In a recent conversation with eminent scholar Sri Mani Dravid Sastrigal I asked him if he had written any shloka-s, stotras or any metrical document. To that he replied hesitantly that a work of 101 verses in simple meter was written by him and published in a souvenir to felicitate a renowned scholar Vidwan Sri Umakantha Bhatta recently. Upon my requesting him to share the work he kindly did so. It is a work important for Advaita Vedanta where the ‘bhrama’ tattva has been delineated by him. It is titled ‘khyaati-tattva-samiikshanam’ (A review of the concept of bhrama). It examines the various views of ‘bhrama’ and upholds the ‘anirvachaniyakhyati’ that is accepted by Advaitins. The work can be viewed/downloaded here:

Om Tat Sat


We have now the Dipika, a gloss, on the Kalagni Rudropanishat by Narayana who has written dipika-s for some 40 plus Upanishads.  The Dipika on this Kalagnirudra is available here for viewing:
In the collection of ’11 Atharvana Upanishads’, we have the ‘Vasudeva Upanishad’ and ‘Gopichandana Upanishad’.  For both these Narayana’s Dipika-s are available.  Thus, we see the Vedanta Acharya of the 13th Century commenting on Upanishads that speak about both Bhasma Dharana Tripundra and the Gopichandana Urdhvapundra.  Surely, a sectarian will not do this. 
Om Tat Sat 
Kaalaagni rudropanishat cited by Narayanashrama 13 CE

Sri Narayanashrama, an Advaita Acharya of the 13 CE who has penned ‘Deepika-s’ for several Upanishads, in his commentary to the Atharva Shikha Upanishad, in the context of Pranava dhyana, names the Kaalaagni Rudropanishat:
अत एव कालाग्निरुद्रोपनिषदि महेश्वरसदाशिवशिवाः शैवं प्रति प्रणववर्णत्रयदेवाः उक्ताः |
The  Kalagnirudropanishat   contains the names ‘maheshvara and sadashiva and mahadeva’.  It does mention a,u and ma (of the Pranava).  The  Upanishat deals  with bhasma dharana vidhi and the fruit of practicing it as even moksha. In the means to the vedic donning of the tripundra, the upanishad also introduces the a, u, ma contemplation. We have Upanishad Brahma Yogin’s commentary to this Upanishad, which is a part of the 108 named in the Muktikopanishat.
Thus, we have a very ancient Acharya, of the 13 CE, mentioning the Kalagnirudropanishat. 
Om Tat Sat  

Posted by: adbhutam | September 2, 2019

Commentaries for the three verses cited by Shankara

In the Bhashya for the 4th sutra ‘tat tu samanvayaat’, at the end, Shankara has cited three verses that are very crucial to the tenets of Advaita. These verses are said to be of a ‘Sundara Pandya’ who is also said to have written on purva mimamsa. In order to help the study of these verses, the commentaries of Panchapadika, Bhamati, Nyayanirnaya and Ratnaprabha are selected and given in this file. The English translation by Swami Gambhirananda of the verses and the Kannada translation by Swami Sachidanandendra Saraswati have also been provided in this file which can be viewed here:

Om Tat Sat

Pl. read a post here on the topic: Aitareya Upanishad, Bhashya and Kenopanishad Bhashya – Ekavaakyataa.

Om Tat Sat

Posted by: adbhutam | August 22, 2019

Shankaracharya – Maniman – non-connection’

Here is an article in FB on the topic ‘Shankaracharya – Maniman – non-connection’ in Kannada.
At present I am not making an English translation.

Om Tat Sat

Posted by: adbhutam | August 21, 2019

Bannanje’s audio on Shankara ‘split personality’

The above is an audio recording in Kannada by the renowned Dvaita scholar on ‘Shankara – a split personality’.

Om Tat Sat

Posted by: adbhutam | August 5, 2019

Reply to Sri Bannanje Govindacharya’s remarks


Recently in some Whatsapp groups and FB someone circulated an audio of noted Madhva scholar Sri Bannanje Govindacharya in Kannda. It was clarified later that this audio is only a clipping of a larger one which comprised of his class on a text of his school to his students at home very long ago. What created a furor among followers of Shankaracharya is his remarks on Shankara that one can at once say are unsavory. The gist of his remarks is:

Shankara does not allow/want anyone to question; what he says is to be accepted.

There is no answer to the question ‘whose is avidya?’ in Shankara’s system. The scholar cites a few lines from Shankara’s Gita bhashya 13.2 where a dialogue is used by Shankara to bring out from the questioner’s mouth the answer to the question. However, the scholar aborts the dialogue prematurely and concludes ‘there is no reply to this question.’

