In the following blog there is a narrative purported to be from the Mahabharatha:
2) Brahma-Rudra dialogue in Shanti Parva
And again, in the Shanti Parva, we have the following incident where Brahma declares Siva is his son, and Siva again addressed Brahma as his father:
uvAca cainaM bhagavAMz cirasyAgatam Atmajam
svAgataM te mahAbAho diSTyA prApto ‘si me ‘ntikam
kaccit te kuzalaM putra svAdhyAyatapasoH sadA
nityam ugratapAs tvaM hi tataH pRcchAmi te punaH
“The Grandsire said, ‘Welcome art thou, O thou of mighty arms. By good luck I see thee after such a long time come to my presence. I hope, O son, that everything is right with thy penances and thy Vedic studies and recitations. Thou art always observant of the austerest penances. Hence I ask thee about the progress and well-being of those penances of thine!”
Then, Rudra replies as follows:
tvatprasAdena bhagavan svAdhyAyatapasor mama
kuzalaM cAvyayaM caiva sarvasya jagatas tathA
Rudra said, ‘O illustrious one, through thy grace, all is well with my penances and Vedic studies. It is all right, again, with the universe.
The above quote gives one an impression that Shiva underwent vedic studies. However, in the ‘Devatādhikaraṇa’ of the Brahmasutra bhāṣya 1.3.26 Shankara says:
न चोपनयनशास्त्रेणैषामधिकारो निवर्त्येत, उपनयनस्य वेदाध्ययनार्थत्वात्, तेषां च स्वयंप्रतिभातवेदत्वात् ;
[‘Nor does the shāstra regarding upanayana preclude (the devatās from trying and attaining Self-knowledge) for upanayana is meant for vedādhyayana, while the devatās are by themselves endowed with vedic (knowledge.’]
In other words, there is no upanayana for Devatas, for they have no varna dharma; caste distinctions. And Upanayana is for veda adhyayana and devata-s have no veda adhyayana as they are deemed to be endowed with Vedic knowledge naturally.
From the above it is clear that the purported episode, dialogue, is only a stuti, eulogy, praise. Of What? It is a background setting for the teaching of the nature of the Puruṣa that is contained in that dialogue. Shankara has repeatedly stated in the Upaniṣad bhāṣyams, in the Yama-Nachiketas, Bhṛgu-Varuṇa dialogue, the Yakṣa-deva-s dialogue of the Kenopanishad, etc. that the story/dialogue background in which the Brahmavidyā is given out is a ‘vidyāstuti’. Thus, the background is unreal, unimportant, inconsequential. What is real, important and consequential, however, is the teaching.
The blogger cites two lines from the above dialogue as being cited by Shankara in the BSB 2.1.1
mamAntarAtmA tava ca ye cAnye dehasaMjJitAH
sarveSAM sAkSibhUto ‘sau na grAhyaH kena cit kva cit
and gives the translation for the last part as ‘No one can grasp or comprehend him at any time.’ The Supreme Atman, Brahman, cannot be contacted by any of the sense/motor organs. However, it can definitely be comprehended. Otherwise the complete teaching of the scripture will be futile and the comprehending/realizing Brahman alone confers liberation.
In any case, for Shankara these lines do not in any way refer to the saguṇa viṣṇu. The context of the BSB where he cites these lines is to determine that the sole reality is only one Advaitic Brahman which is nirguṇa. This alone is called Puruṣa in the Br.up. and the BG 15th chapter.
Here is the BSB 2.1.1
//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 । अतश्च सिद्धमात्मभेदकल्पनयापि कापिलस्य तन्त्रस्य वेदविरुद्धत्वं वेदानुसारिमनुवचनविरुद्धत्वं च,//
The gist of the above is:
- The enquiry in the MB dialogue is ‘whether there are many selves or only one.’
- This is the pūrvapakṣa regarding the existence of many selves as admitted by the sānkhya and patanjali systems.
- The reply is: There is only one.
