Posted by: adbhutam | December 4, 2017

The Bhagavadgita and Vishnu sahasra nama – double up as texts on Shiva as well

The Bhagavadgita and Sri Vishnu Sahasra Nāma – double up as texts on Shiva as well

It is popular belief among non-advaitins that the  Bhagavadgita and VSN are texts that relate to of Lord Vishnu. However, for the Vedantin such as Shankara, these are works that are a teaching on realizing Brahman. They are not theological texts for the Vedantin. He does not confine the commentary to make the texts applicable to solely a finite deity Vishnu. He also reveals the VSN to be holding Shiva as Brahman, jagatkāraṇam, as well. His citing the śivapurāṇa verse ‘…;śivaḥ paramakāraṇam’ for the ‘Rudra’ name therein is a proof for this. Also for the name ‘soma’ of the VSN, Shankara, alternatively, takes it as the one with Umā.  That he has considered the Kaivalyopaniṣat ‘sa brahmā, sa śivaḥ…’ as teaching abheda of all deities is another proof of his not confining the VSN to the finite deity Viṣṇu.
Quite interestingly we have Sri Desamangalam Arya, the commentator for the famous Nārāyaṇīyam of Melpattur Narayana Bhattatiri, at 90.5 say:
नामसहस्रकादीति |  आदिशब्देन श्रीगीतादि गृह्यते | सोऽपि तदुभयमपि शिवपरतया व्याख्यातुं शक्यमपि विष्णुपरतयैव व्याख्यातवान् | [ Nāmasahasrakādi iti. The ‘etc.’ includes the Bhagavadgītā, etc. He, Shankara, too, even though both these texts can be commented/interpreted upon to mean Shiva to be the Supreme, explained them as bringing out Vishnu alone as the Brahman.]
The following emerge as fall-outs from  the above comment:
  • The VSN and the BG are not Vishnu-specific works
  • A Vedantin can happily interpret these texts as Shiva-specific as well
  • The immediate fallout of this is: the वेदैश्च सर्वैरहमेव वेद्यः occurring in the BG will lose its emphasis with respect to Vishnu as normally claimed by non-Advaitins.
  • There is the śivagītā, having the concepts of the BG, of the Padmapurana which has been commented by a 15-16CE Pontiff of the Sringeri Peetham.
  • Abhinavagupta has commented upon the BG. It is reported that he has said:    //In his commentary on the Bhagavad Gita, Gitarthasangraha, Abhinavagupta emphatically declared that freedom from all miseries can be obtained by seeing Him (Paramshiva) in everything and everywhere, and not by renunciation of the world. The impending battle between Pandvas and Kaurvas is interpreted as the race between Vidya (knowledge, perception) and Avidya (ignorance, blurred perception).//
  • There cannot be a greater blasphemous statement than Desamangalam Arya’s and implicitly of Narayana Bhatta’s, for the cause of Vaishnavism.
  • If the VSN and BG can be interpreted as Shiva-specific, the status of the so-called ‘sattva puranas’ is at stake. Desamangalam includes an ‘ādi” after saying VSN and BG. The Vishnu Purana and the Bhagavata will lose their uniqueness as Vishnu-specific works. In fact Sridhara Swamin has, in the invocation to the Bhagavatam commentary captured the essence of this text:  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. Thus, the Self, which is the dearest for one, is Shiva in the case of Krishna/Vishnu. The Vishnupurana commentary of Sridharaswamin contains the episode of Vishnu offering his very eye in worship of Shiva.
  • This verse alone is the authority for gauging Sridharaswamin’s heart about the gods Shiva and Vishnu. What might appear to be contrary to this in his commentaries are to be seen as contextual and not his personal view, which is set out in the invocation cited above.
  • The claim of Narayana Bhatta and Desamangalam that Shankara commented upon the BG as Vishnu-specific is denied by none other than Ramanuja.  Śrībhāṣya: 2.2.27

     ….वेदवादछद्मप्रच्छन्नबौद्धनिराकरणे निपुणतरं प्रपञ्चितम् । 

    //This point has already been set forth in detail in our refutation of those crypto-Bauddhas who take shelter under a pretended Vedic doctrine.//In the Bhagavadgita 13.2 bhāṣya Ramanuja says:

