Authenticity of Puranas, Up-puranas and Sthala Puranas


Updated on 18th March 2016

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Pranams,

Points highlighted in this article In simple words are:

Verses in padma purANa, uttara khaNDa classifying purANa-s into sAttvika, rAjasika and tAmasika purANa-s taken up for analysis. These verses are rejected by using many ways.
  1. Another classification is quoted from svarga khaNDa of padma purANa, which says that all the purANa-s being manifestation of different parts of Sri Hari's body are very sacred and capable of bestowing salvation.
  2. padma purANa's uttara khaNDa is considered to be the most corrupted portion.
  3. It is shown that none of the advaita AchArya-s including Adi Sankara bhagavapAda consider any purANa as sAttvika, rAjasik or tAmasik
  4. veda-s, upanishads and Mahabharata verses are quoted in support of claim showing Siva as unborn, self-dependent God and is supreme Brahman.
  5. Neither mahAbhArata nor veda-s nor gItA divides into three parts sAttcika, rAjasika and tAmasika.
  6. All accept that in case of contradiction views of shruti are considered as supreme. shruti, itihAsa and purANa are accepted in descending authority, shruti being topmost. On this basis, verses from padma purANa classifying purANa-s into three categories - sattva, rajasa and tamasa are rejected.
  7. Logical reason is given as why bhagavAn veda vyAsa or bhagavAn brahmA jI cannot get influenced by guNa-s and that they would not do any act to lead anyone into hell. Leading dis-believers in hell is more of a concept of Abrahamic faith like Christianity and Islam. Our culture makes conscious effort to logically explain dis-believers to become theists without making to blindly believe in God. We believe that each and every soul is moving towards it's source brahman and will one day merge in it losing it's own identity.
  8. Some arguments of vaiShNava-s like trying to prove Siva is born and hence is demi-god and has lower status than viShNu is discussed and their double standard of calling Siva and brahmA as param-bhAgavata-s and at the same time their worship leads one to hell is questioned.

Summary in Brief

Just like other articles on this site, this article too is lengthy. Hence we are giving summary and conclusion in brief.

There are verses in parma purANa, uttara khaNDa that classify purANa-s as sAttvika, rAjasika and tAmasika.  The classification is

Sattvik Puranas: Vishnu Purana, Naradiya Puran, Padma Purana, Garuda Purana, Varaha Purana, Srimad Bhagavata Purana (236.18)
Rajasik Puranas: Brahmanda Purana, Brahmavaivarta, Markandeya Purana, Bhavishya Purana, Vamana Purana, Brahma Purana (236.19)
Tamasik Puranas: Matsya Purana, Kurma Purana, Linga Purana, Shiva Purana, Skanda Purana, Agni Purana (236.20)

It further states that

Among these puranas Satvika Puranas lead one to liberation, Rajasa do not cause good and tamasa puranas lead one to hell. (236.21)

However, another classification exists in same padma purANa, svarga khaNDa saying that all purANa-s are a part of ShrI hari

  1. Brahma Purana is said to be the 'forehead' of Sri Hari,
  2. Padma Purana is said to be the 'heart' of Sri Hari,
  3. Vishnu Purana is said to be the 'right arm' of Sri Hari.
  4. Shiva Purana is said to be the 'left arm' of Sri Hari.
  5. Srimad Bhagawat is said to be his 'thigh',
  6. Narada Purana is said to be his 'navel',
  7. Markendeya Purana is said to be his 'right-foot'.
  8. Agni Purana is said to be his 'left foot',
  9. Bhavishya Purana is said to be his 'right-knee',
  10. Brahma Vaivrata Purana is said to be his 'left-knee'.
  11. Linga Purana is said to be his 'right ankle',
  12. Varaha Purana is said to be his 'left ankle',
  13. Skanda Purana is said to be the hair on the body of 'Sri Hari'.
  14. Vamana Purana is said to be his 'skin'.
  15. Kurma Purana is said to be his 'back'.
  16. Matsya Purana is said to be his 'stomach'.
  17. Garuda Purana is said to be his 'bone-marrow'.
  18. Brahmanda Purana is said to be his 'bone'.
Padma Purana, svarga khaNDa (62.2-7)


If we compare this classification with the varNa creation in veda-s and dharma smriti-s, then the higher or top part of body is superior. In this case, both Vishnu and Shiva purana are considered equal while bhAgavat purANa, which is considered as the best amongst purANa-s by vaishNaVa-s, is an inferior purANa according to this classification if it is taken in line with varNa utpatti.

However, padma purANa itself does not say similarly. It simply says that all purANa-s are the parts (ansha-s) of ShrI hari. For the working of body all parts are important. Hence no purANa is superior or inferior.

vaishNaVa-s cash on these few verses which allows one to discard the authority of other purANa-s, thereby making it easy to establish viShNu-sarvottama, as sAttvika purANa-s are dedicated to spreading the glories of bhagavAn viShNu.

Here, we will refute this claim by logical analysis

Refutation of controversial verses of padma purANa by use of Logic

It is said that veda vyAsa is himself the incarnation of bhagavAn viShNu. It is he who has split veda-s into four parts, created mahAbhArata and split one purANa into 18 parts. As per the basic rule accepted by all vedantists, the authority of shruti is more than that of itihAsa and authority of itihAsa is more than that of purANa-s. If some verses are found which contradict shruti (veda-s) than those verses are rejected.

By this logic, neither veda-s, nor itihAsa has been internally split into three categories - sAttvika, rAjasika and tAmasika. Nor there is any mention in itihAsa (i.e. mahAbhArata or vAlmiki rAmAyaNa) that such split is been done purposefully done by veda vyAsa in order to mislead people to worship God other than viShNu. To add to this, other classification of purANA-s exists in the same purANa. veda-s themselves do not denigrate the status of Siva or say that those who worship Siva go to hell.

Again, many scholars are of the opinion that the last part of padma purANa is highly interpolated and often accused to be the most corrupted. uttara khaNDa is the last part of most purANa-s. The controversial verses categorizing purANa-s are in this uttara part, while those describing all 18 purANa-s as parts of ShrI hari are in svarga khaNDa.

From the above logic we can reject these controversial verses.

Some have also argued that vyAsa or brahmA jI were deluded or were endowed with tamasa and rajasa guNa while composing these purANa-s. If we accept this logic, it would mean that brahmA jI cannot control his own thoughts and such a person who cannot control this own thoughts and gets influenced by guNa-s is not considered worthy of carrying the responsibility of creating this world. We all know that brahmA jI is the creator of this world, hence by accepting this logic, we are directly questioning shrI hari, which is of course unacceptable.

Similarly, veda vyAsa himself endowing with rajasa and tamasa guNa is not mentioned anywhere in any purANa or mahAbhArata. It is cooked up story of vaiShNava-s. It is unacceptable that the avatAra of bhagavAn hari can be influenced by guNa-s or that he purposefully wrote these purANa with the intention to delude men and women or for those who only want material benefits from God.

In either case, it is not acceptable that either brahmA jI or veda vyAsa jI could be influenced by guNa-s. brahmA, viShNu and mahesha (Siva / rudra) control these guNa-s, but themselves never get influenced by them. Hence they can uplift devotees from these guNa-s.

Such accusation of taking avatAra to mislead people is often targetted at Adi Sankara and Lord Buddha. While Adi Sankara is considered as hidden buddhist, Lord Buddha is considered as an avarAta of bhagavAn viShNu who took birth to mislead ignorant and disbelieving men from the vedic path. Both stories are wrong. Adi Sankara was not a hidden-buddhist is proved in a section, Clearing Accusations and Doubts. Lord Buddha's story is also cooked up story, as this relates to the inner city i.e piNDaNDa, the inner universe, own own body which is divided into sthula Sarira(physical gross body), sukshma Sarira (subtle body) and kAraNa Sarira (causal body). They are collectively called as tripurA and the destroyer of these cities is called as tripurANtaka. Even if we take this story in literal sense, the three planets of gold, silver and iron were definitely not earth and hence the Lord Buddha, of purANa is not the Lord Buddha, the originator of Buddhism. Further explanation of destruction of tripura (3 cities) is beyond the scope of current work.

Generally the name by which any personality becomes famous (or infamous) reflects his / her character and his actions. An example is that of dushAshana. His name was sushAshana. No parent will give demonic name to their children. Similarly duryodhana's (dur-yoddhA or bad warrior i.e. warrior with bad ethics or wicked warrior) birth name was 'suyoddhyA' (su-yoddhA, good warrior). The name 'rAvaNa' was given to 'dashAnanda' by Lord Siva himself because his cry due to unbearable pain caused by crushing of his hands under Mount Kailash echoed in all three loka-s. Due to his crying dashAnanda was called as rAvaNa. Similarly, 'buddha' or 'bodha' means the 'awakened one' or 'the one who has realised his true Self'.

The claim that Siva can only grant material wishes is also a cooked up story and only those who do not want moksha and are satisfied with the fulfilment of material objects worship Siva. Infact Siva is often shown as an ascetic, while viShNu is always shown as wearing golden jewellery and wearing a crown. Siva does not wear crown. Nowhere you will find either only veda-s or in mahAbhArata or purANa that Siva is incapable of granting moksha. On one hand vaiShNava-s consider Siva and brahmA jI as param-bhAgavata (greatest devotee of viShNu) and on the other hand they leave on opportunity to denigrate the status of bhagavAn Siva. In this process they desparetely try to prove the Siva or rudra was born hence cannot be Ishvara. In this process of denigrating status of Siva, they break the basic tenets of Vaishnavism - jIva, jagat and Ishvara are eternal. If we consider Siva worship as 'leading to hell', then it contradicts their claim of Siva being param-bhAgavata. If parama-bhAgavata Siva can lead one to hell, then what about other devotee of bhagavAn viShNu? Does bhagavAn viShNu teach his senior devotees to lead laymen to hell? The logic is flawed, smelling double standards and is unacceptable.

Considering the fact that earlier there the same padma purANa says that earlier there was only one purANa, which was later split into 18 parts for the benefits of all. Hence it would be illogical to accept that the original purANa created for leymen has sections that mislead them.

Again, these so-called sAttvika purANa-s have sung the glories of Siva. mahAbhArata also sings the glory of bhagavAn Siva. Before starting of mahAbhArata war, bhagavAn krShNa himself asked arjuna to perform durgA pUjA. bhagavAn krShNa has himself considered Siva as bhagavAn and delivered Siva saharanAma in mahAbhArata which is considered authentic by even dvaitins. krShNa also underwent pAsupata diksha, smeared ashes and chanted the holy name of bhagavAn Siva. In vAlmiki rAmAyaNa, riShi agastya asked bhagavAn rAma to worship sUrya deva and taught him Aditya hridayam.


Verses from sAttvika purANa-s, mahAbhArata and veda-s glorifing Siva


Some verses from padma purANa glorifying Siva are

In padma pUrANa itself, we find the greatness of Siva and statements of non-difference between them (Siva-viShNu-abheda)

For e.g. in svarga khaNDa, chapter 33 speaks of important places of pilgrimage and the rewards (phala-shrutI) of visiting them. Holy places like vArANasI and kASI are given. While explaining the importance of vArANasI, it is said that where both viShNu and mahAdeva reside, bhakta-s get mukti if they leave their physical body on this holy place.

While explaining importance of kASI, srI nArada ji says (33.57-59), among deva-s, nArAyaNa is the best (shreShTha) and amongst ISvara-s, girISha (Siva / rudra) is the best (ShreShTha). The one who worships rudra, do not get rebirth.

In padma purANa, there is Siva gItA which sings glories of Lord Siva and Lord Siva shows his vishvarUpa in chapter 7.

We find Siva being glorified in bhAgavat purANa too.

BP 8.7.22: O lord, you are the cause of bondage and liberation of the entire universe because you are its ruler. Those who are advanced in spiritual consciousness surrender unto you, and therefore you are the cause of mitigating their distresses, and you are also the cause of their liberation. We therefore worship Your Lordship.

BP 8.7.23: O lord, you are self-effulgent and supreme. You create this material world by your personal energy, and you assume the names Brahmā, Viṣṇu and Maheśvara when you act in creation, maintenance and annihilation.


BP 8.7.24: You are the cause of all causes, the self-effulgent, inconceivable, impersonal Brahman, which is originally Parabrahman. You manifest various potencies in this cosmic manifestation.


More examples are given later.

Verses from mahAbhArata establishing it's authority over purANa-s


Mahabharata, Book One, Adi Parva, Chapter 2 (Section II), verses 238-240 says,

"O ye Brahman, as the four kinds of creatures (viviparous, oviparous, born of hot moisture and vegetables) are dependent on space for their existence, so the Puranas depend upon this history. As all the senses depend for their exercise upon the various modifications of the mind, so do all acts (ceremonials) and moral qualities depend upon this treatise. There is not a story current in the world but doth depend on this history, even as body upon the food it taketh".

Source: http://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/m01/m01003.htm

Mahabharata, Book 1, Adi Parva, Section II



Verses in mahAbhArata proving supremacy of Siva / rudra

It is said in Mahabharata 13.14.183-184 that

Thou art he that hadst created from thy right side the Grandsire Brahma, the Creator of all things. Thou art he that hadst created from thy left side Vishnu for protecting the Creation. Thou art that puissant Lord who didst create Rudra when the end of the Yuga came and when the Creation was once more to be dissolved. That Rudra, who sprang from thee destroyed the Creation with all its mobile and immobile beings, assuming the form of Kala of great energy,...

(condt)

"The blessed Vishnu said, 'I saluted Mahadeva, saying,--Salutations to thee, O thou that art the eternal origin of all things. The Rishis say that thou art the Lord of the Vedas. The righteous say that thou art Penance, thou art Sattwa, thou art Rajas, thou art Tamas, and thou art Truth. Thou art Brahman, thou art Rudra ...



Further to strengthen our claim, we are prood from both Sankara bhAshya-s of gItA, upanishads and viShNu saharanAma to prove that Adi Sankara preached smArta dharma.

We also have various shruti-pramANa-s to prove that gaNesha-Siva-shakti-viShNu-sUrya abheda. We can also prove brahmA-viShNu-Siva abheda from Sankara bhAshya-s. Some proofs are given in the later part of this articles while Sankara bhAshya-s are quoted in another section Adi Sankara preached smArta dharma.
 
All five deities have their own atharvashirSha-s, each is the supreme brahman in it's formless aspect. skambha sukta, mahAkAla sukta claim Siva to be superior. Hence both Siva and viShNu as tatvam are supreme. It is further explained in another article viShNu and caturbhuja viShNu.

In the longer response, we have quoted few verses from mahAbhArta, padma purANa and from veda-s proving the superiority of Siva.

Here we will quote some verse from veda-s proving superiority od rudra

RV 1.43.6 Grant us, Immortal One, the food which mortals eat: be gracious unto me, my seed, my progeny.

AV 4.28.3: Reverence we offer, O Bhava, to thy roaring, to thy breath, and to thy injurious qualities; reverence to thee, O Rudra, thousand-eyed, immortal!

RV 7.59.12 We Worship Tryambaka (shiva), Who spreads Fragrance and Increases nourishment, May He LIBERATE (moksha) us, like the cucumber from its stem, from Mortal life, and give us Immortality.

Then the discipline students (Brahmacharins of Yajnavalkya) asked him: Pray, tell us, what is that mantra by reciting which one attains immortality ? He replied: By (reciting) Satarudriya. These mantras are indeed the names of (Rudra to achieve) immortality. By (reciting) these (mantras) one becomes immortal. - Jabala Upanishad III-1


Finally, we consider the opinion of advaita and other purvAchArya-s. None of advaita AchArya-s have quoted these verses. Adi Sankara in his viShNu saharanAma bhAshya has quoted as many as 12 purANa-s including upa-purANa-s. Similar trend is observed by other advaitins. vidyAraNya svAmI in his panchadaSI chapter 7 has accepted all five forms of Gods as equal manifestations of supreme brahman. madhusudan sarasvatI has written commentary on Siva mahimna stotra in two parts, one praising Siva, another praising krShna. He says that the sole aim of composing commentary is to prove the non-difference between them. This analysis can be found here. vAchaspati mishrA and amalAnanda in therir commentaries on brahma sutra-s have invoked blessings of gaNesha. They considered gaNesha has the supreme brahman.

Other pUrvAchArya-s and great saints like GYAneshvara, tukArAma, muktAbai, nivrittinAtha, namdeo, mirAbAI, gosvAmI tulsidAsa, lAla deDa (llaleshvarI), mahAkavi kAlidAsa, abhinavgupta, SrikAntAchArya, ShrIpad Srivallabha, bhAskararAya makin, etc has never denigrated the status of either Siva or viShNu.

