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

Anand Hudli anandhudli at hotmail.com
Tue Aug 16 00:02:10 CDT 2016

Shankara examines the views of the Bhagavatas, worshippers of
Vasudeva/Vishnu/Narayana, in his BSB 2.2.42-45. It may come as a surprise
to some here but his criticism of the Bhagavatas is relatively light and in
fact, he accepts their key beliefs and practices. He does agree that
devotion to nArAyaNa/vAsudeva,  going to temples, etc. is good.  He is
critical of their Vyuha theory and certain other beliefs that arise from
Pancharatra, and the attitude of shANDilya towards the Vedas. His point ,
as I see it, is  that if you  take away the disagreeable aspects of
pAncharAtra, the  rest is already supported in the shruti and smRti. योऽसौ
नारायणः परोऽव्यक्तात्प्रसिद्धः परमात्मा सर्वात्मा, स आत्मनात्मानमनेकधा
व्यूह्यावस्थित इति — तन्न निराक्रियते, ‘स एकधा भवति त्रिधा भवति’ (छा. उ.
७-२६-२) इत्यादिश्रुतिभ्यः परमात्मनोऽनेकधाभावस्याधिगतत्वात्. यदपि तस्य
भगवतोऽभिगमनादिलक्षणमाराधनमजस्रमनन्यचित्ततयाभिप्रेयते, तदपि न प्रतिषिध्यते,
श्रुतिस्मृत्योरीश्वरप्रणिधानस्य प्रसिद्धत्वात् । Incidentally, he implies
that Narayana is Ishwara here.

It is probable that many of these Bhagavatas accepted Shankara's teachings
and were brought into the smArta fold sometime in the past. However, they
have still retained the Bhagavata sampradAya and hence are known as
Bhagavata SampradAya smArtas or smArtas following the BhAgavata
sampradAya.It is not uncommon to find the Bhagavatas among smArtas in
Karnataka and Maharashtra and they even have maThas of their own. I am told
by my friend and Purohit on various occasions, Shri Yajneshvara Aital of
the Mysuru Sringeri Math that the Balekudru Math in Hangarukatte, Udupi
District is one of them.

Finally, Shri SSS of Holenarsipur has written a book in Kannada on
Bhagavata Sampradaya. It should be available online at the Karyalaya
website. He says some of the Bhagavatas, not understanding their own
tradition, may have taken up practices of other Vaishnava Matas such as
mAdhva. One reason why he wrote the book is to make such people understand
their sampradAya.


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