Adi Shankara Preached Smarta Dharma

Contents

  1. 1 Contents in Brief
  2. 2 Adi Sankara Preached Smarta Dharma
  3. 3 Smarta and Shanmata
  4. 4 Some Personal Thoughts
  5. 5 Adi Shankara Bhagavadpada was not a Shaiva, nor a Vaishnava, nor a Shakta
  6. 6 smArta - a PUrNa vaidika dharma
  7. 7 Did smArta dharma exist prior to Adi Sankara?
  8. 8 Adi Shankara's Parents were Shiva bhakta-s
  9. 9 Each Form of God has Distinctive Characteristics
    1. 9.1 One-pointedness is necessary
    2. 9.2 But how can attributes which are generally related to Shiva be considered as that of Vishnu, one may ask.
    3. 9.3 Wrong interpretation of Adi Shankara Bhagavadpada's commentary leads to erroneous conclusion
  10. 10 Nothing mentioned in veda-s is unworthy of worship says Adi Sankara in ISAvAsya Upanishad Is. Up. 8
  11. 11 panchadeva upAsanA mentioned by AchArya in kena upanishad Ke. Up. 1.4
  12. 12 Lord Siva is sarvaGYa Ishvara, Brahman and mA pArvatI is Atma-vidyA Ishvara says Adi Shankara in Kena Upanishad 3.12 and 4.1
  13. 13 rudra in BrihadAraNkaya Br. Up 1.4.11-12, prashNa Up 2.9 and Kaivalya Up. 8
  14. 14 Lord Shiva is Atman, Brahman and Paramatma, the supreme Self says Adi Shankara in Gita
  15. 15 Adi Sankara didn't translate 'ISA' as 'rudra' in his gItA bhASya on verse BG 11.15
  16. 16 vinAyaka and mAtrikA in Shankara BhASya BG 9.25
  17. 17 Adi Shankara's Interpretation of Shiva (Rudra), Surya, Laxmi and OM in Vishnu Sahasranama
    1. 17.1 Siva-viShNu abheda
      1. 17.1.1 Introductory verses of Vishnu Sahasranama
      2. 17.1.2 Siva-viShNu abheda in intro verses of viShNu samhasranAma
      3. 17.1.3 05 भूतकृत्‌ bhUtakrut
      4. 17.1.4 06 भूतभृत्‌ bhUtabhrut
      5. 17.1.5 23 केशव keSava
      6. 17.1.6 25 सर्व sarva
      7. 17.1.7 26 शर्व Sarva
      8. 17.1.8 27 शिव Siva
      9. 17.1.9 38 शंभु Sambhu
      10. 17.1.10 64 ईशान ESAna
      11. 17.1.11 114 रूद्र rudra
      12. 17.1.12 231 सम्प्रमर्दनः sampramardanaH - New
      13. 17.1.13 234 अनिलः anilaH - New
      14. 17.1.14 239 विश्वभुक् vishvabhuk - New
      15. 17.1.15 335 पुरन्दर purandara
      16. 17.1.16 491 महादेवः mahadevah
      17. 17.1.17 505 सोमः somaH - New
      18. 17.1.18 582 शान्तः SAntah
      19. 17.1.19 584 शान्तिः SAntih
      20. 17.1.20 600 शिव Siva
      21. 17.1.21 651 कामदेव kAmadeva (kāmadeva) - New
      22. 17.1.22 653 कामी kAmI (kāmī) - New
      23. 17.1.23 877 ज्योतिः jyotiḥ - (Viṣhṇu is pure consciousness, Siva as skambha is also pillar of light) New
    2. 17.2 sUrya-viShNu abheda in viShNu sahasranAma
      1. 17.2.1 232 अहःसंवर्तकः ahaHsaMvartakaH (About sUrya bhagavAn) - New
      2. 17.2.2 553 वरुणः varuNaH - (sUrya bhagavAn is varuNA) - New
      3. 17.2.3 648 केशवः keshava - (trinity are rays or powers of brahman - Mapping with sūryadeva) - New
      4. 17.2.4 881 रविः ravi - (Sūrya Bhagavān is ravi) New
      5. 17.2.5 883 सूर्य Sūrya - (Sūryadeva) - New
      6. 17.2.6 941  अनादिः anādiḥ - (No Pointing of specific Deity as Bhagavān) - New
    3. 17.3 laxmI-viShNu abheda in viShNu sahasranAma
      1. 17.3.1 942  भूर्भुवः Bhūrbhuvaḥ - (Appears in Gāyatrī mantra, linked with next name #943 Laxmī) - New
      2. 17.3.2 943  लक्ष्मी Laxmī - (Laxmīdevī is ātma-svarūpa) - New
    4. 17.4 praNava-viShNu abheda in viShNu sahasranAma
      1. 17.4.1 957  प्रणव (ॐ) praṇava - (Formless, Attributeless Brahman OM) - New
  18. 18 Common names and some selected names in Shiva Sahasranama
    1. 18.1 Shiva and Vishnu
    2. 18.2 Shiva and Brahma
    3. 18.3 Shiva and Krishna
    4. 18.4 Shiva  and Kurukshetra
    5. 18.5 Shiva's Macrocosmic form (VirATa SvarUpa)
    6. 18.6 Some Qualities of Shiva
    7. 18.7 Shiva and deluge
    8. 18.8 Shiva is everything
    9. 18.9 Shiva as Brahman
    10. 18.10 Shiva as ParamAtmAn
    11. 18.11 Shiva and Linga
  19. 19 Adi Shankara Praises Lord Shiva as Para Brahman in Dakshinamurty Stotram
  20. 20 Adi Shankara Bhagavadpada on OM, Shiva and Paramatma in Mandukya Upanishad
  21. 21 Adi Shankara Bhagavadpada Praises Shiva (Shambho) as Ishvara and confirms non-duality with the Lord
  22. 22 Adi Shankara Bhagavadpada explains Namah Shivaya in Shiva PanchAkshara Mantra
  23. 23 Adi Shankara Bhagavadpada in Veda Sara Shiva Stavan praises Shiva as supreme
  24. 24 Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva appear to be different due to mAyA says Adi Shankara in mAyA panchakam
  25. 25 praSnottara ratna mAlikA defines who is the supreme God
  26. 26 Adopting of Double Standards by Rival Schools
  27. 27 Non-Duality of Shiva-Vishnu stated by Madhusudan Sarasvati
  28. 28 Non-Duality of Shiva-Vishnu in Suta SamhitA of Skanda PurANa
  29. 29 Ganesha is Self Born says Shiva in Linga PurANa
  30. 30 Maa Bhavani is supreme in Soundarya Lahiri
  31. 31 Shiva-Vishnu (Narasimha) abheda in Narasimha Purva Tapaniya Upanishad
  32. 32 Shiva-Vishnu (Narasimha) abheda in Narasimha Uttara Tapaniya Upanishad
  33. 33 sUrya as brahman in Aditya hridayam
  34. 34 Conclusion

Updated: 3rd Sept 2016

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Contents in Brief

smArta dharma is an ancient way of life. Before we try to understand whether Adi Sankara propogated smArta dharma or not, let us try to understand what is smArta dharma. 


Since this article is very long, we will present the essence of article as briefly as possible.

This article covers basics of smArta dharma followed by proofs from our shAstra-s and quoting commentaries of Adi Sankara in support of our claim. Let us list the contents of this article.
  • Smārta dharma is an ancient dharma practiced by many people
  • Smārta dharma existed prior to Ādi Śankara
  • Smārta dharma has sanction in veda-s
  • Adi Sankara preached smārta dharma
  • Proofs are given that support the claim of Adi Sankara preaching smārta dharma

In smārta dharma, Gaṇesha, Śiva, Śhakti, Viṣhṇu and Sūrya are considered as manifestations of Brahman and are equally potent. smārta dharma was not started by Ādi Śankara, but was propagated for cultural harmony of Bhārata. It is said that Ādi Ṣankara had introduced the sixth deity Bhagavān Skanda (Murugan, Kārtikeyan) for uniting north and south Indians. Bhagavān Skanda is very popular in South India. One can add the sixth deity. Generally only five deities are worshipped. In this case, any one is replaced by Skanda.

Adi Sankara was a smArta, as his parents were Siva bhakta-s, his own ISTa devatA was bhagavAn viShNu / krShNa. Our AcArya has also composed many hymns on Siva, Adi Shakti, viShNu and other forms of ISvara. Some of the independent compositions by our AcArya are:

  • daxiNAmUrtI stotra, commented by SureSavarAcAya as mAnasollAsa
  • Siva pancAkshara Stotra, commented by PadmapadAcharya
  • dasasloki, commented by Madhusudan Sarasvati by the name Siddhanta Bindu.
  • veda sAra Siva stavan, considered as authentic composition of SrI Adi Sankara
  • soundarya lahiri, considered as authentic composition of SrI Adi Sankara, atleast first 41 stotra-s
  • moha mudgara, popularly known as 'bhaja govindam', considered as authentic composition of SrI Adi Sankara
  • mAyA pancakam says that it is mAyA who is responsible for inducing distinctions between brahmA, viShNu and Siva.

According to smArta dharma, when any form of ISvara is eulogized as the supreme and whenever any instance of another devatA approaches this supreme deity either for help or for praising him / her, then the sole purpose of presenting the superiority of one deity over another is for giving one-pointedness. Just to create a pUrvabhumikA, necessary for eulogizing a deity, such incidents are created out of which the glories of ISTa devatA are composed and so are the stuthi-s. Wise say that even if we digest even one stuti from bhAgavat purANa, it is enough for us. gajendra got moxa (moksha) in 8 days and after that from his heart the stuti came. Since ISvara resides in our heart and the stuti comes effortlessly from our heart it is ISvara himself who is inspiring us to surrender to him / her. Even if we consider some characters as fictitious, the stuti was created by rishi-s in trance, in state of ecstasy who were soaked in divine love. These soul stirring stuti-s, according to the wise, are capable enough for giving us the darSan of our beloved ISTa devatA.

This approach of revering all forms of ISvara as different manifestations of same Brahman leads to nAhi-nindA nyAya. In this nyAya, we believe that superiority of one form of ISvara over another is just for the sake of giving one-pointedness and so we do not denigrate the status of any form of ISvara who plays the role of ignorant or helpless. More than stories, it is the moral of the stories and the nectar of GYAna and bhakti that are given to us for our own spiritual progress are considered as prime and so are focused.

To the name of our Āchārya, Srī Ādi Śankara, the word 'Bhagavadpāda' is added out of reverence. 'pāda' or 'pada'  means feet, Bhagavad-pāda means the one who has attained the lotus feet of Bhagavān. Hence it is foolish to say that bhakti is not needed in advaita.   

To understand that Adi Sankara bhagavapAda preached smārta dharma and he didn't differentiate between Ṣiva, viShNu, and sūrya we will consider commentaries from following shāstra-s and his independent compositions

  • viShNu sahasranāma (VSN) Sankara bhāshya - padacCeda (intro and beginning verses), names #27 Siva, #114 rudra #505 soma indicating Ṣiva-viShNu abheda 
  • viShNu sahasranāma Ṣankara bhāshya names #231 ahaḥsaṃvartakaḥ, #553 varuṇaḥ, #648 kēṣava, #883 sūrya indicate non-duality between viShNu and sūrya 
  • viShNu sahasranāma Ṣankara bhāshya name #943 laxmI, says that laxmI is atma-vidyA, hence, it indicates non-duality between viShNu and laxmI 
  • In adhyAsa bhASya - intro of brahma sUtra bhASya our AchArya does not say that brahma sUtra is about establishing viShNu supremacy or does it is about indicating viShNu as the sole supreme brahman. Our AchArya does not name any particular form of deity, but says it is all about adhyAropa-apavAda, i.e. removal of ignorance.
  • In kena upanishad bhASya 3.12. our AchArya reconfirms that umA (haimAvatI) is the knower of brahma-vidyA and hence she is inseparable indicating non-difference between Siva and shakti.
  • In BrihadAraNyaka Upanishad bhAshya 1.4.11-12, 3.9.4, prashna Upanishad 2.9 and kaivalya Upanishad 8 (cited By Adi Sankara in VSN bhAshya), Adi Sankara explains two types of rudra-s - a) created demi-god and b) Supreme Brahman. Both are different entities.
  • In bhagavad gItA bhASya 9.25, AchArya has not used the word 'vinAyaka' and 'mAtrikA' for 'gaNesha' and 'good mAtrikA-s'. Clarification of the use of vinAyaka-s and mAtrikA-s (taken in plural form) in anya-devata verse 
  • In bhagavad gItA bhASya 11.15, no translation of 'ISA' to Siva / rudra. ब्रह्माणमीशं कमलासनस्थ (brahmāṇamīśaṅ kamalāsanastha-) is translated as 'bhagavAn brahmA-ji, seated on Lotus' and not as interpreted by rAmAnuja i.e. 'Siva sitting on lap of BrahmA (as Siva is born from brahmA), who is sitting in lotus'.
  • Various references from viveka chuDAmaNi, saundarya lahiri and other grantha-s, devotional hymns are taken in order to prove non-difference between gaNesha-Siva-shakti-viShNu-sUrya the five deities worshipped in smArta dharma.
    
Lets begin with the the article with references to various Sankara bhASya-s to support our claim:
 
SrI Adi Sankara bhagavadpAda has written a commentary on SrI viShNu sahasranAma bhASya. In the intro (padaCheda), our AcArya has shown Siva-viShNu abheda. 

Adi Sankara quotes viShNu purANa 6.7.16 and says, 

In viShNu purANa, it is said, 'after the destruction of ignorance, which creates duality, who is going to differentiate between AtmA and brahman, which is always asatya (unreal)?

Adi Sankara bhagavatpAda further enlightens us that, when is it said, 'I am you and you are me', then it confirms non-duality. e.g. if viShNu bhagavAn says that I am Siva', but Siva never says that 'I am viShNu', then one can understand that Siva is a part of viShNu, but when viShNu says, 'I am you and you are me', then it confirms non-duality. In the same way, at one instance, viShNu says 'I am Siva, brahmA, etc' and in a separate instance / place, Siva says, 'I am viShNu, brahmA, etc', then this too confirms non-duality. Hence when we find verses like, 'Thou art that [brahman], Svetaketu', then this confirms non-duality. Upanishads always say that there is only one brahman, mostly in the beginning of upanishads. Then this brahman entered into the bodies (universe, different worlds)

In this context, verses from viShNu purANa and harivamSa purANa are quoted.

VP 5.33.47-49: [Sri kRShNacandra says to mahAdeva ji-] The abhayadAna (boon of being fearless or invincible) given by you implies that it is given by me too. He Sankara! [please] do not see yourself as different from me. That which I am [i.e. that which is my true nature] is also you [your true nature] and so are other devatA-s [true nature of other devatA-s], asura-s (demons) and this whole universe including humans. Only those humans whose citta (mind, heart) is influenced by ignorance, they see duality (see everything with bhedabhAva) 

Similarly in bhaviSyottara purANa mahadeva ji says - those who sees me, or brahmA ji different than viShNu, those kutarka-buddhi muDhajana (those ignorant fools having bad logical reasoning) fall below in naraka (hell) and suffer sorrow. And those with duShTa-buddhi (corrupted-intellect / defective intellect), those ignorant fools see I and brahmA ji different from viShNu, they incur sin equivalent to brahma-hatyA (killing of a brAhmaNa, a priest)

Similarly, in harivanSa [purANa] 3.88.51, maheSavara ji says - you [viShNu] are in the beginning, middle and end of all bhAva (beings). This whole universe has originated from you only and also ends in you only.

(AcArya ji continues to quote harivamSa purANa 3.88.60-64)

he janArdana! O omnipresent deva! I am you and you are me. In all three worlds, there is no different (bheda) between us either by Sabda (word) or by artha (meaning). 
he govinda! in this world whatever great names are yours are mine too - there is no need to think on this (i.e. there is no doubt about this).
he gopate! (kruShNa), he jagannAtha!, let the worship of yours be mine
he deva! [it goes without saying that] those who dislike / hate you also dislike / hate me. There is no doubt about it. 

Source: viShNu sahasranAma, Sankara bhASya, pages 31-35, Gita press, Gorakhpur, Hindi translation.

Later, while explaining the names or attributes 27 Siva and 114 rudra, AcArya has once again established Siva-viShNu abheda.

Siva-viShNu abheda in viShNu saharanAma

27 शिव Siva -The one who is pure because of absence or transcending of three guNa-s (in him) is called as Shiva. 'He is Brahma, He is Shiva' (Kaivalya. Up. 1.8), in this way, by showing non-difference (अभेद) between them (all three), by praising the name of Shiva, etc, it is the praise of Hari (Vishnu)


114 रूद्र rudra - ... from a devotee’s standpoint the same term is interpreted as the One who liquidated all sorrows is Rudrah. Or it may mean that The cause of sorrow (cry) and driving it away is called as Rudra. Siva PurANa says that, 'The name Rudra is the cause of Dukha (sorrow) i.e. dukhaka, because, the Lord removes [1] the sorrow or the cause (hetu)[2] of sorrow, that is why, the cause of everything (परमकारण (ParamkAraNa) Lord Shiva is called as Rudra.

Notes:

[1]Here 'the Lord removes' can be taken as 'the Lord uproots'
[2] हेतु (hetu) means intention, motive, reason, purpose or even an object. Here it has to be taken as cause

505 सोमः somaH -In the form of soma (chandra, moon), the one who develops medicines is called as soma. Or by being (staying) with umA [1] is soma is SivasvarUpa.


sUrya-viShNu abheda in viShNu sahasranAma


648 केशवः keshava - (trinity are rays or powers of brahman who is sūryadeva)

Rays spread within sūrya are called as keshava (kēṣava). By getting associated (combined) with them (rays), Bhagavān is called as keshava. In Mahābhārata it is said that - 'my rays that shine (prakāshita) are called as kesha. Hence all-knower (sarvaGYa), best amongst dvija-s call me Kēṣava'. Or the powers by the names Brahmā, Vīẓṇu, (viShNu) and Ṣiva are kēṣa. By associating with them Bhagavān is Kēṣava. shruti says, 'having three kēṣa-s' and ' my two kēṣa-s (powers) are within privthi (earth) - VP 5.1.61) - in this statement, the word 'kēṣa' is used as an alternative for the word 'ṣakti'. In Harivamṣa 3.88.48 [Mahādevajī] says, " 'ka' (क) represents Brahmā and I am the Lord of all living beings. We both have originated from your part i.e. we are partial manifestations of you [Vīẓṇu], hence you are called by the name Kēṣava'.

Note: In the name #23 Kēṣava, proper splitting of the word kēṣava is given. The word is split into 'ka', 'a', 'ṣa' and 'va'. These words are representatives of Brahmā, Viẓṇu, Ṣiva and paramātmān respectively. Hence we can understand that keshava is the supreme brahman, different from the trinity who are his powers, which are called as 'kēṣa' and are represented by 'rays' meaning rays of Sun. Sun is also mapped with supreme brahman and it's creative, preservative and destructive energies are it's māyā or female counter part or dynamic counterpart.      

881 रविः ravi - (Sūrya Bhagavān is ravi) - Bhagavān sūrya is called as ravi as [bhagavān sūrya] is holds or accepts all the rasa-s. In Vishnu dharmottara it is said, 'By grasping or absorbing all the rasa-s [he] is called as ravi'.


883  Sūrya - (Sūryadeva) - Since [he] gives birth to shrī [shobhā, Sun rays] hence Sūrya or Agnī is called as 'Sūrya'...


Note:
1) Sūryadeva is called as the creator or origin of Shrī. Here, Shrī is taken as shobhā. shobhā means, light, brilliance, splendour, yellow pigment or yellowish like turmeric. Here, shobhā means 'Sun rays'. Earlier, in the name #648 keshava, trinity is said to be the rays or powers of Bhagavān Sūrya, who represents parabrahman.
  


laxmI-viShNu abheda in viShNu sahasranAma


943  लक्ष्मी Laxmī - (Laxmīdevī is ātma-svarūpa) ... but is also Laxmī meaning Ṣhobhā is also him (one and same tatvam) only, hence is called as Laxmī. Or 'Bhūḥ' (भूः) of Bhūrkolaka & 'bhuvaḥ' (भुवः) and ātmavidyā (Self Knowledge or Knowledge of Self Realisation), is called as [is known by the name or tatvam] 'Laxmī' only. In Shruti, it is said that - 'O devi ! ātmavidyā is you only'. Or you are the shobhā (splendour, brilliance i.e. power, shakti) of earth and space (bhumi and antariksha), hence Bhagavān Bhūrbhuvaḥ is Laxmī.


Note: Here our Ācharya has cited non-difference between Knowledge of Self Realisation i.e. Laxmī and Bhagavān i.e. The Supreme Brahman. Just like there is non-difference between Ṣiva and Ṣakti, there is also non-difference between Viṣhṇu and Laxmī. We can find non-difference in Kena Upanishad 3.12 where our Ācharya has cited non-difference between vidyā i.e. ātma-vidyā Umā (Haimāvatī, the daughter of Himālaya) and Brahman. In adhyāsa bhashya, our Ācharya has said the same thing, Ignorance is the rōt cause and removal of Ignorance by atma-jnāna is Knowledge. Knower of Ātman is nothing but Ātman itself.   

OM (nirAkAra, nirguNa brahman) - viShNu abheda in viShNu sahasranAma

957  प्रणव (ॐ) praṇava - (Formless, Attributeless Brahman OM)

Is the monosyllable word 'OM' 'ॐ'. Is one with or is non-different from OM, hence is called as praṇava itself.

Note: Here the non-difference between Bhagavān and formless OM. OM leads one to Nirvikalp Samādhi. 


We can conclude that Adi Sankara considered Siva-Viṣhṇ-Sūrya-LaxmI abheda.

AcArya has also cited as many as 12 purANa-s including Siva, skanda, brahmANDa, etc and up-purANa-s indicating that all purANa-s are equally divine and authoritative and valid means of realize the supreme reality. Since shruti or Mahābhārata does not have three fold classificaton of itself being divided into sātvika, rājasika and tāmasika, those verses in Padma Purāṇa are rejected.

In his adhyAsa bhASya, which is an intro to his iBrahma Sūtra Bhāṣhya, there is no mention of establishing supremacy or equating Vīṣhṇu as brahman. Ignorance is considered as root cause and hence it has to be removed and the Sun of knowledge will shine by itself without any effort on our part, after the veil of cloud representing ignorance is removed or dispelled.

In kena upanishad commentary 3.12 too, AcArya has indicated that Siva is brahman and umA is an embodiment of GYAna i.e. vidyA. 

In pada bhasya, it is said (in hindi), उमारुपिणि - स्त्रीवेशधारिणी उमारुपा विद्यादेवी meaning 'of the form of umA- who had taken the form of female, goddess of knowledge (i.e. knowledge itself) in the form of umA. Further it says, knowledge (vidya) is the most auspicious (शोभायमान), as knowledge is the most auspicious.

In vākya-bhāṣya, it contains the word हैमवती (haimavatI) and it is said, She always stays in communion with all-knowledgeable ISvara (sarvaGYa ISvara), hence, [she] will be fully knowledgeable in that GYAna (knowledge).

In other words, knowledge, in the form of goddesss umA, pArvatI, the daughter of mountain himAlaya, is always with all-knowledgeable ISvara [bhagavAn Siva who is knowledge itself, the brahman] and hence she, pArvatI-devI, is fully established in knowledge [indicating non-difference between both Siva and pArvatI]

It is interesting to know that ISvara, bhagavAn Siva has three Sakti-s, 

  1. iCCA Sakti - power of intention, will 
  2. vidyA Sakti - power of knowledge and
  3. kriyA Sakti - the power of action or the power to act


Thus, it can be concluded that

  • Uma, Haimavati means Maa Parvati, consort of Lord Shiva 
  • She appears in the form of lady and she is of the form of vidya (vidya-svarupa) 
  • She knows the truth (later she tells the truth that this was brahman who vanished) 
  • To stay with sarvaGYa Ishvara means to be with Lord Shiva --> Knowledge stays with Lord. They both cannot be separated. Jnana-svarupa. 
  • Though Adi Sankara has not used the word 'Shiva' or 'Rudra', he has made reference to Lord Shiva, Siva and Sakti are inseparable.
In bhagavad gItA 9.25, our AcArya has written words 'vinAyaka' and 'mAtrikA' among other names which are not to be meditated upon. Some think that this vinAyaka is none other than pArvatI nandan 'gaNeSa' and the mAtrikA-s are none other than those who took care of Siva pUtra 'skanda'. Wise have interpreted both names in plural forms i.e. 'vinAyaka-s' and 'mAtrikA-s'. These are life forms higher than humans, but lower than devatA-s (demi-Gods). The plural forms are mentioned in bhAgavat purANa 10.63.10-11 and 10.63.27-29. Hence taking both terms as plural is acceptable. Swami Sivananda of Divine Life Society has also clarified on this issue that the 'vinAyaka' is to be taken as plural i.e. 'vinAyaka.h'.

