Shankar and Vaishnavism

1.
In Diwali special publication of” Ananda vikatan” weekly magazine in the year 1971, an article appeared in which it was written that Sri Adi Shankaracharya established “shan matam”, i.e. worship of six Dieties meaning by resorting to any one of them one can realise the ultimate truth. Accordingly, one can worship Ganapati (Gaanaapatyam), kaartikeya (kaumaaram), Shiva (shaivam), Shakti (Shaktam), Vishnu (Vaishnavism) & Sun (Sauram).
Sri Krishna swamy Iyengar, author of monthly magazine “Srivaishnava sudarsanam” & publisher of many research books & Srivaishnava Sampradaya books gave a fitting reply refuring this claim of Adi Shankara being the establisher of Shan Mataas. This reply was published as a book named “Shankara & vaishnavism” in Tamil. I would like to present some excerpts from the book for the benefit fit of those who cannot read Tamil.

 

Thanking @Vasan Srirangachari swamijee for this priceless translation out of his nirhaituk kripa:

To download in pdf format click hereShankar and Vaishnavism

2.
There is no basis for the claim that Adi Shankara established six worships except in works like shankara vijayam which were composed within 500 years. There is no basis for this in the works of previous advaitacharyas like Adi shankara & other great acharyas. In works of great acharyas shat darsana (six philosophies) considered were Boudhdham, Vaisheshikam, Naiyaayikam, jainism, kapila saankhyam & Patanjalu’s yogam. Since Gaanaapathyam etc shan matams are not found in any works prior to 500 years, it is clear such imagination has occurred within last 500 years. From the works of Adi Shankara which are accepted by all researchers like his commentaries on Brahma sutras, Bhagavad Gita, Upanishads & Vishnu sahasranaam, it is quite evident that acharya did not establish these six worships.

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Let us see some of the evidences for this from his commentarys.

3
While commentating on a sentence from Brihad aaranyakopanishad, Shankara writes “यः- ईदृगीश्र्वरो नारायणाख्यः,पृथिवीम्-पृथिवीदेवताम् ,यमयति-नियमयति स्वव्यापारे, अंतरः-अभ्यंतरस्थिष्टन्,एष ते आत्मा -ते तव मम च सर्वभूतानाम् च इत्युपलक्षणार्थमेतद्”
(Thus Ishwara whose name is Narayana controls the earth god in his activities by staying within him. That ishwara is atmaa for you, me & all).

Thus though in the vedic text name of almighty is not mentioned, acharya writes that his name is Narayana. While commenting thus acharya has the sentence of Subaalopanishad in his mind which says “यस्य पृथिवी शरीरम् – दिव्यो देव एको नारायणः”. Thus Shankara has clearly shown that Narayana is that controlling atma or GOD.

4
For this bhashya of Shankara,following is the vaartika (meaning) given by traditional advaitaacharya:
कृष्ण द्वैपायनो व्यासो वेदात्मा ध्वांत हानिकृत्।
प्राहेममेव बहुशः प्राणीनाम् हित काम्यया।।
नारायणः परोSव्यक्तात् अंडमव्यक्तसंभवम्।
अंडस्यान्तस्त्विमे लोकाः सप्तद्वीपा च मेदिनी।।
तस्मै नमोSस्तु देवाय निर्गुणाय गुणात्मने।
नारायणाय विश्र्वाय देवानम् परमात्मने।।
एतमेव समुद्दिष्य मंत्रो नारायणस्तथा।
वेदविद्भिर् महाप्राग्ज्ञैः पुरुषैः विनियुज्यते।।
(Krishnadvaipaayan named vyaasa who removes the darkness of ignorance himself by being embodiment of vedas for the sake of redemption of jivas has said this many times; Narayana is beyond the moola prakruti called avyaktam; and from that avyaktam, andam (a group of 14 lokaas) came into existence. In that andam are these planets (lokaahaa) & this earth with seven islands (continents). Namaskaaram to that Narayana who is attributeless & also with attributes & who is paramatma to all devas. The great (प्रांग्ज्ञैः) knowers of vedas chant the (Taittreeya) Narayana mantras for Him alone).
Thus the vaartikacharya says that shankara accepted Narayana alone as supreme GOD following the path shown by vyasa.
Age-old advaita teekacharya Anandagiri who composed teeka (detail explaination) for this vaartika has written as below:
“न केवलम् पुराणागमाभ्यामेव सोSधिगम्यते। किन्तु श्रुत्यक्षरैरपीत्याह-एतमेवेति।” सहत्रषीर्शम देवम् विश्र्वाक्षम् विश्र्वशंभुवम् ।विश्र्वम् नारायणम् देवमक्षरम् परमं प्रभुम्” इत्यादिः मंत्रो वेदार्थविद्भिः अंतर्यामिणमुद्दिष्य विनियुक्तः।अतः स वैदिक इत्यर्थः।।”
(Narayana is not only to be known from puranas & aagamaas but also He is known from vedas.This is expressed in the shloka एतमेव (in vaartikaa).The Narayana anuvaaka mantra which begins with “sahasra sheersham devam” is said by knowers of vedas for antaryami.Hence Narayana is vedapratipadya antaryami only is the meaning.)”. Thus the teekaacharya established that Narayana alone is the param supreme tatva of vedas.

5
In Chaandogya upanishad there is sentence which starts with “brahma वा इदमgra आसीत्” lists the creatures created by brahma. In that while commentating on sentance “इन्द्रः वरुणः सोमो rudraha”, Sri Shankara says “इन्द्रःदेवानां राजा….Rudraha पशूनाम्”. By wriring so ,Shankara shows that rudra who is pasupati is a created being,

While Shankar completely refutes Sakhy, nyay, and Shaiv and shakt agmas, he pauses to accept aradhana and Narayan partvam of Pancharatra.

6
While commentating on brahma sutra “उत्पत्यसम्भवात्” (2-2-4) which discusses about pancharatra agama ,Sri Shankara writes “तत्र यत्तावदुच्यते योSसौ नारायणः परोSव्यक्तात् प्रसिद्धः परमात्मा सर्वात्मा…इति तन्न निराक्रियते।….यद्यपि तस्य भगवतोSभिगमनादि लक्षण माराधनमजस्रमनन्यचित्ततयाभिप्रेयते तदपि न प्रतिषिद्धयते।।”

(I do not refute the statements of Pancharaatris that Narayana is beyond avyakata, He is well known paramatma, He is sarvaatmaa. I also do not reject their practice of worshipping Bhagavan by precedures of abhigamanam etc. without the mind thinking about any other (deity)”.

Here Adi Shankara has shown that Narayana alone is Paramaatma & that it is his opinion too to worship Narayana without thinking about other devatas as stated in Pancharaatra agama.

