[Advaita-l] The Bhagavatam - Padma Puranam Close correspondence

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Thu Jun 14 23:32:52 EDT 2018

The Bhagavatam - Padma Puranam Close correspondence

In the Srimadbhagavatam, at the very end of the text, in the 13th chapter
of the 12th Canto occurs this verse:

यं ब्रह्मा वरुणेन्द्ररुद्रमरुतः स्तुन्वन्ति दिव्यैः स्तवैर्वेदैः
सांगपदक्रमोपनिषदैर्गायन्ति यं सामगाः। ध्यानावस्थिततद्गतेन मनसा पश्यन्ति यं
योगिनो यस्यान्तं न विदुः सुरासुरगण देवाय तस्मै नमः॥ 12.13.1

[ That Supreme Brahman whom Brahma, Varuna, Indra, Rudra and the Maruts
praise by chanting transcendental hymns and reciting the Vedas with all
their corollaries, pada-kramas and Upanisads, to whom the chanters of the
Sama Veda always sing, whom the perfected yogis see within their minds
after fixing themselves in trance and absorbing themselves within Him, and
whose limit can never be found by any demigod or demon — unto that Supreme
Personality of Godhead I offer my humble obeisances.]

The Infinite nature of Brahman and that it cannot be comprehended in its
infinite nature by anyone is being sated in this verse. Nididhyasanam
brings about the 'brahmaakaara vritti' which only removes the idea of
finitude on the part of the aspirant.

The Upanishads teach 'manasaivaanu drashTavayam..'  [Brahman can be
realized only through the mind]. 'Drushyate tu agryayaa buddhyaa sUkshmayaa
sUkshma darshibhih'  [It is comprehended by the intellect rendered
extremely subtle, that is, by keeping at bay gross objectifications.]

We find this reflected in the Padma Purana, Shiva Gita, in a discourse by
Shiva with Rama:


ब्रह्मा हरिश्च भगवानाद्यन्तं नोपलब्धवान् ।
ततोऽन्ये च सुरा यस्मादनन्तोऽहमितीरितः ॥ ३५॥

[I am spoken of as  ananta, Infinite, since Brahma, Bhagavan Hari and other
deva-s did not comprehend me. ]

The commentary of HH Sri Abhinava Nrsimha Bharati Swaminah, who was the
Jagadguru of the Sringeri Peetham from 1599 to 1632 CE:

Alluding to the story of Brahma and Vishnu trying in vain to comprehend the
limits of Shiva, the Effulgence, described in the Shiva and Devi Puranas
extensively, the Acharya says: अत्र ब्रह्मा उपरि भागं न दृष्टवान्,
हरिरादिमधोभागं न दृष्टवानित्यर्थः पुराणानुसारेण द्रष्टव्यः | कैमुतिकन्यायेन
ततो अन्ये चेति यस्मात्तावाद्यन्तौ नोपलब्धव्न्तौ ततः कारणात् अन्येऽपि सुराः
....अतः कारणात् अहमनन्तो मतः, अवधिरहित इत्यर्थ: |

[Brahma did not comprehend the top portion,Hari did not see the bottom,
this has to be understood from the Purana-s (that speak of this story).
When these two great entities could not comprehend the limits of Shiva,
Brahman, what to say of the other gods. For this reason I am held to be
ananta, infinite, devoid of limitation.]

Thus, Veda Vyasa in the Shivagita of the Padma Purana has stated what he
has said in the Bhagavatapuranam. The entities in the two puranams held as
infinite Brahman may be given two different names: Vishnu in Bhagavatam and
Shiva in the Padmapuranam, but the one designated by the names is One
alone.  If the entities are different, then Brahman cannot be infinite,
being tainted by vastu paricchinnatvam, that cuts at the root of

The Sringeri Acharya's commentary to the Shiva Gita also emphasizes the
fact that Vedantins do not resort to the weak alibis of 'taamasa purana,
tamasic portions of sattva purana, interpolation, sharira-atma, etc.' For
Vedantins have no need to resort to such excuses for Brahman is One that is
spoken of with many names. It is only non-vedantins, compelled by
theological considerations that grab those crutches to stand upon. The
Vedantin does not need any such crutches as the Upanishads speak of Brahman
alone with various names in various places depicting the jagatkaaranam.

The Padma Purana itself, in the discourse on the 12th Canto Bhagavata
Mahatmyam has said that 'he is the parama vaishnava who holds Shiva, Vishnu
and Durga as Brahman, non-different from each other. Vedantins like Veda
Vyasa adhere to this as is evidenced by the composition of the Bhagavata,
Vishnu, Shiva and Devi Puranams.

Sridhara swamin makes a remark at the portion above stated Bhagavata verse:

सर्वपुराणसंख्यादीनुपवर्णयिष्यन्  तत्परतिपाद्यं देवं प्रणमति - यमिति |
[Setting out to give the size of the various puranas number of verses in
each purana, the 'Deva' that is taught in all the puranas is being
saluted.]  'Deva' is not any finite deity but the Supreme Brahman that is
Consciousness. Shankara cites from a Jabala upanishad in th Brahma sutra
bhashya 4.1.3  परमेश्वरप्रक्रियायां जाबाला आत्मत्वेनैव एतमुपगच्छन्ति —
‘त्वं वा अहमस्मि भगवो देवतेऽहं वै त्वमसि भगवो देवते’   ' You are verily Me,
O Devataa, I am indeed You.'  This identity is possible only when the
entities involved are Pure consciousness and not any persons with different

Thus we see Veda Vyasa, Shankara and his followers not deviating from the
Upanishadic idea of Brahman which is not a finite person. For theological
schools, Brahman is no more than a person. If they give up their 'person'
identity, their schools will collapse. Shankara says in the Taittiriya
Bhashya for the word 'purusha' who is a product of prithvi tattvam,
'shirahpaanyaadimaan' , someone endowed with head, hands, etc. The Yoga
Sutras too hold their Ishwara to be a special Purusha:  "
क्लेशकर्मविपाकाशयैरपरामृष्टः पुरुषविशेष ईश्वरः"। (क्लेष, कर्म, विपाक और आशय
से अछूता (अप्रभावित) वह विशेष पुरुष है। As they are not Brahmavadins, they
hold their Ishwara to be a Purusha, surely not the Vedantic Purusha.  For
Brahmavadins alone Brahman is not confined to a mere purusha, a person.
Rather, Brahman is a tattva having no attributes that can inhere in a

Om Tat Sat

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