[Advaita-l] Shankara authenticates Shiva

D Gayatri dgayatrinov10 at gmail.com
Thu Aug 18 01:03:25 CDT 2016

> Interesting that you chad oncluded in the original message on this thread that Sankara's *partial* quotes from the Mahabharata
> implies that the *whole* section of the Mahabharata must be genuine and taken at face value!
> http://www.advaita-vedanta.org/archives/advaita-l/2016-August/041878.html
>  "The first quotation of Shankara is from Mbh 12.338.1 in the critical edition. The complete verse is as follows"
>  ...
>  "Since Shankara quotes this incident from both these chapters (328 and 329 of Shanti parva), these incidents are
>   not interpolations as they have been authenticated by the great Shankara himself"
> As a matter of fact, Sankara quotes the Jabala Upanishad (JU) verses several times in his Brahma Sutra Bhashya (BSB):
>  BSB 1.2.32: quoted JU verse 2
>  BSB 2.1.3: quoted JU verse 5
>  BSB 3.4.20: quoted JU verses 4 and 5
> And the JU runs to only about a couple of pages, whereas the Mahabharata section on Purusha Suktam runs to more than three pages!
> The point is - if you can extrapolate Sankara's PARTIAL quotes from the Mahabharata as proof of acceptance of the entire section of the text,
> then one can equally well extrapolate Sankara's PARTIAL quotes from the Jabala Upanishad as proof of acceptance of the entire text of the JU!

This requires some explanation, so I will give it here. I will start
with an extreme example, so that it is easier to understand. If
Shankara quotes from the Mokshadharma, then does it mean any of the
following -

1. The entire Mokashadharma is authenticated?
2. The entire Shanti parvan is authenticated?
3. The entire Mahabharata is authenticated?

It does not mean any of the above, since the Mokshadharma,
Shantiparvan and Mahabharata are a set of disjointed episodes, though
there is a core story in the Mahabharata. There is no uniform
continuity in the Mokshadharma, so quoting one topic in a section,
does not lead to authentication of other topic in another section (or
even the same section). Here, it does not matter whether the text is
long or short. What matters is the natural continuity between sections
or topics. What also matters is whether the topics are compatible with

When then can you say that if Shankara quotes something, it is
authenticated? You can say that when there is a natural continuity
between the quotes and none of section(s) contradict advaita-vedAnta.
In the instance, I have given from the Mahabharata, there is a natural
continuity between the quotes. Anyone can verify the natural
continuity of the quotes here -


First the topic is whether there are multiple or single pursha(s).

Then views of Samkhya and yoga are presented. (This, Shankara
considers as pUrva-paksha)

Then it is stated that Purusha is one.

Then Shankara quotes the words of Brahma, to his son Shiva, that the
Pursusha (Narayana) is the inner Self etc

Because of the following, we can say that this incident is
authenticated by Shankara -

1. There is a natural continuity in this episode  of the Mahabharata
and Sri Shankara's quotes follow the exact same sequence and are also
naturally continuous. A pUrva-paksha is presented first and then the
pUrva-paksha is refuted and the siddhAnta is presented.

2. All the quotes are present at the same place in BSB.

3. None of this section contradicts advaita-vedAnta. It is perfectly
compatible with advaita-vedAnta because it says there is in reality
only one purusha.

Now, let us come to the Jabala quotes. You say, Shankara quotes verses
(sections) 2, 4 and 5. It is to be noted that there is no natural
continuity between the verses (sections) in the Jabala Upanishad, as
far as it addresses different topics. Verse 2 addresses the topic of
Atman. Verse 3 addresses the question of what japa leads to
immortality? (Very interesting to note that in verse 3, which is the
rudram chanting verse, Atman is not even mentioned). Verse 4 talks
about sannyAsa. Verse 5 talks about Brahmana. So there is no
continuity in the topics and the topics that are addressed in the
different verses are disjointed. When the topics are disjointed, the
length of the text does not matter. Short or long, the quotation from
one topic does not authenticate any other topic, unless that other
topic is also quoted.

It is more interesting to note that even though Shankara quotes from
verses (sections) 2, 4 and 5, he does not quote from verse 3, which is
supposedly in the middle of these verses. This could either mean the
verse (section) 3 is an interpolation (high probability given that it
is much shorter compared to other verses) or Shankara does not agree
that chanting the rudram is a means to immortality or (this is my
favorite argument, since many people have employed it here), Shankara
considers verse 3 as mere arthavAda since it directly contradicts his
philosophy that jnAna alone leads to moksha.

Hence, it is to be concluded that in the jAbAla upanishad, Shankara
does not authenticate rudram chanting, even though he quotes other
verses from the upanishad. As I said, here the key is not whether the
text is long or short, but whether there is continuity in the topics
addressed and whether the sections are compatible with

A final point. There are instances, not only in the Mbh, but also in
puranas, saying that visiting this sacred place or that sacred place,
leads to this world or that world or even immortality and moksha.
Given that the core of advaita-siddhAnta is that jnAna alone leads to
moksha, all these instances should be taken as (again, I will quote
the favorite argument of members here) *arthavAda*.

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