We have noticed that our poor comrade, Santosh, who runs the laughable sham of a blog called the “mahApaSupatastra” in cahoots with the likes of Subbu et al, has poured frustration and venom on our blog in the form of an equally idiotic “FAQ” (click on this link to see it). Far be it for us to refrain from addressing this. Let us see what he writes and highlight the salient features.
COMMENTS BY THE MAHAPASHUPATASTRA AUTHOR AND OUR REPLY
ACCUSATION #1: They had stopped publishing comments of two persons who debated with them – Sri Abhijit and Adbhutam (Sri Subbu ji – a respected Advaitin) and warned to stop publishing comments from another person who is a liberal Sri Vaishnava viz. Sri Suresh Srinivasamurthy. Those three instances are known to me, but there would surely be many more voices suppressed by them. See below how one of the two Humble Vaishnavas warns him of not publishing, and how the other humble vaishnava brands him as Shaiva in guise of Sri Vaishnava (But the reality is Sri Suresh is a Vishishtadvaitin but with a liberal heart and open mind for other philosophies and all Gods). But for our friend Aaryamaa whosoever questions his articles is a “Shaiva”
ANSWER: So, the three stooges unite? Subbu is no “respected advaitin”. There is a saying – in a desert where everything is barren, a cactus becomes known as a very great plant. However, that does not take into account the Banyan Tree which stands towering in a forest of impressive trees.
Subbu lacks the basic knowledge of advaita and is a shaiva. Suresh Srinivasamurthy is no Sri Vaishnava as he does not accept Vishnu paratva (and to this date, has NOT said anything to the effect of retracting his incorrect misinterpretation of Ramanuja). Then where is the question of it being anything else?
And note, we never supressed their comments. We duly answered each and every one of their objections and then only signed off saying that will do. None of their objections were left unrefuted. It is only when they kept repeating the same rubbish, we told them we would not publish their comments.
Subbu contradicts Adi Shankara and Suresh contradicts Sri Ramanuja. If you want to prove us wrong, quote from any of Shankara’s works like we have to show Shiva paratva. Or explain why Sri Ramanuja calls Shiva as a jiva and subject to pralaya in Vedartha sangraha.
This is ignored by the author.
ACCUSATION#2: And recently I received information (news) from someone who posted it to me as a comment shown below. The below person has informed me that his comment where he questioned their one article titled “Lord Rama - The Heart of Rishi Svetasvatara” as copied and stolen from another blogger’s article titled “Lord Rudra - The Heart of Rishi Svetasvatara”, was not published (Link of the original article: http://hara-hara-mahadev.blogspot.in/2010/03/lord-rudra-heart-of-rishi-svetasvatara.html).Surprisingly, (to the best of my knowledge) when they had first published that article, the statement “(This article is a response to a shaiva article that claims that the shvetAshvatara upaniShad talks of Shiva's supremacy.)” was not present and later on it was found to be inserted to make a “copy” look a “refutation”, most probably it was done after this user had commented on that.
ANSWER: Well, it is very funny to say that an article which claims that the deity of the svetasvatAra is srI rAma is a copy of an article which says the deity is Shiva! Only a brainless person would call it a copy when we clearly used the work of srI vedAnta desikan to refute shaiva nonsense and misinterpretation of the Upanishad.
The fact of the matter is that the article was a *refutation* of the article on the shaiva blog. We followed the footsteps of the great rAmAnujAchArya – if Adi Shankara quoted vishNu purAna to establish advaita, srI rAmAnuja would quote the *same* purAna to refute it and establish vishishtadvaita. Similarly, we quoted the same mantras that the shaiva blog had done and established vishNu paratva.
Now, when we uploaded the article, we had intended to insert the link to the shaiva blog. Only later on, we noticed it was missing and amended it quickly. A human error. And neither is it a copy in anyway – why would we copy a shaiva blog when our philosophy is different? And indeed, note that the shaiva author simply copies and pastes translations of Griffith and max muller – firstly, those interpretations are rubbish and we never copy indologists and secondly, it only means even the shiva article was not even original!
We simply took inspiration of the title “heart of svetasvatara rishi” to *MOCK* these Vishnu-hating shaivas in jest. It is like how an advaitin wrote “Shata Bhushani” to refute “Shata Dhushani” – note the similarlity in names.
Only shaivas clueless of the vedAntic tradition and one who has never read the material contained in the two articles would say we copied anything.
And then, the author of this trashy tirade chooses to defend his own inability to approve comments of opposing views by saying the following,
But I appreciate the tolerance limits of the authors of blog! But fortunately or unfortunately I have a pretty busy life and hence I do not give any room for anyone to engage me in vitanDa-vAda (illogical arguments) and waste my time.