- The MB dialogue establishes that the view that there are many selves is veda viruddha.
- This veda viruddha view is what is propagated by the Dvaita and Visishtadvaita systems by their adhering to the pāncharātra, and hence the MB is completely against their views.
- Unfortunately the blogger has cited these portions to support his Vishnu-supreme view which is no way done by the MB.
- For Shankara those verses teach only the Advaitic nirguna Brahman as the only reality with no multiple jivas.
- In any case, the Shiva-Brahma dialogue is only incidental, being only a stuti, for the vidyā about the Nirguna Advaitic Brahman.
The blogger has some more misconceptions to promote his Vishnu-supreme, Shiva-inferior theory:
//Shiva says that Daksha is following the Pasupata religion in praising him, thus showing that the adhikAris for such worship are pAshupata tAntrikas, who are outside the purview of vedAnta, and not vaidikas. And as everyone knows, the brahma sutras openly denounce the pAshupata matham and embraces the pAncharAtra. Even shaivas accept this fact. Shri Veda Vyasa himself states in the Mahabharata that the Pancharatra is entirely Vedic. For details, the interested reader can refer to Pancharatra adhikaraNa (2.2.40-43) in shrIbhAShya, and/or shrI yAmuna’s Agama prAmANya.
Since the mahAbhArata and the brahma sutras are not held contradictory to one another, the only way to interpret this as a genuine incident is if we consider that Daksha was following an inferior religion, given by Shiva on purpose. As Daksha has ahaMkAram (as evidenced by his insult of shiva) and his mind is not sAttvik, he follows a religion based on his inclinations. In which case, his stOtra to Shiva praising him as the supreme is but in accordance with paShupata matham and hence, veda virodham as declared in the brahma sutrAs. The mahAbhArata simply records that incident and does not endorse it.//
Contrary to the blogger’s thinking, Shankara has shown that the pāncharatra is veda viruddha. In the BSB Shankara cites the bhāgavata school and refutes it as it is inconsistent, admits the jiva to be a created one, etc. And not stopping with that, Shankara says:
ब्रह्मसूत्रभाष्यम् । द्वितीयः अध्यायः । द्वितीयः पादः । उत्पत्त्यसम्भवाधिकरणम् । सूत्रम् ४५ – भाष्यम्
विप्रतिषेधश्च अस्मिन् शास्त्रे बहुविध उपलभ्यते — गुणगुणित्वकल्पनादि लक्षणः ; ज्ञानैश्वर्यशक्तिबलवीर्यतेजांसि गुणाः, आत्मान एवैते भगवन्तो वासुदेवा इत्यादिदर्शनात् । वेदविप्रतिषेधश्च भवति — चतुर्षु वेदेषु परं श्रेयोऽलब्ध्वा शाण्डिल्य इदं शास्त्रमधिगतवानित्यादिवेदनिन्दादर्शनात् । तस्मात् असङ्गतैषा कल्पनेति सिद्धम् ॥ ४५ ॥
The gist of the above is: Shāṇḍilya, a proponent of the pāncharātra school, did that after not finding the means of salvation in all the four Vedas. By doing that he has insulted/reprimanded the veda: vedanindā is the strong word Shankara uses to refute this school as veda viruddha. But the blogger says the Brahma sutras ‘embrace’ the pancharatra. We have already seen above, from the MB dialogue, that the non-advaitic schools such as the pancharatra which is held in high esteem by the dvaitins and the visishtadvaitins, by admitting multiple jivas, is already veda viruddha. Now owing to the veda nindā too, the pancharatra is anti-vedic and hence can never be approved by Veda Vyasa. For this very reason the entire Mahabharata will have to be seen as never supporting the non-advaitic schools. And for this very reason Veda Vyasa, the author of the MB, the BG and the Puranas and the Brahmasutras is not a Vaishnava. For, a Vaishnava would never refute/reject the pāncharātra.