Lastly we can interpret satva, rajasa and tamasa in different way.

It is a general notion that sattva guNa is the best guNa, the divine guNa, rajasa denotes materialistic qualities and activities and tamasa guNa denotes inertia, laziness, negative demonic qualities like revengeful attitude. However these guNa-s have alternate meaning also.

rajasa can mean 'mental activity' which can mean 'mental agitation'. Mental agitation is the disturbance created by thoughts during meditation. This is the first guNa to be controlled.

sattva can also mean 'to preserve' (as bhagavAn viShNu preserves). sattva guNa also has quality of 'renunciation'. Hence by renunciation of that which is not 'I' one can reach the supreme state - Brahman.

tamasa also means ignorance 'avidyA' and 'aGYAna', the root cause of misery and mortality. It is a veil which separates us or keeps us away from our true nature. It is necessary to remove the veil of ignorance so as to know our true nature.

Finally one has to transcend these verses and abide in Self.

Conclusion:

We can conclude the during the time of mahAbhArta viShNu was not the only worshipped deity. Siva, shakti and sUrya were equally worshipped. We all know the gaNesha is invoked before beginning of any event or task to remove obstacles. We have gaNesha sukta and gaNesha atharvaShirsha which say gaNesha is the supreme brahman. Hence in ancient days, smArta dharma was prevalent. viShNu was not the exclusively worshipped deity.

Words sattva, rajasa and tamasa can be interpreted in different way. Finally one has to transcend above these guNa-s and abide in Self, which is none other than the supreme brahman. Contemplating on any form of Ishvara helps us transcend these guNa-s

From the above short analysis, we can conclude that there is Siva-viShNu abheda. Hence both can grant moksha. Reading the so-called tAmasika purANa-s will not lead one to hell as padma purANa says. In other words, these verses are interpolation.

Lets begin our longer reply.

Controversial verses in padma purANa



Vaishnava-s claim that not all purANa-s are acceptable and of equal authenticity. They cite a verse from padma purAnA in which it is said that tAmasIka puraNa-s are the ones which leads one to hell.

Lets have a look at these verses.

There are some verses in Padma Purana, Uttara-khanda, 236.18–21 which categorize each of 18 major purANa-s into sAttvika, rAjasika and tamasika. Lets analyse them.

Satvika Puranas:

वैष्णवं नारदीयं च तथा भागवतं शुभम् ।
गारुडं च तथा पाद्मं वाराहं शुभदर्शने ।
सात्विकानि पुराणानि विज्ञेयानि शुभानि वै ।।

Vishnu Purana, Naradiya Puran, Padma Purana, Garuda Purana, Varaha Purana, Srimad Bhagavata Purana are sAttvika(236.18)

Rajasa Puranas:

ब्रह्माण्डं ब्रह्मवैवर्तं मार्कण्डेयं तथैव च ।
भविष्यं वामनं ब्राह्मं राजसानि निबोधत ।।

Brahmanda Purana, Brahmavaivarta, Markandeya Purana, Bhavishya Purana, Vamana Purana, Brahma Purana are rAjasika (236.19)

Tamasa Puranas :

मात्सयं कौर्मं तथा लैङ्गम् शैवं स्कान्दं तथैव च ।
आग्नेयं च षडेतानि तामसानि निबोधत ।।

Matsya Purana, Kurma Purana, Linga Purana, Shiva Purana, Skanda Purana, Agni Purana are tAmasika (236.20)

सात्विका मोक्षदाः प्रोक्ताः राजसा सर्वदा अशुभाः ।
तथैव तामसा देवि निरयप्राप्तिहेतवः ।।

प.पु. उत्तर 236.21

Among these puranas Satvika Puranas lead one to liberation, Rajasa do not cause good and tamasa puranas lead one to hell. (236.21)

The word niraya ( निरय) is translated as 'Hell'. While this is one meaning of the word, there are other meanings like profitless, yielding no income, bring or get out.

So the verse could mean, 

O Devi pArvatI,  by reading tAmasika purANa-s, one will not gain anything.

We will try to give some logical reasoning why we disagree with those verses. There is another classification in matsya purANa.

Matsya Purana 190.13-14 says,

“The glory of Hari is greater in sattvika scripture; the glory of Brahma is greater in rajasika scriptures; and that of Agni and Siva greater in tamasika scriptures. In mixed scriptures the glory of Sarasvati and the pitrs is said to be greater."

[needs to be clarified]

Note: I am not able to find this classification in todays version of matya purana. 

Another Classification in padma purANa - a better one



According to Maharshi Suta, all the Puranas are nothing but the mediums through which Sri Hari manifests himself

एकं पुराण रुप वै तत्र पाद्मं परं महत् । ब्रह्मं मूर्धा हरेरेव ह्रदयं पद्मसंज्ञकम्॥ 
वैष्णवं दक्षिणो बाहुः शैव वामो महेशितुः । उरु भागवतं प्रोक्तं नाभिः स्यान्नारदीयकम्॥ 
मार्कण्डेयं च दक्षांग्रिर्वामो ह्याग्रेयमुच्यते । भविष्यं दक्षिणो जानुर्विष्णोरेव महात्मन: ॥ 
ब्रह्मवैवर्तसंज्ञं तु वामज्जानुस्नदाहृतः । लैऽगैं तु गुल्फकं दर्क्ष वाराहं वामगुल्फकम् ॥ 
स्कान्दं पुराण लोमानित्वगस्य वामनं स्मृतम् । कौर्म पृष्ठं समाख्यातं मात्स्यं मेदः प्रकी्र्तितम् ॥ 
मज्जा तु गारुडं प्रोक्तं ब्रह्माण्डमस्थि गीयते । एवमेवाभवद्विष्णुः पुराणाव्यवो हरिः ॥ 

पद्म पुराण, स्वर्ग खण्ड (६२।२-७)

  1. Brahma Purana is said to be the 'forehead' of Sri Hari,
  2. Padma Purana is said to be the 'heart' of Sri Hari,
  3. Vishnu Purana is said to be the 'right arm' of Sri Hari.
  4. Shiva Purana is said to be the 'left arm' of Sri Hari.
  5. Srimad Bhagawat is said to be his 'thigh',
  6. Narada Purana is said to be his 'navel',
  7. Markendeya Purana is said to be his 'right-foot'.
  8. Agni Purana is said to be his 'left foot',
  9. Bhavishya Purana is said to be his 'right-knee',
  10. Brahma Vaivrata Purana is said to be his 'left-knee'.
  11. Linga Purana is said to be his 'right ankle',
  12. Varaha Purana is said to be his 'left ankle',
  13. Skanda Purana is said to be the hair on the body of 'Sri Hari'.
  14. Vamana Purana is said to be his 'skin'.
  15. Kurma Purana is said to be his 'back'.
  16. Matsya Purana is said to be his 'stomach'.
  17. Garuda Purana is said to be his 'bone-marrow'.
  18. Brahmanda Purana is said to be his 'bone'.
Padma Purana, svarga khaNDa (62.2-7)

Note: These verses are found on both version of padma purana - south Indian with 5 khanda-s and bengali with 7 khanda-s.

We can conclude that, all the Puranas being manifestation of different parts of Sri Hari's body are very sacred and capable of bestowing salvation.  

For a body to function properly, all parts are important.

Source: Padma Puarana, Swarga Khand, International Gita Society / sankshipta Padma Purana

According to Padma Purana, there was just one purana, which was split into 18 by Bhagavan Veda Vyasa. 

Since opinion of pUrvAcArya-s is invaluable, lets analyze how advaita pUrvAcArya-s view purANA-s and that they accept this verses as authentic or not.

Opinion of pUrvAcArya-s and Siva-viShNu abheda



In References cited by Adi Sankara in his viSHNu sahasranAma bhASya, we have seen that revered AcArya cites references of 12 purANa-s. These include sattvik, rAjasika and tAmasika as well as up-purANa-s. He also cites non-difference between Siva (rudra) - viShNu while translating the attributes (names) 23-keSava, 27-Siva, 114-rudra (here Adi Sankara cites linga purANa). viShNu sahasranAma contains many names common to Siva and vice versa.

From prasthAntrayi bhASya and some prakaraNa grantha-s, it can be concluded that Adi Sankara's IsTa deva was bhagavAna viShNu. His parents were Siva bhakta-s. Adi Sankara never denigrated status of any deva, which are revered as bhagavAna.  AcArya directly connects Siva with Brahman, as kalyANakArI AtmA. AcArya also connects viShNu with brahman. Both forms of ISvara are not different from tatva POV.

Adi Sankara has written a gloss on Patanjali yOga sutra, (or as some say has written a gloss on mahAbhASya of vyAsa) by the name yOga tArAvalI where our AcArya has revered both sadASiva and viShNu. AcArya, in verse 2, has called sadASiva as teacher who teaches over 1 lakh ways to absorptive samadhi. Out of which contemplation on nAda is regarded as most worthy. Later on AcArya explains different states of consciousness in which AcArya equates viShNu. Here AcArya explains it as state of viShNu (viShNu pada), as the intervening space where kundalini after abandoning iDa and pingalA concentrates in suSumnA nADI and dissolves in it (refer verse 12). In earlier verses AcArya explains that this happens when one meditates in anAhata nAda (OM).  viShNu here would mean as all-pervasive space.

Adi Sankara has not quoted bhAgavat purANa in his prasthAntraya bhASya. In his viShNu sahasranAma bhASya, he has not cited any sloka from bhAgavat purANa.

maharShi vyAsa has written bhASya on patanjalI yOga sUtra-s. maharShi vyAsa begins his commentary by offering salutations to nIlakanTha (the blue throat Lord i.e. Lord Siva).  

sant GYAnadEva - (1275 - 1296) (GYAnESvara / Jnaneshwar) was a viShNu bhakta, but never denigrated status of Siva. santa GYAnESvara's elder brother nivrittinAtha was the head of nava-nAtha sampradAya.  It is said that after association with his elder brother, GYAnadEva composed amritAnubhava and has revered his elder brother as both guru and ISvara. It is of the nature of advaita and ajAta vAda, GYAndEva begins the work by offering salutations to Siva and Sakti. (Wherever yOga is mentioned reference is generally made to Siva.)

vidyAraNya svAmI (1300 - 1400 approx) in his panchdaSI 6-111-206, lists many gods like hiraNyagarbha, gaNeSa, Siva, viShNu, devI, sUrya, etc and says that they are all equal. vidyAraNaya svAmI has written a  very popular commentary (dipikA) on sUta samhitA, an important part of skanda purANa, by the same 'tAtparya dipikA'. sUta samhitA is considered as very important and is favourite amongst sanyAsin-s and advaitin-s. skanda purAnA is listed as tAmasika. It is not possible that vidyAraNya svAmi was not aware of these verses.

Suta SamhitA is highly revered by Advaitins. Suta Samhita is very liberal in teachings. One instance can be found hereIt says,

"The wise say that each of these sastras is intended for a particular class according to the individual qualification, not all for one." (Skanda-Purana, Suta-Samhita, Yajna-Vaibhava-Khanda, 22nd adhyaya).

In panchdaSI 8.59, vidyAraNaya svAmI says that the Siva mentioned in Siva purANa is non other than non-dual-self-effulgent kUTastha (Supreme Brahman). svAmI ji says so because whatever laxaNa-s are mentioned for Siva, are the same for Brahman too says translator and commentator svamI SankarAnanda of Chinmaya Mission. Kaivalya 6, mANDUkya 12 and other upanshads have used the word 'Siva' for kUTastha. In Siva purANa, everything is described in dramatic form says svAmI SankarAnanda of Chinmaya Mission..

madhUsudana sarasvatI (1540 - 1640) commented on Siva mahimna stotra in two ways, one glorifying Siva and other krishna. In this way he established non-difference between them.

appayya dixita (1520 - 1593) (dikshita), a Saiva-advaitn, was a Siva bhakta, but he has written some works in praise of viShNu too. He relied heavily on purANa-s while engaging in debates.

bhAskararAya, (1690 - 1785) a Sakta-advaitin, has commented on srI gaNeSa sahasranAma version found in chapter 42 of GaNeSa purANa, an up-purANa.  It is said that bhAskararAya popularized devI bhAgavata purANa. He has written a commentary on lalItA sahasranAma. (Note ranga rAmanuja muni, upanishad bhASyakAra of srI vaiSnava sampradAya, also lived at same time)

srI abhnavaguptA,, (9th - 10th Century AD) a great multi talented scholar, and master of Kashmir Shaivism was a great Siva bhakta. He wrote commentary on bhagavad gItA. this unique AcArya also wrote additional verse after each chapter, which is a summary of the the whole chapter.  

srI nilkantha / srIkAnthAcArya has written commentary on devi bhAgavat. Devi bhAgavata is mentioned in mansa khanda of skanda purAnA, which describes devI bhAgavata as mahA purANa. srI nilkanTha is said to give proper status of viShNu without compromising supremacy of Siva in his brahma sutra bhASya.

The above listed pUrvAcArya-s are considered as an authority on spiritual matters. Hence it is not possible that they must not have spotted these verses. In other words these verses were interpolations.

It should be noted that the classification in only 18 major purANa-s are listed and not up-purANa-s. Hence one cannot say that up-purANa-s are sattvika, rAjasika or tAmasika. To add to it, some purANa-s like harivamsa and devI bhAgavata are attributed to veda vyAsa.

SrIdharAcArya (SrIdhara svAmI)

mAdhvA also selectively quotes various purANa-s including brahmANDa, skanda purANa-s many times in his gita, mahAbhArata and upanishad bhASya-s. Infact mAdhvA in his gitA bhASya intro writes

 In some places Sama Veda is called supreme not because of its attribute, but because of the divinity presiding over it. For Rigveda, the presiding deities are Sri, Bharati (Saraswati) and Uma while for Sama, it is Praana and Shiva. 

Source: Bhagavad Gita with mahAbharat tAtparya nirNaya translated by Sri Nagesh Sonde, page 170

rAmAnuja has quoted only viShNu purANa in his srI bhASya and no other purANa-s. 

Both Adi Sankara and rAmAnuja didn't quote or cite verses from bhAgavat purANa in brahma sUtra bhASya. If sAttvika purANa-s were most authentic, then both of them would have surely quoted bhAgavat purANa, which is considered as complete in itself, capable of giving mukti.

If we remember, bhagavAna in gita 10.22 says that among veda-s I am sAmaveda. Thus bhagavAn does not exhibit difference between the two. Of Course mAdhvA has also explained that Saiva purANa-s are tAmasika and he eulogized Vaishnava purANa-s. Though philosophically, all AcArya-s interpret any verse in support of their siddhanta and cites philosophical difference, disagreements and raise objections, deity denigration cannot be the motive of such great saints. I would personally not believe it and think that mAdhvA-s original works must have been altered by later mAdhvA-s to suits their needs. mAdhvA put great stress on good conduct (sadAcAra).

mAdhvA was called as 'pUrNa praGYA' meaning the one who has full knowledge. If tAmasika purANa-s are misleading, then why would an AcArya of mAdhvA's stature, who was himself a master of many philosophical systems would have to quote from tAmasikA purANa-s. Even if he has cited verse in favour of viShNu, it does not make any sense to quote such purANa-s, as much literature is available to quote supremacy of viShNu.

Quoting brahmAnDa purANa in his gitA bhASya and upanishad bhASya like ISA upanishad, it means that he is fully aware of AdhyAtma rAmAyaNa, and so srI rAma gItA, which is of advaitic nature. in AdhyAtma rAmAyaNa, srI rAma establishes Siva linga which is known as rAmeSvara linga. As the name suggests, Siva linga is in the form of 'lord of rAma'. This is found in AdhyAtma rAmAyaNa, yuddha khanDa, chapter 4, verse 1.

