says for the name ‘bhūtakṛt’ (5th name), तमोगुणमास्थाय स रुद्रात्मना भूतानि कृन्तति कृणोति हिनस्तीति भूतकृत् [(Viśṇu) as Rudra, assuming Tamoguṇa, destroys all beings. Hence He is called ‘bhūtakṛt’.]
Shankara does not speak of a ‘separate’ Shiva/Rudra here; he makes it clear that the Vishnu about whom he is commenting in the VS, is assuming tamoguṇa to destroy the world. The word kṛntati, hinasti, show the cruelty involved in the act of killing/destroying. None can wish away these natural emotions manifesting when one engages in slaying the opponent.
There is nothing wrong in saying that Vishnu/Rama/Krishna assumed tamo guṇa while destroying asuras/the world. In fact the BG 11th chapter records, in Krishna/Vedavyāsa’s own words that ‘it is ghora rūpa’ with which the lokakṣaya kāryam is done. Arjuna, not able to stand the ghora rūpam pleaded Krishna to end that show and resume his normal form.
As an aside, how can one claim, in the face of such evidences, that only Vishnu is fit for upasana and not Rudra or Brahma for only the latter are ‘tamo-rajas’ upādhis and not Vishnu who is only shuddha sattva upādhi- as these bloggers have claimed? While Shankara nowhere says that Rudra and Brahma are tama/rajas upādhis, but only Vishnu assumes those gunas as Rudra and Brahma, the bloggers stealthily hide this fact and portray in their blogs that Shankara says that Rudra and Brahma are tamo/rajas upadhis. One who is capable of reading the original VS bhashyam of Shankara can easily see how these bloggers make false claims to hoodwink their gullible readers who do not realize that the bloggers offer only misinformation about everything.
In the Narasimha Avatara too the Bhagavatam records that all devatas, including Lakshmi, stayed away from the Lord after the slaying of Hiranyakashipu, out of fear.
These two verses are from the 7th canto, 9th chapter of the Bhagavatam:
śrī-nārada uvāca
evaḿ surādayaḥ sarve
brahma-rudra-puraḥ sarāḥ
nopaitum aśakan manyu-
saḿrambhaḿ sudurāsadam
śrī-nārada uvāca — the great saintly sage Nārada Muni said; evam — thus; sura-ādayaḥ — the groups of demigods; sarve — all; brahma-rudra-puraḥ sarāḥ — represented by Lord Brahmā and Lord Śiva; na — not; upaitum — to go before the Lord; aśakan — able; manyu-saḿrambham — in a completely angry mood; su-durāsadam — very difficult to approach (Lord Nṛsiḿhadeva).
The Bhagavatam uses a very strong expression to convey how anger ruled the roost then.
prahrādaḿ preṣayām āsa
brahmāvasthitam antike
tāta praśamayopehi
sva-pitre kupitaḿ prabhum
prahrādam — Prahlāda Mahārāja; preṣayām āsa — requested; brahmā — Lord Brahmā; avasthitam — being situated; antike — very near; tāta — my dear son; praśamaya — just try to appease; upehi — go near; sva-pitre — because of your father’s demoniac activities; kupitam — greatly angered; prabhum — the Lord.
The Red highlighted words show that Narasimha was given to extreme anger and was fierce, unapproachable.
Now, here are a few samples of Rama giving in to anger in combat with Khara:
Valmiki Ramayana:
स शरैरर्दितः क्रुद्धस्सर्वगात्रेषु राघवः।

रराज समरे रामो विधूमोऽग्निरिव ज्वलन्।।3.28.19।।

शरैः with darts, सर्वगात्रेषु in all limbs, अर्दितः afflicted, राघवः a scion of Raghu race, सः रामः that Rama, क्रुद्धः angry, विधूमः without smoke, ज्वलन् while burning, अग्निरिव like fire, समरे in fight, रराज glowed.

Rama, scion of the Raghu race, afflicted by the darts in all parts of the body, glowed in his anger like smokeless fire burning.
ततः कनकपुङ्खैस्तु शरैस्सन्नतपर्वभिः।

बिभेद रामस्सङ्क्रुद्धः खरस्य समरे ध्वजम्।।3.28.22।।

ततः then, रामः Rama, सङ्क्रुद्धः enraged, कनकपुङ्खैः with golden feathers, सन्नतपर्वभिः welljointed and smooth, शरैः darts, समरे in war, खरस्य of Khara, ध्वजम् flag on the chariot, बिभेद broken to pieces.

Rama took up in a rage the well jointed, smooth darts with golden feathers and broke the flag post of the chariot of Khara to pieces.

Reports the blogger the Kanchi Paramacharya’s words:
// Through Visnu he sustains them and through Rudra he destroys them. Later Brahma, Visnu, Rudra are themselves destroyed by him. //

Note the careful use of “Rudra” here and not “Siva”, thus subscribing to the Sadasiva-turIya-vAda (i.e., claiming that the popular “Siva” is different from “Rudra” and above the trinity of “Brahma, Vishnu, and Rudra”) propounded by Appayya in his anti-Vishnu works and having no basis in the shAstra or Shankara’s works.//
The blogger is ignorant about innumerable evidences in the Mahabharata and other puranas about the Turiya Shiva. I am giving just a few from a very huge, unmanageable, sample:
Mahabharata Anushasanika parva, Ch.45. Here Krishna says about Shiva that from Shiva have Brahma, Vishnu and Rudra have emerged. I have not given the translation of each verse:
योऽसृजद्दक्षिणादङ्गाद्ब्रह्माणं लोकसम्भवम् |
वामपार्श्वात्तथा विष्णुं लोकरक्षार्थमीश्वरः ||१८३||

युगान्ते चैव सम्प्राप्ते रुद्रमङ्गात्सृजत्प्रभुः ||१८३||

स रुद्रः संहरन्कृत्स्नं जगत्स्थावरजङ्गमम् |
कालो भूत्वा महातेजाः संवर्तक इवानलः ||१८४||

एष देवो महादेवो जगत्सृष्ट्वा चराचरम् |
कल्पान्ते चैव सर्वेषां स्मृतिमाक्षिप्य तिष्ठति ||१८५||

सर्वगः सर्वभूतात्मा सर्वभूतभवोद्भवः |
आस्ते सर्वगतो नित्यमदृश्यः सर्वदैवतैः ||१८६||

From the Adityapurana: Aditya says to Manu:

आत्मभूतान्महादेवाल्लीलाविग्रहधारिणः ।
आदिसर्गे समुद्भूता ब्रह्मविष्णुसुरोत्तमाः ॥
तमेकं परमात्मानमादिकारणमीश्वरम् ।
प्राहुर्बहुविधं तत्त्वमिन्द्रम्मित्रमिति श्रुतिः ॥
न तस्मादधिकं कश्चिन्न ज्यायान्न समः कुतः ।
तेनेदमखिलं पूर्णं शंकरेण महात्मना ।

आदिसर्गे महादेवो ब्रह्माणमसृजद्विभुः

(The idea conveyed by the above cited MB verses is contained in the Adityapurana too. The underlined part is the alluding to the famous Rg. vedic passage: indram mitram varunam…. Ekam sat viprāh bahudhā vadanti as the pramana for the concept of One Paramatma having various forms.)

In the Padmapurana, Shiva tells Rama:

Here is just the gist of the few verses: From the right side Shiva created Brahmā and from the left, Hari. From the heart region Shiva created Mahesha. These three sons he created. Just upon being born the three asked ‘Clearly let us know who You are and who we are?’ Shiva replied: ‘You are my sons and I am your father.’ तानाह च शिवः पुर्त्रान् यूयं पुत्रा अहं पिता.

[The bloggers propagate the idea that Rudra is born of Brahma and Brahma is Vishnu’s son]

In the Shaivapurana, Vāyavīyasamhitā, Dadhīchi says to Dakṣa:

ब्रह्मविष्णुमहेशानां स्रष्टा यः प्रभुरव्ययः

The ‘ṛight side left side’ creation by shiva of brahma and vishnu is contained in several purans. In the shaiva, the section cited ends with this line: संसारमोचको देवः पश्यन्नन्य इति श्रुतिः । [It is alluding to a shruti passage which contains the word ‘paśyannanyaḥ’ as pramana for the concept]

The skanda purana: Nandikeshvara addresses Sanatkumara about the same concept.

सृजते सकलं देव ग्रससीश पुनः पुनः

ब्रह्मविष्णुसुराः सर्वे स्थावराणि चराणि च

Shiva purana, vñavīyasamhitā:

यस्मात्सर्वमिदं ब्रह्मविष्णुरुद्रेन्द्रपूर्वकम् ॥ 2ab
सह भूतेन्द्रियैः सर्वैः प्रथमं संप्रसूयते ॥ 2cd
कारणानां च यो धाता ध्याता परमकारणम् ॥ 3ab
न संप्रसूयते ऽन्यस्मात्कुतश्चन कदाचन ॥ 3cd

There itself in the 8th chapter:

ततस्तेभ्यो विकारेभ्यः रुद्रविष्णुपितामहाः


यं वातमाहुर्यं रुद्रं शाश्वतं परमेश्वरम्
परात्परतरञ्चाहुः परात्परतरं शिवम्
ब्रहमणो जनकं विष्णोर्वह्नेर्वायोः सदाशिवम्

The shruti pramana for the concept of One Para Shiva being the cause of the Brahma Vishnu and Rudra is:

सोमः पवते जनिता मतीनां जनिता दिवो जनिता पृथिव्याः …जनितोत विष्णोः .

The alluding, rephrasing, of the above shruti, called ‘upabṛhmaṇam’ is found in several puranas, and the most direct one is:

Sanatkumara samhita where Vishnu tells Prabhakara:

मतीनाञ्च दिवः पृथ्व्या वह्नेः सूर्यस्य वज्रिणः ।
साक्षादपि च विष्णोश्च सोमो जनयितेश्वरः ॥


द्यावापृथिव्योरिन्द्राग्नेभ्यो विष्णोर्धातुर्यमस्य च ।
वरुणस्य शशांकस्य जनिता परमेश्वरः ॥

Kurmapurana, skandapurana too give out this concept. In the latter it is said that even the three consorts of the three murtis are born of the Supreme Shiva:

Brahma tells Vasishtha:

आत्मशक्त्या ससर्जाथ कन्यात्रयमनिन्दितम्


अजायां जज्ञिरे पुत्राश्चिदानन्दात् सदाशिवात्
त्रयस्त्रेताग्निसंकाशा एकपञ्चचतुर्मुखाः
सृष्टिस्थितिविनाशानां कर्तारः कार्यकोविदाः
ब्रह्मा विष्णुश्च रुद्रश्च मात्रास्तिस्रः प्रकीर्तिताः

Here, by eka, pancha and chatuḥ, Vishnu, Shiva and Brahma are indicated.

In the Brahmandapurana, Brahma says to Bhṛgu:

He says: Shiva created me from his right side and created Vishnu from his left and instructed us both to engage in creation and sustenance. At the time of dissolution, he, out of his own amsha, will be instructed in that act.

Ishānasamhitā too contains this concept. There is a shruti passage too cited:

त्रिणेत्रं त्रिगुणाधारं त्रयाणां जनकं विभुम् ।
स्मरन्नमस्शिवायेति ललटे तु त्रिपुण्ड्रकम् ॥

[The above have been cited in very great detail in the book ‘Vedantanāmaratna sahasram’ authored by Sri Paramashivendra Saraswati, the guru of Sri Sadashivendra Saraswati. This book is a compilation of 1000 names from the shruti. In support of those names, as far as possible, the author has cited references from Itihasa and puranas. That list contains names such as Vishnu, Vasudeva and Narayana, and shown as names of Brahman, with references from shruti/smrti none of them are about a vaikuntha vāsin, lakshmipati, etc. just the same way they are found in the Shankara’s bhashyas. The book is available for download in DLI.]

What I have shown above is with reference to the upanishadic/vedic name त्रयाणां जनकः {The progenitor of the ‘three’} for which alone the author has given copious references from the Mahabharata onwards.

Those who might not like the above depiction will come up with flimsy, weak, fanatical, and the present day fashionable, objections such as ‘these are from tamasa puranas and therefore not to be taken as pramana. Or, the references in the Mahabharata are interpolations.’ Advaitins do not care for such objections for they have no axe to grind. Advaitins transcend such petty affiliations. For them both Shiva and Vishnu are non-different and the Trimurtis are manifestations of the Same Supreme Brahman. Shankaracharya has in the Vishnusahasra nama bhashyam eminently established these ideas while commenting on the names ‘bhūtakṛt’, ‘rudra’ and ‘Shiva’ and more. He has cited from the Shivapurana, and the bhavishyottara puranas too in support of these ideas. The bloggers’ misinformation on the status of Rudra and Brahma are demolished by the above references from the shruti and smrti.

Here is another statement of the blogger on the Kanchi Paramacharya:

//As for anti-Vaishnavism, his campaign against Srivaishnavism is all too well-known. See how he has denigrated Sri Ramanuja and Srivaishnavas in general by distorting the incident recorded in Guruparampara://
Whatever that story might be, the fact remains that Ramanuja’s and his followers’ campaign against Advaitins/smartas is all too well-known. The world knows that Ramanuja has indulged in badmouthing and name-calling of Shankaracharya (and Sureshvara and Sarvajnatman) in his Sribhashya. The blogger, when confronted by this, has cheekily replied that ‘such utterances should not be taken seriously and are quite common’. But when the Kanchi Acharya has made any references, the blogger is unable to stomach it and comes out with lengthy accusations. What double standards!! Also, the blogger, following Ramanuja indulges in open subtle criticism of Shankara:

// He then makes a major objection to Sri Ramanuja’s statement that those who do not interpret the Upanishads correctly as “anādipāpavāsanādūṣitāśeṣaśemuṣīka”.

Let us answer this, since neutral readers can be led astray by such remarks. An advaitin may make the same remark about a dvaitin or a Vishistadvain, and a Vishistadvain may make the same remark about a dvaitin (and in fact, this is the case, when we see the works of Sri Doddacharya etc.). No sincere scholar would take great exception to such remarks like subbu does.

The reasoning is simple. Wrong interpretation is due to pramAda (carelessness) and ignorance (aj~nAna), and can only be a product of tamoguNa. However small it might be, in comparison with avaidikas, for an incorrect interpreter of the shAstra, it is still tamoguNa only and can only be the result of deeds opposed to puNya in anAdi-samsAra.

