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The Absurdity of Shakta Interpretations of nArAyaNa suktam

There are certain interpretations, born of a fertile imagination and zero knowledge of pramAnam, which, coupled with an ignorance of Sanskrit would give rise to outrageous conclusions. One such effort would be the “interpretation” (if it can be called that) of an aspiring “debator” of a Shaivite blog. Paraphrasing from there:


“In all Vedic hymns, the name “nArAyaNa” applies ONLY on Goddess Tripurasundari Devi (Uma) – the Shakti of supreme lord Shiva. And people, especially Vaishnavite friends fail to understand this meaning in true sense.”
“The above meaning is the TRUE meaning implied in all Vedic hymns wherever nArAyaNa is called out. It is the only interpretation of “nArAyaNa” (as being the name of Uma) which stands as correct when we actually analyze the Vedic references on nArAyaNa.”


Here, they claim that the nArAyaNa nAmam, which is universally identified with vishNu, is actually umA or Tripura sundari. They arrive at their “reasoning” in the following way:
  1. Quoting a bunch of bogus, inauthentic “Upanishads” like the bahvricha, rudra hrudaya, etc.
  2. Quoting un-vedic and later-day works like lalitA sahasranAmA, which is incompatible with the works of all ancient vaidikas.
  3. Mistranslations of certain genuine vedic rks.
So far, we believe that our efforts on this blog have helped to clearly show that Shiva is not the referent of portions like SatarudrIyam, Atharvasiras, AtharvasikhA, etc. These arguments are irrefutable and based on the pramANas from shruti and smriti, refute the idea that Shiva is anything other than a jivA invested with punya karmas. None of the vedic portions addressed to names like Rudra, Soma, Sharva, Bhava, Ishana, etc can be touched or used by Shaivas because we have clearly shown their true referent to be sriman nArAyaNa only. The grace of srI rAmAnuja and srI parAshara bhattar have helped this blog to demolish age old shaiva arguments on the internet.
Now, shaivas, finding no recourse, would seek the help of their proverbial “twin” mata, which is shakta. Obviously, these two darshanas, shaiva and shakta, go hand-in-hand. It’s a very ingenious tool employed by shaivas that when their ideas of shiva are refuted, they would try to ascribe everything to Shakti, even reducing Shiva in their efforts, thus trying to establish their side of the argument. Equating Shakti to nArAyaNa at the expense of Shiva himself would give them some satisfaction.
This is not a novel approach. The likes of Appayya Dikshita himself, finding it impossible to establish Shaiva mata in its pure form as the meaning of the vedAnta, has attempted a “reconciliation” by stating Shiva, Uma and VishNu to be “forms” or “aspects” of the same brahman, whatever that is.
Shaiva, Shakta, etc – its all the same. One or two mata-s or 10 combined, it is impossible to break the impregnable arguments of srI rAmAnuja and srI vedAnta desikan, who have addressed everything sufficiently. Let us begin from the beginning.

pArvati and nArAyaNa – Establishing the Identities

Uma is the wife of Shiva who occupies one half of his body.
nArAyaNa is the Parabrahman who is also known as vishNu and vAsudEva.
There is zero pramAna for equating nArAyaNa to umA. However, the following is established:
  1. Durga is considered to be Uma herself and is often referred to as the sister of nArAyaNa. That way, she is called “nArAyaNi”.
  2. This only happens because this Durga was born as yOga mAyA as the daughter of Devaki and Vasudeva. She performed the service of warning Kamsa and was rewarded by BhagavAn with the title of “vishNu durga”.
Thus, it is not wrong to call pArvati as the sister of nArAyaNa. The very name “nArAyaNi” means that she is different from nArAyaNa. Neither can it be said that she is special because she is the sister of nArAyaNa. For that matter, Kamadeva was born as the son of KrishNa, so he is actually pArthasArathy suta. Does that make Kamadevan anything more than the presiding deity of rajo guNa?
All this only represents the generosity of bhagavAn. Other beings get their fame from him.
There is no canonical shAstra that identifies pArvati with nArAyaNa. The pramAnam quoted by our radical anti Vaishnava “genius”on the mahApashupatAstra is the following:
ahastramūrdhānamanantaśaktiṃ | sahastrabāhuṃ puruṣaṃ purāṇam |
śayānamantaḥ salile tathaiva | nārāyaṇākhyaṃ praṇato 'smi rūpam ||" (kUrma PuraNa 1:11:245)
"I salute thy form called Narayana, O Lalita, which has a thousand heads, which is of infinite energy, having a thousand arms, the ancient Person, reclining on the waters".
Aside from the fact that the kUrma pUrANa itself is a tAmasa purAnA, this verse does not identify Lalita with nArAyaNa, but only states that nArAyaNa is a vibhUti of Lalita.
Consider the famous slOka “rudrAnAm sankarAscAsmi”. BhagavAn says he is Shankara among Rudras. That certainly does not equate him with Shiva, but only makes Shiva as a vibhUti of krishNa.
At this, our opponent may counter – The same can be said of vibhUti yOga where krishNa says he is rAmA among archers or vishNu among adityAs. Since rAmA, krishNa and vishNu are identical, can it not be said that this purAnic verse can be taken in this way?
Our reply: The equation of rAmA and vishNu with krishNa is based, however, on other sources as well. In the rAmAyaNa, Brahma hails rAmA as “bhavAnti nArAyaNo devAH”. VishNu is identified with nArAyaNa in the vishNu gAyatri. KrishNa is referred to as nArAyaNa in many places in the mahAbhArata. Therefore, the vibhUti adhyAya slOkas are interpreted as referring to attributes of the forms in these particular slOkas as vibhUtIs and not sAkshAt vibhUtIs themselves.
But for the Kurma purAna sloka, there is no other support other than this sloka itself. Therefore, unless there is another sloka identifying Lalita with nArAyaNa from the ithihAsa, the interpretation of this slOka is that nArAyaNa is a vibhUti of Lalita and hence not Lalita herself.
Furthermore, the absurdity of the slOka is shown by the fact that it is self-contradictory. It hails the supposed vibhUti of Lalita as “sahasra-sIrsha” and “purusham purAnam” which would mean that it certainly cannot be taken in the same way as Rama and VishNu are taken for KrishNa. Because, in order to meditate on the guNams of “sahasra-sIrshatvam” and “Adi Purushatvam”, one would consider the mUla rUpa itself as the possessor of these attributes, viz., Lalita herself, and not a lesser vibhUti. After all, KrishNa does not say that his vibhUtis like Shiva and Indra have these attributes. And in the case of rAmA, the attribute to be meditated on is the guNam of archery. Since both rAmA and krishNa are “sahasra-sIrsha” and “Adi purushA”, Krishna does not specify those guNams to be meditated in the context of vibhUti. The difference of form and certain traits exhibited itself classifies vibhUtIs and the kUrma purAna slOka is completely nonsensical in this respect !
It should be noted that even though Lalita SahasranAmA calls Lalita as having a thousand heads, it does not equate her to nArAyaNa or ascribe that name to her. Rather, there are references to nArAyaNa being created by her. That itself denies identity in itself. And if nArAyaNa is created, one might wonder why Lalita would be equated to him. Or, why would “sahasra-sIrshatva” be the object of meditation in a vibhUti itself that is a creation. The recourse would be to the vishishtadvaitic concept of pratIkOpAsaNa, where “sahasra-sIrshatvam” can be superimposed on a vibhUti as an inseparable attribute of Shakti, but of course, Vishishtadvaita is not the philosophy of the shaktas, nor does superimposition attribute the “nArAyaNa” nAmam to Devi!
This self-contradicting nature of the kUrma purAna slOka itself shows the tAmasatva prevalent in its meanings. Anyway, this is an additional refutation.
So, it is established that nArAyaNa is vishNu as evidenced in both shruti and smriti and that pArvati, while having some support to be referred to as “nArAyaNi”, the sister of nArAyaNa, is in no way nArAyaNa herself. And saying she is the sister of nArAyaNa is only a honorific just as srI jatAyu was hailed as the father of srI rAmA for his services and does not make her (pArvati) share brahmatva in anyway.
The etymology of the name – nArAyaNa
This has already been covered on the blog. Suffice to say that nArAyaNa only denotes Parabrahman and is equated to vishNu in the vishNu gAyatri. And not Shakti et al.
Misinterpretations of the nArAyaNa suktam
Our opponent gives spurious interpretations not backed by shAstra. Here is his interpretation of the nArAyaNa sukta:
R^itam satyaM paraM brahma purushha.n kR^ishhNapi~Ngalam.h |
uurdhvareta.n viruupaaksha.n vishvaruupaaya vai namo namaH |" (Taittiriya Aranyaka 10.23.1)
"Supreme Brahman, the Absolute Reality (Righteousness and Truth), is the androgynous Person the Umamaheshvara (or Ardhanareeshwara), 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".
“krishNa pingaLam” does not mean dark blue and reddish brown here, but is a blackish complexion with golden effulgence, which is that of Lakshmi. Sri Suktam says “pingaLa hemamAlini” – She is golden in complexion. Krishna is a well known name for black.
Even if the color is reddish blue or black, it still refers to Narasimha who is nIlalOhita as per the narasimha tApanIya Upanishad.

