The names ‘vAsudeva, Vishnu and NArAyana’ in the specific instances in the ShAnkara bhashya mean only the Nirguna Chaitanyam and not the Saguna entity.
काठकोपनिषद्भाष्यम् । प्रथमोऽध्यायः । तृतीया वल्ली । मन्त्रः ९ – भाष्यम्
किं तत्पदमित्याह — विज्ञानसारथिः यस्तु यो विवेकबुद्धिसारथिः पूर्वोक्तः मनःप्रग्रहवान् प्रगृहीतमनाः समाहितचित्तः सन् शुचिर्नरो विद्वान्, सः अध्वनः संसारगतेः पारं परमेव, अधिगन्तव्यमित्येतत्, आप्नोति, मुच्यते सर्वसंसारबन्धनैः । तत् विष्णोः व्यापनशीलस्य ब्रह्मणः परमात्मनो वासुदेवाख्यस्य परमं प्रकृष्टं पदं स्थानम्, सतत्त्वमित्येतत्, यत् असावाप्नोति विद्वान् ॥
काठकोपनिषद्भाष्यम् । प्रथमोऽध्यायः । तृतीया वल्ली । मन्त्रः ११ – भाष्यम्
महतोऽपि परं सूक्ष्मतरं प्रत्यगात्मभूतं सर्वमहत्तरं च अव्यक्तं सर्वस्य जगतो बीजभूतमव्याकृतनामरूपं सतत्त्वं सर्वकार्यकारणशक्तिसमाहाररूपम् अव्यक्तम् अव्याकृताकाशादिनामवाच्यं परमात्मन्योतप्रोतभावेन समाश्रितं वटकणिकायामिव वटवृक्षशक्तिः । तस्मादव्यक्तात् परः सूक्ष्मतरः सर्वकारणकारणत्वात्प्रत्यगात्मत्वाच्च महांश्च, अत एव पुरुषः सर्वपूरणात् । ततोऽन्यस्य परस्य प्रसङ्गं निवारयन्नाह — पुरुषान्न परं किञ्चिदिति । यस्मान्नास्ति पुरुषाच्चिन्मात्रघनात्परं किञ्चिदपि वस्त्वन्तरम्, तस्मात्सूक्ष्मत्वमहत्त्वप्रत्यगात्मत्वानां सा काष्ठा निष्ठा पर्यवसानम् । अत्र हि इन्द्रियेभ्य आरभ्य सूक्ष्मत्वादि परिसमाप्तम् । अत एव च गन्तॄणां सर्वगतिमतां संसारिणां सा परा प्रकृष्टा गतिः, ‘यद्गत्वा न निवर्तन्ते’ (भ. गी. १५-६) इति स्मृतेः ॥
From the above two bhashyas we conclude:
- The knower of Brahman attains to that state of Vishnu.
- This sentence of the bhashyam तत् विष्णोः व्यापनशीलस्य ब्रह्मणः परमात्मनो वासुदेवाख्यस्य परमं प्रकृष्टं पदं स्थानम्, सतत्त्वमित्येतत्, means ‘vishnu’s state is all pervading supreme..’ It is of the nature of ‘rAhoH shiraH’ where there is no difference between rAhu (who is nothing but head) and ‘head’.
- That is the state the knower attains to: brahmavit brahmaiva bhavati of the Mundakopanishat.
- Having said that in the first quoted mantra bhashyam, Shankara says, immediately in the mantra bhashyam occurring soon after the first one in the same Upanishad: This is the Purusha, who is PUrNa, in other words, a restatement of the Vishnu=vyApaniashIla of the earlier mantra/bhashyam which is the destination of the knower. The mantra says: there is none other/greater than this Purusha and this is the ultimate. Shankara adds that this Purusha is characterized by …..being the innermost self of the jiva, pratyagAtmA. This is the ultimate destination of samsarins.
- Thus, the Vishnu’s state is no other than the Purusha which is non-different from the pratyagAtmA of the jiva/s.