Hence, an AcArya belonging to one darshana cannot sincerely think that an AcArya of another darshana is unaffected by ignorance etc. And this is pointed out in the bhAShyas to emphasize a certain point. Such remarks can never be taken as character assassination.//
The blogger, who has drawn the support of Shankara and other advaitins for selling his ‘vishnu-supreme’ product, shamelessly charges Shankara, without naming him, endorsing Ramanuja’s name-calling Shankara as a sinner, says Shankara is endowed with Tamoguna and pāpavāsana. What authority, face, has he to question the remarks of the Kanchi Paramacharya about Ramanuja and vaishnavites? He can indulge in smārta-bashing to any extent but no smārta should say a word about him or his acharya or his faith!! Such is his double-standard that an innocent reader of his blogs will fail to take note of.
He indulges in name-calling of Shiva as ‘sinful Rudra’, ‘Rudra’s blemishes’, ‘Rudra is tamoguna upadhi’, etc. in his blogs. All of these have been pounded to dust by the citations provided above. He cannot tolerate a shruti-smriti-based remark of the Paramacharya about Vishnu!! He thinks Ramanuja’s vulgar words against Shankara, etc. is not any character assassination but the Kanchi Paramacharya’s remark is objectionable to him!!
The blogger cites the words of the Kanchi Paramacharya:
//After the advent of Ramanujacharyar, things changed. He preached that Vishnu is the only God and that his followers should not go to the Siva Temples!
There is nothing wrong in what the Paramacharya is reported to have said. When Shankara never preached fanatical following, Ramanuja alone sowed the seeds to divide the āstika community. This is very well known. If Ramanuja had believed, like the bloggers, that Shankara was a Vaishnava, why would he start a new following on the ways of a cult? The bloggers do not like that word but what they are indulging is nothing other than that.
Who can forget Ramanuja’s well-known Shiva-dvesham? He refused to even enter a wayside Shiva temple on the grounds of ‘losing his chaste bhakti to vishnu’!! When I pointed out the shameful episode to the blogger, he came out in a long defence of the episode saying that it is not shiva dvesha but the shiva temple is full of tamasic vibrations!! And the bloggers do not have anything to say about the present-day srivaishnavite scholars and jeers asking for a curtain to be drawn on the shiva shrine whenever they have to give a discourse in a venue. This is not shiva dvesham for them but the words of the Kanchi Acharya is Vishnu dvesham!!.
The Kanchi Paramacharya had the largest ever āstika following from all sampradayas. He had admirers from every sampradaya and even from other religions. His untiring work in preserving and propagating veda is remembered by thousands of vedic scholars from all the sampradayas with gratitude. Purely on fanatical grounds the bloggers accuse the Paramacharya without any basis. They do not know that they are working against their own cherished goal of ‘Vishnu supremacy and vaishnava supremacy’. If Shankara was a Vaishnava, according to the bloggers, why would he be plagued by tamo guna and pāpa vasana? How has vaishnavism helped in producing a sin/tamas-free Acharya? How can there be a vaishnava who is a tāmasa and a pāpi? Their own words have proved that being a vaishnava has no advantage over being a shaiva or a shākta. If Ramanuja can accuse Shankara whom advaitins regard as Shiva’s incarnation, the Shiva-dvesha of Ramanuja is patent. Is that not a result of pāpa vāsana and tamo guna? If the blogger has the audacity to say that Shankara is a victim of tamoguna and pāpa vāsana anādi samsāra, is not the blogger himself indulging in Shiva, Shankara, dvesha exhibiting his own tamo guna and pāpa vāsana? The bloggers have proved that there is no special advantage in being a vaishnava. Let them leave the other faiths alone.
Neutral readers will easily see the hypocrisy in their blogs. Fundamentalism, crookedness, guile, are all there to see for an intelligent reader of their blogs. Their projecting Shankara as a vaishnava and engaging in subtle censure of that very Shankara whose support sustains their blogs is just one example of their bigotry. No intelligent reader will consider their blogs informative or sincere. For them all advaitins after the 15CE are corrupt. The reasons:
• They don bhasma on their forehead
• They bear the name Chandrashekhara or Mahadeva or Ganapati or Subrahmanya
• They subscribe to Hari-Hara abheda and Trimurti aikya concepts
• They devote themselves to the smarta maṭhas
The famous advaitins in their blacklist are Vidyaranya and Appayya Dikshita and Nilakantha who commented on the Shiva sahasra nama. Their bigotry dictates to them that no deity except Vishnu deserves a sahasra nama. Maybe they will concede it to Lakshmi. So all other sahasra namas are interpolations and concoctions. A smriti that has these and praises of Shiva or any other are tāmasa. They hoped the Andhra Bharatam to save them but it was laid open that it contains immense Shiva stuti. They had accorded to it a position of a ‘strong’ evidence, among six, to promote their ‘shiva sahasra nama is an interpolation in the MB’ theory. When they saw the true color of the Andhra Bharatam they scaled down the status they first accorded to it to a weak ‘only a supporting, unimportant’ one. They thought no one would notice the scaling down. They had called the triad of authors of that Telugu work ‘poets’. When the Kshemendra’s Bharatamanjari of the 11th century was shown to contain the Shiva sahasranama, which is there in all the editions, southern, the critical, Madhva, etc. they downplayed it as a mere ‘poet’s work’. The purely ‘kavi’ work of the Andhra Bharatam was once acceptable to them. Now the same parameter of a kavi is suddenly unreliable when it came to the Bharatamanjari. They added other flimsy reasons such as ‘it has not even a critical edition, it had not many manuscripts and one was just a paper one, Kshemendra was not well known’ etc. All these are blasted when they realize that a critical edition is not warranted in the face of there being no multiple conflicting versions. The reason for a paper manuscript is not far to seek: the person who gave it to the collector might have really had the palm-leaf manuscript but would have preferred to not part with it. Hence the paper mode. Kshemendra as a person with all his works came to light only in the 1870’s. So the question of his not being a well known author does not arise at all. But after the discovery there has been only great honor for his works in scholarly circles. All this circus they engage is only to wriggle out of the imminent danger of disproving their mentor, the author of that vile book: sankararum vaiṇavamum.
What I have said above is not at all out of any hatred for this or that deity or community. For an advaitin, as Appayya Dikshita said, both Shiva and Vishnu are one and the same. In fact, in the ultimate state, no deity remains. That is what the Kanchi Acharya demonstrated by the lantern example which the bloggers find objectionable. If their readers are sufficiently informed about their motives the purpose of this article stands served.

Om Tat Sat

Posted by: adbhutam | February 8, 2015


Madhusudana Saraswati misrepresented

 In the ‘Advaita Siddhi’ of Sri Madhusūdana Saraswati [Pariccheda 2, p.745 of the Edition published by MM Ananthakrishna Shastry] is stated:

//etena bhagavallokāderapi nityatvam apāstam.  Na cha ‘ato hi vaiṣṇavā lokā nityāste cetanātmakaaḥ. matprasādāt parām śāntim sthānam prāpsyasi śāśvatam’ ityādyāgamavirodhaḥ, tasya avaAntarapralayasthatvaparatvāt. Tasmāt nirguṇam nirākāram brahma iti siddham.  Iti advaita siddhau brahmaṇo nirākāratva siddhiḥ//

[Thus (in view of the foregoing arguments), the ‘eternality’ of divine/lordly/worlds too stands negated.  One ought not to raise an objection that the following scriptural passage is contradicted by the above conclusion:  ‘Therefore indeed the Vaiṣṇava loka-s are eternal and are sentient in nature.  By My grace you shall attain the state of great and eternal peace.’  The ‘eternality’ stated in this passage has its purport in the ‘avāntara pralaya’, intermediary dissolution.  Thus stands established that Brahman has no form in the work called ‘Advaita siddhi’.]

The ‘Laghuchandrikā’ gloss by Gaudabrahmānanda adds:

‘There is no pramāṇa for the existence of a Vaikunṭha loka which is not a product’ [abhautika-vaikunṭhaloke mānābhāvāt.’//

Not able to digest the above shocking statements, the blogger has desperately tried to twist the sentences:

//na ca avidyāyāmeva vyabhicāraḥ ; tasyā apyanityatvena vyabhicārāhāvāt । …. । etena bhagavallokāderapi nityatvamapāstam । na ca

“ato hi vaiṣṇavā lokā nityāste cetanātmakāḥ ।

matprasādāt parāṃ śāntiṃ sthānaṃ prāpsyasi śāśvatam ॥”

ityādyāgamavirodhaḥ ; tasyāvāntarapralayasthatvaparatvāt ।

(Advaita Siddhi, 2nd Pariccheda, p. 745 of

MM Anantakrishna Sastry’s edition)

Translation: There is no violation/contradiction (on the point of eternality) in the case of nescience itself, since even nescience is admitted to be non-eternal… By this, even the Abodes of the Supreme Lord are declared to be non-eternal. It does not contradict the Puranic verse quoted, since “eternality” there means continued existence between two universal dissolutions, or continued existence during intermediate dissolutions.//

My response:

Let’s consider the two options the above translation, by the blogger, contain:

//since “eternality” there means continued existence between two universal dissolutions, or continued existence during intermediate dissolutions.//

In the first option, vaikunṭha will exist ‘between two universal dissolutions (if that means ‘mahāpralaya)’. That means, as is rightly intended by Madhusudana, the vaikunṭha loka will exist only between two mahā pralayas: after the first mahā pralaya, it is created and in the second pralaya it is destroyed. The second option: ‘continued existence during intermediate (avāntara) pralaya’ is what is explicitly stated by Madhusudana ‘tasyāvāntarapralayasthatvaparatvāt.’ The first is implied, that is, the loka will not exist during mahā praḷaya.

There is no ‘or’ since both the meanings result in the same situation: vaikunṭha not existing during maḥa pralaya. In the sequel is quoted his interpretation of the Laghucandrikā commentary:


// ityādiśruteḥ bhūtatvāvaccedena brahmajanyatvanāśyatvakalpane lāghavāt abhautikavaikuṇṭhaloke mānābhāvāt anāditvena śrutiyuktisiddhamāyādibhinnajaḍatvāvaccedena lāghavāt brahmopādānakatvāt sopādānakamātrasyāvidyakatvenāvidyānāśyatvāt jaḍasāmānyasya vināśitvamityuktavākyasthaṃ nityādipadamavāntarapralayasthaparamiti bhāvaḥ ।

Purport (for the last paragraph above): The cited shrutivAkya-s show that the limitation of (i.e., notion of/characterisation as) “bhUta”, while associating naturally (lAghavAt) with the creation and destruction of the universe from Brahman, cannot be considered to exist/associated with (mAnAbhAvAt) the Vaikuntha worlds that are abhautika (not of the nature of bhUta-s). Hence, their eternality is declared. But this is just like the eternality of avidyA, which shruti also declares in the statement “gauranAdyantavatI” (quoted by Madhusudana in the immediately preceding lines). However, since even these Vaikuntha worlds are also avidyAtmaka, they cease along with avidyA after Nirguna Brahman realisation.

(Laghucandrika, from the same source as above)//



The above passage of the Laghuchandrika has been misinterpreted deliberately by the blogger to avoid the imminent destruction of vaikunṭha during maha pralaya. What the laghuchandrika actually says and means is:

By quoting a number of shruti passages (I am making a few comments in between [ ] below):

tasya uktāgamasthanityādipadasya । avāntareti

 “ātmā vā idameka evāgra āsīnnānyatkiñcanamiṣat”,

“eko ha vai nārāyaṇa āsīt na brahmā neśāno nāpo nāgnīṣomau na ime dyāvāpṛthivī na nakṣatrāṇi na sūryaḥ”

ityādiśrutibhiḥ pralaye sakalakāryasaṃskāropahitamāyāvaccinnacinmātrasattāmuktvā

 [The above shruti passages show that during pralaya just the ‘māyāvaccinnacinmātra’ exists. What qualifies the māyā? He says: sakalakāryasaṃskāropahita..the latent state of the entire created world (of the previous creation which has just got dissolved). So, during pralaya just the above qualified maya-associated Brahman (cinmātra) Pure Consciousness alone exists. That is, nothing else in the form of vyakta, exists that can be identified as ‘this is so and so’. ]

“sa īkṣata lokānnu sṛjā iti sa imān lokānasṛjat । so’kāmayat”

ityādinā tasya dhyānāntasthasyetyādi puruṣāścaturdaśā jāyantetyādi pañcatanmātrāṇi mahābhūtānītyādinā ca sarvalokaghaṭitaprapañcasṛṣṭeruktatvāt,

 [The above means: based on the shruti cited, that mayavacchinna chinmātra Brahman deliberated, ikṣata, ‘let me create these lokas’ and thus desired. The creation of the universe consisting of all the lokas, sarvalokaghaṭita, takes place through the medium of the panchatanmātras, etc. By explaining thus, the laguchandrikā implies that there was no loka called by any name whatsoever during pralaya. ]

“yato vā imāni bhūtāni jāyante yatprayantabhisaṃviśanti suṣuptikāle sakale vilīne etasmādātmanaḥ sarve vedāḥ sarve devāḥ sarvāṇi ca bhūtāni vyuccaranti”

 [all that is created undergoes dissolution and emerge during the next creation ]

 Now, in the light of the above cited shrutis, what the laghuchandrika concludes becomes clear. I am breaking the pretty long sentence into convenient segments to enable ease of understanding:

1.ityādiśruteḥ bhūtatvāvaccedena brahmajanyatvanāśyatvakalpane lāghavāt

  1. abhautikavaikuṇṭhaloke mānābhāvāt
  2. anāditvena śrutiyuktisiddhamāyādibhinnajaḍatvāvaccedena lāghavāt
  3. brahmopādānakatvāt sopādānakamātrasyāvidyakatvenāvidyānāśyatvāt । [the highlighted portion in blue is a printing mistake in the book: it should be ..tvena vidyānāśyatvāt..]
  4. jaḍasāmānyasya vināśitvam
  5. iti uktavākyasthaṃ nityādipadamavāntarapralayasthaparamiti bhāvaḥ

One can notice the four hetu-s, all ending in panchamī, that go to establish the vināśitvam of the jaḍasāmānya.