Two senior scholars of Advaita have recorded their replies to the above, in Kannada and clarified the matter. In the file uploaded in this URL, I have included all these audios, cited the Gita and Brihadaranyaka Bhashyam, their translation in English and Kannada (from images of Sri SSS’s translation):

Subsequently, a disciple of Sri Bannanje Acharya has released an audio in reply to the above rejoinders, in Kannada. However, he has not touched on the core matter but meandered into various other topics. I have not referred to this in the above file.

warm regards

Shankaracharya’s ‘para-kaaya-pravesha’ in the light of a Mahabharata episode

In the Madhaviya Shankara Vijaya is the episode where Shankaracharya, in the context of a debate with Ubhaya Bharati, uses the yoga siddhi of ‘para kaaya pravesha’ (getting into someone else’s body). This is discussed in this article in the light of a somewhat similar episode of the Mahabharata:

Om Tat Sat

Attaining a Devataa and Realizing the Devataa Tattva  – Upaasya Brahman and Jneya Brahman

In the Kenopanishad Pada Bhashyam 1.5:
आत्मा हि नामाधिकृतः कर्मण्युपासने च संसारी कर्मोपासनं वा साधनमनुष्ठाय ब्रह्मादिदेवान्स्वर्गं वा प्राप्तुमिच्छति । तत्तस्मादन्य उपास्यो विष्णुरीश्वर इन्द्रः प्राणो वा ब्रह्म भवितुमर्हति, न त्वात्मा ; लोकप्रत्ययविरोधात् । यथान्ये तार्किका ईश्वरादन्य आत्मेत्याचक्षते, तथा कर्मिणोऽमुं यजामुं यजेत्यन्या एव देवता उपासते । तस्माद्युक्तं यद्विदितमुपास्यं तद्ब्रह्म भवेत् , ततोऽन्य उपासक इति ।
Shankara brings out some very crucial points in Vedanta:

  1. A samsari by karma-upasana desires to attain Deva-s such as Brahmaa, or svarga. Thus the upasya Brahman can be Vishnu, Ishwara (Shiva), Indra, Prana, that is something which is different from the aspirant.
  2. Brahman of the stated nature cannot be the Atman (of the samsari/aspirant). An identity of the upasya with the aspirant, upasaka, is contradictory to the ways of the world. 
  3. For, non-vedantins that are tarka-dominant hold the Atma (jiva) to be different from Ishvara. So too the Karmin-s (mimamsaka-s). 
  4. Thus it is quite in order if that which is known as an object, viditam, (such as Brahma, Vishnu, Ishwara, Indra, Prana) is the upasya, Brahman, and the atman is different from it.     

In this purvapaksha, Shankara has clearly stated that those who hold Ishwara (Brahman) and jiva (Atman) to be different from each other to be outside the domain of Vedanta. Also Shankara considers Vishnu, Siva, Indra, Brahma, etc. as equally upasya-s to attain that devatahood / svarga. Attaining devatahood is admitted in Vedanta as a worldly fruit of upasana. These are all upasya brahma. 
Quite contrary to the above, Shankara shows the Jneya Brahma in the following where the idea of ‘attaining devata/hood’ (a saamsaaric state) and ‘realizing Brahman for moksha’ are clearly distinguished in the Bh.Gita and the Bhashya. What comes out as a crucial takeaway is the distinction between ‘Vishnu’ as a devataa-vishesha and ‘Vishnu’ as Nirguna Para Brahman. Bhagavadgita Bhashyam 7.23:
अन्तवत्तु फलं तेषां 
तद्भवत्यल्पमेधसाम् । 
देवान्देवयजो यान्ति 
मद्भक्ता यान्ति मामपि ॥ २३ ॥
7.23 That result of theirs who are of poor intellect is indeed limited. The worshipers of gods go to the gods. My devotees go to Me alone.  

[Reading the Kenopanishad bhashya cited above together with this Gita verse, worshiping gods such as Vishnu, Ishvara, Indra, by those with poor intellect compared to those who try to realize Brahman.] 
अन्तवत् विनाशि तु फलं तेषां तत् भवति अल्पमेधसां अल्पप्रज्ञानाम् । देवान्देवयजो यान्ति देवान् यजन्त इति देवयजः, ते देवान् यान्ति, मद्भक्ता यान्ति मामपि । एवं समाने अपि आयासे मामेव न प्रपद्यन्ते अनन्तफलाय, अहो खलु कष्टं वर्तन्ते, इत्यनुक्रोशं दर्शयति भगवान् ॥ २३ ॥
7.23 Since those non-discriminating men with desires are engaged in disciplines for limited results, therefore, tat phalam, that result; tesam, of theirs; alpamedhasam, who are of poor intellect, of poor wisdom; antavat tu bhavati, is limited, ephemeral, indeed. Deva-yajah, the worshippers of gods; yanti, go; devan, to the gods. Madbhaktah, My devotees; yanti, to; mam api, to Me alone. ‘Thus, though the effort needed is the same, they do not resort to me alone for the unlimited result. Alas! they are surely in a pitiable condition.’ In this manner the Lord expresses his compassion. 

