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Re: Advaithis and Sriman Narayana

From: Vidyasankar Sundaresan (vidya_at_cco.caltech.edu)
Date: Fri Jul 25 1997 - 16:32:53 PDT

As regards use of Vibhuti by advaitins - 

For all advaitins, the prime issue is vaidika-dharma-mArga. Worshipping
nArAyaNa or worshipping Siva can be done in various ways, but orthodox
advaitins will only endorse the vaidika way of worship. 

All brahmacArins are supposed to do samidAdhAnam after sandhyAvandanam
daily. At the end of this fire ritual, the bhasma from the homa-agni is
applied on different parts of the body, uttering the words medhAvI
bhUyAsam, tejasvI bhUyAsam etc. Before this, the ashes are mixed with
water, uttering a prayer to rudra (mAnastoke tanaye etc.) Granted, this
prayer asks rudra not to harm us, but it also requests rudra to show us
the benevolent side. There you see, here is a 100% vaidika rite which
involves application of bhasma, after praying to rudra. 

Just before the samidAdhAnam, at the end of the sandhyAvandanam, we
worship nArAyaNa as the savitRmaNDala-madhyavartI, dvArakAnilaya etc, and
finish the sandhyA by dedicating everything to nArAyaNa (kAyena vAcA
etc.). This is also vaidika karma. 

Now, in terms of philosophy, advaita will hold jnAna superior to karma,
but within the realm of karma, vaidika karma is superior to the rest. We
stick to this standpoint. I see absolutely no contradiction between
worshipping nArAyaNa and wearing bhasma on the forehead. There is no
contradiction in the different vaidika nityakarmas and there is no
contradiction in the smArta practice. 

A learned member of this list, like SrimAn Sadagopan, might have more to
say in this regard. 

Vidyasankar