[Advaita-l] Shankara exposes the bigoted Vaishnava !!

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Thu Apr 25 03:42:55 EDT 2019

Shankara exposes the bigoted Vaishnava !!

In the Vishnu Sahasra Nama (VSN) bhashya, while explaining the names:
bhUtakRt, bhutabhRt ..

   1. रजोगुणं *समाश्रित्य* विरिञ्चिरूपेण…
   2. तमोगुणम् *आस्थाय *स रुद्रात्मना..
   3. सत्त्वगुणम् *अधिष्ठाय* भूतानि

With the ulterior motive of maligning Shankara by portraying him as a
'vaishnava' who shows Rudra in a derogatory manner as a 'taamasic' devataa,
some disgruntled vaishnavas tried to play with the highlighted words above
to finally show that according to Shankara Brahma and Rudra are rajas and
tamas guna influenced but Vishnu alone is by default sattvaguna.

While the above idea has been refuted by showing several pramana-s from
Vishnu Purana, Bhagavata, Sridhari Vyakhya, etc. we find that Shankara
himself is exposing his opponents:

In the VSN there is the name (839) 'guNabhRt' (followed by 'nirguNah'). For
this name Shankara says:

सत्त्वरजस्तमसां सृष्ठिस्थितिलयकर्मसु अधिष्ठातृत्वात् गुणभृत् |  [Braman is
called 'guNabhRt' because it is the one presiding in the cosmic actions of
creation, sustenance and dissolution that belong to sattva, rajas and

The above bhashya of Shankara brings to the fore:

1. The functions of creation, sustenance and dissolution are of the three
gunas: rajas, sattva and tamas, in this order.
2. They are not of Brahman really.
3.  Since Maya cannot do these by itself unless aided by Consciousness,
Brahman, these are said to be of Brahman.
4. Brahman cannot do these by Itself without the aid of Maya's three gunas.
5. Brahman is 'equal' with regard to its presiding over the three gunas.
6. The idea that the three entities, Brahma, Vishnu and Rudra who are
assigned the three gunas are really doing these functions is not correct,
as per Bhagavatpada.  Even in the bhUtakRt, bhUtabhRt bhashyam Shankara has
only said that Brahman does these 'as' Brahma, Vishnu and Rudra.
7. That the three Murti-s are different from each other is also not in
Bhagavatpada's endorsement.
8. If any, it has to be said that the three guna-s are of Brahman who is
Nirguna in truth.
9. This is exactly stated by the very next Name in the VSN: NirguNah.
10. Since Shankara has said that it is Brahman that presides over the
cosmic functions that are actually of the three gunas, it is to be known
that Shankara does not endorse the idea that the Trimurti-s are endowed
with these three gunas.
11. This is because since these three forms are Brahman alone, the guna-s,
if any, belong to Brahman. This is exactly the literal meaning of the Name
'GuNabhRt', the one who bears/supports/holds the three guNa-s.
12. There is no way that the Trimurti-s are alienated from Brahman.

Thus, there is absolutely no basis for the mischievous  claim born of
misunderstanding that 'Shankara holds Rudra to be a taamasic devataa.' On
the other hand, if any, Shankara is only saying that Brahman is rajasic,
tamasic and saattvic when it comes to be the jagatkaaraNam. This idea is
alone taught by the Vishnu Puranam:

सृष्टिस्थित्यन्तकरणीं ब्रह्मविष्णुशिवात्मिकाम् ।
स संज्ञां याति भगवान् एक एव जनार्दनः  ||     वि. पु. १-२-६६    [That
'Janardana' takes upon the names of 'Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva' based on the
functions of creation, etc.]

The Brahma sutra 'janmaadyasya yatah' is teaching that 'One" Brahman alone
is the JagatkaaraNam and not three different entities as the
jagatkaaraNam.  Anandagiri, commenting on a verse of Sureshwaracharya has
said that 'The idea of three different entities being the jagatkaaranam is

Om Tat Sat

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