Posted by: adbhutam | February 21, 2018


Brahma and Rudra share the name ‘Narayana’ with Vishnu

The name ‘Narayana’ is found in the scriptural literature to be referring to Brahma too directly and Shiva indirectly.

Here is a reference to the name ‘Narayana’ in the Monier Williams Dictionary:

 nārāyaṇa [L=24154] [p= 0479-a] Nārāyaṇa, as, m. (fr. nara, q. v.; sometimes de-
rived fr. nāra + ayana), ‘son of Nara or the original
man,’ patronymic of the personified Purusha or first
living being
, author of the Purusha hymn; he is often
associated with Nara or the original man, and identified
with Brahmā (in Manu I. 9, 11) and with Vishṇu or
Kṛshṇa; in Hari-vaṉśa 4601

It can be seen that the name is associated with Brahmā, the four-faced too:  first living being.

The Vishnu Purana has at least two instances where the name is directly referring to Brahma:

नारायणाख्यो भगवान्ब्रह्मा लोकपितामाहः  ॥ १,३.३ ॥

उत्पन्नः प्रोच्यते विद्वन्नित्यमेवोपचारतः  ॥ १,३.४ ॥

Sridhara Swamin comments:’If Brahma is verily Narayana, even by name, narayanakhya, how is it that by the shruti ‘हिरण्यगर्भः समवर्तताग्रे…’ (Hiranyagarbha originated…) his  origination is spoken of? Reply: The birth is only figurative as taking a form by mere will is similar to origination  – स्वेच्छया आविर्भावस्यापि उत्पत्तिसादृश्यात् –  Thus, even the idea that Brahma is a separate entity is denied by the Vishnu Purana and Sridhara Swamin. In fact Sridhara Swamin has also commented there that Shiva and Brahma are avataras of Vishnu, the Parabrahman. it is well known that an avatara is non-different from the moolarupa.   

The Kurma Purana too says this:

तदा समभवद्ब्रह्मा सहस्त्राक्षः सहस्त्रपात् ॥ १,६.२ ॥

सहस्त्रशीर्षा पुरुषो रुक्मवर्णस्त्वतीन्द्रियः  ।

ब्रह्मा नारायणाख्यस्तु सुष्वाप सलिले तदा  ॥ १,६.३ ॥

इमं चोदाहरन्त्यत्र श्लोकं नारायणं प्रति  ।

The Manu smriti  1.11 to 16 too says the name Narayana applies to Brahma:

तदण्डमभवद्धैमं सहस्रांशुसमप्रभम् ।तस्मिञ्जज्ञे स्वयं ब्रह्मा सर्वलोकपितामहः ॥ ॥  आपो नारा इति प्रोक्ता आपो वै नरसूनवः । ता यदस्यायनं पूर्वं तेन नारायणः स्मृतः

While there are these references, Shankara has cited a verse in the Vishnu Sahasra Nama bhashyam:

Harivamṣa 3.88. 61, 61, 62 which are addressed by Maheśwara during the Kailāsa yātra episode:

नामानि तव गोविन्द यानि लोके महान्ति च ।

तान्येव मम नामानि नात्र कार्या विचारणा ॥

[O Govinda, your esteemed names alone are mine as well; no doubt need to be had in this regard] There Veda Vyasa, through Shiva, conveys that all the names of Viṣṇu, including the name ‘Nārāyaṇa’ are that of Śiva.  Thus the thousand names of Viṣṇu are also those of Śiva since there is no difference in name and sense between the pair Hari and Hara. 

त्वदुपासा जगन्नाथ सैवास्तु मम गोपते ।

यश्च त्वां द्वेष्टि भो देव स मां द्वेष्टि न संशयः ॥

[The worship/meditation of You, O Gopati, let that be meditation on me too.  He who hates you O Deva, hates me too, undoubtedly.]

Thus, those who worship Narayana are worshiping Rudra too by default, whether they like it or not, and vice versa. The names of Narayana are that of Shiva too, says Veda Vyasa which Shankara cites.  Thus for Shankara, the name Narayana is not exclusively that of Vishnu.

Since the above verse says ‘Your upasana is mine’, the specific suktas, hymns, verses in the epics and puranas referring to the name Narayana are all by default applicable to Shiva too. This is because, the name itself is etymologically derived and shown to be referring to the jagatkaaranam and not to a finite person.  Sayanacharya has in the commentary to the Narayana suktam said clearly that: narayana is not a murtivishesha and gone on to cited the Brahmasutra to show that it refers to nirguna chaitanyam.

Brahmananda, in the commentary to the Advaita siddhi, says that in the vedic passage ‘eko narayana AsIt…’, the reference is to ‘maayaavacchinna-chinmatra vastu’ which is avyakta svarupam, not referring to any formed entity for that is impossible in that pralaya state.

A scholar has pointed out: Since Parvati is called ‘Narayani’ (being the sister of Narayana), her consort too gets the name ‘Narayana’.

There is a paper titled ‘शिवपरनारायणशब्द्णत्वसाधनम्’ written in 1925 by a scholar from Andhra which was located and published by Vidwan Sripada Subrahmanyam, of Hyedrabad and shared with me.

On the basis of ‘यच्च किञ्चित् जगत् सर्वं व्याप्य नारायणः स्थितः’ , the pervading, vyaapti, in Advaita is being non-different from the vyaapya, every single object, animate and inanimate is Narayana and also gets that name.

Hence, there are innumerable instances to prove that the name ‘narayana’ is not exclusive and limited to Vishnu.

Om Tat Sat

Posted by: adbhutam | February 20, 2018


👆A very laudable audio by Sri Veeraraghavan Swami (a srivaishnava) in Tamil worth hearing, contemplating and sharing. It’s about ‘Why so many gods in Santana dharma? Let’s shun differences and live in peace.’

Posted by: adbhutam | February 19, 2018


The work ‘sarva mata sangraha’ is authored by an advaitin whose identity is unknown.

