[Advaita-l] Re: Advaita-l Digest, Vol 12, Issue 7

Vivekshankar Natarajan nvivekshankar at yahoo.com
Wed Apr 7 11:57:33 CDT 2004

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Today's Topics:

1. RE: Brahma Sutra-supreme brahman (Vidyasankar Sundaresan)
2. Re: An Invitation (Raghavendra N Kalyan)
3. Website of Sree Sankaracharya University of Sanskrit, Kalady,
Kerala. (Malolan Cadambi)
4. Re: Brahma Sutra-supreme brahman (Jaldhar H. Vyas)
5. Shiva in the MahAbhArata (S Jayanarayanan)
6. Re: RE: Brahma Sutra-supreme brahman (bhaskar.yr at in.abb.com)
7. Digest of Paramacharya's Discourses on Soundaryalahari
(DPDS-72) (V. Krishnamurthy)


Message: 1
Date: Tue, 06 Apr 2004 11:23:44 -0700
From: "Vidyasankar Sundaresan" 
Subject: [Advaita-l] RE: Brahma Sutra-supreme brahman
To: advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org
Content-Type: text/plain; format=flowed

>The tamil translation (by Kadalangudi Natesha shaastrigal) I have
>translates it as "all pervading" paramam padam.

That seems like the best explanation of the term. It is very common to refer 
to the state of moksha as "viShNoH paramam padam". The word viShNu here need 
not be taken as a reference to viShNu with form. Rather, it refers to the 
upaniShadic statements that having created the universe, brahman enters it. 
The verb root "viS" means to enter, and therefore Brahman is called viShNu. 
However, although Brahman enters the universe, as it were, it remains apart 
and unaffected. The term "param padam" draws our attention to this.


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Message: 2
Date: Tue, 6 Apr 2004 22:00:51 +0100 (BST)
From: Raghavendra N Kalyan 
Subject: [Advaita-l] Re: An Invitation
To: advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org
Message-ID: <20040406210051.85090.qmail at web25104.mail.ukl.yahoo.com>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=iso-8859-1


An amusing feature of that group is that there is an invitation for bauddhas and jainas to join and put forth their arguments! 

Another feature is that there is hardly anybody to decide whose argument has a greater weight. I have come accross some dvaitins who in the course of discussing with me claimed that God can make 2+2 as 5 or that he can make the existent prakRti non-existent if he likes!!! 

Anyway, it is quite easy to "win" an argument in that group. All that is required is quantity - bombard the group with posts and you are the "winner", even if you write utter nonsense. :-)


>Thanks for the invite. I searched for info about this list on the web
>and found this comment about the forum at
>Cat=" target=_blank>http://www.hindunet.com/forum/showthreaded.php?>Cat=&Number=41354&page=&view=&sb=5&o=&vc=1

>"I have been subscribed to vadavali. But I am unfortunately not seeing
>any vada let alone any dialogue within the two main schools in your
>forum. Instead one particular school is bombarding the members of the
>other school with abuses and are trying to ridicule the other school's
>philosophy. I don't think this ridiculing the opposite school will
>glorify their own philosophy. Instead, I am sorry to say, vadavali is
>now nearly a farce. It is more like 'Dvaitavali'."

>I've subscribed to it anyway!


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Message: 3
Date: Tue, 6 Apr 2004 23:42:15 +0100 (BST)
From: Malolan Cadambi 
Subject: [Advaita-l] Website of Sree Sankaracharya University of
Sanskrit, Kalady, Kerala.
To: Sanskrit L , Indian Civilization
, Advaita L

Message-ID: <20040406224215.39678.qmail at web12821.mail.yahoo.com>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=iso-8859-1

Came across the website of the institution which conducts
post-graduate courses, which many of you might find usefull:




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Message: 4
Date: Tue, 6 Apr 2004 18:39:06 -0400 (EDT)
From: "Jaldhar H. Vyas" 
Subject: Re: [Advaita-l] Brahma Sutra-supreme brahman
To: A discussion group for Advaita Vedanta


Content-Type: TEXT/PLAIN; charset=US-ASCII

On Mon, 5 Apr 2004, S Jayanarayanan wrote:

> Are you saying that saguNa Brahman is essentially BrahmA =
> hiraNyagarbha?

