Posted by: adbhutam | January 11, 2017

DID SHANKARACHARYA DESTROY BHĀGAVATA DHARMAS?

 

Is there evidence of Shankaracharya having destroyed Bhāgavata dharma/s?
In the post referred to below, some alleged purāṇic references are provided to ‘prove’ that Shankaracharya is the same as the demon called ‘maṇimān born to a brāhmaṇa, destroying and criticizing ‘sat dharma’ / ‘bhāgavata dharmas’ and criticizing ‘sat śāstra-s’:
1. kUrmapurANe shrImuShNamAhAtmye paJNchame.adhyAye |

shrI sUta uvAcha --

purA bhAgIrathItIre niminA pR^iShTavAnmuniH |
naShTA bhAgavatA dharmAH sachChAstrANi kalau yuge ||
iti shrutaM mayA pUrvaM tIrthayAtrAprasaN^gataH |
kathaM naShTA bhaviShyanti punaH sthAsyanti vai katham.h ||
vada vidvanmahAbAho kashchoddhAraM kariShyati |

shrI vAmadeva uvAcha --

chatussahasre dvishate gate saugandhike vane |
nihatA bhImasenena dvAparAnte nR^ipottama |
saugandhikAkhye nihatA ye cha krodhavashAH khalAH |
rudreNa nihatA ye cha traipurAshcha kalau yuge |
chatussahasre.aShTashate maNimantAdayo.asurAH
janiShyanti brahmayonau daityAH saddharmadUShakAH |
mithyAvAdamasachChAstraM kariShyanti kalau yuge |
gopayiShyanti sachChAstraM sachChAstraparipanthinaH |
evaM dharmeShu naShTeShu shAstreShu cha kalau yuge |
devairvij~nApito viShNurvAyumAj~nApayiShyati |
Madhvas also quote purported Garuda purāṇic verses in the same vein as the above:
The complete text of the Garuda purANa is available here:
tena saṃkaranāmāsau bhaviṣyati khageśvara /
dharmānbhāgavatānsarvānvināśayati sarvathā // GarP_3,16.71 //
[Owing to this, sAnkarya karaNam, this person will be known as ‘samkara’, O GaruDa. He will destroy the complete bhAgavata dharma totally.]
On the basis of the above lines of the purāṇa, is there any evidence within Shānkara bhāṣyas or any other sources of the writings of other Acharyas that Shankara:
1. Destroyed Bhāgavata dharmas
2. Sat dharmas
3. Criticized sat śāstra-s.
Also, based on the following verses cited from Garuda purāṇa:
maṇimānnāma daityastu sankarākhyo bhaviṣyati /
sarveṣāṃ saṃkaraṃ yastu kariṣyati na saṃśayaḥ // GarP_3,16.70 //
[A demon named maNimAn will incarnate with the name ‘sankara’.  Undoubtedly he will bring about the samkara, admixture, of ‘all’.  The verse does not say what is meant by ‘all’.  It is reasonable to take, from the popular meaning of the word ‘sAnkaryam’ that castes will get mixed up and there will be varNavyavasthA.  So, this maNimAn will bring about such a situation.  How this happens is not stated in the puraNa.]
Are there evidences in the Shānkara bhāṣyas for Shankara having taught/supported admixture of castes?
BGB introduction:
अनुष्ठातॄणां कामोद्भवात् हीयमानविवेकविज्ञानहेतुकेन अधर्मेण अभिभूयमाने धर्मे, प्रवर्धमाने च अधर्मे, जगतः स्थितिं परिपिपालयिषुः स आदिकर्ता नारायणाख्यो विष्णुः भौमस्य ब्रह्मणो ब्राह्मणत्वस्य रक्षणार्थं देवक्यां वसुदेवादंशेन कृष्णः किल सम्बभूव । ब्राह्मणत्वस्य हि रक्षणे रक्षितः स्याद्वैदिको धर्मः, तदधीनत्वाद्वर्णाश्रमभेदानाम् ॥
Even if ‘sānkarya’ pejoratively means the core Advaitic doctrine of ‘One without any differences of any kind’, does it amount to ‘mixing up of everything?’ Is the Advaita tattva a result of ‘mixing up’ everything in creation to arrive at the ‘One’? Has Shankara taught anywhere that a mixing up is what is to be done to arrive at the One (and not negating the name-forms that are superimposed)?
Also, is there evidence anywhere that there indeed existed an individual by name ‘sankara’ (since the puranic verses and the Mani Manjari say that that person was named so/well known so) who matched the personality details of the well known entity called Shankaracharya?
One can take into consideration this statement, for example, of many, from Shankara’s BSB on the bhāgavata doctrine sūtra:
 
