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

S Jayanarayanan sjayana at yahoo.com
Sun Aug 14 18:09:52 CDT 2016

Venkatraghavan S agnimile at gmail.com wrote:
> First of all, I apologise about the hair splitting that is to follow.
> If you are saying that because the neuter gender is used in the pronoun
> (एतत्), Siva cannot be referred to because he is male, and no masculine
> entity can be referred to, then by that logic, the Upanishad cannot be
> referring to ईश्वर as that Yaksha either - because the word ईश्वर is
> masculine in gender too.
> However, that interpretation would be wrong, because Shankara repeatedly
> says that the Yaksha is indeed ईश्वर only.
> Why did Agni, Vayu and Indra use the neuter then? Because they did not see
> chaturbhuja Vishnu or PinAkapANi Shiva or any "person", they saw a pillar
> of light. It is therefore natural for them to ask "What is this pillar of
> light", rather than "Who is this pillar of light". Just because they did
> not know it was Ishvara, causing them to use the neuter gender, does not
> mean that it wasn't Ishvara.
Namaste! That's a fine piece of reasoning!
Here's my personal understanding, in plain English.
The pronoun "it" is considered gender-neutral:
  “a person or animal whose sex is unknown or disregarded <don't know who it is>”
  “The masculine pronoun is he (with derived forms him, his and himself); the feminine is she (with derived forms her, hers and herself); the neuter is it (with derived forms its and itself).”
Although the word "it" is considered gender-neutral, it can definitely be used to refer to masculine OR feminine gender names, e.g.:
  "What is all the commotion on TV?"
  "IT is Michael Phelps!"
The person in question is a HE, but since the original question was in the neuter (or unknown) gender, it was appropriate to begin the reply in the neutral gender pronoun IT.
> Indra had a pratyaksha darshana on the other hand of the lady in front of
> him and realised it was Uma devi. He also knew that She was Rudrapatni
> (Kena vAkya bhAshya) and as a consequence, that She was always associated
> with the Sarvajna Ishvara (Kena pada bhAshya). Being associated with
> sarvajna Ishvara, she is also knowledgeable, and She was likely to know
> what this pillar of light was.  Hence, Indra sought her help in discovering
> what this Yaksha was.
> The relevant thing for our discussion is not who that Yaksha is, but that
> Shankara in commenting on the same mantra, referred to Umadevi as
> Rudrapatni and forever associated with Sarvajna Ishvara, in two different
> places. Therefore, Shankaracharya is equating sarvajna Ishvara with that
> Rudra only. This conclusion would contradict your claim that nowhere in
> Shankara bhAshya, does Shankaracharya say that Lord Shiva is Ishvara.
> If this reasoning is incorrect, then what is the alternative explanation?
> Why else in your opinion, does Shankaracharya say in the Kena pada bhAshya
> (whose authorship I assume you do not dispute) that Umadevi, daughter of
> HimavAn, is forever associated with sarvajna Ishvara?
> Now coming to your question on the authorship of the Kena vAkya bhAshya -
> there is an Anandagiri Tika to it, it is included in the Sri Vani Vilas
> Press 1910 edition of the works of Shankaracharya as commissioned by HH
> Sacchidananda Shivabhinava Narasimha Bharati Swaminah, and occurs in the
> Sringeri Sharada peetham's Advaita Sharada database.
> These are pretty good reasons to attribute the Kena vAkya bhAshya to
> AchArya in my book, but if you wish to  disagree, that is indeed your
> prerogative.
Thank you!
> Regards,
> Venkatraghavan
> On 14 Aug 2016 9:40 p.m., "D Gayatri via Advaita-l" <
> advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org> wrote:
> > 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.
> If the Ishwara is Shiva, neuter gender cannot be used *at all*. It is
> Indra who has used neuter gender when talking to Uma. The fact that
> Indra uses neuter gender is significant. There is no way Indra could
> have thought that Uma was associated with a male companion, since he
> has used neuter gender to refer to the yaksha.

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