- There is no room here for the interpretation of the ‘VishnoH paramam padam’ as the ‘supreme/superior state of the deva Vishnu’ as done by the chandrika commentary in the Naishkarmyasiddhi verse. The commentary takes two entities: deva Vishnu and his superior state. This is not in accordance with the Kathopanishad and the Acharya’s bhashya which do not give room for this duality, dichotomy, in the expression ‘tad vishnoH paramam padam’.
- Since the Advaitic AtmA is nirguna Brahman, as Shankara has stated thrice in the above bhashya ‘pratyagAtmA’, the ‘Vishnu’ of the Kathopanishad and the bhashya ‘vyapanashila’ decidedly refer to the NB alone and not the saguna Brahman.
- In the first cited Katha mantra, the idea is: the knower reaches the other shore of samsara. What is this other shore? It is ‘the Supreme state of Vishnu’. If the chandirka’s interpretation is to be adhered to, the Katha is unnecessarily talking of an intermediate state, deva Vishnu, and then the superior state of that deva Vishnu, as the final destination, moksha.
- The other defect of that two-part explanation is: the Vishnu of the first mantra will not be admitted to be the PuruSha of the second mantra. This is because, the Vishnu of the first mantra has been taken as deva whose superior state is the final destination and the second mantra talks of the Purusha beyond whom there is none as the final destination.
- The non-equating of Vishnu with Purusha is not to the liking of even the vaishnavas. Thus, the chandrika’s convoluted explanation of the ‘vishnoH padAnugAm’ as involving a saguna and nirguna Brahman, so enthusiastically cited by the bloggers, is ending up as detrimental to them when examined in the light of the Kathopanishad and Shankara’s bhashya. In other words, the Vishnu of the first mantra will not be the PUrNa PuruSha of the second mantra, in the light of the Chandrika.
- To reiterate: ‘Vishnu’ = Purusha = pratyagAtmA = knowledge thereof = final destination/goal / moksha.
- The chandrika’s ‘vishnu (saguna) = purushottama’ idea is also not in accordance with the Shankara’s interpretation of the BG 15th Purushottama which is the Mandukya turiya which is the one beyond the akshara (mAyA/Ishwara). The chandrika equates the deva Vishnu to something that transcends the deva Vishnu thereby contradicting his own earlier statement of showing the Supreme as the abode of the deva Vishnu. In other words, the jagakAraNa Vishnu is not the Purushottama of Advaita, but the chandrika says explicitly so. Instead of taking the Shankara bhashya to decide what is meant by ‘Vishnu’, the bloggers committed the folly of dragging the Naishkarmyasiddhi verse with the chandrika and ended up contradicting Shankara. In effect, this misadventure is their forte in trying to ‘explain’ anything.
- In advaita the moksha is not any saguna Brahman realization/loka attainment.
- Hence, Vishnu of the Katha and the Naishkarmyasiddhi, as applied to Shankara’s knowledge/realization, is decidedly NB and not saguna. Let it be saguna in the ganga source case, which I have not denied but which the bloggers, incapable of reading and comprehending my words, concluded that I am denying. A more stupid brain cannot be found anywhere.
Here is some more evidence of their fractured intellect:
While trying to quote me, the pseudo vaishnava, lists the following as my words/statements/thinking :
2) Sureshvara’s sloka does not imply Shiva received Ganga from Vishnu. “visnor pAdanugam” refers to reality of nirguNa brahman.
[I have not even remotely meant the first part of the above sentence]
4) Shiva Mahimna Stotra authored by Madhusudhana Saraswati shows hari-hara abheda.
[The mahimna stotra is the composition of Pushpadanta and Madhusudana has only written a commentary to it with Hari and Hara pakshas. And Madhusudana concludes the work by writing his own verses declaring that ‘kshudra’ intellects (like the name of Vidwan Rama subba Sastry the bloggers have held high) aught to realize the abheda, implying that akshudra or uttama buddhis need no teaching about the abheda; it is well known to them.]
The pseudo vaishnava, exhibits his ignorance of Advaita again:
// (nirguNa brahman cannot have attributes such as sarvavyApakatvam and jagatkAraNatvam) //
That the above conclusion he draws from the Chandrika which is in contradiction to Shankara is already shown. Let us take the ‘sarvavyApakatvam’ epithet, leaving out the jagatkAraNatvam, which, in any case, is not referring to Nirguna Brahman.