ब्रह्मसूत्रभाष्यम् । द्वितीयः अध्यायः । द्वितीयः पादः । उत्पत्त्यसम्भवाधिकरणम् । सूत्रम् ४२ – भाष्यम्
तत्र भागवता मन्यते — भगवानेवैको वासुदेवो निरञ्जनज्ञानस्वरूपः परमार्थतत्त्वम् ; स चतुर्धात्मानं प्रविभज्य प्रतिष्ठितः — वासुदेवव्यूहरूपेण, सङ्कर्षणव्यूहरूपेण, प्रद्युम्नव्यूहरूपेण, अनिरुद्धव्यूहरूपेण च ; वासुदेवो नाम परमात्मा उच्यते ; सङ्कर्षणो नाम जीवः ; प्रद्युम्नो नाम मनः ; अनिरुद्धो नाम अहंकारः ; तेषां वासुदेवः परा प्रकृतिः, इतरे सङ्कर्षणादयः कार्यम् ; तमित्थंभूतं परमेश्वरं भगवन्तमभिगमनोपादानेज्यास्वाध्याययोगैर्वर्षशतमिष्ट्वा क्षीणक्लेशो भगवन्तमेव प्रतिपद्यत इति । तत्र यत्तावदुच्यते — योऽसौ नारायणः परोऽव्यक्तात्प्रसिद्धः परमात्मा सर्वात्मा, स आत्मनात्मानमनेकधा व्यूह्यावस्थित इति — तन्न निराक्रियते, ‘स एकधा भवति त्रिधा भवति’ (छा. उ. ७-२६-२) इत्यादिश्रुतिभ्यः परमात्मनोऽनेकधाभावस्याधिगतत्वात् ; यदपि तस्य भगवतोऽभिगमनादिलक्षणमाराधनमजस्रमनन्यचित्ततयाभिप्रेयते, तदपि न प्रतिषिध्यते, श्रुतिस्मृत्योरीश्वरप्रणिधानस्य प्रसिद्धत्वात् ।
  • That Vāsudeva is to be attained by worshiping him by going to temple, contemplating on him continuously with one-pointed devotion, etc. is not refuted/objected to since worship of/ dedicating one’s everything to Ishwara is taught in the scriptures.
  • A noted Madhva scholar Dr.Anandatirtha Vysampayanacharya Nagasampige, Director, Purnaprajna Samshodhana Mandiram, a Bangalore-based premier Madhva research institution run under the patronage of Sri Vishvesha Tirtha SwamigaLu, the seer of the Pejawar Mutt (whose disciple is the author), writes in his popular Kannada book: ‘Mata traya sameekshaa’: //  ಮೂರು ದರ್ಶನಗಳಲ್ಲಿರುವ ಸಮಾನತೆಗಳು:  ಅದ್ವೈತ-ವಿಶಿಷ್ಟಾದ್ವೈತ ಹಾಗೂ ದ್ವೈತ ಸಿದ್ಧಾಂತಗಳಲ್ಲಿ ಸ್ಥೂಲವಾಗಿ ಕೆಲವು ಸಮಾನತೆಗಳನ್ನು ನಾವು ಕಾಣಬಹುದಾಗಿದೆ:  ವಿಷ್ಣು ಪರದೇವತೆ ಎಂಬ ಸಂಗತಿ ಅಚಾರ್ಯತ್ರಯರಿಗೆ ಸಮ್ಮತವಾಗಿದೆ:[The similarities/sameness present in the three systems: In Advaita, Vishishtaadvaita and Dvaita, we can see an explicit similarity: – ]

    And has quoted appropriate passages from the works of the Three Acharyas.  In respect of Shankara, he quotes the following:

    ೧. नारायणः परोऽव्यक्तात् अण्डमव्यक्तसंभवम् ।

    अण्डस्यान्तस्त्विमे लोकाः सप्तद्वीपा च मेदिनी ॥ [Introduction by Shankara to His Gita Bhashya]

    Narayana is beyond the Avyakta; From the Avyakta the Mundane Egg is born; Within the Mundane Egg, verily, are these worlds and the Earth made up of the seven dvipa-s.

    The Madhva scholar goes on to list other ‘commonalities’ across the Three Acharyas:

    1. All the Acharyas agree that the Veda is apauruSheya and is the parama-pramANa. (he quotes appropriate passages from the works of the three Acharyas which substatiate this)

    2. That Bhakti alone is the means for liberation is admissible to all the three Acharyas.  In support of this he quotes Shankara’s statement from the Gitabhashya 18.65:

    एवं भगवतःसत्यप्रतिज्ञत्वं बुद्ध्वा भगवद्भक्तेः अवश्यम्भाविमोक्षपलमवधार्य भगवच्चरणैकपरायणो भवेदिति वाक्यार्थः ।

    //The idea conveyed by the passage is: Having thus understood that the Lord is true in His pormise, and knowing for certain that liberation is the unfailing result of devotion to the Lord, one should have dedication to God as his only supreme goal,//

    3. That karma is subsidiary to Jnana and is the cause for chitta-shuddhi is admissible to all the Three Acharyas. The Shankara-passage given for this is:

    ….अग्निहोत्रादिलक्षणं कर्म ब्रह्मचर्यादिलक्षणं च अनुग्राहकं भवति विद्योत्पत्तये. (Taittiriya Up.Bhashya 1.11)  [for the karmas such as Agnihotra, as also the practices of celibacy, etc., undertaken in the past lives, become helpful to the rise of knolwedge….]

