panchayatana puja

Anand Hudli anandhudli at HOTMAIL.COM
Sat Apr 1 22:14:50 CST 2000

On Sat, 1 Apr 2000 23:55:11 +0530, elmec <elmec at GIASBG01.VSNL.NET.IN> wrote:

>But this shaNmatha is still giving me problem. Why did shankara
>institute them ? Are the shaiva, vaishnava of these shaNmathas same as
>shaivism, vaishnavism etc ? As I understand, shaivites usually follow
>the advaita philosophy, vaishnavites follow dvaita philosophy and
>srivaishnavites follow vishishtaadvaita. In what way are they different
>from the shaNmathas established by shankara ? My confusion is worsening.
>Kindly help !

 The important purpose of doing the panchAyatana pUjA is to overcome
 the bheda-bhAva among the different deities of various sects. Among the
 different sects of shaivas, vaiShNavas, etc., each views its own
 deity as the Supreme and makes the others inferior to its main deity.
 This creates a bheda-bhAva among the deities and this is simply a
 trick played by mAyA. Says the mAyA-panchaka:

    bata virachayya budhAnapi prakAmam.h |
    bhramayati hariharabhedabhAvA-
    naghaTitaghaTanApaTIyasI mAyA  ||

    Alas! Even in the indivisible Brahman, it (mAyA) creates
    differences called BrahmA, ViShNu, and Shiva and deludes
    or tricks exceedingly even the intelligent into feeling
    differences of Hari and Hara. mAyA is an expert in
    making incompatible things compatible!

 As advaitins, we should understand that this bheda-bhAva is due to
 mAyA only. Therefore, we should always view all the deities of the
 panchAyatana or the shhaNmata as being equivalent to each other.
 We should worship all of them as equals, not as a hierarchy, as some
 sects do. The panchAyatana system, however, recognizes that there may
 be some personal preferences among people and there should be enough
 freedom to worship one's ishhTa-devatA in a special way. We should not
 confuse personal preference of a deity with a systematic and deliberate
 elevation of a deity over others by sects. It is after all human nature
 to choose a favorite among several good things. If there are some
 delicacies, such as bisi-beLe-bhAt, hoLige, and, pAyasa, one person
 may like pAyasa more than the other two, another person may prefer
 hoLige, and so on. We cannot ask why a person should like pAyasa more
 than the other two dishes. We cannot blame a person for making a deity
 his or her favorite as long as the person acknowledges that all deities
 are in fact the same.

 Regarding the shaivas' inclination for advaita, this seems to be a
 misconception arising out of some circumstances peculiar to southern
 India. Last year, Shri Marur posted some excellent talks by the
 ParamAchArya of Kanchi regarding why shaivas are predominant among
 advaitins in the south. It is instructive to go through these posts.
 Prior to the times of vaiShNava AchAryas, rAmAnuja and madhva, there
 appears to have been a more balanced representation of bhaktas of shiva,
 viShNu, devI, and other deities among the smArtas of the South. But the
 VaiShNava AchAryas could have wooed the ViShNu-bhaktas from among the
 advaitins in the south, which could have resulted in a disproportionate
 number of Shiva-bhaktas among advaitins. In other places, like
 Maharashtra, we see that the advaitins appear to be more balanced in their
 love for Shiva and ViShNu. For example, ViTThala, who stands on a brick
 in the bhUvaikuNTha that is Pandharapur, is worshipped with  as much
 fervor as Shiva and there is a strong tradition of the bhAgavata
 sampradAya among the smArtas.


bhava shankara deshikame sharaNam

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