In the Taittiriyopanishad there occurs the lakshanam ‘satyam, jnanam, anantam brahma’. ‘ananta’ is desha, kAla, vastu pariccheda shUnyam. Brahman, whose svarUpa lakshna (not jagatkAraNatva, which is taTastha lakshana) is anantam, pervades all desha, all kAla and all vastu. Hence the NB is sarvavyApakam. Also in the BGB 13.13 Shankara says:
सर्वत्र सर्वदेहावयवत्वेन गम्यमानाः पाणिपादादयः ज्ञेयशक्तिसद्भावनिमित्तस्वकार्याः इति ज्ञेयसद्भावे लिङ्गानि ‘ज्ञेयस्य’ इति उपचारतः उच्यन्ते । तथा व्याख्येयम् अन्यत् । सर्वतःपाणिपादं तत् ज्ञेयम् । सर्वतोक्षिशिरोमुखं सर्वतः अक्षीणि शिरांसि मुखानि च यस्य तत् सर्वतोक्षिशिरोमुखम्; सर्वतःश्रुतिमत् श्रुतिः श्रवणेन्द्रियम्, तत् यस्य तत् श्रुतिमत्, लोके प्राणिनिकाये, सर्वम् आवृत्य संव्याप्य तिष्ठति स्थितिं लभते ॥ [The Jneyam Brahma (as opposed to upAsyam brahma which is saguna in Advaita) is taught by both the Lord as well as Shankara as ‘pervading everything in creation’. ] This very idea is stated elaborately in the BGB 13.15:
श्रीमद्भगवद्गीताभाष्यम् । त्रयोदशोऽध्यायः । श्लोक १५ – भाष्यम्
बहिः त्वक्पर्यन्तं देहम् आत्मत्वेन अविद्याकल्पितम् अपेक्ष्य तमेव अवधिं कृत्वा बहिः उच्यते । तथा प्रत्यगात्मानमपेक्ष्य देहमेव अवधिं कृत्वा अन्तः उच्यते । ‘बहिरन्तश्च’ इत्युक्ते मध्ये अभावे प्राप्ते, इदमुच्यते — अचरं चरमेव च, यत् चराचरं देहाभासमपि तदेव ज्ञेयं यथा रज्जुसर्पाभासः । यदि अचरं चरमेव च स्यात् व्यवहारविषयं सर्वं ज्ञेयम्, किमर्थम् ‘इदम्’ इति सर्वैः न विज्ञेयम् इति? उच्यते — सत्यं सर्वाभासं तत्; तथापि व्योमवत् सूक्ष्मम् । अतः सूक्ष्मत्वात् स्वेन रूपेण तत् ज्ञेयमपि अविज्ञेयम् अविदुषाम् । विदुषां तु, ‘आत्मैवेदं सर्वम्’ (छा. उ. ७-२५-२) ‘ब्रह्मैवेदं सर्वम्’ (?) इत्यादिप्रमाणतः नित्यं विज्ञातम् । अविज्ञाततया दूरस्थं वर्षसहस्रकोट्यापि अविदुषाम् अप्राप्यत्वात् । अन्तिके च तत्, आत्मत्वात् विदुषाम् ॥
In advaita, the sarvayApakatvam of Nirguna Brahman is of the kind of ‘the rope pervading the whole of the snake’. This is the very example Shanakara gives in the above bhashyam for the understanding of Nirguna, Jneya, Brahman pervading everything in creation. In other words, the entire creation is pervaded by NB since it is superimposed in NB. The deva Vishnu is also such a superimposition on NB and hence even though the deva Vishnu pervades the entire creation, NB pervades even the deva Vishnu. For that matter, all jivas in advaita are Brahman and pervade the entire creation. That way alone it is possible for the Advaitin to realize the anantam Brahman as his own self. Thus, the blogger’s misconception regarding NB’s all-pervading nature is above shown and the correct position presented.