Now the meaning of the above segments is given below, with the above and below serial numbers matching:

  1.  Vaikunṭha is within the category of bhūta, that which is created. Bhūtatvāvacchedena…(this tṛtīyā vibhakti is in the sense of reason, hetau tṛitīyā.) (That is why so many shruti passages were cited) It is but fit to conclude that since it is born of Brahman will be destroyed during pralaya. This reasoning is lāghava kalpanā (with minimum postulates, as opposed to gaurava kalpanā, prolix, with needlessly more postulates).
  2. The second point above follows from the first: since there is no pramāṇa for vaikunṭha being abhautika, that is, there is no pramāṇa for its being uncreated // abhautikavaikuṇṭhaloke mānābhāvāt//
  3. Māyā is admitted to be anādi on the authority of the shruti and yukti. Vaikunṭha is distinct from the category of anādi māyā but yet it is jaḍa. [This is stated because while māya is admitted to be jaḍa and unproduced, vaikuntha is not akin to māyā, not anādi, but produced and jaḍa.]
  4. Since vaikunṭha has Brahman as its vivartopādāna, cause, whatever is having this vivartopādāna cause, sopādānaka, is ‘āvidyaka’, caused by avidyā, and therefore destroyed by vidyā.
  5. Whatever is jaḍa, jaḍasāmānya, is subject to destruction (since Brahman alone is chaitanya).
  6. The word ‘iti’ means: due to the above mentioned reasons (iti hetubhyaḥ). The words ‘nitya etc…’ of the purāṇa vākyam has the purport of ‘existing during the avāntara, intermediary, pralaya.’

It can be noted that all the six segments are about Vaikunṭha. Vaikunṭha, not being existent during pralaya, coming under the category of sarvaloka, all lokas, that are produced, there being no pramāṇa for its being abhautika = not being produced, its being distinct from māyā, etc. which are anādi – for all these reasons the purāṇa word ‘nitya’ cannot mean absolute nityatva but only relative, up to the point of mahā pralaya.

The laghuchandrikā is not admitting anāditva to vaikuntha. If it did not intend this, the citing so many creation-shruti vākyas will be with no purpose.

The laghuchandrika is establishing the vināśyatvam of vaikunṭha on two grounds: one: everything that has Brahman as the vivartopādāna cause, being illusory, (‘avidyaka’) is subject to destruction upon the gaining of Brahmajnānam. Vaikuntha has Brahman as its vivartopādāna cause. This destruction is of the nature of bādha, not the kind of dissolution in pralaya. The unreality of everything except the Chinmātra Brahman is realized. And the second ground is: since all jaḍa is created, produced during the creation, all lokas, sarvalokaghaṭita prapancha, will undergo dissolution during the subsequent mahā pralaya.

The blogger, not able to, not wanting to, understand the passages cited, twists the actual sentences to mean: //…. cannot be considered to exist/associated with (mAnAbhAvAt) the Vaikuntha worlds that are abhautika (not of the nature of bhUta-s). Hence, their eternality is declared.//

While the commentary is unambiguous // abhautikavaikuṇṭhaloke mānābhāvāt // the blogger gives a completely incongruent meaning as ‘the limitation cannot be applied to vaikuntha as it is abhautika.’ He means to say: there is no pramāṇa to attach limitation to vaikuntha.’’ What a travesty of interpretation!! And nowhere ‘their eternality’ is declared or even implied in the text or the commentary.

The abhautikavaikuṇṭhaloke mānābhāvāt expression is so very clear: ‘since there is no evidence for the vaikuntha loka to be un-created.’ Even someone who has no background of Vedanta, with a mere high school Sanskrit knowledge will be able to understand what that phrase means. He did not understand the meaning of the words ‘kalpane’ and ‘lāghavāt’ and therefore gives a nonsensical meaning: //while associating naturally (lAghavAt).// By no stretch of imagination can this meaning be correct.

He laments:

// It is amusing to see desperate ones mistranslating “abhautikavaikuNThaloke mAnAbhAvAt” as “pramANAbhAvAt” i.e., there is no pramANa for abhautika vaikuNTha loka.

Note that if Madhusudana/Gauda Brahmananda meant that Vaikuntha is eternal only up to the point of pralaya, Laghucandrika must have stated “Vaikuntha worlds are destroyed after Brahma’s kalpa” and shown shruti/smR^iti passages to that effect//.


1.While the blogger is aware of what that expression abhautikavaikuNThaloke mAnAbhAvAt means, he does not want to accept it since it cuts at the root of his theory. And to not to allow its correct meaning, he struggles to twist it to give a nonsensical interpretation. With his interpretation, the original sentence itself will not make a correct grammatical one:

This is what the sentence, in two segments, originally is: // bhūtatvāvaccedena brahmajanyatvanāśyatvakalpane lāghavāt, abhautikavaikuṇṭhaloke mānābhāvāt //

His interpretation will make the sentence read thus: at the first stage: bhūtatvāvaccedena brahmajanyatvanāśyatvakalpane lāghavāt abhautikavaikuṇṭhaloke,    mānābhāvāt.

It makes no sense whatsoever. It does not contain a pratijñā, claim, at all for the subsequent hetu, reason/ground, to correspond to. If the blogger’s interpretation is to be read into the sentence, it should ideally appear thus, with all the fracturing and repairing:

bhūtatvāvaccedena brahmajanyatvanāśyatvakalpanam abhautikavaikuṇṭhaloke na lāghavam, mānābhāvāt.

The ‘purport’ according to the blogger is: // The cited shrutivAkya-s show that the limitation of (i.e., notion of/characterisation as) “bhUta”, while associating naturally (lAghavAt) with the creation and destruction of the universe from Brahman, cannot be considered to exist/associated with (mAnAbhAvAt) the Vaikuntha worlds that are abhautika (not of the nature of bhUta-s).//

But the sentence is never like this; there are clearly two different hetu-s, with panchamī, in those two segments. There is absolutely nothing in the original sentence to mean or accommodate //cannot be considered //

  1. There is no need for showing any such passages since the Laghuchandrika has made the case very tight. It has started the explanation by citing a list of shruti passages which show: 1. Only māyopahita chinmātram existed during pralaya. During that state nothing else, not even vaikuntha, exists; the earlier creation, including all lokas, exists only in a samskāra, latent, form. 2. During the next creation, the prapancha consisting of all worlds, sarva loka ghaṭita, is created. By using the word ‘sarva loka’, he is including the vaikuntha loka too in that.   3. By citing the yato vā imāni, etc. shruti, he means to say that all that is created during that māha sṛṣṭi from Brahman, has to get back into it during mahā pralaya. 4. All Vedas, all devas, all bhūtas (beings) emerge from that Atman during creation. Vaikuntha is included in the ‘bhūtas’ that emerge.

Therefore there is no need for him to cite any passages for only the vaikuntha entering mahā pralaya. He groups vaikuntha with all lokas. He takes it as jaḍa but distinct from māyā which is also jaḍa, but anādi. He does not accord anāditva to vaikunṭha. If he had not meant vaikuntha to be created, he would not give the hetu: abhautikavaikunthaloke mānābhāvāt. He explicitly says: bhūtatvāvacchedena.

The blogger’s ‘summary’ too is faulty:

// To summarize, advaita posits the idea is that Shri Vaikuntha is beyond the material universe and is not subject to pralaya. That way, it is eternal as compared to other things in the vyAvahArika. But since even this Sri Vaikuntha is a product of mAyA from the view of the pAramArthika sat, it is anitya as compared to pAramArthika sat. And this is what Madhusudhana was arguing with Dvaitins about – since Dvaitins consider Shri Vaikuntha as absolute eternal reality, Madhusudhana was merely arguing that any reference to its nityatva only pertain to its immunity to pralaya and that it is non-eternal *in comparison with paramArthika sath* only.//


  1. Advaita never posits that vaikuntha is not subject to pralaya. If the siddhi had meant that it is not subject to pralaya, it will not give the purport of the nityatva contained in the purānic verse as ‘avāntara pralayasthatva paratvaāt’ as the hetu. This hetu is to substantiate his pratijñā: that the bhagavallokas’ nityatvam is denied. He takes up the verse cited by the opponent and concludes that the verse does not pose any contradiction to the pratijṇya, claim, since the nityatva in the verse is only relative: the worlds stay only during the intermediary pralaya (and therefore not during mahā pralaya).
  2. The laghu chandirka clearly gives the hetu: jaḍatvasāmānya. It is inert.
  3. The question of its not being of a pāramārthika satya is a different point.
  4. Madhusūdana is not granting vaikuntha any absolute immunity from pralaya; he explicitly says that its nityatva is only in the sense of existing till, during, the avāntara pralaya. And therefore, not existing during mahā pralaya.

Thus, the ‘summary’ does not truly summarize either the siddhi or the laghuchandrika. It is rather a misunderstanding of the entire concept.

  1.  The blogger completely bungled with the laghuchandrika
  2. The ‘purport’ is wrong
  3. The sentence in the laghuchandrika does not at all bear the purport. No one can match the ‘purport’ with the original sentence.
  4. Instead of clearly admitting that the vaikuntha loka too undergoes pralaya like all other lokas during mahā pralaya, an exercise in vain is undertaken to somehow save vaikuntha from mahā pralaya.
  5. The idea of vaikuntha existing eternally is not consistent with the shruti as pointed out by the laghuchandrika

Om Tat Sat

Posted by: adbhutam | February 5, 2015


In the following URL the blogger makes a yet another desperate attempt to promote his pet theory of ‘for Shankara the saguna brahman is Vishnu':


//Also, take a look at Shankara’s explanation for “mAdhavaH”. He says that the being who is the Husband of shrI/mA/lakShmI is the Being who is to be known through the Upanishadic madhuvidyA. What more is needed for a neutral reader to be convinced that the Upanishadic Saguna Brahman is none but Lakshmipati for Shankara?//


The blogger is completely wrong. The Madhuvidyā (Br.up.2.5..) is nowhere teaching a saguna Brahman called Vishnu or Mādhava.  It is a teaching culminating in the realization of the sarvātmabhāva of/by the aspirant just as the Br.up.1.4.10 (aham brahmasmi).  Here is Shankara categorically stating that for the mantra 2.5.15:


एवं सर्वभूतात्मा विद्वान् ब्रह्मवित् मुक्तो भवति । यदुक्तम् — ‘ब्रह्मविद्यया सर्वं भविष्यन्तो मनुष्या मन्यन्ते, किमु तद्ब्रह्मावेद्यस्मात्तत्सर्वमभवत्’ (बृ. उ. १-४-९) इतीदम्, तत् व्याख्यातम् एवम् — आत्मानमेव सर्वात्मत्वेन आचार्यागमाभ्यां श्रुत्वा, मत्वा तर्कतः, विज्ञाय साक्षात् एवम्, यथा मधुब्राह्मणे दर्शितं तथा — तस्मात् ब्रह्मविज्ञानात् एवँलक्षणात् पूर्वमपि, ब्रह्मैव सत् अविद्यया अब्रह्म आसीत्, सर्वमेव च सत् असर्वमासीत् — तां तु अविद्याम् अस्माद्विज्ञानात् तिरस्कृत्य ब्रह्मवित् ब्रह्मैव सन् ब्रह्माभवत्, सर्वः सः सर्वमभवत् । परिसमाप्तः शास्त्रार्थः, यदर्थः प्रस्तुतः ; तस्मिन् एतस्मिन् सर्वात्मभूते ब्रह्मविदि सर्वात्मनि सर्वं जगत्समर्पितमित्येतस्मिन्नर्थे दृष्टान्त उपादीयते — तद्यथा रथनाभौ च रथनेमौ चाराः सर्वे समर्पिता इति, प्रसिद्धोऽर्थः, एवमेव अस्मिन् आत्मनि परमात्मभूते ब्रह्मविदि सर्वाणि भूतानि ब्रह्मादिस्तम्बपर्यन्तानि सर्वे देवाः अग्न्यादयः सर्वे लोकाः भूरादयः सर्वे प्राणाः वागादयः सर्व एत आत्मानो जलचन्द्रवत् प्रतिशरीरानुप्रवेशिनः अविद्याकल्पिताः ; सर्वं जगत् अस्मिन्समर्पितम् । यदुक्तम्, ब्रह्मवित् वामदेवः प्रतिपेदे — अहं मनुरभवं सूर्यश्चेति, स एष सर्वात्मभावो व्याख्यातः । स एष विद्वान् ब्रह्मवित् सर्वोपाधिः सर्वात्मा सर्वो भवति ; निरुपाधिः निरुपाख्यः अनन्तरः अबाह्यः कृत्स्नः प्रज्ञानघनः अजोऽजरोऽमृतोऽभयोऽचलः नेति नेत्यस्थूलोऽनणुरित्येवंविशेषणः भवति ।


Shankara makes it crystal clear that this madhuvidyā is a teaching culminating in the aspirant realizing himself as the Nirupādhika Brahman.  All the epithets the Upanishads use to describe the Nirguna Brahman, Shankara avers that the aspirant realizes himself to be. Nowhere does Shankara says that the aspirant realizes that he is the husband of Lakshmi.  Not realizing this,the bloggers jump to a silly conclusion that this vidyā is about Vishnu, the saguna Brahman.  Shankara says that the word ‘Mādhava’ occurring as the 72nd name (the name occurs also as 167th and 735th in the VS) means: Mādhava is the consort of śrīḥ.  Alternatively, Shankara says, this word means that which is realized through the Madhuvidyā: ‘madhuvidyāvabodhyatvād mādhavaḥ.’  While the first meaning refers to the person-deity,  the second one is decidedly nirguṇa.  That is what is known from the above Br.up.Bhashya. In advaita the realization of the Truth leading to moksha is not of the saguna entity but the Nirguna Brahman, as oneself, non-different from It.  This is not possible with the Lakshmipati Mādhava  and never taught in the Shankaran advaita. In the Kenopanishad bhashya Shankara has stated that ‘that which is meditated as ‘this’, that is, something ‘other’ than the meditator, is anātmā, abrahma.’  Since the Lakshmipati Madhava is of this category, it can never be the subject matter of the Madhuvidyā, which is Atmavidyā, Brahmavidyā.

The blogger, trying to hoodwink the gullible reader, and being ignorant of simple Sanskrit, is glossing over the ‘vā’ in the VS bhāṣya of Shankara. Shankara gives a third interpretation too to the word ‘mādhavaḥ’ there itself, by citing a Mahabharata verse.  This third interpretation is also decidedly Advaitic Nirguṇa Brahman, as taught by the Kathopaniṣat adhyātma yoga and Shankara’s commentary thereon.