7

In Gita bhashyam, Sri Shankara writes the mangala shloka “नारायणः परोSव्यक्तात् अंडमव्यक्तसंभवम्। अण्डस्यांतस्त्विमे लोकाः सप्तद्वीपा च मेदिनी।।”

(as quoted by vaartikaacharya shown in post 4) which shows Narayana as cause for all creations.
Then in preface he writes “आदि कर्ता नारायणाख्यो विष्णुः भौमस्य Braahmanaha Braahmanasya च अभिरक्षणार्थं देवक्यां वसुदेवादंशेन कृष्णः किल संबभुव”
(The first cause of universe Vishnu who is called Narayana ,in order to protect braahmanaas & braahmanatvam was born as Krishna to Devaki & Vasudeva) thus upholding the paratatvam of Vishnu.

8
In Gita bhashyam while commentating on many shlokas ,Adi Shankara has shown that Narayana alone is Paramaatmaa.Some of the shloka bhasyam are as under:
In bhashya of shloka (6-47), acharya says “योगीनामपि सर्वेशां- रुद्रादित्यादिपराणां, मत्गतेन-मयि वासुदेवे समाहितेन,अंतरात्मना-अंतःकरणेन, श्रद्धावान्-श्रद्धधानः सन्, भजते-सेवते, यो माम् स मे-मम,युक्ततमः-अतिशयेन युक्तः, मतः-आभिप्रेतः इति।।”(The yogi who worships me with mindful dedication is alone greater than yogis who worship rudra,sun etc.).

9
On the shloka of Gita (7-23), Sri Shankara says
“अंतवत्-विनाशी तु फलं तेषां तत् भवति अल्पमेधसां अल्प प्रज्ञानां।देवान् यजन्त इति देवयजः ते देवान् यान्ति मद्भक्ताः यान्ति मामपि।एवं समाने अपि आयासे मामेव न प्रतिपद्यन्ते अनंतफलाय,अहो खलु कष्टतरं वर्त्तते इत्यनुक्रोषं दर्शयति भगवान्।।”

(People worshipping other gods being of meagre intellect receive only meagre fruits by worshipping them. Worshippers of other gods are called devyajaha. They attain those gods. My devotees attain me. Thus though the worshippings efforts being same these people do not worship me for the sake of limitless eternal fruits. Alas!what a tragedy! thus Bhagvaan expresses His sorrow.)

10
On the shloka of Gita (9-23 to 25) Sri Shankara says

“…येSपि…..अन्यासू देवतासू भक्ताः संतः….पूजयन्ति….तेSपि मामेव यजन्ति अविधिपूर्वकं।अविधिः अज्ञानं तत्पूर्वकं यजन्ते इत्यर्थः।।देवvrataahaa देवान् यान्ति पित्रून् यान्ति पितृvrataahaa…भूतानि विनायक मातृगण चतुर्भगिन्यादीन् यान्ति भूतेज्याः -भूतानाः पूजकाः…मद्याजिनः -मद्यजनशीला वैष्णवाः मां एव यान्ति।समाने अपि आयासे मामेव न भजन्ते अज्ञानात्।तेन ते अल्पफलभाजः भवन्ति इत्यर्थः।।”

(Those who worship other gods they too worship me alone but with ignorance. Deva worshippers attain devaas, Pitru worshippers attain Pitrus, worshippers of bhutaas attain vinayaka, Maatrugana, Chaturbhagini etc. bhutaas. Worshippers of me, the vaishnavas attain me alone. Worshippers of others, though the efforts being same, because of ignorance of the fact that I am the swami of all yagyas, do not attain me. Hence they get meagre fruits only .This is the meaning.).

Thus acharya has strongly expressed his views like a stone inscription.

11
In Brahmasutra bhashyam for Yaavadadhikaaraadhikaranam Sri Shankara writes “सनत्कुमारोSपि brahmana एव मानसः पुत्रः स्वयं रुद्राय वरप्रदानात् स्कन्दत्वेन प्रादुर्बभूव”

Meaning: skanda or kartikeya was an incarnation of Sanatkumar & not of Paramatma or Param Ishwara.

Veda says “तमसः पारं दर्शयति भगवान् सनत्कुमारः तं स्कन्द इत्याचक्षते”। keeping this in mind Sri Shankara gave such a bhashyam .It is popular in the puranas that Sanatkumara was son of Bramha. His jivatvam & his being vibhuti of Bhagavan are too known in puraanaas. By the Bhagavad vakyam “सेनानीनामहं स्कन्दः” in Gita too, vibhuti roopam of skanda is established.

Hence skanda is said to be aadhikaarika purusha in the above mentioned adhikaranam too of Brahma sutra, kaumaara matam is refuted.

12

Veda vakyas like “न तत्र सूर्यो भाति”, “भीषोदेति सूर्यः”, “य आदित्ये तिष्ठन्नादित्यादन्तरः”
(“There the sun does not shine”,”By whose fear sun rises”, “One who is in the sun ..”) establish jivatvam of sun. Sri Shankara too in many places has mentioned aadhikaarika purushatvam of sun.
Hence Sri Shankara established jivatvam of shiva, shakti, Vinayaka, skanda & surya etc by his own sentences. He has roared about the paratvam of Narayana in many places in his bhashyas.
He has never ever attributed jivatvam or Aadhikaarika purushatvam to Vishnu even in light vein.Hence religion of Adi Shankara is vaishnavam only.

13
It can be asked let Sri Shankara uphold Vishnu but what is the harm in accepting paratva for other gods? In that case it will result in many ishwaras .Sri Shankara while commentating on Gita shloka beginning with “न त्वत्समोस्त्यभ्यधिकः कुतोSन्य; states that
“न च त्वत्समः त्वत्तुल्यः अन्यः अस्ति न हि ईश्र्वरत्वं संभवति अनेकेश्र्वरत्वे व्यवहारानुपपत्तेः।त्वत्सम एव तावदन्यो न संभवति कुत एव अन्यः अभ्यधिकः स्यात्”।
(There is no one equal to you because otherwise if there are more than one ishwara, jagat vyavahara will be in chaos). Thus acharya having refuted the existence of more then one ishwara established Vasudava as the only Param Ishwara who is devoid of none equal or above Him.

14
While commentating on Vishnu sahasranaam explaining the naam “संप्रमर्दन”, Sri Shankara writes “सम्यक् प्रमर्दयति रुद्रकालादिभिर्विभूतिरिति संप्रमर्दनः”
(The one who destroys the jagat through His vibhutis Rudra,Kala etc..). Thus acharya has expressed that Rudra is one of the vibhuti of Bhagavan & not param Ishwara.

15
Again while explaining the name “भूत महेश्र्वर”, Sri Shankara writes “भूतेन सत्येन स एव परमो महानीश्र्वर इति वा भूतमहेश्र्वर”. Thus acharya intends that Vishnu is really Maheshwar while Maheshwaratam of siva etc are aupachaarikam means they are called maheshwar due to respect. While commentating on “महेज्य”, acharya says “सर्वासु देवतासु यष्टव्यासु प्रकर्षेण यष्टव्यो मोक्षफलदातृत्वादिति महेज्य” meaning Vishnu worship is greater than worship of others, as He is the giver of moksham.

