Posted by: adbhutam | June 15, 2018

The Bhagavatam – Padma Puranam close correspondence

The Bhagavatam – Padma Puranam close correspondence

In the Srimadbhagavatam, at the very end of the text, in the 13th chapter of the 12th Canto occurs this verse:
यं ब्रह्मा वरुणेन्द्ररुद्रमरुतः स्तुन्वन्ति दिव्यैः स्तवैर्वेदैः सांगपदक्रमोपनिषदैर्गायन्ति यं सामगाः। ध्यानावस्थिततद्गतेन मनसा पश्यन्ति यं योगिनो यस्यान्तं न विदुः सुरासुरगण देवाय तस्मै नमः॥ 12.13.1
[ That Supreme Brahman whom Brahma, Varuna, Indra, Rudra and the Maruts praise by chanting transcendental hymns and reciting the Vedas with all their corollaries, pada-kramas and Upanisads, to whom the chanters of the Sama Veda always sing, whom the perfected yogis see within their minds after fixing themselves in trance and absorbing themselves within Him, and whose limit can never be found by any demigod or demon — unto that Supreme Personality of Godhead I offer my humble obeisances.]
The Infinite nature of Brahman and that it cannot be comprehended in its infinite nature by anyone is being stated in this verse. Nididhyasanam brings about the ‘brahmaakaara vritti’ which only removes the idea of finitude on the part of the aspirant.
The Upanishads teach ‘manasaivaanu drashTavayam..’  [Brahman can be realized only through the mind]. ‘Drushyate tu agryayaa buddhyaa sUkshmayaa sUkshma darshibhih’  [It is comprehended by the intellect rendered extremely subtle, that is, by keeping at bay gross objectifications.]
We find this reflected in the Padma Purana, Shiva Gita, in a discourse by Shiva with Rama:
ब्रह्मा हरिश्च भगवानाद्यन्तं नोपलब्धवान् ।
ततोऽन्ये च सुरा यस्मादनन्तोऽहमितीरितः ॥ ३५॥
[I am spoken of as  ananta, Infinite, since Brahma, Bhagavan Hari and other deva-s did not comprehend me. ]
The commentary of HH Sri Abhinava Nrsimha Bharati Swaminah, who was the Jagadguru of the Sringeri Peetham from 1599 to 1632 CE:
Alluding to the story of Brahma and Vishnu trying in vain to comprehend the limits of Shiva, the Effulgence, described in the Shiva and Devi Puranas extensively, the Acharya says: अत्र ब्रह्मा उपरि भागं न दृष्टवान्, हरिरादिमधोभागं न दृष्टवानित्यर्थः पुराणानुसारेण द्रष्टव्यः | कैमुतिकन्यायेन ततो अन्ये चेति यस्मात्तावाद्यन्तौ नोपलब्धव्न्तौ ततः कारणात् अन्येऽपि सुराः ….अतः कारणात् अहमनन्तो मतः, अवधिरहित इत्यर्थ: |
[Brahma did not comprehend the top portion,Hari did not see the top and bottom, this has to be understood from the Purana-s (that speak of this story). When these two great entities could not comprehend the limits of Shiva, Brahman, what to say of the other gods. For this reason I am held to be ananta, infinite, devoid of limitation.]
Thus, Veda Vyasa in the Shivagita of the Padma Purana has stated what he has said in the Bhagavatapuranam. The entities in the two puranams held as infinite Brahman may be given two different names: Vishnu in Bhagavatam and Shiva in the Padmapuranam, but the one designated by the names is One alone.  If the entities are different, then Brahman cannot be infinite, being tainted by vastu paricchinnatvam, that cuts at the root of anantatvam.
The Sringeri Acharya’s commentary to the Shiva Gita also emphasizes the fact that Vedantins do not resort to the weak alibis of ‘taamasa purana, tamasic portions of sattva purana, interpolation, sharira-atma, etc.’ For Vedantins have no need to resort to such excuses for Brahman is One that is spoken of with many names. It is only non-vedantins, compelled by theological considerations that grab those crutches to stand upon. The Vedantin does not need any such crutches as the Upanishads speak of Brahman alone with various names in various places depicting the jagatkaaranam.
The Padma Purana itself, in the discourse on the 12th Canto Bhagavata Mahatmyam has said that ‘he is the parama vaishnava who holds Shiva, Vishnu and Durga as Brahman, non-different from each other. Vedantins like Veda Vyasa adhere to this as is evidenced by the composition of the Bhagavata, Vishnu, Shiva and Devi Puranams.
Sridhara swamin makes a remark at the portion above stated Bhagavata verse:
सर्वपुराणसंख्यादीनुपवर्णयिष्यन्  तत्प्रतिपाद्यं देवं प्रणमति – यमिति |  [Setting out to give the size of the various puranas number of verses in each purana, the ‘Deva’ that is taught in all the puranas is being saluted.]  ‘Deva’ is not any finite deity but the Supreme Brahman that is Consciousness. Shankara cites from a Jabala upanishad in th Brahma sutra bhashya 4.1.3 परमेश्वरप्रक्रियायां जाबाला आत्मत्वेनैव एतमुपगच्छन्ति — ‘त्वं वा अहमस्मि भगवो देवतेऽहं वै त्वमसि भगवो देवते’   ‘ You are verily Me, O Devataa, I am indeed You.’  This identity is possible only when the entities involved are Pure consciousness and not any persons with different attributes.
Thus we see Veda Vyasa, Shankara and his followers not deviating from the Upanishadic idea of Brahman which is not a finite person. For theological schools, Brahman is no more than a person. If they give up their ‘person’ identity, their schools will collapse. Shankara says in the Taittiriya Bhashya for the word ‘purusha’ who is a product of prithvi tattvam, ‘shirahpaanyaadimaan’ , someone endowed with head, hands, etc. The Yoga Sutras too hold their Ishwara to be a special Purusha:  “क्लेशकर्मविपाकाशयैरपरामृष्टः पुरुषविशेष ईश्वरः”। (क्लेष, कर्म, विपाक और आशय से अछूता (अप्रभावित) वह विशेष पुरुष है। As they are not Brahmavadins, they hold their Ishwara to be a Purusha, surely not the Vedantic Purusha.  For Brahmavadins alone Brahman is not confined to a mere purusha, a person.  Rather, Brahman is a tattva having no attributes that can inhere only in a ‘person’.
Om Tat Sat