The blogger, after failing on the count of ‘anantam’ of Brahman, now attempts to push his theory on the count of Ananda:
// The supreme bliss in advaita is always referred in conjunction with the Shankha-Chakra dhArI viShNu because of his shuddha-sattva nature which made Him the object of worship of ancient advaitin mumukShus. Recall Sridhara Swami’s verse in the bhAgavatam commentary://
- First of all, the Sridhari commentary is not a part of Advaitic study anywhere.
- Nowhere is the supreme bliss in Advaita is referred in conjunction with the saguna Vishnu.
- Secondly, the svarUpa Ananda of Advaitic AtmA is not dependent on any external aids like the conch, etc. of Vishnu. It will still be vishayAnanda, a product of avidyA in advaita. Hence, the blogger’s ‘..always referred in conjunction…’ is his own wishful thinking, never in the bhashya. The true expression/source of Advaita ananda is stated by Shankara in the Taittiriya bhashya thus: [तैत्तिरीयोपनिषद्भाष्यम्। ब्रह्मानन्दवल्ली । सप्तमोऽनुवाकः । मन्त्रः १ – भाष्यम्] बाह्यानन्दसाधनरहिता अपि अनीहा निरेषणा ब्राह्मणा बाह्यरसलाभादिव सानन्दा दृश्यन्ते विद्वांसः ; नूनं ब्रह्मैव रसस्तेषाम् । [Even though not endowed with any external means, completely desireless, the brAhmaNas, the knowers, are seen to be blissful as though they have contacted some external source of bliss. Certainly Brahman Itself is their bliss.] This idea of the Atman itself being the source of bliss is even more elaborated in the BG 2 and 6th chapters – ‘AtmatRptashca…AtmanyevAtmanA tuShTaH..etc’ nowhere are the saguna Brahman descriptions found in the bhashya. Thus, Shankara contradicts the idea ‘the supreme bliss is due to conjunction…’ If it comes from any conjunction it will be within the Anandamaya kosha, a vikara of Ananda but not Ananda Itself.
The pseudo vaishnava goes on to say:
// If double meaning was not intended, jnAnottama would never quote the viShNu purAna which says the Ganga flows from the left toe-nail of vishNu. Incidentally, this quashes the stupid claim that nArAyaNa to be known by veda, purAna and Agama as per anandagiri is nirguNa brahman and not saguNa.//
Extremely illogical connection between the two statements above. First, I have never challenged the idea that the Ganga emerged from the Lord’s feet. [It is another matter that this is purely an arthavAda, a stuti, which is evident from Shankara’s commentary to the mundakopanishad
मुण्डकोपनिषद्भाष्यम् । द्वितीयं मुण्डकम् । प्रथमः खण्डः । मन्त्रः ९ – भाष्यम्
अतः पुरुषात् समुद्राः सर्वे क्षाराद्याः । गिरयश्च हिमवदादयः अस्मादेव पुरुषात् सर्वे । स्यन्दन्ते स्रवन्ति गङ्गाद्याः सिन्धवः नद्यः सर्वरूपाः बहुरूपाः।अस्मादेव पुरुषात् सर्वाः ओषधयः व्रीहियवाद्याः।
The Upanishad only says that all creation, all rivers, emerge from the PuruSha, Brahman. There is no separate special status given for Ganga by Shankara. In order to inculcate devotion/shraddhA for the Ganga, one encounters stories in the scripture connecting the river to Vishnu’s feet and Shiva’s head. ]
The Chandrika’s eulogizing the Ganga quoting the purana in no way alters the Advaitic Jneya Brahman. In the Br.up. antaryAmi brahmana, where Shankara takes the name of Narayana, the teaching is the mahAvAkya: एष त आत्मा अन्तर्याम्यमृतः [This antaryAmi the Imperishable is your very Self – (another version of tat tvam asi)]. Surely, the jneya Brahman, Narayana here, is not any saguna Brahman in Advaita. The pseudo vaishnava is proving his pseudo knowledge of advaita again and again. And, to top it all, is taking the names of Anandagiri and so many other commentators.
