[Advaita-l] Narayana - Word

Nomadeva Sharma nomadeva at yahoo.com
Fri May 30 05:06:39 CDT 2003

--- Sankaran Aniruddhan <ani at ee.washington.edu> wrote:
> namaste,
> >punarukti. So, this 'hari' could be yama. Why is
> >that possibility left out, before gathering support

> >for the conjecture that Narayana is not Vishnu?
> Other possibilities according to the Cologne 
> sanskrit lexicon at http://www.uni-koeln.de/phil-
> fak/indologie/tamil/mwd_search.html are Siva, Sukra,
> Jackal, Parrot etc (there are many more).

Yes certainly. Therefore, the presence of 'sa hariH'
is not a problem to avoid equating the referrent of
the word, 'nArAyaNa' and 'Vishnu'.

> >Coming back to absence of 'sa hariH', refer to the
> >mahopaniShat (rather, whatever is available) that
> >has a similar passage without 'sa hariH'. This text
> >also talks of birth of Mahadeva and hiraNyagarbha 
> >from Narayana. The non-mention of Vishnu being 
> >born out of Narayana, yet mentioned later, is the 
> >proof that the words refer to the same being.
> The Nrisimhatapini upanishad also has the same

> As far as I know, smArtas chant the nArAyaNa 
> sUktam as "sa brahma sa shivaH sa hariH sEndraH 
> so.axaraH paramaH svarAt" only.

There is a commentary on the Mahanarayana Upanishad by
a mAdhva yati, shrI dhIrendra tIrtha. 'sa hariH' is
included in the pATha. 

The point in quoting MahopaniShat was not to support
the draviDa pATha, instead, to show that the Upanishad
does not distinguish between Vishnu and Narayana.

> >The purpose behind writing RgBhashya is supposed 
> >to show how passages, alleged to belong to the
> >artifical division of karma-kANDa, can be 
> >interpreted at adhyAtma level to give knowledge of
> >Supreme. R^igbhAShya and karma-nirNaya are meant 
> >for that.
> But then, the yajur veda is more intimately
> connected with the rituals, isn't it? Wouldn't a 
> yajurveda-bhashya be more appropriate for this?

Good point, but the purpose is achieved if any portion
of karma-kANDa is taken (Why, somebody might say, why
not take up Atharva veda because it is tougher to
bring out knowledge from incantations). As such, the
topic is dealt with, partially, in the samanvayAdhyAya
bhAShya; names of different vessels in the sacrifice
are also 'samanvaya'ed.

> > That is not possible. The 'nArAyaNa' refers to the
> > attribute of having waters as a resting place.
> > In any case, nirguNa brahman is supposed to be 
> > without 'nAma' and 'rUpa'. Forgot that?
> From the description given in the nArAyaNa sUktam,
> nArAyaNa is "nirguNa brahman".

How do you answer the points I raised above? In any
case, the entity glorified over there --
'sahasra-shIrShaM' (1000 headed), 'devaM'
(resplendent), 'vishvAxaM' -- has too many qualities
that, barring a few, cannot be explained in terms of
absence of negative. In any case, the line equating
him to 'paramAtmA' (which is equivalent of saguNa
brahman or Ishvara) rules out the possibility of
nirguNa brahman.

NB is known through negative statements such as 'neti
neti' and not through positive definitions (like in
the nArAyaNa sUkta).


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