In general no, but in this sutra yes. It is discussing the passages in
chhandogyopanishad which state the released souls go to the world of
Prajapati and then proceed to the final moksha at pralaya. The puranic
motif of Brahma and Padmanabha Vishnu Bhagavan would make a good
illustration of that concept.

> I believe there are as many (if not more) prayers in the Vedas to
> prajApati-alias-HiraNyagarbha as there are to VishhNu, so there can be
> no question of one worship being "more Vedic" than the other.

The particular deities in question may be equally Vedic but not
necessarily their followers!

> OTOH, here are some speculations:
> Since HiraNyagarbha-worship is only in the Karma-KANDa portion of the
> Vedas, it MAY be that ONLY Vedic ritualistic worship of
> HiraNyagarbha(=saguNa Brahman) leads to krama-mukti. Is this why
> smArtas do not worship BrahmA in the temples -- because
> HiraNyagarbha-worship should not be non-Vedic (since temple worship is
> not purely Vedic)?

We have discussed this on the list before. Unfortunately it is still a
dark mystery as to why Brahma never became as popular as Visnu or Mahesh.
I don't think Shankaracharya believed only Vedic yajnas were a path to
krama-mukti. In fact in the adhikarana against the vyuhavada, he mentions
temple worship as being one of the customs of the Bhagavatas and states
that such things are not to be condemned only their philosophical views.

Jaldhar H. Vyas 
It's a girl! See the pictures - http://www.braincells.com/shailaja/


Message: 5
Date: Tue, 6 Apr 2004 18:13:25 -0700 (PDT)
From: S Jayanarayanan 
Subject: [Advaita-l] Shiva in the MahAbhArata
To: advaita-l 
Cc: vAdAvaLi at yahoogroups.com
Message-ID: <20040407011325.96277.qmail at web10604.mail.yahoo.com>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii

I have been collecting passages from the MahAbhArata (MB) that praise
Shiva as the Supreme. Here are two that I've found so far, if you know
of any others, please let me know, I would greatly appreciate it.

All references below are from the Sanskrit edition of the MB with Hindi
translation, published by the Gitapress, Gorakhpur, India. 


In adhyAya 84 of the vanaparva (specifically the section called
tIrthayAtrAparva), the sage Pulastya instructs the PANDavas on the
importance of pilgrimage and gives a list of holy places to visit.
Among them is suvarNAksha, the place where VishhNu worshipped Shiva. 

Here is the Sanskrit original with the English translation following
J.A.B. van Buitenen (he takes the passage to be MB 3.82.15-20, i.e.
adhyAya 82 instead of 84, of vanaparva):

tatogachchhet suvarNAkhyaM trishhu lokeshhu vishrutam.h .. 18 ..
tatra vishhNuH prasaadaarthaM rudramArAdhayat purA .
varAMshcha subAhUllebhe daivateshhu sudurlabhaM .. 19 ..

"Then one should go to Suvarnaksha, famous in the three worlds, where
Vishnu once propitiated Rudra to win his grace. He obtained very many
boons such as are hard to find among the Gods;"

uktashcha tripuraghnena paritushhTena bhaarata .
api cha tvaM priyataro loke KR^ishhNa bhavishhyasi .. 20 ..
tvanmukhaM cha jagat sarvaM bhavishhyati na saMshayaH .
tatraabhigaMya rAjendra pUjayitvA vR^ishhadhvajam.h .. 21 ..
ashvamedhamavApnoti gANapatyaM cha vindati .

"And, pleased, the Sacker of Tripura said to him, 'You will be more
beloved even than we in the world, Krishna. Your mouth shall be the
entire universe, no doubting of it.' By approaching and doing Puja to
the Bull-bannered God, one rises to (i.e. acquires the fruit of) a
Horse Sacrifice and attains to the rank of a Ganapati."