The pseudo vaishnava quotes Shankara’s Gita bhashya intro to ‘prove’ his mistaken idea ‘…also refers to the saguNa-brahman, the deity of the Vaishnavas Lakshmipati only.’:
//Compare with Shankara’s introduction to the bhagavad-gItA:
“sa bhagavAn sR^iShTvedaM jagat… Adi kartA nArAyaNAkhyo viShNuH bhaumasya brAhmaNo brAhmaNatvasya ca abhirakShaNArthaM devakyAM vasudevAd aMshena kR^iShNaH kila sambabhUva”//
Shankara contradicts the above mistaken notion in that very document. The concluding words of the BG introduction:
// इमं द्विप्रकारं धर्मं निःश्रेयसप्रयोजनम्, परमार्थतत्त्वं च वासुदेवाख्यं परं ब्रह्माभिधेयभूतं विशेषतः अभिव्यञ्जयत् विशिष्टप्रयोजनसम्बन्धाभिधेयवद्गीताशास्त्रम् । यतः तदर्थविज्ञाने समस्तपुरुषार्थसिद्धिः, अतः तद्विवरणे यत्नः क्रियते मया ॥//
The highlighteded parts mean: ‘The paramArthatattvam called ‘VAsudeva’ which bears the name ‘Parabrahman’, (is specifically revealed by the GitAshAstram)..by realizing which the total summum bonum of life is attained.’
From the above it is concluded that for Shakara:
- The name ‘Vasudeva’ and ‘Parabrahman’ mean only the ParamArtha tattvam (which the Chandrika explains as the abode of the saguna deva Vishnu).
- This tattvam is the one that is revealed by the GitAshAstram. For, a shAstram should reveal to us something that is not known to us.
- By realizing this tattvam alone the complete purushArtha is attained, that is, moksha is attained.
- That means: in Advaita, the knowledge of the NB as oneself is what results in moksha.
- So, the names VAsudeva and Parabrahman denote NB alone ultimately.
It is also to be noted that the above is supported, much to the chagarin of the pseudo vaishnava, his own declaration citing the Brahma sutra bhashyam of Shankara:
// “paraM eva hi brahma vishuddhopAdhisaMbandhaM kvacit kaishcid vikAradharmair manomayAdibhir upAsanAya upadishyamAnam aparam iti sthitiH”//
The above bhashya piece lays bare the distinction between para and apara Brahman. In the Gita bhashya introduction we find that the term Vasudeva to be stated along with the other name ‘Parabrahman’ which is the paramArtha tattvam.
The pseudo vaishnava makes some foolish claims about my statements about the term ‘mura’ thus:
// So, while murAri does indeed mean destroyer of ignorance, this particular interpretation is the inner meaning of krishNa’s act of killing the asurA murA. So, saguNa brahman is the destroyer of asura mura and by doing so, he shows that he is the destroyer of ignorance.//
What actually I said is this:
//The subodhini commentary on the Sankshepashariraka invocatory verse says that ‘mura’ represents ignorance and MurAri is the one who dispels that ignorance. So, the story of mura being put down by Vishnu is only an allegorical reference to ignorance being dispelled/destroyed by the realization of the Nirguna Chaitanya jnanam.//
The highlighted part is called ‘the akhanDAkAravRtti’ which has for its content the Pure Consciousness, the nirupAdhika chaitanyam and not any saguna brahma jnanam, the knowledge of the attributed Brahman. No doubt, in advaita, that vRtti that destroys ignorance is in the realm of the vyavaharika. But the content of that vRtti is NB, Pure Consciousness. Thus, in effect, it is the NB knowledge that dispels ignorance. The scriptural support is countless, such as:
ज्ञानेन तु तदज्ञानं येषां नाशितमात्मनः । तेषामादित्यवज्ज्ञानं प्रकाशयति तत्परम् ॥ १६ ॥ BG 5.16
[By Knowledge is indeed ignorance destroyed …]
ज्ञात्वा देवं सर्वपाशापहानिः क्षीणैः क्लेशैः जन्ममृत्युप्रहाणिः । – श्वेताश्वतरोपनिषत् १-११
[By realizing / knowing the Resplendent One, all misery comes to an end..]