16

Sri Shankara writes while commentating on “यावदधिकाराधिकरणं in his Brahmasutra bhashyam that “यथासौ भगवान् सविता सहस्त्रयुगपर्यन्तं जगतोSधिकारं चरित्वा तादवसाने उदयास्तमयवर्जितं कैवल्यं आनुभवति”. (Savita (sun god) after completing his tenure of thousand yuga experiences kaivalyam devoid of rise & set).
Here too Sri Shankara says that sun god too is a adhikaarika purusha & not param Ishwara thus refuting Soura matam in which sun god is held as supreme ishwara,

17
While commentating on mantra “तद् विष्णोः परमं पदं” (3-9), acharys writes
“तद् विष्णोः-व्यापन शीलस्य Brahmanaः परमात्मनो वासुदेवख्यस्य, परमं -उत्कृष्ठं, पदं-स्थानं”.
Since he writes Vasudeva for the word Vishnu & since for word padam instead of writing swaroopam, he writes staanam (abode), acharya has considered here attainment of abode of saguna brahmam & he considers Vishnu alone to be saguna brahmam.
Even whenever acharya gives example of symbolic worship, he mentions “Saalagraame वैष्णु दृष्ठिः”, “यथा प्रतिमादौ विष्ण्वादिबुद्धिः” & not “लिंगे शिवदृष्ठिः”.Thus acharya’s contemplation is always on Bhagavan Narayana,

18
Sri Shankara in Gita bhashya at many places writes “परं देवं नारायणं” (9-22), “वासुदेवाख्यं परbrahma भूतं” (15-3) meaning Narayana is parabrahma, paramatma but never ever described Shiva etc. by such words.On the contrary mentions that these gods are created by saguna brahma Narayana.

19
Generally present day advaitins say Bramha, Vishnu & Rudra are same & thet there is no difference between them. Such a thinking is proved to be wrong by Sri Shankara in his bhashyas.

Gita bhashya shloka (8-16 “किम् पुनः त्वत्तः अन्यत् प्राप्ताः पुनः आवर्तन्ते इति? उच्यते-आ bramhaभुवनात्, -bramhaभुवनं bramha लोक इत्यर्थः,आ bramhaभुवनात्- सह bramha लोकेन लोकाः सर्वे पुनरावर्तिनः-पुनरावर्तिन स्वभावाः.,,,मां एकं उपेत्य तु कौन्तेय पुनर्जन्म पुनरुत्पत्तिः न वैद्यते”

(People who attain others & not yourself, do they return to this world? listen answer to this. Bramhabhuvanam means bramha’s place. All places upto bramhaloka have the nature of return to this world.But those who attain me alone do not return). Here acharya writes that krishna shows the vast difference between bramha & Himself.
Gita shloka (11-37)
“Bramhan:-हिरण्यगर्भस्यापि आदिकर्ता-कारणं”. Here acharya writes that arjuna says krishna is the cause of bramha too.
Gita shloka(4-16)Sri Shankara writes the meaning of “भूतानां ईश्र्वरः”as “bramhaaदिस्तंभपर्यन्तानां ईश्र्वरः”(One who has nature of controlling everything from bramha to tiny grass).Here acharya shows that among the controlled jivas, bramha is the first & Krishna is the natural controller of him.

20
While commentating on names” भूतकृत् भ्तभृत्”, acharya writes
“रजोगुणं समाश्रित्य विरिंचरुपेण भूतानि करोति इति भूतकृत्।तमोगुणमधिष्ठाय रुद्रात्मना कृन्तति हिनस्तीति वा भूतकृत्।सत्वगुणमधिष्ठाय भूतानि बिभर्ति पाति धारयति पोषयति इति वा भूतभृत्।”

(By attaining rajo guna in the form of bramha creates & hence is called bhootakrut,By attaining tami guna in the form of rudra destroys & hence also bhootakrut.By attaining satva guna He protects the creations ,holds them & make them flourish & hence He is called bhootabrut”.
Sri Shankara who wrote that by having forms of raajasik Bramha & taamasik Rudra, he could have writtem by taking form of saatvik Vishnu he protects but instead wrote” by attaining satva guna, he protects”. Thus acharya intends that Vishnu alone does creation & dissolution through Bramha & Rudra & Himself directly does the protection .Thus acharya ,having attributed greater satva guna to Vishnu & lower rajasik guna to Bramha & lowest taamasik guna to Rudra ,accepts difference among the trimurtis in the vyavahaarika state.
Acharya has explicitly accepted Vishnu to be saguna bramha, & first place among jivas to Bramha & second place to Rudra.

21

while commentating on the word “सर्वभूतांतरात्मा” of Mundakopanishad (2-4),Sri Shankara writes

“एषदेवो विष्णुरनंतः प्रथमशरीरि त्रेलोक्यदेहोपाधिः सर्वेषां भूतानां आंतरात्मा”
(This dev who is known as Vishnu & Anantha, the foremost among those having body & also one who has the universe as His body, is antaratma of everyone). Thus in saguna tatva, first place is given to Vishnu by acharya.
Thus acharya has not considered someone above Vishnu which is evident from his prasthanatraya bhashya & saharanaama bhashya & acharya has quoted from satvika puranas like Vishnu purana & not touched the taamasa purana vaakyaas which abuse Vishnu.

22
Sri Shankara while commentating on first kaarikaa of Maandukyopanishad writes “ईश्र्वरो यो नारायणाख्यः” (Ishwara who is known as Narayana).
In bhashya of Paanchataatra adhikarana of brahmasutra ,Sri Shankara that Narayana is very much known in shruti ,smriti as Ishwara.(“श्रुतिस्मृत्योरीश्र्वरप्रणिधानस्य प्रसिद्धत्वात्”). In Gita bhashya too writes “मयि देवे परमेश्र्वरे सर्वज्ञे सर्वात्मनि वासुदेवे”(3-30) (In me who is pram ishwara ,omniscient sarvaatmaa Vasudeva), “परमेश्र्वरे विष्णुं”(8-5) (In parameshara who is Vishnu), “मयि -वासुदेवे परमेश्वरे”(4-35), “ईश्र्वरस्य विष्णोः”(7-14),”परमेश्र्वरं नारायणं”(7-15),”रुपं ऐश्र्वरं-वैष्णव रुपं”(11-3), “विष्णोः परमेश्र्वरस्य”(12-20), “ईश्र्वरस्य विष्णोः”(13-2), “मयि परमेश्र्वरे सर्वज्ञे परमगुरौ वासुदेवे”(13-18), “परमश्चासौ ईश्र्वरश्च ईशनशीलश्च इति परमेश्र्वरः”(13-27), “ईश्र्वरं नारायणं”(14-26), “भगवतः ईश्र्वरस्य नारायणाख्यस्य”(15-16), “ईश्र्वरः-सर्वज्ञः नारायणाख्यः ईशनशीलः”(15-17), “ईश्र्वरः-ईशनशीलः”(18-61).
While commentating on names like ईशान, ईश्र्वर, परमेश्र्वर in Vishnu saharanaama bhashya, Sri Shankara shows that meaning of common nouns like ishwara,maheshwara ,ishaana, parameshwara etc. are applicable to Narayana alone, But while commentating on the word Narayana ,he writes “नारायणाख्यः,वासुदेवाख्यः etc. considering them to be proper nouns. But acharya has never indicated in all of his works, supreme as “ईश्र्वराख्यः”, “परमेश्र्वराख्यः”, “ईशानाख्यः”, “शिवाख्यः”, “महेश्र्वराख्यः”.Thus it can be concluded from Sri Shankara’s prasthana traya & Sahasranaam bhasya that acharya held Narayana alone as Saguna Brahman & other gods as jivas being controlled by HIM.

