Posted by: adbhutam | March 10, 2018

THE STATUS OF HIRANYAGARBHA AS PER SHANKARA AND OTHERS

The status of Hiranyagarbha according to Shankara and others

In the Brihadaranyaka.Up. 1.4.6. Bhashyam there is a discussion on the status of Hiranyagarbha, also known as Brahma, Prajapati, etc:

अत्र विप्रतिपद्यन्ते — पर एव हिरण्यगर्भ इत्येके ; संसारीत्यपरे । पर एव तु मन्त्रवर्णात् — ‘इन्द्रं मित्रं वरुणमग्निमाहुः’ (ऋ. १ । १९४ । ४६) इति श्रुतेः ; ‘एष ब्रह्मैष इन्द्र एष प्रजापतिरेते सर्वे देवाः’ (ऐ. उ. ३ । १ । ३) इति च श्रुतेः ; स्मृतेश्च — ‘एतमेके वदन्त्यग्निं मनुमन्ये प्रजापतिम्’ (मनु. १२ । १२३) इति, ‘योऽसावतीन्द्रियोऽग्राह्यः सूक्ष्मोऽव्यक्तः सनातनः । सर्वभूतमयोऽचिन्त्यः स एव स्वयमुद्बभौ’ (मनु १ । ७) इति च । संसार्येव वा स्यात् — ‘सर्वान्पाप्मन औषत्’ (बृ. उ. १ । ४ । १) इति श्रुतेः ; न ह्यसंसारिणः पाप्मदाहप्रसङ्गोऽस्ति ; भयारतिसंयोगश्रवणाच्च ; ‘अथ यन्मर्त्यः सन्नमृतानसृजत’ (बृ. उ. १ । ४ । ६) इति च, ‘हिरण्यगर्भं पश्यत जायमानम्’ (श्वे. ४ । १२) इति च मन्त्रवर्णात् ; स्मृतेश्च कर्मविपाकप्रक्रियायाम् — ‘ब्रह्मा विश्वसृजो धर्मो महानव्यक्तमेव च । उत्तमां सात्त्विकीमेतां गतिमाहुर्मनीषिणः’ (मनु. १२ । ५०) इति । अथैवं विरुद्धार्थानुपपत्तेः प्रामाण्यव्याघात इति चेत् —

न, कल्पनान्तरोपपत्तेरविरोधात् । उपाधिविशेषसम्बन्धाद्विशेषकल्पनान्तरमुपपद्यते । ‘आसीनो दूरं व्रजति शयानो याति सर्वतः । कस्तं मदामदं देवं मदन्यो ज्ञातुमर्हति’ (क. उ. १ । २ । २१)इत्येवमादिश्रुतिभ्यः उपाधिवशात्संसारित्वम् , न परमार्थतः । स्वतोऽसंसार्येव । एवमेकत्वं नानात्वं च हिरण्यगर्भस्य । तथा सर्वजीवानाम् , ‘तत्त्वमसि’ (छा. उ. ६ । ८ । ७) इति श्रुतेः । हिरण्यगर्भस्तूपाधिशुद्ध्यतिशयापेक्षया प्रायशः पर एवेति श्रुतिस्मृतिवादाः प्रवृत्ताः । संसारित्वं तु क्वचिदेव दर्शयन्ति । जीवानां तूपाधिगताशुद्धिबाहुल्यात्संसारित्वमेव प्रायशोऽभिलप्यते । व्यावृत्तकृत्स्नोपाधिभेदापेक्षया तु सर्वः परत्वेनाभिधीयते श्रुतिस्मृतिवादैः ॥

Here is a translation of the Bhashya in English:

https://hinduism.stackexchange.com/questions/22851/should-prajapati-lord-brahma-be-regarded-as-a-supreme-self-or-a-transmigrating/24926#24926

Anandagiri says for the highlighted line:  कस्तर्हि हिरण्यगर्भे विशेषो येनासावस्मदादिभिरुपास्यते तत्राह – हिरण्यगर्भस्त्विति | ननु  श्रुतिस्मृतिवादेषु क्वचित्तस्य संसारित्वमपि प्रदर्श्यते, सत्यं तत्तु कल्पितमित्यभिप्रायेणाह – संसारित्वं त्विति |

Translation/gist: What excellence is there in Hiranyagarbha that makes him worthy of worship* by beings such as we? The reply is as stated by Shankara:हिरण्यगर्भस्तूपाधिशुद्ध्यतिशयापेक्षया प्रायशः पर एवेति श्रुतिस्मृतिवादाः प्रवृत्ताः । [Hiraṇyagarbha, possessing limiting adjuncts of extraordinary purity, is described by the Śrutis and Śmṛtis mostly as the Supreme Self]. Objection: In the scriptures sometimes he is spoken of as samsarin? Reply: That is true, but that is a concoction.