Well then, you accept we have approved the ridiculous comments of Subbu, yourself and that Suresh Srinivasamurthy and call us intolerant for warning them when it got repetitive. But you don’t allow a single comment (and in fact *deleted* our comments in your blog dated Mar’13-Apr’13 after trying to debate with us and miserably failing), and then say we indulge in vitanDa vAda. Typical Veerashaiva logic!
ACCUSATION#3: These two “humble” bhagavatas are over enthusiastic to convert Adi Shankara into Vaishnavism and christen him as ‘vaishnava’. But their articles which try to prove Shankara as a Vaishnava are very convincing for any reader who is not learned in Advaitic works. I must admit that their reasoning is outwardly very convincing and an unwary reader could easily get into their trap in believing Shankara to be a Vaishnava. My inner-self (antarAtmAn) and my heart had never agreed to those claims.
ANSWER: Well, we have proven it in our articles beyond question. And what is your argument? You say your “antarAtman” does not agree. And then you add – “Advaita is not my priority, it is out of scope for me”.
Well, I believe you just refuted your own claims there.
And then he attacks HBB with a spiteful comment typical of a vitanDa vAdin:
“Humble Bhagawata Bandhu”(the owner of blog), hails from a Smartha family and hence if someday his father comes to know about his write-ups which try to prove Shankara as a vaishnava; I am sure uncle would slap him for going against what his family has been practicing and preaching and for his thoughts being against the standard faith of that lineage (So, when we are sure that his own elders would not accept his theories, do we need to break our heads to refute him?).
Ha ha…no ability to come up with a decent argument and this is all he has – petty insults.
Important personal note from HBB: I rarely reveal personal details on this blog, since it is not the subject matter anyway. Even so, this is just for the record… Unlike Santosh who thinks I am living a double-faced hypocritic life, I have been clearly communicating my change of faith to Vaishnavism and Vishistadvaita to my relatives, including my father. They are pretty clear about my intentions and my convictions, and now know that I cannot and do not act contrary to it. The reason why my real full name, contact email address, etc. are not revealed is the following: (1) I do not see the need to, and (2) I do not want myself and my parents to be hassled on the topic of my religious convictions through channels other than this blog. Other than this, Santosh is baselessly accusing my father of being some kind of a tyrant who expects his adult son to accept his own beliefs blindly without critical examination.
OUR “DARK SECRETS”
Now begins a new rant where he tries to dramatically reveal our identities.
ACCUSATION#4: Subbu-Ji, a well admired and respected person in Advaitin circles, happened to post comments to blog where he disagreed with their pet-theory of calling Shankara as a Vaishnava and Advaita as a Vaishnavite doctrine. To his comment initially he was received with good hospitality by prefixing “Dear” and then “Shri” to his name and then praising his knowledge of Shankara Vedanta and traditions as shown below.But soon let’s see how the hospitality changed when he disagreed. No “Shri” no “Dear” as prefixes. The people who believed him as well read in Shankara Vedanta and hailing from Shankara mutts and tradition has become a “prachhanna Shaiva” because he disagrees with their opinion.
ANSWER: Well, the tradition of vedAnta allows inquiry. We saw Subbu’s posts initially on his blog and the net. All we saw was him quoting Shankara bhAshyas. We assumed he was a learned advaitin (despite obviously subscribing to modern day shaiva leanings) and therefore offered him respect. But what did he do? He did three things:
- We found out that he had, a few years back, posted in public saying that the rAsa leela of krishNa was a perverted act similar to some American lad on the news for sexual misconduct inappropriate to his age. Yes, he said that. It makes my hands tremble to write this, sadly enough.Any self-respecting Hindu would reject such perverted interpretations of the bhAgavatam. They would immediately see that Subbu stands shoulder-to-shoulder in this matter with the uncouth Christian missionaries who censure Sri Krishna Paramatma.
- He also told us that “Narayana Bhatta (Advaitin from the Kerala region and author of ‘nArAyaNIyam’) was peddling his wares in the name of Shankara” and “Jnanottama Mishra was wrong and I am right”
- Upon reading his works deeply, we found out he was no learned person as well. He merely copies and pastes chunks of Shankara Bhashyas.
Therefore, our opinions changed. Things change. Would any person respect him or care twopence about his opinions after this?