In bhagavad gItA 11.15, our AcArya, unlike other commentators, has not denigrated the status of Siva by translating the word ISAn as ISvara only and not 'Siva'

In the verse, ब्रह्माणमीशं कमलासनस्थ (brahmāṇamīśaṅ kamalāsanastha), 'ISAn' is in continuation of the word brahmA and is in between 'brahmA' and 'kamala'. Hence the word 'ISAn' is interpreted as 'Lord' or 'ISvara' which is an epitome of brahmA-ji, as he is the creator of the universe and so has lordship over it. brahmāṇamīśaṅ means Lord brahmA and the meaning of verse is 'bhagavAn brahmA-ji, seated on Lotus'

अर्जुन उवाच

पश्यामि देवांस्तव देव देहे
सर्वांस्तथा भूतविशेषसङ्घान्।
ब्रह्माणमीशं कमलासनस्थ-
मृषींश्च सर्वानुरगांश्च दिव्यान्।।11.15।।

11.15 पश्यामि (I) see, देवान् the gods, तव Thy, देव O God, देहे in the body, सर्वान् all, तथा also, भूतविशेषसङ्घान् hosts of various classes of beings, ब्रह्माणम् Brahma, ईशम् the Lord, कमलासनस्थम् seated on the lotus, ऋषीन् sages, च and, सर्वान् all, उरगान् serpents, च and, दिव्यान् divine.


English translation by Swami Gambhirananda

11.15 Arjuna said -- O God, I see in Your body all the gods as also hosts of (various) classes of beings; Brahma the ruler, sitting on a lotus seat, and all the heavely sages and serpents.


English translation by Swami Gambhirananda (on Sri Sankaracharya's Sanskrit Commentary)

11.15 Deva, O God, I see, perceive in Your body all the gods as also hosts of (various) classes of beings, groups of moving and non-moving living things having different shapes; and besides, Brahma, with four faces, the Ruler of creatures, sitting on a lotus seat, i.e. sitting on Mount Meru which forms the pericarp of the lotus that is the earth and all the heavenly sages-Vasistha and others and (the heavenly) serpents-Vasuki and others.

On a personal note, this translation of not interpreting 'ISAn' as 'Siva' seems logical as the verse continues to describe brahmadeva, who is seated on lotus.   
 
Other prominent AcArya's like madhusudan sarasvatI and appaya dikxita (Dikshita) has praised both Siva and viShNu in independent composition or by writing commentaries on popular hymns. SrI madhusudan sarasvatI (MS) has written a scholarly commentary on Siva mahimna stotra. The uniqueness of the commentary is that MS has interpreted each verse in hymn to eulogize both Siva and kruShNa. MS has clearly indicated that the sole of this composition is to promote Siva-viShNu abheda.

To further add, there are panca-deva-atharvaSiSha-s of all five vedic deities worshiped in smArta dharma. Since smArta dharma is purely based on shruti and smriti-s and it does not depend upon the Agama-s for a particular siddhAnta (philosophy) hence it is a pUrNa vedic dharma,  fully or purely vedic dharma.

We have described in brief that Adi Sankara and hence advaita consider Siva-viShNu abheda. The reason for eulogizing only viShNu as the brahman in prasthAntrayI bhASya indicates one-pointed devotion to his ISTa-devatA and in no way denigrates the status of Siva.

For those who are convinced, there is no reason to read further. Those who like to further understand Siva-viShNu abheda, as preached by Adi Sankara, and for detailed explanation and for gaining more proofs may continue to read.


Adi Sankara Preached Smarta Dharma


Some believe that Adi Shankara and the present advaitins are all Shaiva-s. All 5 Advaita Matha-s wear Vibhuti-s and daily perform ChandramaUleSvara PujA. Based on the commentaries on PrasthAntrayi, many believe that Adi Shankara did not preach Smarta Dharma, as the ideology is not reflected in his commentaries. To add to it, many hymms attributed to him, which praise other deities like Devi (Shakti), Ganesha, Shiva are considered of dubious authenticity. Others claim that Adi Shankara was a Vaishnava who only equated Vishnu with Brahman.

Typically, Adi Shankara was Vaishnava, Shaiva, Shakta all at a time by being an advaitin. He was not exclusively devoted to any one deity and did not preached worshiping only one deity. So he was neither a Vaishnava, nor Shaiva nor a Shakta. Later on, we will find reference from his works supporting his claim.

First let us understand who are smArta-s.


Smarta and Shanmata


smArta-s are the ones who follow Smriti-s. Smriti-s are called as notes from memory. What is being recalled from memory? They are Veda-s. Great Rishi-s who had mastered Veda-s noted down from their memory 18 Smriti-s. People following injunctions of Smriti-s are called SmArta-s. People following directly veda-s are called Shrauta-s. Smriti-s deal with moral and ethical conduct, have some rules that are to be followed for peaceful and harmonious living. Since Smriti-s are derived from Shruti-s (veda-s), they are considered as second in authority. Since they comply veda-s, and are derived from them, SmArta-s too abide by Veda-s. Hence any pramAna (evidence of proof) found in either Smriti-s or Shruti-s, cannot be discarded or overlooked. 
 

smArta-s daily perform Panchayatna Puja. Panchyatna puja or panch dev puja includes worship of Ganesh, Shiva, Shakti, Vishnu and Surya. Some are of opinion that this system of worship is being practiced before the time of Adi Shankara. Adi Shankara may not be the originator of this system, but he was definitely it's preacher. Adi Shankara was a Jagadguru. Adi Shankara added the sixth deity Skanda to the five to unite people all over India. Worshipping 6 deities is called as Shanmata.

In Panch Dev Puja, each deity has a variant of Gayatri mantra sanctioned by Vedas says Kanchi Paramacharya. We find many variants of Gayatri mantra in Maha Narayana Upanishad.

We have Atharvashirsha-s of all 5 deities, which are a part of Atharva veda. In Atharvashirsha-s each deity is eulogized as supreme.

Panchdev Atharvashirsha Sangrah published by Gita Press in Sanskrit-Hindi is available here

We have Purusha Suktam, Sri Suktam, Sri Rudram and many other hymms dedicated to different deities.

SmArtas were all Advaitins according to Kanchi Paramacharya. Advaita has a place for all forms of God and for all vedic philosophies. Adi Shankara has accepted all upto a point and then asked us to rise above it, as it is not the final destination. It is said that Adi Shankara did not create any new sampradAya. Hence calling his philosophy and Shankara's Advaita would not be correct. The reason for Advaita and SmArta being ancient could be found out from certain facts.

Some Personal Thoughts


SmArta-s regard Veda-s as supreme authority. Since Ishvara has created ours and many other worlds, we have to humbly respect his creation. To govern his creation,  has given authority and power to certain devatA-s. Lord has the supreme Lord has revealed us veda-s, which are his breath and has asked us to worship devatA-s and offer oblations to them in a way and form that are acceptable to them. It is our duty to respect devatA-s who are a superior race than us, humans. While performing vedic yagna-s, we have to invoke Agni deva (Fire Lord), who then will take our oblations to all other devatA-s and the Trinity. It is customary to invoke first Lord GaNesha before starting any yagna to remove the obstacles. If we argue that Lord Krishna or Lord Shiva is the Lord of all and nothing is beyond his capacity to grant us what we need and there is nothing that he cannot give, so I will  only and only worship by beloved Lord. If I argue in this way, then even though I am technically right, we have to respect the creation of Lord and have to work in a way that he wants us to work. Devata-s help us maintain ecosystem. It is by their grace that we get suitable climate, suitable rain and seasons. We have not reached inner purity to an extend that our Guru thinks us fit for karma-sanyAsa. Hence we have to keep following veda-s and worship devatA-s and offer our oblations to them. Some say it is a sin to worship anya-devatA. I would not agree with this. Agreeing would mean an insult to our beloved Lord, as everything works according to his will. After gaining inner purity, upanishads asks us to renounce kAmya karma i.e. renounce agni meaning vedic rights. 

We should not forget that Gita is a Moksha SAStra and not dharma SAStra. Hence Gita also asks us to renounce all karma-s and duties and surrender to the Lord. But this upadesha is given in chapter 18, which is Moksha SanyAs YOga (BG 18.66). As the name suggests and from the commentary of our AchArya, we know that one has to renounce vedic rites. We also have to renounce dharma (righteousness, meritorious deeds) and a-dharma (wrong deeds, sinful deeds).  Bhagavan in BG 7.3 says  - Among thousands of men, one perchance strives for perfection; even among those successful strivers, only one perchance knows Me in essence (tatva). Hence we can conclude that only a few have such inner purity to renounce vedic rites and become sanyAsin-s, rest all have to perform vedic rites and follow dharma. 

Let us now continue to understand who Adi Shankara was.

Following are the words of Kanchi Paramacharya in the sections - Adi Shankara Bhagavadpada was not a Shaiva / Vaishnava

Adi Shankara Bhagavadpada was not a Shaiva, nor a Vaishnava, nor a Shakta


Kanchi Paramacharya has given us the explanation of Advaita and SmArta Dharma. Please visit the below link for more details

Sankara SampradAyam

though the entire writeup is very useful, articles related to our topic are found on pages Page 13 and 14

smArta - a PUrNa vaidika dharma


To continue the above discussion, only a SmArta dharma or sampradAya is pUrNa vEdic dharma, as it does not denigrate any other deites to claim the supremacy of the chosen deity.

Please find some notes in brief. Original content is found on the same source, i.e. Shankara SAmpradAya, page 14

This is one of cardinal principles of the vEdic religion known as smArthA matham. While denigrating the other deity, if one's dEvathA is claimed to be 'the' dEvathA, then it can not be considered to have the acceptance of vEdA. Going by this test, only we - the smArthAs, who follow the AchAryAl alone are 'pUrna vaidIkAs'.

I don't say thus. It is wrong, if I say so. It may appear as though I'm talking quite high of it, because it is my sampradhAyam. Therefore, this is not my opinion.

Even the opinion of the mUla purushA of dvaithins, advaitins and vishistAdvaitins - vyAsa maharshi Himself- was this. In the anusAsana parvA of Bharatham {Mahabharata}, when He lists out the names of five mathams, that were in existence from time immemorial, through BhIshma pithAmahar, He says,

sAnkhyam yOga: pAncha rAthram vEdhA: pAshupatham thathA:

In these, 'vEdhA:' is the vEdic religion; smArtha matham of later days. It contains arAdhana for all dEvathAs. The triad of karma- bhakthi- gyAna also is there [*in the vEdic religion*]. The school of thought which does the philosophical research, the SankhyA, is also a part of that. Even the yOga sAdhana is a part of vEdic dhAyanA. All these things do exist in the smArthA sampradhAyam also, which was rejuvenated by our AchAryAl.

In works such as SivAnandha lahari, Soundharya lahari and shatpathI sthOthram which is addressed towards srI MahA vishnU, even our advaitha AchAryAl has accepted dvaitA and vishistAdvaitha at different levels. In His 'yOga thArAvali', He has completely elaborated the nuances of Pathanjala yOga. Also, He has mentioned the twenty four 'thathvAs' of sAnkhyA, at many places, in His bhAshyAs.

Out of the five [*schools*] mentioned by VyAsar {Veda Vyasa}, the remaining two apart from vEdA, sAnkhyA and yOgA are pAncharAthram and pAshupatham.

In pAncharAthram, Vishnu alone is identified as the God; while in pAshupatham, only SivA is seen as the God. These schools denigrate other deities and hold only specific deities as the supreme Godhead.

As though VyasAchAryA {Veda Vyasa} was of the opinion that these two schools are non-vEdic in nature, He has mentioned the vEdha matham separetly as 'vEdhA:', and grouped these two as sampradhAyams, differening from vEdAs, by making a separate mention as 'pAncharAthram, pAshupatham'. Sankhyam is a mere philosophical speculation (thathva-vAdham) only. In that, there is neither karmA; nor bhakti; nor any means to the experience of gyAna. Though yOgA is a school held in very high esteem, there is no scope for vaidhIka upAsanA and karma in it. Even with regards to gyAna, there is not so much clear exposition about the 'paramAthma thathvam', as it is in upanishads.

As these four schools are 'apUrnam' in one way or the other, He has distinguished them from the complete (pUrna) vEdA [*matham*], which possesses all the [*positive*] aspects of these schools, by naming them separately.

Notes:

  1. Words in square Brackets are that of the translator
  2. Words in curly Brackets are of the author of this website.


Did smArta dharma exist prior to Adi Sankara?


Yes, smArta dharma existed prior to Adi Sankara. Adi sankara had completed his commentaries on prasthAntraya at the age of 16. brahma sUtra is the topmost canonical text and hence it was the last one which was commented by Adi Sankara after the order and blessings of Lord Siva. In gItA bhASya, BG 2.10, Adi Sankara mentions the words 'smArta' and 'shruta'. Hence we can understand that this worship existed prior to him.

gaNeSa gItA, part of gaNeSa purANa mentioned pancayatna pUja. Sri nilakanThAcArya / srikAntAcArya (both are same person), a great SaivAcArya / SivAcArya has written a tikA on SrI gaNeSa gItA. Hence gaNeSa gItA is authentic.

This gItA is non-sectarian, as in chapter 1, verse 20, it describes all five devatA-s worshipped in pancayatna pUjA as confirmed by SrI nilakanTha in his tikA on sloka 1.20.

gaNeSa gItA says

Any yoga involving a fixed mind resting on Siva, Visnu, Shakti, Surya and on me (Ganesha), protector of men, is the right yoga in my opinion. 1.20
I alone, having taken various forms, create, protect and destroy the world for my own play. 1.21
I alone am Maha Visnu, I alone am Sadasiva, I alone am the great Shakti, I alone am Aryaman, dear one. 1.22


Adi Shankara's Parents were Shiva bhakta-s


Adi Shankara in his Gita BhASya 18.41 says that varNa is by guNa but guNa is inherited by birth. This is the opinion of Vaishnava Acharya-s like RAmAnuja, Shreedhar Svami, etc. Hence it is not possible that Adi Shankara would have betrayed his own svadharma. Even after taking sanyAsa, Adi shankara would never denigrate Shiva and consider him as 'jiva' as some Vaishnava-s are of the opinion.  

We know that AchArya has commented on Tai. Up. 1/11 about 'satyam vada, dharma cara'. Words of great AchArya cannot be mere philosophy. They live the very life they preach. Hence it is illogical to say that Adi Shankara did not consider Shiva as Supreme Brahman.

So if Adi Sankara's parent were Saivas, and if ISTa deva of Adi Sankara was viShNu, then this points to only one thing - Adi Sankara was a smArta. 


Each Form of God has Distinctive Characteristics




All forms of Gods are equally potent. It is not that Vishnu cannot remove ignorance and give us Jnana, but each form of Lord has a distinctive characteristic. 

  • Brahma = creative power - rajasic, create the universe
  • Vishnu = preservative power - sattva (sattva preserves), responsibility to protect and preserve universe
  • Shiva = destruction of world, ego, ignorance, three states of consciousness, tamas guNa, matted locks, three eyed, the one holding trident, uma-pati, blue throat, wearing elephant skin, etc
  • Ganesh = Removal of obstacles
  • Durga / Amba = Shakti or kundalini
  • Sarasvati = Knowledge
  • Laxmi = wealth (material and spiritual wealth which is knowledge)
  • Kali = Destruction of demonic qualities
  • Skanda = lord of war
  • Hanuman = Bhakti, courage, valour, fight against ghosts, etc
  • Rama = Maryada purushottam
  • Krishna = Akarshanam iti krishna, Krishna is Prem lahiri, anand lahiri, saundarya lahiri = wave of attraction
and so on

Lord Ganesh can grant moksha, but his distinctive quality is to remove obstacles. 

Vaishnavas say that in Sri Rudram it is Vishnu who is glorified. Sri Rudram should be interpreted in a way it should be. Let Shiva be Shiva and Vishnu be Vishnu. Similar is the case with Vishnu Sahasra Nama and Acharya's bhasya on it. They argue that Shiva is mentioned as pure, which can be applied to Vishnu to, hence it is Vishnu alone that is praised. They claim that Shiva is Ishvara but Vishnu is Brahman. They do not consider Shiva as supreme. Such approach is not correct. Adi Shankara never thought in the way they think. The attribute of 'pure one' is a distinctive attribute of Shiva.

Even Shiva has attributes which are given to Vishnu. We find them in Shiva Sahasranama, Shiva AtharvaShirsha and Sri Rudram. Both of them have common attributes, but few are distinctive. 

One-pointedness is necessary


Hanuman only chanted RAma Nama and not Krishna NAma. When Krishna appeared, he requested Bhagavan to give darshan as Rama

Meera Bai chanted only Krishna's name. She would not chant RAma Nama nor Narasimh nAma

Though all avatars of Vishnu are one and the same, mind can concentrate on only one form.

I think this is one of the reason why we have different sahasranama's for Vishnu, Rama, Krishna, Laxmi-Narsimha and stotra-s dedicated to each form of God. Though you can technically say all forms of Vishnu are one and same, still they have distinctive personality.

Rama would not do that Krishna did, he would not play flute, nor would play politics (which was necessary and not against dharma), etc. Rama would not do what Parashurama did nor did Rama lived like an Avadhoot. 

But how can attributes which are generally related to Shiva be considered as that of Vishnu, one may ask.


While I am not a sanskrit scholar, let us try to understand the reason behind such interpretations. 

The reason is Sanskrit and Nirukta. Nirukta means lexicon. It gives deeper meaning to a word by further splitting it. One word in Sanskrit can have more than one meaning. Another factor is whether a word has to be considered as a proper noun or common noun or an adjective.  A proper noun means a name of any person. Common noun do not point to one individual but is general in nature.

Let us take an example of the word 'Vishnu'

The word Vishnu, which according to the men of learning, is rooted in 'Vi' which means 'All Pervading'. Vishnu is the one who is all pervading. This is the meaning of the word 'Vishnu'. When the word 'Vishnu' is taken as common noun, it is just a quality, which is 'All Pervading'. Hence, Shiva can be called as Vishnu. But when the word 'Vishnu' is being addressed to a person i.e. deity Vishnu, which has a particular form like holding sudarshan chakra, mace, or one who is Laxmi-pati, etc, when it has to be taken as a proper noun. If we take Laxmi-pati as common noun i.e. a general name, we can device another meaning. Laxmi means wealth. What is wealth? It can be money or qualities or spiritual qualities or vedic knowledge. Pati means master or a swami, the one who is the controller. Hence we can take Laxmi-pati as the one who controls the wealth. i.e. the giver or bestower of wealth (Jnana), which can be Lord Siva.

Though this type of interpretation can be done, the question arises - should this type of interpretation be done? i.e. is this type of interpretation justified?

As per Kanchi Paramacharya, Adi Shankara says that the job of commentator is to give clarity to the verse and should explain in a proper way without twisting words.

This is not to say that the wherever Shiva or Vishnu is used, it always means Lord Shankara with matted locks or Lord Vishnu who has 4 arms with different weapons like mace sudarshan chakra, etc.

An example of Vishnu being translated or interpreted as 'All Pervading' and not four armed Deity Vishnu is Mangal Sloka, which is commonly used before starting any puja or Vishnu Sahasranama or Shiva Shasaranama. This sloka is also a part of Laghu MahaGanapati Puja.

शुक्लाम्बरधरम् विष्णुम्
शशि वर्णम् चतुर्भुजम्
प्रसन्न वदनम् ध्यायेत् 
सर्व विघ्नोपशान्तये

śuklāmbaradharam viṣṇum 
śaśi varṇaṁ chaturbhujam
prasanna vadanam dhyāyēt 
sarva vighnōpaśāntayē

Word to Word Meaning:

Shukla = white or pure;  
Ambara = cloth or sky; 
Dharam = wearing; 
Vishnum = all pervading or omnipresent; [1]
Shashi = moon, rabbit or hare, of the complexion of rabbit; [2]
Varnam = color; 
Chatur = four; 
Bhujam = shoulder, or a curved object, hence reference to trunk; [3] 
rasanna = smiling or pleasant;  
Vadanam = face;  
Dhyayet = I meditate upon;  
Sarva = all; 
Vighna = obstacle or hindrance or block; 
Upashantaye = remove or abate or pacify.

Meaning:  I meditate upon the Lord Ganesha who is clad in white garment (dhoti), who is pervading, who is as bright colored as Moon, who has a smiling face, having four shoulders (or hands), and who is the remover of obstacles.

Note: The above verse can go to Vishnu-ji as it contains the word Vishnu. However, it is customary to invoke Ganesha-ji, whose distinctive quality is to remove obstacles.

[1] Vishnu is taken as common noun. Vishnu means the all pervading. When taken as action of all prevading, it becomes an adjective (corrections welcome)
[2] The word 'SShi' means rabbit, since you see a shape of rabbit in the moon.  Dark Spots in moon mean that the complexion is not pure white but, I think, it is smoky-grey colour. This colour is related to Ganesha.

Ganesha ji is also called as dhUmravarNa which is smoke-colored-gray. He is also called krSNapingAkSa - the one with dark blue/black + reddish brown + eyes(ākṣa) Thus being recogized as the One with dark brown/reddish eyes. 

However 'SaSi' could also point to Vishnu as in BG 10.21, the Lord says, 'of Nakshatra, I am moon'. However, in Gita it is said, 'I am Moon', while in this verse, it is said, 'Sasi varNam' and not just 'Sasi'. 

Any one of Vishnu or Ganesha could be invoked by this mantra.

[3] 'Bhuja' generally means hands, but it also means curved, which resembles to trunk.

The mudgala purāṇa (a upapurāṇa) lists out 32 names of śrī gaṇeśa-ji. One called out is dvija gaṇapati. When I first looked I said, this is twice born (dvija), so most likely 2 heads will be depicted of gaṇeśa. Yet to my surprise dvija gaṇapati is called out as 4-headed. 

Hence the connection back to caturbhujaṁ where bhuja is also defined as an elephant trunk. With 4 heads, dvija gaṇapati also has 4 trunks. It ( the 4 heads) also symbolizes brahmā. I do not have the mudgala purāṇa in saṃskṛt to check the words , yet the 2 books in my possession almost read the same:

Four-headed dvija gaṇapati, 'the twice-born', is moon-like in color. Holding a noose, a goad, an ola leaf scripture, a staff, water vessel and a his japa beads, He reminds one and all of the urgency for disciplined striving

Adapted from 1, 2 (Due Credits to respected original authors).

Wrong interpretation of Adi Shankara Bhagavadpada's commentary leads to erroneous conclusion


Non-advaitins, particularly Vaishnavas, accuse Adi Shankara and advaita for forced translations and implied meaning. 

People talk about deva supremacy and denigrate one God below other. Due to wrong interpretation, seeds of superiority and inferiority are sown from the very shastras which teach us to renounce ego !!!

Vaishnavas think Ishvara and Brahman are not equal. They also think Brahman is person with attributes and go on to interpret Adi Shankara's commentary on this basis and in this process they violate shruti and Adi Shankara's philosophy, which ultimately leads to ajata vada, as passed on to and passed by Gaudapadacharya. Ishvara has 6 upadhis. Why are they called upadhis? 

Brahman is attributeless, cannot be described, mind and senses return before reaching it. They think it is a person, that too from Advaita POV !!! 

There is no question of equating anything with Brahman, as to equate one needs to know both, object that is to be equated and the reference against which it is equated. Hence such equation violates shruti. As we already know the traditional teaching as taught by our acharya Shankara Bhagavapada is adhyAropa ApavAda, which is technically leads to ajata vada.

If we have a look at adhyAsa BhASyam, an intro to SArIrika MimimAmsA (Brahma SUtra), it talks about avidya, it's reason and removal of avidya. Acharya says that avidyA is adhyAsa, superimposition of non-self upon Self (Atman), what is left is pure Knowledge i.e. vidyA meaning the experience of Brahman (not as separate entity). There is no mention in his intro that the purpose is to establish Vishnu as Brahman or give supreme status to Vishnu or any form of God. 

We can find adhyAsa BhASya here (html - advaita-vedanta.org), here (pdf of html at scribd) and here (pdf  at scribd- commentary by Swami Ghambhirananda)

It can be safely concluded that due to erroneous methods and wrong interpretation of Adi Shanakara' s Bhasyas, their claim that Adi Shankara was a Vaishnav and he only equated Vishnu as supreme Brahman is a false claim.

Earlier we had said that Vaishnavas on basis of Adi Shankara's BhASya-s claim that Adi Shankara preached Vaishnavism and did not gave the status of Brahman to Shiva. Let us now take a look at some verses and Adi Shankara's commentaries on Gita, Kena Up., Prashna, Brihadaranyaka, Isavasya Upanishad and Vishnu Sahasranama.