There, the author says that there are three divisions of mimamsa:

purva mimamsa – sutras authored by Jaimini and bhashya by Shabara Swamin
Uttara mimamsa – is again divided into two: with emphasis in saguna and nirguna brahman. This has eight chapters put together, the sutras being authored by Veda Vyasaउत्तरमीमांसा तु द्विरूपा सगुणनिर्गुणब्रह्मनिष्ठा अष्टाध्यायमिता व्यासप्रणीता ।  (he does not say that the author of the sutras is kAchakritsna).The one with saguna brahman as its subject matter is called ‘devata kanda’ and has four chapters.  The bhashya kaara for this is Sankarsha.
तत्र सगुणब्रह्मनिष्ठा देवताकाण्डात्मिकाध्यायचतुष्टयवती ।
इह भाष्यकारः सङ्कर्षः ।
तत्र प्रथमेऽध्याये सर्वेषां मन्त्रवि(प्र)शेषाणां देवतातत्त्वप्रतिपादने तात्पर्यमिति प्रतिपादितम् ।
In the first chapter the purport lies in establishing that all mantras have a devata for their tattva.
द्वितीये विध्यर्थवादादेर्वेदशेषस्य मन्त्रदेवताशेषत्वमुपपाद्यते ।
In the second chapter all injunctions and eulogies of the veda are subsidiary to mantra and devata is established.
तृतीये देवतातत्त्वं स्वेच्छाविग्रहत्वादिगुणगणालङ्कृतमिति दर्शितम् ।
In the third chapter it is shown that the ‘devata tattva’ is characterized by the power to take a form by mere will, etc. and is endowed with numerous attributes.
चतुर्थे तत्तद्देवताप्रसादतस्तत्तल्लोकवेषविभूषणैश्वर्यानन्दावाप्तिलक्षणं देवतोपासनफलं निर्णीतम् ।
In the fourth is shown the fruit of upasana on any given devata as attaining to the abode of that devata and be dressed as the devata is and enjoy lordship and joy.
एवं मध्यममीमांसा सर्वदेवतात्मनो हरेः प्रतिपादिकेति सगुणब्रह्मपरा भवति ।
Thus, since the ‘madhyama mimamsa’ establishes Hari as the self of all devatas, this kAnDa is saguna-brahman specific.
Here ends the citing of the Sarva Mata Sangraha for the above section. The last sentence has led to a misconception among some who have no exposure to Vedanta to speculate that the Advaitin author of this work has accepted Hari as Saguna Brahman on the strength of this disputed madhyama kAnDa. It is disputed because Advaitins have not accepted it. Shankara never even hints at it even implicitly. What Shankara has said is just this much:  In the BSB 3.3.43:    तदुक्तं सङ्कर्षे — ‘नाना वा देवता पृथग्ज्ञानात्’ इति । तत्र तु द्रव्यदेवताभेदात् यागभेदो विद्यते ; नैवमिह विद्याभेदोऽस्ति, Nor any Acharyas of the advaita tradition have unequivocally spoken about the ‘devata kANDa’ that the sarva mata sangraha text talks about.  Be that as it may.
In order to disprove the conclusion that those who have misunderstood this work, the following is stated:
In the very subsequent part of this work, the author says:
ब्रह्मविष्णुरुद्रेन्द्रसोमसूर्यानिलानलादिदेवतासालोक्यादिसुखकामं प्रति देवताकाण्डं प्रवृत्तम् ।   He summarizes the ‘madhyama kAnDa’ (this is one of the many names this alleged kANDa has acquired: sankarSha, devatA, madhyama, daivi mimamsa, etc.’) by saying: This section is confined to cater to those who desire sense pleasures by going to the abodes of Brahma, Vishnu, Rudra, Indra, Soma, Surya, Vayu, Agni, etc. There they will be enjoying certain types of existence  called ‘sAlokya, SAmIpya, SArUpya and sAyujya’.  The author had used the word ‘vesha bhUSha’ earlier. The entrants to these lokas will be appearing similar to those lords of those lokas, One example is Jaya-Vijaya who appear just like Vishnu with four hands, shankha, chakra, etc.
However, those who have the sole aim of their life to transcend all samsara are candidates for the last portion: nirguna brahma specific.
The author, further down says that eighteen disciplines that do come under ‘vaidika’ have been blessed by the Parama Purusha, to Brahma, at the beginning of the Kalpa. The author cites some verses from the Shiva Purana (Vayaviya samhita):
एवमष्टादश विद्यास्थानानि ।
तान्येतानि कल्पादौ परमपुरुषेण ब्रह्मणेऽनुगृहीतानि ।
तथाच श्रीवायवीये-
“अङ्गानि वेदाश्चत्वारो मीमांसा न्यायविस्तरः ।
पुराणं धर्मशास्त्रं च विद्यां ह्येताश्चतुर्दश ॥
आयुर्वेदो धनुर्वेदो गान्धर्वश्चेत्यनुक्रमात् ।
अर्थशास्त्रं परं तस्माद् विद्यास्त्वष्टादश स्मृताः ॥
अष्टादशानामेतासां विद्यानां भिन्नवर्त्मनाम् ।
आदिकर्त्ता कविः साक्षाच्छूलपाणिरिति श्रुतिः ॥
The Foremost Creator, of these disciplines, the Seer of all the time distinctions, kavi, is none other than ShUlapAni as per the Veda.
स हि सर्वजगन्नाथः सिसृक्षुरखिलं जगत् ।
ब्रह्माणं विदधे साक्षात् पुत्रमग्रे सनातनम् ॥
तस्मै प्रथमपुत्राय ब्रह्मणे विश्वयोनये ।
विद्याश्चेमा ददौ पूर्वं विश्वस्थित्यर्थमीश्वरः” ॥
इति ।
He, ShUlapANi, is the Lord of the entire world, resolved to create the whole world. He directly created Brahma, his son, the ancient. To him, the first son, Brahma, the world-womb, Shiva imparted the 18 disciplines for the preservation of the world. Since these vidyas would be difficult to be protected and propagated, ….the Lord Shiva took the form of Veda Vyasa and condensed the huge corpus.
The verse not cited by the author, from the Shiva purana, occurring next to the last verse cited above:
पालनाय हरिं देवं रक्षाशक्तिं ददौ ततः ॥ ७.१,१.३०
मध्यमं तनयं विष्णुं पातारं ब्रह्मणो ऽपि हि ॥ ७.१,१.३०
In order to protect the created world, Shiva gave the power to his middle son Hari.
तानि च विद्यास्थानानि मरीच्यादिमुखेन ब्रह्मणा अस्मिंल्लोके प्रवर्त्तितानि युगेऽस्मिन्नल्पायुष्याल्पबुद्धित्वादिदोषाद् मनुष्यैः साकल्येन धारयितुमशक्यानीति परमेश्वरः स्वयमेव व्यासरूपी भूत्वा संक्षिप्तवान् ।

यथोक्तं द्वितीयस्कन्धे-

First, it is to be understood that the ‘madhyama’ kAnDa is giving a lakshana for saguna Brahman:

स्वेच्छाविग्रहत्वादिगुणगणालङ्कृतत्वम् and  सर्वदेवतात्मत्वम् [ In the third chapter it is shown that the ‘devata tattva’ is characterized by the power to take a form by mere will, etc. and is endowed with numerous attributes. the self of all devatas.