Apart from this, Shankara has also denied the Vedic authority to Pancharatra in the Daśaślokī for which Madhusudana Saraswati (MS) has commented in his work ‘Siddhānta bindu’ which has several sub commentaries too. In the beginning of this work MS explicitly says that this Dasashloki is a work of Shankara.
न साख्यं न शैवं न तत्पाञ्चरात्रं
न जैनं न मीमांसकादेर्मतं वा .
तदेकोऽवशिष्टः शिवः केवलोऽहम् .. ४..
“There is no Sankhya nor Saiva, nor that Pancharatra
nor Jaina. The conception of the Mimamsaka and others does not
exist. For, through the specialized direct realisation (akhṇḍākāravṛtti) the Self is known as of the nature of the Absolutely Pure. That One, the Residue, the Auspicious, the Alone, am I.”
As a corollary, the above study also demolishes the blogger’s pet theory: ‘Shankara and some early advaitins were Vaishnavas.’ First of all, no vaishnava, as the term is understood by the dvaitins and VAs, will deny omniscience, etc. to Brahman on the grounds that they are avidya adhyaropita, as Shankara has done in the BSB 2.1.14. If Shankara were a Vaishnava, how would he ever reject the pāncharatra as veda viruddha as it is a product of Shāndilya’s veda nindā? No dvaitin or VA would ever do that. Their philosophical systems are precariously perched on ‘Vishnu sarvottamatva’ and if that is denied, the whole structure of their philosophies crumbles. Such a pathetic situation of deity-dependence is not there for Advaita. That is what is borne out by the Shankara bhāṣyas. That also proves that their ‘Shankara is a vaishnava’ theory has no basis anywhere except their own wishful thinking. All the schools mentioned in the Daśaślokī by Shankara are refuted / rejected as Un-vedantic by Veda Vyasa in the Brahmasutras.
This is another remark of the blogger:
// In which case, his stOtra to Shiva praising him as the supreme is but in accordance with paShupata matham and hence, veda virodham as declared in the brahma sutrAs. //
It follows from the above, for the blogger, that whoever does a stotra to Shiva as the supreme is endowed with ahankara, like Dakṣa. All sages including Shankara who has praised Shiva as the Supreme in innumerable works such as the Shivanandalahari (which the blogger, for obvious reasons, of its containing praises of Shiva as the Supreme and Vishnu and Brahma as subordinate, is not Shankara’s composition. It is only the blogger’s wishful thinking, āśā modaka, and never admitted so by the Advaitins.), the Dashashloki (where the last line in nine verses is ‘shivaḥ kevalo’ham’ – which no vaishnava would do. Even though the word Shiva there is not the saguna shūla pāṇin Shiva, still, the very name is abhorring to vaishnavas who would never call vishnu by that name excepting in the vishnu sahasra nāma.) are all ahankārins according to the blogger. And all those who hold Shiva and Vishnu to be non-different are also tāmasic for them, including VedaVyasa, Shankara, Madhusudana Saraswati who wrote a commentary for the Shiva mahimna stava. Sadashiva Brahmendra, of Nerur, a jivanmukta, has composed songs on Shiva and Vishnu, the composers Thyagaraja, Muthuswamy Dikshitar, are all ‘pāśupatas’ for the blogger, endowed with ahankara, like Daksha. And Nilakantha, just because he commented on the Shiva sahsara nama of the MB is also an ahankārin, and therefore to be shunned, for another reason apart from his name that is Shiva’s. Not just that, if anyone wears bhasma on the forehead, he is to be shunned for he cannot worship Rama, Krishna, as a vaishnava would do!! It is only with such fanatics in mind someone said:
वैष्णवाश्च पिशाचाश्च मत्कुणाश्च पिपीलिकाः ।
भस्मदर्श्नमात्रेण पलायन्ते दिशो दश ॥
[On the very sight of bhasma (ash), the vaiṣṇavas (who hold Lord Viṣṇu alone to be the supreme), the ghosts, bed bugs and ants, take to their heels in the ten directions.]