Now let us find out the reasons for present non praamaanika advaitins not accepting Vishnu as supreme in the next post.

23

Five hundred ago advaitins had accepted th Vishnu paratvam which is crystal clear from the works of advatins.During the period of Appaiya Deekshit within 500 years ago, severe endeavour was undertaken to establish shiva paratvam in the basis of vedas. During his period this attempt was vigorously refuted by Srivaishnav acharyas like Mahaacharya & dvaitaacharyas. Having hurt by this defeat, he & his followers composed many false works. Those were:

1. They composed some upanishads holding shiva as param & claimed upanishads are 108.

2. They made the advaitins to apply bhasma tiryak pundaram who were applying urdhva pundram with gopi chandan (today too we can see some of the advaitins wearing this urdhva pundram).

3. They composed Srikandabhashyam on brahma sutras claiming shaiva vishishtaadvaitam. No one follows this sampradayam now.

4. Stotras on shiva, shakti, Ganapati, kartikeya etc.were composed in the name of Adi Shankara. These stotras have not be quoted by any advaitacharya before 500 years.

5. They composed “Shankara vijayam” in which it is mentioned that sri Shankara defeated Neelakanda (so that people will believe that Srikanda bhashyam is ancient) & that Sri Shankara established “shan मत”(so that it can be believed that it is ancient).

24
Shakti is Shiva’s wife, Kartikeya & Ganapati are Shiva’s sons. Shiva & Ganapati are jivas created by Narayana as per Sri Shankara is shown in the previous posts.”भीषोदेति सूर्यः; (the sun rises being afraid of lord), Such vedic sentences declares sun to be a jiva who is afraid of Supreme .Those who worship this sun gets meagre results says Shankara .This is also shown is shown before.
Even children will appreciate the fact that the Sri Shankara would not have established Shaivam & Souram which claim supremacy for these gods .When it is shown that Sri Shankara could not have established shaivism where Shiva is supreme, it is but natural that Shankara could not have established shaaktam, Ganapathyam & kaumaram for his wife, & both the sons where they are considered supreme. The prasthana traya bhashyas which were done by Sri Shankara for establishing the tatva (Truth), nowhere has mentioned Shiva as supreme Godhead. On the contrary ,he has roared in hundreds of places in his bhashya that Narayana alone is Supreme GODhead who creates, sustains & destroys these gods.
If one says that in the stotras of these gods, he has claimed supremacy for them, the reply is since these stotras were not quoted anywhere by any advaitaacharya before the period of Appaiya deekshit, it is evident that these were composed by advaitins in last 500years. Just by the statement found at the end of these stotras that they are composed by shankaracharya, how can one infer that they are Sri Shankara’s compositions? They could have been composed by pontiffs of shankara muttas established in name of Sri Adi Shankara. Hence how can say that Sri Shankara established six worships, (षण् मत)?
25

If it is said that in biographical works like ” Shankara Vijayam” ,it is claimed that Adi Shankara established the “षण् मताः”(six religious sects),reply to this is that those works were composed within 500 years as per research scholars .Adi Shankara’s period was many centuries earlier than these works.How to accept against his authentic works that he established these six religious sects?”Shankara Vijayam” mentions about Udayana,Bhaskara,Abhinabhinavagupta whose periods were after Adi Shankara’s period & it also mentions Sri Harsha who existed after even Sri Ramanuja .Hence it can be inferred that the work is not authentic .It is unknown anywhere that there can be a sect for a male claiming supremacy for him & at the same time sects for his wife,& his two sons where they too are claimed to be supreme GODheads.If one says that such sects were established by one person,will it not become laughing stock?The shaiva sidhdhaant claims that Shiva took the forms of Ganapathy & Skanda.Then how can there be seperate sects like Ganaapathyam & Kaumaaram?If it is so,then Vishnu’s each incarnation should be called as seperate sects.

26

Thinking that if a lie is repeatedly said ,it will be accepted as truth,some advaitins claim that Sri Adi Shankara composed many stotras on gods like Shiva,Shakti,Ganapathy ,Skanda & that he established the six religious sects.By applying one bramhaastra which will prove the unauthenticity of these claims,let us conclude this article.
In the popular work “Naraayaneeyam” composed by 16Th century advaiti Sri Narayana bhattadri,while proving the Narayana supremacy ,has written which is as follows:
“श्री शंकरोSपि भगवान् सकलेषु तावत्
त्वामेव मानयति यो न हि पक्षपाती।
त्वन्निष्टमेव स हि नामसहस्त्रकादी
व्याख्यातभगवत्स्तुतिपरश्र्च गतिं गतोंते।।”
( Adi Shankara who is impartial to Shiva & Vishnu has regarded you,Narayana , as Saguna brahma in all of his works.He has commentated on works like Sahasranaam(Gita,upanishads,brahmasutra) that these works aim at your supremacy.At the end,Sri Shankara left for Nirvana by composing praise for you alone)”.
The sanskrit commentary on this shloka by an advaitin named Deshamangalavarya is as follows:
“किंच।श्रीशंकरः भगवत्पादाचार्यः।त्न्निष्टं विष्णुपरं।नामसहस्त्रकादीति।आदी शब्देन श्री गीतादी गृह्यते।सोSपि तदुभयमपि शिवपरतया व्याख्यातुं शक्यमपि विष्णुपरत्यैव व्याख्यातवान्।अंते च भवस्तुतिपरः श्रीमत्पादादीकेशस्तुतिं कुर्वन् गतिं
मोक्षं गतः,न तु शिवस्तुतिपरः।।”
(Sri Shankara known as Bhagavadpaadaacharya wrote commentaries on works like Sahasranama,Gita,(upanishads,brahmasutra)claiming your supremacy, Though he could have commentated on these works claiming supremacy for Shiva (like Appaiya deekshit who did it with great difficulty),he did them claiming Vishnu supremacy .In end too, he attained moksha singing your praise in SriVishnupaadaadikesha stotra & not by singing praise of Shiva,). Thus Narayana bhattadri says that Sri Adishankara roared Vishnu to be saguna brahmam in all of his works & that without indulging in praise of Shiva, he attained moksha by singing praise of Vishnu alone.
Hence from all these proofs, it is evident that the stotras claimed to be composed by Adi Shankara on gods like Shiva etc. & stories like he established six sect are imaginations done within last 500 years.