BGB 9.25:
येऽपि अन्यदेवताभक्तिमत्त्वेन अविधिपूर्वकं यजन्तेतेषामपि यागफलं अवश्यंभावि । कथम् ? —
The result of a sacrifice is inevitable even for those who worship ignorantly out of their devotion to other deities. How?  

यान्ति देवव्रता देवान्पितॄन्यान्ति पितृव्रताः । 
भूतानि यान्ति भूतेज्या यान्ति मद्याजिनोऽपि माम् ॥ २५ ॥
9.25 Votaries of the gods reach the gods; the votarites of the manes go to the manes; the worshippers of the Beings reach the Beings; and those who worship Me reach Me.  

[The corollary is ‘all the deities named above in the Kena Bhashya are anya devata-s.]
यान्ति गच्छन्ति देवव्रताः देवेषु व्रतं नियमो भक्तिश्च येषां ते देवव्रताः देवान् यान्ति । पितॄन् अग्निष्वात्तादीन् यान्ति पितृव्रताः श्राद्धादिक्रियापराः पितृभक्ताः । भूतानि विनायकमातृगणचतुर्भगिन्यादीनि यान्ति भूतेज्याः भूतानां पूजकाः । यान्ति मद्याजिनः मद्यजनशीलाः वैष्णवाः मामेव यान्ति । समाने अपि आयासेमामेव न भजन्ते अज्ञानात् , तेन ते अल्पफलभाजः भवन्ति इत्यर्थः ॥ २५ ॥
9.25 Deva-vratah, votaries of the gods, those whose religious observances [Making offerings and presents, circumambulation, bowing down, etc.] and devotion are directed to the gods; yanti, reach, go to; devan, the gods. Pitr-vratah, the votaries of the manes, those who are occupied with such rites as obseies etc., who are devoted to the manes; go pitrn, to the manes such as Agnisvatta and others. Bhutejyah, the Beings such as Vinayaka, the group of Sixteen (divine) Mothers, the Four Sisters, and others. And madyajinah, those who worship Me, those who are given to worshipping Me, the devotees of Visnu; reach mam, Me alone. Although the effort (involved) is the same, still owing to ingorance they do not worship Me exclusively. Thery they attain lesser results. 

BGB 12.20:
‘अद्वेष्टा सर्वभूतानाम्’ (भ. गी. १२ । १३)इत्यादिना अक्षरोपासकानां निवृत्तसर्वैषणानां सन्यासिनां परमार्थज्ञाननिष्ठानां धर्मजातं प्रक्रान्तम् उपसंह्रियते —
ये तु धर्म्यामृतमिदं 
यथोक्तं पर्युपासते । 
श्रद्दधाना मत्परमा 
भक्तास्तेऽतीव मे प्रियाः ॥ २० ॥  

But those devotees who accept Me as the supreme Goal, and with faith seek for this ambrosia [M.S.’s reading is dharmyamrtam-nectar in the form of virtue. Virtue is called nectar because it leads to Immortality, or because it is sweet like nectar.] which is indistinguishable from the virtues as stated above, they are very dear to Me.  

[The corollary is those who accept Brahman as the supreme goal are different from those who remain worshipers of gods listed in the Kena Bhashya.]
ये तु संन्यासिनः धर्म्यामृतं धर्मादनपेतं धर्म्यं च तत् अमृतं च तत् , अमृतत्वहेतुत्वात् , इदं यथोक्तम् ‘अद्वेष्टा सर्वभूतानाम्’ (भ. गी. १२ । १३) इत्यादिना पर्युपासते अनुतिष्ठन्ति श्रद्दधानाः सन्तः मत्परमाः यथोक्तः अहं अक्षरात्मा परमः निरतिशया गतिः येषां ते मत्परमाः, मद्भक्ताः च उत्तमां परमार्थज्ञानलक्षणां भक्तिमाश्रिताः, ते अतीव मे प्रियाः । ‘प्रियो हि ज्ञानिनोऽत्यर्थम्’ (भ. गी. ७ । १७) इति यत् सूचितं तत् व्याख्याय इह उपसंहृतम् ‘भक्तास्तेऽतीव मे प्रियाः’ इति । यस्मात् धर्म्यामृतमिदं यथोक्तमनुतिष्ठन् भगवतः विष्णोः परमेश्वरस्य अतीव प्रियः भवति, तस्मात् इदं धर्म्यामृतं मुमुक्षुणा यत्नतः अनुष्ठेयं विष्णोः प्रियं परं धाम जिगमिषुणा इति वाक्यार्थः ॥ २० ॥   