The pāśupata mata is rejected by the Brahmasutras not because it seeks to have Shiva, Pashupati, as the supreme. It is for several other reasons that are not amenable to the Vedanta doctrine. In fact, as shown above, from the MB and the Brahmasutras, the Vedanta Doctrine never subscribes to a particular deity as the supreme. These reasons are there for the rejection of the Bhagavata school/pāncharātra too. One will discern these when one reads Shankara’s commentary to these adhikaraṇas in the Brahma sutra bhashyam.
This misleading explanation from the blogger too is against Shankara’s teaching of Advaita:
// So, “sarvAtma” says that Rudra’s knowledge has expanded greatly. “AtmA” means “Buddhi” here. It does not mean “sarvAntarAtma”, but only a pervasiveness of buddhi, ie, knowledge. An expanded knowledge means one can remain anu (since jiva is anu) but by virtue of the knowledge, one can assume several bodies. So, Rudra was able to appear in many bodies. Similarly, Saubhari muni assumed many bodies as well. This also explains how he appears in linga and other forms. Unlike nArAyaNa who pervades by his svarUpa and svabhAva and hence is present everywhere, devas like Shiva are anu svarUpa, but pervade by their svabhAva (jnAnam) and control their lingas and other vigrahas/bodies. //
The above is the blogger’s display of his viśiṣṭādvaitic leanings, with which he struggles to explain the concept of ‘sarvātmatva’. As per Shankara, the one who realizes Brahman is Brahman alone and is ‘sarvātmā’ in the absolute sense. In the Br.up.1.4.10 bhāṣyam Shankara has said quite a lot about this. It is Brahman’s asarvatva and abrahmatva bhāva due to avidyā of its own nature that tied it to samsāra and by vidyā this asarvatva and abrahmatva are dispelled. Nowhere does Shankara admit of the aṇu (atomic ) size for the jīvas. For Shankara, the word ‘aṇu’ referring to Ātmā occurring in certain upaniṣads such as the Kaṭha, mean only ‘subtle’ and not atomic. For Shankara such atomic size concept is against the Vedanta which declare the oneness of the jiva with Brahman. I am citing the passages from the Īśāvāsya bhāṣya for the sixth mantra, just as a sample of how Shankara sees the Brahmajnāni, here:
यस्तु सर्वाणि भूतानि आत्मन्येवानुपश्यति ।
सर्वभूतेषु चात्मानं ततो न विजुगुप्सते ॥ ६ ॥
यस्तु परिव्राट् मुमुक्षुः सर्वाणि भूतानि अव्यक्तादीनि स्थावरान्तानि आत्मन्येव अनुपश्यति, आत्मव्यतिरिक्तानि न पश्यतीत्यर्थः । सर्वभूतेषु तेष्वेव च आत्मानं तेषामपि भूतानां स्वमात्मानमात्मत्वेन — यथास्य देहस्य कार्यकरणसंघातस्यात्मा अहं सर्वप्रत्ययसाक्षिभूतश्चेतयिता केवलो निर्गुणोऽनेनैव स्वरूपेणाव्यक्तादीनां स्थावरान्तानामहमेवात्मेति सर्वभूतेषु चात्मानं निर्विशेषं यस्त्वनुपश्यति, सः ततः तस्मादेव दर्शनात् न विजुगुप्सते विजुगुप्सां घृणां न करोति । प्राप्तस्यैवानुवादोऽयम् । सर्वा हि घृणा आत्मनोऽन्यद्दुष्टं पश्यतो भवति ; आत्मानमेवात्यन्तविशुद्धं निरन्तरं पश्यतो न घृणानिमित्तमर्थान्तरमस्तीति प्राप्तमेव — ततो न विजुगुप्सत इति ॥ इममेवार्थमन्योऽपि मन्त्र आह —
[The highlighted part means: The self-realized person knows thus: ‘Just as I am the self of this (my) body-organ-mind complex, and am the witness of all thoughts and am the impeller thereof, one only and nirguṇa, I am, by this very nature, svarūpa, am the self of everything starting from the subtle-most avyakta up to the grossest in creation, the unmoving objects, sthāvara’ thus he realizes himself as the self of all beings in creation.]