ACCUSATION#5: Another person Sri Suresh Srinivasamurthy who hails from Vishishtadvaita tradition of Ramanuja but is a liberal thinker and open minded person; when he posed some questions to these bloggers and despite he being very mild and courteous in behaviour he is also warned and branded as a Shaiva. See below how one of the two Humble vaishnavas warned him of not publishing his questions anymore, and how the other humble vaishnava branded him as ‘Shaiva’. For our friend Aaryamaa whosoever questions his articles is a “Shaiva”
ANSWER: This so called ‘liberal’ person adopts a superior attitude to us and laughably misinterprets Vishishtadvaita. Our shaiva opponent fails to note we gave him a fitting reply, quoting authentic tradition to which he had no answer. Of course, he keeps ignoring the fact that our replies are based on complete pramAnAs rather than emotion. To this day, this ‘liberal thinker’ has not come forward with a comment gracefully accepting that he was wrong about his interpretation of Sri Ramanuja (or at least that our position is honorable). If he does, we will publish his comment and take back our rebuke (we would even do this with anyone that we have rebuked, if they do so).
To Aaryamaa, anyone who questions vishNu paratva is a Shaiva. Of course. Even Shakta matham can be considered close to Shaiva. If you are a Saura (sun worshipper) as opposed to Shiva, you are free to clarify!
At this juncture, let us clarify one thing here. By no means we intend to use the term “Shaiva” as a name-calling term in the manner of Santosh’s/Subbu’s usage of “Vaishnava”. Our usage of the term ‘Shaiva’ to describe these ignorant persons is to show that their true inclinations are biased towards Shaivism while they are pose as advaitins (Santosh/Subbu’s case) or Vishistadvaitin (Suresh’s case). We acknowledge that there are genuine Shaivas who (1) are sincere in their faith that Shiva is superior and disagree with us honorably, and (2) are much more knowledgeable, unlike the venom-spitting Subbu and Santosh.
ACCUSATION#6: HBB does this every time. He quotes known and unknown persons out of context (including Shankara). He takes names of some sastry, some tirtha, some ananda, or some swami and says they have said something which matches his thoughts and hence his theory is validated, therefore you, the reader-folk are asked to accept his theory as the opinion of Sanatana Dharma! Who among the common reader-folk has time and energy to search in the vast ocean of books to actually find out under what context, in what sense that so-and-so person has said whatever has been quoted? Even the great personalities like Shankara are not spared. He quotes Shankara’s Bhagawad Gita Bhashya and misinterprets Shankara’s statements and derives conclusions like “Rudra, Aditya etc., are not worthy of worship (for Moksha)”, and “Vinayaka means Ganesha who is unfit to be worshiped” etc…
ANSWER: To an ignorant person, great scholars of the past will indeed be “some Sastry, some ananda or some swami”. This, coming from a person who runs a mahapashupatastra blog based on copying and pasting Griffith translations from sacred texts!
Also, note the bolded words. Does it not make sense that it is the duty of those who know the “vast ocean of books” (no ego intended) to help the common people who don’t know? And what legitimacy can the Mahapashupatastra blog claim when you openly say that you do not know what they write, and yet run a blog trying to interpret shastras your own sweet way?
Santosh, please classify yourself among the common reader. Because you too do not know anything other than copying and pasting from sacred texts.
After this, he tries to show that the “vinAyaka” in Shankara bhAshya does not refer to the popular ganEsha. Maybe he fails to note that our proof of Shankara’s Vaishnavatva does not hinge on that alone. We have proven his vaishnavatvam already, so enough said on that.
And if there is someone who scrutinizes HBB’s articles more critically than HBB himself and comes up with a fair rebuttal using genuine arguments, they are welcome. We can confidently vouch for the following: Every time HBB/Aaryamaa writes one, they strive to analyze their articles by coming up with and giving a fair consideration to as exhaustive a list of pUrvapakSha arguments as anyone can think of, as far as they can see. Hence, if a person can come up with a new genuine pUrvapakSha argument that we have not answered in our blog, they will be valued by us a million times more than the entire set of readers who have rated us favorably in the comments section here in this blog and elsewhere in the cyber/real world.
ON THE ISSUE OF THE INTERPOLATIONS ARTICLE
Our interpolations article has become famous among our opponents. This is probably because they do not have the intellectual capacity to refute us based on our interpretations and think this type of history research is the only area where they stand a chance. Not so.
Let us see what he has to say,
ACCUSATION#7: First, he quotes us as saying that we asked the readers to trust in our integrity and hence, we are misleading everyone.
ANSWER: Only an ignoramus would fail to notice that was merely a submission of politeness. We do not have the ego to claim we know everything even though by AchArya’s grace, we have covered everything. So we added a line saying that it is not possible to cover everything and to trust in our integrity. Also, it opens up the way for other readers to come and ask us things we have not covered.
