Advaita taught in the Śaiva Purāṇa
In the 8th Chapter (verses 56-59) of the Panchadaśīi, Swami Vidyaranya has cited a few verses from the Parāśara Upapurāṇa, a text belonging to the Śiva Purāṇa. These verses are about the true nature of the Vedantic Brahman-Atman:
These are the verses from the above text cited in the Panchadashi:
वृत्तेः साक्षितया वृत्तिप्रागभावस्य च स्थितः १८
असत्यालम्बनत्वेन सत्यः सर्वजडस्य तु १९
साधकत्वेन चिद्रूपः सदा प्रेमास्पदत्वतः
आनन्दरूपः सर्वार्थसाधकत्वेन हेतुना २०
सर्वसम्बन्धकत्वेन सम्पूर्णः शिवसंज्ञितः
जीवेशत्वादिरहितः केवलः स्वप्रभः शिवः
Panchadaśi 8.56. It is said in the Shiva Purana that pure consciousness (Kutastha) exists as a witness to (the rise and fall of) the mental modifications (Vrittis), their prior (and posterior) non-existence and the state of ignorance prior to inquiry about truth.
8.57-58. As the support of the unreal world, its nature is existence; as it cognises all insentient objects, its nature is consciousness; and as it is always the object of love, its nature is bliss. It is called Shiva, the infinite, being the means of revelation of all objects and being related to them as their substratum.
8.59. Thus in the Śaiva-Puranas Kutastha has been described as having no particular characteristics of Jiva and Ishvara and as being non-dual, self-luminous and the highest good.
One can see that the nature of Atman/Brahman taught there as ‘Śiva’ is found in the Māṇḍūkya Upaniṣad 7th mantra too: शान्तं शिवम् अद्वैतम् [prapañcopamam ’śāntam śivam advaitam..]. Shankara has also stated in the Bhāṣyas this word ‘śiva’ as Atman/Brahman:
प्रपञ्चोपशमः शिवः अद्वैतः [Mā.up.12]
सर्वद्वैतोपशमत्वादेव शिवः । while commenting on the Kārikā 1.29: अमात्रोऽनन्तमात्रश्च द्वैतस्योपशमः शिवः । ]
शिवं शान्तमविकृतमक्षरं सत्यं परविद्यागम्यं पुरुषाख्यं सबाह्याभ्यन्तरमजं वक्तव्यमित्युत्तरं प्रश्नत्रयमारभ्यते । Praśnopaniṣat 4.1 bhāṣyam.
त एते कर्माणि विज्ञानमयश्च आत्मा उपाध्यपनये सति परे अव्यये अनन्तेऽक्षये ब्रह्मणि आकाशकल्पेऽजेऽजरेऽमृतेऽभये-
ऽपूर्वेऽनपरेऽनन्तरेऽबाह्येऽद्वये शिवे शान्ते सर्वे एकीभवन्ति अविशेषतां गच्छन्ति एकत्वमापद्यन्ते जलाद्याधारापनय इव सूर्यादिप्रतिबिम्बाः सूर्ये, घटाद्यपनय इवाकाशे घटाद्याकाशाः ॥
प्रसन्नं शिवमतुलमनायासं नित्यतृप्तमेकरसमित्यर्थः [Bṛ.up. 3.9.28]
Shankara has also cited a seminal verse from the Śivapurāṇa itself (considered to be a tāmasa purāna by Vaiśṇvas as it teaches the supreme status of Śiva) in the Viśṇu sahasra nāma bhāṣya explaining the name ‘Rudra’ (114th name):
रुर्दुःखं दुःखहेतुं वा तद् द्रावयति यः प्रभुः ।
रुद्र इत्युच्यते तस्माच्छिवः परमकारणम् ॥ (samhitā 6, ch.9, verse 14)
(‘Ruḥ’ means misery or the cause thereof. This is destroyed, melted away, by Rudra. Hence the Supreme Lord, Shiva, who is the Ultimate Cause (of creation, etc.) is called ‘Rudra’).
In the Brahmasutras, the Cause of creation, etc. of the universe is called ‘Brahman’ which alone is stated by the names Śiva and Viṣṇu in the scripture.
In the same Purāṇa cited above, subsequent to the above verses is taught the method of devotion to Bhagavān Śiva is to be practiced, as part of the Brahmavidyā sādhana. Shankara, keeping such teaching in mind alone has said in the BSB 2.2.42:
//यदपि तस्य भगवतोऽभिगमनादिलक्षणमाराधनमजस्रमनन्यचित्ततयाभिप्रेयते, तदपि न प्रतिषिध्यते, श्रुतिस्मृत्योरीश्वरप्रणिधानस्य प्रसिद्धत्वात् ।
Nor do we mean to object to the inculcation of unceasing concentration of mind on the highest Being which appears in the Bhâgavata doctrine under the forms of reverential approach, &c.; for that we are to meditate on the Lord we know full well from Smṛti and Scripture.//
That the teaching of the core Advaitic Atman, Brahman, and the means in the Purāṇa is what is significant. It is with this in mind that such purāṇas as the Sūta samhitā are considered tāmasic by Vaiṣṇavas who could not tolerate the explicit pronouncement of the Advaita Tattva as taught by Shankara in them by Veda Vyasa. For those who are opposed to Veda Vyasa teaching the Vedanta, such verses are there to delude those who are not fit to take to the ‘true’ vedic teaching that holds the Lakṣmipati Viṣṇu alone to be the Vedantic Brahman. All those subscribing to this view also admit that Shankara and other Acharyas like Sureśvara and Sarvajñātman are also those deluded since they have taught the Vedanta as expounded in the Śruti and Smṛti.
Om Tat Sat