Nothing mentioned in veda-s is unworthy of worship says Adi Sankara in ISAvAsya Upanishad Is. Up. 8


Adi Sankara in ISAvAsya bhASya 8 he says: न हि शास्त्रविहितं किञ्चिदकर्तव्यतामियात्
Nothing that the scripture enjoins is unworthy of adherence.

By stating, we understand that Adi Sankara was not of the opinion that only viShNu, which is his own IshTadevatA is worthy of worship. One is free to worship any God which finds sanction of veda-s.

panchadeva upAsanA mentioned by AchArya in kena upanishad Ke. Up. 1.4


Note: There is difference in the numbering of the mantras in Gita Press Hindi Edition, Swami Ghambhirananada of Advaita Ashrama, Kolkata and Sitaram's English translation.  In the Gitapress edition mantras 3 and 4 of the Advaita Ashrama (Swami Gambhirananda) edition are given as mantra 3.  The relevant text presented herewith is cited is from the introduction to mantra 5 of the Advaita Ashrama edition.  As per Gitapress Edition, it appears after the bhashya for mantra 3 is over and before bhashya for mantra 4 commences. In Sitaram's Translation it is verse no 1.4. In wisdomLib, verse numbers continue from one chapter to another. For example, Ke. Up. 2.1 is verse 9 in wisdomlib.org

In either case we will discuss the commentary on the following verse.

यद्वाचानभ्युदितं येन वागभ्युद्यते ।
तदेव ब्रह्म त्वं विद्धि नेदं यदिदमुपासते ॥ ४ ॥

yadvācānabhyuditaṃ yena vāgabhyudyate |
tadeva brahma tvaṃ viddhi nedaṃ yadidamupāsate || 4 ||

Ke. Up. 1.4. What speech does not enlighten, but what enlightens speech, know that alone to be the Brahman, not this which (people) here worship.

While explaining this mantra, AchArya uses the pUrva paksha - vedAnta style (objection - refutation) as usual. pUrva paksha or the objecting party is the logicians or nyAyikA-s (those adhering to nyAya shAstra) and the refuting party is as usual vedAntin. Some also translate objection and refutation as shankA - samAdhAna. shankA means doubt and samAdhAna means solution. shankA-samAdhAna is more used when the dramatized Q-A format is adopted and the doubting party is shiShya (disciple) and solution or clarity is given by guru. In this case, the student is adopting the nyAyikA's views to create a doubt, which is replied by a vedAntin guru. Here the guru is AchArya himself.

w.r.t., the nyAyikA-s (logicians) are of the opinion that Atman is kartA i.e. doer and performs actions and has to pass through the merits & demerits of his actions, and be trapped in the cycle of birth and death. Object of worship (upAsya devatA-s) i.e. viShNu, Ishvara (Siva / rudra), Indra or prANa can be Brahman, but not Atman. Brahman is beyond mAyA and hence it cannot undergo cycles of birth and death as it is not kartA. In other words Atman is distinct of Brahman whom we worship. While one is a witness, other is a doer. Since both are different how can it be true that both are one.

Verses 1.4-8 are similar. In these verses starting from 4th verse, both the nature of Brahman and what it is not is described. Those interested as to know how Atman and Brahman are equal may read commentary from the third verse to get proper clarity. In later verses, AchArya says that the word 'nedam' i.e. na-idam i.e. 'not this' (idam means 'this') is being already explained earlier [verse] (in verse 1.4)

Lets understand the verse under context.

यद्वाचानभ्युदितं येन वागभ्युद्यते ।
तदेव ब्रह्म त्वं विद्धि नेदं यदिदमुपासते ॥ ४ ॥

yadvācānabhyuditaṃ yena vāgabhyudyate |
tadeva brahma tvaṃ viddhi nedaṃ yadidamupāsate || 4 ||

Ke. Up. 1.4. What speech does not enlighten, but what enlightens speech, know that alone to be the Brahman, not this which (people) here worship.

Only relevant portion of commentary is quoted. Below is the English Translation of Sankara bhAshya by Sitaram. It is slightly edited. Words in square bracket are not that of Sitaram.

Commentary: When by the verse, "It is somthing distinct from what is known and what is unknown", the preceptor conveyed that Atman is Brahman, the disciple doubted that how can Atman be Brahman. The Atman, as is well known, being entitled to perform karma and worship (of the gods) and being subject to births and re-births seeks to attain brahmA jI and other deva-s, or heaven, by means of karma or worship. Therefore, somebody other than the Atman [jIva], such as viShNu, Ishvara (Siva / rudra), Indra or prANa, entitled to be worshipped, may well be Brahman; but can never be Atman [jIva]; for it is contrary to the popular belief. Just as logicians contend that the Atman is distinct from Ishvara (Godhead i.e. viShNu, ISvara, etc), so the votaries of karma worship deva-s, other than Atman, saying, 'Propetiate this deva by sacrifice [i.e. yajna]' and 'Propetiate that deva by sacrifice [i.e. yajna].' Therefore it is only reasonable that what is known and entitled to worship is Brahman and that the worshipper is other than that. The preceptor inferred this doubt running in the disciple's mind either from his looks or from his words and said: 'Do not doubt thus.' ...


From the commentary, we can conclude that

  • By saying, 'Propitiate his deva by sacrifice', shows that, during his time, worship of many gods was practiced in karma kANDa.
  • By mention of different names of Ishvara i.e. viShNu, Ishvara, etc, we can conclude saguNa Brahman was worshipped in many forms.
  • The commentary also indicates that yoga was very popular, as prANa is said to be amongst upAsya devatA i.e. that worthy of worship as Brahman.
  • AchArya mentions the name of Ishvara (Siva / rudra) who is an upAsya devatA. It is the belief of disciple that upAsya devatA i.e. viShNu, Ishvara, etc are Brahman, hence akartA (witness), and Atman, which disciple believes it to be jIva is a kartA (doer). The belief of upAsya devatA-s being Brahman is not contradicted by our AchArya. AchArya Sankara bhagavadpAda only explains that the belief of disciple of Atman being a kartA (doer) is wrong. Both Brahman and Atman are akartA i.e. witness and they both are one. Atman is Brahman. Since Sankara bhagavadpAda considers Ishvara / rudra as upAsya devatA, rudra is defnitely not a jIva.


Few words our how prANa can be upAsya devatA


Many upanishads like BrihadAraNyaka, prashNa and kena mention prANa as supreme. They also mention that the origin of prANa is Brahman. It is said that, from Brahman, prANa manifested, from prANa, apAna and other four vAyu-s and later another five secondary vAyu-s manifested.
 
Each body has different types of vAyu-s responsible for carrying out different functions. Yoga Yajnavalkya (YY) mentions 10 different types of vAyu-s. YY 4.47-49 says Ten vayus viz prANa, apAna, samAna, udAna, vyAna, nAga, kurma, krkara, devadatta and dhananjaya. Among these, the five vAyu-s, beginning with prANa are considered important. Among those [five vAyu-s], these two - prANa and apAna are most important, [Gargi], best among women! And of these two, prANa is the most important in all living beings, always (YY 4.47-49). samAna vAyu spreads throughout the body and carries the consciousness i.e. chetanA throughout the body via 72,000 nADI-s.

Just as there are ten prANa-s there are also 14 nADI-s. They, as mentioned in YY, are - suShumNA, iDA, pingalA, sarasvatI, kuhu, ghAndhArI, hastijivA, vishvodara, vAruNI, yashasvinI, payasinI, pUShA, shankhinI, alambuShA

Amongst 14, three are superior viz - IDA, pingalA and suShumNA. Amonst three, suShumNA is the best. Hence Atman enters body, gets situated in center of heart [chakra] (not physical heart). In order to make use of body it manifests itself into prANa and then further splits up into 9 more to spread throughout entire body via nADI-s. During kuNDalini meditation or rAja yoga or laya yoga, etc, these different prANa-s are pulled back and again merge into prANa vAyu, nADI-s merge back into IDA and pingalA and they both merge into suShumNA. The entire prANa is now concentrated in suShumNA. This prANa along with other form of it i.e. kuNDalini arises through meruDaNDI or brahma nADI or suShumNA, passes through various chakra-s reaches crown and finally merges into Atman in heart. This is one way to get enlightened. After kuNDalini reaches and pierces sahasrAra chakra, it enters into empty space. After this only by will i.e. Atma-bala directed by knowledge of Self  i.e. Jnana, everything merges into oneness. Then only one 'I' remains. This 'I', the first person, which one thought of as jIva or Atman is realised as Brahman. No second exists to witness this unity or awareness of oneness. This is the supreme non-dual state where eyes, ears, etc cannot reach as the prANa-s have already been withdrawn from the body. This supreme state is beyond mind and so cannot be pervceived. It is breathless-pulse-less state. When the consciousness returns back to body, it again spreads via various prANa-s thereby making one aware of the body. As prANa leaves a particular area or nADI, this area sa hand or leg cannot be perceived or felt. as if they are motioneless, dead. When all prANa-s entirely retire and accumulate into IDA and pingalA, then the breathing occurs via them. This breathing is not physical breathing, but breathing of prANa.  Similarly when prANa-s retire into suShumNa, breathing happens in sushumNA. After kuNDalini reaches sahasrAra and pierces it, then wise say one has to be aware of other 3 bodies - manomaya, viGYAnamaya and Anandamaya koosha. Finally one transcends subtle bodies too and pure consciousness is what remains. This method does not involve finding Atman inside anAhata chakra. Some texts also mention presence of jIva in AGYA chakra. No matter whichever method one adopts, the object used for contemplation, be it any chakra or flame or kuNDalini, they loose their independent existence and dissolve in paramAtmA i.e. Brahman. In the language of yoga, Atman is taken as jIva, and one (jIva) has to achieve union (yoga) with paramAtmA.

We must note that upanishads claim -
1. In the beginning, there is only one Brahman
2. One Brahman became many
3. We must return back to our source.

In the world of yoga, the manifestation of Brahman as jIva is mentioned as -
1. jIva enters body and resides in heart
2. jIVa or Atman manifests as 72,000 nADI-s, IDA, pingalA and suShumNa are the best amongst them.
2. It then manifests prANa-vAyu and other vAyu-s
3. vAyu-s spread through entire body and give it consciousness

The yogic journey is to return back to our source. The backward journey is -
1. Pull back all vAyu-s inside iDA, pingalA and activate kuNDalini. vAyu-s merge into prANa-vAyu
2. Then pull all prANa in suShumNA and arise kuNDalini through suShumNA
3. After kuNDalini rises upto sahasrAra and pierces it, there is experience of unity with paramAtmA.
4. By will and knowledge, dissolve into paramAtmA, thereby abiding into non-dual state.

We should note that prANa does not simply mean prANa-vAyu, it is in general energy present in prANamaya kosha and other kosha-s. Everything is made up of prANa (energy), be it nADi-s, chakra-s or subtle bodies. Similarly, the prANa is omnipresent and is the power or potency of Ishvara as prANa-shakti. This shakti is called by many names like Adi Sakti, mAyA, yoga-mAyA, etc. At times trinity (brahmA, viShNu and rudra) are also mentioned as shakti of Brahman. A yogI surrenders to this omnipresent prANa or kuNDalini devI, the divine mother, who is not just inside, but also outside and present everywhere. Hence it is mentioned in the upanishads that once there was prANa and this prANa is Brahman. Here Brahman refers to saguNa Brahman. In gIta, two types of Brahman are mentioned. At one time, Brahman is to be taken as garbha pr prakruti. I think, upanishads talk about this Brahman. Entire universe is filled with this prANa (energy). Energy has vibrations. These vibrations produce sounds.

Another interpretation of prANa being Brahman is that like saguNa Brahman, one may surrender to omnipresent prANa-shakti for spiritual progress. Another way is to surrender to one's IshTa devatA / devI and pray to him/her to grant his/her grace and guide you to ultimate state of union with paramAtmA by activating kuNDalini and enter into nirvikalpa samAdhi. 

Great ancient rishis tapped into this prANa, got tuned into their vibrations and formulated mantra-s which would stimulate prANa. Hence we have different mantra-s to activate different chakra-s. We have different mantra-s which have special names like rAma, kRShNa, Siva, etc. By repeatedly chanting them, one gets in tune with the vibrations of our chakra-s and subtle bodies. These mantra-s cleanse nADI-s, chakra-s, kosha-s, kuNDalini and raises them to sahasrAra chakra. For a yogI, everything that exists is made up of prANa. Every yogI, every tAntrika is a scientist, expert in science of prANa, of vibrations and of sounds. By controlling one's prANa one can achieve mastery over mind. By tapping into universal prANa, one can get in tune with 5 tatva-s, earth, water, etc and can achieve mastery to control them. It is this energy that is worshipped in every form of God. prANa can appear as rAma, kRShNa, Siva and as devi. Emotions and thoughts also a kind of energies that vibrate at a particular frequency. One who can slow down their chakra-s, can even hear their sound or feel it's vibrations. chakra-s are not steady. They keep spinning (slowly) in clockwise and counter-clockwise direction to pull-up positive prANa from atmosphere and throw out negative, used-up prANa back in atmosphere. chakra-s breath prANa. They control various emotions and certain parts of boies, some chakra-s control internal organs like spleen, heart, thymus gland, etc. Imbalance in prANa leads to disease, harmony leds to healthy life.


Few words on how Indra can be upAsya devatA

We are being taught that Indra is a position which any jIva, based on merits can achieve. In the same way the position of brahmA jI, the creator can also be achieved by tremendious accumulation of merits. It is said that bhagavAn hanumAna jI will be the next brahmA. We also know from various stories in purANa-s about the constant insecurity of Indra deva, the king of demi-gods. He is shown to be in constant fear of losing his kindgom or his position. Kena Upanishad 3.12 also mentioned how Indra, agnI and other deva-s realisedBrahman. Hence they are considered as jIva-s. However, Indra of veda-s is poles apart. He is not an insecured king, but is described as Brahman in rg veda (Rig Veda).

Just like viShNu, Siva and brahmA are often shown as born out of each other and at times one is superior than another, this is not the case with Indra. The non-difference between trinity is accepted amongst advaitins, but Indra is not worshipped these days.

There is also another popular opinion which does not accept Indra as supreme Godhead. The verses that glorify Indra as conquerer of all and unconquered, in book one of rg veda belong to the samhita or brAhmaNa part. These verses are used in performing vedic rites. In vedic karma-kANDa, it is accepted to offer oblations to many devatA-s and the glorification of them is considered as artha-vAda i.e. exaggeration.  mimAmsaka-s consider the verses glorifying any form of God be it viShNu or Siva as the supreme Brahman as artha-vAda and discard them. This is because they consider veda-s as supreme and all fruits of yajna-s is given by veda-s themselves. They do not believe in the One-Supreme-Godhead who alone is creater, preserver and destroyer. In other words, they do not believe in One Godhead, under whose sway all other Gods function.

Accepting Indra as supereme Godhead is difficult for us. Hence let us understand why Indra can be upAsya devatA.

It is said in viShNu purANa that whenever any form of Ishvara is eulogized as sole creator, preserver and destroyer, it is indeed the eulogization of the nirguNa Brahman. Since Brahman cannot be seen, hence it is not possible to sing it's glory. In order to induce devotion, it is depicted having a form and is worshipped via this beloved form. In the same way, veda-s have also depicted Indra, not as a superior jIVa, who has achieved the position of Indra. The name of Indra can be different. After the tenure of one Indra finishes, another one is installed in his place. What remains is the position of Indra. Indra means 'excellent', the best amonst all. viShNu and Siva are at times described as the best amonst all devatA-s. While eugolizing Indra, even viShNu is called as upendra, the one who is inferior to Indra. It is their position that is eulogized.  Naturally, Brahman has to be the best amonst all. Only then it is worthy of worship. IMHO, it is this quality of being excellent amongst all devatA-s that is worshipped. Indra is also known as devendra, the Lord of gods. Indra, like viShNu, also protects rightousness and has many heroic deeds to his credit.

Though there are many hymns in rg veda, atharva veda, mahAbhArata and other shAstra-s, we find it difficult to accept Indra as Brahman. We forget to take yogic approach. There is a famous episode found in shAtra-s from veda-s to purANa-s. It is the spaying of vritra, the demon, the Indra. Infact one of the famous name of Indra is vRtrahan (वृत्रहन्) - slayer of vRtra (Vritra). The two rivers that aare blocked as IDA and pingalA. The vajra, which can be grace of God (Indra, the most excellent) can only liberate or awaken the dormant kuNDalini shakti, and arise it to sahasrAra. In this way, the Indra, the most exhalted one, is worthy of worship. Indra is often shown his fondness of drinking soma juice. This soma juice is not just physical in nature. Each one of us has soma, the nectar, which drops from brahmarandra, a small hole below the brain. This hole is made up of energy. This brilliant juice soma or amrut (Amrit) is sprinkled by chandra on the earth. This means, soma flows into our system as drops. There is no continuous flow of soma. From head, soma descends to the lower chakra-s which join us to the physical world. The last three chakra-s mulAdhAra, svAdhisthAna and manipura are connected to lower worlds and keep us in physical world. Once kuNDalini rises beyond manipur and enters into anAhat, a yogI experiences first glimpse of divinity. Indra is shown of drinking soma. If soma is the first drink of libation, Indra becomes the first god of Yajna. Alternatively drinking soma may have different meanings. It is said that all oblations ultimately get offered to nirguNa Brahman. Food that we eat is an offering to paramAtmA. It is paramAtmA who enjoys everything. Hence Indra drinking soma means that though jIva enjoys this nectar, it is in reality being drunk by Indra, the most excellent amongst all. This also confirms non-duality of jIva and Brahman. jIva or Atman is Brahman. The in-breath (of energy) of paramAtmA is the out-breath of jIva and vice versa. Offering oblation and God drinking oblation represents this divine in-breath and out-breath.

book 1, hymn 101, verse 5 says Indra is Lord of the world

5 He who is Lord of all the world that moves and breathes, who for the Brahman first before all found the Cows;
Indra who cast the Dasyus down beneath his feet,—him girt by Maruts we invoke to be our Friend.

Here it is mentioned that 'He who is Lord of all the world that moves and breathes'. Breathing is mentioned. This is the breath of our higher soul or paramAtmA. As said earlier, in-breath of jIva is out-breath of paramAtmA and out breath (our offering / oblation) of jIva is in-breath of paramAtmA. Later part says, who for Brahman, first before all found the cows'. We know that Indra has wish fulfilling cow. Cows give milk. This milk is the grace or knowledge or the Lord.

'marut' means air or prANa-s. In other words marut is inner breath or breathing of energy through IDA and pingalA. dasyu is the one who lives to eat and drink and do not perform any religious duties.

The yogic meaning of second part of verse 5 would be - the lower animal (worldly) qualities are encircled or covered by prANa-s or energy and is controlled by Indra. Hence Indra here is the controller of prANa-s. maruts and rudra-s, which are different types of prANa-s are shown as assisting Indra in carrying out his work.

Indra at times is also depicted as intelligence or knowledge. Here we take it as knowledge of the Self or Brahman.

We also recall mAruti, the son of marut, rAma bhakta hanumAna, also known as pavan-pUtra. hanumAna is this subtle breath of energy ever surrendered to the paramAtmA rAma. For us, laymen, hanumAn jI is the greatest rAma bhakta, and is real character and a part of our history, one of the seven chiranjivi-s (immortals). But for some in addition to acceptance of his physical presence as rAma bhakta, he is also subtle breath of energy. Praying to hanumAna jI is the best way to reach rAma. If one has to reach or know rAma, one has to reach him via grace of hanumAna jI.


In verse 7, hymn XVII of book 2 of rg veda, Indra is compared with bhaga. bhaga is generally referred to Siva.

7 As she who in her parents' house is growing old, I pray to thee as Bhaga from the seat of all.
Grant knowledge, mete it out and bring it to us here: give us the share wherewith thou makest people glad.

8 May we invoke thee as a liberal giver thou givest us, O Indra, strength and labours.
Help us with manifold assistance, Indra: Mighty One, Indra, make us yet more wealthy.

In hymn XXI of rg veda (book 2), verse 1, Indra is described as 'conquerer of all'

1. To him the conquerer of all, the conquerer of wealth, of light; him who is Lord for ever, Lord (conquerer) of men and tilth,
Him who is Lord of horses, Lord of kine, of floods, to Indra, to the Holy bring sweet Soma juice.

Book one, hymn 4, verse 4 of rg veda says Indra is 'unconquered'

4 Go to the wise unconquered One, ask thou of Indra, skilled in song,
Him who is better than thy friends.

Book one, hymn 8 of rg veda, verse 5 says Indra is supreme

5 Mighty is Indra, yea supreme; greatness be his, the Thunderer:
Wide as the heaven extends his power.

In yogic / tAntrika approach, we often find fusion of three goddesses umA-laxmI-sarasvatI, often called as durgA or ambA, etc. Similarly, all the qualities of Gods gets fused into the ISTa devatA. In yogic way of thought, these Gods are often referred to as internal energies or energy points or a particular qualities. Hence when a disciple is stuck on the yogic path and the nADI-s are blocked, then the cause is determined and the opposite (divine) quality is glorified, then activated and awakened, thereby clearing the choked up nADI-s and clearing emotional and mental blockages. This helps one progress spiritually.

We have often heard of piercing of three knots - brahmA at bottom (mulAdhA / svAdhiSthAna) , viShNu in the middly (anAhat) and rudra (AGYA. Ajna, 3rd eye chakra).  We have also heard of hraday granthi (heart-knot).These knots or granthi-s are blockages of energy often caused by emotional, mental or kArmika (karmic) nature.

The yajna is the inner yajna. Fire is kunDalini. The oblations (Ahuti / bali or havis) is a mantra or any process and striking of kuNDalini. The result is spiritual progress. veda-s do not imply only external ritualistic application.

What I believe is that, yogic approach makes one worship many devatA-s as energy points, as those residing in chakra-s and present as sound vibrations inside chakra-s and at various other positions inside nADI-s. As one evolves spiritually, nADI-s, chakra-s and energies are cleansed and purified.

We must also note that in the times of Adi Sankara, there were worshippers of yama deva, who thought him not to be of dark complexion, but of pure white complexion. For them yama was beyond mAyA and hence beyond time and space. As far as yogic process is concerned or some secret kriyA for enhancing life and delaynig death is concerned, certain approaches can be helpful, but for laymen, in whom kuNDalini is not activated by a sadguru, simple worship of yama deva may have been more of a obstruction. Hence Adi Sankara had to correct the philosophy of yama-vAdi-s (believers of yama as the supreme Godhead).

Similarly, wise must have thought of complications in worship of brahmA jI and Indra. Hence their worship is discouraged and discontinued. This leaves the two main Gods to be worshipped - Siva and viShNu. Since rAma and kRShNa were avatAra of our beloved viShNu, they too are worshipped. Some also meditate on narasimha upAsanA and the rewards of this worship is that no evil can touch them. Some even say that those who have mastered narasimha upAsanA might ward off evil energies and spirits from others. Ofcourse moksha can also beachieved via worship of narasimha.  

Lord Siva is sarvaGYa Ishvara, Brahman and mA pArvatI is Atma-vidyA Ishvara says Adi Shankara in Kena Upanishad 3.12 and 4.1


In Kena Up. Bhasya, 3.12 (Gita Press, Gorakhpur (Hindi)) Adi Sankara explains that umA always stays with all-knowledgeable Ishvara and the she said to Indra that the one who appeared before him and disappeared as a flash of light was none other than Brahman.

In pada bhasya, it is said (in hindi), उमारुपिणि - स्त्रीवेशधारिणी उमारुपा विद्यादेवी further it says, knowledge (vidya) is the most auspicious (शोभायमान), as knowledge is the most auspicious.

In vakya-bhasya, Adi Sankara says that she is the daughter of himAlaya. Hence she is haimAvati.

Later AchArya says, (hindi) वह सर्वदा उस सर्वज्ञ ईश्वरके साथ वर्तमान रहती है; अतः उसे जाननेमें समर्थ होगी - meaning -

She (haimAvati, umA) always stays with sarvaGYA Ishvara (all knowledgeable Lord), hence she must be capable of knowing him.

This clearly indicates that umA or pArvati, who is a daughter of himAlaya, always stays in the company of all knowledgeable Lord, hence she is capable to inform who appeared for brief time in front of me (Indra) and then disappeared. Since Adi Sankara says 'sarvaGYeneshvareNa saha vartata' meaning the one who always stays with all powerful Lord, he implies it is Lord Siva only as it is mentioned in VP that she married to Siva. In the next verse Kena Up. 4.1, umAdevI answers, he was Brahman. i.e. the one who mysteriaously appeared and disappeared in front of you was Brahman himself.

