[Advaita-l] ***UNCHECKED*** The Bhagavadgita and Sri Vishnu Sahasra Nāma - double up as texts on Shiva as well

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Sun Dec 3 22:17:46 EST 2017

The Bhagavadgita and Sri Vishnu Sahasra Nāma - double up as texts on Shiva
as well

It is popular belief among non-advaitins that the  Bhagavadgita and VSN are
texts that relate to of Lord Vishnu. However, for the Vedantin such as
Shankara, these are works that are a teaching on realizing Brahman. They
are not theological texts for the Vedantin. He does not confine the
commentary to make the texts applicable to solely a finite deity Vishnu. He
also reveals the VSN to be holding Shiva as Brahman, jagatkāraṇam, as well.
His citing the śivapurāṇa verse '...;śivaḥ paramakāraṇam' for the 'Rudra'
name therein in a proof for this. Also for the name 'soma' of the VSN,
Shankara, alternatively, takes it as the one with Umā.  That he has
considered the Kaivalyopaniṣat 'sa brahmā, sa śivaḥ...' as teaching abheda
of all deities is another proof of his not confining the VSN to the finite
deity Viṣṇu.

Quite interestingly we have Sri Desamangalam Arya, the commentator for the
famous Nārāyaṇīyam of Melpattur Narayana Bhattatiri, at 90.5 say:

नामसहस्रकादीति |  आदिशब्देन श्रीगीतादि गृह्यते | सोऽपि तदुभयमपि शिवपरतया
व्याख्यातुं शक्यमपि विष्णुपरतयैव व्याख्यातवान् | [ Nāmasahasrakādi iti. The
'etc.' includes the Bhagavadgītā, etc. He, Shankara, too, *even though both
these texts can be commented/interpreted upon to mean Shiva to be the
Supreme, *explained them as bringing out Vishnu alone as the Brahman.]

The following emerge as fall-outs from  the above comment:

   - The VSN and the BG are not Vishnu-specific works
   - A Vedantin can happily interpret these texts as Shiva-specific as well
   - The immediate fallout of this is: the वेदैश्च सर्वैरहमेव वेद्यः
   occurring in the BG will lose its emphasis with respect to Vishnu as
   normally claimed by non-Advaitins.
   - There is the śivagītā, having the concepts of the BG, of the
   Padmapurana which has been commented by a 15-16CE Pontiff of the Sringeri
   - Abhinavagupta has commented upon the BG. It is reported that he has
   said:  http://www.thenewyoga.org/guru_abhinavagupta.htm    //In his
   commentary on the *Bhagavad Gita,* *Gitarthasangraha,* Abhinavagupta
   emphatically declared that freedom from all miseries can be obtained by
   seeing Him (Paramshiva) in everything and everywhere, and not by
   renunciation of the world. The impending battle between Pandvas and Kaurvas
   is interpreted as the race between *Vidya* (knowledge, perception) and
   *Avidya* (ignorance, blurred perception).//
   - There cannot be a greater blasphemous statement than Desamangalam
   Arya's and implicitly of Narayana Bhatta's, for the cause of Vaishnavism.
   - If the VSN and BG can be interpreted as Shiva-specific, the status of
   the so-called 'sattva puranas' is at stake. Desamangalam includes an 'ādi''
   after saying VSN and BG. The Vishnu Purana and the Bhagavata will lose
   their uniqueness as Vishnu-specific works. In fact Sridhara Swamin has, in
   the invocation to the Bhagavatam commentary captured the essence of this
   text:  माधवोमाधवावीशौ सर्वसिद्धिविधायिनौ। वन्दे परस्परात्मानौ