Funny he doesn’t even get that.
ACCUSATION#8: We have mentioned that the incident of Arjuna offering flowers to Shiva as an interpolation. He tries to refute us by saying the following. Below, we quote him:
In Point no. 1 he quotes the Sanskrit Vyasa Mahabharata verse and then cleverly tries to take the discussion around the Tamil saint’s works in points 2 and 3. Further he takes us deep inside the Tamil-spider-web and talks about a “Commentary” OVER the Tamilian’s work of “tiruvAymozhi” and takes the Sanskrit verse present in that “commentary”. Then he compares this third level work with the first level work i.e., he compares this Sanskrit verse taken from someone’s commentary and tries to search that verse word by word in Vyasa’s Sanskrit Mahabharata (which is like comparing an apple with an orange) in point no. 6 and says that he failed to locate the Sanskrit words/expressions of a commentator’s mouth in the voice of Veda Vyasa And thus he trickily tries to condition our brain to accept what he wants us to accept i.e., to accept it as an interpolation.
ANSWER: He calls our approach misleading. Well, he has failed to get the article. Here is our simple methodology:
- We reject the conclusions of all modern indologists even if they are correct as their methodology is not right.
- Our first priority is to see whether a particular section is quoted by an ancient scholar belonging to the Advaita, Vishishtadvaita and Dvaita Vedanta (and possibly ancillary darshanas) prior to the 16th century. Anyone who professes to accept the Veda must accept whatever these scholars quote as authentic. We have already given reasons for this.
- If there are sections not quoted by these Acharyas, we see if Shaiva traditions have quoted them from the same scripture (for instance, if ancient shaivas quote shiva sahasranama from linga purana and not Mahabharata, that is not considered evidence)
- If this is also not there, we see whether these sections are quoted by popular tamil poets and scholars in *debate* as opposed to mere poetry and sectarian hymns. Nammazhwar for instance, was quoted in this context as the Thiruvaimozhi is considered a polemic and serious work as opposed to poetry.
- If this is also not there, we see whether this section is compatible to veda.
- If this section is not compatible to veda and also does not fulfil ANY of the first 5). We reject it as an interpolation even if it is in every current recension.
This is the vedic way of research. This is the case for the incident of Arjuna worshipping Shiva with flowers. It does not satisfy Points 2 and 3. It not only does not satisfy Point 4, but also we see that the poets and scholars referred to in Point 4 quote an incident that is the *EXACT OPPOSITE* of the shaiva incident.
And of course, the incident does not fulfil point 5 as well. Hence, due to inability to meet scrutiny of vaidikas, being contradictory to veda and ALSO with the evidence of a completely opposite incident in circulation among the ancient poets, we have reason to conclude the shaiva incident is an interpolation and the vaishnava story existed in all probability prior to it. Note, even if the latter is disputed, the former conclusion (that the shaiva incident is an interpolation) must be accepted if you are a vaidika. Furthermore, the vaishnava story actually complies with Point 5 of the criteria for acceptance – it does not contradict veda. Hence, there is a stronger case for acceptance, especially when the authors quote an ancient Sanskrit verse that they claim belongs to the shAstra (presumably the mahAbhArata) that describes the incident.
Then the author says these verses are present in the BORI edition and we have not searched well. Ha Ha…if we didn’t know that, would we have written this article?
And further, there is a vast difference between the verse quoted by our AcAryas, compared to the (related) verse available in the current recensions. The former says that the flowers offered at Krishna’s feet earlier were seen on Rudra’s crown later his dream (implying that Shiva, being a devotee of Vishnu, likes to adorn on his head anything that has the sparsha of Vishnu’s feet, like he did earlier with the river Ganga), while the latter says that flowers offered to Krishna were seen by the side of Rudra (intended to imply that all offerings reach Rudra as if he is the Supreme).
We have noted this when we first wrote the article, and unlike what Santosh thinks, we were perfectly capable of locating the modern version of that verse in the BORI critical electronic text and in fact did so. Santosh fails to see that our complaint is that this incident has been modified from the original version quoted by our AcAryas due to the reason mentioned above.
ACCUSATION#9: He cleverly OMITS the Parva name (as though he isn’t aware of) and uses the words “Arjuna already asked Krishna elsewhere” about who that being was who killed kauravas on his behalf and then raises a question on another chapter from Drona parva (where Arjuna had actually raised that question to Vyasa) and concludes saying “(When Krishna has already answered Arjuna) what was the need for him to ask Vyasa AGAIN?” [Note that he usesthe word “again”]. Thereby for the unwary readers he creates a doubt by his tricks and magic and makes them believethat the chapter where Vyasa had narrated the great Sata-Rudriya hymn to Arjuna is an interpolation!