Now, both these lakshanas are eminently fulfilled in the Shiva purana verses the author cites.

The sagunaparatvam is decided only based on the lakshanas. So, even if the supposed Veda Vyasa/Jaimini/whoever-composed madhyama kAnda had identified ‘Hara’ instead of ‘Hari’ as that Devata, the author of this work would still have said: // Thus, since the ‘madhyama mimamsa’ establishes xxxx as the self of all devatas, this kAnDa is saguna-brahman specific. //

This is because, as for example, Sureshwaracharya has ruled: One Ishwara alone is ‘spoken of’ by various names such as Hari, Brahma and Pinaki.  So, whether it is Hari or Hara, it is the same for the Advaitin; the name is only an upalakshana, representative. That entity is not any way different from the others as there are no three real entities as even Anandagiri has confirmed.

This statement is directly contradicting the fundamental principles of Advaita:  // This again shows that ancient advaitins considered only Vishnu to be Saguna Brahman who is the inner soul of all other deities.//

The ‘only’ makes the Vishnu a finite entity, and therefore not SB:

And more importantly, the saguna brahman, whichever deity it is named, should not be really different from others as that will make that Brahman  finite on the basis of the defect of ‘vastu pariccheda.’ Shankara has said in the Taittiriya Bhashya for ananta: Brahman is ‘sarva ananyatvam’ – non-different from everything.  So, the Advaitin will never propose a saguna Brahman that is different from any other deity.  It is wrong to think that this definition is for Nirguna Brahman only.  Saguna Brahman is a representative for NB and the crucial svarupa lakshanas will have to inhere in SB too, as it inheres in every jiva.  it is over and above, and not instead, of these that attributes like sarvajnatva, sarvashaktitva, etc. are superimposed to make the SB. SB is jagatkaaranam.  If it is finite, being different from other deities, the fundamental jagatkAraNatvam itself will be vitiated. Thus nobody can superimpose their own misunderstanding of the Advaita shastra on the Advaitins starting from Shankara and make false claims that ‘Advaita accepts Vishnu only as saguna Brahman.’  There can’t be a greater caricature of Advaita than such proclamations.

Even the author of the present work is clearly seen as not accepting this erroneous proposition.  Like Shankara, Sridhara Swamin, he too cites the Shiva Purana that proclaim the Paratva of Shiva. There can’t be a greater irony than Sridhara Swamin citing the Shiva Purana in the Vishnu Purana commentary, that too to uphold Shiva paratva, just as Shankara has done by citing the very Shiva Purana in the Vishnu sahasra nama bhashya to say ‘Shiva is the Supreme Cause.’ In the Sarva mata sangraha too, the author has cited the Shiva Purana where Shiva is shown as the progenitor of Brahma and Vishnu as well.  The Shvetashvatara mantra ‘yo brahmANam vidadhAti purvam…’ is exactly versified here.

The above write-up is in response to a misconceived idea stated here:


  1. Is this portion of the saMkarShakANDa that proclaims Vishnu as the parabrahman accepted by all, or only by some schools of Vedanta? It is reported by some indologists that these four sUtras are nowhere to be found in extant editions of the Sankarsha Kanda. What do you say?
Ans. This stems from the wrong notion that some of the sources used by Vedantins of certain schools are of “questionable authenticity”. To a true vaidika, such a doubt should not arise as all traditional vedAntins accept it.
For the record anyway, let us answer this. Swami Vedanta Desikan, Madhvacharya, and Jayatirtha have all quoted the four sUtras beginning “ante harau… brahmetyAcakShate”.
The “sarvamata saMgraha” which is the work of a post-Madhva advaitin mentions the following detail about saMkarShakANDa, confirming that the above four sUtras were originally present in the concluding portion of that work:
“evaM madhyamamImAMsA sarvadevatAtmano hareH pratipAdiketi saguNabrahmaparA bhavati”
[Thus, the conclusion of the madhyama-mImAMsA shows that its object is the Saguna Brahman, who is Hari, the antarAtmA of all devatas.]
This again shows that ancient advaitins considered only Vishnu to be Saguna Brahman who is the inner soul of all other deities.

unquote.Om Tat Sat

Posted by: adbhutam | February 17, 2018

Vastuparicchinnatvam and Anyonyābhāva

Vastuparicchinnatvam and Anyonyābhāva

In the following talk on Ghaṭabhāṣyam (07), the Swamiji gives a short account of the four types of Abhaava and one of them is Anyonyābhāva:

(Listen from 1.07 onward)
He says it is तादात्म्यसम्बन्धावच्छिन्नप्रतियोगिताकाभावः  And goes on to give the analogy of ‘a cow is not a horse and vice versa’. On hearing this I recalled what Shankara Bhagavatpada has said for Vastuparicchinnatvam in the Taittiriya bhashya explaining the term ‘Anantam’, using the same analogy as the Swamiji has used:
तथा वस्तुतः । कथं पुनर्वस्तुत आनन्त्यम् ? सर्वानन्यत्वात् । भिन्नं हि वस्तु वस्त्वन्तरस्य अन्तो भवति, वस्त्वन्तरबुद्धिर्हि प्रसक्ताद्वस्त्वन्तरान्निवर्तते । यतो यस्य बुद्धेर्निवृत्तिः, स तस्यान्तः । तद्यथा गोत्वबुद्धिरश्वत्वान्निवर्तत इत्यश्वत्वान्तं गोत्वमित्यन्तवदेव भवति । स चान्तो भिन्नेषु वस्तुषु दृष्टः । नैवं ब्रह्मणो भेदः । अतो वस्तुतोऽप्यानन्त्यम्
[And Brahman is also infinite, object-wise as well. How is this established? Since Brahman is non-different from everything. An object that is different limits another object (different from it). A perception of one object will recede from another object that has become relevant. That object from whom an already existing object-perception is thwarted, then the latter is limited by the former.  For example, a cow-perception is thwarted by a horse-perception and hence the cow-perception is limited by the horse-perception. Such a limitation is seen in differentiated objects. No such difference exists for Brahman. Hence Brahman is infinite, anantam, even on the ground of objects.]
Thus the concept of vastuparicchedatvam, being not different from mutual non-existence, anyonyaabhaava, is present in the nyaya dharshana.  The Vedanta uses this, vyatirekamukhena, to establish the anantatvam of Brahman by denying any difference whatsoever with Brahman as a factor.  Hence alone in Vedanta there is no absolute difference between two individuals, whether they be jivas of the category of humans or animals or devata-s and inert objects too. All pancha bheda-s that are accepted by non-advaitic schools are denied in Vedanta:
jiva-jiva bheda, jiva-Ishwara bheda, jiva-jaDa bheda, jaDa-jaDa bheda and jaDa-Ishwara bheda. In order to accommodate vyavahara, a mithya-bheda is admitted where the abheda is not lost really.  Even among gods, if say, Vishnu is different from Brahma, then they both limit each other and are rendered finite and limited by time and also will have to be held to be born and liable to destruction. That is why they are not seen as different from each other, one only addressed by different names, as Sureshwaracharya has taught. Shankara has demonstrated this in the Mundaka Upanishad bhashya while denying the travel of a jiva to any abode of Brahman for moksha. It is also pertinent to note that the explanation Shankara gives in the Taittiriya bhashya cited above is in the vyavaharika level itself, where two different objects limit each other.  The cow-horse pair is the case he takes up for demonstrating this.
Posted by: adbhutam | February 16, 2018


Would Madhusudana Saraswati  ever mean this?
In this   the verse composed by Madhusudana Saraswati at the end of his Bhagavadgita commentary Gudhartha dipika, chapter 15 is given a completely wrong meaning:
  1. // But then, Madhusudana – a follower of Shankara – writes a shloka in the gUDhArtha dIpikA that says “I am that supreme auspicious one who pervades the shaivas, sauras, gANApatyas, vaiShNavas, and shAktas”:
shaivAH saurAshcha gANeshA vaiShNavAH shakti-pUjakAH |
bhavanti yanmayAH sarve so.ahamasmi paraH shivaH ||3||
This occurs at the end of the 15th Chapter. Does this not show that advaitins subscribed to the ShaNmata view?
Ans. There is no contradiction with Shankara’s position shown earlier that sUrya-devatA is a jIva and not paramAtman.
Here, Madhusudana is simply saying that he is identifying himself with the Brahman (as per the advaitic interpretation of “tattvam asi”) who is the upAdAna kAraNa of the entire jagat, which includes these worshippers. “paraH shivaH” is just an adjective and has nothing to do with the pArvatIpati who dwells in kailAsa.  //
Clearly the meaning given is patently wrong, for: 1. Madhusudana is not identifying himself with Brahman along with these upasakas.
2. For him to identify with Brahman that is the entire creation, this is not the way to do that.  He says in the BG 7.19 commentary:  सकलमिदमहं च वासुदेव इति दृष्ट्या सर्वप्रेम्णां मय्येव पर्यवसायित्वात्।  [Everything that is the objective world (idam) and I is nothing but Vasudeva – this is the realization, drishti, that culminates in the identity with Vasudeva.]  Shankara has cited this verse in the VSN bhashyam too.
3. It would be only silly for Madhusudana to single out only these five types of Upasakas to claim Nirguna Brahman identity as according to Vedanta even the non-upasakas, even non-believers such as chaarvakas, every jiva, even the inert objective world, is Nirguna Brahman fundamentally.  So, Madhusudana need not group only these five upasakas to claim identity with himself as Nirguna Brahman. Nor is he ‘pervading all these upasakas’ selectively when he is the All-pervading Brahman.
Without understanding this fundamental doctrine of Vedanta, the blogger, in his misplaced enthusiasm to somehow, by hook or crook, even by lies and innuendos, co-opt Advaitins to his failing brand of Vaishnavism, has tried to hoodwink his readers by giving a completely wrong and silly meaning to Madhusudana’s verse of lofty purport.
Here are given below the translations of this verse by three different authors:
Swami Gambhirananda, in his translation of the Gudhartha Dipika gives this meaning:
‘I am that Supreme Auspicious in whom get identified all the followers of Shiva, of the Sun, of Ganesha, of Vishnu and the worshipers of Shakti.’
When will these upasakas ‘get identified’ with the Supreme? Obviously only when their upasana fructifies in their realizing their identity with the Supreme Vedantic Brahman that is Nirguna. Vedanta does not accord identity merely because a jiva is fundamentally Brahman.  One should, by effort, realize that personally.  The upasakas listed by Madhusudana are working towards that.  It is only when they succeed in their effort will the identity with Brahman that Madhusudana has realized, will happen.  Thus the blogger’s understanding is completely flawed.
An old Hindi translation of this verse is:
[Translation by Swami Sri Sanatana Dev ji Maharaj, and published as ‘Kashi Granthamala  series no.162’ by Chowkhamba Sanskrit Series Office, Varanasi. in 1962]
शैव, सूर्योपासक, गणेशपूजक, वैष्णव और शक्ती की उपासना करनेवाले ये सब जिस तत्त्व मे निमग्न रहते हैं वह परम शिव मैं ही हूं | 
[I am that Tattva, the Supreme Shiva alone,  in which (tattva) all these – Shaivas, Suryopasakas, Ganesha worshipers, Vaishnavas and Shakti – meditators are absorbed in. ]  This ‘absorption’ is what is stated by Madhusudana by the word ‘yanmayāḥ’. An upasaka becomes ‘tanmayah’ in his object of upasana; he gains that identity with it.
Here is a Kannada translation by Vidwan …Shastri Hampiholi, published by Vedanta Bharati last year:
ಶೈವ, ಸೂರ್ಯೋಪಾಸಕ, ಗಣೇಶಪೂಜಕ, ವೈಷ್ಣವ, ಶಕ್ತಿಪೂಜಕರೆಲ್ಲರೂ ಯಾವ ತತ್ತ್ವದಲ್ಲಿ ನಿಮಗ್ನರಾಗಿರುವರೋ, ಆ ಪರಮಶಿವನೇ ನಾನು. 
    The English translation of this is not any different from the version of the Hindi translator shown above.
Thus one can easily see that none of the Advaitins is concurring with the flawed translation of the blogger. It is evident that he is only promoting his agenda through such mistaken and misleading translations. 
Madhusudana Saraswati’s verse has a correspondence with a famous verse of the Shiva Mahimna Stotra, to which too he has written an elaborate, famous commentary bringing out both Hari and Hara as the Supreme:
त्रयी सांख्यं योगः पशुपतिमतं वैष्णवमिति प्रभिन्ने प्रस्थाने परमिदमदः पथ्यमिति च। रुचीनां वैचित्र्यादृजुकुटिलनानापथजुषां नृणामेको गम्यस्त्वमसि पयसामर्णव इव॥ शिवमहिम्नःस्तोत्रम् ७.
[ The three Vedas, Sankhya, Yoga, the doctrine of Pashupati, the doctrine of Vaishnavas (such are the different paths enjoined). Based on the variety of likings of the follower men of the straight or crooked paths, (they consider) this one as supreme or that one as proper. (However) the goal of all these is You – just like the goal of rivers is the ocean.]
Madhusudana’s ‘Prasthaana bheda’ is a work that is actually, originally, part of his commentary to the above verse. The ‘title’ is also given by him inspired by the words  प्रभिन्ने प्रस्थाने  of the above verse.
There is another very popular such verse by an unknown author:
यं शैवाः समुपासते शिव इति ब्रह्मेति वेदान्तिनो. बौद्धा बुद्ध इति प्रमाणपटवः कर्तेति नैयायिकाः ।
अर्हन्नित्यथ जैनशासनरताः कर्मेति मीमांसकाः. सोऽयं नो विदधातु वाञ्छितफलं त्रैलोक्यनाथो हरिः ॥ (हनुमन्नाटक १ । ३)
[In this verse the poet identifies the highest Truth to be ‘Hari’ who alone is seen variously by different people including the Vedāntins who hold this Truth (called ‘Hari’) as Brahman.  [Here is a site that equates the above two verses:]
MS has commented upon the famous work ‘Mahimna stotram’ of Puṣpadanta as applying to both Śiva and Viṣṇu. At the end of the work MS composes a few verses depicting the Hari-Hara abheda:
भूतिभूषितदेहाय द्विजराजेन राजते |
एकात्मने नमो नित्यं हरये च हराय च ||
Obeisance ever to Him, who is resplendent with His body adorned with vibhūti, ashes, and is of the complexion of camphor (or having the moon on His head), the One Atman that is both Hara and Hari.
हररशंकरयोरभेदबोधो भविु क्षुद्रधियामपीति यत्नात् |
उभयार्थतया  मयेदमुक्तं सुधियः साधुतयैव  शोधयन्तु ॥ १
 [With the benediction that the understanding of non-difference between Hari and Shankara may rise even in those with a lowly intellect have I, with effort, commented on the Shivamanhima stotra verses in dual-meaning mode (as applying to Hari and Hara). Let the noble ones accept this as admissible alone.]
The above verses of Madhusudana recall to our mind the various verses Shankara has cited in the Vishnu Sahasra nama bhashya and Sridhara swamin’s benediction to the Bhaagavatam and Veda Vyasa’s verse in the Mahabharata:
माधवोमाधवावीशौ सर्वसिद्धिविधायिनौ। वन्दे परस्परात्मानौ परस्परनुतिप्रियौ॥