Time and again the bloggers prove that they have no idea of Vedanta and the Shankara Bhashyas.  Having not studied under sampradaya Acharyas they misinterpret the Vedanta and the Advaita bhashyas without even equipping  themselves with basic Sanskrit language.

Posted by: adbhutam | February 4, 2015

’Tad-viṣṇoḥ paramam padam’

The following material is taken up for responding:

//There is no conflict whatsoever with Shankara’s explanation in Katha Upanishad 1.3.9. And it is of no avail to lament that this interpretation unnecessarily induces an intermediate state in KU 1.3.9, and that this is damaging to our position since it would mean that the “Purusha” described in 1.3.11 is not Vishnu, since:

  1. There is no problem because this Highest State is described as that of i.e., associated with/belonging to vAsudevAkhya viShNu, and NOT as “Higher than vAsudevAkhya viShNu
  2. Moreover, for the name “kathitaH” in Vishnu Sahasranama Bhashya, Shankara asserts that the shruti passage in contention “puruShAnna paraM ki~ncit kAShThA sA parA gatiH” (KU, 1.3.11) is associated with Lord Vishnu only.

Even in Kathopanishad Bhashya for the verse in question (KU, 1.3.9), Shankara associates an abode with Saguna Brahman Vishnu who has the name Vasudeva. In the commentary, Shankara explains “padam” as “sthAnaM” i.e., place as well as “satattvamityetat”, i.e., the nature of the Highest self:


vāsudevākhyasya paramaṃ prakṛṣṭaṃ padaṃ sthānaṃ satattvamityetadyadasāvāpnoti vidvān


This again points to kramamukti in Advaita Vedanta, where the knower of (Saguna) Brahman attains sthAnam, a realm beyond saMsAra, and reaches final liberation there, reaching the satattvam, true nature, of the all-pervading Saguna Brahman Vishnu. If “padam” only meant a “state”, the usage of “sthAnam” would be redundant. //


Response to the above:

Shattering the bloggers’ dream-castle of somehow pushing in the un-vedantic ideas of ‘vaikunṭha’, ‘eternal loka’ into the Advaita shāstra for which there is absolutely no proof in the Shankara bhāṣyas and other works accepted by tradition, here is what Shankara says:

Kathopanishat 1.3.4 bhashyam:


//तथा च श्रुत्यन्तरं केवलस्याभोक्तृत्वमेव दर्शयति — ‘ध्यायतीव लेलायतीव’ (बृ. उ. ४-३-७) इत्यादि । एवं च सति वक्ष्यमाणरथकल्पनया वैष्णवस्य पदस्यात्मतया प्रतिपत्तिरुपपद्यते, नान्यथा, स्वभावानतिक्रमात् ॥//


The ‘vaiṣṇava padam’ (called by the name ‘tad viṣṇoḥ paramam padam’ in the Kathopanishat 1.3.9) is no ‘abode’ that the blogger imagines it to be. An abode is some geographical location which is finite and has to be reached by one who is removed from there. Shankara says in the above commentary, appearing a little before the mantra 1.3.9, that the ‘vaiṣnava padam’ is that which is to be realized as one’s own Atman, self. He reasons: the nature of the jīva is not being a bhoktā, enjoyer, but the very Pure Consciousness devoid of any upādhis of kartṛtva and bhoktṛtva. He says, only if this is admitted the teaching of ‘vaiṣṇavam padam’ coming in the sequel will be appropriate. And to show the appropriateness Shankara says ‘the vaiṣṇavam padam’ is to be realized as one’s self itself, non-different from it. Thereby Shankara has shut the door on the face of such misguided, disgruntled, elements who want to propagate the idea of an abode going by the name vaikuntha or anything else. No one can realize a locality to be his Atman. The nature, svabhāva, of the jiva, Shankara says, can never be annulled. And this can be upheld only if the vaishnava padam is realized to be oneself. If it is a place, then the jiva will be a bhokta in that place. Advaita has no room for such unvedantic ideas as the liberated jiva residing in an eternal loka and enjoying the vaikunṭha bhogas along with the Lord. The word ‘sthānam’ of the bhāṣyam does not mean any abode but ‘mokṣa’. Shankara uses the ‘ākhya’ suffix to the word to make it ‘mokṣākhyam’ as the meaning for the word ‘sthānam’ appearing in the BG verse, shown in the sequel. So, the state of ‘mokṣa’ can never be vaikunṭha which is only a geographical place not admitted by Advaitins.


Nor is this an ‘indication’ of krama mukti in Advaita. Shankara clearly demarcates the realms of sadyo mukti and krama mukti. The former is that which contains teachings of the absolute Brahman, in terms of ‘asthūlam anaṇu’ (not gross, not subtle/atomic…etc.) and the latter comes with the need to meditate on attributes like satya kāma, satya sankalpa, etc. The ‘ubhayaliṅgādhikaraṇam’ (3.2.11 – 21) of the Brahmasutra/bhāṣya can be looked into for this clear demarcation and the conclusion that the Vedantic Brahman has to be realized as Nirguṇa/nirviśeṣa alone.



The context of the ‘tad viṣṇoḥ paramam padam’ is clearly the teaching of the Brahman ‘as it is’ for realization as one’s Atman, as Shankara says in the above Kaṭha bhāṣya 1.3.4. It is no way an upāsana prakaraṇam. The ‘adhyātma yoga’ to realize the Supreme as oneself is also taught in the mantras immediately after 1.3.9, in 1.3.13. Introducing this mantra Shankara says: tat pratipattyupāyamāha (‘the method of realizing That is being stated in the sequel’)


The upāsana teaching is over quite early when the second boon was sought by Nachiketas about Agni vidyā and taught by Yama involving the method of preparing the sacrificial trough, the manner of meditating on the Vaishvānara, etc. The fruit of such meditation too is clearly mentioned: attaining higher loka-s/svarga. At the very end of the Upanishad, in 2.3.16, the path through which the upāsaka of the agnividyā reaches his destined loka is taught. Thus, the two, realization of the Supreme as oneself, and meditating on some attributes and attaining a loka, are quite different and there is absolutely no way the two are mixed in the 1.3.9.


The blogger banks on two words in that mantra/bhashyam: padam and sthānam. He erroneously thinks the word ‘sthānam’ means an abode and hence his fervent hopes of pinning the vaikuntha-theory in Shankara advaita. That such sillythings are nowhere near the Exalted Shānkara Bhāṣya is what is shown in the sequel by a number of passages from the bhāṣyas of the Upanishads, Brahmasūtra and the Bhagavadgita. The exact translations are not provided here, which one may look up in a standard book, but only a gist of the passages is provided.


Br.up.4.4.23 bhashyam:


तस्मात् तस्यैव महिम्नः, स्यात् भवेत्, पदवित् — पदस्य वेत्ता, पद्यते गम्यते ज्ञायत इति महिम्नः स्वरूपमेव पदम्, तस्य पदस्य वेदिता ।


For the word ‘padavit’ occurring in the above mantra, Shankara says: padam is padyate, gamyate, jñāyate and therefore the word ‘padam’ means verily the ‘svarūpam’ the true essence. He who has known (jñāyate) this is called padavit. [It should be noted that the Sanskrit root ‘pad’ has the meaning ‘gam’ which has also the meaning ‘know’.] Therefore, according to Shankara, the word ‘padam’ means the very svarupam of Brahman, known by the name ‘Viṣṇu/Vāsudeva’ in the Kaṭha 1.3.9 upaniṣad/bhāṣyam. The word ‘padam’ and ‘sthānam’, therefore by no means ‘indicate’ any abode or karma mukti. In fact it is laughable that the blogger is making such a silly suggestion in a completely sadyomukti prakaraṇa.


Here is a sample on the word ‘sthānam’:



 श्रीमद्भगवद्गीताभाष्यम् । पञ्चमोऽध्यायः । श्लोक ५ Bh.gita 5.5

यत्साङ्‍ख्यैः प्राप्यते स्थानं तद्योगैरपि गम्यते ।
एकं साङ्‍ख्यं च योगं च यः पश्यति स पश्यति ॥ ५ ॥

5.5 The State Sthāna (State) is used in the derivative sense of ‘the place in which one remains established, and from which one does not become relegated’. That is reached by the Sankhyas, and that is reached by the yogis as well. He sees who sees Sankhya and yoga as one.

 श्रीमद्भगवद्गीताभाष्यम् । पञ्चमोऽध्यायः । श्लोक ५ – भाष्यम्

यत् सांख्यैः ज्ञाननिष्ठैः संन्यासिभिः प्राप्यते स्थानं मोक्षाख्यम्, तत् योगैरपि ज्ञानप्राप्त्युपायत्वेन ईश्वरे समर्प्य कर्माणि आत्मनः फलम् अनभिसंधाय अनुतिष्ठन्ति ये ते योगाः योगिनः तैरपि परमार्थज्ञानसंन्यासप्राप्तिद्वारेण गम्यते इत्यभिप्रायः ।

5.5 Sthānam, the State called Liberation; yat prapyate, that is reached; sankhyaih, by the Sankhyas, by the monks steadfast in Knowledge; tat prapyate, that is reached; yogaih, by the yogis; api, as well.

[The word ‘sthānam’ above means ‘the state of liberation’. And it is attained through jnānam. In advaita, mokṣa is not something to be attained but the very nature, svarupa, of the jiva. One has to only realize his true nature. Thus, the word ‘sthānam’ on which the blogger depended to stealthily sneak into Advaita his ‘abode’ theory is not any such thing but the very svarūpam. Now, it will be clear to the reader that the two words ‘padam’ and ’sthānam’ both mean the same and that is why Shankara used the latter word to explain the former in the Kaṭha 1.3.9. Incidentally one can also see from the above the usage of the word ‘gamyate’, also found in the above cited Br.up.bhāṣya. It is only ‘knowing’ and by no means ‘going/reaching’ any geographical place called vaikuntha.

श्रीमद्भगवद्गीताभाष्यम् । अष्टमोऽध्यायः । श्लोक २१ – भाष्यम् BGB 8.21

सोऽसौ अव्यक्तः अक्षरः इत्युक्तः, तमेव अक्षरसंज्ञकम् अव्यक्तं भावम् आहुः परमां प्रकृष्टां गतिम् । यं परं भावं प्राप्य गत्वा न निवर्तन्ते संसाराय, तत् धाम स्थानं परमं प्रकृष्टं मम, विष्णोः परमं पदमित्यर्थः ॥

The verse above contains the word ‘dhāma’ which can normally mean ‘abode’ or ‘position’. The bhāṣhya, however, does not give that meaning. Shankara sticks, consistently, in his entire prasthānatraya bhāṣya, to the same meaning for these terms. He says here, ‘dhāma’ is the ṣthānam’, the supreme svarūpa of viṣṇu, the padam. Here we see one more word added to the category: ‘dhāma’ (along with padam and sthānam, all meaning ‘svarupam’ and by no means a place/abode). One can see how Shankara never lets go the Kathopanishat 1.3.9 terms. One will see this several times in the sequel.


BGB 8.28:

वेदेषु यज्ञेषु तपःसु चैव
दानेषु यत्पुण्यफलं प्रदिष्टम् ।
अत्येति तत्सर्वमिदं विदित्वा
योगी परं स्थानमुपैति चाद्यम् ॥ ८.२८ ॥

The verse says: ‘….by knowing the yogi attains the supreme, param, sthānam’.


वेदेषु सम्यगधीतेषु यज्ञेषु च साद्गुण्येन अनुष्ठितेन तपःसु च सुतप्तेषु दानेषु च सम्यग्दत्तेषु, एतेषु यत् पुण्यफलं प्रदिष्टं शास्त्रेण, अत्येति अतीत्य गच्छति तत् सर्वं फलजातम् ; इदं विदित्वा सप्तप्रश्ननिर्णयद्वारेण उक्तम् अर्थं सम्यक् अवधार्य अनुष्ठाय योगी, परम् उत्कृष्टम् ऐश्वरं स्थानम् उपैति च प्रतिपद्यते आद्यम् आदौ भवम्, कारणं ब्रह्म इत्यर्थः ॥ ८.२८

One can see the Kathopanishat 1.3.9 unmistakably recalled here by Shankara: the word viditvā is given the meaning anuṣṭhāya (one can recall the Kaṭha upāya 1.3.12 cited above, adhyātma yoga, here too it is the yogi who is the aspirant). For the word ‘sthānam’ of the verse Shankara adds utkṛṣṭam which he said for paramam in the Kaṭha. He simply says ‘aiśvaram’ instead of vaiṣṇavam here. For upaiti which means attains, Shankara carefully comments: pratipadyate, knows, realizes, thereby precluding the abode-going/travelling idea which is not applicable here.

आनन्दगिरि ८.२८: ऐश्वरं विष्णोः परमं पदं तदेव तिष्ठत्यस्मिन्नशेषमिति स्थानं, योगानुष्ठानादशेषफलातिशायिमोक्षलक्षणं फलं क्रमेण लब्धुं शक्यमिति भावः।

And Anandagiri, for the above bhāṣya gives enough material to complete the Gītā-Kaṭha connection. He annotates the Kaṭha ‘viṣṇoḥ paramam padam’ and says ‘that alone which is well established completely is ‘sthānam’, which one can gradually attain by sādhana. One also has to note that the ‘krameṇa’ is not any karma mukti indicated here, but the process of the aspirant evolving in sādhana by undertaking karma yoga, etc. Compare the above with Shankara bhashyam: स्थानं = तिष्ठति अस्मिन् इति, for BG 9.18 word स्थानं .