Thus the translation work by Srinivasadasan of excerpts from the book “Shankarum Vainavamum” written by Sri Ubhaya Vedantacharya S.Krishnaswamy Iyengar is completed. This translation consists of 26 posts .This number indicates 26 tatvas of Srivaishnava sidhdhantam(24 prakriti tatvas,jivatma tatva & Paramatma tatva) & if one considers the one subject discussed here it indicates one tatva (parabrahma) of advaita sidhdhanta.
we are all grateful to the author of the book Sri Krishna swamy iyengar for bringing out the truth.I am grateful to all the readers of this translation as their encouraging response inspired me to complete this work,I am grateful to Sri Raghavendra rao swamy who asked me to write the translation & post it in Traditional Sanatana dharma group of Facebook.
Jai Sri Ramanuja.

adhishankara-bajagovindam

 

Author: ramanujramprapnna

studying Ramanuj school of Vishishtadvait vedant

27 thoughts on “Shankar and Vaishnavism”

  1. Swamiji i wanted to ask this question that. In Vishnu shastranam while explaining the name “keshaba” sri Shankara said that it means ‘one who is brahma, vishnu and shiva’ then he also added ‘the one who controls the three brahma , vishnu and shiva’ Swamiji my doubt is that this above statement conveys that sri Shankara held vishnu of Trimurti as different from Lord vishnu is it so??? Did he really meant that there is some vishnu who controls vishnu of Trimurti??? How do you see the aforesaid statement. Thank you

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    1. He next quotes the verse from harivansha, “ka iti Brahmano naamah isho aham sarv dehinaam, aavaam tva ange sambhutau tasmaat keshava naamavan”. Meaning: Ka is the name of brahma, I am isha and we both are born from your body, so your name is Keshava.

      //one who is brahma, vishnu and shiva’// He quotes “brahmavishnumaheshaakhya: shaktayah Keshavah”.
      This has to be understood properly. As per Srimad Bhagwatam, he himself becomes Vishnu and takes care of creation and dissolution by being antaryaami of Brahma and Shiva.
      Also, just after one line, he quotes this verse from Harivamsha. IBoth has to be understood together.

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  2. Yes thank you so much , even vishnu purana mentions “that one janardan takes designation of brahma,vishnu and shiva ”
    Bhagvan shankaracharya must have said it in similar sense as above .

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  3. Shankara calls Shiva as Sarvajna Ishwara:
    While identifying the Uma Haimavati Devi in Kena Upanishad Bhasya, Shankara states:

    अथवा उमैव हिमवतो दुहिता हैमवती नित्यमेव सर्वज्ञेनेश्वरेण सह वर्तत इति ज्ञातुं समर्थेती कृत्वा ताम् ।।

    Or Uma is Haimavati as she is the daughter of Himavat. As she always lives with that Sarvajna Ishwara (Shiva), she knows the Brahman.

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  4. While identifying the Uma Haimavati Devi in Kena Upanishad Bhasya, Shankara states:

    अथवा उमैव हिमवतो दुहिता हैमवती नित्यमेव सर्वज्ञेनेश्वरेण सह वर्तत इति ज्ञातुं समर्थेती कृत्वा ताम् ।।

    Or Uma is Haimavati as she is the daughter of Himavat. As she always lives with that Sarvajna Ishwara (Shiva), she knows the Brahman.

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      1. Lord ShivaParamatma, the supreme Self says Adi Shankara in Gita

        उपद्रष्टाऽनुमन्ता च भर्ता भोक्ता महेश्वरः।
        परमात्मेति चाप्युक्तो देहेऽस्मिन्पुरुषः परः।।13.23।।

        English translation by Swami Gambhirananda

        13.23 He who is the Witness, the Permitter, the Sustainer, the Experiencer, the great Lord, and who is also spoken of as the transcendental Self is the supreme Person in this body.

        English translation by Swami Gambhirananda (on Sri Sankaracharya’s Sanskrit Commentary)

        13.23 … He is maheSvarah, the great God, because, as the Self of all and independent, He is the great Ruler.He is paramatma, the transcendental Self, because He is the Self which has the characteristics of being the supreme Witness etc. of (all) those-beginning from the body and ending with the intellect-which are imagined through ignorance to be the indwelling Self. He is api ca, also; uktah, spoken of, referred to, in the Upanisads; iti, as, with the words; ‘He is the indwelling One, the paramatma, the transcendental Self.’ Ast reads atah in place of antah. So the translation of the sentence will be: Therefore He is also referred to as the transcendental Self in the Upanisads.-Tr. Where is He? The parah, suprem; purusah, Person, who is higher than the Unmanifest and who will be spoken of in, ‘But different is the supreme Person who is spoken of as the transcendental Self’ (15.17); is asmin, in this; dehe, body.What has been presented in, ‘…also understand Me to be the Knower of the field’ (2), has been explained and conclude.

        Sanskrit commentary by Sri Sankaracharya

        … महेश्वरः, सर्वात्मत्वात् स्वतन्त्रत्वाच्च महान् ईश्वरश्च इति महेश्वरः। परमात्मा, देहादीनां बुद्ध्यन्तानां प्रत्यगात्मत्वेन कल्पितानाम् अविद्यया परमः उपद्रष्टृत्वादिलक्षणः आत्मा इति परमात्मा। ‘सोऽन्तः परमात्मा’ इत्यनेन शब्देन च अपि उक्तः कथितः श्रुतौ। क्व असौ? अस्मिन् देहे पुरुषः परः अव्यक्तात्, ‘उत्तमः पुरुषस्त्वन्यः परमात्मेत्युदाहृतः (गीता 15।17)’ इति यः वक्ष्यमाणः।।’क्षेत्रज्ञं चापि मां विद्धि (गीता 13।2)’ इति उपन्यस्तः व्याख्याय उपसंहृतश्च, तमेतं यथोक्तलक्षणम् आत्मानम् — ।।13.23।।

        Adi Shankara considers Shiva as the Supreme Brahman

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  5. While identifying the Uma Haimavati Devi in Kena Upanishad Bhasya, Shankara states:

    अथवा उमैव हिमवतो दुहिता हैमवती नित्यमेव सर्वज्ञेनेश्वरेण सह वर्तत इति ज्ञातुं समर्थेती कृत्वा ताम् ।।

    Or Uma is Haimavati as she is the daughter of Himavat. As she always lives with that Sarvajna Ishwara (Shiva), she knows the Brahman.