* While there are several upasana-s where Hiranyagarbha is the deity, the Taittiriya Aranyaka, in the list of Gayatri-s of various deities, has stated this:

वेदात्मनाय विद्महे हिरण्यगर्भाय धीमहि। तन्नो ब्रह्म प्रचोदयात्‌॥ २८॥ vedātmanāya vidmahe hiraṇyagarbhāya dhīmahi | tanno brahma pracodayāt 

Sayanacharya. while introducing the 12 Gayatris in that anuvaaka says: .. द्वादशभिर्ग्रायत्रीमन्त्रैः परब्रह्मसाक्षात्कारद्वारभूताः तत्तल्लिङ्गोक्ताः देवताः मुमुक्षुभिरभ्यर्थयते | [Aspirants after liberation, through the medium of these Gayatri mantras ardently pray to the respective Devata-s who are means to the direct realization of the Supreme Brahman.]  For the above stated Gayatri, Sayana comments:

We are aware, while toiling in the Gurukula and doing Vedanta sravana, of that Brahman that impels us to engage in acts of merit and demerit. Then we engage incessantly with commitment in nididhyasana with the idea that ‘I am That Infinite alone.’ What is the nature of that Brahman? It is Vedatman – he is the very svarupa of the entire Veda that is constituted of several branches and sub-branches. It is Hiranyagarbha – the very being that is Chaturmukha Brahma. By mentioning the Veda and Hiranyagarbha, by extension, Brahman is the All -sarvAtmakam. This is the Parama Gayatri.

One can appreciate the upasyatva of Hiranyagarbha through the above all-important Gayatri.

Thus, from the confirmation of Anandagiri of Shankara’s opinion, too, the position is: Hiranyagarbha/Brahma is the Supreme Brahman.

Shankara gives the contrast between Hiranyagarbha and other jivas: The former is excessively pure while the latter are excessively impure.

This matter is discussed in the Br.Up.Bhashya vartika too by Sureshwaracharya (1.4.143-153).

Thus, just as the invocatory verse of Sridhara Swamin to the Srimadbhagavatam is the primary pramana for his ultimate view of Hari-Hara, despite his various contextual comments in the Bhagavatam, the above Bhashya of Shankara is the primary pramana for the Vedantic view of Hiranyagarbha, despite his various contextual comments in the prasthana traya bhashya.

Here is a verse from the Vishnupurana:

नारायणाख्यो भगवान्ब्रह्मा लोकपितामाहः  ॥ १,३.३ ॥ [The Lord Brahma, the Grandsire of the world, known as Narayana..]

उत्पन्नः प्रोच्यते विद्वन्नित्यमेवोपचारतः  ॥ १,३.४ ॥ [

Sridhara Swamin comments:’If Brahma is verily Narayana, even by name, narayanakhya, how is it that by the shruti ‘हिरण्यगर्भः समवर्तताग्रे…’ (Hiranyagarbha originated…) his  origination is spoken of? Reply: The birth is only figurative as taking a form by mere will is similar to origination  – स्वेच्छया आविर्भावस्यापि उत्पत्तिसादृश्यात् –  Thus, even the idea that Brahma is a separate entity is denied by the Vishnu Purana and Sridhara Swamin. In fact Sridhara Swamin has also commented there that Shiva and Brahma are avataras of Vishnu, the Parabrahman. it is well known that an avatara is non-different from the moolarupa.

Another instance of the VP expressing non-difference is:

श्रीपराशर उवाच

अविकाराय शुद्धाय नित्याय परमात्मने  ।

सदैकरूपरूपाय विष्णवे सर्वजिष्णवे  ॥ १,२.१ ॥

नमो हिरण्यगर्भाय हरये शङ्कराय च  ।

This is a stuti of Brahman, …….Prostrations to Hiranyagarbha, Hari and Shankara.

Sridhara Swamin comments: ब्रह्मादित्रिमूर्तिरूपेण प्रणमति हिरण्यगर्भादिरूपाय  तैः रूपैः सर्गस्थित्यन्तकारिणे वासुदेवाय नमः | [Vasudeva, by his three forms Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva, performs the cosmic acts of creation, etc.]  Sridhara swamin, in the Bhagavatam commentary (2.10.4o, 42,43) too, has used a similar expression to say that the trimurtis are only three forms of the same Brahman:

ब्रह्मरूपेण स्रष्टृत्वमुक्त्वा विष्णुरूपेण पालकत्वमाह ।…..रुद्ररूपेण संहर्तृत्वमाह ..। [After having stated the creatorship as Brahmā, the sustainership as vishnu is being stated.]

Thus, one entity alone, takes three modes, to perform the three cosmic functions. The referent for the suffix ‘rupena’ in all the three cases has to be the same entity only and never otherwise.

Two seminal verses from the Bhaviṣyottara purāṇa cited in the introduction to the Vishnu Sahasra Nama bhashya by Shankara:

Maheśvara (Śiva) says:

विष्णोरन्यं तु पश्यन्ति ये मां ब्रह्माणमेव वा ।

कुतर्कमतयो मूढाः पच्यन्ते नरकेष्वधः ॥

[Those fools who, devoid of proper thinking, consider Me and Brahmā as different from Viṣṇu, will be baked in the lowly hells.] This idea is reflected in a famous Tamil saying: ariyum sivanum onnu, ariyadavar vaayile mannu.

ये च मूढा दुरात्मानो भिन्नं पश्यन्ति मां हरेः ।

ब्रह्माणं च ततस्तस्माद् ब्रह्महत्यासमं त्वघम् ॥

[Those fools, wicked ones, by seeing Me and Brahmā as different from Hari are committing the heinous sin of brahmahatyā.]

One can recall a similar verse in the Śrīmadbhāgavatam (Dakṣayajña section) as said by Viṣṇu: such jiva-s will not attain liberation.

Clearly, such verses of the scripture are never a favorite of non-advaitins.

Sridhara Swami’s invocation to the Srimadbhagavatam commentary:

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 Veda, Veda Vyasa, Shankara, Sureshwara (in the vartika has explicitly said: One Ishwara is spoken of by names such as Hari, Brahma and Pinaki) all hold the trimurtis as one entity alone, taking on different roles.

Om Tat Sat


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