I bow to Mādhava and Umādhava (Shiva) who are both ‘Isha-s’ Supreme Lords. They are capable of bestowing all accomplishments (to their devotees). They are both the selves of each other and both love to engage in the stuti of each other.

And Veda Vyasa in the Mahabharata:
 रुद्रो नारायणश्चैव सत्त्वमेकं द्विधा कृतम्।
लोके चरति कौन्तेय व्यक्तिस्थं सर्वकर्मसु।। 12-350-27a 12-350-27b.
//The Vaishnavas worship you with reverence as Vishnu. The Vedic philosophers tell that you are the Supreme Consciousness. The Shaivas believe that you are Śiva & the Kapalikas praise you as Adibhairava. The Shakteyas consider you as the manifestation of the supreme power Shakti. People chant your praise in a number of ways. Ignorant people assume that you are insignificant.The wise recognize your infinite greatness.// [Iit is noteworthy that Sri Annamācārya excludes the vaiṣṇavas from Vedāntins, just as Śankara has excluded the Pāñcarātra/bhāgavata school from the Vedānta darśana in the BSB:
koluthuru mimu vaishnavulu, koorimitho vishnudani palukuduru mimu vaedaantulu, parabrahma anuchu
By ‘Vedāntins’ he obviously refers to Advaitins for they alone hold the Supreme Reality to be ‘Brahman’ beyond all names and forms. Those who hold the highest tattvam to be ‘Viṣṇu’ (the deity identified as Lakṣmipati, etc.) are not vedantins as per this composer. None other than a true Vedantin can compose a verse that gives that lofty message that finds correspondence with Madhusudana and Pushpadanta and several unknown authors.
Madhusudana’s verse is reminiscent of the Prapanchasara where all deities are taught as upasya-s leading to moksha. This work has been authenticated by none other than Amalananda [a ‘vaishnava’ advaitin 🙂 ], the famous author of the famous work ‘Kalpataru’, a commentary on the Bhamati. In that work the author explicitly mentions the work Prapanchasara as authored by the ‘Acharya’, Shankara and also cites a verse therefrom.
Thus, Madhusudana Saraswati, a Vedantin, just because his ishṭa devatā was Krishna/Vishnu, was not a bigot just as Gaudapada, Shankara, Sureshwara, etc. He was a Hari-Hara abheda vādin,  and also a sarva-devatā aikya vādin, as could be seen above. It is also noteworthy that he is listing vaishnavas along with all the other upasakas.  In the work ‘Vedanta Kalpa Latika’ he has stated vaishnavas as being ‘outside the Vedanta.’
Om Tat Sat
Posted by: adbhutam | February 12, 2018

Swami Haribrahmendrananda Thirthaji

Swami Haribrahmendrananda Thirthaji is Acharya at the ashram viz., Adi
Shankara Brahmavidya peeth which has its old website at

Swamiji came to Uttarkashi in ~1991 from Trivandrum when he was barely 14
years of age and started studying Sanskrit and shastra from Sri Swami
Chaitanyanandaji , a disciple of Swami Sivanandaji Maharaj of DLS,
Rishikesh. (Swami Haribrahmendranandaji mentioned once that he had been
guided by a sadhu in an invisible manner for a few years in his teens until
he came to Uttarkashi.)