     अत एवमादिवादा अनाकलित — श्रुतिस्मृतीतिहासपुराणन्यायसदाचार — स्ववाक्यविरोधैः स्ववचःस्थापनदुराग्रहैः अज्ञानिभिः जगन्मोहनाय प्रवर्तिताः इति अनादरणीयाः।

    //Therefore such arguments as these are to be rejected since they stem from ignoramuses who are obsessed with asserting their views that are self-contradictory, with no basis in the Śruit, smṛti, itihāsa, purāṇa, logic and noble conduct, aimed at deluding the world.//

  • Thus, according to Ramanuja, since Shankara is ignorant of the purport of Shruti, smriti, purana, etc. which is Vishnu-supremacy (according to Ramanuja), has not upheld the deity Vishnu as the Brahman in the BG. Also, someone who is a crypto-Buddhist cannot be even a vaidika, let alone being a protagonist of Vishnu-supremacy.

  • Pillai Lokachariar of the Ramanuja following himself has acknowledged that the names Vasudeva and Vishnu are more advaita-friendly. These two names, especially Vasudeva, has been a favorite of Shankara to proclaim: I am Vasudeva as the purport of the BG. In fact the names Vishnu, Krishna, etc. are found in the Shiva Sahasra Nama of the Mahabharata, which is condensed by Kshemendra of the 11 CE and is a part of the extant Kumbhakonam edition which Madhvas follow.

  • Narayana Bhatta’s credential as a protagonist of Vishnu-Supremacy stands contradicted by none other than himself by authenticating the Prapanchasāra as that of śankara. In this work Shankara has established every deity as upaasya for moksha. The claim of Narayana Bhatta in the Narayaneeyam as Shankara has singled out Vishnu in the Prapanchasara is thus far from the truth.

  • The greatest blow to courting Narayana Bhatta as a non-vaishnava scholar supporting the cult of Vaishnavism comes from not anyone else but himself.  He has composed the Sreepaada saptati which is a work holding Devi, the consort of Shiva, to be the Supreme: Read an article here on this topic:

Desamangalam Arya’s observation that the VSN and BG, etc. are texts that are amenable to Shiva-supremacy is no doubt representative of the Vedantic idea. As he himself observes, citing a maxim, in the commentary to 90.9: ‘यस्येच्छा जायते यस्मिन् तं देवं स समाश्रयेत्’ [let one resort to that god in whom he finds a liking], each one resorts to the god of his liking, that arises out of his samskaras born of practices of earlier lives. So, there is no hard  and fast rule that one should be a vaishnava alone in order to get liberation. Desamangalam says further: by the firming up of the devotion to that chosen god, the devotee attains the fruit. This rule is at the basis of the puranas holding one god as superior at the cost of apparently deprecating the other gods. Repeatedly one can encounter such statements in the Mahabharata that bring out the central theme of not only the MB but the entire Veda:

रुद्रो नारायणश्चैव सत्त्वमेकं द्विधा कृतम्।

लोके चरति कौन्तेय व्यक्तिस्थं सर्वकर्मसु।। 12-350-27a 12-350-27b.

[Rudra and Narayana are only two manifestations of One Principle…….]

Om Tat Sat


  1. You are being polite but the crass hatred of vaishnavites goes all the way back up to their so-called “archaryans”. There is lot of Vaishnavite hateful slander of the Halahala incident – but Smriti is quite clear – The devas and Vishnu glorified Siva and he drank the poison. the new method of hatred is to say although Siva drank it – he was praying to his “antaryami” Vishnu as he did it.

  2. नमश्शिवाय।🙏🏻

    Hi all. शिवसहस्रनाम is also present in रुद्रयामलतन्त्र, in fact my Jyotiṣa tradition recommends to chant श्रीशिवसहस्रनामस्तोत्रम् to realize the grace of a Guru. But this is been suggested to a particular Jātaka based on Guru’s (Jupiter) position

    Guru’s grace is always available, It’s just that one should recognize it.

    PS: The true purport of Jyotiṣa is Advaita tattva. That’s the beauty of the teachings of महर्षि पराशर & महर्षि जैमिनि

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