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    1. Shivanand Lahari is not Prasthaan-traya. It’s doubtful even that it was composed to Adi Shankara.

      Maheswara means great Ishwara. Krishna is called maheswara in Bhagwat Gita. Follow Gita bhashya of Adi-Shankara.

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  6. Maheshvara is a term which is extensively used for Lord Shiva and no other gods shankara clears this in Shivananda lahari

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  7. Adi Shankara Praises Lord Shiva as Para Brahman in Dakshinamurty Stotram

    Dakshinamurty (Dakshinamoorty) Stotram is undoubtedly Adi Shankara’s work, as it is commented by his direct disciple Surewaracharya by the title ‘mAnsOllAsa’. After reading the verses it will be clear that Adi Sankara did considered Lord Siva as Supreme Brahman.

    दक्षिणामूर्ति स्तोत्रम्

    Dakshinamurthy Stotram

    ध्यानम्

    मौनव्याख्या प्रकटित परब्रह्मतत्त्वं युवानं
    वर्षिष्ठांते वसद् ऋषिगणौः आवृतं ब्रह्मनिष्ठैः ।
    आचार्येन्द्रं करकलित चिन्मुद्रमानंदमूर्तिं
    स्वात्मारामं मुदितवदनं दक्षिणामूर्तिमीडे ॥

    Mauna-Vyaakhyaa Prakattita Para-Brahma-Tattvam Yuvaanam
    Varssisstthaam-Te Vasad Rssigannauh Aavrtam Brahma-Nisstthaih |
    Aacaarye[a-I]ndram Kara-Kalita Cin-Mudram-Aananda-Muurtim
    Sva-[A]atmaaraamam Mudita-Vadanam Dakssinnaamuurti-Miidde ||

    Meaning:

    1: (Salutations to Sri Dakshinamurthy) Whose Exposition through Profound Silence is Awakening the Knowledge of the Supreme Brahman in the Hearts of His Disciples; Who is Himself Youthful …
    2: … but is Sitting Surrounded by Old and Great Sages who are Devoted to Brahman,
    3: The Hands of the Supreme Spiritual Teacher is Forming the Cin-Mudra (gesture of the Knowledge of Brahman) and Whose Appearance is Still and Blissful,
    4: Who is Rejoicing in His Own Self which is reflected on His Blissful Face; Salutations to Sri Dakshinamurthy.

    स्तोत्रम्

    विश्वं दर्पणदृश्यमाननगरीतुल्यं निजान्तर्गतं
    पश्यन्नात्मनि मायया बहिरिवोद्भूतं यथा निद्रया ।
    यः साक्षात्कुरुते प्रबोधसमये स्वात्मानमेवाद्वयं
    तस्मै श्रीगुरुमूर्तये नम इदं श्रीदक्षिणामूर्तये ॥१॥

    Vishvam Darpanna-Drshyamaana-Nagarii-Tulyam Nija-Antargatam
    Pashyann-Aatmani Maayayaa Bahir-Ivo[a-U]dbhuutam Yathaa Nidrayaa |
    Yah Saakssaat-Kurute Prabodha-Samaye Sva-[A]atmaanam-Eva-Advayam
    Tasmai Shrii-Guru-Muurtaye Nama Idam Shrii-Dakssinnaamuurtaye ||1||

    Meaning:

    (Salutations to Sri Dakshinamurthy Who Awakens the Glory of the Atman within us through His Profound Silence)
    1.1: The Entire World is Like a City Seen within a Mirror, the Seeing happening within One’s Own Being,
    1.2: It is a Witnessing happening within the Atman, (the Witnessing) of the Externally Projected World; Projected by the Power of Maya; As if a Dream in Sleep,
    1.3: One Experiences this Directly (this Play of Maya) during Spiritual Awakening within the Non-Dual Expanse of One’s Own Atman,
    1.4: Salutations to Him, the Personification of Our Inner Guru Who Awakens This Knowledge through His Profound Silence; Salutation to Sri Dakshinamurthy.

    source

    Adi Shankara Bhagavadpada on OM, Shiva and Paramatma in Mandukya Upanishad

    Sanskrit commentary by Adi Shankara Bhagavadpada

    मा. उ. ७
    अन्तःप्रज्ञत्वादिस्थानिधर्मप्रतिषे्धः कृतः ।
    प्रपच्चोपशममिति जाग्रदादिस्थानधर्माभाव उच्यते ।
    अत एव शान्तमविक्रियम्, शिवं उअतोऽद्वैतं भेदविकल्परहितम् ।
    अतुर्थ तुरियं मन्यते प्रतीयमानपादत्रयरुपवैलक्षण्यात् ।
    स आत्मा अ विज्ञेय इति प्रतीयमान …

    Hindi Translation by Gita Press

    अन्तःप्रज्ञत्वादि स्थानियों (जाग्रत् आदि अवस्थाओंके अभिमानियों)- के धर्मोका प्रतिषेध किया गया, अब ‘प्रपच्चोपशनम्’ इत्यादिसे जाग्रत् आदि स्थानों (अवस्थाओं)- के धर्मोका अभाव बतलाया जाता है ।
    इसीलिये वह शान्त यानी अविकारी है; और क्योंकि वह अद्वैत अर्थात् भेदरुप विकल्पसे सहित है, इसलिये शिव है ।
    उसे अतुर्थ यानी तुरीय मानते है; क्योंकि यह प्रतीत होनेवाले पूर्वक्त तीन पादोंसे विलक्षण है ।
    वही आत्मा है और वही ज्ञातत्व है । …

    Page 573 in ईशादि नौ उपनिषद्

    English Translation

    The ones who have ego of dharma or attributes of three states of consciousness (waking, etc), their dharma-s are negated (prohibited), now
    By saying ‘PrapaccOpaSamam’ etc, the absence of dharma of waking state, etc are being told.
    This is the reason why he is शान्त (Santa, peaceful) meaning he is अविकारी (avikAri, without any change); and since it is अद्वैत (advaita, non-dual) meaning free from duality of difference, hence he is शिव (Siva)
    He is believed to be the forth state तुर्य (turya); because this extraordinary forth state is different from the three पाद (pAda-s) i.e. अ-उ-म् (A-U-M) (in earlier verses).
    This is आत्मा (Atman), and only he is fit to be known (worthy of knowing) (ज्ञातव्य, JnAtavya)

    Note:

    This verses gives us unity of Shiva and Atman

    Another verse will make things more clear.