12.20 Tu, but; ye bhaktah, those devotees of Mine, the monks who have resorted to the highest devotion consisting in the knowledge of the supreme Reality; mat-paramah, who accept Me as the supreme Goal, to whom I, as mentioned above, who am identical with the Immutable, am the highest (parama), unsurpassable Goal; …….After having explained what was hinted in, ‘For I am very much dear to the man of Knowledge৷৷.'(7.17), that has been concluded here in, ‘Those devotees are very dear to Me.’ Since by seeking for this ambrosia which is indistinguishable from the virtues as stated above one becomes very dear to Me, who am the Lord Vishnu, the supreme God, therefore this nectar which is indistinguishable from the virtues has to be diligently sought for by one who is a seeker of Liberation, who wants to attain the coveted Abode of Visnu. This is the purport of the sentence.
[The term ‘Vishnu’ does not refer to the finite entity ‘Vishnu’ listed along with others in the Kenopanishad bhashya. This Vishnu is Nirguna Brahman.]
From the above cited Bh.Gita verses and the Bhashyam the following conclusions arise:

  • Attaining a Devata/svarga is through karma/upasana and realizing the Paramarthika Tattva is by Jnana. 
  • The former results in continued samsara and the latter, in moksha.
  • For Shankara the Upasya Devata-s are Vishnu, Siva, Brahma, Indra, Prana, etc. It is also Om, etc. as per his bhashyas.
  • The first person reference, ‘I’, in the Bhagavadgita shlokas above is clearly not the entity that is distinctly mentioned in those verses as ‘deva’. 
  • The statement ‘My devotee attains Me’, is not with reference to a deva (vishnu), upaasya, but the Supeme Brahman, jneya Brahma. 
  • This is known from the statements like ‘attaining deva’ is samsara alone and realizing Brahman alone is moksha, non-return to samsara.
  • The upasya deva is ‘anya’ and cannot be Brahman that is ‘ananya’ from the aspirant, upasaka. 
  • The Jnani alone is declared as non-different from Himself, Brahman.   

For the concept of a deva/deity being an attainable one and also can be the conveyor of the Tattva Jnana is seen, for example, in the Pratardanaadhikarana of the Brahma sutra 1.1.28 onward.  Here, Indra, a Jnani, is the Acharya to Pratardana, the aspirant. Indra teaches ‘Contemplate on Me (Kaushitaki Upanishat)’.  The question, in short, is whether the ‘Me’ refers to Indra the devata or Brahman. The Purvapakshin argues that it could be Indra the devata since that is also an attainment. The Siddhantin rebuts saying ‘since the aspirant has asked for the teaching that would be most beneficial (hita-tamam) to him, in the superlative, it has to be Brahman alone and not the attainment of Indra, the devata, which is only a saamsaaric attainment. 
This rule shows that, for Shankara, in the Kenopanishat bhashya, Vishnu, different from the aspirant, is also one of the devata-s to be attained through upasana, However, the Jneya Brahman, whose knowledge results in moksha, is never a deity different from oneself. Thus the Me in the Bhagavadgita is decidedly Para Brahman and not a finite devata within creation that is attainable. By this it is meant that a jiva by upasana, etc. can attain to the status of the devata. The Gita itself talks of attainment of deva-s by aspirants distinguishing the deva-s from Para Brahman. 
Shankara does not rebut the  Kenopanishad bhashya  purvapaksha fully because the position that one can attain a devataa and its rupa is admitted in the vedanta. This is authenticated both by the Brahmasutra bhashya cited and the Bh.Gita verses quoted above.  Shankara refutes only the aspect that jiva is different from Brahman. It is also noteworthy that the attaining to  a devata by upasana is shown as inferior to trying and realizing identity with Brahman and get liberated. Since all devatas cited by Shankara in the Kena bhashya are within creation, the attainment to them is within samsara. This is brought out in the Bh.Gita too. Maam Upetya to Kaunteya punarjanma na vidyate 8.16 of the Gita is about realizing Brahman.  
Om Tat Sat         

In the Valmiki Ramayana there are many instances where the simile of Shiva/Rudra is used, just as the simile of Vishnu, Brahma, etc. are. In this 
अनुयातौ श्रिया दीप्तौ शोभयेतामनिन्दितौ।

स्थाणुं देवमिवाचिन्त्यं कुमाराविव पावकी ।।1.22.10।।  
[….As they followed sage Viswamitra spreading radiance, they looked like sons of the god of fire, (Skanda and Visakhu) following the incomprehensible Siva. ]
of the Baalakaanda there is an epithet ‘achintya’ used to denote the nature of Shiva, SthaaNu. This epithet is an Upanishadic one used as Svarupa lakshana for Brahman. 
The article uploaded in this URL contains many similes with their context, etc. 
The Vedantic references of the above simile are shown. They are useful for the Advaitic sadhaka.

Om Tat Sat

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