It can be concluded that

  • Uma, Haimavati means Maa Parvati, consort of Lord Shiva 
  • She appears in the form of lady and she is of the form of vidya (vidya-svarupa) 
  • She knows the truth (later she tells the truth that this was brahman who vanished) 
  • To stay with sarvaGYa Ishvara means to be with Lord Shiva --> Knowledge stays with Lord. They both cannot be separated. Jnana-svarupa. 
  • Though Adi Shankara has not used the word 'Shiva' or 'Rudra', he has made reference to Lord Shiva

Again, Since Shiva is Brahman, real nature is formless, which is shown here by saying that -- Knowledge appeared in the form of a Lady (Maa Parvati). It was ego which was not allowing Indra to see Ishvara. Since the incident is in dramatic form, hence the word 'seeing' is used. The word darshan, though generally is taken as 'seeing' actually means 'to know' and the word Ishvara in this context, 'of knowledge appearing in form of a lady' can be taken as Brahman. Here humiliation means removal of ego, which happened to Indra, Agni and Vayu deva(s)

The argument that by staying with Siva, who is parambhAgavata, even umA has complete knowledge of Brahman who is none other than viShNu is not acceptable by an advaitin, as Ishvara is saguNa Brahman and perhaps there is no reason for umA to come up for his brother viShNu, when laxmi mAtA who is also AtmavidyA (VSN Bh. #943) could have appeared instead of umA and could have given brahma-GYAna to Indra and others.

Since atma-vidyA and Brahman cannot be different, hence Siva and pArvatI (Adi Shakti) are one and the same.


rudra in BrihadAraNkaya Br. Up 1.4.11-12, prashNa Up 2.9 and Kaivalya Up. 8


In Br. Up. 1.4.11 and 1.4.12, Adi Sankara has referred to rudra. In Br. Up. 1.4.11, Adi Sankara uses the word 'rudraH pashUnAm' Some claim that since the rudra described here is pashUpatI, i.e. lord of animals (pashu), which is an epithet of umApati rudra or Sankara, and that this rudra is said to be born, hence Adi Sankara considered rudra is jIva and not Ishvara. However, this argument is not true. 

brAhmanA 4 of chapter 1 i.e. Br. Up. 1.4 explains creation. While explaining creation, Adi Sankara didnt used the word viShNu though at many places he had a chance to use them. Br. Up. Explains creation from Atman. Neither in the introduction of fourth brahman nor in the first verse which describes creation of prajApati from cosmic egg and formation of first purusha, Adi Sankara has explained that from caturbhuja viShNu, the egg was formed, neither did AchArya explained that universe originated from viShNu. He didnt use the word viShNu for Atman. In the introduction of this brAhmaNa, Adi Sankara describes that - in previous brAhmaNa by the knowledge of prANa, one can know or become prajApati. After the formation of prajApati, here, in the fourth brAhmAna, creation is described. Adi Sankara didnt explained that from viShNu, the creation is formed. Adi SAnkara simply explained the verse in context and we are expected to take obvious meaning except the AchArya himself specifies.


Eleventh verse i.e. Br. Up. 1.4.11 explains kshatriya-ShRShTi i.e. creation of kshatriya-varNa. We will quote the relevant part of verse (sloka) -

Br. Up. 1.4.11: In the beginning there was only one Brahman.... Amongst devatA-s (demi-gods) those who were kshatriya-s like Indra, varuNa, soma, rudra, megha, yama, mRtyu (mrityu) and IshAna el al (इति, etc) were created.


Adi Sankara explains this portion of sloka as -

Br. Up. Bh. 1.4.11 In the beginning there only one [one] Brahman, meaning, that which assumed the form and nature of fire after creating fire was [none other than] Brahman only...The word kshatriyANi indicates plurality [i.e. there are more than one person in the kshatriya jAti).

Who are they? Thus shruti says - special mention amongst those [who are the lords or rulers of various category] are explained here -

- King of devatA-s (demi-gods) - Indra
- King or God of water - varuNa
- Lord of brAhmaNa-s - soma
- Lord of pashu - rudra
- King or ruler of lightening, etc - megha
- King of pitr (ancestors) - yama
- Lord of disease, etc - mRtyu (mrityu) and
- Lord of various lights (prakAsha) - IshAna, etc

those who are kshatriya-s were created. Thus after creating Indra, etc demi-gods, from these kshatriya devatA-s were created pururavA etc, chandra and sUryavanshI human kshatriya clans. In order to create human kshatriya-s, deva-kshatriya-s were created....

It is this explanation which is used in support of the claim that rudra i.e. pashUpati rudra was created. Hence Adi Sankara did not accept Siva as Ishvara or saguNa Brahman.

Now lets understand this sloka. It talks about -

- Creation of kshatriya clan
- Creation of devatA-s for kashatriya clan
- More than one devatA is created. Few important ones are mentioned
- rudra and IshAna are mentioned as lords of pashu and prakAsha.

Here the general association of Siva with tamasa and destruction of jagat is not mentioned. Hence this rudra is not the deity of destruction. while interpreting Adi Sankara, we must make sure that our AchArya must be interpreted in such a way that he does not contradict any shruti, smriti, itihAsa or gItA. As per mahAbhArata and viShNu purANa there is a mention of eight and eleven rudra-s.

Since the name Ishana also appears along with rudra, we understand that this rudra is not deity of destruction, but a demi-god, who manifested in brahmA jI's lap. This rudra was further divided into 7 more i.e. a total of eight rudra-s were created. Since all eight deities are called as rudra-s, hence to pinpoint from 8 rudra-s - Rudra, Sarva, Pashupati, Ugra, Asani, Bhava, Mahadeva and Ishana as mentioned in Satpatha Brahmana, our āchārya must have specified it as pashupati-rudra. If he wanted, he could have also mention the name as 'umāpati rudra pashUnAm', etc. We must also understand that in purANa-s, the central deity is shown supreme and all others are inferior to him and depend upon him to carry out their prescribed duties. We must also note that anything prescribed by shruti is always worthy of practice.

Coming back to 'rudraH pashUnAm', the word 'paśu' or 'pashu' also has different meanings like animal or jīva. If we take pashu to mean ' jIva', it would mean that 'rudra is the Lord of jIva-s'. Lord of jIva-s cannot be a jIva. Infact Lord of pashu (animals) also cannot be a jIva, as only Ishvara can be the lord of any jIva, be it human or animal. Humans are also called as pashu, if we do not adhere to dharma. It is dharma which separates us from animals says Adi Sankara in his Brahma sUtra bhAshya introduction. This is said by Sri Kanchi Paramacharya in his book 'Hindu Dharma - The Eternal Way of Life'

We will come back to 8 rudra-s. These eight rudra-s had their wives, their offsprings and the kingdom or domain of that they are to rule. They are -

8 rudra-s: Rudra, Sarva, Pashupati, Ugra, Asani, Bhava, Mahadeva and Isana
8 wives: Suverchalá, Ushá, Vikesí, Sivá, Swáhá, Diśá, Díkshá, and Rohiní
8 kingdoms: sun, water, earth, air, fire, ether, Brahman performing yajna, and the moon
8 sons: Sanaiśchara (Saturn), Śukra (Venus), lohitannga (the fiery-bodied Mars), Manojava (Hanumán), Skanda, Sarga, Santána, and Budha (Mercury)

We understand that these rudra-s are not involved in destruction, but in the creation of raudra shṛṣṭi.
 
This theory of creation or raudra shRShTi is found in VP 1.8.1-14

VP 1.8.12-14 says that -  In the same way, Rudra married Daksha's daughter Sati, who got angry on daksha and immolated herself in yajña. Then she was born (as umā) of Menā and Himālaya. She married Bhagavān Hara (उपयेमे पुनश्चोमामनन्यां भगवान्हरः ।। वि.पु १.८.१४।। VP 1.8.14

The word used is 'Bhagavān Hara'. 'Bhagavān' Hara cannot be jīva.

I doubt that rudra mentioned in Br. Up. Bh. 1.4.11 by Adi Sankara is the same rudra who is considered as Śiva / Śankara who is considered as creator, preserver and destroyer in bhAgavat purANa's episode of samudra manthan (churning of ocean).

Br. Up. 1.4.12 also mentions rudra. This time, he is not the one of 8 rudra-s but one of 11 rudra-s. Interestingly, the 11 rudra-s are also 11 types of prANa-s with Sankara as the best amongst them.  The name Sankara, which is one of the eleven rudra-s i.e. prANa is menioned in gItA too (BG 10.23). He is mentioned in Br. Up. 3.9.4

Br. Up. III-ix-4: ‘Which are the Rudras ?’ ‘The ten organs in the human body, with the prana as the tenth and the atma as the eleventh. When they depart from this mortal body, they make (one’s relatives) weep. Because they then make them weep, therefore they are called Rudras.’
Note. Here Ten prANa-s are mentioned, as per Yoga Yajnavalkya, the ten prANa-s are



rudra is mentioned in praShNa upanishad Pr. Up. 2.9 - you prANa are Indra (parameshara), By your teja (virya), or power, you, as rudra, are destroyer of this world and during preservation, you by your benign form protect this world. This rudra- the destroyer is acknowledged by Adi Sankara in his commentary on this verse too.

As I understand, Adi Sankara simply explained verses in hand. When the verse used the word ;Atman', Adi Sankara will use the word 'Atman', when shruti uses the word 'Brahman', 'prANa', 'Siva' or 'viShNu', Adi Sankara uses the same name in his commentary. At times, our AchArya divides his commentary into two parts - padya and vAkya bhAshya. the padya bhAshya or commentary is simple to understand, while the vAkya bhAshya is more technical in nature, often splitting up important words, giving grammatically correct meaning, or giving symbolic meaning that corrects conveys the message of shruti vachana (verse) under context.


Coming back to Br. Up, in Br. Up. 1.4.12, which talks about creation of vaiśya shṛṣṭi, Ādi Śankara also comments on vaiśya shṛṣṭi and presence of many rudra-s like many Vasu-s and Gaṇeṣaḥ who collectively are able to do the prescribed work. They, on individual level are not capable of accomplishing any given task.

Br. Up. 1.4.12. ... He (Brahman) created vaishyajāti. (Brahman) created those known as - vasu, Rudra, Āditya, vishveda and marut etc devagaṇa are called as gaṇeṣaḥ

Our Āchārya says,

"...The purport or essence of multiplicity in deva-jāti like that 'gaṇeṣaḥ' meaning a group of gaṇa-s, collectively are known as gaṇeṣaḥ (plural), as vaiṣya community are inclined towards gaṇa-s, they are collectively capable of earning money or property, not individually. Vasu-s are eight gaṇa-s in number, rudra-s are eleven, Aditya are twelve, vishvedeva are thirteen - all these are sons of Vishva. Or Vishvadevaḥ means 'All deva-gaṇa-s' i.e. all deva-s. In this way there are forty-nine marut-s (सप्तसप्त गणाः, 7 x 7 = 49 - as given in Gita Press, Hindi Translation page 289)

Āchārya mentioned 'eleven rudra-s'. These eleven rudra-s are mentioned in Mahābhārata when Yudhisṭhira asks Bhiṣma certain questions about sacred mantra-s

“Aja, Ekapada, Ahivradhna, the unvanquished Pinakin, Rita Pitrirupa, the three-eyed Maheswara, Vrishakapi, Sambhu, Havana, and Iswara–these are the celebrated Rudras, eleven in number, who are the lords of all the worlds. Even these eleven high-souled ones have been mentioned as a hundred in the Satarudra (of the Vedas)”. (MBH 13:CL)

Various purANa-s mention rudra-s originating from either brahma or from cow surabhi or from Siva. Names of 11 rudra-s differs at various places. One instance where the rudra-s are named and are supposed to be rudra-s of present kalpa are

1. Mahadeva, 2. Shiva , 3. Maha Rudra, 4. Shankara, 5. Neelalohita, 6. Eshana Rudra, 7. Vijaya Rudra, 8. Bheema Rudra, 9. Devadeva, 10. Bhavodbhava and 11. Adityatmaka Srirudra.

Their 11 consorts of these 11 Rudras in this present Kalpa are respectively the following names:-
1. Dhee devi, 2. Dhritti devi, 3. Ushna (Rasala) devi, 4. Uma devi, 5. Neeyut devi, 5. Sarpi devi, 7. Eela devi, 8. Ambika devi, 9. Ieravati devi, 10. Sudha devi and 11. Deeksha devi

Shatarudriya hymns celebrates Rudra in his eleven forms as : Aghora (benevolent); Kapardi (with matted hair); Girisha (Lord of mountains) ; Bhima( terrible) ; Nilagriva (blue throated); Trayambaka (three eyed); Sabhapathi (master of the assembly); Ganapathi (leader of the hosts);  Senani(commander of forces);  Samkara(doer of good ); and Shambhu (appearing for the welfare of all).

Credit: Mahapashupatastra Blog and http://creative.sulekha.com/the-rudras-eleven_398301_blog

In Br. Up. 1.4.12, rudra-s were created for creating vaishya-jAti.

In the same way, there are verses in svetashvatara Upanishad, atharvashikhA upanishad, atharvashirsha upanishad, kaivalya upanishad, pancha brahma upanishad, nIla rudra upanishad and of course Sri rudram of yajurveda which describes superiority of rudra as unborn, only reality and granter of moksha. Out of these upanishads, svetashvatara upanishad and kaivalya upanishad are quoted by Adi SAnkara. Sv. Up. is extensively quoted.

Sv. Up. 3-7: Higher than this Personal Brahman is the infinite Supreme Brahman, who is concealed in all beings according to their bodies, and who, though remaining single, envelops the whole universe. Knowing him to be the Lord, one becomes immortal.

Sv. Up. 3-8: I have realized this Great Being who shines effulgent like the sun beyond all darkness. One passes beyond death only on realizing Him. There is no other way of escape from the circle of births and deaths.

Sv. Up. 4-20: His form does not stand within the range of the senses. No one perceives Him with the eye. Those who know Him through the faculty of intuition as thus seated in their heart, become immortal.

Sv. Up. 4-21: Some, being afraid, approach Thee, thinking that Thou art the unborn. O Rudra, deign to protect me with that benevolent face of Thine.

Adi Sankara has quoted Kaivalya Upanishad 8 while commenting one name # 114 rudra in viShNu sahasranAma bhAshya.
 
Kai. Up. 8. He is Brahma, He is Shiva, He is Indra, He is the Immutable, the Supreme, the Self-luminous, He alone is Vishnu, He is Prana, He is Time and Fire, He is the Moon.

Kaivalya Upanishad considers Siva / rudra as unborn Supreme Brahman, substratum and origin of entire universe, and to be meditated as Self of all

Kai. Up. 6. (Who is) unthinkable, unmanifest, of endless forms, the good, the peaceful, Immortal, the origin of the worlds, without beginning, middle, and end, the only one, all-pervading, Consciousness, and Bliss, the formless and the wonderful.

Kai. Up. 7. Meditating on the highest Lord, allied to Uma, powerful, three-eyed, blue-necked, and tranquil, the holy man reaches Him who is the source of all, the witness of all and is beyond darkness (i.e. Avidya).

Kai. Up. 19. In me alone is everything born, in me does everything rest, and in me is everything dissolved. I am that Brahman, the secondless.

Kai. Up. 20. I am minuter than the minute, I am likewise the greatest of all, I am the manifold universe.  I am the Ancient One, the Purusha and the Ruler, I am the Effulgent One, and the All-good.

Kai. Up. 25. He who studies the Shatarudriya, is purified as by the Fires, is purified from the sin of drinking, purified from the sin of killing a Brahmana, from deeds done knowingly or unawares. Through this he has his refuge in Shiva, the Supreme Self. One who belongs to the highest order of life should repeat this always or once (a day).

Kai. Up. 26. By means of this, one attains the Knowledge that destroys the ocean of Samsara or repeated transmigration. Therefore, knowing thus one attains the fruit of Kaivalya or liberation, verily one attains liberation.

By meditating on the highest lord, the upanishad also says that

Kai. Up. 10. Seeing the Atman in all beings, and all beings in the Atman, one attains the highest Brahman – not by any other means.

Hence, rudra is the be meditated as AtmasvarUpa, just like viShNu has to be meditated as AtmasvarUpa, as antaryAmI or as sutrAtmA, as said n gItA chapter 9. One can meditate on supreme Brhaman by chanting OM, hence OM is explained.

Kai. Up. 11. Making the Atman the (lower) Arani, and OM the upper Arani, by the repeated friction of knowledge, a wise man burns up the bond. 

Since Brhaman has to be meditated as AtmasvarUpa, i.e. your very Self, Brahman has to be meditated with abheda buddhi and abheda bhAva. this is mentioned in verse 16

16. That which is the Supreme Brahman, the soul of all, the great support of the universe, subtler than the subtle, and eternal – that is thyself, and thou art That.


From the above verses, we can also understand that there are two rudra-s -

1) Demi-god or a group of demi-gods who has limited powers and is involved in process of evolution of universe and creation of mankind
2) Is the Supreme Brahman himself who is beyond creation, preservation and destruction. There are verses not only in mahAbhArata and purANa-s but also in veda-s.

If we combine both verses Br. Up. 1.4.11 and Br. Up. 1.4.12, we understand there are two types of rudra-s. If we add Pr. Up. 2.9, Kai. Up. 8 and various verses of Sv. Up, we get third type of rudra - the one rudra who is supreme Brahman.

1) Eight in number - Rudra, Sarva, Pashupati, Ugra, Asani, Bhava, Mahadeva and Isana
2) Eleven in number - Aja, Ekapada, Ahivradhna, the unvanquished Pinakin, Rita Pitrirupa, the three-eyed Maheswara, Vrishakapi, Sambhu, Havana, and Iswara
3) Rudra - the supreme Brahman.

Lord Shiva is Atman, Brahman and Paramatma, the supreme Self says Adi Shankara in Gita


उपद्रष्टाऽनुमन्ता च भर्ता भोक्ता महेश्वरः।
परमात्मेति चाप्युक्तो देहेऽस्मिन्पुरुषः परः।।13.23।।

English translation by Swami Gambhirananda

13.23 He who is the Witness, the Permitter, the Sustainer, the Experiencer, the great Lord, and who is also spoken of as the transcendental Self is the supreme Person in this body. 

English translation by Swami Gambhirananda (on Sri Sankaracharya's Sanskrit Commentary)

13.23 ... He is maheSvarah, the great God, because, as the Self of all and independent, He is the great Ruler.He is paramatma, the transcendental Self, because He is the Self which has the characteristics of being the supreme Witness etc. of (all) those-beginning from the body and ending with the intellect-which are imagined through ignorance to be the indwelling Self. He is api ca, also; uktah, spoken of, referred to, in the Upanisads; iti, as, with the words; 'He is the indwelling One, the paramatma, the transcendental Self.' Ast reads atah in place of antah. So the translation of the sentence will be: Therefore He is also referred to as the transcendental Self in the Upanisads.-Tr. Where is He? The parah, suprem; purusah, Person, who is higher than the Unmanifest and who will be spoken of in, 'But different is the supreme Person who is spoken of as the transcendental Self' (15.17); is asmin, in this; dehe, body.What has been presented in, '...also understand Me to be the Knower of the field' (2), has been explained and conclude. 

Sanskrit commentary by Sri Sankaracharya

... महेश्वरः, सर्वात्मत्वात् स्वतन्त्रत्वाच्च महान् ईश्वरश्च इति महेश्वरः। परमात्मा, देहादीनां बुद्ध्यन्तानां प्रत्यगात्मत्वेन कल्पितानाम् अविद्यया परमः उपद्रष्टृत्वादिलक्षणः आत्मा इति परमात्मा। 'सोऽन्तः परमात्मा' इत्यनेन शब्देन च अपि उक्तः कथितः श्रुतौ। क्व असौ? अस्मिन् देहे पुरुषः परः अव्यक्तात्, 'उत्तमः पुरुषस्त्वन्यः परमात्मेत्युदाहृतः (गीता 15।17)' इति यः वक्ष्यमाणः।।'क्षेत्रज्ञं चापि मां विद्धि (गीता 13।2)' इति उपन्यस्तः व्याख्याय उपसंहृतश्च, तमेतं यथोक्तलक्षणम् आत्मानम् -- ।।13.23।।

Adi Shankara considers Shiva as the Supreme Brahman.

One may argue by the same principle that the meaning of Maheshvara is 'Great God', which can be applied to Vishnu / Krishna too. If you have noticed, everywhere Krishna uses the word 'I' or 'me' i.e. maama. Hence, here this could be taken as non-difference between Shiva and Krishna or that in this verse, Bhagavan refers to Shiva (MaheSvara)

Adi Sankara didn't translate 'ISA' as 'rudra' in his gItA bhASya on verse BG 11.15


In BG 11.15, rAmAnuja has translated the word 'ISA' as rudra, however Adi Sankara didnt translate the word 'ISA' as 'rudra' but simply translated as 'ISvara' or 'The Lord'. The translation fits into the context as Lord BrahmA ji is mentioned as sitting on Lotus.

Lets have a look at the mUla sloka (moola sloka)

arjuna uvāca
paśyāmi devāṁs tava deva dehe
sarvāṁs tathā bhūta-viśeṣa-saṅghān
brahmāṇam īśaṁ kamalāsana-stham
ṛṣīṁś ca sarvān uragāṁś ca divyān

Arjuna said: My dear Lord Krishna, I see assembled in Your body all the demigods and various other living entities. I see Brahma sitting on the lotus flowerand all the sages and divine serpents. 

Commentary by Adi Sankara

11.15 Deva, O God; pasyami, I see, perceive; tava dehe, in Your body; sarvan, all; the devan, gods; tatha, as also; bhuta-visesa-sanghan, hosts of (various) classes of beings, groups of moving and non-moving living things having different shapes; and besides, brahmanam, Brahma, with four faces; isam, the Ruler of creatures; kamalasana-stham, sitting on a lotus seat, i.e. sitting on Mount Meru which forms the pericarp of the lotus that is the earth; and sarvan, all; the divyan, heavenly; rsin, sages-Vasistha and others; and (the heavenly) uragan, serpents-Vasuki and others.

Other commentators like Shreedhar Swami, Madhusudan Saraswati, Neelkantha, Dhanpati Suri, Shankarananda did not denigrate the status of Siva as done by rAmAnuja and other vaiShNava AcArya-s like mAdhvAcArya, keshava kASmiri. It is interesting to note that viSvanAtha chakravarty of gauDiya vaiSNava sampradAya didnt denigrate the status of Siva.

Note: Commentary by Madhvacharya uploaded by Gita Super Site (beta) says that Madhvacharya didnt comment on this verse. Some have presented the translation on this verse. 


vinAyaka and mAtrikA in Shankara BhASya BG 9.25


In bhagavad gItA bhASya BG 9.25, Adi Sankara mentions the word 'VinAyaka' and 'mAtrikA' says that those who worship 'vinAyaka', 'mAtrikA', etc goes to their loka-s and those who worship 'Me' i.e bhagavAn reaches him. Some believe, this 'vinAyaka' it is gauripUtra 'GaNeSa' and the mAtrikA-s are none other than those women who took care of Siva pUtra 'skanda'. Whenever we read Adi Sankara bhagavadpAda's bhASya, we have to see that at no time veda-s are contradicted. Ganesha is a vedic deity. Here vinayaka has to be taken as plural, as it would violate shruti if Ganesh is mentioned. vinAyakas are jivas which are above human race but lower than devas says Swami Sivananda in his Gita Commentary which closely follows Sankara bhASya says that vinAyaka-s are jIva-s, a yOnI above human and below devatA-s. svAmI ji has taken 'vinAyaka 'as plural.. Sub-commentary by Neelkantha does not specifically mention the word vinAyaka, though Madhusudan and Sridhara Swami have mentioned. Sri Anandgiri does not mention the word vinAyaka. rAmAnuja, vedAnta deSikA and mAdhva does not mention the word vinAyaka in their bhASya-s. In context to the verse and explanation, scholars translate Vinayaka in plural sense, which are types of Jiva-s as mentioned earlier.

Wise have interpreted both names in plural forms i.e. 'vinAyaka-s' and 'mAtrikA-s'. The plural forms of both names are mentioned in bhAgavat purANa in episode of war between bhagavAna kRShNa and demon bANasura in BP 10.63.10-11 and in the episode of pUtanAvadha i.e. killing of demoness pUtanA in BP 10.6.27-29.

BP 10.63.10-11: With sharp-pointed arrows discharged from His bow Śārṅga, Lord Kṛṣṇa drove away the various followers of Lord Śiva — Bhūtas, Pramathas, Guhyakas, Ḍākinīs, Yātudhānas, Vetālas, Vināyakas, Pretas, Mātās, Piśācas, Kuṣmāṇḍas and Brahma-rākṣasas.