In the anushAsanaparva, adhyAya 17, KR^ishhNa recites the Shiva
sahasranAma in YudhishhThira'a presence (as previously instructed by
upamanyu). Names like the following make it clear that it refers to the
Supreme Brahman: 

8. sarvAtmA -- The Self of All
88. sarvaGYaH -- The All-knowing One
413. paraMbrahma -- The Supreme Brahman
860. brahmavit -- The Knower of Brahman

And names like these make it clear that is KailAsagirivAsI-Shiva:

378. nandIshvaraH -- the Lord of nandi (Shiva's vehicle).
611. kApAlI -- One who wears skulls
660. KailAsagirivAsI -- one who dwells in Mount KailAsa
869. pashupatiH -- the Lord of all living beings (typically applied to


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Message: 6
Date: Wed, 7 Apr 2004 09:02:40 +0530
From: bhaskar.yr at in.abb.com
Subject: Re: [Advaita-l] RE: Brahma Sutra-supreme brahman
To: A discussion group for Advaita Vedanta

Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii

That seems like the best explanation of the term. It is very common to
to the state of moksha as "viShNoH paramam padam". The word viShNu here
not be taken as a reference to viShNu with form. Rather, it refers to the
upaniShadic statements that having created the universe, brahman enters it.
The verb root "viS" means to enter, and therefore Brahman is called viShNu.
However, although Brahman enters the universe, as it were, it remains apart
and unaffected. The term "param padam" draws our attention to this.

sAshtAnga praNAm Sri Vidya prabhuji
Hare Krishna

prabhuji, we also say ye tad viShNum mahAgnEyam, treating
parabrahman/viShNu as jnEya vastu, how to reconcile this with the above
viShNu definition?? does shruti talking here about saguNa brahman as jnEya
prabhuji?? pls. clarify.

Your humble servant
Hari Hari Hari Bol!!!


Message: 7
Date: Wed, 7 Apr 2004 07:23:31 -0700 (PDT)
From: "V. Krishnamurthy" 

Subject: [Advaita-l] Digest of Paramacharya's Discourses on
Soundaryalahari (DPDS-72)
To: Sadhanashakti , advaita - L
, advaitinlist
, ambaa-list 
Message-ID: <20040407142331.12594.qmail at web40901.mail.yahoo.com>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii

Recall the Note about the organization of the ‘Digest’, 
from DPDS – 26 or the earlier ones.
V. Krishnamurthy
A Digest of Paramacharya’s Discourses on Soundaryalahari -
(Digest of pp.1218 -1221 of Deivathin Kural, 6th volume,
4th imprn.)

Shloka #65:

raNe jitvA daityAn-apahRta-shirastraiH kavacibhiH 
nivRttaish-caNDAmsha-tripura-hara-nirmAlya-vimukhaiH /
vishAkh-endro-pendraiH shashi-vishada-karpUra-shakalA 
vilIyante mAtas-tava vadana-tAmbUla-kabalAH //65 //

caNDAmsha-tripura-hara-nirmAlya-vimukhaiH: (Chanda’s share
- Shiva – leavings –looking away) : Rejecting the
offering-remnants of Shiva as the share of the devotee
vishAkh-endro-pendraiH : the celestials KumAra, Indra and
jitvA : after having conquered
daityAn : the asuras
raNe : in battle,
nivRttaiH : return to you
mAtaH : Oh Mother,
apahRta-shirastraiH : with their head-dresses (helmets,
etc.) removed
kavacibhiH : but with their armour-jackets on,
tava vadana-tAmbUla-kabalAH : (eager to receive) as Your
gracious gift (Prasada) the betal rolls used by You
vilIyante : and chew them
shashi-vishada-karpUra-shakalAH : (until) they dissolve
along with the moon-white pieces of refined camphor
contained in them. 

Just in the previous shloka (#64) the Acharya has said that
Goddess Saraswati who dwells on the tip of Her tongue, gets
Her crystal-like white complexion changed into the colour
of a red ruby because of the ruddiness of the tongue that
defies the japa (habiscus) flowers in its redness. I have
already told you about this.
(Note by VK: See DPDS – 58)

Here this shloka talks about the symphony of red and white
that the betal-chewing gives to ambaal’s tongue. You may
ask wherefrom comes this whiteness. Betal-chewing only
produces a reddish tinge. 