Saints do not denigrate status of other deities

There were 63 nAyanAra saints, who never denigrated status of viShNu or any other deity.

lAla deDa - 1300 AD (lalleSvarI, lallA yOgeSvarI), mirA bAI, tukArAma, eknAth, gyAneSvara, narasihm mehta, bhole bAbA, akhO  are some saints who never denigrated status of any deity. They were immersed in devotion of their chosen deity (ISTa devatA). 

srimatI rAdhAranI never denigrated status of Siva

pAnini, a Saiva and a great sanskrit grammarian and a Siva bhakta, didn't denigrate status of viShNu. aSTAdhyAyI that is considered as an absolute authority on sanskrit grammar. vaiSNava-s use his grammar to prove superiority of viShNu. maharShi patanjalI wrote an excellent commentary, which is called as mahAbhASya. It is only maharShi paranjalI's work commentary that is given the elite status of mahAbhASya (great commentary). Even vaiSnava-s take help of his grammar to prove superiority of viShNu and some use it to denigrate status of Siva and other deities.

maharShi patanjalI in his yOga sUtra-s says devotion to ISvara is important, does dose not specify any form of ISvara. This shows universal attitude.

kAlidAsa ( 5th century AD) ,a Saiva poet saint, wrote work in praise of Siva and rAma. He wrote kumArasambhava and raghuvamSa, kumArasambhavawhich describes story of pArvatI, her marriage with Siva and kumAra's (kArtikeya's / skanda's) birth. raghuvamSa describes about kings of raghu vamSA (solar dynasty, of bhagavAna rAma's lineage)

srIpad srIvallabha (1320 AD to 1350 AD), considered an avatAra of bhagavAn dattatraya, head of dattAtraya sampradAya, who accepts both saguNa and nirguNa form of brahman never denigrated any form of God. Other great saints also considered as avatAra of bhagavana dattatraya like srI narasimha sarasvatI, srI swamI samartha and sAI bAbA of SirdI didn't denigrate status of any form of God. 

gosvAmI tulsidAsa (1497 AD to 1623 AD), a great devotee of bhagavAn rAma and hanumAna jI has composed SrI rAmacaritmAnas, which is accepted by all. tulsidAsa jI has equated Siva with rAma and has advocated non-difference between them. For rAmanandI-s, study of tulsidAsacrit SrI rAmacaritmAnas is complusory.

Other great yOgI-s of navanAtha sampradAya like kaniphanAtha (Kanifnath), matsyendranAth, gorakhanAth never denigrated status of viShNu, though they were Siva bhakta-s.


Finally, we have never seen kruShNa, rAma or Siva denigrating status of each other.

Thus, we can conclude that at least advaitins do not consider these verse as authentic 

Greatness of Siva in padma purANa

In padma pUrANa itself, we find the greatness of Siva and statements of non-difference between them (Siva-ViShNu-abheda)

For e.g. in svarga khaNDa, chapter 33 speaks of important places of pilgrimage and the rewards (phala-shrutI) of visiting them. Holy places like vArANasI and kASI are given. While explaining the importance of vArANasI, it is said that where both viShNu and mahAdeva reside, bhakta-s get mukti if they leave their physical body on this holy place.

While explaining importance of kASI, srI nArada ji says (33.57-59), among deva-s, nArAyaNa is the best (shreShTha) and amongst ISvara-s, girISha (Siva / rudra) is the best (ShreShTha). The one who worships rudra, do not get rebirth. They say, in this param kshetra (most holy place), one attains SivAlaya.  Siva+laya meaning resting place of Siva. Siva is none other than kalyANakArI AtmA .e. Brahman of the upanishads.  So here, Lord Siva, in the form of rudra gives us liberation at the time of death and one rests in Brahman.

In chapter 35, there is a story of a pious brAhmaNa SankukarNa who used to daily worship kapardISvara (Since bhagavAn Siva is having jaTA-jUTa (matted locks), he is known as kapardI. Once a piSAca came in front of him. SankukarNa when requested him to give info, he said that in prior birth he was a wealthy brAhmaNa and that he never did any pious work, nor did he worshipped Siva and so he is suffering from starving unquench hunger. SankukarNa atonce asked him to take a bath in holy place and piSAca was at once liberated. Seeing this, all sages and brAhmaNa-s present there sung in praise of bhagavAn Siva. 

In chapter 35, Verses 34-43 are stuti-s sung by SankukarNa. Later on the stuti-s continue. The stuti-s describe bhagavAn Siva as advitiya (one and only one), purANa (ancient), brahman, lord of all, creator of this world and that everything resides in him. Siva has linga and as as a-linga svarUpa (form and formless). Siva is beyond the reach of veda-s, beyond darkness, without any root cause (meaning not born of some cause like merits-demerits of past lives), svayam prakASa jyoti-svarUpa (self effulgent), worshipped by yOgI-s, consciousness, better than bhagavAn brahmA ji, he is parameSvara. Some saints leaving savikalp samAdhi embarrassed nirvikalp samAdhi. 

Siva gItA is padma purANa describes Siva as supreme, who gives birth to brahmA, viShNu, rudra and all other deva-s and the worlds. Siva shows himself as the supreme Godhead by showing many brahmANDa-s (universes).

Moral of the story is more important than the story itself. I am not aware of any story in any purana, be it tamasic purana, in which finally adharma wins over dharma.

chAndogya upanishad 7.1.2 says itihAsa, purANa pancama veda meaning, itihAsa (mahAbhArata and purANa-s are fifth veda. Since it only mentions purANa as one entity and not multiple, Kanchi ParamAcArya concludes that purANa-s must have existed in some form like 4 vedA-s were only one and later on split purAnA-s into 18. 

Since purANa-s are eulogized as veda-s, it means that they cannot contradict shruti, infact they should be interpreted in a way that they do not contradict shruti. Also the whole of shruti-s are authoritative. In the same way purANa-s and mahAbhArata is also considered as authoritative. Hence when one purANa was split into 18 or more, then it cannot contain anything that is misleading.  In the same way, the whole of mahAbhArata, which is considered as superior in terms of authority than purANa-s, as whatever is there is mahAbhArata is there is purANa-s and whatever is not there is mahAbhArata is not found anywhere else. The question that mahAbhArata had only 25000 verses and later verses were added over millennia and that it is not authored by Veda Vyas is completely wrong, as Adi Sankara in his viShNu sahasranAma bhASya says that 

bhArata (mahAbhArata) was compiled by veda vyAsa
mahAbhArata consists of 1 Lakh verses 

Adi Sankara says that, upanishads say all three guNa-s are doSa-s and are to be transcended. Hence even sattva guNa is to be transcended. 

If we read a verse from Bhagavat Purana (1.1.2), which says that only bhagavat is enough, then it means there is no meaning of reading any shruti or smriti. Why would acharya-s write commentaries on prasthantraiyi. The words are not to be taken literally. It is just glorification or a praise of Bhagavat Purana.

SB 1.1.2: Completely rejecting all religious activities which are materially motivated, this Bhāgavata Purāṇa propounds the highest truth, which is understandable by those devotees who are fully pure in heart. The highest truth is reality distinguished from illusion for the welfare of all. Such truth uproots the threefold miseries. This beautiful Bhāgavatam, compiled by the great sage Vyāsadeva [in his maturity], is sufficient in itself for God realization. What is the need of any other scripture? As soon as one attentively and submissively hears the message of Bhāgavatam, by this culture of knowledge the Supreme Lord is established within his heart.

Considering above points and claims about padma purana being corrupted or interpolated or extrapolated, if at all something needs to be discarded on basis of dubious authority, then it has to be few verses of classification, which are the basis of rejecting parts of shruti-s, smriti-s, veda-s, purANa-s or even the whole Tamasic purANa-s.

Greatness of Siva in bhAgavat purANa

(Verses glorifying bhagavAn Siva can also be found here)

Note: For convenience I am quoting SB from vedabase, a site dedicated to spreading teachings of Srila Prabhupada. Hence I cannot put 100 % faith in  the authenticity of translation. User discretion is advised. If you are a not a Vaishnava, specially if you are not a Gaudiya Vaishnav, at times you will have to ignore Srila Prabhupada's purports.


Taking refuge in Lord Shiva, the saviour


SB 8.7.19: O King, when that uncontrollable poison was forcefully spreading up and down in all directions, all the demigods, along with the Lord Himself, approached Lord Śiva [Sadāśiva]. Feeling unsheltered and very much afraid, they sought shelter of him.

SB 8.7.20: The demigods observed Lord Śiva sitting on the summit of Kailāsa Hill with his wife, Bhavānī, for the auspicious development of the three worlds. He was being worshiped by great saintly persons desiring liberation. The demigods offered him their obeisances and prayers with great respect.

SB 8.7.21: The prajāpatis said: O greatest of all demigods, Mahādeva, Supersoul of all living entities and cause of their happiness and prosperity, we have come to the shelter of your lotus feet. Now please save us from this fiery poison, which is spreading all over the three worlds.


Shiva, the creator


SB 8.7.22: O lord, you are the cause of bondage and liberation of the entire universe because you are its ruler. Those who are advanced in spiritual consciousness surrender unto you, and therefore you are the cause of mitigating their distresses, and you are also the cause of their liberation. We therefore worship Your Lordship.


SB 8.7.23: O lord, you are self-effulgent and supreme. You create this material world by your personal energy, and you assume the names Brahmā, Viṣṇu and Maheśvara when you act in creation, maintenance and annihilation.


SB 8.7.24: You are the cause of all causes, the self-effulgent, inconceivable, impersonal Brahman, which is originally Parabrahman. You manifest various potencies in this cosmic manifestation.


Shiva as source of OM


SB 8.7.25: O lord, you are the original source of Vedic literature. You are the original cause of material creation, the life force, the senses, the five elements, the three modes and the mahat-tattva. You are eternal time, determination and the two religious systems called truth [satya] and truthfulness [ṛta]. You are the shelter of the syllable oḿ, which consists of three letters a-u-m.


Universe is inside Shiva


SB 8.7.26: O father of all planets, learned scholars know that fire is your mouth, the surface of the globe is your lotus feet, eternal time is your movement, all the directions are your ears, and Varuṇa, master of the waters, is your tongue.


Shiva Stuti


SB 8.7.27: O lord, the sky is your navel, the air is your breathing, the sun is your eyes, and the water is your semen. You are the shelter of all kinds of living entities, high and low. The god of the moon is your mind, and the upper planetary system is your head.

SB 8.7.28: O lord, you are the three Vedas personified. The seven seas are your abdomen, and the mountains are your bones. All drugs, creepers and vegetables are the hairs on your body, the Vedic mantras like Gāyatrī are the seven layers of your body, and the Vedic religious system is the core of your heart.

SB 8.7.29: O lord, the five important Vedic mantras are represented by your five faces, from which the thirty-eight most celebrated Vedic mantras have been generated. Your Lordship, being celebrated as Lord Śiva, is self-illuminated. You are directly situated as the supreme truth, known as Paramātmā.

SB 8.7.30: O lord, your shadow is seen in irreligion, which brings about varieties of irreligious creations. The three modes of nature — goodness, passion and ignorance — are your three eyes. All the Vedic literatures, which are full of verses, are emanations from you because their compilers wrote the various scriptures after receiving your glance.


Shiva, the Brahman


SB 8.7.31: O Lord Girīśa, since the impersonal Brahman effulgence is transcendental to the material modes of goodness, passion and ignorance, the various directors of this material world certainly cannot appreciate it or even know where it is. It is not understandable even to Lord Brahmā, Lord Viṣṇu or the King of heaven, Mahendra.


Shiva, The destroyer


SB 8.7.32: When annihilation is performed by the flames and sparks emanating from your eyes, the entire creation is burned to ashes. Nonetheless, you do not know how this happens. What then is to be said of your destroying the Dakṣa-yagya, Tripurāsura and the kālakūṭa poison? Such activities cannot be subject matters for prayers offered to you.


Shiva Stuti


SB 8.7.33: Exalted, self-satisfied persons who preach to the entire world think of your lotus feet constantly within their hearts. However, when persons who do not know your austerity see you moving with Umā, they misunderstand you to be lusty, or when they see you wandering in the crematorium they mistakenly think that you are ferocious and envious. Certainly they are shameless. They cannot understand your activities.

SB 8.7.34: Even personalities like Lord Brahmā and other demigods cannot understand your position, for you are beyond the moving and nonmoving creation. Since no one can understand you in truth, how can one offer you prayers? It is impossible. As far as we are concerned, we are creatures of Lord Brahmā's creation. Under the circumstances, therefore, we cannot offer you adequate prayers, but as far as our ability allows, we have expressed our feelings.

SB 8.7.35: O greatest of all rulers, your actual identity is impossible for us to understand. As far as we can see, your presence brings flourishing happiness to everyone. Beyond this, no one can appreciate your activities. We can see this much, and nothing more.

SB 8.7.36: Śrīla Śukadeva Gosvāmī continued: Lord Śiva is always benevolent toward all living entities. When he saw that the living entities were very much disturbed by the poison, which was spreading everywhere, he was very compassionate. Thus he spoke to his eternal consort, Satī, as follows.

SB 8.7.37: Lord Śiva said: My dear Bhavānī, just see how all these living entities have been placed in danger because of the poison produced from the churning of the ocean of milk.

SB 8.7.38: It is my duty to give protection and safety to all living entities struggling for existence. Certainly it is the duty of the master to protect his suffering dependents.

SB 8.7.39: People in general, being bewildered by the illusory energy, are always engaged in animosity toward one another. But devotees, even at the risk of their own temporary lives, try to save them.

SB 8.7.40: My dear gentle wife Bhavānī, when one performs benevolent activities for others, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Hari, is very pleased. And when the Lord is pleased, I am also pleased, along with all other living creatures. Therefore, let me drink this poison, for all the living entities may thus become happy because of me.

SB 8.7.41: Śrīla Śukadeva Gosvāmī continued: After informing Bhavānī in this way, Lord Śiva began to drink the poison, and Bhavānī, who knew perfectly well the capabilities of Lord Śiva, gave him her permission to do so.

SB 8.7.42: Thereafter, Lord Śiva, who is dedicated to auspicious, benevolent work for humanity, compassionately took the whole quantity of poison in his palm and drank it.

SB 8.7.43: As if in defamation, the poison born from the ocean of milk manifested its potency by marking Lord Śiva's neck with a bluish line. That line, however, is now accepted as an ornament of the Lord.

SB 8.7.44: It is said that great personalities almost always accept voluntary suffering because of the suffering of people in general. This is considered the highest method of worshiping the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is present in everyone's heart.

SB 8.7.45: Upon hearing of this act, everyone, including Bhavānī [the daughter of Mahārāja Dakṣa], Lord Brahmā, Lord Viṣṇu, and the people in general, very highly praised this deed performed by Lord Śiva, who is worshiped by the demigods and who bestows benedictions upon the people.

SB 8.7.46: Scorpions, cobras, poisonous drugs and other animals whose bites are poisonous took the opportunity to drink whatever little poison had fallen and scattered from Lord Śiva's hand while he was drinking.

SB 4.4.11: The blessed goddess said: Lord Siva is the most beloved of all living entities. He has no rival. No one is very dear to him, and no one is his enemy. No one but you could be envious of such a universal being, who is free from all enmity.

SB 4.4.12: Twice-born Daksha, a man like you can simply find fault in the qualities of others. Lord Siva, however, not only finds no faults with others' qualities, but if someone has a little good quality, he magnifies it greatly. Unfortunately, you have found fault with such a great soul.

SB 4.6.35: The demigods saw Lord Siva situated in his perfection as the master of the senses, knowledge, fruitive activities and the path of achieving perfection. He was the friend of the entire world, and by virtue of his full affection for everyone, he was very auspicious.

SB 4.6.36: He was seated on a deerskin and was practicing all forms of austerity. Because his body was smeared with ashes, he looked like an evening cloud. On his hair was the sign of a half-moon, a symbolic representation.

SB 4.6.37: He was seated on a straw mattress and speaking to all present, including the great sage Narada, to whom he specifically spoke about the Absolute Truth.

SB 4.6.38: His left leg was placed on his right thigh, and his left hand was placed on his left thigh. In his right hand he held rudraksha beads. This sitting posture is called virasana. He sat in the virasana posture, and his finger was in the mode of argument.

SB 4.6.39: All the sages and demigods, headed by Indra, offered their respectful obeisances unto Lord Siva with folded hands. Lord Siva was dressed in saffron garments and absorbed in trance, thus appearing to be the foremost of all sages.

SB 4.6.40: Lord Siva's lotus feet were worshiped by both the demigods and demons, but still, in spite of his exalted position, as soon as he saw that LordBrahma was there among all the other demigods, he immediately stood up and offered him respect by bowing down and touching his lotus feet, just as Vamanadeva offered His respectful obeisances to Kasyapa Muni.

SB 4.6.41: All the sages who were sitting with Lord Siva, such as Narada and others, also offered their respectful obeisances to Lord Brahma. After being so worshiped, Lord Brahma, smiling, began to speak to Lord Siva.

SB 4.6.42: Lord Brahma said: My dear Lord Siva, I know that you are the controller of the entire material manifestation, the combination father and mother of the cosmic manifestation, and the Supreme Brahman beyond the cosmic manifestation as well. I know you in that way.

SB 4.6.43: My dear lord, you create this cosmic manifestation, maintain it, and annihilate it by expansion of your personality, exactly as a spider creates, maintains and winds up its web.

SB 4.6.44: My dear lord, Your Lordship has introduced the system of sacrifices through the agency of Daksha, and thus one may derive the benefits of religious activities and economic development. Under your regulative principles, the institution of the four varnas and asramas is respected. The brahmanas therefore vow to follow this system strictly.

