[Advaita-l] Anandagiri composes saguna-nirguna specific verse

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Sun Jun 10 22:31:45 EDT 2018

Anandagiri composes  saguna-nirguna specific verse

Anandagiri, the famous  ancient Advaita Acharya of the 13 CE who has
composed gloss, Teekaa, on the prasthana traya bhashya-s of Shankaracharya,
the Vartika of Sureshvaracharya, has authored several independent works
too. One such is Vedanta Tattvaloka, a short work where he deals with a
number of Vedantic topics. There, after refuting the doctrine of the
Naiyayika who admits of an Ishwara merely based on anumana, Anandagiri
composes a verse in benediction. This is just one of the several verses he
composes in the body of the book which is predominantly prose.

The Vedanta Tattvaloka was published by the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan in

p.44 of pdf:

भजामि शम्भुं भवभीविदारणं जगत्प्रसूतिस्थितिनाशकारणम् |
विधूतभेदं निरवद्यमाद्यं परं पदं वेदशिरस्सु वेद्यम् || 12 ||

[I venerate Shambhu, the destroyer of the fear of samsara, the cause of the
creation, sustenance and lapsing of the world, free of differences, devoid
of any defects, the First, the Supreme Reality, that can be known from the

Several features come to the fore from the above verse:

   - It is a verse combining saguna and nirguna brahman, like the famous  एको
   देवः सर्वभूतेषु गूढः सर्वव्यापी सर्वभूतान्तरात्मा । कर्माध्यक्षः
   सर्वभूताधिवासः साक्षी चेता केवलो निर्गुणश्च ॥ - श्वेताश्वतरोपनिषत् ६-११.  of
   the Shvetashvatara Upanishad.
   - The lakshana of saguna brahman (taTastha lakshana) of jagatkaranatvam
   is brought out.
   - Ishwara is held to be the Master who annihilates the fear of samsara
   of his devotees.
   - This very Ishwra who is saguna, the jagatkaaranam, is free of
   differences, the Advaitic truth, taught in the Upanishads, for example, the
   Mandukya 7th mantra, where all bheda obtaining in creation/samsara, is
   denied in the Turiya.
   - Brahman is free of all defects. Ishwara too is free of any defect.
   Only then he is fit to be worshiped as saguna brahman and realized as
   nirguna brahman by negating the gunas.
   - Ishwara is taught as the Adya, First. There is nothing before Him/That.
   - Ishwara is taught as Param, in contrast to apara brahman, saguna
   - Brahman is the subject matter of the Upanishads.  Through the
   Upanishads alone it can be known. तं तु औपनिषदं पुरुषं पृच्छामि says the
   Brihadaranyaka Upanishad. 'I seek to know That which is established in the
   Upanishads, for which the Upanishads alone are the means.'
   - The saguna Ishwara is taught as Shambhu by Anandagiri. This 'Shambhu'
   is the Brahman of the Atharva Shikha Upanishad (which Ramanuja tried to
   convert to Vishnu).
   - Anandagiri, expounding the verse of Sureshwaracharya in the
   Br.up.bh.vartika, says that 'if puranas try to differentiate between the
   Trimurtis, being discordant with the Shruti, they have to be rejected as
   apramana. For, the Veda does not hold the Trimurtis to be distinct
   entities. One Ishwara alone is spoken of in different names such as Hari,
   Brahma and Pinaki says Sureshwara.
   - This is perfect tune with Veda Vyasa whom Shankara has extensively
   quoted in the Vishnu sahasra nama bhashya bringing out the Hari-Hara abheda
   and Trimurti aikya, both in anvaya and vyatireka modes - both teaching the
   unity and denouncing in strongest terms the difference. These verses are
   anathema for non-advaitins. Anandagiri's present verse is an example of
   this siddhanta.
   - Anadagiri was a contemporary of Amalananda, Sridhara Swamin, Hemadri,
   etc. All their ideas on the Hari Hara abheda and Trimurti aikyam has been
   in agreement.
   - Anandagiri's present verse, within the body of the Tattvaloka, is
   comparable to Amalananda's verse on Vinayaka within the body of his
   Kalpataru.  Amalannda has also authenticated the Prapanchasara (a text that
   advocates upasana on almost all deities for moksha and other purusharthas)
   as that of Shankaracharya.
   - Anandagiri hails Shambhu as the Jagatkaranam and the Advaitic Brahman
   free of faults as the Vedanta Vedya.
   - Shankara has cited the Kaivalya Upanishad 'sa brahma sa shivah,
   sendrah sa eva vishnu...' and said that it teaches abheda, in the VSN
   bhashya. Anandagiri is endorsing that in the present verse.
   - Sridhara Swamin has hailed Madhava and Umadhava, Hari and Hara as both
   Ishwara, the self of each other and venerated by each other and givers of
   sarva siddhi, that is all purusharthas. Veda Vyasa has said in the
   Mahabharata, through the words of Krishna that worship of Hari or Hara
   result in the same effect. Anandagiri's verse is an endorsement of that.
   - That Anandagiri was equally devoted to all gods, Vishnu, Shiva,
   Ganapati, Saraswati, is evident from his verses on these gods in his
   various works. His ishtadevata is believed to be the lord of Puri
   Jagannatha temple. There is an opinion that he was a native of Orissa. This
   is proof of his not being a bigot, something non-advaitins cannot measure
   up to.
   - The verse of Anandagiri is a fine example of the Vedantic idea of
   saguna and nirguna brahman being spoken of together, not always excluding
   the two, for it is One that appears as saguna to enable the aspirant to
   attain the nirguna. Shankara brings this idea in the BSB: Parameshwara too
   takes illusory forms out of mere will to bless the seeker.
   - Anandagiri's other works are also worth studying; they bring out a
   great deal of concepts of Advaita.

Om Tat  Sat

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