The ‘knowledge’ in the above cases is not any saguna brahma jnanam but the knowledge of the upadhi-free Brahman. So, by giving that clarification the pseudo vaishnava has done nothing but tasting his own ignorance.
Not even able to read and comprehend correctly what I write, the pseudo vaishnava responds to me:
// The best part of this post was desperately trying to translate “visnoH pAdanugam…” as nirguNa brahman and denying the clear reference to Ganga.//
It is only he that is desperately trying to translate those words as saguna Brahman. I have never denied the clear reference to Ganga. To say what the opponent never said or meant is another trick up the sleeve of the pseudo vaishnava which, unfortunately for him, will never work.
The gimmicks the pseudo vaishnava plays have boomeranged on himself. He brags that he has the ‘true’ advaitic knowledge:
// // It is clear Subbu/Adbhutam the Veerashaiva has no knowledge of his own tradition. //
Clarification… By the word “tradition”, I mean the original Vaishnava-advaitic tradition of Shankara and his ancient followers, clearly evident in their authentic works. Not the popular shaivAdvaitic / shAktAdvaitic one that Subbu claims to have been favored by Shankara.//
Not a single sentence of the Shankara bhashya supports the weird claims of the pseudo vaishnava who is doubling up as a pseudo advaita scholar. The ‘support’ he claimed as coming from Shankara bhashya to his ‘original Vaishnava-advaitic tradition of Shankara and his ancient followers’ theory is completely demolished not by anyone else, but ironically, by the Shankara bhashyams themselves. Better they stop their desperate furthering of the dubious cause/claims and be true followers of their Acharyas without dabbling in other’s territory and have to eat their own words.
Another instance of their mistaking what I said:
// These two lines are enough to destroy subbu’s theory that “viShNu” in advaita does not refer to the saguNa-deity possessing four arms etc. but applies strictly only to the nirguNa-caitanyam.//
I have never said or meant anything to that effect. What I have emphasized is ‘the instances where the names ‘Vishnu, narayana, Vasudeva’ are used by Shankara in the upanishad bhashya do not mean the saguna deity at all but in all those instances, only the NB.’ Not being able to comprehend what I am saying, the pseudo vaishnava proves he is a poor grasper of even the original bhashyas. A duller head cannot be seen anywhere!
And he brings death to his own ‘Vishnu’:
// That lord of vaikunTha is indeed called viShNu because it is all-pervading and vAsudeva because it is in everything and everything resides in him. It is only that he is not shiva.//
If Vishnu is not Shiva, then Vishnu loses the epithet ‘ananta’ since there will be ‘vastu pariccheda’, limitation due to object, in Vishnu. A table and a chair being different from each other, limit themselves. If Vishnu is not Shiva, then Vishnu is paricchinna. This defect is unsurmountable in non-advaitic schools. Brahman is sarva-ananyam as Shankara says in the Taittiriya bhashya for the word ananta there.
तैत्तिरीयोपनिषद्भाष्यम् । ब्रह्मानन्दवल्ली । प्रथमोऽनुवाकः । मन्त्रः १ – भाष्यम्
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 । कथं पुनः सर्वानन्त्यत्वं ब्रह्मण इति, उच्यते – सर्ववस्तुकारणत्वात् । सर्वेषां हि वस्तूनां कालाकाशादीनां कारणं ब्रह्म ।
Shankara says in the above bhashya: Brahman is non-different from everything. ‘Object A brings about the limitation of object B’. Such a limitation is seen in different objects. Never is Brahman different from anything. Thus, even object-wise, Brahman is infinite.
The vaishnavite claim of Vishnu not being Shiva makes their Vishnu a finite entity just like a jar that is not a cloth. In Advaita, ultimate difference is an impossibility. Only insentient objects can appear to be different but never the Consciousness, Brahman. In all non-advaitic systems their Supreme is inevitably finite, insentient. Vishnu might be where Shiva is and Shiva might be ‘within’ Vishnu. But if Vishnu is not Shiva, then Vishnu is limited by Shiva. And what is finite is perishable.