SB 4.6.45: O most auspicious lord, you have ordained the heavenly planets, the spiritual Vaikuntha planets and the impersonal Brahman sphere as the respective destinations of the performers of auspicious activities. Similarly, for others, who are miscreants, you have destined different kinds of hells which are horrible and ghastly. Yet sometimes it is found that their destinations are just the opposite. It is very difficult to ascertain the cause of this.

SB 4.6.46: My dear Lord, devotees who have fully dedicated their lives unto your lotus feet certainly observe your presence as Paramatma in each and every being, and as such they do not differentiate between one living being and another. Such persons treat all living entities equally. They never become overwhelmed by anger like animals, who can see nothing without differentiation.


Shiva Advaita - Shiva is one, there is no second


SB 4.6.47: Persons who observe everything with differentiation, who are simply attached to fruitive activities, who are mean minded, who are always pained to see the flourishing condition of others and who thus give distress to them by uttering harsh and piercing words have already been killed by providence. Thus there is no need for them to be killed again by an exalted personality like you.

SB 4.6.48: My dear lord, if in some places materialists, who are already bewildered by the insurmountable illusory energy, sometimes commit offenses, a saintly person, with compassion, does not take this seriously. Knowing that they commit offenses because they are overpowered by the illusory energy, he does not show his prowess to counteract them.

SB 4.6.49: My dear lord, you are never bewildered by the formidable influence of the illusory energy, Maya. Therefore you are omniscient and should be merciful and compassionate toward those who are bewildered by the same illusory energy and are very much attached to fruitive activities.


Shiva Advaita


SB 8.12.8: My dear Lord, Your Lordship alone is the cause and the effect. Therefore, although You appear to be two, You are the absolute one. As there is no difference between the gold of a golden ornament and the gold in a mine, there is no difference between cause and effect; both of them are the same. Only because of ignorance do people concoct differences and dualities. You are free from material contamination, and since the entire cosmos is caused by You and cannot exist without You, it is an effect of Your transcendental qualities. 


SB 8.12.9: Those who are known as the impersonalist Vedantists regard You as the impersonal Brahman. Others, known as the Mimamsaka philosophers, regard You as religion. The Sankhya philosophers regard You as the transcendental person who is beyond prakriti and purusha and who is the controller of even the demigods. The followers of the codes of devotional service known as the Pancaratras regard You as being endowed with nine different potencies. And the Patanjala philosophers, the followers of Patanjali Muni, regard You as the supreme independent Personality of Godhead, who has no equal or superior.


Verses in Siva gItA similar to anya-devatA verses in bhagavad gItA (9.25)


Shiva Gita or Siva gItA (SG) is an authentic text with more than three commentaries written on it. It is a part of padma purANa. In the 12th adhyAya, upAsanA GYAna phala, we find verses similar to BG 9.25. Infact SG is more clearly explains the meaning of these verses. 

Before going to chapter 12, lets have a look at chapter 11, which forms the basis of asking questions on saguNa upAsanA. In SG 11.45, bhagavAn Siva says to bhagavAn rAma that

उपासको न यात्येव यस्मात्पुनरधोगतिम . 
उपासनरतो भूत्वा तस्मादास्स्व सुखी नृप [11.45] 

He rAmachandra ! those who think nirguNa upAsanA (worship of formless, attributeless brahman) is difficult, they should practice saguNa upAsanA (worship to any form of ISvara) first. Anyone practicing saguNa upAsanA is not demoted to lower worlds (adhogatI) i.e. after leaving physical body, jIva's movement will not be downwards - SG 11.45

(upAsanA = worship)

Meaning:

Those who find practising nirguNa upAsanA, they must first practise saguNa upAsanA. Souls of those worshipping any form of ISvara will never move downwards (to lower worlds).

After this kathan (statement), bhagavAn rAma asks bhagavAn Siva (maheSvara) how to practice upAsanA.

श्रीराम उवाच ... 
भगवन्देवदेवेश नमस्तेऽस्तु महेश्वर . 
उपासनविधिं ब्रूहि देशं कालं च तस्य तु [1] 
अङ्गानि नियमांश्चैव मयि तेऽनुग्रहो यदि

srI rAmachandra said - He deva of deva-s maheSvara (Siva) ! I prostate before you. Please can you describe vidhi (step by step procedure) and describe time and space (place) i.e. in which time and in which way upAsanA should be done. SG 12.1

Meaning: 

Please explain in which way, at what time and place should upAsanA be done.


ईश्वर उवाच ... 
शृणु राम प्रवक्ष्यामि देशं कालमुपासने [2] 
सर्वाकारोऽहमेवैकः सच्चिदानन्दविग्रहः . 

मदंशेन परिच्छिन्ना देहाः सर्वदिवौकसाम [3] 


Isvara said (bhagavAn Siva said - He rAma ! I will explain to you the procedure of upAsanA and will also tell you at which time and place it must be done. Listen with present mindedness. All the devatA-s are my rUpa only (they are me only). In reality, they are not different than me - SG 12.2-3

ये त्वन्यदेवताभक्ता यजन्ते श्रद्धयान्विताः . 
तेऽपि मामेव राजेन्द्र यजन्त्यविधिपूर्वकम [4] 


Those who are devotees of other devatA-s, and they faithfully worship these devatA-s, O king ! they worship me with bheda buddhi (dual stand point) i.e. they consider these devatA-s different than me - SG 12.4

यस्मात्सर्वमिदं विश्वं मत्तो न व्यतिरिच्यते . 
सर्वक्रियाणां भोक्ताहं सर्वस्याहं फलप्रदः [5] 


Because in this entire world (samsAra), there is nothing except me, due to this reason, I am enjoyer of all actions (kriyA-s) and also the giver of fruits of actions (phala) - SG 12.5

येनाकारेण ये मर्त्या मामेवैकमुपासते . 
तेनाकारेण तेभ्योऽहं प्रसन्नो वाञ्छितं ददे [6] 

The one who worships (me) with whatever bhAva (spiritual emotion - sAttvika, rAjasika, tAmasika or intention), I, in that form of devatA, give them fruits according their bhAva - SG 12.6

Now, bhagAvan Siva goes one step further and says,

विधिनाऽविधिना वापि भक्त्या ये मामुपासते . 
तेभ्यः फलं प्रयच्छामि प्रसन्नोऽहं न संशयः [7]

Those who worship me with vidhi (step by step procedure as ordained by SAstra-s),  or those who worship me without any vidhi, (avidhi upAsanA), or worships me by any way, pleased with their devotion, I give them [appropriate] fruits [of their devotion] - SG 12.7

From this we can conclude that there is no difference between Siva and kruShNa. In bhagavad gItA, kruShNa is playing the role of gUru and ISvara and in Siva gItA, Siva is playing role of gUru and ISvara and bhagavAn rAma is playing the role of disciple for the good of all.


Interpolations in padma purANa


Padma Purana is considered as most corrupted Purana, specially the uttara khanda. This is because there are two version available – Bengali and South Indian, each differing in content says scholars. Swaping from Sankrit to Bengali and back to Sanskrit could have been the cause of corruption. Bengalis often replace ‘v’ with ‘b’ e.g. Buddha ‘Vihar’ changed ‘Bihar’. ‘Vanga’ changed to ‘Benga’, which got changed to ‘Bengal’. ‘Vanga Bandhu’ changed to ‘Banga Bandhu’.

Inconsistencies and contradictory statements in various purANa-s and in between mahAbhArata exists. Some people are of the opinion that this inconsistency are due to kalpa bhEda (difference due to mixing of info of various eons).

If we accept this logic, then we will have to accuse bhagavAna vEda vyAsa of not being avatAra of sriman nArAyaNa. Even if we say that purANa-s are created by brahma (along with vEda-s), still is it not tarka-sangat (logically wise) to accept this claim. Brahma is not an ordinary jIva. He is one of trimUtrI (trinity). The creator of this universe simply cannot make any mistake, else everything will be a mess. Also confusion and / or loss of memory and mixing of information or lIlA-s by avatArs cannot be accepted. 

So how to neutralize or say solve contradictory verses in SAstra-s? We can adopt nAhI nindA nyAya and do not denigrate any deity. We can accept that Siva and viShNu are different forms of same Brahman. in support of this logic, we can find support in SAstra-s.

Interpreting 'tamas'


tamasa (tamas) gUNa is often meant for negative lower emotions like destruction, revengeful attitude, darkness, laziness, etc. tamas has many more meanings. Inactivity is called as tamas. When one is sleeping one one is under the influence of tamas gUNa. In deep sleep (suSupti), one is under tamasa gUNa. The only difference between suSupti and samAdhi is consciousness or wakefulness. One is aware of absence of everything. 

In this context the word tamas also means avidyA (ignorance) or AvaraNa (veil) or aGYAna (absence of knowledge). After the mental agitation is reduced or nullified, calm and stable mind free of distractions, can contemplate on Brahman. Only aGYAna is left to be removed. This aGYAna can only be removed with it's opposite GYAna or knowledge of Self (AtmA or Atma tatva).

bhagavAna Siva is said to be the master of tamas gUNa. Siva is also called as giver of Knowledge, GYAna svarUpa, tripUrAntaka (destroyer of 3 cities - subtle bodies), Adi gurU and Siva (auspiciousness). Hence only bhagavAna Siva can grant knowledge and hence moksha. In other words the act of removal of ignorance is called as Siva. 

In this context, tAmasika purANa-s cannot be considered as misleading. Infact it is only bhagavAna Siva who can grant us moksha. It is said that Siva krupA means gurU krupA. 

On the other hand, if we take literal meaning of tamas like laziness, inactivity, or even destruction, then still since bhagaVAna Siva is the Lord of tamas gUNa, only he can uproot them from us. In other words the one who removes negative qualities and giver of grace is called as Siva or rudra. In this case, the first thing to remove or transform is our negative emotions. Hence tAmasika purANa-s are the first to be studied.

Let us come back to the word tamas.  Lets try to study a hymm of rg veda called nAsadIya sUkta. It defines the creation of universe.  

तम॑ आसी॒त्तम॑सा गू॒ळ्हमग्रे॑ऽप्रके॒तं स॑लि॒लं सर्व॑मा इ॒दं।
तु॒च्छ्येना॒भ्वपि॑हितं॒ यदासी॒त्तप॑स॒स्तन्म॑हि॒ना जा॑य॒तैकं॑॥ ३॥

tama̍ āasī̱ttama̍sā gū̱ḻhamagre̍’prake̱taṁ sa̍li̱laṁ sarva̍mā i̱daṁ |
tu̱cchyenā̱bhvapi̍hitaṁ̱ yadāsī̱ttapa̍sa̱stanma̍hi̱nā jā̍ya̱taika̍ṁ || 3 ||

At first there was only darkness (tamas) wrapped in darkness (tamas).
All this was only unillumined water.
That One which came to be, enclosed in nothing,
arose at last, born of the power of heat.

(Later verses explain the creation.)

Why is it called as darkness covered with darkness? Here how should we interpret tamas gUNa? 

We all know that ISvara created this world through is mAyA. mAyA is trigUNAtimikA i.e. having three gUNa-s.  It is never said that ISvara first created his mAyA. mAyA was always present with ISvara. Hence mAyA is called as anAdi (beginningless).

In above context, lets understand the word 'tamas'.

tamas here would mean inactivity or dormant. It could also mean unmanifested universe. w.r.t to mAyA, we can conclude that all three gUNa-s were present but in dormant form. But there was something which covered this. That which covered veiled these three gUNa was tamas i.e. tamas gUNa was the most dominant. The first two verses in nAsadiya sukta indicate supreme brahman above or beyond the reach of three guNa but seems to be veiled by mAyA just like sun seems to be veiled by clouds.

Hence the first tamas is indirectly referring to sat or truth which is Brahman and second one is referred by mAyA which is inactive and hence mAyA has not manifested universe.

To further simplify, we can say that, when there was no creation there was only brahman (sat, truth), and his mAyA was dormant.

If we take a meaning that there was a time when there was no brahman, it would contradict vedAnta. If we say that there was only tamas gUNa and no other gUNA was present, it would mean that other gUNA-s were absent and hence mAyA was absent. You can create things with the material that you have. If mAyA did not have other two gUNa-s (sattva and rajas) then mAyA would not be able to create anything. It would also contradict those verses which say that there was there was no time then there was no ISvara, like in gita krUShNa bhagavAna has said.

Hence we have to take it that during the time, when there was no creation, there was

sat (brahman and
mAyA in dormant state, veiling brahman (like clouds seems to veil sun)

nAsada means nA-asata meaning no non-existence. This verse also refutes zero state where there is only void and no Self (brahman), establishes nirgUna brahman as always present.

nAsadiya sukta can be found here

From the above analysis, we can understand that tamas always does not mean misleading, darkness, or as some say - leading to hell :) 

Also tamas guNa is the first one that has to be transformed. If we take tamas as laziness, then our regular study of SAstra-s, and daily meditation will reduce tamas from our chitta and increase sattva guNa. By this logic too, first set of purANa-s that should be studied are tAmasika purANa-s (if we take this classification as partly correct)

Reading any purANa-s will not mislead anyone, as advaita accepts all forms of ISvara as equally potent and manifestations of same Brahman. 

purANA-s, itihAsa-s, veda-s, vedAnta and smriti-s and Agama-s should be interpreted in a way that they should not contradict each other.  Earlier vaishnava saints like nArAyaNa bhaTTa, who was the first critic of Adi Sankara and raised objections to kevala advaita in his brahma-sutra bhASya (later AcArya-s borrowed objections from him says SSS ). In his commentary on taittriya samhitA, nArAyaNa bhaTTA did not interpret srI rudram in a way some later AcArya-s started interpreting them taking Siva, rudra as just adjectives since their siddhAnta makes them to say that whatever is supreme *must* go to viShNu. It is said that ranga rAmAnuja munI did not agree with the interpretation of srI rudram and panch brahma upanishad done by bhaTTA bhAskara.


sattva, rajasa and tamasa - alternate meanings


It is a general notion that sattva guNa is the best guNa, the divine guNa, rajasa denotes materialistic qualities and activities and tamasa guNa denotes inertia, laziness, negative demonic qualities like revengeful attitude. However these guNa-s have alternate meaning also.

rajasa can mean 'mental activity' which can mean 'mental agitation'. Mental agitation is the disturbance created by thoughts during meditation. This is the first guNa to be controlled.

sattva can also mean 'to preserve' (as bhagavAn viShNu preserves). sattva guNa also has quality of 'renunciation'. Hence by renunciation of that which is not 'I' one can reach the supreme state - Brahman.

tamasa also means ignorance 'avidyA' and 'aGYAna', the root cause of misery and mortality. It is a veil which separates us or keeps us away from our true nature. It is necessary to remove the veil of ignorance so as to know our true nature.

Mind can be steady like an un-flickering flame protected from external wind, but that does not mean one is steadfast in brahman. After quieting the mind i.e. conquering rajasa guNa, one has to renounce that which is 'not-I'. One has to separate 'I' from that which is not-I. AS one separates I and detaches itself, the veil remains. This is done even by dropping the effort to detach from non-I. Once the veil of ignorance is removed, GYAna springs fourth in a flash.

Since brAhmA jI is the lord of rajasa, hence by reading purANa-s dedicated to him, one can  rise above rajasa. In the same way, by singing glories of viShNu, sattva and tamasa guNa can rise above sattva and tamasa guNa. After rising beyond guNa-s one is self-established in Self, The Brahman.

There is no question of going to hell. Afterall the Gods help us ascend and not descend. vaiShNava-s say, Siva is paramabhAgavata, the greatest devotee of bhagavAn viShNu and so is brAhmA jI. In this case, can a great devotee of viShNu lead anyone to hell? It is not self-contradictory? If You consider them as highly evolved souls, then too the question arises, if such divine souls cannot guide us, humans, properly, then how is it possible to any human being or any avatAra of demi-god able to guide us to viShNu-pada? Hence the verses in padma purANa can be rejected.

It is accepted by all that anything that contradicts veda-s is to be discarded. Hence if purANA-s say something that is contradictory to veda-s or even mahabhArata, then these verses are to be discarded. Neither veda-s, nor mahAbhArata is categorized into sAttvika, rAjasika and Tamasika parts. Hence such verses categorizing purANa-s into three guNa-s which exquisite mention of those praising Siva are tAmasika and those reading them will go to hell are unacceptable.


purANa-s cannot contradict mahAbhArata which says brahmA and viShNu are born from Siva


Before we understand quotes from mahAbhArata glorifying Siva / mahAdeva / ISAna, lets understand that mahAbhArata is a 'itihAsa' which means 'history', a special status given to a smriti and mahAbhArata, earlier called as 'jaya' and then 'bhArata' (as quoted by Adi Sankara in viShNu sahasranAma stotra bhASya) and later 'mahAbhArata'. purANa-s do not enjoy this status.