Here is a passage from the BSB 1.4.4:


ब्रह्मसूत्रभाष्यम् । प्रथमः अध्यायः । चतुर्थः पादः । आनुमानिकाधिकरणम् । सूत्रम् ४ – भाष्यम्


ज्ञेयत्वेन च सांख्यैः प्रधानं स्मर्यते, गुणपुरुषान्तरज्ञानात्कैवल्यमिति वदद्भिः — न हि गुणस्वरूपमज्ञात्वा गुणेभ्यः पुरुषस्यान्तरं शक्यं ज्ञातुमिति ; क्वचिच्च विभूतिविशेषप्राप्तये प्रधानं ज्ञेयमिति स्मरन्ति । न चेदमिहाव्यक्तं ज्ञेयत्वेनोच्यते ; पदमात्रं ह्यव्यक्तशब्दः, नेहाव्यक्तं ज्ञातव्यमुपासितव्यं चेति वाक्यमस्ति ; न चानुपदिष्टं पदार्थज्ञानं पुरुषार्थमिति शक्यं प्रतिपत्तुम् ; तस्मादपि नाव्यक्तशब्देन प्रधानमभिधीयते ; अस्माकं तु रथरूपककॢप्तशरीराद्यनुसरणेन विष्णोरेव परमं पदं दर्शयितुमयमुपन्यास इत्यनवद्यम् ॥ ४ ॥


While the Sānkhyas in their smṛti teach that their pradhānam is to be ‘known’, we, the Vedantins, through the adherence to the Rathakalpanā, chariot imagery, taught in the Kathopanishad, preceding the 1.3.9, intend to present the Supreme svarupa of Vishnu. Note the words padārtha jnānam, pratipattum, etc. in the bhāṣyam here which preclude upasana, karma mukti, abode, etc.


कठोपनिषत् १.२.१५ Kathopanishat 1.2.15

सर्वे वेदा यत्पदमामनन्ति तपांसि सर्वाणि च यद्वदन्ति ।
यदिच्छन्तो ब्रह्मचर्यं चरन्ति तत्ते पदं सङ्ग्रहेण ब्रवीम्योमित्येतत् ॥ १५ ॥


इत्येवं पृष्टवते मृत्युरुवाच, पृष्टं वस्तु विशेषणान्तरं च विवक्षन् । सर्वे वेदा यत्पदं पदनीयं गमनीयम् अविभागेन अविरोधेन आमनन्ति प्रतिपादयन्ति, तपांसि सर्वाणि च यद्वदन्ति यत्प्राप्त्यर्थानीत्यर्थः । यदिच्छन्तो ब्रह्मचर्यं गुरुकुलवासलक्षणमन्यद्वा ब्रह्मप्राप्त्यर्थं चरन्ति, तत् ते तुभ्यं पदं यज्ज्ञातुमिच्छसि सङ्ग्रहेण सङ्क्षेपतः ब्रवीमि ओं इत्येतत् । तदेतत्पदं यद्बुभुत्सितं त्वया तदेतदोमिति ओंशब्दवाच्यमोंशब्दप्रतीकं च ॥

The mantra only contains the word ‘padam’. Shankara, typically, brings in the Vishnu padam. For padam, as shown in the earlier, Shankara says: padanīyam, gamanīyam. One can add ‘jñātavyam’ if gamanīyam is not enough, to remind oneself that knowing is intended here and not going. Shankara explicitly brings in that idea: jnātumicchasi, ‘that you, Nachiketa, have desired to know.’ And that padam, that you have desired to know (bubhutsā) … Shankara links the padam to the knowing and precludes ‘going’.

Mundaka 1.2.12:

अतः किं कृतेन कर्मणा आयासबहुलेनानर्थसाधनेन इत्येवं निर्विण्णोऽभयं शिवमकृतं नित्यं पदं यत्, तद्विज्ञानार्थं विशेषेणाधिगमार्थं स निर्विण्णो ब्राह्मणः गुरुमेव आचार्यं शमदमादिसम्पन्नम् अभिगच्छेत् । शास्त्रज्ञोऽपि स्वातन्त्र्येण ब्रह्मज्ञानान्वेषणं न कुर्यादित्येतद्गुरुमेवेत्यवधारणफलम् ।

Here Shankara uses the word ‘padam’ to indicate the Goal, Brahman. And the aspirant wants to ‘know’ it and not ‘go’ to it. Vijṇānārtham for which Shankara comments: by specifically, clearly, without doubt, realizing, adhigamanam. And he adds: even if one is an expert in a discipline, he ought not to embark on brahma jnana anveṣaṇam, enquiry into the knowledge of Brahman, all by himself, without resorting to the Guru. So, the padam is svarūpam, Brahman, and it is to be known, and not to be reached physically by going.

 श्रीमद्भगवद्गीताभाष्यम् । द्वितीयोऽध्यायः । श्लोक ५१ BGB 2.51

कर्मजं बुद्धियुक्तं हि फलं त्यक्त्वा मनीषिणः ।
जन्मबन्धविनिर्मुक्ताः पदं गच्छन्त्यनामयम् ॥ ५१ ॥

The verse has the words: padam and gacchanti (normally ‘going’)

 श्रीमद्भगवद्गीताभाष्यम् । द्वितीयोऽध्यायः । श्लोक ५१ – भाष्यम्

कर्मजं फलं त्यक्त्वा इति व्यवहितेन सम्बन्धः । इष्टानिष्टदेहप्राप्तिः कर्मजं फलं कर्मभ्यो जातं बुद्धियुक्ताः समत्वबुद्धियुक्ताः सन्तः हि यस्मात् फलं त्यक्त्वा परित्यज्य मनीषिणः ज्ञानिनो भूत्वा, जन्मबन्धविनिर्मुक्ताः जन्मैव बन्धः जन्मबन्धः तेन विनिर्मुक्ताः जीवन्त एव जन्मबन्धात् विनिर्मुक्ताः सन्तः, पदं परमं विष्णोः मोक्षाख्यं गच्छन्ति अनामयं सर्वोपद्रवरहितमित्यर्थः । अथवा ‘बुद्धियोगाद्धनञ्जय’ (भ. गी. २-४९) इत्यारभ्य परमार्थदर्शनलक्षणैव सर्वतःसम्प्लुतोदकस्थानीया कर्मयोगजसत्त्वशुद्धिजनिता बुद्धिर्दर्शिता, साक्षात्सुकृतदुष्कृतप्रहाणादिहेतुत्वश्रवणात् ॥

Shankara says: having become Jnanis (to show that there is no case for going/travelling, but the gam dhātu means knowing, as he has stated in the Br.up.bhashyam cited much earlier). For ‘padam’ he recalls kaṭha up. and to preclude that it is some abode/loka, he says ‘that which is called ‘mokṣa’. The blogger has banked upon the ‘ākhya’ suffix Shankara has used to the words Vishnu and Vasudeva, to desperately push in the saguṇa deity here. But such is no way the case is eminently proved by the Bhashya itself. On the contrary, the ‘ākhya’ only reminds us of the famous etymology-based verses for ‘viṣṇu’ and ‘vāsudeva’, the names for Nirguna Brahman. (One such verse is cited by Gopalayatindra for the Kaṭha 1.3.9 bhṣāyam word ‘vāsudevākhya’). Shankara uses the ‘paramārthadarśana’ which dispels the delusion that it is saguna Brahman which is vyavaharika, to be negated upon gaining right knowledge. And the word ‘gacchanti’ of the verse means no going/travelling, but realizing. Shankara implies that by the word ‘mokṣākhyam’. In advaita, mokṣa does not involve going to a loka/vaikunṭha. One simply realizes that he is ever free, even while he thought he was bound. And such realization makes him a liberated one here and now. It is only in non-advaitic schools that there is a need to travel to a different loka for mokṣa.

BGB 11.38

श्रीमद्भगवद्गीताभाष्यम् । एकादशोऽध्यायः । श्लोक ३८ – भाष्यम्:

यत् च वेद्यं वेदनार्हं तच्च असि परं च धाम = परमं पदं वैष्णवम् ।

The verse contains the word ‘vedyam’, deserves/fit to be known. Param dhāma = kaṭha 1.3.9 reminding us that dhāma is the same as padam (svarupam, sthānam) and not any abode.

BGB 15.4

श्रीमद्भगवद्गीताभाष्यम् । पञ्चदशोऽध्यायः । श्लोक ४ – भाष्यम्

ततः पश्चात् यत् पदं वैष्णवं तत् परिमार्गितव्यम्, परिमार्गणम् अन्वेषणं ज्ञातव्यमित्यर्थः ।


Here the verse-word ‘padam’ is vaiṣṇavam (svarupam and not any abode). For anveṣaṇam, enquiry, of the verse, Shankara says: jnātavyam, to be realized. So, the vaiṣnavam padam is by no means any abode/loka/vaikuntha to be reached by physical travel.


BGB 18.62

तमेव शरणं गच्छ सर्वभावेन भारत ।
तत्प्रसादात्परां शान्तिं स्थानं प्राप्स्यसि शाश्वतम् ॥ 18.62 ॥

ततः तत्प्रसादात् ईश्वरानुग्रहात् परां प्रकृष्टां शान्तिम् उपरतिं स्थानं च मम विष्णोः परमं पदं प्राप्स्यसि शाश्वतं नित्यम् ॥

The verse has the word ‘sthānam’. Shankara annotates the Kaṭha 1.3.9. Since it is already known from the earlier Gita Bhāṣya itself that there is no question of going/traveling and it is mokṣa which is only knowing/realizing. Hence there is no ‘reaching’ involved here.

Regarding प्रतिष्ठा –

स्वे महिम्नीति स्वे आत्मीये महिम्नि माहात्म्ये विभूतौ प्रतिष्ठितो भूमा । यदि प्रतिष्ठामिच्छसि क्वचित्, यदि वा परमार्थमेव पृच्छसि, न महिम्न्यपि प्रतिष्ठित इति ब्रूमः; अप्रतिष्ठितः अनाश्रितो भूमा क्वचिदपीत्यर्थः ॥ chandogya 7.24.1

In the foregoing we had seen the word ‘sthānam’ being explained as ‘pratiṣṭhā’ by Anandagiri. Here is a passage where even the concept of pratiṣṭhā, support, for Brahman is rendered redundant. Sanatkumāra says to Nārada: In case you want any ‘place, locus’ for Brahman, called by the name ‘bhūmā’, one can say that It abides in Its own mahimā, glory. But even such abidance is not absolutely true since Brahman is not depending on, needing, any locus whatsoever. The Upanishad itself says this ‘yadi vā na mahimni’.

Thus, this study categorically rejects the unvedantic ideas of any abode for Brahman. Nor does the Katha 1.3.9 bhashya ‘indicate any क्रममुक्ति krama mukti’. By no means the words ‘padam’ ‘sthānam’ mean any abode. On the contrary, they mean only ‘svarūpam’ of Brahman which is mokṣa . And also therefore the names ‘viṣṇu and vāsudeva’ in the bhāṣyam do not mean any deity but the very Nirguna Tattvam. There is no room for the lamentation that // this Highest State is described as that of i.e., associated with/belonging to vAsudevAkhya viShNu // since there is no prasakti, context, occasion, in the rathakalpana to specify a deity, saguna Vāsudeva/Viṣṇu, and then point to his supreme padam/sthānam. It would be extremely odd on the part of Yama to introduce the deity Vishnu all of a sudden here and talk of his superior padam. That is why Shankara in all his greatness as a bhāṣyakāra, explains that word as ‘vyāpanaṣila’, all-pervading, in perfect consonance with the 1.3.2 mantra words ‘akṣaram’ and ‘brahma’. It is well known that ‘Brahman’ is defined as ‘satyam jnānam anantam’ in the Taittiriya up. Shankara adds after vyāpanaśīlasya, brahmaṇaḥ paramātmanaḥ… It would be interesting to note that Shankara has said in 1.3.2 just before the rathakalpana started, akṣaram ātmākhyam brahma = that Imperishable Brahman known by the name Atma. It is well known that for Shankara, Atma = Brahma and this Atma is pratyagātma, innermost self of the jiva. At the commencement of the bhāṣyam for 1.3.10 where a hierarchy is started to culminate in the Puruṣa, Shankara says: That padam which is to be ‘attained’ (realized)…as one’s pratyagātmā, is shown through the hierarchy. From this bhāṣyam too it is clear that the Viṣnu of 1.3.9, if it is saguna deity called by the name vāsudeva, cannot be the Purusha since the saguna deity cannot be realized as one’s pratyagātmā. See an article on this topic of pratyagātmā at:

If the 1.3.9 vishnu/vāsudeva is to be matched with the Purusha of 1.3.11, and if the condition specified by Shankara in the 1.3.10 bhashyam of ‘realizing the purusha as pratyagātmā’ then, by default, the Vishnu/vāsudeva has to mean Nirguna Brahman and by no means can be saguna deity. This sets at rest all the speculation and the futile efforts on the part of the blogger to go to great lengths (blog size) to ‘prove’ his funny, faulty, unvedantic, case. It is also to be noted that the word ‘Purusha’ does not come with any qualifications, unlike the Vishnu (‘s paramam padam). So, by no means can the argument/explanation/excuse // this Highest State is described as that of i.e., associated with/belonging to vAsudevAkhya viShNu // stand scrutiny.

Quite similar to the above delineation culminating in the Puruṣa, we have in the Bh.gitā 3.42, 43 a hierarchy where the one that is above the intellect, buddhi, is ‘para Ātmā’, Supreme Ātman. If the highest tattva, beyond which there is nothing else, is a saguṇa deity, Shankara would not be commenting in the BGB 3.42/43 that it is ‘Para Ātmā’, for in Advaita the saguṇa Iśwara is anātmā, abrahma as per the Kenopaniṣad bhāṣya and therefore cannot be the Supreme that the BG 3rd ch. teaches.

Here too it is evident that for Shankara, ‘Bhagavan’ is Parabrahman:

श्रीमद्भगवद्गीताभाष्यम् । नवमोऽध्यायः । श्लोक १४ – भाष्यम् BGB 9.14

सततं सर्वदा भगवन्तं ब्रह्मस्वरूपं मां कीर्तयन्तः, यतन्तश्च इन्द्रियोपसंहारशमदमदयाहिंसादिलक्षणैः धर्मैः प्रयतन्तश्च, दृढव्रताः दृढं स्थिरम् अचाल्यं व्रतं येषां ते दृढव्रताः नमस्यन्तश्च मां हृदयेशयम् आत्मानं भक्त्या नित्ययुक्ताः सन्तः उपासते सेवन्ते ॥


‘Brahmasvarūpam’ is what Bhagavan is. If it were a saguṇa deity, Iśwara, it would not be ‘brahmasvarūpam’ but anātmā, abrahma, as per Shankara’s teaching in the Kenopanishad bhashya.