The nArAyaNa suktam and Usage of Bogus Upanishads – Countering a spade with a spade

Time and again, we have established that works like Bahvricha Upanishad, Rudra HrudayOpanishad, Devi Upanishad, etc are bogus later day works of poor authorship and not genuine Upanishads. But like the proverbial blind leading the blind, these Upanishads are quoted by modern day “interpretors”. Then, it is not an issue. We can reinterpret these same “Upanishads” in a manner that actually refutes their opinions!
Note: These Upanishads are indeed bogus and must be discarded as pramAna. We are only interpreting them as a final establishment of the superiority of our stance and to finish off these arguments once and for all. That way, even spurious texts will not be used to give distorted meanings of shAstra.
The nArAyaNa suktam can only be interpreted in its true form as a praise of vishNu. That is acknowledged by Appayya Dikshita himself who tried to show that nArAyaNa was lower than Shiva in hierarchy and did not equate nArAyaNa to Shiva or Shakti in any manner (other than ascribe some brahmatva to all 3 in a bizarre fashion). However, our modern day opponents have seen it fit to use bogus Upanishads to attempt this impossible task of equating nArAyaNa to Uma.
Well, we have shown that nArAyaNa is a name of vishNu only. But we can also use the same logic as that of our opponents and show that names like “Tripura sundari” et al., are names of Lakshmi and hence, our opponents cannot use those bogus Upanishads freely!
If these upanishads are bogus, how is it possible that the meanings can be so easily interpreted as nArAyaNa when the intent of these texts is otherwise? It is because of the glory of nArAyaNa alone. Since he is known as Devadeva, ie, One who not only possesses all qualities of the other devas but also has infinitely more auspicious qualities that they do not possess, any and all descriptions that talk of glory can be interpreted as that of vishNu. Because there is nothing that vishNu is not (with respect to kalyAna guNams only and not doShas). Hence, even the bogus upanishads can be taken as a praise of the parabrahman, sriman nArAyaNa who is the actual object of praise by the authentic upanishads.

A few potential apprehensions of prAmANikas and their reconciliation

A few prAmANikas (those who believe in genuine pramANas only), especially traditional Srivaishnavas (even though we, the authors, have unshakable conviction in Srivaishnavism) may have some objections to re-interpreting the bogus “upaniShads”. We do recognize that not all prAmANikas may find this exercise agreeable. We respect such opinions and it is up to the reader to agree/disagree on this contentious exercise.  However, we would like to clarify our intentions by answering a few potential objections from prAmANikas among Srivaishnava and other groups, as follows:
Objection# 1: Our pUrvAcharyas have time and again shown Srivaishnava Siddhanta in a perfectly logical manner, using various nyAyas as per vyAkaraNa, mImAmsa sutras etc. It is not just about recklessly using etymology to force an interpretation that favors Vaishnavism everywhere. There are various nyAyas, in addition to etymology, that support/justify the etymological interpretation whenever it is necessitated for eg.,
  1. Interpretation by way of the six "tAtparya linga"-s, i.e., "upakramaupasaMhArau" (beginning and conclusion),"abhyAsa" (repetition), "apUrvatA" (unprecedentness), "phalam" (declaration of end result), "arthavAda" (eulogy or argument/narrative to support a point), and "upapatti" (following the train of thought logically to arrive at a conclusion)
  2. Interpretation by way of the following: in decreasing order of their power: "shruti" (assertion), "linga" (direct statement), "vAkya" (syntax i.e., construction of sentences), "prakaraNa" (context), "sthAna" (position/order), and "samAkhya" (proper names)
  3. The nyAya "bhUyasAm syAt baliiyastva", i.e. majority rules over minority.
(See the shvetAshvatara example under Objection# 3 where there are multiple grounds for using etymological interpretations for Rudra, Siva, Mahesvara, etc.)
Now, these bogus "upanishads" are obviously of human origin, and it is not unlikely that we have a situation where we have to give up either of these two if we are forcing a Vaishnava interpretation on them:
  1. Not deviating from the proper ways of interpretation that our pUrvAcAryas have established, and
  2. Not compromising on Sriman Narayana’s supremacy.
If for example, we forget about Narayana Suktam for the time being and consider a combination consisting of other shruti statements along with the bogus "upanishads", one could probably conclusively state that Rudra the pArvatIpati is the paramAtmA if one follows "A" above strictly. Note that if the same exercise was applied to genuine shruti statements sans nArAyaNa sUktam etc., the conclusion will be "with these statements, we do not have sufficient information to determine the Supreme Tattva. Hence, we need more information from other shruti statements". Hence, if we try to avoid this by forcing an interpretation favorable to "B", we risk ending up violating "A" i.e., using the wrong yukti-s somewhere or the other.
The problem is not restricted to Vaishnavism vs. Saivism. What prevents, for instance, Advaitins/Dvaitins from using the same yukti-s that we employ to interpret these bogus Upanishads, to "logically" arrive at the siddhAnta that they propagate? In addition, have we made sure that we have not used any of the yuktis condemned by Srivaishnava Acharyas and used by Advaitins/Dvaitins to arrive at something opposed to our siddhAnta? For example, advaitins interpret  "Aditya varNaM tamasaH parastAt" as "Adityasya iva nityacaitanya-prakAshaH varNaH yasya saH", and this interpretation has been condemned by Desikar in Tatparya Chandrikai
Answer: You are forgetting that we are not rushing into these upanishads directly, but basing ourselves on the fundamental nArAyaNa sUkta and arriving at it, just as we do for other upanishads like the shvetAshvatarA as well. Even for the authentic upanishads which refer to Brahman as Akasa, Prana, Siva, etc we do not rush into them immediately but only after we cover the nArAyaNa sukta.
So, if dvaitins and advaitins use such interpretations, it will be invalid as the meanings clash with shrutis that proclaim otherwise (such as "dvAsuparNa" and "yasya AtmA sarIram" where even Shankara accepts duality and sarIrAtma bhAva at the vyAvahArika).
Objection# 2: If you say that the statements in the Bogus Upanishads can to be re-interpreted in light of Narayana Sukta etc., isn't it equally possible to do the following? (i) First conclude that Siva of the Saivas is supreme based on the bogus Upanishads and statements like the one I constructed above, and (ii) Then conclude that Narayana Suktam, Vishnu Suktam, Vishnu Gayatri, etc. are to be interpreted in an indirect way to keep up with Siva-paratvam.
Answer: If this was possible, why worry about the bogus upanishads? One could simply take the Rg Veda as well, conclude that Indra is the supreme Brahman based on frequency of the nAma and then say nArAyaNa is a name of Indra as well. It is not possible since Siva, Rudra, DakshinamUrthy, Ishana, etc are common nouns unlike the nArAyaNa nAma. And the choicest epithets of "param brahma, para-tattva, parojyOtir, etc" do not luckily enough, occur even in the bogus upanishads.
Objection# 3: If you say that “we have already interpreted authentic upanishads like atharvasikha, etc. So, now, we show that names like dakshiNamUrthy, etc also denote nArAyaNa from the bogus upanishads”, then you need to take note that in authentic upanishads like atharvashikha, etc. the subject matter dealt with is identified very clearly. For example, even though the shvetAshvatara Upanishad uses words Rudra, Siva, Maheshvara, etc. to denote the supreme being, it begins with the question:
I-1: Students of Brahman (i.e. the Vedas) discuss (among themselves): What is the cause? (Is it) Brahman? Whence are we born? Why do we live? Where is our final rest? Under whose orders are we, who know the Brahman, subjected to the law of happiness and misery?
Rather, if the intention of the Upanishad is to convey that pArvatIpati Siva is supreme, the question would have been: "Who is supreme among the deities? Please identify the supreme being for us?"
In addition to that, the shvetAshvatara Upanishad first uses the terms puruSha and ananta, which are Vishnu’s proper names, to denote the Supreme Being. Hence, if the intention is to identify the the Supreme Deity by its name, the terms puruSha and ananta that appear before  have higher weightage.
Because this is not the case, the terms Rudra, Maheshvara, Siva, etc. are to be interpreted as adjectives and not as names.
Have you considered this point with the bogus upanishads that you are interpreting according to Vaishnavism?
Answer: None of the bogus upanishads actually have a biased beginning. Rather, they seem to take inspiration from atharvasikha and atharvasiras for their introductory statements (such as the devi upanishad).
Objection# 4: The Pashupata vratam mentioned in atharva shikha is not a daily vidhi, but only as part of brahma-vidyA. This is akin to the recommendation to take an intoxicated drink in the Madhu vidya. On the other hand, Bhasma/Rudraksha Dharana in the bogus Upanishads such as bhasama-jAbAla is given as a daily vidhi for all brAhmaNas.
Answer: We take it as within the context of brahma vidya, ie, it is recommended for all those who practice the brahma vidya. The emphasis is just arthavAda for getting the point across.
Objection# 5: Be that as it may. Are you then saying that it is impossible to say/write anything that contradicts the Veda? What then, is the point of smR^ityadhikaraNa etc. which say that statements in smR^iti that contradict the Vedas are to be rejected?
Answer: You would notice that we have made no effort to reinterpret the interpolated verses of mahAbhArata, etc as referring to vishNu. Because it is only shruti that uses all adjectives to denote nArAyaNa. In smriti, barring certain philosophical portions like Gita and Sahasranama, for the most part, the adjectives like Rudra, Sarva, Indra, Parjanya, etc denote the respective deities.
So if we assume the bogus upanishads are part of shruti for the sake of argument, then all adjectives belong to nArAyaNa. The rule that smriti which contradicts shruti must be rejected is not compromised.

