Hindu Trinity

Sankaran Kartik Jayanarayanan kartik at ECE.UTEXAS.EDU
Fri Apr 28 19:44:07 CDT 2000

I had posted the following to the list sometime ago, but it hasn't
appeared in my mailbox, hence the re-posting. Please bear with me if you
receive this email twice.

Raghavendra Hebbalalu wrote:


> This explanation would have been perfect if brahma was
> not worshipped or glorified anywhere in the smArta
> tradition. But it is not the case. brahma is glorified
> as hiraNyagarbha and prajaapati in the vedas. In fact,
> shiva and vishhNu were not as important in the vedas
> as Indra and the others.  The act of creation is
> glorified in many works respected by the smArta
> tradition. For example in the lalitA sahasranaama, She
> is described as 'sR^ishhTikartrii brahmarupaa'.

I was unsure as to whether HiraNyagarbha was actually Brahmaa. Thank you
for the clarification.

The worship of HiraNyagarbha is indeed refuted by GauDapaada in his
mANDUkyopanishhad kArikA 3.25. Shankara says in his commentary on the
kArikA that the worship of HiraNyagarbha does not lead to moksha, but
however results in chitta shuddhi (purification of the mind). There is a
philosophical basis in advaita for the non-worship of the creator.
Shankara states that the creator is not absolutely ral, but only
relatively so.

(translation by Svami GambhIrAnanda):
saMbhUterapavaadaachcha saMbhavaH pratishhidhyate .
konvenaM janayediti kAraNaM pratishhidhyate .. (3.25)

  From the refutation of (the worship of) HiraNyagarbha, it follows that
  creation is negated. By the text, "who should bring him forth?" is ruled
  out any cause.

Shankara's commentary: SaMbhavaH pratishhidhyate, creation (i.e. the
created things), is negated; saMbhUteH apavAdAt.h, because of the denial
of the worship of the Majestic One (HiraNyagarbha), in the text, "They
enter into blinding darkness who worship the Unmanifested" (Ish. up. 12).
For if HiraNyagarbha were absolutely real, there would not have been any
denunciation of His (worship).

Objection: The denunciation of (the worship of) HiraNyagarbha is meant for
bringing about the combination of worship with rites (vinAsha), as is
known from the text, "They enter into blinding darkness who are engaged in
(mere) rites." (Ish. up. 9).

Answer: It is true that the condemnation of the meditation on (or worship
of) HiraNyagarbha is meant for enjoining a combination of the meditation
of the Deity, viz HiraNyagarbha, with rites, referred to by the word
vinAsha (lit. the destructible). Still, just as rites, called vinAsha, are
meant for transcending death consisting in the natural tendencies
engendered by ignorance, so also the combination of the meditation on gods
with the rites -- which is enjoined for the purification of the human
heart -- is calculated to lead one beyond death that consists of twofold
hankering for ends and means, into which the impulsion, engendered by the
craving for the results of works, transforms itself. For thus alone will a
man be sanctified by becoming free from the impurity that is the death
characterized by the twofold hankering. Therefore this avidyaa (lit.
ignorance), characterized by a combination of the meditation on gods with
the rites, aims at leading one beyond death. Thus indeed does the
knowledge of the oneness of the supreme Self arise inevitably in one who
becomes disgusted with the world, who is ever engaged in the discussion of
the upanishhadic truths, and who goes beyond death that is but (a form of)
avidyaa (or ignorance) characterized by the dual desire (for ends and
means). Thus, in relation to the pre-existing ignorance, the knowledge of
Brahman, leading to immortality, comes as a successor to be related with
the same person; and therefore (in this sense) the latter is said to be
combined with the former. Accordingly, since the worship of HiraNyagarbha
is meant to serve a purpose different from that of the knowledge of
Brahman leading to immortality, the refutation of the worship of
HiraNyagarbha is tantamount to its denunciation, and this is so because it
has no direct bearing on emancipation, though it is a means of
purification. Thus from the condemnation of the worship of HiraNyagarbha
it follows that He has got only a relative existence; and hence creation,
(as symbolized by HiraNyagarbha and) called immortality, stands negated
from the standpoint of the absolutely real oneness of the Self.

So, since the individual soul itself, created by ignorance and existing
through ignorance alone, that attains its natural stature on the
eradication of ignorance, therefore, in the highest sense, "KaH nu enaM
janayet.h" who should again bring him forth? (Br. up. For none
indeed creates again a snake, superimposed on a rope through ignorance,
once it is removed through discrimination. Similarly none will create this
individual. By the words, "kaH nu, who indeed" used with the force of a
covert denial; kAraNaM pratishhidhyate, is ruled out any cause. The idea
is that a thing that was created by ignorance and (later) disappeared has
no source of birth, in accordance with the Vedic text, "It did not
originate from anything, nor did anything originate from It" (Ka. 1.2.18).

> Also, how can the non-worship of brahma by present day
> non-advaitin-Hindus be explained ?

I believe there is also some purANic authority for this.

> Raghavendra.


bhava shankara deshikame sharaNam

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