Let’s consider the sentence: रामस्य श्रेष्ठं गृहम् (Rama’s best house). Here, one can say that there are several houses belonging to / associated with Rama and this one is the best among them. And it is patent that Rama is different from the house(s). Now, if we apply these to the case on hand, as suggested by the blogger we have: 1. There are several states of Vishnu/belonging/associated with him, and this one in the Upanishad is the ‘best’/highest. And 2. Vishnu is different from those states.


The logical fallout of this is: the Purusha of the subsequent mantra 1.3.11, who has been taught as the ultimate, can never be identified with the above Vishnu since the ‘highest state’ in that mantra is different from / belonging to / associated with Vishnu. And Vishnu will continue to be an intermediate state/entity than the Highest state.


All these are avoided by taking Shankara’s explanation as विष्णोः परमं पदम् to mean ‘Vishnu’s impeccable svarupam’. In the above cited example, one can definitely say: This house of Rama is the best, unequalled. Of course the fact that Rama is different from the house remains unchanged. In the upanishadic situation, however, such an anomaly does not arise for Vishnu can never be disassociated from his svarupam, for bereft of the svarupam an entity does not even exist. Thus, as pointed out by Gopalayatindra’s commentary to Shankara’s bhāṣya, the apostrophe in *Viṣṇu’s* is only aupachārika, inconsequential, as in the case of ‘Rāhoḥ śiraḥ’. The planet, graha, Rāhu is all head and nothing else. So a statement ‘Rāhu’s head’ will have nothing extra to convey. Similarly ‘Viṣṇoḥ paramam padam’ will only mean ‘that exalted svarūpam of Viṣṇu.’ The word ‘satattvam’ of the bhāṣyam for Kaṭha 1.3.9 has been explained by Gopalayatindra as ‘svarūpam’. This word ‘svarūpam’ is given by Shankara in the Br.up.bhāṣyam cited at the beginning here. So, the Kaṭha 1.3.9 bhāṣhyam is total in all respects: it gives two meanings for the word ‘padam’ – 1.sthānam (which Shankara explains as ‘padam’ in the other references where only the word ‘sthānam’ is found in the original Gita and ‘mokṣa’ for the word ‘sthānam’ 2. Satattvam which means ‘svarūpam’. Thus in the Kaṭha 1.3.9 bhāṣyam the meaning for ‘viṣhnoḥ paramam padam’ culminates in ‘viṣnu’s svarūpam which is mokṣa.’


The conclusion shown above is applicable here too:

ब्रह्मसूत्रभाष्यम् । चतुर्थः अध्यायः । तृतीयः पादः । कार्याधिकरणम् । सूत्रम् १० – भाष्यम् BSB 4.3.10

कार्यब्रह्मलोकप्रलयप्रत्युपस्थाने सति तत्रैव उत्पन्नसम्यग्दर्शनाः सन्तः, तदध्यक्षेण हिरण्यगर्भेण सह अतः परं परिशुद्धं विष्णोः परमं पदं प्रतिपद्यन्ते — इतीत्थं क्रममुक्तिः अनावृत्त्यादिश्रुत्यभिधानेभ्योऽभ्युपगन्तव्या । न ह्यञ्जसैव गतिपूर्विका परप्राप्तिः सम्भवतीत्युपपादितम् ॥ १० ॥


Here the culmination of kramamukti is stated: the upāsaka having reached Brahmaloka, having gained the Advaita Nirguṇa Brahman realization as oneself and thus becoming a jnānin, at the end of the kalpa when the Brahmaloka undergoes destruction in pralaya, will remain as the Viṣṇu svarūpam, the mokṣa. Nowhere does Shankara say that the mukta will enter a viṣṇu loka, a geographical plane, after the destruction of the Brahmaloka. ‘Paramapada pratipattiḥ’ is nothing but remaining as the Pure Consciousness, Nirguna Brahman. The last sentence in the above passage means: The direct attaining of the mokṣa svarūpa is impossible through a process involving ‘gati’, travel. In the case of upāsakas there is no aparokṣa jnānam and therefore there is an utkrānti, leaving the body on death, and gati, taking the path to Brahmaloka. It is by undergoing such a stage-by-stage process does the upāsaka attain the mokṣa svarūpa.

The blogger, ganged up with Ramanuja, has badmouthed Advaitins in the above cited URL:


//It would be a fruitless and endless effort to keep shooting down red herrings thrown at us by those who can be best described as bhagavattattvAsahiShNavaH – those who do not tolerate the Truth about Bhagavan Sriman Narayana.//

See what Ramanuja has said about Shankara, Sureshvara and Sarvajnātman:

See what badmouthing Ramanuja in his ‘Śrībhāṣyam’ indulged in against Shankara extending to Sureshwara and Sarvajnātman:

//तदिदमौपनिषदपरमपुरुषवरणीयताहेुतुगुणविशेषविरहिणां अनादिपापवासनादूषिताशेषशेमुषीकाणां  अनधिगतपदवाक्यस्वरूपतदर्थयाथात्म्यप्रत्यक्षादिसकलप्रमाणवृत्त-तदितिकर्तव्यतारूपसमीचीनन्यायमार्गाणां विकल्पासहविविधकुतर्ककल्ककल्पितमिति न्यायानुगृहीतप्रत्यक्षादिसकलप्रमणवृत्तयाथात्म्यविद्भिः अनादरणीयम् ।//

(as quoted by MM Śrī S.Subrahmaṇya Śāstri in his foreword to the book ‘Upaniṣad bhāṣyam’ published by the Mahesh Research Institute, Varanasi)

Ramanuja accuses Shankara (and Sureshwara and Sarvajnatman):

  1. As those devoid of appreciation for the auspicious attributes of the Lord
  2. As those soaked in immense sinful tendencies
  3. As those who are ignorant of fundamentals of epistemology and its application
  4. As those who engage in intolerant fallacious argumentation
  5. And therefore all right-knowing/thinking people should reject them (Shankara, Sureshwara and Sarvajnatman).

The blogger’s word: bhagavattattvAsahiShNavaH is only a rephrasing of Ramanuja’s: तदिदमौपनिषदपरमपुरुषवरणीयताहेुतुगुणविशेषविरहिणां अनादिपापवासनादूषिताशेषशेमुषीकाणां  (aupaniṣada-paramapuruṣa-varaṇīyatāhetuguṇaviśeṣavirahiṇām anādipāpavāsanādūṣitaśemuṣīkāṇām)

Both the blogger and Ramanuja agree that Advaitins starting from Shankara, Sureshwara and Sarvajnātman, up to the present Acharyas, owing to their ‘beginningless sinful tendencies’, are ‘intolerant of the true nature of the Lord’.

Such being the case, the bloggers, in blatant defiance to their Founding Acharya, are putting up Shankara, Sureshwara and Sarvajnatman and others as their brand ambassadors, having realized well that Ramanuja is a failed champion of Vaishnavism. So much for their ‘staunch’ following of their school. They spend a lot of time ‘researching’ advaitic works and write nonsense in the name of ‘authentic’ blogs.

Om Tat Sat






Posted by: adbhutam | February 1, 2015

‘Aham ātmā Guḍākeśa….’

‘Aham Ātmā Guḍākeśa…’

(‘I am the Self, O, Arjuna..’)

In the 10th chapter of the Bhagavadgitā there is an enumeration of a sample of the vibhūti-s, glories, of Brahman. Shankara, while introducing this chapter says, among other things: तत्त्वं च भगवतो वक्तव्यम् उक्तमपि, दुर्विज्ञेयत्वात्…This chapter, while delineating some vibhūtis that are to be contemplated upon, is aimed also at specifying the Truth, tattvam, about Bhagavan, even though stated before (in the earlier chapters) since it (the Tattvam) is extremely difficult to realize.

Shankara says for the verse 10.8 – इति एवं मत्वा भजन्ते सेवन्ते मां बुधाः अवगतपरमार्थतत्त्वाः, भावसमन्विताः भावः भावना परमार्थतत्त्वाभिनिवेशः तेन समन्विताः संयुक्ताः इत्यर्थः ॥

The knowers of the Lord’s tattvam, true nature, are endowed with the knowledge of the paramārtha tattvam, in other words, that which is absolute and distinct from what meets the eye (which is vyāvahārikam).

While listing this sample, the Lord Himself says, according to Shankara, that His being the Self of all creatures in creation is His first and foremost vibhūti:

तत्र प्रथममेव तावत् शृणु —

अहमात्मा गुडाकेश सर्वभूताशयस्थितः ।
अहमादिश्च मध्यं च भूतानामन्त एव च ॥ २० ॥

English translation by Swami Gambhirananda

10.20 O Guḍākeśa, I am the Self residing in the hearts of all beings, and I am the beginning and the middle as also the end of (all) beings.


अहम् आत्मा प्रत्यगात्मा गुडाकेश, गुडाका निद्रा तस्याः ईशः गुडाकेशः, जितनिद्रः इत्यर्थः; घनकेश इति वा । सर्वभूताशयस्थितः सर्वेषां भूतानाम् आशये अन्तर्हृदि स्थितः अहम् आत्मा प्रत्यगात्मा नित्यं ध्येयः । तदशक्तेन च उत्तरेषु भावेषु चिन्त्यः अहम्; यस्मात् अहम् एव आदिः भूतानां कारणं तथा मध्यं च स्थितिः अन्तः प्रलयश्च ॥

//10.20 Guḍākeśa, O Guḍākeśa-gudaka means sleep, and īśa means master; master of that (sleep) is guḍākeśa, i.e. one who has conquered sleep; See also under 1.24.-Tr. or, one who has got thick hair; aham, I; am the atma, Self, the indwelling Self; who is to be ever-meditated on as sarva-bhūta-āśaya, āśaya-that in which are contained the impressions of meditations (upasanas), actions and past experiences.- sthitah, residing in the hearts of all beings. And, by one who is unable to do so, I am to be meditated on through the following aspects. I am capable of being meditated on (through them) because aham, I; am verily the ādih, beginning, the origin; and the madhyam, middle, continuance; ca, as also; the antah, end, dissolution; bhūtanam, of (all) beings.’I am to be meditated upon thus also:’ //

Shankara has said at the commencement that the aim of this chapter is to enable the aspirant attain the paramārtha tattva jñānam, the absolutely real knowledge, about the Lord. And the foremost vibhūti, glory, the Lord says is His existing as the innermost self of all creatures. Shankara uses here the upaniṣadic term, pratyagātmā, which is also his favorite term. This term ‘pratyagātmā’ means the Pure Consciousness that is realized as one transcending, beyond, the five sheaths, pancha kośas which are all the prakṛti-produced material coverings, superimpositions, on the ātmā. The term ‘pratyak’ is necessitated to show that it is beyond, innermost of, all the five coverings. The famous upanishadic usage of this term occurs in the Kaṭhopaniṣad:

Mantra 2.1.1:

पराञ्चि खानि व्यतृणत् स्वयंभू-.

स्तस्मात् पराङ् पश्यति नान्तरात्मन् ।

कश्चिद्धीरः प्रत्यगात्मानमैक्ष-

दावृत्तचक्षुरमृतत्वमिच्छन् ॥ १ ॥

पराञ्चि outward turned खानि sense organs व्यतृणत् damned  स्वयंभूः self-born तस्मात् therefore पराङ् outward  पश्यति knowing न not  अन्तरात्मन् the inner Self कश्चित् a rare धीरः courageous  प्रत्यगात्मानम् inner Self ऐक्षत् beheld आवृत्तचक्षुः  controlled senses अमृतत्वम् immortality इच्छन्  desiring.

Yama said: The self-born Lord forced the senses outward; hence one sees outward and not the inner self.  But a self-controlled person, desiring Immortality, beholds the inner Self with all sense organs controlled.

In Advaita, this pratyagātmā is not any deity or saguṇa entity; it is nirguṇa chaitanyam completely devoid of all material accretions. When the Lord says ‘I am the Ātmā’ in all creatures, it is the identity of the jīva-s with Him, His Self, that is nirguṇa chaitanyam. Advaita never teaches that the pratyagātmā should be known as a deity holding this or that object in his hands.

The Lord also concludes this chapter with this seminal instruction:

अथवा बहुनैतेन किं ज्ञातेन तवार्जुन ।
विष्टभ्याहमिदं कृत्स्नमेकांशेन स्थितो जगत् ॥ ४२ ॥

10.42 Or, on the other hand, what is the need of your knowing this extensively, O Arjuna? I remain sustaining this whole creation in a special way with a part (of Myself).


अथवा बहुना एतेन एवमादिना किं ज्ञातेन तव अर्जुन स्यात् सावशेषेण । अशेषतः त्वम् उच्यमानम् अर्थं शृणु — विष्टभ्य विशेषतः स्तम्भनं दृढं कृत्वा इदं कृत्स्नं जगत् एकांशेन एकावयवेन एकपादेन, सर्वभूतस्वरूपेण इत्येतत्; तथा च मन्त्रवर्णः — ‘पादोऽस्य विश्वा भूतानि’ (ऋ. १०-८-९०-३) इति; स्थितः अहम् इति ॥

//10.42 Athava, or, on the other hand; kim, what is the need; of tava jnatena, your knowing; etena bahuna, this extensively – but incompletely-in the above manner, O Arjuna? You listen to this subject that is going to be stated in its fullness: Aham, I; sthitah, remain; vistabhya, sustaining, supporting, holding firmly, in a special way; idam, this; krtsnam, whole; jagat, creation; ekāmśena, by a part, by a foot. The Universe is called a foot of His by virtue of His having the limiting adjunct of being its efficient and material cause. (of Myself), i.e. as the Self of all things, as the material and the efficient cause of all things. The Vedic text, ‘All beings form a foot of His’ (Rg., Pu. Su. 10.90.3; Tai. Ar. 3.12.3) support this. //

Anandagiri, in the gloss to the above bhāṣya of Shankara says:

तदनेन भगवतो नानाविधा विभूतीर्ध्येयत्वेन ज्ञेयत्वेन चोपदिश्यन्ते। सर्वप्रपञ्चात्मकं ध्येयं रूपं दर्शयित्वा ‘त्रिपादस्यामृतं दिवि’ इति प्रपञ्चाधिकं निरुपाधिकं तत्त्वमुपदिशता परिपूर्णसच्चिदानन्दैकतानस्तत्पदलक्ष्योऽर्थो निर्धारितः।

//A Form constituted by the whole of creation has been presented in this chapter for meditation. Thereby the unqualified transcendental Reality, implied by the word tat (in tattva-masi) and referred to by the latter portion of the Commentator’s quotation (viz tripādasyāmṛtam divi: The immortal three-footed One is established in His own effulgence), becomes established.//

‘the unqualified transcendental Reality’ in Advaita means nirguṇa chaitanyam, Turiya, nirviśeṣa Brahman, etc.