A re-interpretation of Shaivite “pramANas” from the bogus upaniShads

The following are the “pramAnAs” (if they can be called that) used by the aforementioned article in the Shaiva blog to show that nArAyaNa suktam can be interpreted as Devi. Their poor usage notwithstanding, they focus on the pramAnAs as the soul of his mistranslations. So, we shall interpret these bogus verses in a manner that demolishes his interpretations and actually supports Vaishnava tattva.
The text given is his English translation of the pramAnAs. I will reinterpret these verses and my text will be given in bold.
sarve vai devaa deviimupatasthuH | kaasi tvaM mahaadevi | saabraviidahaM brahmasvaruupiNii | mattaH prakR^itipurushhaatmaka.n jagach |
(bogus text “Devi Upanishad”-1-2 allegedly from Atharva Veda)
Shaiva/Shakta interpretation: “All the gods waited upon the Goddess (and asked): ‘Mahadevi, who art Thou?’ She replied: I am essentially Brahman. From Me (has proceeded) the world comprising Prakriti (immobile objects) and Purusha (beings / mobile creatures)”.
Vaidika (Vaishnava) Interpretation: “All the gods waited upon Devi (Lakshmi) and asked, “MahAdevi, who are Lakshmi since the Lakshmi GAyatri states “MahAdevyaisca vidmahE Vishnu patnIs ca dImahE tannO Lakshmi prachOdayAt”,  who are you?”
Lakshmi Devi replied: “I am of the nature of Brahma, ie, the individual self that is different from the body and has expanded attributive knowledge with 8 auspicious perfections of apahatapApma, etc, hence it is called “Brahma”.
“From Me has proceeded prakrti and purushA (the jivAs). In other words, since I am the body of Brahman (Sriman nArAyaNa) as per shruti vAkyAs like “yasya AtmA sarIram”, by sAmAnAdhikaraNyam, “I” denotes the indweller, ie, Brahman, which has me as its body. So, when I say “the jagat proceeds from Me”, it means “The jagat proceeds from Sriman nArAyaNa, who has me (Lakshmi) as his body.”
Therefore, this pramAnam can no longer be used to justify shakta mistranslations of the nArAyaNa suktam.
“vaM chAhaM cha sarvaM vishvaM sarvadevatA itarat.h |sarvaM mahAtripurasundarI |
(bogus text “Bahvricha Upanishad-5” allegedly from Rig Veda)
Shaiva/Shakta: “You and I and the entire universe and all divinities and all besides are the Maha-Tripura-Sundari”.
Vaidika Interpretation: “You and I and the entire Universe and all devatAs and everything are (forms of) Lakshmi, who is the lustrous  Devi who precedes, ie, is beyond the triguNas (mahAtripura sundari). Since Lakshmi resides on the chest of vishNu, all his forms are her forms as she is always with him as per Brahma Purana.
devI hyekAgra evAsIt.h | saiva jagadaNDamasR^ijat.h |
(bogus text “Bahvricha Upanishad”-1 allegedly from Rig Veda)
Shaiva/Shakta: “The Goddess was indeed one in the beginning. Alone she emitted the world-egg (Hiranyagarbha)”.
Vaidika Interpretation: Lakshmi (Devi) is ever absorbed/attending (in the welfare of the jivAs). By her (kaTaksham/merciful blessings) is the world adorned.
tasyA eva brahmA ajIjanat.h | viShNurajIjanat.h | rudro.ajIjanat.h | sarve marud.hgaNA ajIjanat.h |
gandharvApsarasaH kinnarA vAditravAdinaH samantAdajIjanat.h | bhogyamajIjanat.h| sarvamajIjanat.h | sarvaM shAktamajIjanat.h | aNDajaM svedajamudbhijjaM jarAyujam.h yatkiMchaitat.h prANi sthAvaraja.ngamaM manuShyamajIjanat.h |”
(bogus text “Bahvricha Upanishad”-2 allegedly from Rig Veda)
Shaiva/Shakta: “Of Her [Tripurasundari] was Brahma born; was Vishnu born; was Rudra born. All wind-gods were born, celestial minstrels, nymphs, semi-human beings playing on instruments, were born (of Her), all around. What is enjoyed was born; everything was born (of Her). Everything of Power was born (of Her). The egg-born, the sweat-born, the seed-born, the womb-born, whatever breathes here, the stationary as well as the moving, and man were born (of Her)".
Vaidika Interpretation: This verse follows the previous verse. If we examine the first verse, it mentioned that the Universe was born from her compassionate glances only. When vishNu creates, she is by his side, giving directions by glances of her merciful eyes, provoking bhagavAn to be merciful when allotting bodies to jivAs and ensuring all have chance to sAdhaNa. Hence, this verse, which talks of the actual creation should be interpreted as “everything was born from her compassion only”. BhagavAn destroyed the Universe when the papa karmAs of the jivAs provoked his anger and he made them inactive. When he did not like being alone (sa ekAki na ramEti), Lakshmi’s mediation and compassion for the jivAs compelled him to create the Universe and issue bodies based on karma. Thus, the Universe was born due to her. VishNu is an avatAram in the Universe and is born of his own will. Even bhagavad avatArAs occur due to her mediation on behalf of the jivAs.
“athaasya yaa sahajaastyavidyaa muulaprakR^itirmaayaa lohitashuklakR^ishhNaa |
tayaa sahaayavaan devaH kR^ishhNapi~Ngalo mameshvara iishhTe |”
(bogus text “Shandilya Upanishad” 3:01)
Shaiva/Shakta: “Maheshvara (the great Lord) who is black and yellow rules with Avidya, Mula-Prakriti or Maya that is red, white and black and that is co-existent with him”.
Vaidika Interpretation: Sriman nArAyaNa, the Lord of the Worlds (MahEswara), who is black complexioned with golden tEjas due to Lakshmi rules with Prakrti that is Avidya (causing ignorance) and Maya (bewildering in wondrous ways) and is (composed) of red (rajas), white (sattva) and black (tamas) that is co-existent with him (ie, his inseparable attribute).
saiShA parA shaktiH | saiShA shAMbhavIvidyA kAdividyeti vA hAdividyeti vA sAdividyeti vA |
rahasyamomoM vAchi pratiShThA |
(bogus text “Bahvricha Upanishad”-3 allegedly from Rig Veda)
Shaiva/Shakta: “She, here, is the Power supreme. She, here, is the science of Sambhu, either as the science beginning with ka, or as the science beginning with ha, or as the science beginning with sa. This is the secret Om grounded in the word Om”.
Vaidika Interpretation: She is the Supreme Power (of VishNu). She is the knowledge (of compassion for the jivAs) of sriman nArAyaNa known as Shambhu because of his beautiful form, the knowledge of that which begins with Brahma designated as Ka, ie, the Prakrti Mandalam or SamsArA (kAdividyEti), the knowledge of the form of destruction of all types of ignorance caused by samsArA (hAdividyEti) and the knowledge of the form of singing the sAma gAnaMs upon liberation (sAdividyEti). Ie, she bestows this three-fold intellect.  This is the secret meaning of the praNava grounded in vAk, ie, the Veda.
Note: Brahma Purana refers to her as “tat saktiH” – the supreme power of vishNu.
satyamekaM lalitAkhyaM vastu tadadvitIyamakhaNDArthaM paraM brahma |
(bogus text “Bahvricha Upanishad”-5 from Rig Veda)
Shaiva/Shakta: “The sole Truth is the thing named ‘Lalita (the Beautiful)’. It is the non-dual, integral, supreme Brahman”.
Vaidika Interpretation: The One unchanging real is sriman nArAyaNa who sports, hence designated as Lalita (lalita+Akhya and not lalitA+Akhya). That vastu (tattvam) is without a second, without diversity, the supreme Brahman.
Note: While “nArAyaNa” is not a name of pArvati/Lalita, it is quite interesting to note that “Lalita” is definitely a name of nArAyaNa as he sports with the Universe (lOkavattu lIla kaivalyam)!
mahAtripurasundarI bahirantaranupravishya svayamekaiva vibhAti |
(bogus text “Bahvricha Upanishad”-5 allegedly from Rig Veda)
Shaiva/Shakta: “The Beauty of the three-great-cities, penetrating without and within, is resplendent”.
Vaidika Interpretation: The lustrous Devi who precedes the triguNas, who pervades within and without, ie, she is sarvagataH as per vishNu purAna due to her residence on vishNu’s chest, is resplendent.
ahamaanandaanaanandaaH viGYaanaaviGYaane aham.h |
(bogus text “Devi Upanishad”-2 allegedly from Atharva Veda)
“I am (all forms of) bliss and non-bliss”.
Vaidika Interpretation: This is explained in the manner of sarIrAtma bhAva and sAmAndhikaraNyam as before. “I” denotes sriman nArAyaNa, who is the antaryAmin of Lakshmi.
asyaaH paratara.n naasti saishhaa durgaa prakiirtitaa |
(bogus text “Devi Upanishad”-28 allegedly from Atharva Veda)
Shaiva/Shakta: “Beyond Her is nothing; renowned is She as DURGA”.
Vaidika Interpretation: There is nothing superior to Lakshmi (in excellence of kalyAna guNams). Since she is unapproachable/unknowable by the evil-minded like rAvaNa because of her effulgence, she is known as Durga.