ANSWER: Well, we don’t need to waste our breath on this as we have explained our position. Suffice to say genuine research seems like magic to the ignorant for sure!
Furthermore, in that same chapter, Krishna tells Arjuna all the glories of Mahadeva – that he is the lord of devas, the husband of Uma, very great, but Krishna also adds – “He is born of my (Krishna’s) wrath”. So, all that greatness still makes Rudra a jivA and inferior to Krishna, to whom he owes that greatness. Seems like our shaiva friend failed to point out that just like we highlighted in the article how Shaivas skip those words!
ACCUSATION#10: vyAsa explained Sata RudrIyam in the MahabhArata.
ANSWER: We have not only proven this is an interpolation, but also provided the true commentary of Sri Rudram on this website. No more on that.
ACCUSATION#11: Shiva says, “O hero, express the desire that dwelleth in thy heart. I will grant it. Except immortality alone, tell me as to the desire that is in thy heart.”To those words of Shiva this author has concluded that Shiva cannot grant Moksha. Shiva grants Moksha but theneed of the hour for Arjuna to seek from Shiva was not immortality, but it was to seek the most terrible weapon.
ANSWER: The interpretation that fits the Veda alone is authentic. The veda says “nArAyaNAt rudro jAyate” and “eko ha vai nArAyaNa AsIt, na brahma, neshAnaH”. The same mahAbhArata also says “visnurAtma bhagavato bhavasyAmitatejasaH” and also calls Rudra as “nArAyaNatmaka”, “krodhajaH”, “krodhasambhavaH” etc. Therefore, the fact that Arjuna was a sattvika prompted Rudra to clarify that he can grant anything BUT moksha.
To prove us wrong, first prove with shruti and smriti that Rudra can grant moksha.
Even without shruti proofs, it is easy to say that Shiva communicated to Arjuna his inability to grant moksha. Because we need to examine how the meditation on gods and their appearances are described in the mahAbhArata as follows:
1) We have devas like Indra, Shiva and Brahma appearing before various rishis and granting them boons. In most of the cases, a few adjectives are used to describe the prowess of the gods and then the boon seeker gets his boon and the god disappears, pleased with him. In the case of Shiva-Arjuna incident, the same happened. Shiva came, he blessed Arjuna with his astra and left. He informed Arjuna that he can grant anything besides moksha because Arjuna was a sAttvika who would later be an aspirant of moksha.
2) The case of vishNu is always different. Whenever any rishi meditates on vishNu for a material boon, and vishNu appears before him, the rishi goes into a raptorous description of vishNu's divine form, ornaments, his bewitching beauty. The boon seeker forgets the boon he wanted and simply remains content in the appearance of vishNu. Even when bhagavAn asks the boon seeker to spell out what is required, the boon seeker simply says, "I am content just by seeing you" and uses unambiguous adjectives which are distinctly upanishadic to describe him. There are three examples of this -
* The case of Dhruva who meditated on vishNu for a material boon, but forgot his request on seeing him and experiencing him.
* The case of Hanuman who said "bhAvo nAnyatra gacchati" - I reject even paramapada after seeing srI rAmA here.
* The third case, that of Utanka, occurs in the mahAbhArata. This rishi underwent a penance in which he sought a boon from vishNu to kill an asurA called DundhumAra. But when bhagavAn appeared before him, the rishi completely forgot what he wanted and eulogised bhagavAn with adjectives describing him as the parabrahman.
The incident of Utanka can be viewed here:
And note the following:
"It was thus, O Yudhishthira, that the high-souled Utanka praised the Lord of the senses. And Vishnu, therefore, said unto Utanka, 'I am gratified with thee. Ask thou the boon that thou desirest.' And Utanka said, 'This indeed hath, been a great boon to me, in that I have been able to behold Hari, that eternal Being, that divine Creator, that Lord of the universe!"
See what Utanka says? Even if the rishis initially had a mindset for a material boon, they forget it on seeing Hari, because bhagavAn himself is the highest puruSArtha. Whereas, in the case of other devas like Shiva, Brahma, or Indra such an incident never happens where the boon seeker actually forgets his boon and remains content with the mere presence of the deva. Neither are the adjectives used in praising the devas equal to the ones used in praise of vishNu.