Thus, the realization of Brahman by an individual makes him realize that he is the absolute sarvātmā. So, if Shiva is a brahma jnāni, he is essentially the antaryāmin of all creation, including Vishnu and other deities. That is the message of the Mahabharata and the Vedanta. Not being able to bear this, the blogger tries his best tricks to paint Shiva in an inferior picture. Such is the blogger’s pathetic attempt at reconciling the ‘brahma veda brahmaiva bhavati’ declaration of the upaniṣads. I am no crusader for any shaiva school, but in the spirit of Appayya Dikshitar, I am only pointing to the non-deity specificity of the scriptures.
One can see how mistaken is the blogger of the very idea of sarvātmatva when one keeps in mind what Shankara has said above. On the one hand the blogger brags that Shankara was a Vaishnava and on the other wants to stay clear of what advaitic teaching Shankara gives based on the Upaniṣad. Anyway, no vaishnava would even dream of negotiating / compromising Vishnu’s sole sarvātmā/antaryāmi status with anyone who realizes Brahman!! And our Shankara has thus disappointed this poor blogger!!
Here is another baseless claim by the blogger regarding the Shiva sahasranāma occurring in the Mahabharata:
//None of the authentic works, by advaitins, dvaitins, vishishtadvaitins, or even shaivas before the 16th Century ever say that there is an “upamanyu upAkhyAna” in the Mahabharata where Krishna is said to have taken up Saiva initiation from sage upamanyu to worship Siva. If the portion that we allege to be a later interpolation was indeed genuine, the fact that everyone, including Saivas, were silent about them is inexplicable,..//
Actually, Nīlakaṇṭha, a disciple of Sridhara Swamin (who commented on the Srimadbhagavatam) has commented on the Mahabharata (including the Bhagavadgita). His commentary for the complete Shivasahasranāma which is available:
The Shiva Sahasranama starts on the above page. In the previous chapters where the Upanmanyu episode is given, too contain Nilakantha’s commentary with no mention of its interpolation. Nilakantha is Sridhara’s (14th CE) disciple. The following screen shot of the preface page of the above MB commentary by Nilakantha says that this is very widely studied by the Maharashtrians:
The following screen shot says that Nilakantha was a disciple of Sridhara Swamin:
The above can be viewed on this URL too:
The blogger’s hatred for Shiva and fanatical fascination for Vishnu has blinded him from even logical consistency:
//The Gita, rAmAyaNa and mahAbHArata were composed by krishNa, vAlmiki and vyAsa respectively. The tAmasa purAnAs thus contradict the words of krishNa, vAlmiki and vyAsa.
Since knowledge that contradicts whatever is taught by great authorities in authentic works is a form of tAmas, these purAnAs are classified as ‘tAmasa purAnAs’. //
The blogger admits that the ‘tāmasa purāṇas’ are compositions of Veda Vyasa and says above that they contradict Veda Vyasa!! If Veda Vyasa has contradicted himself, he ceases to be an Achārya who can be relied upon. Nowhere has Veda Vyasa said that holding Shiva or any other as the Supreme will not lead one to liberation or that such a view will keep one in samsāra. Nowhere in the purported tāmasa purāṇa can one find any teaching that is contradicting the Vedanta. Shankara would see any such contradiction as apparent and look for the essential teaching of Advaita. All other stories are mere eulogies, stuti, arthavāda, from Shankara’s viewpoint. All such instances which the blogger takes pain to list, where Shiva is said to have lost a battle, for instance, is merely Shiva allowing himself to be subdued only to let Vishnu to be seen as superior, just as the lad Krishna allowed himself to be bound to mortar by Yashodha. How can any force be superior to Shiva who is the samhārakartā of the entire creation (Praśnopaniṣad with Shankara bhashya) that includes all deities such as Vishnu and all Vishnu loka-s? Madhusudana Saraswati in the Advaita Siddhi has categorically stated that none of the Vishnu lokas is absolutely eternal. All eternality of such lokas spoken of in the scripture is merely relative eternality, staying only up to the pralaya. The blogger has not known this but chooses to bask in the commentaries of certain advaitins to the puranas saying vaikuntha is eternal. He does not know that no advaitin, if he knows the subject well, would admit of any absolute eternality to vaikunṭha. Absolute eternality to anything other than nirguna Brahman is antithetical to Vedanta as taught by Shankara. For more details see an article:
The Prashnopanishad bhashya of Shankara says/implies that one entity called prāṇa alone takes the form of Shiva as samhāra kartā and Vishnu as pālana kartā, thereby striking the Shiva-Vishnu non-difference.