Note: The nAma durgamaH occuring in the sahasranAma has been used for this interpretation.
shuunya.n tatprakR^itirmaayaa brahmavij~naanamityapi |
shivaH purushha iishaano nityamaatmeti kathyate |"
(bogus chapter added to the genuine Mahopanishad, VI:61)
Shaiva/Shakta: "That Brahman has been (identified with) emptiness, Prakriti, Maya and also consciousness. It has also been said to be "Shiva, Purusha, Eshana, the eternal and the self (Atman)
Vaidika Interpretation: “Shiva”, “Purusha” and “IshAna” are names of nArAyaNa.
saiva puratrayaM sharIratrayaM vyApya bahirantaravabhAsayantI |
deshakAlavastvantarasa.ngAnmahAtripurasundarI vai pratyak.hchitiH |
(bogus text “Bahvricha Upanishad”-4 allegedly from Rig Veda)
Shaiva/Shakta: “Pervading the three cities, the three bodies, illuminating within and without, She, the Consciousness within, becomes the Maha-Tripura-Sundari, being associated with space, time and objects”.
Vaidika Interpretation: Owing to always being on the chest of vishNu, She, pervading prakrti constituted of 3 guNams (puratrayaM), the bodies caused by three karmas – sanchita, prArabdha and Agami (sharIratrayaM), illuminating it within and without, being associated with dravyams of the form of space, time and objects, she is the self-manifested (ie, shines out as) the lustrous devi (Lakshmi) who is beyond the triguNas (mahAtripura sundarI).
saivAtmA tato.anyamasatyamanAtmA |
(bogus text “Bahvricha Upanishad”-5 from Rig Veda)
“She alone is Atman. Other than Her is untruth (mithyA)”.
Vaidika Interpretation: She alone is vishNu (ie, source of  the glory of vishNu). Other than (this union of lakshmi and vishNu as antarAtma) everything is to be thought of as subject to change (asatyam).
"asatyam" means jivAs subject to modification of dharma bhUta jnAna and prakrti that is subject to modification in svarUpa and svabhAva. The divya dampathi who are prresent in all as the inner self do not undergo changes.
pa~ncharUpaparityAgA darvarUpaprahANataH | adhiShThAnaM paraM tattvamekaM sachChiShyate mahat.h |
(bogus text “Bahvricha Upanishad”-6 allegedly from Rig Veda)
Shaiva/Shakta: “The fivefold form relinquished and effects like space transcended, remains the one, the great being, The supreme Ground, the only Truth”.
Vaidika Interpretation: BhagavAn who is unaffected by prakrti which evolved by panchikaraNam (prithvi, ap, tejas, vAyu, AkAsa)…..etc….remains the only truth.  
chidvidyA.advitIyabrahmasaMvittiH sacchidAnandalaharI |
(bogus text “Bahvricha Upanishad”-5 allegedly from Rig Veda)
Shaiva/Shakta: “She is the Science of Consciousness, non-dual Brahman Consciousness, a wave of Being-Consciousness-Bliss”.
Vaidika Interpretation: She (Lakshmi) is the knowledge of the jivAtma (ie, prompts their intellect towards bhagavAn), Of great knowledge (ie, compassion for the jivAs) that is unparalleled, the wave of unchanging knowledge that is highly blissful (ie, compassion).
taamagnivarNaa.n tapasaa jvalantii.n vairochanii.n karmaphaleshhu jushhTaam.h |
(genuine shruti statement in Taittiriya Aranyaka 10.2.1.2)
Shaiva/Shakta: “I take refuge in Her, the Goddess Durga, who is of the color of fire and blazes with her spiritual fire, who is the Power belonging to the Supreme Being (Virochana=Shiva) who manifests Himself manifoldly; who is the Power residing in actions and their fruits rendering them efficacious (or the Power that is supplicated to by the devotees for the fruition of their work)”.
Vaidika Interpretation: I take refuge in her who is of the color of fire (pingaLa hEmamAlini as per Sri Suktam), who is effulgent due to her knowledge (tapasA jvAlantI), the wife of vishNu, who shines because of her (vairOchanI –the name “virochanaH” occurs in the sahasranAmA), who grants the phalams earned by the jivAs, ie, the bestower of aishwaryam, kaivalyam and mOksham as per medha suktam.
yasyaaH svaruupaM brahmaadayo na jaananti tasmaaduchyate.aGYeyaa |
yasyaa anto na vidyate tasmaaduchyate anantaa |
yasyaa grahaNa.n nopalabhyate tasmaaduchyate.alakshyaa | yasyaa
janana.n nopalabhyate tasmaaduchyate.ajaa |
ekaiva sarvatra vartate tasmaaduchyata ekaa | ekaiva vishvaruupiNii
tasmaaduchyate naikaa | ata evochyate.aGYeyaanantaalakshyaajaikaa
naiketi |
(bogus text “Devi Upanishad”-26 allegedly from Atharva Veda)
Shaiva/Shakta: "Brahma and others know not Her essence; so is she called the Unknowable. She has no end; so is she called the Endless. She is not grasped and so is she called the Incomprehensible. Her birth is not known and so is she called the Unborn. She alone is present everywhere, and so is she called the One. She alone wears all forms, and so is she called the Many. For these reasons is she called the Unknowable, the Endless, the Incomprehensible, the Unknown, the One and the Many"
Vaidika Interpretation: All this can be easily interpreted as epithets of Lakshmi. She has many forms because she is everywhere with vishNu.
"ekaakshara.n tvakshare.atraasti some sushhumnaayaa.n cheha dR^iDhii sa ekaH |"
(“Ekakshara Upanishad”, 1. Authenticity not determined.)
Shaiva/Shakta: "Thou art the one Imperishable in the Imperishable, conjoint with Uma as known by means of Susumna, here (on the empirical plane), the one firm (Principle art Thou)".
Vaidika Interpretation: You (nArAyaNa) are the Imperishable One in the Imperishable jivAtmA, who is full of nectarine auspicious attributes (Soma; name occurs in sahasranAmA), Known, ie, obtained by (travel) through the suSumna nAdi, who are the sole One firm in blessing his devotees (dRdhi; sthAnuH name occurring in sahasranAmA)
"vishve nimagnapadaviiH kaviinaaM tva.n jaatavedo bhuvanasya naathaH |"
(Ekakshara Upanishad, 2. Authenticity not determined.)
Shaiva/Shakta: "Thou [Shiva] art immanent in all; from (the view-point) of the wise, Thou, the Lord of the world art the all-knowing (Fire-Jataveda)".
Vaidika Interpretation: All this refers to nArAyaNa.
hR^itpuNDariikamadhyasthaaM praataHsuuryasamaprabhaam.h |
paashaaN^kushadharaa.n saumyaa.n varadaabhayahastakaam.h |
trinetraa.n raktavasanaaM bhaktakaamadughaaM bhaje |
(bogus text “Devi Upanishad”-24 allegedly from Atharva Veda)
Shaiva/Shakta: “Seated in the lotus-heart, Resplendent as the morning sun, Goddess, bearing noose and hook, With gesture granting boons, dissolving fears; Tender, three-eyed, red-robed, granting devotees Their hearts’ desires, Thee I adore”.
Vaidika Interpretation: All this is easily interpreted as Lakshmi residing in the heart with vishNu. “pAshAnkusha” refers to her possession of the goad which acts as a trap. This goad is her beauty which traps bhagavAn and causes his vAtsalya guNam to rise, thus forcing him to aid the jivA by staying as antaryAmin. This goes well with the next lines indicating granting of boons, etc. She is “trinetrA”, ie, the Eye of the Three Vedas because bhagavAn’s auspicious attributes, praised by the vedas, are precipitated only by her; so hers is the real glory (sraddhAya deva devatvam asnute- he becomes a deva only due to her). raktavasanAm – residing in the jivA’s body of rajas, or the red arteries of the heart with vishNu.
“aa umaa saa svaya.n vishhNuh |
(bogus text “Rudra Hridayopanishad” 1:05)
Shaiva/Shakta: “Uma Herself is in the form of Vishnu”
Vaidika Interpretation: Fame or Yashas (Uma) is verily VishNu. “Uma” means “yashas” and is the ability to grant brahmAnandam or the ability to mingle with those lesser than himself.
sarvadevaatmako rudraH sarve devaaH shivaatmakaaH .
rudrasya dakshiNe paarshve ravirbrahmaa trayo.agnayaH .. 4..
(bogus text “Rudra-HridayOpanishad”)
Vaidika Interpretation: Narasimha who is the destroyer of the disease of samsara (Rudra) is the inner self of all the devas, and the devas are always immersed in bhakti (of nArAyaNa) of an auspicious nature (shivAtmaka). On his left (skilful) side are the Sun like eye, the quality of greatness (Brahmatva) and Sacrifice symbolised by the three agnis.
Purusha Sukta says “ahO rAtrE pArshvE” – day and night are at his sides. In other words, bhagavAn nArAyaNa reconciles contradictions. He has both grace and anger, a snake and an eagle as his servants, etc.
So, here, the mantra describes his two sides. Starting with dakShina pArshvE, it talks about his three characteristics by which he is terrifying to the asurAs. “DakshiNa” means left, but also means “skilful”, so it could be a play on how his actions are both potent and skilful. The 3 characteristics of “vinAshAya ca duskrtAm” are:
  • His sun like eye that is full of anger against hiranyakasipu.
  • His brahmatva or absolute supremacy which frightens the asurAs and enables him to punish them.
  • His actions, signified by sacrifice, that destroy the asurAs. BhagavAn’s deeds are often referred to as sacrifice, tapas, etc in the shAstra. Because his acts are a means by which he saves his devotees, just as yajna is a means to an end.
vaamapaarshve umaa devii vishhNuH somo.api te trayaH
yaa umaa saa svaya.n vishhNuryo vishhNuH sa hi chandramaaH
(bogus text “Rudra-HridayOpanishad”)
Vaidika Interpretation: On his right (auspicious) side, there is Lakshmi who possesses the fame (of quenching his anger), his all-pervasiveness (by which he appeared in the pillar instantly to save prahlAda) and the nectarine auspicious attributes (somA). The fame (of sousIlyam or granting brahmAnandam) is verily vishNu and this vishNu is verily lustrous (as a result of this).
This is his graceful side. “vAma” also means auspicious or beautiful and hence once again is a play on words. The 3 attributes are:
  • Lakshmi, who suggested PrahlAda pacify Narasimha and thus saved the worlds from his anger.
  • His all-pervasiveness by which he appears swiftly at the call of his devotees.
  • His nectarine auspicious attributes. Soma is a name of vishNu as per the sahasranAmA (sOmapO amrtapa sOmaH). “Uma” means yaShas or fame. It refers to his guNam of mingling with others lesser than him or granting brahmAnandam. “ChandrAmso” occurs in the sahasranAmA and refers to his lustre.
yo rudraH sa svayaM brahmaa yo brahmaa sa hutaashanaH
brahmavishhNumayo rudra agniishhomaatka.n jagat.h .
(bogus text “Rudra-HridayOpaniShad”)
Vaidika Interpretation: Which Rudra, well-known in the sAstra as Narasimha, is verily the Veda (signified by Brahma), which Supreme Brahman (Brahma), well-known in the sAstra as Narasimha, is verily of the form of fire (ie, jwAla narasimha). This rudra (destroyer of the disease of samsara) possessor (maya) of “VishNuBrahma”, ie, the jivAtma whose essential nature is great (brahma) due to possession of 8 auspicious qualities beginning with apahatapApma and whose attributive knowledge is all-pervasive in mOksha (vishNu). The Universe is verily full of sacrifice of the form of “nama:” salutations to Brahman (agni) and objects of enjoyment such as  long age, wealth, etc (sOmA), which are required for upAsaNa.
BrahmI, Brahma, etc are names occurring in the sahasranAma and Bhattar’s interpretation for these names were used here. The first “Brahma” refers to the Veda. BrahmI means “he who possesses all that goes by the term brahman – prakrti, purusha, ishvara, jivA, etc and this name is used to interpret “brahmavishNu maya” here.
rudramagnimayaM vidyAdviShnuH somAtmakaH smritaH
agnIShomAtmakam chaivA jagatsthAvara jangamam (HarivamSha 2-125-35)
This is an authentic quote from the harivamSha that the author of the mahApashupatastra blog uses to give his distorted interpretations. Its meaning is slightly different from the one given above because Rudra there denotes pArvati pati, who is a yOgi meditating on nArAyaNa. Meaning is as under.
Meaning: Know that Rudra is full of (ie, immersed in) the sacrifice ie, meditation, offerings of “nama:”salutations and remember that vishNu is of the nature of nectar, ie, characterised by auspicious attributes (sOmAtmaka) to be meditated on by upAsakAs like Rudra. The Universe is verily full of sacrifice of the form of “nama:” salutations to Brahman (agni) and objects of enjoyment such as  long age, wealth, etc (sOmA), which are required for upAsaNa.
umA shankarayOgO yaH sa yOgO vishNuruchyatE..
(bogus text “Rudra-HridayOpanishad”)
Vaidika Interpretation: By the meditation (yogO) of his own fame, ie, the sousIlya guNa of mingling with others lesser than himself (umA), (the desire) to perform auspicious acts for his devotees and destroy asurAs (shankara), VishNu delights the jivAs (uchyatE) with (such a nature) of being the definite and indestructible means to liberation (sa yOga).
vyakta.n sarvamumaaruupamavyakta.n tu maheshvaram.
(bogus text “Rudra-HridayOpanishad”)
Vaidika Interpretation: All the forms (of bhagavAn) that are manifest (vyaktAn) are of the form (ie, manifestations of his) fame, ie, sousIlyam, desire to mingle with others lesser than himself (umA). nArAyaNa who is the Lord of the Worlds (mahEshwara) is called avyakta because in his avatArAs, his true nature is not manifest to everyone.
Both the names “vyakta rUpa” and “avyakta” occur in the sahasranAmA and I have used the interpretation of Bhattar here. The following pramAnAs are provided by Bhattar for “avyakta”:
nAham prkASah sarvasya yoga mAyA samAvRtah |
mUDho'yam nAbhijAnAti loko mAm ajam avyayam ||  (~ gItA7.25)
"Veiled by My mAyA, I am not manifest to all. The deluded world does not  recognize Me as the unborn and immutable."
nAham vedair na tapasA na dAnena na ca ijyayA |
Sakya evam vidho dRashTum dRshTavAnasi mAm yathA || (~ gItA 11.53)
"Not by the veda-s, nor by austerities, nor by gifts, nor by sacrifice, can I be seen in such a form as you have see Me" (kRshNa-s words to arjuna).
We can note that the Upanishad uses the name “mahEshwara” which goes perfectly with Bhattar’s interpretation, especially since the svEtAsvatArA also calls nArAyaNa as mahEshwara in the same context:
maayaa.n tu prakR^iti.n vidyaanmaayina.n cha maheshvaram.h |
tasyavayavabhuutaistu vyaapta.n sarvamida.n jagat.h ||
Meaning: Prakrti is to be known as mAyA. The great Lord (MaheshwarA) is the mover of mAyA. All this universe is pervaded by the jivAs (ie, they fill the universe) who are his inseparable attributes.
Having said this, let us now declare that our opponents should not even dream of resorting to the DakshiNamUrthy Upanishad or SharabhOpanishad because according to the sahasranAma "vIsva-dakshiNa " is a name of nArAyaNa, who is hence dakshiNamUrthy and "atulassharabhO bhIma" shows that sharabha is a name of nArAyaNa as well.
----
Our opponent quotes some genuine pramAnams from atharva vEda and declares it to be directed towards Rudra. This is also wrong. The meaning of these mantras is explained below.
vrAtya asId IyamAna eva sa prajApatim sam airayat sa prajapatiH suvarnam Atman apasyat tat prAjanayat tad ekam abhavat tal lalAmam abhavat tan mahad abhavat taj jyestam abhavat tad brahmAbhavat tat tapO bhavat tat satyam abhavat  tEna  prAjAyata (~Atharva Veda 15.1.1.8)
Vaidika Interpretation: There was association (vAsaNas, tendencies, guNams) designated as “vrAtya” which roused Brahma (prajApati) to action. Brahma (prajApati)  saw (ie, channelled his intellect through) the mind clouded by rajO guNa which causes desire, hence designated as golden and brought forth (the Universe). That (Brahman) became the nimmita/upAdAna/sahakAri kAraNam (Ekam), That (Brahman) became possessed of a mark, ie, lakshaNa,  of the Universe as his attribute, That (Brahman) became manifold, That( Brahman) became the (embodied and conscious) jivA designated as “jyEshta” as it is beyond prakrti, That (Brahman) became prakrti which is designated as “Brahma” as it is great, That (Brahman) became Tapas, That (Brahman) became Truth, and in that manner, was (the Universe) born.
“Tat” in case refers to Brahman whereas the other adjectives refer to him being the antarAtma of leela vibhUti which is progressively created by Brahma. This is as in the case of “tat tvam asi”.
Tad ekam abhravat – “Ekam” here signifies the Brahman which is the nimitta/upAdaNa/sahakAri kAraNam. This is according to the explanation given by Acharyas for “ekamEva advitiyam”.
The Isavasya Upanishad refers to the mind clouded by rajO guNa as “hiranmayEna pAtrEna”. Since rajO guNa causes desire for objects of enjoyment, the color “golden” is used to describe the rajO guNa which clouds the mind.
This speaks of creation caused by Brahma’s desire. Latter part shows how Brahman, the antaryAmin of all and who has all as his sarIram, created the Universe using Brahma as an instrument.
“janmAdyasya yatha:” ~ shRshti is a lakshaNam of Brahman as a definition. Hence, it is a mark.
“tapas” and “satyam” refers to means to attain Brahman as evidenced by the nyAsa vidyA of the mahAnArAyaNopanishad, which are also provided along with creation. After all, shRshti is only done to give the jivA bodies to perform sAdhaNa to attain BhagavAn.
The object of this mantra is to show that the purpose of shRshti is to enable the jivA to attain bhagavAn.