Incidentally, Anandagiri is giving the Advaitic view of the Transcendental Reality, indicated by the Rg.vedic mantra ‘pādo’sya…’. That is, that which transcends untouched, the creation, is nirupādhika tattvam, and not any deity with upādhis. That means, all those worlds, including divine lokas such as vaikunṭha, are within the created category and subject to destruction, according to the Advaitic view of the ‘transcendental reality’ above the created one-pāda of Brahman. Such lokas have no being in the nirupādhka realm.  The Lord teaches in this chapter that He is the Atmā of the jivas and also the Ātmā of the created world. The Ātmā of the jivās and the created world is the one and the same Nirupādhika Chaitanyam and not any deity with form, hands, resident of a loka, etc. This is the way the famous ‘tattvamasi’ is commented upon by Shankara in the Chandogya Upaniṣad 6.8.7 (where the maḥavākya ‘tat tvam asi’ occurs for the first time:

येन च आत्मना आत्मवत्सर्वमिदं जगत्, तदेव सदाख्यं कारणं सत्यं परमार्थसत् । अतः स एव आत्मा जगतः प्रत्यक्स्वरूपं सतत्त्वं याथात्म्यम्, आत्मशब्दस्य निरुपपदस्य प्रत्यगात्मनि गवादिशब्दवत् निरूढत्वात् । अतः तत् सत् त्वमसीति हे श्वेतकेतो…

[The Self by which the entire universe becomes endowed with a true content, that lone is the Cause, Real, Paramārtha sat (Absolute Reality) called ‘Sat’. (Thereby the vyavaharika sat is dispensed with as unreal, relative, effect.). Therefore, that Sat alone is the Ātmā, Self, the innermost essence, the reality ‘as-it-is.’ The word ‘Atman’ with no prefix, is established in the innermost self (pratyagātmā)…..Therefore That Sat art thou, O Śvetaketu….]

One can see the close correspondence between the above Chāndogya bhāṣya with the BG verse/bhāṣya that is under consideration.

Here is why a saguna Brahman, Ishwara, or any deity cannot be the Self of all the jiva-s:

In the Kenopanisad 1.5 bhashyam we have this crucial teaching:

आत्मानमेव निर्विशेषं ब्रह्म विद्धीति एवशब्दार्थः । नेदं ब्रह्म यदिदम् इत्युपाधिभेदविशिष्टमनात्मेश्वरादि उपासते ध्यायन्ति । तदेव ब्रह्म त्वं विद्धि इत्युक्तेऽपि नेदं ब्रह्म इत्यनात्मनोऽब्रह्मत्वं पुनरुच्यते नियमार्थम् अन्यब्रह्मबुद्धिपरिसंख्यानार्थं वा ॥

[The word ‘Eva’ in the mantra (tadeva brahma tvam viddhi) is to teach that one should realize the nirguṇa Brahman as one’s Atman alone. That which is meditated upon as ‘this’ (idam) which is qualified by the difference caused by upādhi, which entities such as Ishwara, etc. that are anātman, not-self, are not Brahman. The Upanishad, even after having said ‘tadeva brahma tvam viddhi’ is emphasizing by saying ‘that which is meditated upon such as Ishwara, etc. as ‘this’, is anātman and not Brahman.’ Therefore, the BG 10.20 ‘Atman’, if it is held the Saguṇa Brahman, is only anātman, not-self, and is not even Brahman. In effect, if Krishna were to be understood as teaching that he, the saguṇa deity, is the Atman in every being, then he will be rendering himself abrahman, anātmā, as per the Kenopanishad and bhāṣyam.]

In the Adhyāsa bhāṣya, preamble to the Brahmasutra bhāṣya, Shankara says:

एवमहंप्रत्ययिनमशेषस्वप्रचारसाक्षिणि प्रत्यगात्मन्यध्यस्य तं च प्रत्यगात्मानं सर्वसाक्षिणं तद्विपर्ययेणान्तःकरणादिष्वध्यस्यति ।

Here too he gives the clear meaning of the term pratyagātmā: it is the witness of everything. No one superimposes a deity on the mind, etc.

In the sequel several passages from the prasthānatraya bhāṣya are given to drive home the idea that the term ‘pratyagātmā’ is non-different from Brahman/Paramātmā, that it is nirupādhika chaitanyam and not any sopādhika, saguṇa deity. Readers may look up the appropriate translations as the complete translation is not being provided here except a gist of the passage cited:

ब्रह्मसूत्रभाष्यम् । प्रथमः अध्यायः । प्रथमः पादः । प्रतर्दनाधिकरणम् । सूत्रम् २९ – भाष्यम् (BSB 1.1.29)

इति विषयेन्द्रियव्यवहारानाभिभूतं प्रत्यगात्मानमेवोपसंहरति । ‘स म आत्मेति विद्यात्’ इति चोपसंहारः प्रत्यगात्मपरिग्रहे साधुः, न पराचीनपरिग्रहे । ‘अयमात्मा ब्रह्म सर्वानुभूः’ (बृ. उ. २-५-१९) इति च श्रुत्यन्तरम् । तस्मादध्यात्मसम्बन्धबाहुल्याद्ब्रह्मोपदेश एवायम्, न देवतात्मोपदेशः ॥ २९ ॥

[Indra, a Jnāni, teaches the Atmavidya to Pratardana and says: ‘Know that as My Atma’. Here, by the term ‘my’ it is the innermost self that is meant and not any other external object. ]

ब्रह्मसूत्रभाष्यम् । प्रथमः अध्यायः । द्वितीयः पादः । अन्तर्याम्यधिकरणम् । सूत्रम् २० – भाष्यम् BSB 1.2.20

अविद्याप्रत्युपस्थापितकार्यकरणोपाधिनिमित्तोऽयं शारीरान्तर्यामिणोर्भेदव्यपदेशः, न पारमार्थिकः । एको हि प्रत्यगात्मा भवति, न द्वौ प्रत्यगात्मानौ सम्भवतः । एकस्यैव तु भेदव्यवहार उपाधिकृतः, यथा घटाकाशो महाकाश इति ।

[This is a crucial teaching of what/who really is the Anataryāmi. The difference in specifying the jīva and antaryāmi as different entities is owing to the avidya-caused body-mind upādhi, and such a difference is not absolute. One pratyagātmā alone can be there, and no two pratyagātmās are possible. (Therefore, the BG 10.20 teaching of ‘I am the Atmā of all beings’ can only mean non-difference between the Instructing Lord and the beings. And such non-difference negates all upādhis that can distinguish the Lord as a deity, consort of so and so, resident of such and such loka, etc.) The essence of the above BSB is: the antaryāmi is non-different from the pratyagātmā, pure consciousness, and not any saguṇa entity.]

ब्रह्मसूत्रभाष्यम् । तृतीयः अध्यायः । द्वितीयः पादः । प्रकृतैतावत्त्वाधिकरणम् । सूत्रम् २२ – भाष्यम् BSB 3.2.22

समस्तस्य विषयजातस्य प्रतिषेधात् अविषयः प्रत्यगात्मा ब्रह्मेति, जिज्ञासा निवर्तते । तस्मात् प्रपञ्चमेव ब्रह्मणि कल्पितं प्रतिषेधति, परिशिनष्टि ब्रह्म — इति निर्णयः ॥

[Since the entire objective world is negated, the pratyagātmā is a non-object; ever-subject, which is Brahman. The equation Atma = Brahman can happen only when the Lord-upādhis are negated. Hence the Atma of BG 10.20 is not any saguṇa deity and since saguṇa deity is an object, viṣaya, anātmā, abrahman, can never be the self of all.]

ब्रह्मसूत्रभाष्यम् । चतुर्थः अध्यायः । प्रथमः पादः । आवृत्यधिकरणम् । सूत्रम् २ – भाष्यम् BSB 4.1.2

तथा त्वंपदार्थोऽपि प्रत्यगात्मा श्रोता देहादारभ्य प्रत्यगात्मतया सम्भाव्यमानः चैतन्यपर्यन्तत्वेनावधारितः

[The entity meant by the word ‘tvam’ (of ‘tat tvam asi’) is the pratyagātmā, who is the one instructed, is to be realized by negating all the adjuncts such as the body and culminating in the pure consciousness.]

काठकोपनिषद्भाष्यम् । द्वितीयोऽध्यायः । चतुर्थी वल्ली । मन्त्रः १ – भाष्यम् (Kaṭhopanishad 2.1.1)

प्रत्यगात्मानं प्रत्यक् चासावात्मा चेति प्रत्यगात्मा । प्रतीच्येवात्मशब्दो रूढो लोके, नान्यत्र । व्युत्पत्तिपक्षेऽपि तत्रैवात्मशब्दो वर्तते ; ‘यच्चाप्नोति यदादत्ते यच्चात्ति विषयानिह । यच्चास्य सन्ततो भावयस्तस्मादात्मेति कीर्त्यते’ ; इत्यात्मशब्दव्युत्पत्तिस्मरणात् । तं प्रत्यगात्मानं स्वस्वभावम् ऐक्षत् अपश्यत् पश्यतीत्यर्थः, छन्दसि कालानियमात् ।

[That which is innermost is the pratyagātmā. The word ‘Atmā’ is applicable only in the innermost being and nowhere else. The determined aspirant succeeded in gaining the pratyagātman which is his very nature, sva-svabhāvam. (Surely the saguṇa Brahman can never be the sva-svabhāva of the jiva. The kenopaniśat and bhāṣya teach that Iśwara, etc. which are meditated upon as ‘this’ constitute anātma, abrahma and therefore not the Atma.)]

काठकोपनिषद्भाष्यम् । द्वितीयोऽध्यायः । षष्ठी वल्ली । मन्त्रः ७ – भाष्यम् Kaṭha 2.3.7

यस्मात्प्रत्यगात्मा स सर्वस्य ; [Hence Brahman is the pratyagātmā of everyone. (similar to the BG 10.20 teaching of the mahāvākya)]

बृहदारण्यकोपनिषद्भाष्यम् । द्वितीयोऽध्यायः । प्रथमं ब्राह्मणम् । मन्त्रः २० – भाष्यम्

सर्वश्रुतिषु च ब्रह्मणि आत्मशब्दप्रयोगात् आत्मशब्दस्य च प्रत्यगात्माभिधायकत्वात्, ‘एष सर्वभूतान्तरात्मा’ (मु. उ. २-१-४) इति च श्रुतेः परमात्मव्यतिरेकेण संसारिणोऽभावात् — ‘एकमेवाद्वितीयम्’ (छा. उ. ६-२-१) ‘ब्रह्मैवेदम्’ (मु. उ. २-२-११) ‘आत्मैवेदम्’ (छा. उ. ७-२५-२) इत्यादिश्रुतिभ्यः युक्तमेव अहं ब्रह्मास्मीत्यवधारयितुम् ॥

[In all the Upanishads the word ‘Ātman’ is used in the sense of Brahman, and the word ‘Atman’ refers to the pratyagātman. (hence the BG 10.20 word atman is also referring to Brahman and pratyagātman since the BG is not differing from the shrutis.) and there is no jiva apart from the Paramatman.

बृहदारण्यकोपनिषद्भाष्यम् । द्वितीयोऽध्यायः । चतुर्थं ब्राह्मणम् Br.up.2.4

‘तदात्मानमेवावेदहं ब्रह्मास्मीति तस्मात्तत्सर्वमभवत्’ (बृ. उ. १-४-१०) इति ; एवं प्रत्यगात्मा ब्रह्मविद्याया विषय इत्येतत् उपन्यस्तम् । [The pratyagātmā is the subject matter of the upanishadic brahmavidyā. This is because it is by knowing oneself, the pratyagātmā, as Brahman that one realizes his nature of Self-of-all. Such a realization does not have a saguṇa Brahman for its subject matter/content].

बृहदारण्यकोपनिषद्भाष्यम् । द्वितीयोऽध्यायः । पञ्चमं ब्राह्मणम् । मन्त्रः १९ – भाष्यम् Br.up.2.5.19

यः प्रत्यगात्मा द्रष्टा, श्रोता मन्ता बोद्धा, विज्ञाता सर्वानुभूः — सर्वात्मना सर्वमनुभवतीति सर्वानुभूः — इत्येतदनुशासनम् सर्ववेदान्तोपदेशः ; एष सर्ववेदान्तानामुपसंहृतोऽर्थः ; एतदमृतमभयम् ; परिसमाप्तश्च शास्त्रार्थः ॥

[The pratyagātmā is realized as the universal experiencer. This is the Upanishadic commandment. If the jiva’s ātman is a saguṇa Brahman, the realizing jiva will not know himself as the universal experience.]

बृहदारण्यकोपनिषद्भाष्यम् । चतुर्थोऽध्यायः । चतुर्थं ब्राह्मणम् । मन्त्रः १३ – भाष्यम् Br.up.4.4.13

स उ लोक एव ; लोकशब्देन आत्मा उच्यते ; तस्य सर्व आत्मा, स च सर्वस्यात्मेत्यर्थः । य एष ब्राह्मणेन प्रत्यगात्मा प्रतिबुद्धतया अनुवित्तः आत्मा अनर्थसङ्कटे गहने प्रविष्टः, स न संसारी, किं तु पर एव ; यस्मात् विश्वस्य कर्ता सर्वस्य आत्मा, तस्य च सर्व आत्मा । एक एवाद्वितीयः पर एवास्मीत्यनुसन्धातव्य इति श्लोकार्थः ॥

[The word ‘loka’ in the mantra means ‘Atmā’ This Atmā is the Self of all. It is this universal Atmā that is taught here as the pratyagātmā, as is the Supreme. The saguṇa Brahman is not the Supreme because it is kārya Brahman in Advaita. Kārya is an effect, subject to destruction during pralaya.]