And also then studied the entire bhAShya for over 12 years at Kailash
ashram, Uttarkashi from Acharya Swami Vishnu Thirthaji who is himself
resident at the ASBP itself.  Swamiji also studied   advaita siddhi,
siddhanta bindu, mimAmsa and nyAya texts etc., from the same Acharya.

At present, ASBP is actually an excellent resource of shAstra in having
amongst its accomplished acharyas Swami Haribrahmendrananda ji, Acharya
Vishnu Thirthaji and also Acharya Swami Sharvananda Giri ji of Bharat
Sevashram lineage who is currently acharya at Uttarkashi Kailash ashram too
although he resides at ASBP.

And Swamiji and the two other Acharyas above are shrotriyas who are quite
approachable and quite amiable.

Swamiji travels southwards during winter. He helped organize the namAmi
shankaram program at Kannyakumari in November 2017. Swamiji is an ardent
proponent of bhAShya pArAyaNam, whereby prasthAnatraya bhAShya pArAyaNa is
done over 108 horAs. Swamiji’s excellent scholarly researched book on the
Yoga Sutras taking into account vyAsa bhAShya, tattvavaishAradi and vijnAna
bhijShu etc, is much acclaimed – it’s in Malayalam. They were still looking
for someone to translate it into english, the last I heard.

I had stayed in Uttarkashi for a couple of years around 2004 and later been
in occasional touch with ASBP acharyas and had the opportunity study
Upadesha sAhasri and Naiskarmya siddhi with tIkas etc., from Sri Swami

Another website is also being launched. It’s still a work in (slow)


Excerpt from their new website

There are regular classes at the Ashram on Upanishads, Sanskrit, Bhagavad
Gita and Shat Darshananas (six schools of Indian philosophy) like Sankhya,
Mimamsa etc. and others conducted by the resident Acharyas. These sessions
start at 7am and go on till 5pm with breaks in between. Essentially there
are around 5-6 hours of classes which are attended by the resident students
as well as seekers coming from other Ashrams and places.

The teachings are carried out in the traditional method and the Acharyas
are available outside of class timings to take queries from the students
and guide them in the best possible manner.

The day starts with Bhashya Paranayam and ends with evening Arati at the
Shankara Hall.

Posted by: adbhutam | February 12, 2018


Vedanta Paribhasha in Kannada:

Vidwan Sri Srinivasa Karantha has planned to teach the Vedanta Paribhasha, a fundamental, seminal, work for understanding Advaita Vedanta, during his weekend online classes. Those interested may contact: Sri Abhinand at   for registering.  This is a rare opportunity as this text is not easily taught in Kannada.
Posted by: adbhutam | February 10, 2018


Shiva the Jagatkāraṇam – srimadbhāgavatam
In the Srimadbhagavatam occurs this verse: 3.14.28:
ब्रह्मादयो यत्कृतसेतुपाला यत्कारणं विश्वमिदं च माया ।
आज्ञाकरी यस्य पिशाचचर्या अहो विभूम्नश्चरितं विडम्बनम् ॥ २८ ॥
This is a dialogue between Kashyapa Prajapati and his wife Diti. The former is dissuading the lust-laden Diti from going for a union at the forbidden hour of the evening. He talks of Shiva, the epitome of Vairagya, and how in shameful contrast will her act be. In this conversation, Kashyapa gives out many glories of Shiva. One such is the above verse which means, as Sridhara Swamin explains:  
Brahma, etc. are the maintainers of the order that has been put in place by Shiva, the Cause, of this universe. Māyā is at the Lord’s beck and call, ready to do his bidding. This Glorious One’s odd conduct is simply beyond any explanation.   
Vamshidhara a commentator of the Bhagavatam who also elucidates Sridhara Swamin’s commentary occasionally, cites a shruti passage in support of the Bhagavatam statement:
यस्याज्ञया जगतस्रष्टा विरंचिः पालको हरिः | रुद्रः संहारकर्ता च नमस्तस्मै पिनाकिने || इति श्रुते: |  [By his Command Brahma is the creator of the world, Hari is the protector and Rudra is the destroyer. Obeisance to him, Pinakin.]
[This passage is found in a slightly different form in the Skanda Puranam:  

॥ अथ श्रीस्कान्दे महापुराणे प्रथमं माहेश्वरखण्डं प्रारभ्यते॥ ॥श्रीगणेशाय नमः॥ ॐनमो भगवते वासुदेवाय॥ ॐनारायणं नमस्कृत्य नरं चैव नरोत्तमम्॥ देवीं सरस्वती चैव ततो जयमुदीरयेत्॥ १.१ ॥

॥व्यास उवाच॥ यस्याज्ञया जगत्स्रष्टा विरिंचिः पालको हरिः॥ संहर्ता कालरुद्राख्यो नमस्तस्मै पिनाकिने। १.१ ॥ ]

Sridhara swamin, in an earlier verse of the Bhaagavatam explains:

भस्मावगुण्ठामलरुक्मदेहो देवस्त्रिभिः पश्यति देवरस्ते ॥ ३.१४.२५ ॥ [….The God sees with his three eyes…]
[He, with his three eyes that are the Sun, the Moon and Fire.. ]   In the Shiva Ashtottara shatha naama occurs this name: सोमसूर्याग्निलोचनाय नमः |
Vamshidhara says here: There is nothing that is not visible to him.
In the Vishnu Sahasra Nama the name : सर्वतश्चक्षुः means the same. In the Andhra Bharatham, this name is stated for Shiva. 
Sridhara Swamin, in his invocation to the Bhagavatam says:
माधवोमाधवावीशौ सर्वसिद्धिविधायिनौ। वन्दे परस्परात्मानौ परस्परनुतिप्रियौ॥

I bow to Mādhava and Umādhava (Shiva) who are both ‘Isha-s’ Supreme Lords. They are capable of bestowing all accomplishments (to their devotees). They are both the selves of each other and both love to engage in the stuti of each other.