Furthermore, Utanka was a sAttvika, like Arjuna, who meditated on vishNu for a boon other than moksha. However, vishNu does not make any statement such as "I can give you everything except moksha". Because, if Utanka wanted moksha, that would have been bestowed.
Therefore, the incident of Shiva saying "I can give anything other than moksha" to Arjuna was only a clarification that Arjuna, being a sAttvika, is deserving of even the highest puruShArtha according to Shiva, but the latter cannot give it.
ACCUSATION#12: He then quotes the sauptika parva to show Rudra can grant moksha:
“The holy one said, "Verily, Drona's son had sought the aid of that highest of all the gods, the eternal Mahadeva. It was for this that he succeeded in slaying, single-handed, so large a number of warriors. If Mahadeva be gratified, he can bestow even immortality. Girisha can give such valour as will succeed in checking Indra himself. I know Mahadeva truly, O bull of Bharata's race! I know also his various acts of old. He, O Bharata, is the beginning, the middle, and the end of all creatures. This entire universe acts and moves through his energy”.
ANSWER: Look at the context and you have the answer. It is to glorify Aswattama’s tapas that Krishna talks about the greatness of Shiva. And there, the translation is wrong. Here is our rough translation:
nūnaṃ sa deva denānām īśvareśvaram avyayam jagāma śaraṇaṃ drauṇir ekas tenāvadhīd bahūn
prasanno hi mahādevo dadyād amaratām api vīryaṃ ca giriśo dadyād yenendram api śātayet
vedāhaṃ hi mahādevaṃ tattvena bharatarṣabha yāni cāsya purāṇāni karmāṇi vividhāny uta
ādir eṣa hi bhūtānāṃ madhyam antaś ca bhārata viceṣṭate jagac cedaṃ sarvam asyaiva karmaṇā | (MBH 10:17:6-9)
Meaning: Drona’s son has sought the aid of the Lord of Devas (Shiva), who is the Isvareswara as he is the superior most to those having Aishwaryam of knowledge (of VishNu), who is unchanging (in yOga)……..If Mahadeva is pleased, he can even grant mOksha, meaning, the knowledge that leads to Moksha. I know the tattva (nArAyaNa) of mahAdeva and also his acts of old (like TripurAsura vadham, hala hala swallowing, etc accomplished by the aid of nArAyaNa). (That tattva) is certainly is the beginning, the middle, and the end of all creatures. This entire universe acts and moves through his will”.
Yes, this is a genuine part of mahAbhArata. Yes, Krishna praises Shiva. No, he does not praise Shiva as supreme.
Krishna says “if mahadeva is pleased, he can grant even moksha”. The “hi” shows that this is not a deity that is renowned to grant moksha, hence the fact that shiva can grant moksha is a cause for wonder. So how can shiva grant moksha?
He can grant the knowledge of vishNu that leads to moksha. What is the proof for this interpretation? “jnAnam iccet IshvarAt”.
And how can we be justified in interpreting it as such? Take the following - purAnAs also say “harEr nAma harEr nAma kevalam” – hari nAma leads to moksha. But the Brahma Sutras establish that it is either the practise of upAsaNa that leads to moksha. Contradiction is resolved by saying, “hari nAma leads to practice of upAsaNa by washing away karmas, which leads to moksha”. It is to highlight the exalted nature of hari nAma in being so crucial to wash away karmas that allow upAsaNa, which in turn gives moksha, that hari nAma is stated to give moksha itself.
Similarly, Shiva purifies a person by giving knowledge of vishNu, by which moksha is guaranteed. The act of giving knowledge assures one of moksha by cleansing sins and hence, it is as good as giving moksha. The very fact that he is called mahAdeva and isvara is because he acquired those names (sarvamedha yAga sloka and the bAnasura yuddha reference) in the context of his devotion to vishNu. The mahAbhArata itself uses the name “mahAdeva” in the context of Shiva performing the “sarvamedha yAga” to attain the position of being the chief of the devas. Note that “sarvamEdha” itself refers to “Intellect that is everywhere” which emphasizes the knowledge aspect of the yAga and proves he is a jivA. Likewise, he is called “iSvara” because he has knowledge of vishNu which is his wealth. vAlmiki refers to Shiva as “srimAn” or possessor of wealth that is knowledge of Hari in the rAmAyaNa. “iSvara uvAca – srI rAma rAma rAmEti...” also shows in what context he is iSvara. He is the iSvarEsvara as he excels rishis and other devas in knowledge.
Otherwise, we would have to interpret several statements in the shastra such as “lighting lamps, doing pooja leads to moksha” in texts like vishNu dharma thus leading to the absurd conclusion that any little act directly leads to moksha.