BP 10.6.27-29: The evil witches known as Ḍākinīs, Yātudhānīs and Kuṣmāṇḍas are the greatest enemies of children, and the evil spirits like Bhūtas, Pretas, Piśācas, Yakṣas, Rākṣasas and Vināyakas, as well as witches like Koṭarā, Revatī, Jyeṣṭhā, Pūtanā and Mātṛkā, are always ready to give trouble to the body, the life air and the senses, causing loss of memory, madness and bad dreams. Like the most experienced evil stars, they all create great disturbances, especially for children, but one can vanquish them simply by uttering Lord Viṣṇu’s name, for when Lord Viṣṇu’s name resounds, all of them become afraid and go away.

Credits: Translation adapted from http://www.vedabase.com/en/sb/10

madhusUdan sarasvatI in his gItA commentary while explaining where the worshippers of ghosts, pitR-s etc go have given all names including vinAyaka and mAtrikA in plural. They are groups of entities which have lower status then demi-gods or devatA-s. Hence vinAyaka is surely not gaurInandan gaNesha, but a group of entities who may harm you or may have malice effects.

Hence taking both terms as plural is acceptable.


Adi Shankara's Interpretation of Shiva (Rudra), Surya, Laxmi and OM in Vishnu Sahasranama


smArta-s and advaitins consider Siva-viShNu-sUrya-laxmI (shakti)-gaNesha abheda. At present, the author is not able to find the presence of names of gaNesha in viShNu sahasranAma. Hence the author is not able prove viShNu-gaNesha abheda. For rest four forms of Ishvara i.e. viShNu-Siva-shakti (laxmI)-sUrya abheda is found in Sankara bhAshya on viShNu sahasranAma

For reference, we can take citations from Vishnu Sahasranama Shankara Bhasya by Swami Tapasyananada in English or Hindi Translation by Gita Pres. Gita Press translation can be found here. Relevant Page numbers are given for easy reference.

Let us take some words or attributes given to Lord Vishnu in Vishnu Sahasranama, which are in general related to Lord Shiva (Rudra). There are some names which are interpreted for other deities like sUrya and laxmI. Let us understand these words as interpreted by our acharya Adi Shankara BhagavadpAda in his bhASya on Vishnu Sahasranama.

The article is divided into the Siva-viShNu abheda, sUrya-viShNu abheda, laxmI-viShNu abhe and praNava (OM) nirAkAra, nirguNa brahman and viShNu abheda.

Siva-viShNu abheda

Lets begin with Adi citing non-difference between Siv and viShNu.

Introductory verses of Vishnu Sahasranama


In introduction, Adi Shankara has given us a way in which the names should be interpreted.

Male Gender has to be taken as Vishnu
Female Gender has to be taken as Devata
Neuter Gender has to be taken as Brahman (distinguished from both above)

Adi SankarAcArya jI continues,

from the verse 11 of viShNu sahasranAma beginning from 'yataH sarvANi bhUtAni' meaning that which is present in all bodies or worlds, the cause of creation, preservation and destruction of world, only one tatva is addressed in the form of (or by the word) 'deva', hence both forms of brahman [formless and with form] is addressed by the word 'viSva' (the word viSva is the first name or attribute of viShNu sahasranAma)

Note: Here, deva does not mean a person but an omnipresent entity.

So, bhagavAn viShNu, as person, deva / devatA, as omnipresent entity (formless but not attributeless) and brahman all point to one tatva. Brahman is both saguNa and nirguNa.

Source: Translation by Gita Press, Page 53

Siva-viShNu abheda in intro verses of viShNu samhasranAma

In padaceda sloka 9, Adi Sankara explains the abheda between jiva and brahman. Adi Sankara also quotes verses from viShNu purANa, bhaviSyottara purANa, harivamSa purANa, linga purANa and other purANa-s claims the non-duality between Siva and viShNu.

In viShNu purANa, IMO, there is only one incidence in which there is description of mahAdeva and kruShNa i.e. in kruShNa-bANAsura samgrAma. 

VP 5.33.47-49: [SrikruShNacandra says to mahAdeva ji-] The abhayadAna (boon of being fearless or invincible) given by you implies that it is given by me too. He Sankara! [please] do not see yourself as different from me. That which I am [i.e. that which is my true nature] is also you [your true nature] and so are other devatA-s [true nature of other devatA-s], asura-s (demons) and this whole universe including humans. Only those humans whose citta (mind, heart) is influenced by ignorance, they see duality (see everything with bhedabhAva) 

Similarly in bhaviSyottara purANa mahadeva ji says - those who sees me, or brahmA ji different than viShNu, those kutarka-buddhi muDhajana (those ignorant fools having bad logical reasoning) fall below in naraka (hell) and suffer sorrow. And those with duShTa-buddhi (corrupted-intellect / defective intellect), those ignorant fools see I and brahmA ji different from viShNu, they incur sin equivalent to brahma-hatyA (killing of a brAhmaNa, a priest)

Similarly, in harivanSa [purANa] 3.88.51, maheSavara ji says - you [viShNu] are in the beginning, middle and end of all bhAva (beings). This whole universe has originated from you only and also ends in you only.

(AcArya ji continues to quote harivamSa purANa 3.88.60-64)

he janArdana! O omnipresent deva! I am you and you are me. In all three worlds, there is no different (bheda) between us either by Sabda (word) or by artha (meaning). 
he govinda! in this world whatever great names are yours are mine too - there is no need to think on this (i.e. there is no doubt about this).
he gopate! (kruShNa), he jagannAtha!, let the worship of yours be mine
he deva! [it goes without saying that] those who dislike / hate you also dislike / hate me. There is no doubt about it.

Later on, the question is asked,

Question: Similar to the worship done by superimposing viShNu in the idol, this [type of worship] will be called as pratika upAsanA.


Here one may think that since viShNu is in all, but this does not mean that Siva is viShNu,  i.e. Siva is a part of viShNu, but viShNu is not a part of Siva and hence this type of upAsanA does not indicate (advaita) non-duality. Adi Sankara replies -


Answer: This is not true. By saying this Isvara will become inferior and the meaning of statement will also be distorted. Where the pratika-driShTi (superimposition of any form or symbol on something), it will become unauspicious and that will only be said one time only, like, 'mind is brahman' ,'Adutya is brahman' etc. But here it is said, 'you are me and I am you' in this way the non-duality from both sides / angles is established.

When is it said, 'I am you and you are me', then it confirms non-duality. e.g. if viShNu bhagavAn says that I am Siva', but Siva never says that 'I am viShNu', then one can understand that Siva is a part of viShNu, but when viShNu says, 'I am you and you are me', then it confirms non-duality. In the same way, at one instance, viShNu says 'I am Siva, brahmA, etc' and in a separate instance / place, Siva says, 'I am viShNu, brahmA, etc', then this too confirms non-duality. Hence when we find verses like, 'Thou art that [brahman], Svetaketu', then this confirms non-duality. Upanishads always say that there is only one brahman, mostly in the beginning of upanishads. Then this brahman entered into the bodies (universe, different worlds)

(Adi Sankara continues to quote various shruti-s establishing advaita ... )

There are similar verses which say,

and, 'all this is AtmA only' (Ch. Up. 7.25.2) ' by knowing AtmA all else is known', 'and all these is AtmA only', 'all this is brahma only' etc shruti-s indicate the unity / non-duality

smriti (gItA) also says, 'he pANDava! (arjuna), after knowing it you will not be trapped in moha (attachment), and due to this [knowledge] you will see all the worlds in [your] AtmA and also in me.'

Meaning is in all upanishads, the unity of ISvara who is [both] xetra (kshetra) and xetraGYA (kshetragya), can be seen.

'Due to which, one is able to see AtmA in all worlds and sees the same [that Atmatatva] established in all different worlds, know that GYAna to be sAtvika'

(Adi Sankara concludes)

In this way, bhagavAn also says that 'advaita-Atma-darSana' is the samyaka-darSana. Hence mind should be stabilized / merged / one-pointedly devoted to Atma-svarUpa Isvara.

Note: Here and in all above verses, deva, bhagavAn and ISvara is to be taken as AtmA or nirguNa brahman only.

Further Adi Sankara quotes viShNu purANa 6.7.16 and says,

In viShNu purANa, it is said, 'after the destruction of ignorance, which creates duality, who is going to differentiate between AtmA and brahman, which is always asatya (unreal)?

Source: viShNu sahasranAma, Sankara bhASya, pages 31-35, Gita press, Gorakhpur, Hindi translation.

While explaining verse 10 of padaCeda, Adi Sankara quotes, 'puruSo vai rudra - Sv. Up. 3.2', meaning there was only one rudra, there was none other'

Source: page 40

[under construction] - content to be edited.


viShNu sahasranAma begins


Let's understand the interpretation of different names in viShNu sahasranAma Sankara bhASya. There are many names that are important to discuss, but two in names, 27-Siva and 114-rudra, Adi Sankara establishes Siva-viShNu abheda by quoting kaivalya upanishad and Siva purANa respectively. Lets understand meaning of some names as explained by SrI Adi Sankara bhagavadpAda.


Note: Shiva Sahasranama and Vishnu Sahasranama have some common names. The attributes or properties i.e. different names ascribed to Vishnu are also applicable to Shiva. The meaning given by Sri Shankara Bhagavadpada would be applicable to the names applicable to Shiva too.



Note: To be added names of vishnu and their meanings:

57 - krishna - bhagavan vishnu is krishna
58 and 59
211 - dham - jyoti is called as dhama - param brahma param dhama
245 - narayana - where jiva moves, from where tatvas originate and come back
246 - nara -
258 - vishnu - that which is spread everywhere is called as vishnu (#2 is also vishnu)
394 - rama
405 - vaikuntha
406 - purusha
409 - pranava
414 - vayu - prana transforms into vayu --> yoga / tantra
550 - krishna - Krishna is krishna dvaipayana vyasa
650 - hari - remover of samsara
852 - āshrama - REsting or merging place of jīva-s
877 - jyoti - Self Effulgent [svayamprakāsha] - nārāyaNa is paramjyoti, narāyaNa is ātmān
957 - pranava - non-difference between OM and bhagavan
959 - pramāṇaḥ - prajnāna is brahman (prajnānam brahma), non-difference.
960 - prāṇanilayaḥ - Describes 5 prāṇa vāyu-s merging into jiva or jīva merging into Supreme Brahman. Indicates the Ādi Ṣankara was aware of the Yoga and Tantra principles of rising of Kunḍalini via suṣhumṇā. When this happens, it pulls back all the prāṇa vāyu-s from 72,000 nāḍī-s into suṣhumṇā and then rising up to sahasrāra, pierces it and merges in the infinite space above sahasrāra resulting into Self Realisation or God Realisation. Haṭha Yoga texts like Yoga Yajnavālkya and Sūta Samhitā describe merging of vāyu-s into suṣhumṇā and rising of kuṇḍalini through suṣhumṇā nāḍī, passing through chakra-s piercing sahasrāra and merging in infinite space. 


05 भूतकृत्‌ bhUtakrut

Sankara bhASya by Gita Press (page 71-72)
 
In brahmA-rUpa i.e in the form of brahmA, with the help of rajo guNa creates bhUta-s (bodies, jIva-s), hence, is known as bhUtakrut. Or with the help of tamo guNa, destroying the bhUta-s (bodies) in rudra-rUpa, i.e. in the form of rudra, hence is known as bhUtakrut.

The next name, bhUtabhrut is explained by SrI Adi Sankara bhagavadpAda as

Credit: Sri Subramanian ji of advaita-L maiing list and owner of Adbhutam Blog

06 भूतभृत्‌ bhUtabhrut

Sankara bhASya by Gita Press (page 72)

With the help of sattva guNa, nourishes (protects, sustains) bhUta-s (bodies, jIva-s), hence is known as bhUtabhrut

From names 05 bhUtakrut, and 06 bhUtabhrut, it is clear that the viShNu is different from the trinity.

23 केशव keSava

Shankara BhASya by Gita Press

Adi Shankara in his BhASya explains the meaning of the word KeSava in three different ways. The second definition is:

KeSava is made up of 4 words

'ka', 'a', 'isa', 'va'

ka = Brahma
a = Vishnu
isa = Mahadev / Shiva / Shankara / Mahesha / Rudra
va = That which one has in one's possession, what is under one's sway. i.e. One who contains in himself - Lord of Creation, Preservation and Dissolution is keSava. 

Kanchi Paramacharya upon explaining this statement says: He must be ParamAtmAn

Kanchi Paramacharya also says that in Veda-s and PurANa-s Brahma and Vishnu are referred to as such (ka & a) at many places.

Source: 
1. Page: 192, Part 6, The Guru Tradition, Kanchi Paramacharya
2. Vishnu Sahasranama Shankara BhASya, Hindi Translation, Gita Press, Page 75-76

Other two explanations of the word KeSava are:

  • The one whose keSa (hair) is called as KeSava
  • Then follows above explanation  (Ref. Panini Sutra 5.2.109)
  • The killer or slayer of demon KeSIkA is called as KeSava. Further acharya cites Ref of Vishnu PurANa 5.16.23


We can  connect the word KeSava with a famous SubhAshita-s which forms the essence of veda-s

"Ruchinam vaichitryad rijukutil nana path jusham;
nrinam ekogamyastvamasi pyasamarnavmiti"


"Due to the differences in individual dispositions, people follow different paths, but you are the only destination of all of them, just as the sea is the destination of all the waters"

Akashat patitam toyam sagaram prati gacchati,
sarva deva namaskaram Keshavam prati gacchati"


"All the water fallen from the sky goes to the sea,
salutations to all the gods reaches to the KeSava"

Source

25 सर्व sarva


Translation by Gita Press

Adi Shankara while explaining the word सर्व (sarva - 25) says that the says of the cause or substratum of creation, preservation and destruction of both सत्‌ sat (truth) and असत्‌ asat (unreal) is called as sarva.

Note

This indicates that Vishnu is attributeless NirguNa Brahman

26 शर्व Sarva


Translation by Gita Press

The destroyer of everything (all jiva-s) is called as Sarva

27 शिव Siva

Translation by Gita Press (page 78)

The one who is pure because of absence of three guNa-s (in him) [1] is called as Shiva. 'He is Brahma, He is Shiva', in this way, by showing non-difference (अभेद) between them (all three) [1] , by praising the name of Shiva, etc, it is the praise of Hari (Vishnu)

Or

The one who is pure because of transcending three guNa-s is called as Shiva....

Sankaracharya's commentary, English translation by Swami Tapasyananda (This is not word-to-word translation and contains extra words):

'The One who is Eternally Pure. In Him can never be any contamination of the imperfection of Rajas and Tamas. ‘Non-apprehension of Reality’ is Tamas and ‘misapprehensions of Reality’ constitute the Rajas. In the Reality Itself there can be neither of them ‘He is Brahma; He is Siva’, so the Upanishad declares of the Absolute Oneness, which is Vishnu.' 

'One who is not affected by the three Gunas of Prakrti, Sattva, Rajas,and Tamas; The Kaivalaya Upanishad (1.8) says: He is both Brahma and Shiva. In the light of this statement of non-difference between Shiva and Vishnu, it is Vishnu Himself that is exalted by the praise and worship of Shiva.'

Note: 


[1] Words in Bracket are not found in original Translation
  • This commentary shows that none of the shapes and forms are true and in reality the truth is non-dual. Lord Brahma represents Rajas Guna, as he is Creator. Creativity is a rajasic activity. Lord Vishnu is preserver. Sattva Preserves. Lord Shiva destroyer, which is tamasic guna. Here destruction means destruction of ignorance as ignorance is tamasic. Tamas Guna is a AvaraNa, which Lord Shiva Removes. After removing Ignorance (agyana, avidya), only vidya remains i.e. Jnana that 'I am Brahman'. 
  • Remover of Ignorance is also called Guru. Hence it is said that Shiva kripa means Guru Kripa. Guru Gita, one is the most revered scripture says there is no difference between Guru and Shiva. Hence it is said that without Shiva, one cannot be free from duality. In other words the work of removing of ignorance is attributed to Shiva.

Conclusion:


From, names 25-27, it can be concluded that both Vishnu and Shiva (Rudra) are explained as SaguNa and NirguNa Brahman. From name 27, it can be said that Lord Brahma is not different from Lord Shiva and Lord Hari. Hence we can say that there is no difference between the trinity - Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesha. The difference is in the name only नामभेद (nAmabheda). They are given the names in relation to the work which they perform of creation, preservation or destruction. In other words, the one who is creating this world is called as Brahma, and so on. Hence there is no real difference between the two.

38 शंभु Sambhu


Sankaracharya's commentary:

He who brings Auspiciousness- both inner goodness and outer prosperity to His devotees. 

Sambhuh is one of the famous names of Lord Siva. By using this term in invoking Vishnu, by its suggestion, it declares that Vishnu and Siva are not two Divine Entities, but they are both manifestations of the One Essential Reality.[1]

Gita Press Translation (page 86):

Since the Lord creates spiritual emotion भावना (bhAvanA) of happiness सुख (sukha) in (the heart of devotees) [2] devotees [the Lord] is called as Sambhuh

Notes:

[1] The second para is not found in Gita Press version.
[2] words inside bracket are not found in original translation in Hindi.


Page 86 in Gita Press, Gorakhpur Publication
 

64 ईशान ESAna


Sankaracharya's commentary:

“The Controller of all the five Great Elements”. When this term is used, Eesvara becomes the Administrator of His own Law in the phenomenal world of plurality. The executive function of His Infinite Will, when manifested through Him, the Lord. Eesvara, is said to function as Eesaanah. Or, the term can also mean One who is the Supreme Eesvara-the Paramesvara.

Gita Press Translation (page 94)

Since he is the controller of panchmahAbhUta-s, he is called as Ishvara

Note:

From BG 13.23, Adi Shankara says Shiva is Ishvara, Maheshvara, as same attribute is given to Maheshvara. Hence Shiva and Vishnu are one and the same. There is no difference between them.

114 रूद्र rudra


Sankaracharya's commentary:

One who makes all people weep, At the time of death or during the total dissolution, the One who makes all weep is Rudrah. From a devotee’s standpoint the same term is interpreted as the One who liquidated all sorrows is Rudrah. Bhagavan declares Himself to be “Among the Rudras, I am Sankara –(Geeta Ch. 10, St. 23). According to the Vedic terminology there are 11 Rudras; this eleventh “Rudra” is called as Sankara: Sam-karoti-iti = Sankarah - “One who blesses all with Auspiciousness (Sam).” 

Translation of Shankara Bhasya by Gita Press (Page 104):

One who makes all people weep, At the time of death or during the total dissolution, the One who makes all weep is Rudrah. From a devotee’s standpoint the same term is interpreted as the One who liquidated all sorrows is Rudrah. Or it may mean that The cause of sorrow (cry) and driving it away is called as Rudra. Siva PurANa says that, 'The name Rudra is the cause of Dukha (sorrow) i.e. dukhaka, because, the Lord removes [1] the sorrow or the cause (hetu)[2] of sorrow, that is why, the cause of everything (परमकारण (ParamkAraNa) Lord Shiva is called as Rudra.

Notes:

[1]Here 'the Lord removes' can be taken as 'the Lord uproots'
[2] हेतु (hetu) means intention, motive, reason, purpose or even an object. Here it has to be taken as cause

231 सम्प्रमर्दनः sampramardanaH - New

bhagavAn using his rudra and kAla etc vibhUti-s (powers) destroys everything, hence is called as sampramardanaH

Note:
Here, rudra is taken as an adjective and not a person, as kAla is not a person, it is a principle. Destruction is also a quality of bhagavAn. In viShNu purANa [VP 1.22.23], it is said that during each of the task of creation, preservation and destruction, the supreme brahman, called by the name viShNu or nArAyaNa (not caturbhuja viShNu) divides itself into four parts. While carrying out the task of destruction, from one part, rudra is born. This rudra is not Siva. In all the three tasks, one part is common in all - kAla (time). Without time, no activity can be done, nothing can be created or preserved or destroyed. Since kAla is created and controlled by the Lord, bhagavAn or brahman is also known by the nama mahAkAla. Lord Siva is also called as mahAkAla. Though viShNu saharanAma does not have the word mahAkAla, from various other sources, primarily from viShNu purANa, we can conclude that bhagavAn viShNu is formless brahman and creator of trinity and kAla. Hence the viShNu tatvam or nArAyaNa tatvam or Siva tatvam is mahAkAla too.

VP 1.22.28-29: and in the end [when time for destruction of universe has come], that unborn bhagavAn taking AdhAra (support) of tamo guNa (tamas guna), with one part takes rudrarUpa, with second [part] agni (fire) and form of death, with third kAla and with fourth stays in all bodies and worlds (omnipresence)

bhAgavat purANa explains us the meaning of the word 'bhagavAn'. It is used for both saguNa and nirguNa.

BP 3.32.34-36: Different types of karma-s [as sanctioned by SAstra-s], yaGYa, dAna, tapa, veda-adhyayan, veda-vicAra / veda-chintan [mimAmsA], Atma-indriya-nigrah {Atma is taken as mind, sanyAsa, yoga consisting of various limbs, bhaktiyoga, both types of dharmic actions like renunciation and action done with sakAma or niSkAma , knowledge of atma-tatva (Self / Brahman) and strong vairAGYa – by using all these sAdhana (tools), we can know svayamprakASa (self-effulgent) [that which lights all and which is not lighted by anyone i.e. consciousness is called as svayamprakAS] bhagavAn who is saguNa and nirguNa.



For more details, please visit viShNu and caturbhuja viShNu


234 अनिलः anilaH - New

Is known as anilaH due to not staying (nivAsa, निवास) in [one definite] place or due to being unborn (anAdi, अनादि) is known as anilaH. Or by not being able to be grasped [by senses] or due to any movement is called as anilaH.

*Translation needs to be confirmed. Hindi and sanskrit translation to be added. 

239 विश्वभुक् vishvabhuk - New

That which eats (destroys) or that which preserves the universe is called as vishvabhuk.

Note: Here, the act of destruction and preservation is carried out by one tatvam - viShNu

335 पुरन्दर purandara

Since he is the destroyer of the cities of deva-Satru-s (enemies of devatAs- i.e. demons) he is called as purandara. 'vAca.m yamapurandarau ca' - by this sUtra, [bhagavAn] pANini has used the word 'purandara'

Note: “The destroyer of the cities.” City is the well-equipped field for gathering endless experiences. The three cities through which we generally move about gathering our experiences in this world are the waking, dream and deep-sleep, On transcending the Gross, Subtle and Causal Bodies, one experiences the Self, and at such a moment these three cities are burned down or pillaged or blasted, The same ideal is explained in the Shiva-purana also; accordingly, we can say that He is One who as MaheSvara, performed the destruction of the three cities.

491 महादेवः mahadevah

Translation by Gita Press (page 180)

By renouncing all bhAva-s (all kinds of manifestations, 3 guNa-s) and being established in his own GYAnayOga, and is glorified by his aiSvarya (prosperity, supreme power), he is called as mahAdeva

505 सोमः somaH - New

In the form of soma (chandra, moon), the one who develops medicines is called as soma. Or by being (staying) with umA [1] is soma is SivasvarUpa.

Note:
[1] Here, soma is split is sa+umA = soma. By staying with umA indicates that it is bhagavAn Siva. soma is bhagavAn Siva only. This verse establishes non-difference between Siva and viShNu. Here both are considered as forms of bhagavAn. umA or haimAvatI as mentioned in kena Up. 3.12 is am embodiment of vidyA. vidyA here means brahma-GYAna, or the knowledge of brahman. Knowlege is not different from brahman. In other words, knowledge and the laxyArtha (final destination of knowledge [which is brahman] cannot be separated. Hence Siva always stays with umA, who is embodiment of knowledge. To further establish non-difference between Vishṇu and Ṣiva, we can map #943 laxmī where our āchārya explain the she embodiment of vidyā i.e. atma-vidyā.

bhAgavat purANa and viShNu purANa explains that purusha is the first form of paramAtmA and viShNu is the most nearest form of brahman. By rising beyond three guNa-s bhagavAn rudra is called as Siva or SivasvarUpa. While both viShNu and Siva have unique personality,  as tatvam, both are same.

VP 1.22.62: ... O the fortunate one! the sarvabrahmamaya [1] [viShNu bhagavAn] is the foremost among all the parASakti and is the most nearest mUrta-brahmasvarUpa (manifested form of brahman)

BP 8.7.29: ... When you arise beyond guNa-s and are established in your Self, then this state is called as 'Siva' (Siva-Akhyam). In reality, it is the same Self Effulgent paramArtha-tatva (supreme consciousness).

For More details, please visit, viShNu and caturbhuja viShNu

Source and Credits: Shri V. Subramanian ji of Adbhutam Blog


582 शान्तः SAntah


Translation adapted from Gita Press (page 180)

Due to being indifferent to the worldly pleasures, he is called as SAntah. Shruti says (Sv. Up. 6.19) – Parabrahman is beyond time (KAla), beyond action and is peaceful (Santah) or Paramatman transcends time, space and is peaceful. 

