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Re: Vidya SAnkar's mail on appayya diksita

From: Krishna Kalale (
Date: Mon Sep 22 1997 - 22:58:04 PDT

Please let me know if you got multiple copies of this.  Please ignore them.

At 01:58 AM 9/10/97 -0700, Vidyasankar Sundaresan wrote:

>The quotations setting forth that SrI nArAyaNa is parabrahman cannot be
>disputed. However, I would like to point out that similar vedic quotations
>can be found about rudra, indra, varuNa and other deities. Jan Gonda's
>text, "Visnuism and Sivaism" (Athlone Press, London) gives a very large
>list of references that one can look up. SrIkaNTha's sUtrabhAshya and
>appayya dIkshita's SivArkamaNidIpikA give a large number of such vedic
>quotations which say that Siva is the greatest parabrahman.

Before writing a reply to this email  I did consult  a number of pundits in
India where I spent a good 5 weeks regarding similar issues.  Mani recently
has  written a good email regarding this which was, I think posted by Sri
Vidya Sundaresan himself.

I heard the following regarding Appayya Diksita:

He was an admirer of Sri Vedanta Desika and did write a gloss on one of his
 works.  He was an Advaiti and also a saivite even though he did have a lot
of vishnu bhakti also.  His grand ma was a srivaisnavite!!.  It seems once
he was upset by a statement  from  one  othe vaisnava acharyas which  made
him sort of   vishnu-hater (temporarily) OR  at  the behest of his
followers  or friends  he wanted to re-interpret all vedic statements in
support of siva (parvati pati).  He goes on arguing that all words such  as
vishnu, siva, rudra, isvara etc. can be interepreted as applicable to siva
(parvati pati) since they are general words which just indicate an
attribute.  for example:  vishnu means all pervading.  but does  not
specify who it is and hence it can be  understood that parvati-pati  siva
could be the all pervading one.  similarly, siva meand auspiscious  any
one auspiscious can be called siva.  rudra- means ruk dravayati it rudrah -
one who melts away all diseases including the calamity of samsara.  any one
can fit this description since it is general in sense.  

a panini sutra in ashtadhyayi ( purva-padat samjnyayam agah ) which means
in short ( since my grammar teacher N.T srinivasaiengar of bangalore,
supposed to be acclaimed as a master in vyakarana  by all matadhipatis of
all the three  schools - gave me a big lecture on  this sutra recently), if
a samjna is intended, na-kara gets a Na-kara (adesha). ie. when a specific
person is intended  by a word the na- will be replaced by Na.

example : ramayana is a story of any person whose name  is  rama

but ramayaNa is the story of only that rama  who is intended by adikavi

similarly narayana is any person  who is  explained by the term: naranam
ayanam ie. the goal and the support for naras ie.  imperishables which are
jivas and prakriti.  But if by this term narayana,  a specific person is
intended  then the language uses narayaNa.  Since Vedas use the term
narayaNa and not narayana,  the  intention of this term narayaNa can be
used only for a specific person.  who is this specific person?

Note the verses:

sat eva soumya idam aseet ekam eva advitiyam :  Oh somya,  sat alone
existed in the beginning without a second (chandogya upanisad)

atma va idam  ekam  eva aseet ( aitereya)  Only atma existed in t he beginning

etc.  only give a general term which can apply to  any individual ie. atma,
sat, etc are general terms  which indicate adi-karanatva or cause of all

But the verse of mahopanisad :  

Eko  ha vai narayaNa aseet.  Na brahma, Na isano, Ne me vidyuto.....

Only NarayaNa existed in the beginning, Not Brahma (4 faced) Not Isa or
three eyed siva (note sanach pratyaya in isana indicates siva) and not the
lightning or stars etc.

gives the meaning that :  sat, atma etc. apply only to a specific person
NarayaNa.  who again is the purusa (primal cause as explained there)  in
the purusa-sukta whose wives are Hri and Lakshmi.  

NarayaNa param brahma  tatvam NarayaNah  parah of (taittiriya 4th
acceptable to all schools) also  support this idea.  The other famous verse
: NarayaNaya vidmahe vasudevaya dhimahi tanno vishnuh prachodayat  -
equates NarayaNa with Vishnu and Vasudeva.  

This being the case our Appayya Dikshita HIMSELF agrees in one of his works :

"I would have made all the words to refer to Siva (parvati pati)  but
unfortunately this pain ful Na-kara in NarayaNa is bothering me and my
hands are tied since big boss panini is involved- who cannot be ignored by
any respectable pundit of sanskrit"

for the very same reason : our Alavandar says in his sloka :  

Narayanah tvayi na mrishyati vaidikah kah :  which true vaidika (one who
respects vedas)  can afford to not accept narayaNa as the para tattva?  

By the way one of the students of parakala  mutt jeers, Kottamangalam
Varadacharya,  has written a book called :

Sri Kanta samalochana in sanskrit which analyses the authorship, date etc
of Srikanta bhasya.  He decides that Srikanta bhasya is not ancient and
recent.  I brought a copy of that book from parakala mutt.  Srikanta bhasya
 is a siva-visisitadvaita work and apparently has borrowed the
visistadvaitic thought from Ramanuja and replaced narayaNa by siva.  I am
sure Vidyaranya and others do not agree with this but this author has
argued  with valid comments as  to why he is right.


He is a great poet and also a bhakta of narayana!!

He has written a varadaraja  -stava , his own in addition to the one by
parasarabhattar.  In his work he writes:

See how foolish this Sun is :  it seems the sun amazed  by the brilliant
redness of the lotus feet of Lord Varadaraja, every night heats up his rays
 by immersing it  into agni (  this is  supported by a vedic statement that
in the night the sun  enters agni- figuratively)  so that it can be similar
in color to the lotus  feet of lord varadaraja, succeeds for a short time
to be red at sun-rise  and a few minutes after that, but soon realizes that
the redness is lost and in the afternoon  becomes very angry and thus the
afternoons are hotter!!; but soon again he wants to be like the red
lotus-like  feet of varadaraja - what a dullard (father of sani-graha -
manda-tatah) is this Sun?

Yes, coming to Advaitic view, philosophically, Advaita does not
differentiate between NarayaNa and parmasiva, since both are ultimately
unreal as per their philosophy.  One thing that is strange is that  Sri
Samkaracharya in his prastana traya only refers to visnu or narayaNa as the
parama  purusa, even when he had opportunity not to do so. This has given
some people a view that he was a Vaisnava by faith.

Adiyen Krishna kalale