Secondly, “mahAdeva tattvEna” refers to nArAyaNa, who is the tattva or the reality of mahAdeva, ie, he is the antaryAmin of mahAdeva and thus, is responsible for those “old acts”. The very reference to those acts is a direct reference to his antaryAmin. The last line describes that tattva, the antaryAmin only. So, it is to say that mahAdeva’s boon to ashwattama is very great because his antaryAmin (nArAyaNa) has aided mahAdeva to perform wondrous acts in the past, such as tripurAsura vadham.
This word “tattva” echoes the upanishadic statement “nityO nityAnAm” and “satyasya satyam” – paramAtma is the reality of the many realities and the truth of the other truths as he is the inner self of the jivA, has the jivA as his body and makes them exist as well as empowers them. Mahabharata also says “nArAyaNatmaka” with respect to Rudra – spoken by krishNa himself.
Still not convinced that “tattva” refers to vishNu? We direct you to the sahasranAma which says “tattvam tattva vidEkAtma”. Here, it is mentioned “tattvam” is a name of vishNu.
And what is the meaning here? Bhattar gives the following meaning for “tattvam” nAma – “He who is the essence (sArAmSha) or principle of the Universe. Bhattar further adds - "dadhi dugdhayoriva dadhisAraH cit acitoH vyApti prayojanAbhyAm sArAmSaH tat-tvam" Like butter which is the essence of milk and curd, bhagavAn, by His pervasion and usefulness in the sentient and non-sentient things, is the essence of all things. Butter gives texture, taste, the energy content, etc., to milk and curd. So also, bhagavAn is the essence of all things, by being the cause of their existence, the source of their sustenance etc.”
And this is the meaning of “mahAdeva tattvEna” – this tattvam (nArAyaNa) is the essence of Shiva, who by his pervasion, gives the attributes of mahAdevatvam, iSvaratvam and jnAnatva to Shiva.
Genuine parts of mahAbHArata, thus, do not allow for shaiva thoughts. We can explain this sloka in more detail and with more pramAnAs, but this will do for now.
ACCUSATION#13: The deceitful interpretation of the story of Vishnu’s beheading and calling Rudra as actually beheaded…..
ANSWER: We do not even need to address it since the opponent lacks a basic knowledge of Sanskrit and copies/pastes Griffith translations of brahmaNas. I think our readers would know who among us can actually do a traditional reading of texts. Apart from that, the story of Rudra’s beheading is seen in the Taittiriya Aranyaka. There are also upabR^ihmaNa-s of this episode in the sAttvika purANa-s.
ADDRESSING THE PURUSHOTTAMA CHALLENGE
ACCUSATION#14: Santosh tries to answer our “Purushottama challenge” in the home page of our blog, by quoting a few verses from Shaiva Purana and Mahabharata to show Shiva is called Purushottama.
ANSWER: It is clear that Santosh has not understood our challenge. His response is similar to his showing the word “jaleshayaH” when we challenged him to show where the word “nArAyaNa” (which can only be a proper name) is used to denote Shiva.
Regarding the issue of Rudra being mentioned as “Purushottama” in Shaiva and other tAmasa purANas,
One has to see why we mentioned “itihAsa/purANa” as well as “kAvya/nighaNTu” in the challenge. This is to cover the interpretations of both Sri Ramanuja (who interprets loke as smR^itau – vedārthāvalokanāt loka iti smṛtiḥ iha ucyate) as well Sri Shankara (who interprets loke as puruṣottama ity evaṃ māṃ bhakta-janā viduḥ | kavayaḥ kāvyādiṣu cedaṃ nāma nibadhnanti | puruṣottama ity anenābhidhānenābhigṛṇanti ). It is ridiculous to think that according to Sri Ramanuja, vedArthAvalokana is possible with tAmasa purANa-s!
Hence, by purAna/ithihAsa, we meant sAttvika purAnas and not tAmasa shAstrA like Rudra Samhita etc. It is foolish to suggest that tAmasa-purANa-s, that are contrary to the shruti are intended in the statement “itihAsapurANAbhyAM vedaH samupabR^ihmayet |”.
In any case, we asked for something in the Itihasa/Purana or the works of poets where Shiva is given the name Purushottama, not where the adjective/etymology of Purushottama is intended. The challenge, as posed in the main page of our blog, uses the following wording:
“But they stand exposed when they are asked to quote any itihAsa/purANastatement or kavi or kAvya or nighaNTu in history that assigns the name Purushottama to Siva. Their position is undermined even by Kalidasa, himself a devotee of Siva!!!