sO vardhata sa mahAn sa mahAdEvO bhavat sa devAnAm Isam paryait sa IsAno bhavat sa ekavrAtyo bhavat sa dhanur Adatta tad evendradhanuH nIlam asyodaram lohitam prstham nIlenaivApriyaM bhrAtrvyam prornoti lohitEna dvisantam vidhyatIti brahmavAdinO vadanti (~Atharva Veda 15.1.4.8)
Vaidika Interpretation: The mind grew (ie, dharma bhUta jnAna expanded through the intellect), it became great, it sports with manifold intellect (ie, perception of all objects of enjoyment). It became the ruler of the indrIyas (signified as “devAnAm” because they sport with objects of enjoyment), therefore it is present as the controller (IshAna). It is the chief (Eka) of the group of indrIyas (vrAtya). It (the mind) accepted, (ie, comprehended) a bow (ie, knowledge of the upanishads). That is the bow (knowledge) of the excellent sattva nature (dEvEndra dhanuH). Of this (mind), its cavity is black (nIla) signifying tamO guNa while its surface is red (lOhita) signifying rajO guNa. With tamO guNa (nIla), it (the mind) envelopes (ie, obscures the knowledge) of its hated enemy (ie, the jivAtmA), whereas with rajO guNa (lOhitEna), it (the mind) clings to (vidhyatiti) the hostile (attachments of samsAric objects of enjoyment), so say the great AchAryas well versed in the knowledge of Brahman.
“vrAtya” refers to a class or group. It thus is a reference to the indrIyas. “Eka” refers to chief (according to Bhattar’s vyAkhyAnA for “ekaH” in the sahasranAma) and hence “eka vrAtya” refers to the mind which is the chief of the indrIyas.
“dhanuH” or bow is a metaphor for knowledge according to the Upanishads. “dEvEndra dhanuH” – the knowledge of an excellent “deva” nature. The definition of deva as sAttvika bhAva is given by bhagavAn in the “dEvAsura vibhAgam” of the gita.
(It is not clear whether the mantra says "dEvEndra dhanuH" or "eva indra dhanuH". But either way, the meaning does not change).
The mind is also responsible for rajO and tamO guNa as mentioned in the latter half of the mantra. rajO guNa is mentioned as the surface and tamO guNa as the cavity. This is because it is attachment, caused by rajO guNa, which then progressively leads to manifestation of tamO guNa. Even the Upanishads speak of rajO guNa as “hiranmayEna pAtrEna” – a golden vessel obscuring the mind and hence is the surface. Tamo guNa, a consequence of rajO guNa developing over the period of time, is the cavity.
In other words, the mind can be a friend or an enemy. This is also well known in the shAstra.
So, none of these mantras talk about pArvati pati.