   I bow to Mādhava and Umādhava (Shiva) who are both 'Isha-s' Supreme
   Lords. They are capable of bestowing all accomplishments (to their
   devotees). They are both the selves of each other and both love to
   engage in the stuti of each other. Thus, the Self, which is the dearest for
   one, is Shiva in the case of Krishna/Vishnu. The Vishnupurana commentary of
   Sridharaswamin contains the episode of Vishnu offering his very eye in
   worship of Shiva.
   - This verse alone is the authority for gauging Sridharaswamin's heart
   about the gods Shiva and Vishnu. What might appear to be contrary to this
   in his commentaries are to be seen as contextual and not his personal view,
   which is set out in the invocation cited above.
   - The claim of Narayana Bhatta and Desamangalam that Shankara commented
   upon the BG as Vishnu-specific is denied by none other than
Ramanuja.  Śrībhāṣya:

    ….वेदवादछद्मप्रच्छन्नबौद्धनिराकरणे निपुणतरं प्रपञ्चितम् ।

   //This point has already been set forth in detail in our refutation of
   those crypto-Bauddhas who take shelter under a pretended Vedic doctrine.//In
   the Bhagavadgita 13.2  bhāṣya Ramanuja says:

    अत एवमादिवादा अनाकलित -- श्रुतिस्मृतीतिहासपुराणन्यायसदाचार --
   स्ववाक्यविरोधैः स्ववचःस्थापनदुराग्रहैः अज्ञानिभिः जगन्मोहनाय प्रवर्तिताः इति

   //Therefore such arguments as these are to be rejected since they stem
   from ignoramuses who are obsessed with asserting their views that are
   self-contradictory, with no basis in the Śruit, smṛti, itihāsa, purāṇa,
   logic and *noble conduct*, aimed at deluding the world.//

   Thus, according to Ramanuja, since Shankara is ignorant of the purport
   of Shruti, smriti, purana, etc. which is Vishnu-supremacy (according to
   Ramanuja), has not upheld the deity Vishnu as the Brahman in the BG. Also,
   someone who is a crypto-Buddhist cannot be even a vaidika, let alone being
   a protagonist of Vishnu-supremacy.

   Pillai Lokachariar of the Ramanuja following himself has acknowledged
   that the names Vasudeva and Vishnu are more advaita-friendly. These two
   names, especially Vasudeva, has been a favorite of Shankara to proclaim: I
   am Vasudeva as the purport of the BG. In fact the names Vishnu, Krishna,
   etc. are found in the Shiva Sahasra Nama of the Mahabharata, which is
   condensed by Kshemendra of the 11 CE and is a part of the extant
   Kumbhakonam edition which Madhvas follow.

   Narayana Bhatta's credential as a protagonist of Vishnu-Supremacy stands
   contradicted by none other than himself by authenticating the Prapanchasāra
   as that of śankara. In this work Shankara has established every deity as
   upaasya for moksha. The claim of Narayana Bhatta in the Narayaneeyam as
   Shankara has singled out Vishnu in the Prapanchasara is thus far from the

   The greatest blow to courting Narayana Bhatta as a non-vaishnava scholar
   supporting the cult of Vaishnavism comes from not anyone else but himself.
   He has composed the Sreepaada saptati which is a work holding Devi, the
   consort of Shiva, to be the Supreme: Read an article here on this topic:

Desamangalam Arya's observation that the VSN and BG, etc. are texts that
are amenable to Shiva-supremacy is no doubt representative of the Vedantic
idea. As he himself observes, citing a maxim, in the commentary to 90.9:
'यस्येच्छा जायते यस्मिन् तं देवं स समाश्रयेत्' [let one resort to that god
in whom he finds a liking], each one resorts to the god of his liking, that
arises out of his samskaras born of practices of earlier lives. So, there
is no hard  and fast rule that one should be a vaishnava alone in order to
get liberation. Desamangalam says further: by the firming up of the
devotion to that chosen god, the devotee attains the fruit. This rule is at
the basis of the puranas holding one god as superior at the cost of
apparently deprecating the other gods. Repeatedly one can encounter such
statements in the Mahabharata that bring out the central theme of not only
the MB but the entire Veda:

रुद्रो नारायणश्चैव सत्त्वमेकं द्विधा कृतम्।

लोके चरति कौन्तेय व्यक्तिस्थं सर्वकर्मसु।। 12-350-27a 12-350-27b.

[Rudra and Narayana are only two manifestations of One Principle.......]

Om Tat Sat

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