Note:  Man. Up. 7 says the same, Santam Shivam Advaitam


584 शान्तिः SAntih


Translation adapted from Gita Press (page 181)

Renouncing entire ignorance (avidya) is peace (SAnti), this peace is of the nature of Brahman only (BrahmarUpa).

Note: Man. Up. 7 says the same, Santam Shivam Advaitam


600 शिव Siva


Sankaracharya's commentary translated by Gita press:

Due to purifying (devotees) by mere repetition of his name (viShNu), [he] (viShNu) is Siva.

Note, here, Siva is generally taken as an adjective and not a proper noun, denoting a personal God, Lord Siva.

Commentary translated by Swami Tapasyananda (contains extra words, not word-by-word translation)

Lord Narayana is adored here as Sivah and, at the same time, all Vaishnavites repeat Vishnu- sahasranaama. Human prejudices have no logic or reason. Sri Narayana is Siva (auspiciousness) and there is no difference between the two. “I am the dweller of Vaikuntha, Vishnu. Between us there is no difference,” so says Lord Siva Himself. Vishnu is the “Purifier” (Siva), as His names, when chanted, and His form-divine, when meditated upon, become a means of quietening the mind and sharpening our perceptions of the subtler and the transcendental.

Note:

Gita press commentary is the correct 'as it is' translation, as Adi Sankara has not written anymore more than than translated by Gita Press. Extra words are commentary of Swami Tapasyananda on srI SankarAcArya's commentary. Swami ji's commentary is given as it may give more clarity.



651 कामदेव kAmadeva (kāmadeva) - New

By being prayed to fulfil dharma etc purushārtha-s [i.e. dharma, artha, kāma, moksha] is called as kāmadeva. Is kāma and deva also hence is called as kāmadeva.

Note: Bhagavān Siva is called as kāmeshvara meaning the Lord of desire. Here kāma means desire or wish and not 'sexual desire' as many interpret it to be. This interpretation is supported in the interpretation of the name #kāmī


653 कामी kAmI (kāmī) - New

By naturally being fully satisfied, [the lord] is called as kāmī

Note: Here, 'being fully satisfied' means the one who is beyond desires. This interpretation can be explained. Ours is a demanding mind, the more it's desires are fulfilled, the more it demands. The satisfaction is only temporary. By fulfilling the desires, the desires are not uprooted. Only the one who has renounced the desire, that mind can become satisfied with what it has. No further demand arises in mind. Such pure mind turns inwards towards it's source and allows consciousness to merge in this source.

Another meaning of being satisfied would indicate Lordship.



877 ज्योतिः jyotiḥ - (Viṣhṇu is pure consciousness, Siva as skambha is also pillar of light) New

[The Supreme Lord] Shines or lights by himself i.e. in his own accord, Self Effulgent. Shruti (Mahā. Nā. Up. 13.1) says, 'Nārāyaṇa is the Supreme Light (parama jyoti)'

Note: Here our Āchārya specifies the name of 'Nārāyaṇa' citing Mahā. Nā. Up. 12.1. The word 'Nārāyaṇa' can be taken as Nārāyaṇa tatvam and also as four armed deity Bhagavān Viṣhṇu. However, in the current context, it is nArAyaNa tatvam. jyoti is the pure consciousness which lights all i.e. which gives the knowledge of all things - movable and immovable. While explaining other words like #941 'anādi' and #942 'bhūrbhuvaḥ', Ādi Ṣankara Bhagavadpāda has not specified the same of Viṣhṇu or Ṣiva or Sūrya.

skambha suktam of atharva veda praises bhagavAn Siva as the supreme brahman, as nirguNa tatvam, as the pillar of light i.e. light of consciousness from whom brahmA and viShNu emerged. This story of pillar without ends i.e. starting or end points is found in linga purANa too.

(Commentary on skambha suktam (44 + 44 stotra-s) can be found here. The author has taken much pains to compose a commentary to reveal the secrets of Lord skambha by interpreting in both microcosm (yogic POV, pinDANDA) and macrocosm (brahmANDa). Commentary is delight to read)

Hence this hymn also cites non-difference between Siva-viShNu as both are 'pure consciousness'.


sUrya-viShNu abheda in viShNu sahasranAma


Some names belonging to sUrya are found in viShNu sahasranAma. Our Acharya has cited non-difference between two forms of Ishvara. Here sUrya is the supreme brahman.

232 अहःसंवर्तकः ahaHsaMvartakaH (About sUrya bhagavAn) - New

Due to being accurately or correctly regulating day, [bhagavAn] sUrya is ahaHsaMvartaka

Note: Soura suktam also says same thing.

ví dyā́m eṣi rájas pr̥thv áhā mímāno aktúbhiḥ
páśyañ jánmāni sūrya - 7

7 Traversing sky and wide mid-air, thou metest with thy beams our days, Sun, seeing all things that have birth.

It is needless to say that soura suktam describes sUryadeva as the God or Gods in verse 10


úd vayáṃ támasas pári jyótiṣ páśyanta úttaram /
deváṃ devatrā́ sū́ryam áganma jyótir uttamám // 10 //

10 Looking upon the loftier light above the darkness we have come
To Surya, God among the Gods, the light that is most excellent.

553 वरुणः varuNaH - (sUrya bhagavAn is varuNA) - New


Due to concealing or covering it's rays, the evening Sun is varuNa. On this topic, mantra varNa (part of veda-s) says, 'O varuNA ! [please] here my prayers'


Note:

Verse 6 of Soura Suktam
of Rig Veda (Soura Suktam is found in Maṇḍala 1, Hymn 50 says):


yénā pāvaka cákṣasā bhuraṇyántaṃ jánām̐ ánu
tváṃ varuṇa páśyasi - 6

6 With that same eye of thine wherewith thou lookest brilliant Varuṇa, Upon the busy race of men


Hence we can say that Sūrya is Varuṇa.

varuNa, when taken as a noun is 'Ocean God' or 'God of water'.

aruNa means 'red' or 'tawny i.e. dark yellowish' or 'sun'. It could mean 'evening sun'.

'va', as mentioned in #23 is used for Parabrahman.

Hence it could mean Varuṇa would means 'Sūrya is Parabrahman'

Ocean is vast. Ocean God's quality of 'vastness' could be taken. Literal meaning (i.e. taking varuNa as noun indicating it to be 'Ocean God') is generally not taken as the names in viShNu sahasranAma are adjectives of bhagavAn.

Ocean has the nature to accommodate waters of all the rivers that are flowing in it. Sea water evaporates, forms clouds, clouds rain, rain water flows through land as steams, steams merge in river and river flows towards sea. Sea water finally merges back in sea thereby completing the whole cycle. In other words, sea accommodates it's own water into it.

Morning Sun is like Ocean water that is evaporating i.e. spreading it's rays in all directions. Evening Sun is like pulling back or concealing it's rays within itself.

It seems that shrI Adi Sankara bhagavadpAda is trying to explain Sun's quality of 'accommodation' or 'pulling back' of Sun.  Rays in tantra and in yogic texts like Siva samhitA, etc represents jiva-s. If we take this analogy, then Sun represents cycle of creation, representation and destruction. Destruction could mean pulling back of jiva-s into itself. Here Sun is the supreme Brahman.

Another name #658 keSava explains 'rays' as 'keṣa'

648 केशवः keshava - (trinity are rays or powers of brahman - Mapping with sūryadeva) - New

Rays spread within sūrya are called as keshava (kēṣava). By getting associated (combined) with them (rays), Bhagavān is called as keshava. In Mahābhārata it is said that - 'my rays that shine (prakāshita) are called as kesha. Hence all-knower (sarvaGYa), best amongst dvija-s call me Kēṣava'. Or the powers by the names Brahmā, Vīẓṇu, (viShNu) and Ṣiva are kēṣa. By associating with them Bhagavān is Kēṣava. shruti says, 'having three kēṣa-s' and ' my two kēṣa-s (powers) are within privthi (earth) - VP 5.1.61) - in this statement, the word 'kēṣa' is used as an alternative for the word 'ṣakti'. In Harivamṣa 3.88.48 [Mahādevajī] says, " 'ka' (क) represents Brahmā and I am the Lord of all living beings. We both have originated from your part i.e. we are partial manifestations of you [Vīẓṇu], hence you are called by the name Kēṣava'.

Note: In the name #23 Kēṣava, proper splitting of the word kēṣava is given. The word is split into 'ka', 'a', 'īṣa' and 'va'. These words are representatives of Brahmā, Viṣhṇu, Ṣiva and paramātmān respectively. Hence we can understand that keshava is the supreme brahman, different from the trinity who are his powers, which are called as 'kēṣa' and are represented by 'rays' meaning rays of Sun. Sun is also mapped with supreme brahman and it's creative, preservative and destructive energies are it's māyā or female counter part or dynamic counterpart.      


881 रविः ravi - (Sūrya Bhagavān is ravi) New

Bhagavān sūrya is called as ravi as [bhagavān sūrya] is holds or accepts all the rasa-s. In Vishnu dharmottara it is said, 'By grasping or absorbing all the rasa-s [he] is called as ravi'.

883 सूर्य Sūrya - (Sūryadeva) - New

Since [he] gives birth to shrī [shobhā, Sun rays] hence Sūrya or Agnī is called as 'Sūrya'...

Note:
1) Here Sūrya bhagavān is equated with Agnī.
2) Sūryadeva is called as the creator or origin of Shrī. Here, Shrī is taken as shobhā. shobhā means, light, brilliance, splendour, yellow pigment or yellowish like turmeric. Here, shobhā means 'Sun rays'. Earlier, in the name #648 keshava, trinity is said to be the rays or powers of Bhagavān Sūrya, who represents parabrahman.  



941  अनादिः anādiḥ - (No Pointing of specific Deity as Bhagavān) - New

Because of being the 'cause' of everything there is no ādi (beginning) meaning there no cause, hence [he/it] is called as 'Bhagavān'.

Note: Here, Ādi Ṣankarāchāryajī has not specified the name of any deity like Viṣhṇu or Ṣiva or Laxmī. This indicates that our Āchārya considered Ṣiva-Viṣhṇu-Sūrya-Laxmī abheda. 

 

laxmI-viShNu abheda in viShNu sahasranAma



While explaining the names of two names #942 bhUrbhuvaH and #943 laxmI, our AchArya has shown non-difference between laxmI-viShNu abheda.

942  भूर्भुवः Bhūrbhuvaḥ - (Appears in Gāyatrī mantra, linked with next name #943 Laxmī) - New

Support or substratum (ādhāra, आधार) is called as 'Bhū' (भू), 'Bhuvaḥ' (भुवः) means to to support or substratum of the 'substraum of bhūta-s' [meaning, the support of all living beings jīva-s). Hence ' Bhagavān is called as Bhūvaḥ'

Note: Here too Ādi Ṣankara Bhagavadpāda has used the word 'Bhagavān' in a common sense and not pointing to a specific deity.


943  लक्ष्मी Laxmī - (Laxmīdevī is ātma-svarūpa) - New

(the explanation of Bhūrbhuvaḥ is continued with Laxmī) ...

or, it is not just support of earth [and all other worlds], but is also Laxmī meaning Ṣhobhā is also him (one and same tatvam) only, hence is called as Laxmī. Or 'Bhūḥ' (भूः) of Bhūrkolaka & 'bhuvaḥ' (भुवः) and ātmavidyā (Self Knowledge or Knowledge of Self Realisation), is called as [is known by the name or tatvam] 'Laxmī' only. In Shruti, it is said that - 'O devi ! ātmavidyā is you only'. Or you are the shobhā (splendour, brilliance i.e. power, shakti) of earth and space (bhumi and antariksha), hence Bhagavān Bhūrbhuvaḥ is Laxmī.

Note: Here our Ācharya has cited non-difference between Knowledge of Self Realisation i.e. Laxmī and Bhagavān i.e. The Supreme Brahman. Just like there is non-difference between Ṣiva and Ṣakti, there is also non-difference between Viṣhṇu and Laxmī. We can find non-difference in Kena Upanishad 3.12 where our Ācharya has cited non-difference between vidyā i.e. ātma-vidyā Umā (Haimāvatī, the daughter of Himālaya) and Brahman. In adhyāsa bhashya, our Ācharya has said the same thing, Ignorance is the rōt cause and removal of Ignorance by atma-jnāna is Knowledge. Knower of Ātman is nothing but Ātman itself.   


praNava-viShNu abheda in viShNu sahasranAma


Adi Sankara bhagavadpAda has also cited non-difference between viShNu and OM. OM or praNava represent nirguNa nirAkAra brahman.

957  प्रणव (ॐ) praṇava - (Formless, Attributeless Brahman OM) - New

Is the monosyllable word 'OM' 'ॐ'. Is one with or is non-different from OM, hence is called as praṇava itself.

Note: Here the non-difference between Bhagavān and formless OM. OM leads one to Nirvikalp Samādhi. 


Common names and some selected names in Shiva Sahasranama


Before beginning, let have some info regarding the practice of Siva (Shiva) worship and the popularity of Siva saharanAma stotra. To begin with, Worshiping Lord Shiva was widely practiced in ancient times and Shaiva sampradayas were very popular and wide spread. This is indicated by as many as 8 versions of Shiva Sahasranama-s available. The eight versions are

Mahabharata -- Two versions nushasan parva and shanti parva versions
Linga Purana -- Two versions verses 1.65.54-168 and LP verses 1.98.27-159
Shivapurana ---- verses 4.35.1-131
Vayu Purana ----- verses 1.30.179-28
Brahmanda Purana ---- Verses(38.1.1-100)
Rudra Yamala Tantra version.

Shiva Sahasranama are found in following texts:

Below is a list of the texts in which Shiva Sahasranama Stotras are found.
  1. Mahabharata (Anushasanaparva version)
  2. Mahabharata (Shantiparva version)
  3. Linga Purana (version 1; chapter 65)
  4. Linga Purana (version 2; chapter 97)
  5. Shiva Purana (Kotirudra Samhita)
  6. Vayu Purana
  7. Brahmanda Purana
  8. Devi Mahabhagavata Upapurana
  9. Padma Purana
  10. Skanda Purana
  11. Vamana Purana
  12. Markandeya Purana
  13. Saura Purana
  14. Bhairava Tantra
  15. Bhringiridi Samhita
  16. Rudrayamala Tantra
  17. Shiva Rahasya Itihasa
  18. Akasa Kalpa Tantra


We will take some of the attributes.

Names of Shiva from the version found in Anushasanika Parva of Mahabaratha

Commentaries on Siva sahasranAma (Shiva Sahasranama Stotra):

Mahabharata Anushasanaparva version              : Commentary named “Bharatha bhava pradheepam” by Sri Neelakantha on Mahabharata, student of Sri Sridhara Swami (15th Century).

mAdhva-s accept Siva sahasranAma in mahAbhArata found in aNuSASanika parva, as authentic. KumbhAkonam version of mahAbhArat also contains Siva saharanAma which is same as that found in Maharashtra's Edition. BORI, Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute, Pune, Maharashtra has published mahAbhArata edition containing Siva saharanAma stotra.

Padma Purana version                                    : By Sri Paramasivendra Saraswati II Swamigal (1539-1586), guru of 'Avadhoot' Sadasiva Brahmendra. (Tanjore Manuscript Library Edition.)

Unknown version                                              : By Lingadhvari (Catalogue of Sanskrit Manuscripts at Saraswati Mahal Library, Tanjavur (Tanjore)).

linga purANA version                                         : By ballAla, published under guidance of Kanchi Paramacharya, translated in Hindi by Swami Shantananda Puri


Selected adjectives (names) of bhagavAn Siva:

Translation by P.R.Ramachander, based on a bhashya (explanation) for this was written by SrI Neelakantha, student of Sridhara Swami called “Bharatha bhava pradheepam”. Based on this Sri.N.Subramanya Iyer (lovingly called “Anna (elder brother) by his admirers wrote a detailed interpretation in Tamil which was published initially by the Sarada Peetham, Sringeri. Later they gave the publishing rights to Ramakrishna Mutt of Madras. 


Source

Shiva and Vishnu

(Note: The names are not spelled in transliteration)

215. Om Vishnu prasAdite namah - Who has been pleased by the devotion of Vishnu
216. Om YagnAya namah - Who is of the form of Vishnu
340. Om VAmanAya namah - Who came in form of Vamana, an avathara of Vishnu
386. Om PithAmahAya namah - Who is the father of father (Who created Lord Vishnu)
486. Om Maha Nakhaya nama - Who has a very big nails (like Narasimha Bhagavan) [1]
578. Om Urdhwarethase namah - Who has the greatest gods like Brahma and Vishnu as subjects
579. Om JalesayAya namah - Who sleeps on water in the form of Vishnu
621. Om VishNave namah  - Who is in the form of Lord Vishnu
638. Om Padma nAbhAya namah - Who keeps the lotus in his belly button/Who is of the form of Vishnu
787. Om Haraye nama - Who is of the form of Lord Vishnu
881. Om Varaya varahaya nama - Who took the form of Varaha(Vishnu’s incarnation)

Some more references are

18. Om HarAya nama - Who destroys everything at time of deluge
143. Om RudrAya nama - Who removes sorrows
220. Om PrasAnthAthmane nama - Who is as peaceful as an ocean after tide
368. Om IshAnAya nama - Who conducts everything with attention
369. Om IshwarAya nama - Who spreads everything (all pervading)
753. Om HarAya nama - Who destroys sorrow

[1] In naramsimh pUrva tApaniya Upanishad, narasimha bhagavAn, who has long nails, in another aspect, is said to be Uma-Pati. In this way there is no difference between rudra and narsimha avatar. Later narasimha Uttara tApaniya Upanishad discusses about OM, jIva and Brahman. this shows that Upanishads do not differentiate between Vishnu, Shiva and their formless aspect, which is symbolized by OM.  Meditation on OM is always a meditation on formless, NirguNa Brahman.

Shiva and Brahma


387. Om ChathurmUkhAya nama - Who has four faces when he takes the form of Brahma
619. Om DhAthre nama - Who is in the form of Lord Brahma
992. Om Brahma varchasaya nama - Who is the splendorous light of Brahma

Shiva and Krishna


128. Om KrishnAya nama - Who is ever happy

Shiva  and Kurukshetra


648. Om Kuru karthre nama - Who created Kuru Kshethra
649. Om Kuru vasine nama - Who lives in Kuru Kshethra
650. Om Kuru bhoothaya nama - Who is the Karma sthana and Upasana sthana at Kuru Kshethra(place of duty and meditation)

Shiva's Macrocosmic form (VirATa SvarUpa)


95. Om Viswa roopaya nama - Who is all the known forms (Refer to BG, Chapter 11 and Shiva Gita, Chapter 7)

Some Qualities of Shiva


94. Om Umapathaye nama - Who is the consort of Uma
487. Om Maha romaya nama - Who has very big hair
488. Om Maha kesaya nama - Who has long hairs in his tuft
489. Om Maha Jadaya nama - Who has bid matted locks
610. Om Ajaikapadhe nama - Who is the one among the eleven Rudras (In Gita Bhagavan says I am Shankara among Rudras. Here Rudra are Pranas, among them Shankara is one of the most important)
611. Om Kapaline nama - Who is the lord of Universe (called Kapala)
612. Om Trisankave nama - Who is the axis for the three qualities of Sathva, Rajas and Thamas
613. Om Ajithaya nama - Who cannot be won by the three qualities
614. Om Shivaya nama - Who is the purest under any condition
642. Om Analaya nama - Who has limitless power
660. Om Kailsa giri vasine nama - Who lives on Kailasa Mountain
661. Om Himavad giri amsrayaya nama - Who possesses the Himalaya mountains
802. Om Trilochanaya nama - Who is having three eyes
805. Om Jada dharaya nama - Who has matted locks
807. Om Visarggaya nama - Who is like a Visarga in the form of Ardha Nareeswara
894. Om Trayakshaya nama - Who has three eyes
752. Om Harinaya nama - Who is white


Shiva and deluge


577. Om Maha krodhaya nama - Who is very angry at the time of destruction
816. Om Gandhapaline bhagawathe nama - Who saves the memories of previous births a time of deluge
817. Om Sarva karmana mukthaya nama - Who makes all jobs(duties) rise up again after the deluge
818. Om Mandhanaya bahulaya vayave nama - Who is the wind which churns life at the time of deluge


Shiva is everything


615. Om Danvantharye nama - Who is the doctor for all diseases (Dhanvantari)
616. Om Dhooma kethave nama - Who is in the form of comet
617. Om Skandaya nama - Who is of the form of Lord Subrahmanya
618. Om Vaisravanaya nama - Who is in the form of Khubera
619. Om Dhathre nama - Who is in the form of Lord Brahma
620. Om Chakraya nama - Who is in the form of Devendra
621. Om Vishnave nama - Who is in the form of Lord Vishnu
622. Om Mithraya nama - Who is in the form of Sun God(Who measures everything)
623. Om Thwashtre nama - Who is in the of Viswakarma, the architect
624. Om Druvaya nama - Who is in the form of Druva star
625 - Om Dharaya nama - Who is in the form of Vasu called Dara
626. Om Prabhavaya nama - Who is in the form of Vasu called Prabhava
647. Om Ye nama - Who is of the form of Goddess Lakshmi (EE the Lakshmi root)
1008. Om Jagathe nama - Who is the universe itself 


Shiva as Brahman


364. Om Brahmacharine nama = Who is one with Brahma 
385. Om Brahmane nama - Who is very great 
413. Om Paramaya Brahmane nama = Who is the incomparable Brahman 
1001. Om Parasmai nama - Who is Tureya which is beyond sleep, the forth state of consciousness
1002. Om Brahmane nama - Who is the ultimate truth 
1003. Om Bhakthanaam paramayai gathaye nama - Who is the ultimate destination of devotees
1004. Om Vimukthaya nama - Who is completely free of bonds
1005. Om Muktha thejase nama - Who is the light which is detached/Who does not have a body

Shiva as ParamAtmAn

104. Om Paramaya manthraya nama - Who is personification of philosophical truth.

Some other versions of Shiva Sahasranama has names like amukhAya namah, meaning one who has no face i.e. without any form. The meaning of 'amukha' can be 'one who is formless'.

Shiva and Linga


388. Om Mahalingaya nama - Who is the great Linga
389 Om Charu lingaya nama - Who is pretty
390. Om Lingadhyakshaya nama - Who presides over in the form of Linga

Thus, it can be concluded that Shiva and Vishnu are one and the same.


Before Shiva Sahasranama begins i.e. in Poorva Bhaga - Early Part , in the beginning verses Bheeshma says that Mahadev is Parabrahman, he is Purusha and through his power, he makes Purusha and Prakriti active (MBH 13:14:3-6) .

Bheeshma Uvacha:-

Brahma Vishnu suresaanaam srushtaa cha prabhureva cha,
Brahmaadaya pisachaantha yam hi deva upasathe.   
               4
 
He is the one who created Brahma, Vishnu and other devas,
He is their Lord and he is worshipped by,
Brahma , devas, ghosts and others.
 
Prakrutheenaam parathwena purushasya cha ya para,
Chinthyathe yo yogavidhbhi rishibhi Thathwa darshibhi.,
Aksharam para Brahma asacha sadasacha ya.       
                   5

He is greater than nature and the masculine concept,
He is being meditated upon by great sages who know the truth,
He is the causal universe, cause as well as the effect.
 
Prakruthim purusham chaiva kshobhayithwa tswathejasa,
Brahmana masrujath thasmad Dheva dheva prajapathi.       
      6
 
He who is the God of gods and God of all beings,
Through his power destabilizes Purusha and nature ,
And creates Brahma out of it.


Adi Shankara Praises Lord Shiva as Para Brahman in Dakshinamurty Stotram


Dakshinamurty (Dakshinamoorty) Stotram is undoubtedly Adi Shankara's work, as it is commented by his direct disciple Surewaracharya by the title 'mAnsOllAsa'. After reading the verses it will be clear that Adi Sankara did considered Lord Siva as Supreme Brahman.

दक्षिणामूर्ति स्तोत्रम्

Dakshinamurthy Stotram

ध्यानम्

मौनव्याख्या प्रकटित परब्रह्मतत्त्वं युवानं
वर्षिष्ठांते वसद् ऋषिगणौः आवृतं ब्रह्मनिष्ठैः ।
आचार्येन्द्रं करकलित चिन्मुद्रमानंदमूर्तिं
स्वात्मारामं मुदितवदनं दक्षिणामूर्तिमीडे ॥

Mauna-Vyaakhyaa Prakattita Para-Brahma-Tattvam Yuvaanam
Varssisstthaam-Te Vasad Rssigannauh Aavrtam Brahma-Nisstthaih |
Aacaarye[a-I]ndram Kara-Kalita Cin-Mudram-Aananda-Muurtim
Sva-[A]atmaaraamam Mudita-Vadanam Dakssinnaamuurti-Miidde ||

Meaning:

1: (Salutations to Sri Dakshinamurthy) Whose Exposition through Profound Silence is Awakening the Knowledge of the Supreme Brahman in the Hearts of His Disciples; Who is Himself Youthful ...
2: ... but is Sitting Surrounded by Old and Great Sages who are Devoted to Brahman,
3: The Hands of the Supreme Spiritual Teacher is Forming the Cin-Mudra (gesture of the Knowledge of Brahman) and Whose Appearance is Still and Blissful,
4: Who is Rejoicing in His Own Self which is reflected on His Blissful Face; Salutations to Sri Dakshinamurthy.


