saguNa and nirguNa are the same

Sankaran Jayanarayanan kartik at ECE.UTEXAS.EDU
Tue Nov 16 17:43:43 CST 1999

On Tue, 16 Nov 1999, Ravisankar S. Mayavaram wrote:

> I think it is appropriate to include vishnusahasranama bhaShya and
> trishatii bhashya. To me the purpose of the discussion is to understand
> about saguNa/nirguNa aspects of brahman and not establishing whether
> prabodha sudhaakara is an authentic work or not. This topic will be of
> importance in such bhAshya-s where bhagavAn's kalyANa guNa-s are
> discussed, the naamas that highlight nirguNa aspect will stand in
> contrast and make the commentator say something specific.
> About the  authenticity of this work or any other work, I would believe
> only if  Acharya-s of shR^ingagiri or kAnchi comment on it.  Let us not
> flatter ourselves assuming that we are competent to do that, so much so
> when are all changing our views like changing clothes.

According to Swami Vidyaranya's biography on Shankara, the first
work of Shankara was his commentary on the VishhNu sahasranaama, which
revealed his genius in exposition and exegesis. This work of Shankara is
accepted as authentic by the MaThas, as indicated by its presence among
the complete works of Shankara published by the Sringeri Math.

> I request the members to post their understanding on this subject based
> vivekachuuDamani and any other works of shankara they are aware of.

Of course, the VivekachuuDaamaNi has a commentary by Swami Chandrashekhara
Bharati, and is certainly accepted as an important work on advaita. In
fact, some teachers begin teaching the import of the scriptures by first
teaching the meaning of the verses in the VivekachuuDamaNi.

> Ravi
> --- Ramakrishnan Balasubramanian <ramakris at EROLS.COM> wrote:
> > I notice that people have been quoting works other than the
> > prasthAnatrayI.  Ashish Chandra also dug up some old post of mine. My
> > views have changed quite a bit regarding this topic from 3-4 years

The VishhNu sahasranaama is from the Mahaabhaarata and is accepted by all
advaitins, irrespective of whether or not Shankara has commented on it.
The fact is that VishhNu is referred to as ni.rguNa during worship in both
the sahasranaama and the puraaNas. The worship of VishhNu as ni.rguNa
stands independent of Shankara's commentary on it.

I remember reading some verses from the Linga Purana where Shiva is hailed
as ni.rguNa also.


bhava shankara deshikame sharaNam

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