  • Noted Madhva scholar Dr.Bannanje Govindacharya has in several public platforms stated that Shankaracharya upheld Vishnu sarvottamatva 
  • The Pejawar Swamiji, during an address at the PPSM Bangalore, after a 10 day Vivekachudamani workshop, which I attended, said: All the three Acharyas stressed the need for Bhagavad bhakti.
  • Shankara is admitted by even other schools to have authored the Vishnusahasra nāma bhāṣya. Many devotional works such as the Ranganathāṣṭakam, the Viṣṇu ṣaṭpadī, Nrsimha, Jagannātha ashtakam, etc. are admitted to be his by even vaiṣṇavas.
  • List given by Vedantadeshika as follows:   पिशाच – रन्तिदेव – गुप्त  – यादवप्रकाश –  शङ्कर – भास्कर –  नारायणार्य –  यज्ञस्वामि –  प्रभृतिभि:,  does not mention ‘Shankara’ as ‘sankara’.
  • The contemporaries of Shankara, Sureshwara and Padmapada do not seem to have known Shankara as ‘Sankara’. If that was his real name, it would be easily known to the followers too, along with his supposed ill-famed birth. On the other hand Sureshwara says in the Brihadaranyaka bhashya vartika that he belonged to Atrigotra. He also refers to his Guru as the one who bore the name of ‘Bhava’ and ‘Vedhāḥ’, both names known to be of Shiva.There is no name ‘sankara’ that is one of the epithets of Shiva. Padmapada, in his invocatory verse for Panchapadika compares / contrasts Shankaracharya and Shiva and not any Sankara.
  • We can also see that all the advaita Acharyas that followed Shankara, before and after Ramanuja and Madhva, have invoked the blessings of Viṣṇu  in one or the other form.
  • If it is true that Shankara had ‘destroyed bhāgavata dharma-s’, how could those who followed him have displayed devotion to Viṣṇu? Even Vāchaspati Misra, the author of Bhāmatī, has prayed to Veda Vyasa as the shaktyavatāra of ‘Bhagavan’ Viṣṇu.
  • If it is said ‘the writings of Shankara are not to be relied upon for the person Shankara was quite the opposite (demoniacal)’, then such a charge is open to other Acharyas like Ramanuja and Madhva as well.
  • Even a Madhva historian has said that ‘in Sringeri the temples to Shāradā and Janardana have been there since ancient times.’
  • It is also strange that the purported Garuda purana quote is completely silent about Ramanuja:
  • tadā bhūmau vāyudevo bhaviṣyati na saṃśayaḥ /
    yajñārthaiḥ sadṛśo yasya nāsti loke caturdaśe // GarP_3,16.72 //

    [Then in the world vAyudeva will undoubtedly take birth.  He will be unequalled by anyone in matters of yajnArtha (?) in all the fourteen worlds.]

  • Between the four hundred years (that is the meaning of ‘tadā’, ‘then’!!) that passed after Shankara and before Madhva, Ramanuja had come to do the same work Madhva did: of refuting Advaita darshana of Shankara. If Madhva is credited to have established ‘sat śāstra’ by refuting Shankara, there is no way one can deny that credit to Ramanuja too. And the Ramanuja school has thrived these 1000 years producing great quantum of Acharyas and works even as the Madhva school has. Yet, curiously enough the author of the Garuda purana takes no notice of Ramanuja and ignores him completely, who arrived two hundred years after Shankara and before Madhva.
It is quite understandable, and reasonable too, that the Madhvas value the listed purāṇic references for the primary reason that they are corroborated by the real events, names, etc. pertaining to the birth and life and activities/works of Madhva. Similarly, it would be reasonable to value those references the Madhvas think are pertaining to Shankaracharya, too are corroborated by the real events, names, what he did, for example ‘destruction of bhāgavata/sat dharmas and his criticizing sat śāstras’. The ‘śāstras’ Shankara is known to have refuted in the Brahmasutra bhashya are: mainly sānkhya, nyāya vaiśeṣika, chārvāka, purva mimāmasa, pāśupata, bauddha and jaina. Are these ‘sat śāstra-s’? The pāncharātra has been critiqued by him on certain doctrinal grounds, but not by denigrating Vāsudeva. It also doubtful as to whether the pāncharātra that he had referred to there is the same as what is popularly known.
In the above background one can assess the merit of the purāṇic verses pertaining to Shankaracharya cited in the post or elsewhere.
Om Tat Sat
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Responses

  1. It is indeed a strange coincidence that verses denigrating Adi Shankara are found in so called ‘sattivika’ puranas. One can not also discount interpolation of verses in many of the Vaishnava puranas.


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