    Adi Shankaracharya’s commentary on G.K. 1.29, which comes after Man. Up. 12

    Sanskrit commentary by Adi Shankara Bhagavadpada (page 596)

    सर्वद्वैतोपशमत्वादेव शिवः ।
    ओङ्कारो यथा व्याख्यातो विदितो येन स परमार्थतत्वस्य मननान्मुनिः ।

    Hindi Translation by Gita Press

    सम्पूर्ण द्वैतका उपशमस्थान होनेके कारण ही वह शिव (मंगलमय) है । इस प्रकार व्याख्या किया हुआ ओङ्कार जिसने जाना है वही परमार्थतत्वका मनन करनेवाला होनेसे ‘मुनि’ है …

    English Translation

    Due to the very reason of being the substratum of the entire duality (universe) he is Shiva (the auspiciousness). Only the one who knows (realizes) OM, in the way it is defined here, is the contemplator of the Supreme Brahman, and due to this reason, only he is called as ‘Muni’, the great seer, great saint.

    Here one may argue that the word denotes ‘pure consciousness’ or ‘auspiciousness’. Hence this does not refer to ‘Siva’ as one of the trinity. This is true. However, let us understand the meaning of the word Siva in bhAgavat purANa.

    Verse BP 8.7.29 defines Siva as a state of consciousness

    BP 8.7.29: sadyojAta etc five vedic mantras are represented by your five faces [1], from which 38 celebrated vedic mantra-s are created. When you arise beyond guNa-s and are established in your Self, then this state is called as ‘Siva’ (Siva-Akhyam). In reality, it is the same Self Effulgent paramArtha-tatva (supreme consciousness).

    [1] Five vedic mantra-s are (1) puruSa, (2) aghora, (3) sadyojAta, (4) vAmadeva, and (5) ISAna

    We must note that here the five forms of Siva are eulogized. This means the first part of verse is referring to Siva or rudra as a person or personality and the supreme Godhead from whom 38 celebrated mantra-s are created. The attribution of lordship is also given in earlier verses.

    BP 8.7.24: O prabhu! (O lord) with the help of your own illusive power which consists of three guNa-s, you creation, preserve and destroy this world; though you are one, you manifest (appear) as brahmA, viShNu and Siva.

    Coming back to verse BP 8.7.29, the second half of verse says that when one rises beyond and are established in your Self, then this state is ‘Siva’. This is the same effulgent paramAtva-tatva i.e. supreme consciousness or supreme Brahman.

    Now one may understand that Siva, can be a jIva who realizes his true nature and becomes Brahman by rising beyond guNa-s. This argument is not correct. There are verses from the same samudra-manthana episode which treat Siva as creator, granter of moksha and as antaryAmI, the inner Self of all including devatA-s (demi-gods).

    BP 8.7.21: O deva of devatatA-s mahAdeva! you are the AtmA of all beings and are the life saver of all. We all have come to your refuge. Please save us from this deadly poison which otherwise destroy the whole universe.

    BP 8.7.22: Only you are capable of liberating and giving bondage of the world(s). Hence wise persons worship only you, as you are the remover of sorrows of those who have taken refuge in you and are jagadguru (world teacher)

    BP 8.7.24: O prabhu! (O lord) with the help of your own illusive power which consists of three guNa-s, you creation, preserve and destroy this world; though you are one, you manifest (appear) as brahmA, viShNu and Siva.

    BP 8.7.25: You are self effulgent, the reason for this [being self effulgent] is that you are the deeply mysterious brahma-tatva. You are the life giver of all devatA-s, humans, animals, birds, etc whatever is real or unreal, living / moving or non-moving. There is no creation which is not you (i.e. Siva is present in all living and non-living and Siva is everything. Nothing exists that is not Siva); because, you are everybody’s AtmA. By various types of energies (Sakti-s) you are manifested as this world; because you are ISvara and are all-powerful.

    Hence if one accepts a theory of vishiShTAdvaita (विशिष्टाद्वैत) which is – jIva is qualitatively same as Brahman, but quantitatively different than Brahman, then this is not true in this case. This theory says, that as nirguNa brahman, Siva or any jIva can be Brahman, but on vyavahArika level i.e. w.r.t empirical reality, viShNu holds position of saguNa Brahman i.e. Ishvara. AS we undersand from the above verses from the revered bhAgavat purANa, Siva is not any jIva, he is both saguNa and nirguNa Brahman.

    An advaitin who believes in only viShNu as being capable of being both saguNa and nirguNa Brahman, the above verses contradict the claim. viShNu, like Siva can be formless. Both words denote same meaning. viShNu means ‘all-pervading’ and Siva means ‘in which all things lie’. Infact the non-difference between the meaning of both names Siva and viShNu is quoted by our AchArya who cites harivamSa purANa 3.88.60-64

    he janArdana! O omnipresent deva! I am you and you are me. In all three worlds, there is no difference (bheda) between us either by Sabda (word) or by artha (meaning).
    – harivamSa purANa 3.88.60-64

    As said earlier, for an advaitin, viShNu can be both saguNa and nirguNa. When Adi Sankara refers to viShNu, it does not necessarily mean saguNa Brahman i.e. caturbhuja viShNu. Since the name viShNu is used commonly for both Brahman-s there are some who claim that Adi Sankara considered only caturbhuja viShNu as Ishvara (saguNa Brahman) on vyavahArika plane. Whereas, in case, Adi Sankara refers to the word Siva, it is always, sat-chit-Ananda Atman and not trishula dhArI Sankara bhagavAn.

    In this case, it is worth nothing that when viShNu refers to nirguNa Brahman, it is none other than sat-chit-Ananda Atman. Hence use of any word Siva or viShNu does not make any difference. Since Adi Sankara’s IshTa-devatA is viShNu, it is natural for him to refer to Brahman as viShNu.

    Another argument is that, some do not consider that Adi Sankara did not refer to Siva as saguNa Brahman in any of his commentaries. This is not true. We will see further that not only in viShNu sahasranAma, but even in prashthAntrayI bhAshya, Adi Sankara considered Siva s supreme. Adi Sankara has never referred to Siva or rudra as brahmA-pUtra or viShNu-putra.

    If Siva is not supreme or if OM is not supreme, then by contemplating on OM, one cannot realize Brahman. OM represents Brahman. The forth state of OM, which is silence, is nothing but Brahman. The three states connected with A-U-M arise from and last in this forth state known as turiyA. OM is controller of everything. OM is the creator of everything.

    In mANDukya upanishad, OM is chanted to transcend beyond triguNAtmikA-mAyA. As one transcends mAyA, one realises oneself to be Siva-tatva or Atman or Brahman. Hence Siva is omkAra.

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    1. It’s a prakaran grantha. These are meant to elevate one to the level of prasthaan traya. So, what he says in Upanishads, Brahma-Sutra and Bhagwat Gita is more important. Also, his bhashya on Sahastranaam.

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    2. Shankara said in bhagavad gita 6.48:
      Among all those yogis who worship *Rudra*,Aditya,etc,those who worship the eternal and all knowing Vasudeva should be considered as the best!

      What about this?