स्तोत्रम्

विश्वं दर्पणदृश्यमाननगरीतुल्यं निजान्तर्गतं
पश्यन्नात्मनि मायया बहिरिवोद्भूतं यथा निद्रया ।
यः साक्षात्कुरुते प्रबोधसमये स्वात्मानमेवाद्वयं
तस्मै श्रीगुरुमूर्तये नम इदं श्रीदक्षिणामूर्तये ॥१॥

Vishvam Darpanna-Drshyamaana-Nagarii-Tulyam Nija-Antargatam
Pashyann-Aatmani Maayayaa Bahir-Ivo[a-U]dbhuutam Yathaa Nidrayaa |
Yah Saakssaat-Kurute Prabodha-Samaye Sva-[A]atmaanam-Eva-Advayam
Tasmai Shrii-Guru-Muurtaye Nama Idam Shrii-Dakssinnaamuurtaye ||1||

Meaning:

(Salutations to Sri Dakshinamurthy Who Awakens the Glory of the Atman within us through His Profound Silence)
1.1: The Entire World is Like a City Seen within a Mirror, the Seeing happening within One's Own Being,
1.2: It is a Witnessing happening within the Atman, (the Witnessing) of the Externally Projected World; Projected by the Power of Maya; As if a Dream in Sleep,
1.3: One Experiences this Directly (this Play of Maya) during Spiritual Awakening within the Non-Dual Expanse of One's Own Atman,
1.4: Salutations to Him, the Personification of Our Inner Guru Who Awakens This Knowledge through His Profound Silence; Salutation to Sri Dakshinamurthy.

source

Adi Shankara Bhagavadpada on OM, Shiva and Paramatma in Mandukya Upanishad



Sanskrit commentary by Adi Shankara Bhagavadpada

मा. उ. ७ 
अन्तःप्रज्ञत्वादिस्थानिधर्मप्रतिषे्धः कृतः । 
प्रपच्चोपशममिति जाग्रदादिस्थानधर्माभाव उच्यते । 
अत एव शान्तमविक्रियम्, शिवं उअतोऽद्वैतं भेदविकल्परहितम् । 
अतुर्थ तुरियं मन्यते प्रतीयमानपादत्रयरुपवैलक्षण्यात् । 
स आत्मा अ विज्ञेय इति प्रतीयमान …

Hindi Translation by Gita Press

अन्तःप्रज्ञत्वादि स्थानियों (जाग्रत् आदि अवस्थाओंके अभिमानियों)- के धर्मोका प्रतिषेध किया गया, अब ‘प्रपच्चोपशनम्’ इत्यादिसे जाग्रत् आदि स्थानों (अवस्थाओं)- के धर्मोका अभाव बतलाया जाता है ।
इसीलिये वह शान्त यानी अविकारी है; और क्योंकि वह अद्वैत अर्थात् भेदरुप विकल्पसे सहित है, इसलिये शिव है । 
उसे अतुर्थ यानी तुरीय मानते है; क्योंकि यह प्रतीत होनेवाले पूर्वक्त तीन पादोंसे विलक्षण है । 
वही आत्मा है और वही ज्ञातत्व है । …


Page 573 in ईशादि नौ उपनिषद् 

English Translation

The ones who have ego of dharma or attributes of three states of consciousness (waking, etc), their dharma-s are negated (prohibited), now
By saying ‘PrapaccOpaSamam’ etc, the absence of dharma of waking state, etc are being told.
This is the reason why he is शान्त (Santa, peaceful) meaning he is अविकारी (avikAri, without any change); and since it is अद्वैत (advaita, non-dual) meaning free from duality of difference, hence he is शिव (Siva) 
He is believed to be the forth state तुर्य (turya); because this extraordinary forth state is different from the three पाद (pAda-s) i.e. अ-उ-म् (A-U-M) (in earlier verses).
This is आत्मा (Atman), and only he is fit to be known (worthy of knowing) (ज्ञातव्य, JnAtavya)

Note: 

This verses gives us unity of Shiva and Atman

Another verse will make things more clear.

Adi Shankaracharya’s commentary on G.K. 1.29, which comes after Man. Up. 12


Sanskrit commentary by Adi Shankara Bhagavadpada (page 596)

सर्वद्वैतोपशमत्वादेव शिवः ।
ओङ्कारो यथा व्याख्यातो विदितो येन स परमार्थतत्वस्य मननान्मुनिः ।

Hindi Translation by Gita Press

सम्पूर्ण द्वैतका उपशमस्थान होनेके कारण ही वह शिव (मंगलमय) है । इस प्रकार व्याख्या किया हुआ ओङ्कार जिसने जाना है वही परमार्थतत्वका मनन करनेवाला होनेसे ‘मुनि' है …


English Translation

Due to the very reason of being the substratum of the entire duality (universe) he is Shiva (the auspiciousness). Only the one who knows (realizes) OM, in the way it is defined here, is the contemplator of the Supreme Brahman, and due to this reason, only he is called as ‘Muni’, the great seer, great saint.


Here one may argue that the word denotes 'pure consciousness' or 'auspiciousness'. Hence this does not refer to 'Siva' as one of the trinity. This is true. However, let us understand the meaning of the word Siva in bhAgavat purANa.

Verse BP 8.7.29 defines Siva as a state of consciousness

BP 8.7.29: sadyojAta etc five vedic mantras are represented by your five faces [1], from which 38 celebrated vedic mantra-s are created. When you arise beyond guNa-s and are established in your Self, then this state is called as 'Siva' (Siva-Akhyam). In reality, it is the same Self Effulgent paramArtha-tatva (supreme consciousness).

[1] Five vedic mantra-s are (1) puruSa, (2) aghora, (3) sadyojAta, (4) vAmadeva, and (5) ISAna

We must note that here the five forms of Siva are eulogized. This means the first part of verse is referring to Siva or rudra as a person or personality and the supreme Godhead from whom 38 celebrated mantra-s are created. The attribution of lordship is also given in earlier verses.

BP 8.7.24: O prabhu! (O lord) with the help of your own illusive power which consists of three guNa-s, you creation, preserve and destroy this world; though you are one, you manifest (appear) as brahmA, viShNu and Siva.


Coming back to verse BP 8.7.29, the second half of verse says that when one rises beyond and are established in your Self, then this state is 'Siva'. This is the same effulgent paramAtva-tatva i.e. supreme consciousness or supreme Brahman.

Now one may understand that Siva, can be a jIva who realizes his true nature and becomes Brahman by rising beyond guNa-s. This argument is not correct. There are verses from the same samudra-manthana episode which treat Siva as creator, granter of moksha and as antaryAmI, the inner Self of all including devatA-s (demi-gods).

BP 8.7.21: O deva of devatatA-s mahAdeva! you are the AtmA of all beings and are the life saver of all. We all have come to your refuge. Please save us from this deadly poison which otherwise destroy the whole universe.

BP 8.7.22: Only you are capable of liberating and giving bondage of the world(s). Hence wise persons worship only you, as you are the remover of sorrows of those who have taken refuge in you and are jagadguru (world teacher)

BP 8.7.24: O prabhu! (O lord) with the help of your own illusive power which consists of three guNa-s, you creation, preserve and destroy this world; though you are one, you manifest (appear) as brahmA, viShNu and Siva.

BP 8.7.25: You are self effulgent, the reason for this [being self effulgent] is that you are the deeply mysterious brahma-tatva. You are the life giver of all devatA-s, humans, animals, birds, etc whatever is real or unreal, living / moving or non-moving. There is no creation which is not you (i.e. Siva is present in all living and non-living and Siva is everything. Nothing exists that is not Siva); because, you are everybody's AtmA. By various types of energies (Sakti-s) you are manifested as this world; because you are ISvara and are all-powerful.

Hence if one accepts a theory of vishiShTAdvaita (विशिष्टाद्वैत) which is - jIva is qualitatively same as Brahman, but quantitatively different than Brahman, then this is not true in this case. This theory says, that as nirguNa brahman, Siva or any jIva can be Brahman, but on vyavahArika level i.e. w.r.t empirical reality, viShNu holds position of saguNa Brahman i.e. Ishvara. AS we undersand from the above verses from the revered bhAgavat purANa, Siva is not any jIva, he is both saguNa and nirguNa Brahman.

An advaitin who believes in only viShNu as being capable of being both saguNa and nirguNa Brahman, the above verses contradict the claim. viShNu, like Siva can be formless. Both words denote same meaning. viShNu means 'all-pervading' and Siva means 'in which all things lie'. Infact the non-difference between the meaning of both names Siva and viShNu is quoted by our AchArya who cites harivamSa purANa 3.88.60-64

he janArdana! O omnipresent deva! I am you and you are me. In all three worlds, there is no difference (bheda) between us either by Sabda (word) or by artha (meaning).
- harivamSa purANa 3.88.60-64

As said earlier, for an advaitin, viShNu can be both saguNa and nirguNa. When Adi Sankara refers to viShNu, it does not necessarily mean saguNa Brahman i.e. caturbhuja viShNu. Since the name viShNu is used commonly for both Brahman-s there are some who claim that Adi Sankara considered only caturbhuja viShNu as Ishvara (saguNa Brahman) on vyavahArika plane. Whereas, in case, Adi Sankara refers to the word Siva, it is always, sat-chit-Ananda Atman and not trishula dhArI Sankara bhagavAn.

In this case, it is worth nothing that when viShNu refers to nirguNa Brahman, it is none other than sat-chit-Ananda Atman. Hence use of any word Siva or viShNu does not make any difference. Since Adi Sankara's IshTa-devatA is viShNu, it is natural for him to refer to Brahman as viShNu.

Another argument is that, some do not consider that Adi Sankara did not refer to Siva as saguNa Brahman in any of his commentaries. This is not true. We will see further that not only in viShNu sahasranAma, but even in prashthAntrayI bhAshya, Adi Sankara considered Siva s supreme. Adi Sankara has never referred to Siva or rudra as brahmA-pUtra or viShNu-putra.


If Siva is not supreme or if OM is not supreme, then by contemplating on OM, one cannot realize Brahman. OM represents Brahman. The forth state of OM, which is silence, is nothing but Brahman. The three states connected with A-U-M arise from and last in this forth state known as turiyA. OM is controller of everything. OM is the creator of everything.

In mANDukya upanishad, OM is chanted to transcend beyond triguNAtmikA-mAyA. As one transcends mAyA, one realises oneself to be Siva-tatva or Atman or Brahman. Hence Siva is omkAra.
 



Adi Shankara Bhagavadpada Praises Shiva (Shambho) as Ishvara and confirms non-duality with the Lord



'Shri bruhad Shankara Digvijay' by mAdhava vidyAraNya svAmI, in 6th Sarga sloka 41 says,

दास्स्तेऽहं देहदृष्ट्याऽस्मि शम्भो जातस्तेंऽशो जीवदृष्ट्या त्रिदृष्टे । 
सर्वस्याऽऽत्मन्नात्मदृष्ट्या त्वमेवेत्येवं में धीर्निश्चिता सर्वशास्त्रेः ॥ ६ - ४१ ॥

O Shambho ! from SarIra-bhava i.e. from standpoint of physical body, I am your servant, in that manner, O Trilochana (Lord Shiva) ! from Jiva-bhava I am your part (Ansh) and you are my anshi (whole). O the Atman of the whole jagat (Universe) ! from Atma-bhava, I am not different from you (abhinna, a-bhinna, bhinna = different). In this way, my intellect decides (is determined), in view of all shastras (bruhad Sankara Dig Vijay 6.41)

In simple words:

1. From Sarira Bhava, I am servant of Lord Shiva
2. From Jiva-Bhava, I am part (ansh) and you are whole (anshi)
3. From Atma Bhava, I am not different from you.  


Adi Shankara Bhagavadpada explains Namah Shivaya in Shiva PanchAkshara Mantra


(PadmapadAcharya has written short commentary in Adi Shankara's 'Shiva PancAkshara Stotra'. Hence this hymm is authentic.)

यज्ञस्वरूपाय जटाधराय
पिनाकहस्ताय सनातनाय ।
दिव्याय देवाय दिगम्बराय
तस्मै यकाराय नमः शिवाय ॥५॥

Yajnya-Svaruupaaya Jattaa-Dharaaya
Pinaaka-Hastaaya Sanaatanaaya |
Divyaaya Devaaya Dig-Ambaraaya
Tasmai Yakaaraaya Namah Shivaaya ||5||

Meaning:
5.1: (Salutations to Him) Who is the Embodiment of Yajna (Sacrifice) and Who has Matted Hairs,
5.2: Who has the Trident in His Hand and Who is Eternal,
5.3: Who is Divine, Who is the Shining One and Who has the Four Directions as His Clothes (signifying that He is ever Free,
5.4: Salutations to that Shiva, Who is represented by syllable "Ya",
The fifth syllable of the Panchakshara mantra "Na-Ma-Shi-Va-Ya".

source

The one who is eternal is only one, Brahman. Our acharya in Shiva Panchakshara Stotra praises Lord Shiva only and explains the meaning of the PanchAkshara mantra Na Ma Shi Va Ya Namah Shivaya). 

Adi Shankara Bhagavadpada in Veda Sara Shiva Stavan praises Shiva as supreme


Veda Sara Shiva Stavan is being accepted by many as authentic work of Adi Shankara Bhagavadpada


ajaM shaashvataM kaarNaM kaaraNaanaaM
shivaM kevalaM bhaasakaM bhaasakaanaam.h . 
turiiyaM tamaHpaaramaadyantahinaM 
prapadye paraM paavanaM dvaitahinam.h .. 7..

ajaM = ajanma = without any birth
SASvataM = sanAtana = eternal, permanent
kArNaM kAraNAnAM = the cause of the cause
SivaM = Mangal svarUpa = Auspiciousness or of the nature of auspiciousness
kevalaM = the one and only one
(Sivam kevalam can be taken as, whose nature is only auspiciousness)
bhAsakaM bhAsakAnAm.h = Light of the Lights
turIyaM = the forth state or beyond 3 states of consciousness (waking, dream, deep sleep), compare it with forth state of OM, Man. Up. 7, 12
tamaHpAramAdyantahinaM = tamaH, parama, andha hina = above ignorance or the one who is beyond the darkness of ignorance
prapadye paraM = without end
pAvanaM = pavitra = pure or one who is purifying
dvaitahinam.h = dvaita hina.h = with duality i.e. non-dual, one without second

I praise that most holy God,
Who does not have any birth,
Who is permanent,
Who is the cause of all causes,
Who is one and only one
Who is peaceful,
Who is the light of all lights,
Who is the forth state of consciousness,
Who is beyond ignorance
Who does not have either end or beginning,
Who is pure
And who is of non-dual.

Here too the Lord is eulogized as the non-dual Brahman.


Adi Shankara equates Atman with both Vishnu and Shiva in Vivek Chudamani

The authorship of Vivek Chudamani is disputed, though all agree that it is the best PrakaraNa granth and is necessary for every aspirant to study. It fully complies with the advaita philosophy. The poetic beauty makes some to think that it is composed by Adi Shankara. Even though it is considered as written by later acharyas, who hold his name, they will also not preach anything that is against the core philosophy of Adi Shankara's advaita vedanta

Adi Shankara Bhagavadpada in his vivekacUḍAmaNi , 495th śloka says :

nārāyaṇo'haṁ narakāntāko'haṁ
purāntako'haṁ puruṣo'ham-īśaḥ |
akhaṇḍa-bodho'hamaśeṣa-sākṣī
nirīṣvaro'haṁ nirahaṁ ca nirmamaḥ ||


nārāyaṇa I am (o'ham is = aham) , the destroyer of naraka I am. The destroyer of (tri) purā¹ ( or the 3 cites of the asura-s; this was tripurāntaka or śiva) I am. The Supreme (īśa) person (puruṣa) I am.

I am whole/complete(akhaṇḍa) knowledge (bodha), the witness (sākṣin) of all (aśeṣa) I am (o'ham). I am not subject to another ruler¹ (nirīṣvaro or nir-īṣvara) ; I am without 'I' (nirahaṁ) and (ca) I am without 'mine' or 'me' (nirmamaḥ).

Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva appear to be different due to mAyA says Adi Shankara in mAyA panchakam


mAyA panchakam sings glory of mAyA, as she is responsible for making the Brahman appear as different identities, makes it appear as if jiva is different than Brahman and infusing the sense 'I am Brahman' and 'I have VairAgya' in the heart of Seeker who is under ignorance. The last verse of mAyA pamchakam says

vidhiharihara vibhedámapyakhaïde
bata viracayya budhánapi prakámam
bhramnayati hariharavibhedabháván
aghaûitaghaûanápaûèyasè máyá.(5)


Máyá which is skilful in accomplishing the impossible deludes, alas, very much Harim Hara, and others, though wise, by introducing the distinctions of Brahmá, Hari and Hara in the unitary reality.

praSnottara ratna mAlikA defines who is the supreme God


The authorship of prashnottara rAtna mAlikA is disputed, with many scholars arguing that some verses may be a later interpolation. However, in any case, it is extremely useful for beginners, and for those who wish to get aquinted with Advaita. We cannot expect that Adi Shankara's successors have manipulated their AcArya's grantha. Even if we say that there might be an interpolation, still they would not have written what is not taught by AcArya. Please find a few verses in which AcArya explains how is Shiva, Hari and Supreme God. Words in bracket indicat the number of quesition.

Praising Lord Shiva

55. Who is said to be the world Preceptor (Jagadguru)? (138)
Lord Shiva .

55. From where one gets knowledge? (Whence Knowledge) (139)
Lord Shiva (ShivAdeva).

56. How can one get Release? (140)
By devotion to Lord Mukunda (Vishnu)

56. Who is Lord Mukunda.? (141)
He who takes us across Ajnana (ignorance).

61. Who is to be contemplated by Brahmana? (159)
Shiva who is in Gayatri, Agni and Surya

Praising Brahman / Self

61. What is there is Gayatri, Sun, Agni and Shiva (160)
It is the reality

62. Who is the Self of all deities (163)
A wise man (BrahmaNa) who is endowed with Knowledge and action

Praising Lord Hari

79. What should be spoken by men?
The name of Hari.

96. What is rarely obtained by man?
Devotion to Hari. 

Vedas created from OM

66. From where were Vedas created? (175)
From the letter Om.

Who is the Supreme Godhead

65. Who is the Godhead? (172)
It is Supreme Lord who is (combination of) Shankara and NArAyaNa (SankaranArAyaNa).

Adopting of Double Standards by Rival Schools


Vaishnava-s, while historically trying to prove authenticity of any shruti, consider shruti under analysis as authentic if it is cited as reference by Advaita AcArya-s like srI madhusudan sarasvatI, srI vidyAraNya svAmI, srI appayya dikshita, and other popular commentators like Jnanottam (GYAnottama), sadAnanda, Neelkantha (nIlakanTha), Anandgiri, et al. When it comes to analyzing the core philosophy of Advaita, they separate them from Adi Sankara, saying they they differ the main AcArya from his core teachings. If they could not understand the core concepts, then on what basis the references cited by these revered pUrvAcArya-s make a shruti authentic? Such an argument that other AcArya-s like Madhusudan Sarasvati and Appayya Dikshita deviated from the main teachings is not acceptable. Though they have their own IshTadevata-s and some were performing vedic karma kANDa like appayya dikshita, Advaita never rejects them. The final state is Advaita only.  They are only projecting another alternatives as to how one can reach Advaita sthiti by being a worshipper of a deity. In other words they have blended Deity worship with Advaita. Since Advaita does not reject bhakti, but accepts it as an important step for inner purification, these AcArya-s should not be blamed. They reconciled the differences between various sects, thereby bringing in peace and harmony. Once you consider them as an authority over subject due to their knowledge and on other hand, you blame them that they have not understood core philosophy of Advaita is double standards.  

As time passes new situations arise which have never occurred earlier. This means finding new solutions without compromising the core philosophy. Saints teach keeping the the then prevailing conditions and circumstances. Hence these people cannot be blamed. 

Some say that the son of srI vAllabhAcArya, srI viTThaleSa studied under srI madhusudan sarasvatI. mAdhvAcArya's pUrva pithAdhipati was a eka DAnDI sanyAsin. srI caitanya mahAprabhu was given mantra Diksha by dvaita acharya Ishvara pUrI, and sanyAsa dikshA by a eka DAnDI sanyAsin keSava bhAratI.

Vaishnava-s revere works by appayya dikshita. Vaishnava-s have adopted the naya-mayukha-malika as their manual for study, and the mAdhva-s the naya-muktAvalI.

Non-Duality of Shiva-Vishnu stated by Madhusudan Sarasvati


Madhusudan Sarasvati, a great Krishna Bhakta and an Advaitin has written a dual commentary on Shiva Mahimna Stotra, one praising Lord Shiva and one Praising Lord Krishna, thereby indicating their nonduality.

Sri Subramanian ji, a knowledgeable member of advaita-L mailing list and owner of Adbhutam Blog, has translated concluding verses of the commentary. (Credit and Source)

Concluding verses of Madhusudana Saraswati's Shiva Mahimna Stotra are:

हरिशंकरयोरभेदबोधो भवतु क्षुद्रधियामपीति यत्नात् ।
उभयार्थतया मयेदमुक्तं सुधियः साधुतयैव शोधयन्तु ॥ १
 

With the benediction that the understanding of non-difference between Hari and Shankara may rise even in those with a lowly intellect have I, with effort, commented on the Shivamanhima stotra verses in dual-meaning mode (as applying to Hari and Hara. Let the noble ones accept this as admissible alone.
 

भूतिभूषितदेहाय द्विजराजेन राजते ।
एकात्मने नमो नित्यं हरये च हराय च ॥ ६

Obeisance ever to Him who is resplendent with His body adorned with vibhUti, ashes and is of the complexion of camphor (or having the moon on His head), the One Atman that is both Hara and Hari.

Here is an excerpt by another knowledgeable member of Advaita-L Mailing List, Shri Anand Hudli ji

Madhusudana Sarasvati has written a masterly commentary on the Shiva Mahimna stotra. A special feature of this commentary is that Madhusudana has interpreted the verses of the hymn as being addressed to both Shiva and Vishnu. He interprets a verse as a praise of Shiva and then goes on to show how it can be interpreted as a praise of Vishnu also. He says: "hari-shankarayoH stutistayorabhedajnAnAya-abhipretA", the prayer is addressed to both Hari (Vishnu) and Shankara (Shiva) to convey the realization that both (Hari and Shankara) are non-different from each other. 

For example, in the first verse, last line, the words "stotre hara" can be split as "stotre hara" in which case Hara (Shiva) is being addressed. Madhusudana explains the word "hara" as "sarvANi duHkhAni haratIti haraH", meaning hara (Shiva) is One who removes all sorrows. Alternatively, "stotre hara" can be taken as a sandhi of "stotre" and "ahara", in which case, "ahara" is being addressed. Who is "ahara"? Madhusudana explains: haratIti haraH saMhartA, tadviruddho aharaH pAlayitetyarthaH", hara means Destroyer, Shiva and ahara means the opposite - the Protector, Vishnu. Alternatively, as Madhusudana says:

अथवाऽहः अहो परम्, परा मा लक्ष्मीर्यस्येति तथा हे लक्ष्मीपते। 
लक्ष्मीपतित्वान्ममालक्ष्मीं स्वत एव नाशयिष्यसीति योग्यं संबोधनम् ।

Or, ahara means One who has parA or lakShmI. Since He is lakShmIpati (Vishnu, the lord of lakShmI), it is appropriate that He is being addressed as One who destroys the devotee's alakShmI, misfortune or poverty.



Concluding His Gita commentary on 15th chapter of Gita,  Sri Madhusudana Saravati says:

vaMshiivibhUshhitakaraannavaniiradaabhaatpiitaambaraadaruNabimbaphalaadharoshhThat.h |
pUrNedusundaramukhaadaravindanetraatkR^iShNaatparaM kimapi tattvamahaM na jaane ||

I do not know any reality other than krishna whose hands are adorned with a
flute, whose lustre is like that of a rain-cloud, who wears a yellow cloth,
whose lips are reddish like the Bimba-fruit, whose face is beautiful like
the full moon, and whose eyes are like lotuses.

sadaa sadaanandapade nimagnaM mano manobhaavamapaakaroti |
gataagataayaasamapaasya sadhaH paraaparaatiitamupaiti tatvam.h ||


The mind that is ever merged in the state of constant Bliss removes (all)
mentations, (and) by eradicating the sorrows consequent on (repeated) births
and deaths it attains at once the Reality transcending cause and effect.

shaivaH saurashcha gaaNeshaa vaishhNavaaH shaktipUjakaaH |
bhavanti yanmayaaH sarve sohamasmi paraH shivaH ||


I am that supreme Auspicious One in whom get identified all the followers of
Shiva, of the Sun, of Ganesha, of Vishnu, and the worshippers of Shakti.