Interpreting some authentic Rks and Upanishads

The opponent does quote certain other genuine rks, but distorts them horribly.  No need to address these, since all he has done is paste griffith’s horrible translations on his website. All of the rks either talk of nArAyaNa or Lakshmi, no matter what the names are (Gauri, Soma, etc). So that need not be addressed in detail as it is an already established fact.
Let us now consider a couple of those authentic pramANas that Shaivas and others use to "prove" Shiva-paratva and Vishnu-aparatva.
1)
somaH pavate janitA matInAM janitA divo janitA pR^ithivyAH |
janitAgnerjanitA sUryasya janitendrasya janitota viShNoH ||
This verse, from the Rigveda, is quoted by anti-Vaishnavas to “show” that Vishnu is not supreme and that He is born from Soma. However, as one can see below, this is not true and the mantra can be explained very well in harmony with the Supremacy of Vishnu:
Meaning: The producer of gifts, purifies (as) the producer of intellect (of seshatvam or dharma bhUta jnAna) in the wise ie, mummukshus, muktas and nitya sUrIs (matinAm), the producer of (bliss for the muktas and nitya sUrIs) in srI vaikunta (diva), the producer of (bliss for the mummukshus like prahlAda) in samsAra mandalam by his avatAram as Narasimha (pRithvi), the producer (ie, the cause of glory to) Agnideva, the producer (cause of glory to) Suryadeva, the producer (ie, the cause of glory to) Indradeva, the producer (ie, from whom is manifested) vishNudeva.
We must go with interpreting that rk in the vein of the atharvasiras. "somaH" is a name of vishNu (somapO amritapaH somaH ~ sahasranAma). It has the etymological meaning of "One from whom gifts/offerings are produced" (sOti utpAdatiti sOmaH) as per srI ranga rAmAnuja muni. Or, as per Bhattar, it means "One who is like nectar". The meaning given by sri ranga rAmAnuja muni suits the context of this Rk.
"Soma" especially is a name of Narasimha in the Veda ~ namas sOmAya ca rudrAya ca. Of course, Bhattar interprets it as a name of srI rAma in the sahasranAma. That is because srI rAma is rAghava simha as per vedAnta desika and the Tamil poet kambar, a parama Vaishnava, and hence shares the names of Narasimha.
This Rk has similarities with the mantra in the 8th anuvAka of SatarudrIyam - "namaH tIrthyaya ca kUlyAya". It describes three categories of jnAni - mummukshus yearning for moksha, nitya sUrIs and muktas already in mOksha by the word (matinAm). He is the source of their intellect as their knowledge is dependent on him. Only his own knowledge is independent. Hence he alone knows himself by himself as per the Gita; others know him through him.
Agni gets his glory from him because all offerings through sacrifices are taken by Agni to VishNu, the enjoyer. Surya gets his glory from him because he resides in the orb of the sun (tasya yathA kapyAsa pundarIkam evam akShini) and thus, all jnAnis meditate on Surya nArAyaNa in nitya-naimittika karmas as well as upAsaNa. Or, it can be said that Narasimha gives Surya the ability to shine since the mantra rAja pada stOtra describes Narasimha as "he who shines and is the ocause f lustre for others, ie he makes others shine".
Indra has received the grace of bhagavAn many times - his defeat of vRtra, his kingdom regained from mahAbali, etc. But what is mentioned here is probably the greatest glory of Indra - he is the older brother of vishNu (upEndra) and hence becomes "mahEndra" (prefix of maha or great) because of vishNu.
Narasimha is referred to as the Cause of even vishNu in the atharvasiras (brahmavishNurudrEndra samprasUyatE...) and that is hinted here. Often, narasimha is equated to paravAsudeva and that is reflected here as well.


2)
umaasahaayaM parameshvaraM prabhuM trilochanaM niilakaNThaM prashaantam.h
dhyaatvaa munirgachchhati bhuutayoniM samastasaakshiM tamasaH parastaat.h
(kaivalya upaniShad)
This Upanishad mantra is quoted by Shaivas, shaivAdvaitins, and neo-Hindus thinking that it praises Shiva as the supreme. The text is not quoted often by Srivaishnava Acharyas, but it appears that the author of Vedanta Kaustubham has indeed quoted it. Shankara appears to quote a verse from this work in the Aitareya Upanishad Bhashya, where he identifies it as “kaivalya shruti”. However, it is not the mantra above and Shankara’s “kaivalya shruti” quote also occurs in the Narayana Valli section of Taittiriya Aranyaka.
Thiruvisanallur Ramasubba Shastrigal has written a work called "Kaivalya Upanishad vilAsa" explaining that this Upanishad indeed refers to Vishnu as the Supreme.
In light of these facts, this Upanishad is probably authentic. Let us now look at the Vaidika way of interpreting this mantra in Vishnu’s favor:
Vaidika Interpretation: Meditating on the One (Narasimha in the cave of the heart) who is always associated (sahA) with the fame (umA) of granting brahmAnandam, the Lord of all (parameshvaraM), One who has the power to attract the minds of all towards him by his beauty (prabhuM), the three-eyed (trilOchanaM), the black necked (nIlakaNThaM), One who makes the devotee enjoy him alone to the exclusion of all (prashAntam), the wise men reach him who is the Cause of the Universe (bhUtayOnIm), the Witness of all (samastasAkshiM), who is beyond prakrti (tamasaH parastAt).
This explains everything.

28 comments :

  1. Excellent explanations which shatters the myth and false hoods being propagted by Shaiva and Shaktas.

    Adiyen

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  2. Superb interpretation may the lord assist yu forever in all your timeless efforts. Nothing can equate the service you are into. Please dont let anything stop you. Many Many Many good wishes and prayers for your teachings to reach far and wide.

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    Replies
    1. Kind and respectable Ms. Krishnan,

      Many thanks for your appreciative comment and personal message. However, please note that these are not *our teachings*, but mainly based on our AcArya's. Whatever good that you find here, the credit goes to our AcAryas.

      Delete
  3. I'm not sure if this is a sound argument, but I would like to add one observation. Please correct me if I am wrong.

    So we all know that narayana is the Supreme Brahman in the Vedas, therefore, Narayana=Brahman. If we were to say that Shakta is narayana, then why would in kena upanishad would Uma tell Indra that the person who humiliated the devas was Brahman? She should have said that SHE was the person who humiliated them. But she doesn't, meaning Brahman is someone different than Uma. And if Uma isn't Brahman, Uma isn't Narayana.
    Regards

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    Replies
    1. Oh, its a sound argument alright. But certain characters have the compelling tendency to ignore logic. For them, if uma points to a yakSha and says "that is Brahman", then very strangely, uma is accorded Brahmatva and the yakSha is equated to Shiva by these people when such a precedent is neither in the Upanishad, nor in the commentary of advaitins, vishishtadvaitins and dvaitins for this Upanishad. And of course, these same characters will turn a blind eye to nArAyaNa being declared as parabrahman everywhere both in the veda and in the commentaries.

      Some explanations given by these miscreants for equating yakSha to shiva/uma are:

      1) shiva being called "sarvajnEna iSvara" by Adi Shankara - This argument is used despite the fact that even rSis are often referred to as sarvajna and iSvara is a given name for shiva as one who imparts knowledge of vishNu, which is why sri Shankara used it. In fact, Shankara has classed Rudra as a created entity in many places, a vibhUti in the praSnOpanishad bhAshya and one who is associated with tAmas in sahasranAma bhAshya (note, tAmasa guNa does not encumber his sarvajnatva which is gained by virtue of austerities; only that he is not saguNa brahman according to advaita).

      2) The ridiculous logic that since Shiva is the husband of Uma, she would not point anyone else as Brahman. Yes, I am not kidding, I have seen this argument used. By that logic, the husbands of all religious wives in the world would be brahman for their wives!

      That is why we had to write this. We just did it the hard way by considering the worst possible extremity of viTanda vAda and wiping out any chance of it being used as well.

      As you correctly pointed out and as any logical person would see instantly, in the kenOpanishad, Uma is celebrated as a knower of Brahman. Of course, both Shiva and Uma are viSva gurus, but they are not Brahman; both teach the devas and guide them (except for brahma who is subject to none but vishNu alone). The yakSha was neither shiva nor uma, but only nArAyaNa.

      Delete
    2. Dear sir,
      Thank you for providing additional information based on the Kena Upanishad. I think that this article is really good and the reinterpretation of the "upanishads" was brilliant. I do have one genuine question and that is: Is Durga/Parvati/Adi Shakti shown in any Shruti text as being born from Brahman? We have seen that Brahman (Vishnu) "created" Brahma and Shiva, but I have not seen one showing the same for Adi Parvati (Uma). Should the idea that Uma is the half of Shiva and the fact that Vishnu created Shiva be sufficient enough to say that Vishnu created Uma? (in the Shruti).
      Thanks
      Regards

      Delete
    3. Common sense should be enough. If Rudra is mentioned to be a jivAtma, would
      his wife be any different?

      One needs to understand the vaidika tradition for the reason why the devIs
      are not mentioned explicitly as created. The wife is not considered independent from her husband in vedic tradition. Since the husband performs all vaidika karmas and the wife is required to assist these karmas, any merit of the wife is accrued by the husband and she also gets her glory from him. So, Saraswati gets her knowledge from Brahma and adds glory to the latter. Similarly, pArvati gets knowledge from Shiva and adds glory to
      the latter. They are included implicitly among creation when their husbands
      are mentioned, just as lakshmi is also implicitly praised by praise of
      nArAyaNa.

      So, whenever shruti says nArAyaNa created brahma, rudra, indra, etc, it
      also refers by default to the wives of these entities. That brahma (with
      nArAyaNa as the antaryAmin) created uma and the rudrAnIs as well is
      mentioned in the bhAgavatam (3.12.13).

      nArAyaNa in fact does not have a gender. Brahman is neither male, nor female, nor in-between. Hence, just like all male names, even female names like pArvati, saraswati, durga, lalitha, lakshmi, etc are his names.
      However, vishishtadvaita avers that though Brahman has no gender, "he" is
      called puruShOttama owing to the fact that all jivAs (designated as "purusha" in shastra; he is purushottama) are his servants by their natures and hence like devoted wives; he alone is supreme. Indeed, nArAyaNa though having no gender, is still referred to as "He" for this
      reason, in the metaphysical sense - ironically, we say "HE is not a male,
      HE is not a female, HE has no gender" etc.

