[Advaita-l] Dog Headed God

Vidyasankar Sundaresan svidyasankar at hotmail.com
Tue Feb 15 09:38:43 CST 2011

> Reference Book - Shankara and Indian Philosophy page 88

Is this the book by Natalia Isayeva?
> 'According to the living Hindu tradition, it was Sankara, for
> instance, who brought to an end the practice of worship of the
> dog-headed Siva in one of the most popular centers of pilgrimage, the
> city of Ujjayini. '

Not sure about Ujjain, but there is a strong association of dogs with
Mallari/Malhari/Mailari/Mallanna and Khandoba, forms of Siva-Rudra
very popular in central India, Maharashtra, northern parts of Karnataka
and Andhra. TThere is a Wikipedia entry on Khandoba.
Dattatreya is also often depicted in the company of dogs. In any case,
the quoted statement is one of those legendary activities attributed to
Sankaracharya, which are not historically accurate.
Throughout India, over the centuries, we see evidence of conversion of
the ways of worship of folk deities and change from "left-handed" ways
to acceptable methods of worship. A lot of these changes get attributed
to Sankaracharya, quite unnecessarily and quite inaccurately.

> Which temple in Ujjaini has dog headed Siva ? Why Adi Sankara stopped
> worship of this God? How can Dog be God?

In the namaka praSna, we have namaS SvabhyaS SvapatibhyaS ca vo
namaH! Of course, we also have aSvebhyaH, mRgayubhyaH etc, and it
does not mean that there were temples where Siva was worshipped in
the form of a horse, jackal, dog etc. On the other hand, we could also
ask, how can elephant or lion or monkey be God, and question the
worship of Ganesa, Narasimha and Hanuman too ...

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