And Veda Vyasa in the Mahabharata:
रुद्रो नारायणश्चैव सत्त्वमेकं द्विधा कृतम्।
लोके चरति कौन्तेय व्यक्तिस्थं सर्वकर्मसु।। 12-350-27a 12-350-27b.
Om Tat Sat
Posted by: adbhutam | February 8, 2018


Shankara’s obeisance to Yama, the Brahma Vidya Acharya

At the beginning of his bhashya to the Kathopanishad, Shankara writes a verse paying obeisance to Yama, the Brahma Vidya Acharya, and Nachiketas, who became enlightened after the Vidya pradaanam:

ॐ नमो भगवते वैवस्वताय मृत्यवे ब्रह्मविद्याचार्याय, नचिकेतसे च ।
[Obeisance to Bhagavan Vaivasvata (Yama) and Nachiketas]
We have the Chandogya Upanishad itself addressing Sanatkumara, the Brahma Vidya Acharya of Narada:
Shankara says:  सनत्कुमारं योगीश्वरं ब्रह्मिष्ठं नारदः उपसन्नवान् ।
Sanatkumara is Yogishvara, BrahmiShTha (established in Brahman).
At the end of the 7th Chapter, the Chandogya Upanishad itself says:
भगवान्सनात्कुमारस्तꣳ स्कन्द इत्याचक्षते तꣳ स्कन्द इत्याचक्षते ॥ २ ॥
Bhagavan Sanatkumara is called Skanda.
Shankara says:
 भगवान् ‘उत्पत्तिं प्रलयं चैव भूतानामागतिं गतिम् । वेत्ति विद्यामविद्यां च स वाच्यो भगवानिति’ एवंधर्मा सनत्कुमारः । तमेव सनत्कुमारं देवं स्कन्द इति आचक्षते कथयन्ति तद्विदः ।
Shankara cites a famous Puranic verse that says who is fit to be called ‘Bhagavan’: He who knows the creation, dissolution, the emergence of beings and their departure, knows what is vidya and what is avidya – he is fit to be called Bhagavan.’   Citing this Shankara says: That very Deva, Sanatkumara, is called Skanda (Subrahmanya).
That Puranic verse Shankara cites for the word ‘Bhagavan’ in the BG: 3.37:
श्रीभगवानुवाच —

काम एष क्रोध एष रजोगुणसमुद्भवः ।
महाशनो महापाप्मा विद्ध्येनमिह वैरिणम् ॥ ३७ ॥

Thus, for Shankara, the epithet Bhagavan, described by the Purana as applicable to JagatkAranam, is not reserved only for Krishna.  Any exalted Jnani is jagatkAraNam because he is Brahman Itself.

In the BSB 3.3.32 Shankara notes:
सनत्कुमारोऽपि ब्रह्मण एव मानसः पुत्रः स्वयं रुद्राय वरप्रदानात् स्कन्दत्वेन प्रादुर्बभूव…
Sanatkumara too, a mAnasa putra of Brahma, himself with a view to fulfill a boon to Rudra, took birth as Skanda (as son of Rudra).
Thus, Skanda is none other than Bhagavan Sanatkumara.
In the Vedanta, any Jnani is fit to be worshiped for both mukti and bhoga:
यं यं लोकं मनसा संविभाति विशुद्धसत्त्वः कामयते यांश्च कामान् ।
तं तं लोकं जयते तांश्च कामांस्तस्मादात्मज्ञं ह्यर्चयेद्भूतिकामः ॥ १० ॥

स वेदैतत्परमं ब्रह्म धाम यत्र विश्वं निहितं भाति शुभ्रम् ।
उपासते पुरुषं ये ह्यकामास्ते शुक्रमेतदतिवर्तन्ति धीराः ॥ १ ॥

यस्मात् स वेद जानाति एतत् यथोक्तलक्षणं ब्रह्म परमं प्रकृष्टं धाम सर्वकामानामाश्रयमास्पदम् , यत्र यस्मिन्ब्रह्मणि धाम्नि विश्वं समस्तं जगत् निहितम् अर्पितम् , यच्च स्वेन ज्योतिषा भाति शुभ्रं शुद्धम् , तमप्येवंविधमात्मज्ञं पुरुषं ये हि अकामाः विभूतितृष्णावर्जिता मुमुक्षवः सन्तः उपासते परमिव देवम् , ते शुक्रं नृबीजं यदेतत्प्रसिद्धं शरीरोपादानकारणम् अतिवर्तन्ति अतिगच्छन्ति धीराः बुद्धिमन्तः, न पुनर्योनिं प्रसर्पन्ति । ‘न पुनः क्व रतिं करोति’ ( ? ) इति श्रुतेः । अतस्तं पूजयेदित्यभिप्रायः ॥

Shankara says: If a Jnani is worshiped by pradakshina, archana, paadaprakshalana, etc. (just as one would do to any God), by a mumukshu, he attains liberation.

From this sample we conclude that there is no basis whatsoever for the claim that ‘For Shankara Vishnu alone was saguna Brahman’ or ‘Vishnu alone can give moksha’, etc. by misguided elements.  From Shankara’s own words we see that the epithet ‘Bhagavan’ as JagatkAraNam is applied to others too and not restricted to Krishna. More than anything, as Desamangalam Arya, the commentator of Narayana Bhatta’s Narayaneeyam has said: the Bhagavadgita and the Vishnu Sahasra Nama can be interpreted to mean ‘the Supreme Brahman is Shiva’, the idea  ‘Vishnu alone is Brahman/saguna Brahman, jagatkAraNam, moksha prada, etc.’ is debunked by Shankara’s own words in his various commentaries including the one on the VSN.
Om Tat Sat
Posted by: adbhutam | February 6, 2018


The Bhāṣya Ratna Prabhā   –  Hari-Hara Abheda

Sri Rāmānanda Saraswatī (1570 – 1650 CE), the author of the popular gloss  Bhāṣya Ratna Prabhā, easily the most read sub-commentary, on Śankara’s bhāṣya to the Brahma Sutras, and a contemporary of Sri Madhusudana Saraswati, in his invocation of eight verses to the work, gives a commentary to his own verse, the fourth in the serial order:

कामाक्षीदत्तदुग्धप्रचुरसुरनुतप्राज्यभोज्याधिपूज्य-श्रीगौरीनायकाभित्प्रकटनशिवरामार्यलब्धात्मबोधैः ।
श्रीमद्गोपालगीर्भिः प्रकटितपरमाद्वैतभासास्मितास्य-श्रीमद्गोविन्दवाणीचरणकमलगो निर्वृतोऽहं यथालिः ॥ ४ ॥
The commentary the author himself writes for the above verse (this author has on several occasions in the body of the gloss, given a commentary to his own sentence which he feels require an elucidation for ease of understanding of the reader):
मोक्षपुर्यां श्रीकाञ्च्यां श्रीकामाक्ष्या दत्तं पायसं देवैरपि स्तुतं प्राज्यं = सम्पूर्णम्, प्रकृष्टाज्ययुक्तं वा यद्भोज्यमन्नं तेनाधिपूज्याः श्रीशिवरामयोगिनः | किञ्च शिवश्चसौ रामश्चेति स्वनाम्ना श्री-गौरी-नायकयोरभेदं प्रकटयन्ति, तेभ्यो गुरुभ्यो लब्धः आत्मबोधो यैः श्रीमद्गोपालसरस्वतीभिः तैरित्यर्थः |
[In the holy city of Kanchi, the Mokshapuri, the Goddess Kamakshi graced a special Paayasam that was praised even by the gods (there was an excessive ghee-content in it), as food to be consumed was offered to Sri Shiva-rama yogin. [He was the parameshthi guru of the Ratnaprabha author). By His very name, a combination of ‘Shiva and Rama’, the revered Guru is declaring the abheda between the Lords (Hari and Hara) of Sri (Lakshmi) and Gowri (Parvathi).  Sri Gopala Saraswati, (the author’s parama guru) was graced by him.]
That the verse and the explanatory note are by the author himself is confirmed by none other than the commentator Sri Purnaprakashananda Saraswati, the author of the gloss called ‘abhivyakta’ on the Ratnaprabha: [This book that contains the commentary only for the chatussutri of Ratnaprabha was published by the Sringeri Peetham last year.]
ग्रन्थद्रष्टृणामनायासेन अर्थबोधाय स्वकृतश्लोकानां स्वयमेव व्याख्यामारभते – मोक्षपुर्यामिति | …अभित्पदस्याभेदार्थकत्वं कथयन् शिवराम इति स्वनाम्नैव शिवरामयोर्वेदान्तेतिहास-पुराणप्रतिपाद्यमभेदं श्रीशिवरामयोगिनो ज्ञापयन्तीत्यतो देवताकटाक्षलब्धाद्वैतनिष्ठापराश्च परमेष्ठिगुरव इत्येतमर्थं स्फुटीकरोति  किञ्च शिवश्चसौ इति | स्वनाम्ना इत्यनेनाद्वैतसाधकयुक्त्यन्वेषणाय तेषां चित्तव्यग्रता नास्तीति द्योत्यते |
[With a view to enable ease of comprehending the purport by the readers, the author explains his own verse(s). By giving the ‘abheda’ meaning to the word ‘abhit’, the author explains that the revered Guru, by his very name is proclaiming the abheda between Shiva and Rama that is established in the Vedanta, itihasas and puranas.  That the Guru had, by the grace of the Goddess, gained deep establishment in the Advaita anubhava. By saying that ‘by his very name…’ the author indicates that the Guru had no need to labor to engage in the reasoning, yukti, required for Advaitic anubhava. ….]
Thus, we have a very venerable author of the Advaita parampara who, even though had Sri Rama for his ishTa devata, was not a bigot like the non-advaitins.  Here are his other mangala shloka-s:

यमिह कारुणिकं शरणं गतोऽप्यरिसहोदर आप महत्पदम् ।
तमहमाशु हरिं परमाश्रये जनकजाङ्कमनन्तसुखाकृतिम् ॥ १ ॥

[Invoking the grace of Sri Rama, by worshiping whom even Vibhishana, the brother of His enemy, Ravana, attained a great status (of the King of Lanka).]

श्रीगौर्या सकलार्थदं निजपदाम्भोजेन मुक्तिप्रदं प्रौढं विघ्नवनं हरन्तमनघं श्रीढुण्ढितुण्डासिना ।
वन्दे चर्मकपालिकोपकरणैर्वैराग्यसौख्यात्परं नास्तीति प्रदिशन्तमन्तविधुरं श्रीकाशिकेशं शिवम् ॥ २ ॥

[Here is a prayer to Gowri, Ganapathi and Shiva as bestowers of all purusharthas and mukti as well. He says about Shiva: He is indicating that there is no greater bliss than VairAgya sukha. He is devoid of end; ananta.   We are reminded of Vachaspati Misra’s words ‘शाश्वताय भवाय   ]

यत्कृपालवमात्रेण मूको भवति पण्डितः ।
वेदशास्त्रशरीरां तां वाणीं वीणाकरां भजे ॥ ३ ॥

[To the Goddess of speech, Saraswati.]

श्रीशङ्करं भाष्यकृतं प्रणम्य व्यासं हरिं सूत्रकृतं च वच्मि ।
श्रीभाष्यतीर्थे परहंसतुष्ट्यै वाग्जालबन्धच्छिदमभ्युपायम् ॥ ५ ॥

[To Shankara and Veda Vyasa, verily Hari, the sutra author…]

विस्तृतग्रन्थवीक्षायामलसं यस्य मानसम् ।
व्याख्या तदर्थमारब्धा भाष्यरत्नप्रभाभिधा ॥ ६ ॥

श्रीमच्छारीरकं भाष्यं प्राप्य वाक्शुद्धिमाप्नुयात् ।
इति श्रमो मे सफलो गङ्गां रथ्योदकं यथा ॥ ७ ॥

यदज्ञानसमुद्भूतमिन्द्रजालमिदं जगत् ।
सत्यज्ञानसुखानन्तं तदहं ब्रह्म निर्भयम् ॥ ८ ॥

[The Thatastha and svarupa lakshana of Brahman are woven into this verse and the aikya anubhava too is indicated.]

His other works are:

Brahma sutra vishaya vakya vrtti (unpublished  R. 2471 MGOML)

VivarNopanyAsa – published by Chowkhamba.  It is an elucidation of the Pancha Paadika Vivarana.  It contains both prose and verses.

Om Tat Sat

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