[Advaita-l] Was Shankaracharya a Vaishnava??

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Sun Jun 14 11:26:10 EDT 2020

On Sun, Jun 14, 2020 at 2:30 PM Venkatraghavan S via Advaita-l <
advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org> wrote:

> Namaste Raghav ji,
> "So the word nArAyaNa used by Shri Shankara shows that he is not a
> vaiShNava."
> I suppose it depends on what the word vaiShNava means.
> If it means someone who believes that Brahman has form, we too are
> vaishNavas for we too agree that Brahman takes on the form that is dear to
> the upAsaka to bless him.
> However, we don't stop there. We say that all that exists is that viShNu
> alone. Therefore, anything that appears to be different from Him, we hold
> not to be real. The appearance of difference is merely that, an appearance.
> When we, who say that all that exists is that mahAviShNu, how can we be
> termed a-vaiShNava?

In Bh.Gita:

यान्ति देवव्रता देवान्पितॄन्यान्ति पितृव्रताः ।
भूतानि यान्ति भूतेज्या यान्ति मद्याजिनोऽपि माम् ॥ २५ ॥

In this bhashya:  यान्ति मद्याजिनः मद्यजनशीलाः वैष्णवाः मामेव यान्ति ।

Some non-advaitins show this bhashyam and question: Look Shankara has
accepted that 'Vaishnava-s' are the ones that attain the Supreme, even
though the shloka does not use that term.

To this I reply: the Vaishnava-s that Shankara is meaning are not the ones
that you mean: For Shankara 'attaining to the Lord' is Brahma atma aikya
jnanam and not going to that loka and residing with the formed Bhagavan.

> Who is anyone to say we are not one with Ishvara?

As you say, the  Advaitic 'Vaishnava' is non-different from Vishnu, the
Vyaapana shiila, and not an entity that has a form by default and someone
who is ever different from everything else in creation. So, the concept of
vastu pariccheda raahityam is also embedded in Shankara's idea of


> Regards,
> Venkatraghavan

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