बृहदारण्यकोपनिषद्भाष्यम् । चतुर्थोऽध्यायः । चतुर्थं ब्राह्मणम् । मन्त्रः १८ – भाष्यम् Br.up.4.4.18

चक्षुरादिव्यापारानुमितास्तित्वं प्रत्यगात्मानम्, न विषयभूतम् ये विदुः — ते निचिक्युः निश्चयेन ज्ञातवन्तः ब्रह्म, पुराणं चिरन्तनम्, अग्र्यम् अग्रे भवम् । ‘तद्यदात्मविदो विदुः’ (मु. उ. २-२-१०) इति ह्याथर्वणे ॥

[The existence of pratyagātma is inferred from the activity of the senses. The pratyagātmā is never an object. (whereas the saguṇa Brahman is not the pratyagātmā and is an object for the devotee). This realization frees one from bondage.]

छान्दोग्योपनिषद्भाष्यम् । अष्टमोऽध्यायः । द्वादशः खण्डः । मन्त्रः १ – भाष्यम् Ch.up.8.12.1

तथा भूम्नि ‘अहमेव’ (छा. उ. ७-२५-२) इत्यादिश्य ‘आत्मैवेदं सर्वम्’ इति नोपसमहरिष्यत्, यदि भूमा जीवादन्योऽभविष्यत्, ‘नान्योऽतोऽस्ति द्रष्टा’ (बृ. उ. ३-७-२३) इत्यादिश्रुत्यन्तराच्च । सर्वश्रुतिषु च परस्मिन्नात्मशब्दप्रयोगो नाभविष्यत् प्रत्यगात्मा चेत्सर्वजन्तूनां पर आत्मा न भवेत् । तस्मादेक एव आत्मा प्रकरणी सिद्धः ॥

[Had the Bhūman (Infinite Brahman) were not identical with the jīva, the upaniṣad would not have concluded by declaring the universal-selfhood by the words ‘I am myself…’. In all the upaniṣads the word ‘Atmā’ would not have been fixed on the Supreme if the pratyagātmā were not the Paramātman of all beings. (In BG 10.20 if the ‘Atman’ of all beings is the saguṇa Brahman, there is no way the jiva can be identical with the Bhūman, as taught in all the Upanishads, as above.)

केनोपनिषत् वाक्य​भाष्य​म् । द्वितीयः खण्डः । मन्त्रः ४ – भाष्यम् Kenopaniṣad 2.4

तस्मात्प्रतिबोधावभासप्रत्यगात्मतया यद्विदितं तद्ब्रह्म, तदेव मतं तदेव सम्यग्ज्ञानं यत्प्रत्यगात्मविज्ञानम्, न विषयविज्ञानम् । आत्मत्वेन ‘प्रत्यगात्मानमैक्षत्’ (क. उ. २-१-१) इति च काठके ।

[Brahman is realized through the method of the illumining of every experience by the pratyagātman and that alone is the correct knowledge/realization which has the pratyagātman for its content, but not any objective knowledge.]

श्रीमद्भगवद्गीताभाष्यम् । द्वितीयोऽध्यायः । श्लोक ६१ – भाष्यम् BGB 2.61

अहं वासुदेवः सर्वप्रत्यगात्मा परो यस्य सः मत्परः, ‘न अन्योऽहं तस्मात्’ इति आसीत इत्यर्थः ।

In Advaita the aspirant-jiva’s non-difference from ‘Vāsudeva’ can never happen if that Vāsudeva were a deity, Lakshmipati, resident of Vaikunṭha. This is because the deity, even if it is endowed with shuddha sattva upādhis can never be the Atmā of all, as it will always remain anātmā, abrahma, not pratyagātma, as taught by the kenopanishad and bhāṣya. The word ‘Vāsudeva’ has an etymological meaning which will never make it a deity but the Nirguna Tattvam which is the vivartopādāna for the entire creation.

श्रीमद्भगवद्गीताभाष्यम् । सप्तमोऽध्यायः । श्लोक १९ – भाष्यम् BGB 7.10

बहूनां जन्मनां ज्ञानार्थसंस्काराश्रयाणाम् अन्ते समाप्तौ ज्ञानवान् प्राप्तपरिपाकज्ञानः मां वासुदेवं प्रत्यगात्मानं प्रत्यक्षतः प्रपद्यते । कथम् ? वासुदेवः सर्वम् इति । यः एवं सर्वात्मानं मां नारायणं प्रतिपद्यते, सः महात्मा ; न तत्समः अन्यः अस्ति, अधिको वा ।

Here too, the Vāsudeva/Nārāyaṇa cannot be the deity qualified by the consort of Lakshmi, resident of Vaikuntha, etc.

श्रीमद्भगवद्गीताभाष्यम् । चतुर्दशोऽध्यायः । श्लोक २७ – भाष्यम् BGB 14.27

ब्रह्मणः परमात्मनः हि यस्मात् प्रतिष्ठा अहं प्रतितिष्ठति अस्मिन् इति प्रतिष्ठा अहं प्रत्यगात्मा । कीदृशस्य ब्रह्मणः? अमृतस्य अविनाशिनः अव्ययस्य अविकारिणः शाश्वतस्य च नित्यस्य धर्मस्य धर्मज्ञानस्य ज्ञानयोगधर्मप्राप्यस्य सुखस्य आनन्दरूपस्य ऐकान्तिकस्य अव्यभिचारिणः अमृतादिस्वभावस्य परमानन्दरूपस्य परमात्मनः प्रत्यगात्मा प्रतिष्ठा, सम्यग्ज्ञानेन परमात्मतया निश्चीयते । तदेतत् ‘ब्रह्मभूयाय कल्पते’ (भ. गी. १४-२६) इति उक्तम् ।

[He who realizes himself as the pratyagātmā of Paramātma, through right knowledge is the one who is verily Brahman, as taught in 14.26 which is:

मां च योऽव्यभिचारेण भक्तियोगेन सेवते ।
स गुणान्समतीत्यैतान्ब्रह्मभूयाय कल्पते ॥ २६ ॥


मां च ईश्वरं नारायणं सर्वभूतहृदयाश्रितं यो यतिः कर्मी वा अव्यभिचारेण न कदाचित् यो व्यभिचरति भक्तियोगेन भजनं भक्तिः सैव योगः तेन भक्तियोगेन सेवते, सः गुणान् समतीत्य एतान् यथोक्तान् ब्रह्मभूयाय, भवनं भूयः, ब्रह्मभूयाय ब्रह्मभवनाय मोक्षाय कल्पते समर्थो भवति इत्यर्थः ॥

He who realizes as ‘I am non-different from Ishwara, Nārāyaṇa, the pratyagātmā in all beings is the one who is verily Brahman.]

The above passages were cited to dispel the erroneous ideas that ‘the Lord who says that He is the Ātmā in all beings is the saguṇa Brahman (BG 10.20)’ and that ‘Vāsudeva, a deity with shuddha sattva upādhis is the self-of-all’ as they are fraught with several defects, the chief among them being: it contradicts the shruti teaching of ‘I am Brahman’-realization on the part of the aspirant. The other glaring defect is that such a saguṇa Brahman, an object, will be a-brahman, anātmā, as taught by the Kenopanishad/bhāṣyam. That alone is Brahman which is not an object for the aspirant, but the very subject, aviṣaya, pratyagātman.  Krishna and Vāsudeva, if they are deities, will be meditatable as someone ‘other than the meditator’, ‘idam’ and never ‘aham’.  That is what is pointed out by the Kena bhāṣyam. The word ‘pratyagātman’ in the BGB 10.20 is what dispels the erroneous ideas stated above.   It is in order to bring out the deep and far-reaching import of the concept of the upaniṣadic ‘pratyagātman’ that the several passages of the prasthānatraya bhāṣyam were enumerated.

Om Tat Sat

Posted by: adbhutam | January 30, 2015


Śiva-Viśṇu abheda in the Kaivalya Upaniṣad

In the Kaivalya Upaniṣad there is this mantra:

स ब्रह्मा स शिवः सेन्द्रः सोऽक्षरः परमः स्वराट् .

स एव विष्णुः स प्राणः स कालोऽग्निः स चन्द्रमाः .. ८..

[He is Brahmā, He is Śiva, he is Indra, the Immutable, Supreme, Self-luminous, he alone is Viśṇu, he is prāṇa, He is Time, Fire, Moon. ]

This is akin to the Nārāyaṇa sūkta mantra: स ब्रह्मा स शिवः स हरिः सेन्द्रः सोऽक्षरः परमः स्वराट्

where, too, the identity of all the deities is taught.

While commenting on the name ‘Śiva’ occurring as the 27th name in the Viṣṇu sahasra nāma (VS), Sri Shankaracharya says: निस्त्रैगुण्यतया शुद्धत्वात् शिवः ‘स ब्रह्मा स शिवः..’ (कै.उ.८) इत्यभेदोपदेशात् शिवादिनामभिः हरिरेव स्तूयते । [being free of the three guṇas (sattva, etc.), He is Śiva. Since the Kaivalyopaniṣat instructs that He is non-different from Brahmā, Śiva…’ by the names Śiva, etc. Hari Himself is praised.

In the introduction to the VS bhāṣyam Shankara has cited a Viṣṇupurāṇa verse:

अहं हरिः सर्वमिदं जनार्दनो नान्यत् ततः कारणकार्यजातम् ।

ईदृङ्मनो यस्य न तस्य भूयो भवोद्भवा द्वन्द्वगदा भवन्ति ॥1.22.86॥

(‘I am Hari, all this (universe) is Janārdana, there is none other than Him as cause-effect combine.  He who has thus realized will never be caught in samsāra.)

This Advaitic identification with the Supreme can be accomplished only with the Nirguṇa Brahman. Hence, the name ‘Hari’ and ‘Janārdana’ are not any deity but the Pure Consciousness. Therefore, according to Shankara, the names ‘Śiva’, etc. are a praise of this Pure Consciousness alone. He bases this argument on the instruction of non-difference, abheda, by the Kaivalya upaniṣad. In the above-cited mantra 8 of this Upaniṣad we find all the deities such as Brahmā, Śiva, Indra, etc. including Viśṇu being taught as manifestations of the One Pure Consciousness.

What is noteworthy is that Shankara holds the Kaivalyopaniṣad the authority for the abheda, non-difference, between Śiva and Viśṇu. He calls this instruction of Hari-Hara abheda an ‘upadeśa’ of the Śruti.

Shankara, in the introduction to the VS cites a Harivamśa verse spoken by Maheśvara (Śiva):

अहं त्वं सर्वग देव त्वमेवाहं जनार्दन ।

आवयोरन्तरं नास्ति शब्दैरर्थैर्जगत्त्रये ॥ (3.88.60)

[O, the all-pervading one, I am Thee, and Thou are me alone. There is no difference between the two of us by any means in all the three worlds.]

It is interesting to note that for the immediately preceding name ‘śarva’ (26th), Shanakra says: शृणाति संहारसमये संहरति संहारयति सकलाः प्रजाः इति शर्वः । [ since He crushes, destroys, everything in creation during the dissolution, pralaya, He is called ‘śarva’.]

It is noteworthy that this name ‘śarva’ is popular for Śiva. In the VS itself, for the name ‘bhūtakṛt’ (5th name), Shankara says: तमोगुणमास्थाय स रुद्रात्मना भूतानि कृन्तति कृणोति हिनस्तीति भूतकृत् [(that very Pure Consciousness called Viśṇu) as Rudra, assuming Tamoguṇa, destroys all beings. Hence He is called ‘bhūtakṛt’.]

We find a fine demonstration of this role of Paramātmā in the Bh.Gitā 11th chapter where as ‘kāla’ He destroys the entire world. Arjuna is frightened by the terrible form of the Lord and begs Him to withdraw it. This is the part played by the Lord as Rudra since it is one Pure Consciousness that appears in different roles as Brahmā, Śiva and Viśṇu.

Shankara cites two seminal verses from the Bhaviṣyottara purāṇa in the introduction to the VS:

Maheśvara (Śiva) says:

विष्णोरन्यं तु पश्यन्ति ये मां ब्रह्माणमेव वा ।

कुतर्कमतयो मूढाः पच्यन्ते नरकेष्वधः ॥

[Those fools who, devoid of proper thinking, consider Me and Brahmā as different from Viṣṇu will be baked in the lowly hells.]

ये च मूढा दुरात्मानो भिन्नं पश्यन्ति मां हरेः ।

ब्रह्माणं च ततस्तस्माद् ब्रह्महत्यासमं त्वघम् ॥

[Those fools, wicked ones, by seeing Me and Brahmā as different from Hari are committing the heinous sin of brahmahatyā.]

One can recall a similar verse in the Śrīmadbhāgavatam (Dakṣayajña section) as said by Viṣṇu.

All these go to establish that the concept of Hari-Hara abheda is well enshrined in the Shruti, Smṛti, itihāsa and purāṇa. We have seen Shankara citing many of these in the foregoing study. The study incidentally confirms that the ideas of Trimūrti aikya and Hari-Hara abheda are not anyone’s imagination but is contained inalienably in the very veins of the Shāstram. The foremost Vedāntin Shankara has cited these verses endorsing these ideas. Thus, the early Advaitin Shankara, a true Vaiṣṇava, sees no difference between Hari and Hara. That Shankara has cited from the Shivapurāṇam too, that too to show Shiva as the Supreme Creator, is also found in the VS bhāṣya for the name ‘Rudra’ (114th):

रुर्दुःखं दुःखहेतुं वा तद् द्रावयति यः प्रभुः ।

रुद्र इत्युच्यते तस्माच्छिवः परमकारणम् ॥ (samhitā 6, ch.9, verse 14)

(‘Ruḥ’ means misery or the cause thereof. Since the Supreme Lord, Shiva, who is the Ultimate Cause (of creation, etc.) is called ‘Rudra’). This verse too, according to Shankara, goes to highlight Hari-Hara abheda. It is interesting to note that in the prasthānatraya bhashya Shankara has not cited the Shiva puranam. He has cited from the Lingapuranam in the Kathopanishat bhashya 2.1.1 to give a definition for the term ‘Ātman’:

’यच्चाप्नोति यदादत्ते यच्चात्ति विषयानिह् । यच्चास्य सन्ततो भाव: तस्मादात्मेति कीर्त्यते ॥’ (लिङ्गपुराणम् १.७०.९६) इत्यात्मशब्दव्युत्पत्तिस्मरणात् । But his citing the Shivapuranam in the VS, that too, to show Shiva as the Paramakāraṇam is very typical of Shankara as Shiva-Viṇu abhedavādin. For him all purāṇas, irrespective of the so-called distinction on the basis of sattva, etc. are the same.

Om Tat Sat

Older Posts »



Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 63 other followers