Even a great Krishna Bhakta highly reveres Shiva. Advaitins do not have any clash with any deities. We consider all deities as manifestations of Supreme Reality. 

Non-Duality of Shiva-Vishnu in Suta SamhitA of Skanda PurANa

Great Muni, Sri VidyAraNya Swami (mAdhavAcArya, different from dvaita Guru MAdvAcArya), along with his Brother Sri SAyanAcArya, has written authentic commentary on all five veda-s. Sri VidyAraNya Swami has also written a commentary by the name tAtparya dipikA on Suta Samhita, a part of Skanda PurANa. It is said that Suta SamhitA was also revered by Adi Shankara as he read it 18 times before beginning his famous commentary on Brahma Sutras. vdyAraNya svAmI had knowledge of 16 philosophical systems, which he has displayed in his work, sarva-darSana-samgrah.  The following passage reflects the core idealogy of advaita.

Here is an except:

"Listen with faith, O sages, to what I say as to the truth of the various paths. Vedas, Dharmasastras, Purana, Bharata, Vedangas and minor Vedas; Kamika and other agamas; Kapala and Lakula in all their variety; the Pasupata, Soma, Bhairava and other agamas with their hundred varieties: Vaishnava and Brahma agamas; the agamas of the Buddhas and the Arhats; Lokayata, and the Tarkasastras in all their vastness; the profound Mimamsa, as also Sankhya and Yoga; all these and many more Sastras, the Omniscient Divine Being has made in brief. It is only by the Grace of Rudra that Devas like Brahma and Vishnu, Siddhas, Vidyadharas, Yakshas, Rakshasas, Munis and men make the Sastras again, in brief or in extenso. The wise say that each of these sastras is intended for a particular class according to the individual qualification, not all for one. These paths are not to be rudely handled by the learned subjecting them to rigorous unrelenting logic. As all streams ultimately empty themselves into the ocean, so all these paths ultimately lead to the Mahesvara Himself. Worshipped in what form soever by people as ordained in their respective scriptures. He assumes that form and takes the devotee on to the next higher step, By His Grace man attains to superior paths. The Divine Being worshipped in the form in which He is represented in these paths takes the devotee step by step onward to the path of the Veda. The form which the Divine Being assumes in the path of the Veda is the immediate cause of salvation. Even there the form of the Divine Being as represented by the ritualistic portion of the Veda only stimulates a longing for knowledge; while, worshipped in the form presented in the theosophical portion He leads the devotee to moksha through wisdom.

"Thus these paths, laid out as they are by Siva, are all of them true and serviceable. How can Siva be a deceiver? He is supremely merciful, omniscient, and altogether stainless. Yet of all the paths, the path of the Veda is the best. as conducing to all good."

(Skanda-Purana, Suta-Samhita, Yajna-Vaibhava-Khanda, 22nd adhyaya).

This unique attitude of the Purana towards the several antagonistic systems of religion and philosophy only gives expression to the consciousness of the fact that mankind, made up as it is of different individuals who have reached different stages of intellectual and moral progress, cannot all think to order, in one and the same way

Source: Dakshinamurti Stotra With Manasollasa Of Sureshwaracharya Translated by Alladi Mahadeva Sastri. Pages 35-37

Similarly Appya Dikshita also considered Shiva-Vishnu as non-different.

Ganesha is Self Born says Shiva in Linga PurANa


Many believe that Ganesha is the one who is born as hence he cannot be Ishvara. In many stuti-s, like in GAnesh Panch ratna, Ganesha is often connected with OM, he has non-dual, attributeless form and is unborn. 

Śiva mentions the following in the liṅga purāṇa 

tava avatārae daituānām
vināṣāya mamātmaja
davānām upakārātham
dvijānam brahma vādinām

My view on this sloka ( others are welcome to offer their translation):

Maheśvarāya is saying mamātmaja His son ( self-born) as the devata on earth avatārae is to bring distress (davānām) to those forces (tava) that stand in the way,or cause distress ( as mentioned davānām); it is for the welfare of the the learned/wise (vādinām) , for the twice born (dvijānam ) for the brahmin (brahma).

And who is this son ( IMHO) it is nā , śrī gaṇeśa-ji . This nā is a noun of gaṇeśa.

Now another view of this śloka is offered by John Grimes, (teacher/author Kodaikanal International School, South India) offers the following translation:

O' my son, this incarnation (avatāra) of yours for the destruction of demons and for the protection of the righteous. Create obstacles for those who go against dharma, bringing them to thier kness and remove all troubles of your devotees who walk the path of dharma.

Ādi śaṅkara-ji informs us of one's Supreme status . This tells us nārāyaṇa (viṣṇu, kṛṣṇa) tripurāntaka or śiva and the Supreme (īśa or īśavara) are the same. 

The liṅga purāṇa informs us that His son is Self -born i.e. mamātmaja, śiva Himself.


In Ganesha Sahasranama, found in Ganesh Maha Purana, There are names like The son of Shiva and Shiva (Pure or auspciousness). The word Auspiciousness which is used to describe Lord Rudra or Maheshvara is always interpreted as  the forth state i.e. Atman, as in case of NirvANa ShaTak / Atma ShaTak

Maa Bhavani is supreme in Soundarya Lahiri

The authorship of Soundarya Lahiri is disputed. Yoga was not the central teaching of Adi Shankara may be the reason. But it is well known he he and his Guru both were masters of Mantra Sadhana and Adi Ahanakra Bhagavadpada re-consecrated the Sri Chakra. Adi Shankara also wrote Sub-commentary on Pantajali Yog Sutra. Some believe only 41 verses were written by him, others were added later, while some say entire 100 verses were written by Adi Shankara, but at diferent time, one directly intuited form Maa Adi Shakti, others from his memory. For safety, we will take only first 41 verses.

24
(Management of fear of Bhoothas, Prethas and Pishachas)
Jagat suthe dhata harir avati rudrah kshapayate
Tiraskurvan etat svam api vapurisastirayati;
Sada-purvah sarvam tad idamanugrhnati cha Shiva-
Stavajnam aalambya kshana-chalitayor bhru-latikayoh.

Brahma creates the world,
Vishnu looks after it,
Shiva destroys it,
Easwara makes them disappear,
And also disappears himself,
And Sadshiva blesses them all,
By your order given to him,
By a momentary move of your eyebrows.


26
(Destruction of enemies)
Virincih panchatvam vrajati harir apnoti virathim
Vinasam kinaso bhajati dhanado yati nighanam;
Vitandri mahendri vithathir api sammeelita-drsa
Maha-samhare smin viharati sati tvat-patirasau.

The creator reaches the dissolution,
The Vishnu attains death,
The god of death even dies,
Kubera the lord of wealth expires,
The Indras close their eyes one after one,
And attain the wake less sleep,
During the final deluge,
But you my chaste mother,
Play with your consort the Sadashiva


Here, Maa Adi Shakti is considered as supreme Godhead. 

After going through the interpretations by our acharya and his various hymms, let us take pramANa from upanishad, which is authentic and commented by Advaita and Vaishnava acharyas.

Shiva-Vishnu (Narasimha) abheda in Narasimha Purva Tapaniya Upanishad


.... In another of his aspects he is Umapathi (husband of Uma) and Pasupathi (Lord of all beings) ...

Shiva-Vishnu (Narasimha) abheda in Narasimha Uttara Tapaniya Upanishad


Third Chapter

Meditate deeply on Pranava (Om) in the form of Chidagni (The fire within) which is in Agni Mandala (Orbit of fire) of the Mooladhara, in the Maha Peeta (consisting of 4, 7 and 32 petal lotus) with its family of four worlds (Earth, atmosphere, heavens and moon world) and seven souls (Loka-Veda-Devatha-Gana-Chanda-Agni-Vyahruthi). Then meditate

on letter Aa which is the Chaturathma (4 souls) and the Sapthathma (seven souls) as Brahma in the belly (Mani Pooraka), 
on letter Uu as Vishnu in the heart (Aanahatha)
on letter Ma as Rudra in the middle of eyelids (Aagna)
on the dot (chandrabindu) which is the happy nectar form of the soul of Omkara (Sound of Om) in Dwadasantha (just above the eyes) and the soul (Athma) in the form of sound in Shodasantha. 

Thus after worshipping with nectar (Ananda Amrutha) the four fold Brahmas (Devatha, Teacher, Mantra and the soul), Vishnu, Rudra separately and then together in the form of Linga with offerings and then unifying the linga forms in the Atma Jyothi (Light of the soul) and filling up the macro, micro and causal bodies with this light, we have to unify Atma Jyothi which is their basis with macro, micro, root and witness properties. Afterwards adjust the very gross Virat form in the very micro Hiranyagarbha form, and this micro form in the great causal Iswara form and after arranging the mantras similarly, and meditating on "Otha-Anuj-Jnathru-Anugna-Avikalpa" stages, and merging all this in to the Omkara (sound of Om) in Thuriya, we have to reach the Nirvikalpa Paramathma (formless great truth).

Fourth Chapter

Thus the soul should be meditated upon nine times as the Omkara form of Para Brahma with thuriya pranava sound. ...

The other alternative is to pray Lord Narasimha using the Anushtup Mantra. He (Narasimha) who is God exists as a human being and also as soul of every one for all times and every where, and also as one who destroys attachments and also as God of the universe. He is the soul of Thuriya. Believing he is yourself, the one who practices yoga should meditate on the Omkara Brahman.

He is the great sage who serves God, who establishes the lion with its fame, after mutually attracting Viswa, Thaijasa and Pragna who are like the sons of Atma with Pranava which has been pointed out as the bull of Vedas, after making them without separate identity and finishing them in Sakshi Chaithanya and afterwards kill the darkness of ignorance using the fame of the lion.

That devotee who after saluting Virat, Hiranya Garbha and Easwara who have been joined in the horns of Pranava and uniting them in the same Paramatma principle and then saluting Narasimha as described above and make him personally present by methods like Ugra (Very angry) and Veera (great hero), would exist in the form similar to Narasimha.

Source

sUrya as brahman in Aditya hridayam


Adityahridayam is a hymn dedicated to sUrya deva described as origin of the universe and from whom brahmA, viShNu and maheSa emerge to do their respective duties. This hymn is found in vAlmiki rAmAyaNa, yuddha khaNDa, Canto 107, is considered as authentic by all.

The essence of this hymn is that when one is depressed, there is lack of motivation, fear of getting defeated, etc, which implies that when one is in difficult situation and mind begins to lose hope and turn negative, at that time, prayer to the almighty, the supreme brahman helps one regain the lost confidence and strength to face the situation.

[Can be skipped]

Traditionally, the hymn if taken literally, starts with disappointment of rAmA that he could not kill rAvaNa. While rAmA was tired of fighting, he saw rAvaNa full of vigour ready of next session of face-to-face fight. In the midst of fierce battle, losing hope and confidence and so losing inner strength to fight rAvaNa, Lord rAmA, who though being supreme brahman himself, has by his own wish endowned himself with mAyA and restricted himself to act within human limits, as he is maryAdA puruSottama, engages himself in some deep thoughts. He cannot vanquish rAvaNa acting as God himself, as rAmA must respect the boon given by Lord brahmA jI that he cannot be killed by everyone except humans inlucding Gods. At this time, rishi agastya approaches him and initiates him into sUrya upAsanA (Sun worship) and teaches him Aditya hridiyam.

After learning this hymn, rAmA, with fresh confidence and strength is eager to fight rAvaNa.

Like all hymns, this hymn too has both saguNa and nirguNa elements in it. sUrya deva as Planet Sun, inner illuminator, Lord of all and supreme brahman, the creator, preserver and destroyer of universe is adorned and is to

To come back to symbolic interpretation, rAmA who is brahman himself represents deluded jIva. rAvaNa is negative quality, mostly taken as ego. When one does not get success in spiritual path and begins to lose confidence, engages in deep thought indicating that s/he is eager to find a solution, a guru approaches him/her and finds a way for him/her. After understanding the true nature of brahman the path becomes clear. sAdhaka once again regains the lost focus on his goal. Filled with fresh energy, acquired from clarity and studing the nature of brahman, one resumes the inner journey.

[/Can be skipped]


Few verses that describe sUrya deva as brahman are given here. Entire Aditya hridayam can be found here

सर्वदेवात्मको ह्येष तेजस्वी रश्मिभावनः। एष देवासुरगणाँल्लोकान् पाति गभस्तिभिः॥ ७॥

Sarvadevaatmako hyeshha tejasvii rashmibhaavanah.Eshha devaasuraganaa.nllokaan paati gabhastibh. 7

7. He indeed represent the totality of all celestial beings.
He is self-luminous and sustains all with his rays. He nourishes and energizes the inhabitants of all the worlds and the race of Devas and Asuras.

एष ब्रह्मा च विष्णुश्च शिवः स्कन्दः प्रजापतिः। महेन्द्रो धनदः कालो यमः सोमो ह्यपां पतिः॥ ८॥

Eshhah brahmaa cha vishhnushcha shivah skandah prajaapati. Mahendro dhanadah kaalo yamah somo hyapaam pati. 8

8. He is Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva, Skanda, Prajapati. He is also Mahendra, kubera, kala, yama, soma and varuna.

Note:
 
  • By mentioned the trinity, sUrya deva is adorned as the supreme brahman, 
  • skanda is the General of army, the annihilator of foes, negative qualities and so is sUrya deva, the dispeller of darkness of ignorance by it light.
  • prajApati-s (in plural) are progenitors of human race and other types of races like race of demi-gods, etc.
  • kubera is lord of wealth. sUyra deva is equalted with him indicating that he too can bestow material and spiritual wealth on his devotees. Alternatively sUrya deva is the Atman of kubera.
  • mahendra or the great Indra is the king of devatA-s and he controls lightening and cloud formation thus helping in bestowing rain. Indra deva is just another manifestation of sUrya deva
  • kAla is the God of time. kAla is not a person, indicating that the real nature of sUrya deva is not saguNa i.e. a sphere where we see daily. No activity can be done without time. Hence creation, preservation and destruction, time has to happen within the realm of time.yama is god of death indicating that sUrya deva is an immortal and has full control over death. Lord yama is also God of justice like Sani deva.
  • soma or Moon God is the one who nourishes all, the Lord of mind and bestower of amrit. Here amrit means longer life, healthy mind and bestowing of spiritual energy and rising of kunDalini. Bestowing milk (which represts amrit) is found in some yoga texts and tantras which say flowing of spiritual energy from crown to mulAdhAra to activate kunDalini.
  • varuNa is the god of water. Water is giving life. It has healing properties. flowing water indicates flowing energy or kunDalini.


verse nine also continues  also extends the lordship of Sun.

पितरो वसवः साध्या ह्यश्विनौ मरुतो मनुः। वायुर्वह्निः प्रजाप्राण ऋतुकर्ता प्रभाकरः॥ ९॥

Pitaro vasavah saadhyaa hyashvinau maruto manuh.Vaayurvahnih prajaapraana ritukartaa prabhaakarah. 9

9. He is the pitrs, vasus, sadhyas, aswini devas, maruts, manu, vayu, agni, prana and, being the source of all energy and light, is the maker of all the six seasons



आदित्यः सविता सूर्यः खगः पूषा गभस्तिमान्। सुवर्णसदृशो भानुर्हिरण्यरेता दिवाकरः॥ १०॥

Aadityah savitaa suuryah khagah puushhaa gabhastimaan. Suvarnasadrsho bhaanu rvishvaretaa divaakarah. 10

10. He is the son of Aditi (mother of all devatA-s), creator of the universe, inspirer of action, transverser of the heavens. He is the sustainer, illumination of all directions, the golden hued brilliance and is the maker of the day.


हरिदश्वः सहस्रार्चिः सप्तसप्तिर्मरीचिमान्। तिमिरोन्मथनः शम्भुस्त्वष्टा मार्ताण्ड अंशुमान्॥ ११॥

Haridashvah sahasraarchih saptasaptirmariichimaan. Timironmathanah shambhustvashhtaa maartandam anshumaan. 11

11. He is the Omnipresent One who pervades all with countless rays. He is the power behind the seven sense organs, the dispeller of darkness, bestower of happiness and prosperity, the remover of misfortunes and is the infuser of life.


हिरण्यगर्भः शिशिरस्तपनो भास्करो रविः। अग्निगर्भोऽदितेः पुत्रः शङ्खः शिशिरनाशनः॥ १२॥

Hiranyagarbhah shishirastapano bhaaskaro ravihi Agnigarbhoaditeh putrah shankha shishiranaashanah. 12

12. He is the primordial being manifesting as the Trinity. He ushers in the Day and is the teacher (of Hiranyagarbha), the fire-wombed, the son of Aditi, and has a vast and supreme felicity. He is the remover of intellectual dull-headedness.


व्योमनाथस्तमोभेदी ऋग्यजुःसामपारगः। घनवृष्टिरपां मित्रो विन्ध्यवीथीप्लवङ्गमः॥ १३॥

Vyomanaatha stamobhedii rig yajuh saama paaragah. Ghana vrishhti rapaam mitro vindhya viithii plavangama... 13

13. He is the Lord of the firmament (heaven) [1], dispeller of darkness [2]. Master of all the vedas [3], he is a friend of the waters and causes rain [4]. HE has crossed the vindya range [5] and sports in the Brahma Nadi [6].

[1] Lord of heaven means he is lord Indra. Lord Indra, though in conventional sense is a demi-God, a devatA and not God, Isvara, in rg veda, he is described as supreme brahman. Here it indicates both identity with Indra as tatvam and as supreme brahman.

[2] Only knowledge can dispell darkness. It sUrya deva is both guru and God

[3] Mastery in veda-s could mean the best guru or the knower of truth or the truth itself

[4] Indicates he is Sun as planet (star). It also indicates his sAxI (sAkshI) bhAva i.e. being witness. Everything happens in it's presence but itself does not do anything to make things happen. Can be equated with supreme brahman.

[5] vindhyA mountain and meru mountain represents the spine and is called as brahmaDaNDa or meru DANDa.

[6] brahma nADI is also known as Atma nADI or sushumNA nADI. vindhyA

Note: When the consciousness is pulled into iDA and pingalA and then enters into suShumnA nADI, and kunDAlini rises from mulAdhAra to sahasrAra chakra, one gets enlightenment.

Here it means that sUrya is kunDalini which is activated in sushumnA nADI and has crossed vindhyA i.e. has risen to sahasrAra chakra, indicating enlightenment, the ultimate non-dual state of super consciousness.


नक्षत्रग्रहताराणामधिपो विश्वभावनः। तेजसामपि तेजस्वी द्वादशात्मन् नमोऽस्तु ते॥ १५॥

Nakshatra grahataaraanaam adhipo vishva bhaavanah. Tejasaamapi tejasvii dvaadashaatman namostute 15

15. He is the lord of stars, planets and all constellations. He is the origin of everything in the universe and is the cause of the lustre of even the brilliant ones [7]. Salutations to Thee who is the One being manifest in the twelve forms of the Sun [8].


Note:

[7] The verse indicates all-pervading nature of Sun. Some may connect the all pervading nature as a result of spreading of Sun rays. However Lordship of all means sUrya deva is Brahman, the consciousness.

[8] Verse also mentiones the underlying unity in multiplicity. As said in upanishads, The One Non-Dual brahman creted universe and himself entered into it. In this way, the one became many.


ब्रह्मेशानाच्युतेशाय सूर्यायादित्यवर्चसे। भास्वते सर्वभक्षाय रौद्राय वपुषे नमः॥ १९॥

Brahmeshaana achyuteshaaya suuryaayaadityavarchase. Bhaasvate sarvabhakshaaya raudraaya vapushhe nama. 19

19. Salutations to the Lord of Brahma, shiva and Achyuta, salutations to the powerful and to the effulgence in the Sun that is both the illuminator and devourer of all and is of a form that is fierce like Rudra.


तमोघ्नाय हिमघ्नाय शत्रुघ्नायामितात्मने। कृतघ्नघ्नाय देवाय ज्योतिषां पतये नमः॥ २०॥

Tamoghnaaya himagnaaya shatrughnaaya amitaatmane. Kritaghnaghnaaya devaaya jyotishhaam pataye nama. 20

20. Salutations to he transcendental atman that dispels darkness, drives away all fear, and destroys all foes. Salutations also to the annihilator of the ungrateful and to the Lord of all the stellar bodies.


तप्तचामीकराभाय वह्नये विश्वकर्मणे। नमस्तमोऽभिनिघ्नाय रुचये लोकसाक्षिणे॥ २१॥

Tapta chaamiika raabhaaya haraye vishvakarmane. Namastamo.abhinighnaaya ravaye lokasaakshine 21

21. Salutations to the Lord shining like molten gold, to the transcendental fire, the fire of supreme knowledge, the architect of the universe, destroyer of darkness and salutations again to the effulgence that is the Cosmic witness.


sUryadeva as the supreme Lord, the creator, preserver and destroyer

नाशयत्येष वै भूतं तदेव सृजति प्रभुः। पायत्येष तपत्येष वर्षत्येष गभस्तिभिः॥ २२॥

Naashayatyeshha vai bhuutam tadeva srijati prabhuuH. Paayatyeshha tapatyeshha varshhatyeshha gabhastibhi. 22

22. Salutations to the Lord who destroys everything and creates them again. Salutations to Him who by His rays consumes the waters, heats them up and sends them down as rain.


Note: By showing the natural phenomenon of effect of Sun's rays, his act of preserving the world is shown. Hence he is preserver of the world too.


sUryadeva as sutrAtmA, the one who resides in our heart and is the the lord of sacrifices.


एष सुप्तेषु जागर्ति भूतेषु परिनिष्ठितः। एष एवाग्निहोत्रं च फलं चैवाग्निहोत्रिणाम्॥ २३॥

Eshha supteshhu jaagarti bhuuteshhu parinishhthitah. Eshha evaagnihotramcha phalam chaivaagnihotrinaam. 23

23. Salutations to the Lord who abides in the heart of all beings keeping awake when they are asleep. He is both the sacrificial fire and the fruit enjoyed by the worshippers.


sUryadeva as bhagavAn

वेदाश्च क्रतवश्चैव क्रतूनां फलमेव च। यानि कृत्यानि लोकेषु सर्व एष रविः प्रभुः॥ २४॥

Vedaashcha kratavashchaiva kratuunaam phalameva cha. Yaani krityaani lokeshhu sarva eshha ravih prabhu. 24

24. The Sun is verily the Lord of all action in this universe. He is verily the vedas, the sacrifices mentioned in them and the fruits obtained by performing the sacrifices.


Source and Credits:
Online: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adityahridayam
Book: Adityahrdayam Translated by S. Venkarasubramanyam, Published by Sri Ramakrishna Math, Mylapore, Chennai.


From the above we can conclude that sUrya worshipped as sUrya nArAyaNa or the supreme brahman in smArta dharma is supported by itihAsa.

Conclusion

Hence this informs me that viShNu = Siva = gaNesha = maa pArvatI devI = OM = Atman = Knowledge (vidyA) = sUrya as (sUrya nArAyaNa)

Different forms, all Supreme, same reality, all are said to have the non-dual, attributeless form in their stuti-s, or sahasranAma.

Our Acharya propagated smArta dharma. Claims of dubious authority about many works cannot be considered genuine due to limitations in the methods of enquiry and lack of intellectual understanding.

Even though some works may not be his own compositions, still they are useful. All advaita works like Stuti, Stavan, independent granths, etc all comply to Advaita philosophy and help us prepare for core philosophy of adhyAropa apavAda or chanting OM and reaching turiya state.

If we refute works just because they cannot be convincingly proved and discard everything that is not written by Adi Shankara, then in case of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, he did not write anything other than 8 instructions. Entire work and philosophy can be questioned. None acharyas have written any autobiography. It is written by his successors and hence can be doubted of being authentic teachings of acharyas themselves. 


Adi Shankara not only revived our vedic dharma, but he also united our people. It is said that Panchdev Puja or Panchyatna Pooja, was not started by propagated by Adi Shankaracharya. Kanchi Paramacharya says that he introducted Kartikeya (Skanda, Murugan) as the sixth deva. Some worship six deities, some replace any one deva with Kartikeya.

Hari OM

|| Shri Gurubhyo Namah ||

|| Shri Adi Shankara Bhagavadpada Sharanam ||

|| Om Shri Paramatmane Namah ||
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