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  8. Before Shiva Sahasranama begins i.e. in
    Poorva Bhaga – Early Part , in the beginning verses Bheeshma says that Mahadev is Parabrahman, he is Purusha and through his power, he makes Purusha and Prakriti active (MBH 13:14:3-6)

    Bheeshma Uvacha:-

    Brahma Vishnu suresaanaam srushtaa cha prabhureva cha,
    Brahmaadaya pisachaantha yam hi deva upasathe. 4

    He is the one who created Brahma, Vishnu and other devas,
    He is their Lord and he is worshipped by,
    Brahma , devas, ghosts and others.

    Prakrutheenaam parathwena purushasya cha ya para,
    Chinthyathe yo yogavidhbhi rishibhi Thathwa darshibhi.,
    Aksharam para Brahma asacha sadasacha ya. 5

    He is greater than nature and the masculine concept,
    He is being meditated upon by great sages who know the truth,
    He is the causal universe, cause as well as the effect.

    Prakruthim purusham chaiva kshobhayithwa tswathejasa,
    Brahmana masrujath thasmad Dheva dheva prajapathi. 6

    He who is the God of gods and God of all beings,
    Through his power destabilizes Purusha and nature ,
    And creates Brahma out of it.

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  9. love your work prabhu ji. i am a gaudiya vaishnava but inclined towards shri vaishnavism too. hare krishna. jay shriman nArAyaNa.

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  10. It is a very interesting article but I always had great trouble in understanding Sri Adi Shankaracharya and what exactly he represented and whether he stayed true to what he preached or at least practiced even once in his life. I respect Sri Adi Shankaracharya for protecting the Vedic tradition when other religions were on the rise but always had trouble in understanding his “reality”.

    For example, below are some of the points which I think contradict the philosophy championed by Shankara and what he actually practiced (the incidents are documented and authentic as per Sringeri Peetha):

    1. Sri Adi Shankara stressed on the concept of “Aham Brahmasmi” in the context of “I am God”, then what was the need for him to compose devotional stotrams on various deities in rescuing/helping him on various occasions? As per his biography (per Sringeri Peetha), various miraculous incidents happened in his life, like the one where he helped a poor woman by composing “Kanakadhar Stotram” extempore and getting the darshan of Sri Maha Lakshmi and also the poor woman’s home being showered with golden gooseberries. So, how and why a person who was teaching “Advaitha Vedanta” believing God to be formless and considers self to be the ParaBrahman needs to resort to prayers/devotional compositions?

    2. Even after championing the philosophy of “Advaitha Devantha” and giving lofty lectures on “Oneness” of all, Shankara fails to follow the same in his own life when he asks a Chandala (actually Lord Shiva in disguise) to move out of his way.

    Likewise there were several incidents in his life which totally contradict his core philosophy, so it is really difficult for me to accept anything which Sri Adi Shankara says, to me he lead like “double life”. There is a stark contrast in the life and teachings of Sri Ramanujacharya/ Sri Madhvacharya because they lived their entire life to similar values on what they preached. To me, assuming the above two incidents are true in Sri Adi Shankaracharya’s life, then I would say his preaching and practicing of his are at odds. Basically, I would say he was not true to himself.

    I would like to know, if any of the previous acharyas of other schools showed these contradictions in refuting Sri Adi Shankaracharya’s philosophy? At the end of the day, if you don’t even follow your own philosophy how can others follow it OR have faith that what you have said is true?

    I have great respect for Sri Adi Shankaracharya for his efforts in ensuring the Vedic tradition is not wiped out by other religions/practices but never found his philosophy appealing nor his contradictory practices in real life to what he preached to others.

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    1. You are not being able to understand the true advaita vedanta of Shankara. Bhagwatpaad believes in oneness as ultimate reality but he believes in forms too. he proponded the theory of two levels of truth. Go through his explaination of vedanta-Sutra “Ubhayalinga..”. In Vyavhaarika there is difference. You can’t take food in ears. Mouth and ear is different. Shankara strongly supports Varna to be by birth only in Vedanta Sutra “apshudraadhikaran”. But, ultimately, these all are illusion only, lower truth. But till we have body, we have to live with this Vyavhaarika satya. For knowledge, one should be resolute in understanding that world is illusion. This will make to be unaffected by pains and pleasures of vyavhaarika world.

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      1. Thanks for the reply.

        Yeah, I have read his interpretations and it only confirms to me word jugglery and introduction of complex terms and phenomena to explain the matters instead of using straightforward and unabigious terms, that’s why I purport a simple proposition of checking whether a person himself lived inline by his own teaching or not. To me, at the end of the day, how you lead your life directly corresponds to who you are and what you stand for, for example you should not be preaching about nyaya/dharma when you are an outright thief that is dishonesty (don’t take it applies to Sri Adi Shankara but a mere example). For example, we adore Sri Rama Chandra as “satyamoorthy” (symbol of truth) not because some x and z persons said it but because Sri Rama Chandra lived all his life by staying true to those values.

        What is the point in propounding a seemingly “lofty” theory when one fails to live up to it. As I mentioned earlier, even later on in his life Sri Adi Shankaracharya was still not able to shed off his baggage of samsara by admonishing a chandala. So, I really doubt he practised the philosophy he preached at all in his life. Again this is not a criticism of Sri Adi Shankaracharya but a mere observation of my own.

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      2. Bhagwatpaad Adi Shankara led his life truely as per his philosophy.

        There is word juggerly but common sense. Vyavhaarika satya has to be followed in Vyavhaarika world. Even after realizing that one is Brahman, he needs to take food and air. Knowledge is understanding. Once he leaves his body, he will be freed of illusion due his understanding and realization of that “he is brahman” and “body is illusion”.

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  11. Sorry to me it is not, let’s agree to disagree. As I explained even at the end of his life, he was not able to shed off his baggage (let’s use his own term “avidya”), so I cannot accept that he lived his life by his philosophy. Truth is one and I don’t like this gradation and all, if he was really evolved at that time, then he would not admonish the Chandala. This incident is authentic as per his biography, so not a mere imagination of people.

    Sri Adi Shankaracharya was a great intellect [came up with complex terms and terminology] and fought for the Vedic traditions but I cannot accept that he lived by his own philosophy because there are too many events in his life which contradict his core teachings. One has to be steadfast in his own philosophy and live by it through one’s own life. And, to understand it, I don’t need to read complex stuff of his, a simple reading of his life events would tell me where exactly he was.

    Again, don’t take my views of Sri Adi Shankaracharya as criticism. I take a different viewpoint such as even though he championed for “impersonal” brahman but had to rely on the “personal” brahman many times to help him out.

    To me, apart from Sri Maha Vishnu [who is without any faults] all others who have taken their birth are at least with few faults, so having blemishes is a human nature and one has to discard it with their own efforts.

    I have enjoyed reading your articles on this site and will be engaging with you from time to time. I like to keep an open mind [and get corrected, if I am wrong] and not take anything blindly but apply my own thoughts on it.

    Thanks again for your time.

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