Thus, the Mahabharata and the Vedantas (upaniṣads) never support the idea of pāncharātra, the jiva-nānātva (multiplicity of jivas), sole supremacy of Vishnu, sarvātmatva of Vishnu alone, inferiority of Shiva, etc.
There is a desperation seen in the blogger’s futile attempts to resurrect/salvage vaishnavism/Vishnu-supremacy in the purāṇas, etc. as is evident here:
//There is also one interpolation of a “hari-hara aikya stuti” in the HarivamSha purana in the section on bAnAsura yuddham. This is clearly an interpolation because bAnAsura charithram has been quoted by many sri vaishnava acharyas and this stuti has never been mentioned by any achAryA and not even by shaivas. Furthermore, this stuti seems to follow appayya dikshitar’s philosophy closely, which suggests that it was an interpolation as late as the 16th century. Lastly, even if we consider this stuti as genuine, it would be very easy to grammatically interpret it in favour of Vishnu parathvam. Statements such as “Shiva is of the form of Vishnu and vice-versa” can be interpreted in favour of nArAyaNa parathvam only. So, it doesn’t pose problems at all. //
The above is no argument at all, for the vaishnava āchāryas, being biased against Shiva will simply ignore those verses speaking of Hari-Hara abheda or hold them to be interpolations. So, too would the Shaivas who also would not like Hari to be equated with Hara. In the face of such clear statements of Veda Vyasa the last straw to which they want to cling is grammar to ‘somehow’ make those statements to apply to Vishnu. Such is their predicament to salvage Vishnu from the innumerable statements of Veda Vyasa across his various purāṇas that show others like Shiva and Devi as the Supreme. And they try to take solace in their pet theory: //Those other ‘vaishnava’ portions are well-supported by other sAstra such as sruti, smriti, etc. The entire body of sAstra is vaishnava in reality.// which is nowhere near the reality. The entire corpus of the Vedas, Upanishads, the Mahabharata and the Puranas do not support the Vishnu supremacy theory, the pāncharātra construct, jīva nānātva, vaikunṭha as eternal loka, etc. as abundantly discernible from the Shānkara Bhāṣyas. To put it shortly, the scriptures do not support Vishnu as the super god and all others as jivas. The purport of the scriptures is in the non-dual Brahman which is Nirguna with no jivas at all. Also, the pāncharātra has been severely condemned as veda viruddha/veda nindā by Veda Vyasa. So, Veda Vyasa himself is no vaishnava.
I would not bother to comment on the fanatic blogs such as the one that is the subject matter here. It is only because they stealthily use Shankaracharya’s name and bhāṣyas to make it appear that there is support in them (bhāṣyas) to their unvedic theory of sole Vishnu-supremacy. It is to inform the unwary reader of the misinformation propagated by their blogs that I have made a few comments on their funny ideas and put them on public domain. Readers, if they exercise caution, can prevent themselves from being gullible in the eyes of those bloggers.
Om Tat Sat