Excerpts are taken from mahAbhArata translated by Sri Kisari Mohan Ganguli, uploaded in public domain by sacredtexts.com. Many thanks to sacredtexts for their gigantic efforts which has made it possible for all of us to read mahAbhArata. They have also uploaded most of the sanskrit verses in both devanAgarI and romanized sanskrit. I would also like to thank the author of mahapashupatastra blog, as it was he who pointed out these verses on his blog dedicated to defending Lord Siva.

Book 1, Adi Parva, Chapter 1, verses 15 to 19 (MBH 1.01.15-19)

15 [रसयह]
दवैपायनेन यत परॊक्तं पुराणं परमर्षिणा
सुरैर बरह्मर्षिभिश चैव शरुत्वा यद अभिपूजितम

16 तस्याख्यान वरिष्ठस्य विचित्रपदपर्वणः
सूक्ष्मार्थ नयाययुक्तस्य वेदार्थैर भूषितस्य च

17 भारतस्येतिहासस्य पुण्यां गरन्थार्थ संयुताम
संस्कारॊपगतां बराह्मीं नानाशास्त्रॊपबृंहिताम

18 जनमेजयस्य यां राज्ञॊ वैशम्पायन उक्तवान
यथावत स ऋषिस तुष्ट्या सत्रे दवैपायनाज्ञया

19 वेदैश चतुर्भिः समितां वयासस्याद्भुत कर्मणः
संहितां शरॊतुम इच्छामॊ धर्म्यां पापभयापहाम

- MBH 1.01.15-19


"The Rishi replied, 'The Purana, first promulgated by the great Rishi Dwaipayana, and which after having been heard both by the gods and the Brahmarshis was highly esteemed, being the most eminent narrative that exists, diversified both in diction and division, possessing subtile meanings logically combined, and gleaned from the Vedas, is a sacred work. Composed in elegant language, it includeth the subjects of other books. It is elucidated by other Shastras, and comprehendeth the sense of the four Vedas. We are desirous of hearing that history also called Bharata, the holy composition of the wonderful Vyasa, which dispelleth the fear of evil, just as it was cheerfully recited by the Rishi Vaisampayana, under the direction of Dwaipayana himself, at the snake-sacrifice of Raja Janamejaya?'"

Further, even Vyasa speaks the following about his composition to lord Brahma. He clearly states that in his Mahabharata he has compiled various ancient treatises including Puranas.


"Then the greatly glorious Vyasa, addressing Brahma Parameshthi, said, "O divine Brahma, by me a poem hath been composed which is greatly respected. The mystery of the Veda, and what other subjects have been explained by me; the various rituals of the Upanishads with the Angas; the compilation of the Puranas and history formed by me and named after the three divisions of time, past, present, and future; the determination of the nature of decay, fear, disease, existence, and non-existence, a description of creeds and of the various modes of life; rule for the four castes, and the import of all the Puranas; an account of asceticism and of the duties of a religious student; the dimensions of the sun and moon, the planets, constellations, and stars, together with the duration of the four ages; the Rik, Sama and Yajur Vedas; also the Adhyatma; the sciences called Nyaya, Orthœphy and Treatment of diseases; charity and Pasupatadharma; birth celestial and human, for particular purposes; also a description of places of pilgrimage and other holy places of rivers, mountains, forests, the ocean, of heavenly cities and the kalpas; the art of war; the different kinds of nations and languages: the nature of the manners of the people; and the all-pervading spirit;--all these have been represented. But, after all, no writer of this work is to be found on earth'." (MBH 1:01)


So, it is crystal clear from above verses that Mahabharata is not just a story of Kuru dynasty, but it is a vast compilation of Puranas also.

Further it is stated that Puranas depend on Mahabharata as like as body depends on food for sustenance as stated below. This means that a Purana should solely depend on Mahabharata but in any case a Purana should not contradict Mahabharata since Mahabharata being itihasa it is more authoritative than Purana.


Mahabharata, Book One, Adi Parva, Chapter 2 (Section II), verses 238-240

238 अस्याख्यानस्य विषये पुराणं वर्तते दविजाः
अन्तरिक्षस्य विषये परजा इव चतुर्विधाः

239 करिया गुणानां सर्वेषाम इदम आख्यानम आश्रयः
इन्द्रियाणां समस्तानां चित्रा इव मनः करियाः

240 अनाश्रित्यैतद आख्यानं कथा भुवि न विद्यते
आहारम अनपाश्रित्य शरीरस्येव धारणम

- MBH 1:02:238-240

Source: http://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/mbs/mbs01002.htm

Mahabharata, Book One, Adi Parva, Chapter 2 (Section II), verses 238-240

"O ye Brahman, as the four kinds of creatures (viviparous, oviparous, born of hot moisture and vegetables) are dependent on space for their existence, so the Puranas depend upon this history. As all the senses depend for their exercise upon the various modifications of the mind, so do all acts (ceremonials) and moral qualities depend upon this treatise. There is not a story current in the world but doth depend on this history, even as body upon the food it taketh".

Source: http://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/m01/m01003.htm

Mahabharata, Book 1, Adi Parva, Section II

Therefore it is very much clear that when a story exists in Mahabharata and same story exists in a Purana and both contradict each other, then Mahabharata being itihasa, and more authoritative than Puranas, it is Mahabharata's story which needs to be accepted as true. and it's the story of Purana which needs to be rejected, and not the vice versa!

[under construction]

It is said in Mahabharata 13.14.183-184 that

183 यॊ ऽसृजद दक्षिणाद अङ्गाद बरह्माणं लॊकसंभवम
वामपार्श्वात तथा विष्णुं लॊकरक्षार्थम ईश्वरः
युगान्ते चैव संप्राप्ते रुद्रम अङ्गात सृजत परभुः

184 स रुद्रः संहरन कृत्स्नं जगत सथावरजङ्गमम
कालॊ भूत्वा महातेजाः संवर्तक इवानलः

Thou art he that hadst created from thy right side the Grandsire Brahma, the Creator of all things. Thou art he that hadst created from thy left side Vishnu for protecting the Creation. Thou art that puissant Lord who didst create Rudra when the end of the Yuga came and when the Creation was once more to be dissolved. That Rudra, who sprang from thee destroyed the Creation with all its mobile and immobile beings, assuming the form of Kala of great energy,...

(condt)

"The blessed Vishnu said, 'I saluted Mahadeva, saying,--Salutations to thee, O thou that art the eternal origin of all things. The Rishis say that thou art the Lord of the Vedas. The righteous say that thou art Penance, thou art Sattwa, thou art Rajas, thou art Tamas, and thou art Truth. Thou art Brahman, thou art Rudra ...

The same is said in Siva purANa, linga purANa and viShNu purANa. From Siva ji's left and right side, brahmA ji and viShNu ji emerged.

The rudra and viShNu of trinity are different from the rudra (Siva) and viShNu or nArAyaNa who is the creator of the trinity. 

In this way, we can neutralize the contradiction which says that rudra is born of brahmA or viShNu or vice versa.

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In addition to this, there is no verse in bhagavad gItA which even hints of itself being internally categorized as per three guNa-s. bhagavad gItA being part of mahAbhArata and an essence of upanishads must have shown this categorization. Upanishads are categorized into sAmAnya, vaiShNav, Saiva, shakta, yoga, etc categories, but their content is not rated based on purity. Hence such verses found in padma purANa can be rejected.

mahAbhArata and veda-s praise rudra / Siva. Verses from veda-s are quoted below.


purANa-s cannot contradict vedA-s which glorify rudra



This is the well known accepted fact that in any case of controversy, shruti vacana (vacana means a statement or any verse from in shruti (veda-s) is considered as top authority. Next comes smriti-s. Traditionally, smrii-s means 'collections of memory'. Our great rishi-s who had mastered our veda-s have written moral and ethical codes of conduct for harmonious and holistic living of society. Since veda-s are of top most authority, everything is written in connection with them, so that a purified mind can directly follow the path shown by veda-s, that is karma-kANDa and later on GYAna kANDa (vedAnta).

One meaning of 'veda' is 'knowledge' i.e. GYAna. vedAnta means veda+anta meaning end part of veda. Since veda means knowledge, vedAnta means 'end of knowledge'. To give a full meaning, vedAnta means - after learning which nothing more needs to be learned. It is end of knowledge. brahma-vidyA or knowledge of brahman (Self / AtmA) are considered as supreme knowledge. Hence vedAnta imparts brahma-vidyA. upanishad is another name of vedAnta.

purANa-s are unique in a way that they talk to us like a friend, in form of stories and teach us about brahma-vidyA. 

In reference to the above controversial verses from padma purANa, which says tAmasika purANa-s lead one to hell,

There are no shruti vacan-s that says worshipers of rudra will go to hell or that rudra can only grant material desires. mantra-s like Om namah SivAya and mahAmrutyunjaya mantra are found in veda-s. They are not paurANika mantra-s and hence they hold greater authority then paurANika mantra-s.

In fact, there are no shruti vacan-s that say that worshipping any for of God, be it gaNeSa, nArAyaNa, Siva, Sakti, mahAlaxmI, etc will lead one to hell. It is our intention behind their worship that matters. bhagavAn in gItA says that one gets fruits of karma-s depending upon the intention or the way one worships a deity.

Since we consider these verses as interpolation, lets see if we find some verses in support of our claim from veda-s. There are many references from our veda-s glorifying Rudra. WE will take a few of them.

Rudra is Immortal

RV 1.43.3 By worship of the Gods may we, O Bounteous One, O Rudra, gain thy grace, Ruler of valiant men. Come to our families, bringing them bliss: may we, whose heroes are uninjured, bring thee sacred gifts,
RV 1.43.4 Hither we call for aid the wise, the wanderer, impetuous Rudra, perfecter of sacrifice. May he repel from us the anger of the Gods: verily we desire his favourable grace.
RV 1.43.6 Grant us, Immortal One, the food which mortals eat: be gracious unto me, my seed, my progeny.
RV 1.114.6 This praise, the sweetest of the sweet, and cause of increase (to the reciter), is addressed to Rudra,the father of the Maruts; immortal Rudra ,grant us food sufficient for mortals, and bestow happiness on me, my son, and my grandson.

AV 4.28.3: Reverence we offer, O Bhava, to thy roaring, to thy breath, and to thy injurious qualities; reverence to thee, O Rudra, thousand-eyed, immortal!

Rudra is Self-Dependent

RV 7.46.1. To Rudra bring these songs, whose bow is firm and strong, the self-dependent God with swiftly-flying shafts, ...

Rudra, the granter of moksha 

RV 7.59.12 We Worship Tryambaka(shiva), Who spreads Fragrance and Increases nourishment, May He LIBERATE (moksha) us, like the cucumber from its stem, from Mortal life, and give us Immortality.

Then the discipline students (Brahmacharins of Yajnavalkya) asked him: Pray, tell us, what is that mantra by reciting which one attains immortality ? He replied: By (reciting) Satarudriya. These mantras are indeed the names of (Rudra to achieve) immortality. By (reciting) these (mantras) one becomes immortal. - Jabala Upanishad III-1

Mahamrutyunjaya mantra

The Mahamrityunjaya Mantra (Sanskrit: महामृत्युंजय मंत्र, Mahāmṛtyuṃjaya Mantra "great death-conquering mantra"), also called the Tryambakam Mantra, is a verse of the Rigveda (RV 7.59.12).It is addressed to Tryambaka "the three-eyed one", an epithet of Rudra, later identified with Shiva. The verse also recurs in the Yajurveda (TS 1.8.6.i; VS 3.60)

This Mahamritunjaya mantra is found in Rig Veda (7-59-12), Sukla Yajur Veda (3-60) and also from The Krishna Yajur Veda (taittiriya samhitA) TS 1.8.6.i. and vAjasayeni samhitA 3.60

The mantra reads

"ॐ त्र्यम्बकम् यजामहे सुगन्धिम् पुष्टिवर्धनम् | 
ऊर्वारुकमिव बन्धनान् मृत्योर्मुक्षीय मामृतात् ||"

Om tryambakam yajamahe sugandhim pusti vardhanam
Urvarukamiva bandhanan mrutyor mukshiya mamritat

Translation:

Om. We worship and adore you, O three-eyed one, O Shiva. You are sweet gladness, the fragrance of life, who nourishes us, restores our health, and causes us to thrive. As, in due time, the stem of the cucumber weakens, and the gourd is freed from the vine, so free us from attachment and death, and do not withhold immortality (grant us immortality).

Source


Rudra is all says atharvaSiras upanishad

1. The devas with their upturned hands extended upwards pray to Rudra.

Om! He who is Rudra, he alone is god. He is Brahma and we salute him again and again.
He who is Rudra, he alone is god. He is Vishnu and we salute him again and again.
He who is Rudra, he alone is God. He is truth and we salute him again and again.
He who is Rudra, he alone is God. He is everything and we salute him again and again.

You are also called Maheswara (great lord) because you bless your devotees by giving them knowledge, because you created words and brought out knowledge, and because you have forsaken everything and reached a highest state of existence through yoga and your grace. 

5.1 This god is the one who pervades in all directions. He is the one who came earlier than every thing. He is the one who is in the womb. He is the one who is in all the creatures which have come out till now and all those who are going to be created in future. He is also the one who sees the inside but the one who has a face which looks outside. 

Rudra is one and only one

5.2 Rudra is one and only one. There is none second to him. He rules all worlds by his power. He pervades fully in all beings. He is the one who, at the time of deluge, absorbs all beings. He is the one who creates all beings and upkeeps them.

5.3 He alone exists, in all organs where birth takes place. He travels among all beings and is the reason for their existence. The seeker would get immeasurable peace by searching and surrendering to this god, who gives everything to the one who asks and who is praiseworthy.

5.4 He converts fire, air, water, earth, ether and everything that exists here in to ash. He who sees this and mentally realizes it and observes the penance to Pasupathi (Lord of all beings) and who coats ash all over his body with this ash attains the state of Brahman. By worshipping Pasupathi (lord of all beings) like this, the ties of bondage of all beings get cut and they attain salvation.
There is none greater than him, on whom all the worlds are strung like beads. Over ages, nothing so far where greater than him and nothing is going to be greater than him. He has thousands of legs but one and only one head. He pervades everywhere.

(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 - Kaivalya Up. 6

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) - Kaivalya Up. 7

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). Kaivalya Up. 25

No one escapes Rudra

AV 4.28.5: Ye from whose blows no one either among gods or men escapes; ye who rule all these twofooted and fourfooted creatures, deliver us from grief and trouble. 

Rudra is puruSa, preservervor of veda-s and praNav says taittiriya AraNyaka

taittiriya AraNyaka (10:24:1) clearly states - purusho vai rudrah, which means, 'Rudra is the Purusha'
taittariya AraNyaka (10:21:1) says"brahmadhipatirbrahmano'dhipatirbrahma shivo me astu sadashivom", which means, "the preserver of the Vedas and the one overlord of Hiranyagarbha, be benign to me. That Sadasiva is Hiranyagarbha, be benign to me. That Sadasiva is described thus and denoted by Pranava (OM)".
taittiriya-AraNyaka (X.14) calls Purusha as Bhutanamadhipati, i.e. Rudra. (bhuta means bodies or panch mahabhuta-s. bhutanamadhipatI means 'Lord of panch mahAbhuta-s'

Translations taken from mahApAshupAtastra blog
 
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mahAnArAyaNA Upanishad glorifies bhagavAn Siva many times

XXI-1: May the Supreme who is the ruler of all knowledge, controller of all created beings, the preserver of the Vedas and the one overlord of Hiranyagarbha, be benign to me. I am the Sadasiva described thus and denoted by Pranava.

XXV-1: We sing a hymn that confers on us happiness in the highest degree to Rudra who is worthy of praise, who is endowed with the highest knowledge, who rains objects to the worshippers most excellently, who is more powerful and who is dwelling in the heart. Indeed all this is Rudra. Salutations be to Rudra who is such.

XIX-1: Now, O Sarva, my salutations be at all times and all places to Thy Rudra forms, benign, terrific, more terrific and destructive.

XX-1: May we know or realize the Supreme Person. For that, may we meditate upon Mahadeva and to that meditation may Rudra impel us.

XXI-1: May the Supreme who is the ruler of all knowledge, controller of all created beings, the preserver of the Vedas and the one overlord of Hiranyagarbha, be benign to me. I am the Sadasiva described thus and denoted by Pranava.

