[Advaita-l] Shankara authenticates Shiva as the son of Brahma

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Sun Aug 14 15:11:51 CDT 2016

> Be that as it may, let us come to your point. Why does the word
> Ishwara here not refer to Shiva? It is because in that particular
> portion of the Kena upanishad and the bhAshya, the neuter gender is
> used for brahman (tat and enat). Therefore, in this entire episode,
> brahman is not treated as a person at all, having a wife and kids.

In the mantra following that episode, where alone the Uma's instruction
culminates, we have Shankara saying:

॥ चतुर्थः खण्डः ॥
ब्रह्मेति होवाच ब्रह्मणो वा एतद्विजये महीयध्वमिति ततो हैव विदांचकार
ब्रह्मेति ॥ १ ॥
सा ब्रह्मेति होवाच ह किल *ब्रह्मणः वै ईश्वरस्यैव* विजये — ईश्वरेणैव जिता
She, Uma, said 'It is Bahman. It is the victory of Brahman, Ishvara....by
Ishvara alone the asuras were vanquished.
So, Shankara uses the masculine for that entity, yaksham, now revealed as
Brahman (neuter). So, there is nothing wrong in Indra understanding Uma as
the consort of Ishwara. The use of masculine, Atm;a (mandukya 7th mantra),
feminine 'devatā' (chandogya 6th chapter) and neuter 'Brahman' (Br.up.
1.4.10 aham brahma asmi) are just a few examples where all three genders
are used across the upanishads to denote the Ultimate Truth. In fact
Shankara cites a Jabala upanishad where occurs 'tvam  vā ahamasmi devate
(sambodhana for feminine), aham vai tvamasi' in the nirguna brahma context
of realization. So, the gender used in Kenopanishat is no hurdle.
In the famous chandogya tat tvam asi, the other part of the sentence is:
tat satyam, sa ātmā tat tvam asi. Here, the sentence starts with the
subject tat, satyam, in neuter and says, sa ātmā, in the masculine. This is
explained as, since the Tat is taught as the self, atmā, the masculine is
Shankara's comment for the earlier mantra: अथवा उमैव हिमवतो दुहिता हैमवती
नित्यमेव सर्वज्ञेनेश्वरेण सह वर्तत इति ज्ञातुं समर्थेति कृत्वा तामुपजगाम ।
 Also denotes a masculine 'Ishwara'. Indra thought 'Because Umā is forever
with the Sarvajna Ishwara, therefore (the particle 'iti' has that meaning,
iti kāraṇāt), she will know the identity of the yaksham. This, Shankara
gives as an alternative meaning, after having first said 'Vidyā, knowledge,
appeared there in the feminine form of Uma.' So, even if Umā is not vidyā
itself, yet by her very eternal association with the Omniscient Ishwara she
knows' that is the thinking of Indra, according to Shankara.


> Note that Indra asks Uma - "kim etat yaksham", "what is this yaksha?"
> and not "who is this yaksha?" His question is addressed in the neuter
> gender. Therefore there is no way Indra could have thought that Uma
> was associated forever with a male companion. Hence, the word Ishwara
> here does not denote Shiva.
> You may disagree, but I have presented my view.
> Regards
> Gayatri

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