  1. The story of Lord Shiva being infinite and searched by Brahma and Narayana is present in various places in the Puranas. I have some collections from the Puranas:

    Shiva Purana 1.7
    Shiva Purana 2.1.8
    Shiva Purana 4.12
    Shiva Purana 7.1.13
    Shiva Purana 7.2.34
    Linga Purana 1.17
    Linga Purana 2.18
    Brahmanda Purana 1.2.26
    Kurma Purana 1.9
    Kurma Purana 1.26
    Vayu Purana 1.24
    Vayu Purana 1.55
    Padma Purana – reference in Shiva Gita portion (where Lord Shiva says Hari and Brahma were not able to find his beginning and end)
    Padma Purana – reference of Shiva expanding into Brahma, Vishnu, Mahesh (Patala Khanda – Chapter 108)
    Srimad Bhagavata Purana 8.7.23 – reference of Shiva expanding into Brahma, Vishnu, Mahesh
    Srimad Bhagavata Purana 8.7.31 – reference of the infinite nature of Shiva which cannot be comprehended by even Brahma, Narayana, Mahendra
    Varaha Purana talks about Linga Worship (Chapter 215 -> Mahendra, Narayana, Brahma go in search of Shiva who takes the form of a deer and they fail to catch him)
    Skanda Purana 1.1.7
    Skanda Purana 1.3.1
    Skanda Purana 1.4.10
    Skanda Purana 6.1
    Vamana Purana 2.22
    Vamana Purana 2.26 (King Vena’s prasie of Shiva Linga. He identifies Brahma, Narayana and all the Devas within the body of Lord Shiva)
    Devi Bhagavata Purana

  2. Thank you very much for this collection and sharing here.

  3. Thanks a lot. No problem. It’s my pleasure. You are doing a great service for Advaita.

  4. Have you ever heard of Gandaberunda’s incarnation of Vishnu anywhere in the Puranas? Is there proof for that?

  5. I have not. There was a discussion in the BVP a few months ago on the topic of Gandaberunda. You may dig up the archives.

  6. Sure. Thanks Sir.

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