You are here: Sri Vaishnava Home Page : Bhakti List : Archives : July 1997

Re: The Ultimate sharaNagathi and personal beliefs ...

From: Krishna Kalale (kkalale_at_qualcomm.com)
Date: Thu Jul 24 1997 - 08:02:19 PDT

At 07:49 PM 7/23/97 -0700, Vidyasankar Sundaresan wrote:
>
>I'm sorry to enter into a topic that is very close to Srivaishnava hearts,
>so please take my comments in the right spirit. 
>
>You must remember that Sri Candrasekharendra Sarasvati speaks from a very
>different perspective. For the advaitin, the one formless nirguna brahman
>takes on the form that is best suited for the particular devotee, so that
>in an ultimate sense, Siva, Visnu, Devi are all only different aspects of
>the same Parabrahman. However, an advaita corollary to the above statement
>is that ultimately the particular devotee also realizes that (s)he is the
>same Parabrahman. Saying one thing only without the other is not very
>consistent with advaita, although it might help the common man in a
>preliminary stage. Obviously, the corollary is not acceptable to
>non-advaitins, while those who disagree philosophically with advaita will 
>find fault with the first statement also.

I feel that Sri Sankaracharya makes a distinction in all his
(prastana-traya bhasyas). From the ultimate reality perspective, though he
states that Nirguna Brahman is the one, from the perspective of
conventional reality, Sankaracharya strongly supports 'narayana' or
'vasudeva' or 'visnu' and terms that entity as the one to be meditated upon
(see any prastana traya bhasya). (ie. his commentary on Bhagavadgita,
Upanisads and Brahmasutras)

Let me state references:

6th chapter, last sloka : yoginamapi sarvesam madgatenantaratmana
sraddhavan bhajate yo mam sa me yuktatamo matah

for this Samkarabhasya - states:  rudra-adityaadi parananam yoginam yaha
vasudeva meva ....(I am quoting from memory)...

But the point is he feels the yogi who meditates on Vasudeva is superior.
Vasudeva is saguna and is not just in-dweller or atman since meditation is
the form of bhajate -sevate, since for nirguna brahman 'seva' is not
advised. Further the comparison is with Rudra, Aditya etc. which are saguna
forms.

Further,

18th chapter in manmana bhava- madbhaktaha and 18-66 'sarva dharman
parityajya'...

Samkarabhasya states : without 'surrender' to the feet of vasudeva, one
cannot attain jnana!!! (check it out)


Further, let us quote a brhadaranyaka: (apauruseya- more valid according to
some)

In the famous 'antaryami brahmana..... yah prithivyam antaro yamayati, yam
prithvi na veda, yasya prithivi sariram......yasya atma sariram......'

sri Sankaracharya could have said that an ultimate entity is the in-dweller
and controller of all the 27 entities such as :  earth, water, wind fire,
jiva, etc.....,

He goes one step further and states: sah antaryamih narayanah (a step not
even taken by other strong vaisnava acaryas!).  Please note that by
definition, the term narayana is used for saguna brahma, since creation,
maintenance and destruction is meant by it.  This is also  the subject of
brahma-sutras as per samkara-bhasya.  See 'janmadyasya yatah -sutra'

I strongly feel that Saivism and Advaita got mixed up later as a historical
stance against pure vaisnavism.  In fact, Sri Sankaracharya might have
strongly agreed to the view that 'Siva' is a guru.  In 'manisha panchaka'
the inspiration and idea came from that view point only.  This is a stance
verily acceptable to vaisnavas even though they dont come out and write
about it.  For example, I dont have any qualms to accept siva as a guru,
since his 'ahirbudhnya samhita - is cited as one of the origins of concept
of 'prapatti'!!.(note there is a slight difference between a guru and one
in a line of acharya-parampara and Siva is not included in acharya
parampara).  In the very same context, Vedanta Desika terms Siva as
'dayaluh - who shows the way out of this samsara through - taraka mantra
for those who visit varanasi, in one of his works.

I am not sure how to deal with the 'soundarya lahari' or 'daksinamurthi
stotra'.  I am not also aware whether in these works, it is stated that
these dieties are termed as ultimate (saguna).  Even if that were true, one
should give more credit to 'prastana traya bhasya' and possibly explain the
authorship of these minor works to 'other' Sankaracharyas - since there are
many of them in the lineage and could have happened by error.  

I would really like to know what is wrong with this hypothesis.
Interestingly, many well known philosophy experts have this view. 

Only among some advaitins, saivism has taken deeper importance to the
extent of practising ' siva-panchayatana puja'.  Some smarthas like saint
thyagaraja have a different ista devata. 

Incidentally, I myself am a 'pramana-sarana' (sri vedanta desika's term) or
a person who values proofs from authorities such as vedas. I do know that
in many major vaidika karma 'rudra deity' is mentioned. I faithfully follow
those injunctions. I have no qualms accepting what is true and is provable
as per acceptable testimony.  As per vaidika testimony, narayana-paratva is
undisputed based on the 'adi-karanatva - criterion' ie. original cause of
all causes - criterion.  Mentioning other criteria which are incidental, in
some puranas, some other diety may be extolled; however, when the
adikaranatva criteria is applied, it all converges to the 'narayana'
solution.  Note that as per advaita all these applies to only conventional
reality.  I am not worried about absolute reality here, since there is a
large ocean of samsara of this conventional reality to deal with and when
we cross this and stand on the banks of viraja river or on the sands of
'ksheera sagara' let us bother about the nirguna or saguna brahman issue!.  

Regarding, what Raja Krishnaswamy asked regarding Narayana-Siva issue, one
has to read a chapter in'Vaisnavism' by SMS Chari to really understand the
criteria for evaluating the claims and issues, since the subject is deep.
that is the reason I wrote to him to send me his telephone number so that I
can discuss one-to-one rather writing a big essay on that subject, which is
a copy of such chapters.

Adiyen Krishna Kalale


Adiyen Krishna Kalale