XXII-1: Salutations again and again to Hiranyabahu [One who has ornaments of gold on the arms or possessing a form having the golden hue], Hiranyavarna [He who is the source of the syllables of the Vedas which are as precious as gold], Hiranyarupa [He who is shining in splendour], Hiranyapati [the Lord of riches wholesome and charming], Ambikapati [the consort of Ambika, the Mother of the universe], Umapati [The master of Uma, Brahma-vidya personified as such], Pasupati [the Lord of all created beings].

UmA-maheSvara is Supreme Brahman

त्रयोविंशोऽनुवाकः ।
ऋतꣳ सत्यं परं ब्रह्म पुरुषं कृष्णपिङ्गलम् ।
ऊर्ध्वरेतं विरूपाक्षं विश्वरूपाय वै नमो नमः ॥ १॥


XXIII-1: Supreme Brahman, the Absolute Reality, has become an androgynous Person in the form of Umamaheshvara, dark blue and reddish brown in hue, absolutely chaste and possessing uncommon eyes. Salutations to Him alone who is the Soul of the universe or whose form is the universe - mahAnArAyaNA Upanishad - 23.1


rudra is everything

चतुर्विंशोऽनुवाकः ।
सर्वो वै रुद्रस्तस्मै रुद्राय नमो अस्तु । पुरुषो वै रुद्रः
सन्महो नमो नमः । 

XXIV-1: All this verily is Rudra. To Rudra who is such we offer our salutation. We salute again and again that Being, Rudra, who alone is the light and the Soul of creatures. The material universe the created beings and whatever there is manifoldly and profusely created in the past and in the present in the form of the world, all that is indeed this Rudra. Salutations be to Rudra who is such.

पञ्चविंशोऽनुवाकः ।
कद्रुद्राय प्रचेतसे मीढुष्टमाय तव्यसे । वोचेम शन्तमꣳ हृदे ।
सर्वोह्येष रुद्रस्तस्मै रुद्राय नमो अस्तु ॥ १॥

XXV-1: We sing a hymn that confers on us happiness in the highest degree to Rudra who is worthy of praise, who is endowed with the highest knowledge, who rains objects to the worshippers most excellently, who is more powerful and who is dwelling in the heart. Indeed all this is Rudra. Salutations be to Rudra who is such.

XXVI-1: He who has the sacrificial ladle made of Vikankata (Flacourtia Spida) tree for his Agnihotra rite offers oblations effective in producing the desired fruit. Further, these oblations contribute to establish (his spiritual knowledge through the generation of mental purity).

XXVII-1: Krinushva paja iti panja.

[Five mantras commencing with the lemma krinushva paja are only indicated in the texts by reference to index words. They are recited for effecting the destruction of hostile influences. They are from the Taittiriya-Samhita I-ii-14. Originally they are from the Rig-Veda IV-iv-1-5.]

XXVIII-1: The sage Vasistha declared that Aditi is the mother and protector of gods, of celestial minstrels, of men, of departed ancestors, of demons and others; that she is possessed of hardness or cohesiveness, that she is excellent and honoured, that she

belongs to the Divine Spirit, that she is fit to be praised, contingent and supporting all, that she is rich in crops, broad and possessing a wealth of objects, that she is universal and comprising of the primary element, that she is exceedingly blissful, transformed into the bodies of creatures, illustrious, enduring and hence immortal.

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There are many shruti vacan-s which praise rudra as one without second, sustainer of all, granter of moksha, the highest God and the benevolent. Certainly purANa-s praising in his glory cannot lead one ot hell. They will contradict all the other shruti vacan-s that we have listed here.

Certainly these verses of padma purANa-s are interpolations.

Few thoughts about creation, trinity, and words bhagavAn and deva (devatA)


If we understand theory of creation, there is always a male-female pair. Krishna says, I along with my yOga mAyA, I create this universe. It is said that viShNu creates the universe using his power. It is not said that viShNu creates universe through laxmI devI. Though by collecting tits-bits we can connect mAyA with laxmI, laxmI mAtA does not come into picture directly as often as Siva-Sakti pair which creates and destroys the worlds. Even brahmA didn't create this universe with the help of sarasvatI. 

Now all three cannot create different worlds using different energies. Also creation of universe is the job of Isvara and not devatA-s.  Hence the creative power is called as brahmA, the sustaining power is called as viShNu, and destroyer is called as maheSa. It should be noted that the word used is maheSa and not Siva or rudra. 

Since brahmA created the universe in his mind or this world is a projection of his mind, hence brahma ji is omnipresent in his creation. viShNu means all-pervading, the sustainer of the universe. maheSa, as the name suggests is mahAna ISvara (the great lord) or bhagavAna. It is said the maheSa (in rudra form) destroys the universe and pulls everything inside him. So in all three, the universe exists inside them, indicating the unity of them. They only appear as different for purpose of doing certain work. 

vaiSnava-s would often substitute Siva for eSAna, Sambhu, rudra, mahadeva and maheSa.  

Another point to understand here is that, Siva means auspiciousness, which is directly connected with brahman of upanishads (mANDukya upanishad). Also Siva is a pullinga (masculine gender - word ending with vovel 'a'). Hence it denotes puruSa. Sivam is always napunsaka linga (neuter gender) and indicates nirgUNa brahman.

Nowhere in purANa-s the birth of Siva is described. Rest all are aspects of Siva. The word sadASiva also appears in Sri rudram.

puruSa is often translated as male or person. However, literal meaning is not to be always taken. puruSa also means the masculine form. We have heard of the words puruSa-prakruti. puruSa also means a creative principle, which is omnipresent and the controller of mAyA (mAyA-patI). 

The word antaryAmi would mean, the one who resides inside every being (in hearts). antaryAmI not only covers living beings but also non-living being too. 

sutrAtmA is another word used to explain the all-pervasiveness, connectivity and omnipresence of bhagavAn

Talking in language of laymen, there is a difference between the word bhagavAn and deva or devatA. While brahma, viShNu, Siva / rudra, gaNeSa, skanda, Adi Sakti, all come under the category of bhagavAn, Indra, agni and other deva-s come under the word deva and not bhagavAn. We do not say Indra bhagAvan. We always say Indra deva or agni deva. Only exception is sUrya deva, who is also called as sUrya bhagavAn. Here sUya is taken as parabrahman w.r.t. sAxI bhAva. sUrya is often called as sUrya nArAyaNa. It is also said that sUrya and agni are manifestations of Siva. sUrya is the only devatA who is physically visible with gross eyes.


nArAyaNa and the 'Na' factor


vaiSnava-s claim that the word nArAyaNa is a proper noun (personal noun). It means the one who is sitting or resting on waters, which is none other than viShNu. Hence nArAyaNa cannot be applied to anyone else then viShNu. Being a proper noun, it cannot be taken as adjective or common noun and hence it cannot be used for any other deity. Siva, rudra can be interpreted as common noun. 

Lets understand the reason behind their claim.

nArAyaNa becomes proper noun because of the 'Na' in the end.

nArAyaNa is made up of two words, nAra+ayana.  

नारायण = नार + अयन 
nArAyaNa = nAra + ayana

Notice here that in the word 'ayana', 'na' is small 'na' (न) and not 'Na' (ण)

According to maharShi pAnini, when there are two words that combine to form a bigger word, then if the last syllable of the first half word with "ra" and the first syllable of the second word does not start with "ga", then the weak sounding "na" in the second word will transform into a stronger sounding "Na" . If this happens, this would mean only one person (that is a proper noun and not a common noun).

In our case, the last syllable of first word nAra  (नार) is 'ra' (र)
first syllable of second word ayana (अयन) is 'a' (अ) and not 'ga' (ग)

When two words are joined, according to pAnini's grammar, it becomes nArAyaNa (नारायण) and not nArAyana (नारायन) 

Each sanskrit word has many meanings and nArAyaNa is no exception. nArAyaNa means the one who gives shelter to nAra (jIva-s). This meaning is called as 'yougika' (यौगिक) meaning. It is a raw meaning of the word and does not point it to any particular identity.  yougika meaning the meaning derived by joining two words (yOga). 

There is another meaning called as rUDhi (रूढि) meaning. It means the obvious meaning. 

When we say surpaNakhA. nakha means nail. surpaNakhA means the one which big nails (long nails). This is the yougika (यौगिक) meaning. But by saying surpaNakhA, we only and only mean rAvaNa's sister and not any other identity. In other words, whenever surpaNakhA is used, it 'obviously' means rAvaNa's sister surpaNakhA. this obvious meaning is called as rUDhi (रूढि) meaning.

In the sUrpaNakhA analogy sUrpaNakhA can mean 'anyone with long nails but the 'Na' indicates that Surpanakha is Ravana's sister'. But this is not valid if sUrpaNakhA is interpreted to mean something other than 'a person who has long nails'.

Similarly, nArAyaNa being a person (puruSa) and none other than viShNu is valid only if 'nArAyaNa' is interpreted as 'he who resides on the waters'. 

But if Narayana is interpreted as 'That in which all things inhere' the above rule does not apply and one cannot say that nArAyaNa is none other than viShNu. Hence there is no contradiction. The problem does not arise. We can take Siva as nArAyaNa 

Interestingly all three words mean the same.

According to the UṇAdi-sUtra i, 153, from verbal root √śī (“in whom all things lie”); perhaps connected with √śvi; 

In simple words Siva means 'in whom all things lie'

viShNu is rooted in the word 'vis' which means 'all pervading' or 'to pervade'

nArAyaNa as we have seen also means ''That in which all things lie' 

Hence it is not wrong to say Siva is nArAyaNa.

Now let us take the word 'puruSa' for analysis.

vaiSnava-s says that 'puruSa' is a person. We advaitins say it is nirAkAra (not nirguNa), omnipresent entity.  mudgal upanishad explains the meaning of purusa sukta.

It says that 1000 eyes, or even 100 eyes has to be taken as infinite eyes. It simply means the one who is present everywhere.  How can a person have infinite eye? It simply means that my eyes, your eyes, every body's eyes are HIS eyes. In other words, HE looks through our eye. In rAma gItA, verse 4, laxmaNa clearly says that the true nature of srI rAma is nirAkAra, but for bhakta-s he takes form.

So puruSa does not mean person. puruSa means omnipresent entity.  puruSa is masculine tatva and prakruti (mAyA) is feminine.

vaishNava objections


vaishNava-s give some explanations to prove supremacy of viShNu. Though viShNu is supreme is unquestionable, Siva too is equally supreme and his supremacy is unquestioned. Problem comes when one takes supreme Godhead as a person. If we take nirAkAra (formless) entity as supreme and all forms are his manifestations, then the problem is solved. Except earth (prithvi tatva) all other tatva-s are formless and shapeless. Water can be freezed into a definite shape. In the same way ISvara can be both sAkAra nad nirAkAra. Other panch mahAbhuta-s like air and space are completely nirAkAra. Hence ISvara, who is subtle than all five is definitely nirAkAra. If tatva-s can stay in formless state, then why not the creator of universe? when water can exists as solid, liquid and gas, then why not ISvara exist as solid object, formless and invisible (steam)?

Lets move on to the objections raised by vaiSnava-s

Some objections raised by vaiSnava-s are:

  1. rudra is born from semen of brahmA. brahmA donated semen to ushA, and after one year she gave birth to rudra. rudra cried upon birth and said that he is crying since he is sinful. So to purify him brahmA gives him all names. Some also point out verses from sruti which says that during the time of destruction, rudra was absent. It was viShNu who carried out the destruction.
  2. From point (1), the birth of rudra is karma-vaSa and not of divine origin as that of rAma and kruShNa.
  3. rudra is born of viShNu
  4. nArAyaNa is antaryAmI of rudra and all glories of rudra / Siva belong to nArAyaNa / viShNu only.
  5. nArAyaNa is proper noun and hence it is only applicable to supreme brahman. viShNu is the only nArAyaNa as per shruti-s
  6. rudra was bewildered by mohini svarUpa of nArAyaNa
  7. dakxiNAmurti svarUpa, the Adi gurU gives GYAna of viShNu only
  8. Siva is paSu-pati, the lord of beast (creatures) or lower emotions or animal instincts
  9. Siva cannot grant moxa
  10. brahmA was confused and hence there are differences between them in terms of content. Due to brahmA being confused he must have written rAjasika and tAmasika purANA

Lets try to logically analyze their objections.

1. If we understand this verse cited from Satapat brAhmaNa, we have following conclusions.

a. rudra is jIva

The claim is that rudra / Siva was born and dies (absent) during destruction of the worlds, hence rudra is a 'jIva'. If we accept this theory, then we can say that jIva is 'born' and 'dies'. This would contradict the basic tenet of vaiShNava-s which says that 'jIva, jagat and ISvara are eternal'. This means that jIva is also eternal, but is dependent upon ISvara. Accepting this claim would do more harm then help.

b. brahmA's spiritual concert is ushA.

ushA is a vedic goddess of dawn as per rgveda (rigveda). She is often associated as consort of Sun (as she brings dawn). purANika character usha was also the daughter king bANAsura, who married to kruShNa's son. I am not aware of any verse in which sarasvatI is called as ushA. Also note that brahmA ji was not married while creating the universe. he created Shatrupa and was attracted towards her. Hence the literal meaning of the verse cannot be taken. matsya purANa says that once there was no creation and brahmA was alone. So enjoy company, brahmA split himself into two halves creating a feminine aspect, another being himself.

c. There is another objection. 

purANa-s teach us that universe exists for a single day of brahmA. This day is equivalent to four billion earth years, at the end of which the whole universe gets dissolved. This process is called ‘pralaya’, which repeats for such 100 years, a period that represents Brahma's lifespan.

Now, if we take the meaning of brahmA creating rudra via semen and rudra was born 'normally' like mortals after one year. It simple means that that for one full year of brahmA, rudra was absent. Nowhere in purANa-s or in shruti-s we find that rudra was absent for many many kalpa-s which together form one year of brahma. Hence literal meaning should not be taken.


d.  None of the purANa-s say that any jIva by the strength of his tapas can be awarded the position of Siva. One can attain the status of Indra on strength of his merit, but not the position of Siva. Siva / rudra is called as bhagavAn. bhagavAn cannot be jIva. This is simple logic. Trying to project Siva and jIva is nothing but EGO problem :)

Rig veda says, rudra is immortal

RV 1.114.1. To the strong Rudra bring we these our songs of praise, to him the Lord of Heroes with the braided hair, That it be well with all our cattle and our men, that in this village all he healthy and well−fed.
RV 1.43.3 By worship of the Gods may we, O Bounteous One, O Rudra, gain thy grace, Ruler of valiant men. Come to our families, bringing them bliss: may we, whose heroes are uninjured, bring thee sacred gifts,
RV 1.43.4 Hither we call for aid the wise, the wanderer, impetuous Rudra, perfecter of sacrifice. May he repel from us the anger of the Gods: verily we desire his favourable grace.
RV 1.43.5 Him with the braided hair we call with reverence down, the wild−boar of the sky, the red, the dazzling shape. May he, his hand filled full of sovran medicines, grant us protection, shelter, and a home secure.
RV 1.43.6 Grant us, Immortal One, the food which mortals eat: be gracious unto me, my seed, my progeny.
RV 1.114.6 This praise, the sweetest of the sweet, and cause of increase (to the reciter), is addressed to Rudra,the father of the Maruts; immortal Rudra ,grant us food sufficient for mortals, and bestow happiness on me, my son, and my grandson.

2. Since literal meaning of verse should not be taken, hence the literal story also should not be taken. Apart from this, there is no mentioned karma for rudra to do to wipe out his sins. nArAyana is also said to be the son. The meaning of nArAyaNa means the indweller of nara ( living beings). rg veda states only 33 original devatAs-. viShNu is also mentioned as one of Aditya-s i.e. son of Aditya (sun god). it is also said that nArAyAnA obtained omnipresence after performing vedic sacrifice for 5 days. All these stories should not be taken literally. 

3. Each purANa-s describe one born of another. Now that since advaitins do not believe in the verse categorizing purANa-s into sAttvika, rAjasika and tAmasika, the whole world is open to us :) The birth is not birth in literal sense, but separate manifestation to carry out particular work. linga purANa says from linga, both viShNu an brahmA were born.

4. The word nArAyaNa is proper noun. But as explained earlier, it is not necessary that it applies only to a person or to viShNu. the word nArAyaNa meaning indweller is equally applicable to Siva, who is said to be paSupati. saSu does not mean beast or lower animal nature. paSu means jiva-s. So paSupati means lord of jIva. BhagavAn in gItA BG 18.61 says īśvaraḥ sarva-bhūtānāṁ hṛd-deśe 'rjuna tiṣṭhati. ISvara means the lord of all. ESAna and maheSa are another names of Siva / rudra. Hence the same logic of Siva / rudra being indweller of all jIva-s is applicable.

