[Advaita-l] [advaitin] 'Did Shankara establish Shan-matas' (six schools)? - A Kannada article

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Thu Jul 1 00:42:18 EDT 2021

On Wed, Jun 30, 2021 at 10:21 PM Bhaskar YR <
bhaskar.yr at hitachi-powergrids.com> wrote:

> praNAms
> Hare Krishna
> I really doubt if someone says both shaNmata (six schools of thought)
> sthApana and mere advising the worship of shaNdevata-s as parabrahma
> svarUpa are one and the same. And also, if shaNmata sthApanAchArya
> propagating only paNchAyatana pooja excluding skanda is something to be
> pondered.

The Shanmata and Panchayatana puja are two completely different concepts.
The devotees of each of the deities Shiva, Vishnu, etc. by holding their
ishTa devata-s to be Para Brahman, that is Jagat Karanam, will attain
mukti. Also, the Six deities is only an upalakshana, for there is simply no
limit to the number of entities that can be held to be Para Brahman.  For
example, this mantra in the Mundakopanishat  -

स वेदैतत्परमं ब्रह्म धाम यत्र विश्वं निहितं भाति शुभ्रम् ।

उपासते पुरुषं ये ह्यकामास्ते शुक्रमेतदतिवर्तन्ति धीराः ॥ १ ॥

says that whoever, without desiring iha para bhoga but desiring only
moksha, worships an Aparoksha Jnani as Para Brahman in which this entire
creation is inherent, such a one attains moksha.  Shankara, in the previous
mantra where the aparoksha jnani is stated to be worshiped for bhoga, has
mentioned that the Jnani is to be worshiped by paada prakshanlana,
pradakshina, etc. So, a Jnani, a Guru, can also be worshiped as Para
Brahman.  Swami Brahmananda, a direct disciple of Ramakrishna Paramahamsa,
advised a disciple to meditate on Ramakrishna saying that the Jnani Guru is
'sarva devata svarupa.'

Also, the Panchadashi of Vidyaranya gives a list of several entities like
Ashwattha tree, Garike (doorva grass), Mylara, etc. etc. and also in one
instance a Buffalo, that are held to be Ishwara/upasya.  Thus, there is no
limit at all for a mumukshu to hold this or that vastu as Para Brahman.

There is this Purana statement too:

The Uttara Khanda of Padma Purana has a beautiful reference to Panchayatana
puja. Bhagavan Krishna says the following to Satyabhama in the 88th Chapter

शैवाः सौराश्च गाणेशा वैष्णवाः शक्तिपूजकाः ।

मामेव प्राप्नुवंतीह वर्षांभः सागरं यथा ॥ ४३ ॥

एकोऽहं पंचधा जातः क्रीडयन्नामभिः किल ।

देवदत्तो यथा कश्चित्पुत्राद्याह्वाननामभिः ॥ ४४ ॥ ( 6.88.43-44)

Bhagvan says to Satyabhama , "As rain-water reaches the ocean, so also, the
worshippers of Shiva,Surya,Ganesha,Vishnu and Shakti attain me. I am one,
yet manifest in five ways. As one Devadatta is addressed in many ways, so
also, I am called variously owing to my play. "

The first line directly and the second line implicitly form the basis for
this shloka of Sri Madhusudana Saraswati in his Gudhartha dipika commentary
to the Bh.Gita:                           शैवाः सौराश्च गाणेशा वैष्णवाः

भवन्ति यन्मयाः सर्वे सोहमस्मि परः शिवः।।3।

I am that Supreme Consciousness that Shaivas, Sauras, Gaaneshas, Vaishnavas
and Shaakta hold to be their upasya devataa. It is well known that the
Ishta Devataa of Madhusudana Saraswati is Balakrishna. So, we have the
authority of the Padma purana that the five sects such as Shaiva, Saura,
etc. are authentic. I had once shown the Narada purana reference too to a
similar mention.

     The Panchayatana Puja is also an upalakshana.  In Tamil Nadu there are
people who keep a Vel (shakti aayudha) of Skanda in the Panchayatana Puja
and thereby include Skanda.  Thus there is no strict limits in these
matters. Shankara has said in the Sutra Bhashya:     Brahman/Ishwara can
and does take on a form to bless/help an aspirant in his sadhana.:

स्यात्परमेश्वरस्यापि इच्छावशात् मायामयं रूपं साधकानुग्रहार्थम् ।
(1.1.vii.20) (Ishwara, out of compassion, takes on, by His Maya, a form to
grace the spiritual aspirant.)

Thus, for Shankara the upasya murti for a mumukshu can be anything that
Ishwara takes out of Maya, to bless the mumukshu.  One cannot force a
mumukshu to meditate upon one deity only. Loko bhinna ruchih.


> Hari Hari Hari Bol!!!
> bhaskar
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