“I challenge our anti-Vaishnavite author of the “mahapashupatastra” blog page to refute logically this ONE observation.”
Hence, even the tAmasa purANa verses definitely do not help the cause of Santosh, given that even they do not address Shiva as “puruShottamAkhya” etc.
And irrespective of what the tAmasa purAnAs say, poets like kAlidasa never used the term to denote shiva showing that it was vishNu who was popularly accepted and known as puruShottama. Nor is there any nighaNTu (lexicon) worth its name mentioning Purushottama as Shiva’s name. Hence, the challenge remains insurmountable for Santosh, whether one considers Ramanuja or Shankara as the correct interpreter of Gita 15.18
Finally, the purANika verse can be interpreted in a general manner as well. However, it being a tAmasa purAna, it is not worth our notice.
Regarding the issue of Arjuna/Siva being mentioned as “Purushottama” in the Mahabharata itself, one can only wonder what inauthentic recension of Mahabharata Santosh is subscribing to! The recension of the verse where Arjuna is addressed as “Purushottama” is suspect. The version in both the BORI critical edition as well as the Kumbhakonam edition reads thus (the bolded words are rendered as ‘Purushottama’ in Santosh’s version):
03041005a prItimAn asmi vai pArtha tava satyaparAkrama
03041005c gRhANa varam asmattaH kAGkSitaM yan nararSabha
The above anomaly is only matched by the fact that the other two Mahabharata verses he quotes (from the third and thirteenth parvans, respectively) where Rudra is allegedly addressed as Purushottama are relegated to the appendix of the critical edition, with the remark that only one or two stray manuscripts contain them. This is in addition to the fact that again, the name Purushottama is never used in these verses, but only an etymological connection is suggested, which is of no use to answer our challenge.
Be that as it may, it does not harm us if “puruShottama” instead of “yan nararShabha” is the authentic recension in the verse quoted above where Rudra addresses Arjuna. Let us discuss why:
Our opponent further claims “puruShottama” is not a monopoly of vishNu since Arjuna is called that as well (assuming Santosh’s recension is correct). Quite true. For that matter, several kings are called “pundarika nayanam” in the mahAbhArata. But in those contexts, “puruShottama” means “best of men” and the lotus eyed refers to a praise of the handsomeness of the kings. By all means, you can call Shiva as the best of all living beings and handsome in appearance. Nothing wrong in that.
vishNu however, is puruShottama in the context krishNa elaborates in Gita – he is above kShara and akShara. That meaning and hence, the name in that context, applies to vishNu alone. Similarly, “pundarIkam evam akshini” in the chAndOgya Upanishad used in the context of parabrahman applies to vishNu only.
What we stressed was that nothing and no-one would dare to attribute these names in their context of brahma tattva to lesser deities like Shiva.
ACCUSATION#15: Yajur Veda calls Rudra as virAt puruSha
ANSWER: We have already addressed this in both the satapatha brahmaNa and sri rudram articles. Copying and pasting Griffith won’t help.
ACCUSATION#16: The Andhra Mahabharatam became a great weapon for them upon which they banked their faith when their fan and follower helped them with a Google books link as shown below.
ANSWER: Unable to interpret shAstra, he goes back to the old interpolations argument. Maybe you didn’t notice, but we merely replied to questions on Andhra Mahabharata by other readers and listened with interest when it corroborated our views. We never actually set great store in it in the original article, nor did we consider it the sole proof on which everything hinges.
FYI, we NEVER held the Andhra Mahabharatam as absolute proof. We communicated it. We only allowed Sri lakshminarayan to post his opinions and answered them since he was so insistent about the Andhra Mahabharatam. Throughout our posts, we maintained that it is only supplementary and has no consequence. We did not even quote it in the article.
We have already shown what methodology we used for the interpolations article.
If a reader brings it up and seriously discusses it, of course we will do so.
And then, he goes on a rant about Kshemendra, etc. No need to address these as they are done to death.
ADDENDUM: He refers to Aaryamaa’s “dark past” in various forums and dramatically reveals Aaryamaa (that is me) as a person by name of “Srinivasan Ramanujan”. Sorry to bust his bubble, but that is also not my name. It’s a pseudonym I use to hide my identity and I have registered in google and yahoo groups under that name. “Srinivasan” is my third name which is not even used at home and “Ramanujan” is to just give it a sri vaishnava flavour!
He also says we made a mistake by calling Kanchi “Paramacharya” (a no.1 vishNu dvEshi of his times) as bogus. Well, no mistakes there.
That concludes our response. We believe (and know for sure, by the grace of srI rAmAnuja) that it is fitting.