I take resort to the words
“shashi-vishada-karpUra-shakalAH”. Maybe the Acharya
thought : “We only talked about the white Saraswati at the
tip of ambaal’s tongue becoming red. But while writing
bhashyas, and while composing stotras we have been
propitiating only ShAradA the white Goddess. Then why not
bring Her whiteness into ambaal’s tongue that dwells on the
betal rolls?”!

That the mouth is full of betal rolls is a characteristic
attribute that we use in all our descriptions of a
sumangali. Even the Sahasranama says of Her:
“tAmbUla-pUrita-mukhI”, meaning, “The One whose mouth is
full of chewing betal”. Ambaal, who is Auspiciousness
personified should always be visualised by us only this

There is nothing that can excel the leavings of her
“tAmbUla” (betal roll). It is called ‘tAmbUla-ucchishhTaM’
(betal-leavings). Only we humans have to consider another
human’s food-leavings as something demeaning. That of
ambaal is sacred. Our body is nothing but meat. But the
divine body is akshhara. It encompasses all from “a” to
“kshha”. That is why it is called ‘akshhara’, which also
means ‘immutable’. The divine body is nothing but all the
mantras personified; because no mantra goes outside of “a”
to “kshha”. Over and above all that, it is Love
personified. And hence it is that Her betal leavings are
most sacred.

And who is receiving it? Not just a devotee, a poet or a
rishi. Her own son, KumAra; Her own devotee, Indra, who
received Brahma-vidyA from Her (refer Kenopanishad); and
Her own masculine form in the form of Vishnu. The Acharya
has woven a really marvelous dramatic scene in which these
three receive Her betal leavings. 

“senAnInAM aham skandaH”, says Krishna in the Gita. “I am
KumAra among the warriors of the world”. His trident
(‘Vel’, in Tamil) is victorious, wherever it appears. Its
very name is shakti. It is nothing but parA-shakti Herself.
And it was this KumAra who went as the chief of all the
divine forces to wage war with the enmies of the divines.
Naturally the King of the divines, Indra, goes along with
Him. Vishnu has another name Upendra – because He was born
as a son (VAmana) to the same parents that bore Indra. 
Thus these three, VishAka (KumAra), Indra, and Upendra
(Vishnu) are returning to Mother Goddess after their
victory over the asuras. The first thing that they look for
is the gift of ambaal’s betal leavings.

Earlier to the birth of KumAra, once the divines did win
over all the asuras. That was when they were all puffed up
with pride. They thought it was their own Power (shakti)
that brought them the victory. The parA-shakti made them
realise how incomplete their Power was, in each one of
them. She put before them a piece of straw which stood like
a rock before all their might. This story of their
becoming just a speck of dust in the presence of the
supreme Shakti is told very graphically in Kenopanishad. It
was only after this that Indra, among them all, immediately
became very humble and he was taught the Brahma Vidya by

KumAra, Indra and Vishnu very modestly want to offer their
victory over the asuras, at the feet of ambaal and partake
as prasad, of Her betal leavings. Ambaal usually revels in
feeding others rather than enjoying the food Herself.
Different varieties of sweet dishes are usually accepted by
Her as offerings, not for Her own sake, but for the sake of
Her devotees. For Herself She is content with the betal
rolls!. But then, who eats all that food in Her house? It
is the Lord!—so that He may not go ‘begging’ for food in
His style as a ‘BikshhATana’ (the roaming mendicant). When
the three divines return from their victorious war, it was
just the time when the Lord had finished His dinner. But
they (the celestials) did not care for the Prasad of Lord
Shiva – because they were heading towards ambaal for Her
betal leavings!

And the Acharya excels here, by ascribing a reason to this
action of the three celestials. 
(To be continued)
Thus spake the Paramacharya

PraNAms to all advaitins and devotees of Mother Goddess.

Prof. V. Krishnamurthy
My website on Science and Spirituality is http://www.geocities.com/profvk/
You can access my book on Gems from the Ocean of Hindu Thought Vision and Practice, and my father R. Visvanatha Sastri's manuscripts from the site.
Also see the webpages on Paramacharya's Soundaryalahari :


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End of Advaita-l Digest, Vol 12, Issue 7

Vivek Shankar 

 400,South Oak Street,#243,



Arise ,Awake and Stop not till the Goal is Reached !


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