ardhanArI Form

Ramakrishnan Balasubramanian ramakris at EROLS.COM
Tue Feb 29 20:57:09 CST 2000

Anand Hudli <anandhudli at HOTMAIL.COM> wrote:

>  Is it being suggested that Shaivism is intrinsically or
>  advaitic and that Vaishnava bhakti is similarly dvaitic? If so,
>  how can we explain the existence of advaitic forms of bhagavatism
>  introduced by the saints of Maharashtra, beginning with Sant
>  And how can we explain the existence of both dvaitic and
>  vishishhTa-advaitic (Veera-shaiva) schools of Shaivism in Southern

I was about to reply to this same mail. Anand has already pointed the
mistake in thinking that Shaivism is anymore advaitic than
Vaishnavism. As a matter of fact, neither Shaivism nor Vaishnavism
would be "advaitic". Advaita recognizes that the supreme is beyond
speech, but for the purposes of meditation "assumes" various forms.
This may be shiva, vishhNu or anyone else. Vaishnavism and Shaivism
are schools which posit a God who is distinct from the self.

Shaivite schools do use the meditation shivoham, but that is not in
the sense of advaita. They say it is to purify the self, only shiva
can meditate on shiva and so on. We should not confuse their doctrines
with advaita.

Texts which emphasize Vishhnu worship like the vishhNu purANa,
bhAgavatam and so on have heavily advaitic oriented parts. My favorite
is the story of R^ibhu and also prahalAda in the vishhNu purANa. The
entire advaita tattva can be found there. I don't have the time to
give all the quotations at this point of time.

Even the bhedAbheda school, which is the school we really should
compare and contrast advaita with, does not accept a gradation of


bhava shankara deshikame sharaNam

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