If we agree to this logic, then there cannot be two antaryAmI-s :) .We do not find them in shruti-s either. Hence both *must* be same.

5. As said, according to general rules of sanskrit grammar, let nArAyaNa be the proper noun and let nArAyaNa be the supreme brahman. It is not wrong to apply it to viShNu as we have shruti pramANa-s. But this name is not a monopoly of viShNu. it is equally applicable to Siva  rudra too.

6. This is story from bhAgavat purANa. The moral of story is more important than the story itself. Even rAma experienced grief, sorrow and krUShNa bleeded many times. Once kruShNa's finger bleeded. Seeing this, his sister draupadI tore a part of her sArI (saree) and tied it to kruShNa's finger. Later when she was forcibly unclothed (vastraharaNa) by duSAShana, she recalls kruShNa for help. kriShNa, performs dual duty of bhagavAn and brother. Krishna keeps extending her sArI until duSAShana tires and quits. We should understand the purpose behind such stories.

Similarly, it was for the destruction of demon Guhasura that harIhara was born out of Siva-mohinI, while still complying the boon that Guhasura could only be killed by the son of Siva-viShNu.

7. daxiNAmurtI svarUpa is a maun svarUpa and gives instructions in silence and not of personal god viShNu. daxiNAmurtI is the symbol of GYAna and an Adi gurU.

8. As explained the word paSu means jIva and not beast or lower animal instincts (though they word covers them too). Hence paSu-patI means lord of jIva-s another name of ISvara.

9. We find various examples of Siva granting moxa. One famous example which purANa-s tell is the importance of kASI,a holy place where bhagavAn Siva mutters tAraka mantra in ears of dying person. This tAraka mantra is not rAma nAma or mantra of bhagavAna rAma. It is OM, praNav, the first primordial sound, the only mantra that can directly transcend one beyond guNa-s and hence mAyA. Siva is often connected with OM.

We find reference from bhAgavat purANa itself in 8th skandha

Siva can grant moxa


BP 8.7.21: The ArAdhyadeva, the one who is the chosen deity of worship of deva-s, O mahadeva (God of Gods)! You are Atman and life giver of all.


BP 8.7.22: You and only you are capable of giving bondage and freedom (moxa) to this world. Hence wise worship only you because to the ones who have taken refuge in you, you are the remover of their sorrows and are jagadguru (world teacher).


Siva is para-brahma


BP 8.7.23 &

BP 8.7.24

says that Siva is brahman and takes form of brahmA, viShNu and maheSa. Siva is the Atman of all is jagadiSa and you are the source of veda-s.


BP 8.7.21-35 glorify Siva


BP 8.7.33 says, those who accuse you of being a samsAri as you live with mAtA pArvatI and that you are living in crematiob ground and hence you are not auspicious, but are fierce [frightful] and cruel, insensitive, those fools are they capable of knowing the secret of your lIlA [why you behave in this way]? Their such assumptions are filled with shamelessness.

[under construction]


brahmA jI is not deluded by his own creation says bhagavAn viShNu in chatu-sloki bhAgavat


[Added on 14th March 2016]

Note: This article is continuation of previous article which is giving replies to 10 common objections raised by vaiShNava-s
 
10. According to this belief, brahmA jI got confused and so endowed with tamasa guNa he created tAmasika purANa-s. However we have a great discourse given by bhagavAn viShNu himself to brahmA jI before brahmA jI began to create the universe. This divine discourse is popularly known by the name chatusloki-bhAgavat. It contains just four verses BP 2.9.32-35 as the main part of updesha, however, verses from BP 2.9.30-36 are collectively called as chatusloki-bhAgavat. Verses BP 2.9.30-31 are the beginning of instruction by bhagavAn viShNu. From verse 2.9.32, upadesha starts. Verse 2.9.36 is the phala-shruti, where bhagavAn declares that if you [brahmA jI] stay focussed on the teachings that I have just now given and then begin the work of creation, then you will never get trapped into your own creation. The verse is:

एतन् मतं समातिष्ठ परमेण समाधिना ।
भवान् कल्पविकल्पेषु न विमुह्यति कर्हिचित् ।। २.९.३६ ।।

Hindi:
आप उत्कृष्ट समाधि द्वारा [अर्थात् ध्यानसे], मेरा यह सिद्धान्तमें अच्छी तरह से स्थित हो जाओ. (ईस्से), [ईस ज्ञान मे स्थित रहनेके  परिणाम से], कल्प-कल्पान्तरोमें भी कभीभी और कहीभी मोहित नहीं होंगे - २.९.३६

English:
BP 2.9.36: You (brahmA jI) [humbly and devoutly] stay steadily rooted in the most excellent samAdhI [i.e. by remaining fully focussed on the philosophy (teachings), not letting any other thought or doubt]. As a result [of remaining steadfast in communion with the knowledge that I gave you], you will never ever get trapped (attracted) [in the world you are creating] for kalpa-kalpAntara i.e. eternally.

In simple words, brahmA jI, you remaining steadfast in the knowledge I just now gave you, if you begin the work of creation, then you will never ever get trapped in your own creation.

Hence when you read about the ignorance of brahmA jI, it is just for the sake of creating a guru-shishya samvAda. To add to it, brahmA, viShNu and Siva (rudra, as destroyer) are three shakti-s (energies, powers) of brahman. Both these facts are explained in the most widely quoted purANa viShNu purANa.


brahmA jI is said to 'be born' only under pretence


We will first quote viShNu purANa that trinity of brahmA-viShNu-Siva are energies or powers of brahman.

VP 1.2.1-2: srI parASarajI said – the one who is the cause of brahmA, viShNu (hari) {deity of preservation} and Sankara and assumes the forms of brahmA, viShNu {deity of preservation} and Sankara for the creation, preservation and destruction of the world (or universe). And who helps his devotees to swim the ocean of samsAra i.e. transcend his devotees beyond samsAra (this transcient world), that changeless, pure, indestructible, paramAtmA, always one and uniform (ekarasa), completely victorious (sarvavijayI), my salutations to bhagavAn vAsudeva viShNu.

Simple translation of VP 1.2.3: 

VP 1.2.3: Inspite of being one, appears as in many forms, is of the nature of gross-subtle, is unmanifested and is also manifest, and is the cause of liberation of his devotees, I bow to that bhagavAn viShNu.

VP 1.2.4: The one who is the root cause of the creation, preservation and destruction of this world, I bow to that viShNu paramAtmA.

VP 1.2.61 Established [in Self], the vishveshvara bhagavAn viShNu, by endowing itself[1] with rajoguNa, assumed the form of brahmA jI began the work of creation

[1] Here the word 'it' is used as brahman is nirguNa and nirAkAra i.e. it is neuter gender and not masculine gender.


VP 1.2.62 And after finishing the creation, by endowing itself with the most magnificent sattvaguNa, the great bhagavAn viShNu [as viShNu, the perserver] sustained the creation for many yuga-s (yuga-yugAntara) until the end of kalpa.

VP 1.2.63 O Maitrei (maitrai)! then, in the end of kalpa, by endowing itself with the painful tamoguNa, assumed the form of rudra that janArdana viShNu [different from perserver viShNu], destroys or engulfs everything.

VP 1.2.66 The same (one and only one) bhagavAn janArdana, assumes the form (upAdhi-s, sanGYA) of brahmA for creation, viShNu for perservation and Siva for destruction.

VP 1.2.67 [That] bhagavAn viShNu, by becoming [or acting or assuming the form of] creator [brahmA jI] creation itself, by assuming the form of viShNu sustains itself and by assuming the form of Siva destroys itself and itself [which is creation and jIva-s] merges into itself.

Now we will understand how brahmA jI is never deluded.

विष्णु पुराण – १..-

तन्निबोध यथा सर्गे भगवान्सम्प्रवर्त्तते ।

नारायणाख्यो भगवान्ब्रह्मा लोकपितामहः ।। १..३ ।।

उत्पन्नः प्रोच्यते विद्वन्नित्यमेवोपचारतः ।। १..४ ।।


(VP 1.3.4 has just one line)



VP 1.3.3-4 Now [please] listen how nArAyaNa, [who is] loka-pitAmAH (father of world), bhagavAn brahmA jI, gets engaged in the work of creation. O learned [maitreya] (Maitri)! always by only pretence (upachAra), he is called as 'is born' (utpannaH).

निजेन तस्य मानेन आयुर्वर्षशतं स्मृतम् ।

तत्पराख्यं तदर्द्धं च परार्द्धमभिधीयते ।। १..५ ।।



VP 1.3.5 As a result of this [pretence] he is said to have age of 100 years. This [duration of 100 years] is called as 'para' 'पर', and it's half [duration] is called as 'parArdha' 'परार्ध'.        

Note: An interesting question which may bother many is answered in viShNu purANa 1.3.1-2.

श्री मैत्रेय उवाच

निर्गुणस्याप्रमेयस्य शुद्धस्याप्यमलात्मनः ।

कथं सर्गादिकर्तृत्वं ब्रह्मणो ऽभ्युपगम्यते ।। १..१ ।।



VP 1.3.1 shrI maitrai said - O bhagavan! That brahman, which is nirguNa (attributeless), apramaiya (immesurable), shuddha (pure) and nirmalAtmA (stainless, untouched by three guNa-s of mAyA), how can it be said that it is the creator of sarga, etc work.

In other words, how can attributeless, immesurable, pure, untainted by mAyA, can actually act and get itself engaged in the work of creation?

Since the answer is important, and the author finds it difficult to translate aptly, both Hindi and English translations are provided

श्री पराशर उवाच

शक्तयः सर्वभावानामचिन्त्यज्ञानगोचराः ।

यतो ऽतो ब्रह्मणस्तास्तु सर्गाद्या भावशक्तयः ।

भवन्ति तपतां श्रेष्ठ पावकस्य यथोष्णता ।। १..२ ।।



VP 1.3.2 श्री पराशजी बोले - हे तपस्वियोंमें श्रेष्ठ मैत्रेय ! समस्त भाव-पदार्थोंकी शक्तियाँ अचिन्त्य-ज्ञानकी विषय होती हैं; [उनमें कोई उक्ति काम नहीं देती] अतः अग्निकी शक्ति उष्णताके समान ब्रह्मकी भी सर्गादि-रचनारुप शक्तियाँ स्वाभाविक हैं।

VP 1.3.2 shrI parAshara jI said - O the best amongst tapasvi-s (ascetics) maitreya (Maitri)!, though one cannot directly explain how the creation takes place, one can infer i.e. know through eye of wisdom that which is normally beyond perception. Just like fire doe snot do anything special to burn that is in it's vicinity, but objects burn due to the heat of fire, similarly, Brahman, does not do anything to create, but since is sattA i.e. consciousness itself), in it's presence, creation takes place own it's own.

The power (shakti, शक्ति) behind all being-substances / manifested-substances (bhAva-padArtha, भाव-पदार्थ) [1] is the object (viShaya, विषय) of uncontemplatable knowledge (achintya-GYAna अचिन्त्य-ज्ञान).

[1] bhAva, भाव means 'to have existance' or 'to exist' or 'existence' or 'object' or 'material object'. 

[Under construction]

Further explanation (as explained by Sri K. Sadananda ji):



श्री मैत्रेय उवाच
निर्गुणस्याप्रमेयस्य शुद्धस्याप्यमलात्मनः ।
कथं सर्गादिकर्तृत्वं ब्रह्मणो ऽभ्युपगम्यते ।। १.३.१ ।।
Shree Maitreya said:
Nirgunasya aprmeyasya suddhasya api amalaatmanaH|
Katham sargaadi kartRitam brahmanaH abhyugamyaH – iti||

Shree Maitreya asked.

Brahman who is one without any attributes, one who cannot be an object of knowledge (aprameyam) or which cannot be known, suddhasya api – even though pure or without any superimpositions, and amaalaatmanaH – uncontaminated by the creation or unaffected by the creation that is not becoming a creator (role) – how can there be sargaadi kartRitvam- talking the role of a creator or agency of creation – possible?

श्री पराशर उवाच

शक्तयः सर्वभावानामचिन्त्यज्ञानगोचराः   

यतो ऽतो ब्रह्मणस्तास्तु सर्गाद्या भावशक्तयः ।

भवन्ति तपतां श्रेष्ठ पावकस्य यथोष्णता ।। १..२ ।।


We will split this verse into two parts for better understanding:

श्री पराशर उवाच
शक्तयः सर्वभावानामचिन्त्यज्ञानगोचराः   

ShrI parAshara answered:

ShaktaYaH – He (nirguNa Brahman) is capable or it is possible – since maaya is aghaTita ghaTanaa paTeeyasi – that which makes impossible possible – sarva bhaavanaam achintya gyaana gocharaaH – One cannot directly explain how the creation takes place– but can be known or seen by the wisdom eye – One has to understand via jnaana that there is really no creation that can be seen since it is achintyam –beyond the analysis of the mind – since the seeker is asking an intellectual explanation. From Brahman reverence there is really no creation or creation also cannot be possible or he does not take the role of a creator. He explains this by example below - The apparent creation is possible by its mere presence. How - sloka below give an example.

श्री पराशर उवाच

यतो ऽतो ब्रह्मणस्तास्तु सर्गाद्या भावशक्तयः ।

भवन्ति तपतां श्रेष्ठ पावकस्य यथोष्णता ।। १..२ ।। 


yathaH – athaH –bramaNasta astu sargaadyaa bhaavashaktayaH|
bhavanti tapataam shreshTaH paavaksya yathoSNataa|


Hai ShreshTaH – addressing Matreya – Hai noble one.

Here he is giving some example –yathaa bhavanti  paavaksya ushnatA tapatAm– One can get burned by the heat of the fire. Fire in the heat is just its natural property - – Fire does not really burn anything nor it gets by its own fire– but in its presence things get burned. You cannot accuse the fire why are you burning things. It would say – I have nothing to do with any burning. I am naturally present and things in my presence get burned. – In the same way creation happens in its mere presence.

athaH – therefore – brahmmanathaH – in the presence of the Brahman, sargaadyaaH bhAvashaktayaH astu – The creation etc – creation, sustenance and annihilation etc. happens


mahAbhArata also says brahmA jI is unborn


In anushAshnika parva, bhiShma narrates superiority of brahmaNa-s (Brahmins) as compared to kshatriya-s. The reason for their supremacy is the powers acquired by tapas. With the help of which a rishi, who is a brahmANa could gulp entire ocean. The discourse is a flash back of discourse between the varuNa deva and kartavIrya arjuNa. Here, while explaining the theory of creation, varNAdeva explained that brahmA jI is in reality unborn. (brahmA jI is also referred to as a first brahmANa and the first one to chant four veda-s from his four heads.) 

तथा प्रजापतिर्ब्रह्मा अव्यक्तः प्रभुरव्ययः
येनेदं निखिलं विश्वं जनितं स्थावरं चरम्॥ 13-153-15
अण्डजातं तु ब्रह्माणं केचिदिच्छन्त्यपण्डिताः।
अण्डाद्भिन्नाद्बभुः शैला दिशोऽम्भः पृथिवी दिवम्॥ 13-153-16
द्रष्टव्यं नैतदेवं हि कथं जायेदजो हि सः।
स्मृतमाकाशमण्डं तु तस्माज्जातः पितामहः॥ 13-153-17

The Lord of all creatures, brahmA, unmanifest, endued with pursuance, and of unfading glory, who created this boundless universe with its mobile and immobile creatures (is a brAhmaNa, Brahmin). Some persons there are, destitute of wisdom, who say that brahmA was born of an Egg. From the original Egg, when it burst forth, mountains and the points of the compass and the waters and the earth and the heavens all sprang forth into existence. This birth of the creation was not seen by any one. How then can brahmA be said to have taken his birth from the original Egg, when especially he is declared as Unborn? It is said that vast uncreate Space is the original Egg. It was from this uncreate Space (or Supreme Brahman) that the Grandsire (brahmA) was born.

Credits: Shri Santosh ji and sacredtexts.com

Here, the epithats like Lord of all creatures, unfading glory, etc are mentioned. They are explained in kurma purANa. Since we are in process of refuting that tAmasika purANa-s (like kurma purANa) lead one to hell, tAmasika purANa-s like skanda purANa are also quoted by mAdhvAchArya jI. They are accepted even by vaiShNava-s when they do not contradict sAttcika purANa. When any purANa sheds more light on topic, we must take it's help, specially when it does not contradict mahAbhArata and of course mahAbhArata.

kurma purANa says brahmA is unborn


KP 1.4.59 He (brahmA) is called as Adideva since he was the first deva to be known to exist. He is called as 'aja' since he (brahmA jI) is ajanmA. Through him all beings are protected, hence he is called as prajApati

KP 1.4.60 As he (brahmA) is great (mahAn) amongst all deva-s, hence he is called as mahAdeva. Since he is brihad (big, vast) than anyone else, he is called as brahmA and since he is beyond everything (beings and creation), he (brahmA) is called as parameshvara.

KP 1.4.61 He (brahmA jI) is calleda s 'Ishvara' because he has the qualities of 'controlling everything' and 'not being controlled by anyone'. He (brahma jI) is called as 'riShi' since he roams everywhere and he (brahmA jI) is called as 'hari' since he 'removes everything' [i.e. removes all kinds of sorrows and fear]

KP 1.4.62 He is called as 'svayambhU' (Self Born) since he is 'ajanmA' (unborn). Similarly he (brahmA jI) is called as 'nArAyaNA' since he is 'supporter' or 'refuge' of all nara-s (jIva-s, souls)

bhagavAn kurma clears confusion of brahmA being born and yet is considered as unborn


KP 1.9.4-29 gives reason why brahmA instead of being born from navel, is unborn.

(To save time, abridged version adapted from astrojyoti.com website. This version is not verse-to-verse translation. The translation may sometimes not retain the bhAva or may make it sound that Gods are arrogant, but neverthless, it solves our prupose here. )


The gods and the sages told Vishnu, “We are getting a bit confused. You have told us that Brahma emerged from Vishnu’s body And yet you have also told us how Brahma was born inside a golden egg. Which of these is the correct account? Then again, you have told us that Shiva was born from one of Brahma’s tears. But we have sometimes heard otherwise. Which is right? Please remove this confusion.”

“There is no confusion,” replied Vishnu. “Let me explain it for you.”

Brahma was born from the golden egg right at the beginning, at the time of the original creation. But at the end of every kalpa there is a minor destruction when all living beings other than Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva die. When the destruction is over, creation has to start afresh.

(after few verses) bhagavAn kurma continues,

While Vishnu thus slept on the water, a wonderful lotus sprouted from his navel. the lotus was gigantic and shone like the sun. Its fragrance spread in all directions. Brahma appeared inside the lotus. Since padma means lotus and yoni means place of Birth, Brahma is also known as Padmayoni.

Brahma saw Vishnu sleeping on the water and woke him up. “Who are you?” asked Brahma.

“I am Vishnu.” replied Vishnu. “I am the origin of everything. That will be there in the universe is inside my body.”

“Is that really so?” asked Vishnu. “Let me see.”

Vishnu thereupon entered Brahma’s body. He really found the three worlds, the gods, the demons and the humans inside Brahma’s stomach and was greatly surprise. He emerged from Brahma’s mouth and told Brahma, “What I have seen inside your body is truly wonderful. But I too can show you many worlds inside my body. Please enter and see for yourself.”

It was now Brahma’s turn to enter Vishnu’s body. But when Brahma did this, he could find no end to Vishnu’s stomach. It was true that there were many worlds inside Vishnu’s body. However, Brahma could find no way of coming out from Vishnu’s stomach. He finally jab to emerge through Vishnu’s navel, through the stalk of the lotus that was there.

“How dare you try to confine me inside your body?” demanded Brahma, as soon as he managed to get out.

“Please do not get angry.” replied Vishnu. “I merely thought that I would play with you for a while. Otherwise, it is inconceivable that anyone should dare to confine the great Brahma. Please pardon me. And as a token of your pardon, please grant me the boon that henceforth, you will be known as my son. After all, you did emerge from a lotus that grew out of my navel.”

“Agreed.” said Brahma. “Let us make peace. After all; there is no one else. We are the lords of everything, we are parts of the brahman.”


[under construction]

 
For a moment, even if we consider that brahmA jI was actually 'born' form caturbhuja viShNu (sagua viShNu),  still, for God's sake, let us stay in our limits and do not criticize Lord brahmA, one among trinity. We have no right to question him, mistrust brahmA ji to give us faulty purANa-s that are misleading. mAdva-s consider brahmA ji as one of the great bhAgavat who is always devoted to Sri hari. let us not question the decision of Sri hari to give certain task to brahma ji. Questioning brahmA ji is to question Sri hari himself. 

Again, purANa-s were penned down by none other than an avatar of Sri hari, bhagavAn veda vyAsa. Hence even by the logic that viShNu is endowned with sattva guNA (pure mode of goodness), and is pure and hence cannot make mistakes, bhagavAn veda vyAsa also cannot make any mistake while splitting already existing purANa-s or even while composing new ones.

Arguing that Siva can only give material benefits is also questioning Sri hari. Siva is said to be the granter of moksha and grant immortality. Please stop denigrating and weighing Gods with our pity low level intellect. Let us remain in our limits. we are all human. Whosoever has raised such doubts have directly or indirectly questioned Sriman nArAyaNa only.


Moral of story is more important than story and adopting nAhI nindA nyAya



Moral of the story is more important than the story itself. I am not aware of any story in any purana, be it tamasic purana, in which finally adharma wins over dharma.

There is no purANa in which adharma finally wins of dharma. If we keep interpreting stories in literal meaning and keep fighting over supremacy of our chosen deity, there will be nothing but chaos in our mind, and we will have to even reject that bhagavAna has given - veda-s, purANa-s and other shastra-s. bhagavAna veda vyAsa is an avatar of viShNu says bhagavad purANa. The lord who is above gUNa-s cannot be confused amongst various kalpa-s, cannot loose memory, cannot mislead people. ISvara does not have negative emotions, just pure love. It is a great sin to think about about such a thing about ISvara. Even brahmA which is said to be born of either viShNu or Siva is not an ordinary soul. He is one of trinity and if he makes mistakes, then the whole creation would be a mess. 

The post of Siva is not given to anyone. No purANa-s talk about a pious soul been given the post of Siva. Siva is the one who grants moksha. The stories of the great kASi nagrI (sity) are well known. Siva grants moksha by giving tAraka mantra. This tAraka mantra is not rAma nAma, but OM. Om, praNava, is the first primordial sound, often contemplated to be one with nirguNa brahman. OM is also connected with Siva.

Infact there is no such clear and direct reference in purANa-s which connects moksha (parama pada) with Siva. Though Siva means auspiciousness, all names of ISvara have their own meaning. Our shastra-s can be interpreted in both literal and symbolic / metaphoric way. 

Differences between various purANa-s should not lead to confusion. kAnchi paramAcArya asks us to adopt nAhI nindA nyAya. Also please refer to Contradictory stories in Puranas 'same moral of the story'

According to Padma Purana, there was just one purana, which was split by Bhagavan Veda Vyasa.  It is well known and accepted by all that veda vyAsa has split veda in four. If we apply the logic of categorization of purANa-s, it would mean that the veda-s also contains misleading information, which is absolutely not acceptable.

Literal meaning should not be taken


If we read a verse from bhAgavat purANa (1.1.2), which says that only bhagavat is enough, then it means there is no meaning of reading any shruti or smriti. Why would acharya-s write commentaries on prasthantraiyi. The words are not to be taken literally. It is just glorification or a praise of Bhagavat Purana.

SB 1.1.2: Completely rejecting all religious activities which are materially motivated, this Bhāgavata Purāṇa propounds the highest truth, which is understandable by those devotees who are fully pure in heart. The highest truth is reality distinguished from illusion for the welfare of all. Such truth uproots the threefold miseries. This beautiful Bhāgavatam, compiled by the great sage Vyāsadeva [in his maturity], is sufficient in itself for God realization. What is the need of any other scripture? As soon as one attentively and submissively hears the message of Bhāgavatam, by this culture of knowledge the Supreme Lord is established within his heart.

Considering above points and claims about padma purana being corrupted or interpolated or extrapolated, if at all something needs to be discarded on basis of dubious authority, then it has to be few verses of classification, which are the basis of rejecting parts of shruti-s, smriti-s, veda-s, purANa-s or even the whole Tamasic purANa-s.

To add to it, a detailed analysis of Shankara Bhashya of Vishnu Sahasranama is done. There are references of as many as 12 PurANa-s. 


No purANa is superior or inferior


It is well known that all purAna-s are authored by one person, Bhagavan Veda Vyas, who is an avatar of Lord Vishnu according to Srimad Bhagavatam. Atleast 18 mahApurANa-s are authored by Bhagavan Veda Vyas. Each PurANa is dedicated to and glorifies one deity. How is it possible that one deity is superior than other. What is the purpose behind glorifying all deities. If at all Krishna / Vishnu has to be glorified and to be declared as supreme Godhead, then why create purANa-s which glorify other deities like Shiva, Brahma, Skanda and Ganesh? 

So accepting one purANa and rejecting another or condemning other is a direct insult to it's creator Bhagavan Veda Vyas. 

Some say that Padma Purana categories all purANa-s in sattvik, rajasic, tamasic categories. If tamas guna is inferior and so you ignore or reject that purANa, then your own physical body is also made of Tamas Guna. 

Logically tamas has to be first removed. Hence Shiva purANa and other purANa-s categorized in tamas category must be studied. Even Bhagavatam glorifies Lord Shiva as Creator, preserver and destroyer of universe. This happens when devatA-s and Lord Brahma attempt to calm down angry Lord Shiva when he hears his spiritual consort Maa Parvati sacrificed herself in fire of yagna. This yagna kund is still present and people still pay it's respect to it. The temple is called दक्षेश्‍वर महादेव मन्दिर (Daksha-Mahadev Temple or Daksheswara Mahadev Temple). With passage of time, the size of kund got reduced i.e. havan kund shrunk from it's original size to it's present size. This incident happens in the beginning of Srimad Bhagavatam. 

It is clear that Bhagavan Veda Vyas wrote 18 purANa-s to unify all Hindus, but ignorant, non-tolerant people and extremists still fight over deva supremacy.

I use the word extremists because Paramacharya also uses this word in his book Hindu Dharma

Do Saivas and Vaisnavas worship the same god? No. However it be with ordinary Vaisnavas, their acaryas or teachers never go anywhere near a Siva temple. Their god is Visnu, never Siva. In the opinion of the worshippers of Visnu, Siva is also one of his (Visnu's) devotees. There are extremists among Saivas also according to whom Visnu is not a god but a devotee of Siva. How then can the two groups be said to belong to the same religion?

Source: Hindu Dharma, Part 4, Chapter 4, Vedas - Root of all
 
It is Advaita which recognizes this unity and supports that all forms of Bhagavan are manifestations of NirguNa Brahman and hence are all equal in all respects.

It is known that Srimad Bhagavatam is the last of the 18 purANa-s. It was the last purANa written. Logically, this means that technically the categorization of various purANA-s should occur only in the last purANa.  How can one categorize that which is non-existent? When Srimad Bhagavatam was not created, how can it be categorized. Logically this means that this part is interpolated. We can only accept this categorization as authentic on msytical basis. Since our seers are knowers of past, present and future, hence they know what would happen in past and which purANa is to be written. An example to the support of this view is Bhavishya Mahapurana. 

All acharya-s admit about some interpolation or corruption here and there, but not the whole of purANa is corrupted. Hence we must respect all purANA-s and hence consider all devata-s mentioned in 18 purANa-s as equal and same manifestation of the same divinity or in other words, manifestation of NirguNa Brahman.

In Padma purANa, 88th chapter called shrikrushna satyabhama sanvada adhyaya describes the conversation between Shri Krishna and his wife Satyabhama.
there shri krishna says:

शैवा: सौराच्श्रगणेशावैष्णवा:शक्तिपूजका:
मामेवप्राप्नुवंतीहवर्षांभसागरंयथा ।। 43

Like the rain water comes from all around and finally reaches the ocean, similarly all those worshipping Shiva, Ganesh, Shakti, all finally reach me. It is me who is seen different due to my leela. 

Further in Padma Purana we find,

यो ब्रह्मा स हरि: प्रोक्तो यो हरि स महेश्वर: या काली,सैव कृष्ण....कालिका 
Yo Brahma sah hari Prokto yo hari sah maheshwarah Ya kali saiv Krishna….

The one who is Brahmaa, that is Hari and the one who is Hari, he himself is Shiva. The one who is Kali, the same is Krishna and the one who is Krishna is kali. Those who differentiate between forms of God, can not understand me well.

त्रयी सांख्यं योग पशुपतिमतं वैष्णवमिति प्रभिन्ने प्रस्थाने परमिदमद पथ्यमिति च रूचिनां वैचित्र्याद्यृजुकुटिलनानापथजुषां नृणामेको गम्यस्त्वमसि पयसामर्णव इव

trayi sankhyam yogah pasupati matam vaishnavamiti prabhinne prasthane paramidamadah pathyamiti ca, rucinam vaicitryad riju kutila nana pathajusham nrinameko gamyas tvamsasi payasa marnava iva.

Different paths (to realization) arc enjoined by the three Vedas, by Sankhya, Yoga, Pashupata (Shaiva) (doctrine and Vaishnava Shastras. People follow different paths, straight or crooked, according to their temperament, depending on which they consider best, or most appropriate--and reach You alone just as rivers enter the ocean.

We find similar verses in Upanishads

He (Brahman) is Brahmaa, he is Siva, he is Indra, He is the imperishable, the supreme majesty, the self-effulgent; He is Vishnu, he is prana, He is time, He is fire, He is the moon. - Kaivalya Upanishad 8

The gods are united in Brahman or Iswara, i.e. they are non-different from Brahman or krishna or Iswara - Svetasvatara Upanishad IV.17 

If Vaishnava-s say the Shiva is demi-god and not Ishvara, then it is completely wrong as there are many hyms dedicated to Lord Shiva / Lord Rudra in veda-s which is the final authority

Lord Shiva appears as Rudra in the Vedas and is glorified in many texts of the Vedas. One of the most powerful of the Veda Mantras appear in Rigveda 7:59:12. It is known as the Mahamrityunjaya Mantram. It also appears in Sukla Yajur Veda (3.60) and Krishna Yajur Veda (Taittiriya Samhita) 1.8.6.i.

'Tryambakam Yamaha sugandhim pusti vardhanam
Urvarukamiva bandhanan mrtyormoukshiya ma'amrtat.'

'We worship and adore you, O three-eyed one, You are sweet gladness, the fragrance of life, who nourishes us, restores our health, and causes us to thrive. As, in due time, the stem of the cucumber weakens and the gourd is freed from the vine, similarly free us from attachment and death, and do not withhold immortality.' 

upa-purANa-s and sthala purANa-s are authentic too - in words of kAnchi paramAcArya


Paramacharya in his book 'Hindu Dharma', Part 11, Chapters 5 (Vyasa's Priceless Gift to Us) and chapter 6 (Upa-puranas and others) says in page 448, 449 that  

Apart from 18 Major PuraNas there are an equal no of Upa-puranas. Among them are the Vinayaka Purana and the Kalki Purana. There are also, in addition, a number of minor Puranas. The Puranas that speak of the glory of various months such as the Tula Purana, the Magha Purana and the Vaisakha Purana are parts included into the 18 major Puranas or Upa-puranas. There are also what are called Sthala Puranas, some of them part of the Puranas mentioned above and some existing independently. The puranas that sing the glory of the Kaveri and the Ganga exist both separately and as part of the major Puranas or of the Upa-puranas. In the Tula Purana, for instance, the importance of the Kaveri is the theme. It mention how auspicious it is to bathe in that river in the month of Tula (October-November).

If there are Puranas devoted to the deities there are also those dealing with devotees. The Tamil Periyapuranam tells the story of the 63 Saiva saints called Nayanmars. The same is available in the Sanskrit as Upamanyu Bhaktavilasa. Bhakta-Vijaya deals with poet-saints like Tukaram and Namadeva who were specially devoted to the deity Panduranga of Pandharpur.


If upa-purANA-s were un-authentic and recent creation, Paramacharya would not have mentioned them, though he does admit that there may be interpolations here and there

Admittedly, there must be interpolations here and there in the Puranas but it is not correct to say that the Puranas were all recently written.

Online Source
 
It is needless to say that PurANa-s are authentic. Please refer to chapter 'Magnifying Glass of the Vedas'  (Tip: To view Index, Click 'Hindu Dharma' on left Vertical Menu.) 

Offline Source: Book, 'Hindu Dharma', Part 14, Chapter 1, Page, 433

To add to the above, Paramacharya in above book also deals in the Sthala Puranas, talks about their importance and considers them authentic. All puranas and upa-puranas, shala puranas, kula puranas are authentic.

Personal Note: 

Though Online version is good for searching Better have a hard copy of such a Gem. 

Book Title    : Hindu Dharma - The Universal Way Of Life
Published by  : Bhartiya Vidya Bhavan (Bhavan's Book University)
Type          : Hard Bound
Pages         : 828
Language      : English
Cost(in India): Rs. 700.00 i.e. Rupees Seven Hundred Only
Edition       : 2008  





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