      Of course, the authors of the Narayanastra blog do not claim to be omniscient or possess the knowledge of veda vyAsa, for we have not waded
      through the entire ocean of shruti. Perhaps and most likely, creation of
      devIs is mentioned someplace in the infinite veda - but our simple argument
      is that the clear statements of the devas like brahma, rudra, indra, etc as created entities is enough to prove their wives are also created entities as well.

      Delete
  4. Respected Admins of this blog,

    1. First of all, is nArAyaNi a valid name i.e. is it used for Parvathi Devi in any of the acceptable sacred texts? i was under the impression that this is a name that occurs only in Devi Bhagavatham.

    2. Also, there are several websites which proclaim with full confidence that nArAyaNi is Lakshmi Devi's name - my understanding is that Goddess Shree is nArAyaNa samAshritha and nArAyaNa mahiSHi but certainly not nArAyaNi.

    Kindly validate and enlighten. Thank You!

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    Replies
    1. Dear Reader,

      The three well-known nighaNTus used by vedAntins - amarakosha, vaijayanti, and halAyudha list several names of both Lakshmi and Durga. None of them assign "nArAyaNI" to either. This is all I know about this rather unimportant issue.

      Delete
    2. Plus, not an issue if "narayani" is attributed to parvati since Durga, who is mentioned to be her amSha in shastra, received a boon from bhagavan that she would be known as one associated with him due to her birth as "yoga maya", Sri Krishna's sister. So "narayani" is one associated or related to narayana.

      Lakshmi can also be called by this name, obviously. But since the shastra has not popularised this notion anywhere, better to stay indifferent. As HBB said, it's a minor issue.

      Delete
    3. I think, even Parvathy or Uma is also not referred as narayani in Amarakosha.

      In narasimha poorvaottara tapani upanishad bhashya which is supposed have been authored by Adi Shankaracharya, for the word Uma, i think, Shankara gives the primary meaning as Vishnu pathni i.e. Lakshmi or Sri.

      In Lakshmi sahasranama, the word narayani is one of the thousand names of Goddess Lakshmi who is Vishnu pathni

      Thanks & Rgds,
      VM

      Delete
  5. Dear All, thank you for your replies. i requested for clarification as i have met some Shaktas who argue like this:

    1. Goddess Parvathi is nArAyaNi so Lord Shiva is nArAyaNA

    2. Goddess Parvathi is nArAyaNi so nArAyaNA is Her masculine energy

    3. Goddess Parvathi is nArAyaNi so Shree Mahalakshmi is only a manifestation of Parvathi

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    Replies
    1. Dear Sri Gopalan,

      What else can one expect from shaktas. They are worse than charvakas or atheists.

      In Padma Purana, Parvati prays to Lord Krishna calls him Narayana and says that she was Narayana's servant during previous eons. Hence, Lord Narayana gave her a boon that she will enjoy her consort's companionship perpetually. Pleased by her prayers, Lord Krishna, brought Shiva back to life.

      This episode more than clarifies that Parvati was merely a servant, forget about she being Narayana's sister.

      It is clear from above episode, Narayana is not Shiva nor is he is an energy of Parvati.

      Also, Parvati is nothing but a small speck of energy of Goddess Sri, i.e. Vishnu pathni. Swami Desikan in his Sri stuti, verse 12 says that the splendour of sarasvati, Parvati and Indrani is but a minute fraction of Goddess Sri.

      Delete
    2. Dear Sri Gopalan,

      What else can one expect from shaktas. They are worse than charvakas or atheists.

      In Padma Purana, Parvati prays to Lord Krishna calls him Narayana and says that she was Narayana's servant during previous eons. Hence, Lord Narayana gave her a boon that she will enjoy her consort's companionship perpetually. Pleased by her prayers, Lord Krishna, brought Shiva back to life.

      This episode more than clarifies that Parvati was merely a servant, forget about she being Narayana's sister. (These are words of Parvathy. She doesnt say anywhere she is his sister. Infact, she calls herself as servant of Lord Narayana/ Krishna.)

      It is clear from above episode, Narayana is not Shiva nor is he is an energy of Parvati.

      Also, Parvati is nothing but a small speck of energy of Goddess Sri, i.e. Vishnu pathni. Swami Desikan in his Sri stuti, verse 12 says that " the splendour of sarasvati, Parvati and Indrani is but a minute fraction of Goddess Sri/Lakshmi"

      Also, Markandeya purana says, Goddess Maha Lakshmi created Maha Kali and Maha Sarawati. They, in turn create other gods. Even in this way Parvati, Shiva, lalitha, sarawati etc are all are creations of Maha Lakshmi. No where this Maha Lakshmi is identified as Parvati nor rudra pathni. MahaLakshmi is always identified as Vishnu pathni.

      Thanks & Rgds,
      VM

      Delete
  6. Dear Sirs

    Does the dravida patha of the mahanarayana upanishad contain the ganesha gayatri mantra? Please clarify.

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    1. It does. The Sayana bhAShya (published by the Asiatic Society, calcutta), bhaTTa bhAskara bhAShya (thought to be earlier than Sayana), as well as the bhAShya of Sri Rangaramanuja muni follow the drAviDa pATha and have the gAyatri.

      Delete
  7. Dear Bhagavathas,
    I've seen some neo-hindus argue like this- "Original followers of vedic religion continued to wear tiryaka pundra with the bhasma, while vaishnavas changed their symbols with the advent of Sri Madhva and Sri Ramanuja". They also claim that the bhasma is not a shaivite symbol but the ash obtained from the yagna kundam after completion.
    Now, considering that I'm not very well versed in scriptures and the authors of this blog just the opposite,
    1. is there any description in any ITIHASA about anyone applying gopi chandana/tiruman,etc ?
    2. Or any shruthi /smriti that glorifies/discourages tiryaka pundram (bhasma of the smarthas ) .

    Your answers would be helpful, hoping that this is not off-topic.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. An article on this topic will be posted soon. Kindly bear with us.

      There are many bogus verses and bogus interpretations of scriptures praising tripuNDra. None of the dharma nibandhakas prior to 15th century have recommended tiryakpuNDram. The ones that take up this topic only recommend Urdhva puNDram. smArtas used to wear UrdhvapuNDra with gopI candana only before they came under a shaiva-friendly and anti-Vishnu wave.

      There are many references in works like Saccarita rakSha and Smrti ratnAkara by Srivaishnava pUrvAcAryas. There are also references in non-Srivaishnava Devana Bhatta's (12th Century) work Smrti candrika. Even vaidyanAtha dIkShita accepts these verses from scriptures praising thirumaN/UrdhvapuNDra mark and those rejecting tripuNDra. There are verses quoted in all of these works saying that any vaidika karma done without UrdhvapuNDra-tirumaN is fruitless.

      Also to note is that madhusUdana sarasvati's teacher vishveshvara sarasvati says in his work "yatidharma samuccaya" that yatis belonging to Shankara's school must adorn three UrdhvapuNDras drawn with gopI candana - on the crown, forehead, and chest.

      As I have stated, these will be detailed soon in a future article and kindly bear with us.

      I have provided to you the names of certain works like smR^iti candrikA and smRiti ratnAkara. You can research them by yourself in the mean time, if you wish.

      Delete
    2. Would you please provide some good irrefutable evidences to prove that some upanishads like rudra hridaya upanishads,devi upanishads,devi yamala tantra,devi bhagavata purana etc which is so oft quoted by saktas,as later day interpolation. I,am a vaishnava and it would help me to counter some claims of saktas for which they take shelter of such scriptures.

      Delete
    3. This article, the FAQ and several comments have already addressed the issue of bogus texts ad nauseum. Please read the FAQ in particular.

      If the opponents quote texts not referenced by the three traditional schools of vedanta, then they (the opponents) are not vedantins and lose any claim to credibility. It's a simple concept which requires no elaborate "refutations".

      Delete
  8. Did Adi sankaracharya quoted from such sakta upanishads as mentioned above like rudra hridaya and from the scriptures like siva purana,devi bhagavata purana,etc. at all. I wanted to know what are the major puranas and upanishads that he have quoted from.

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    1. Please read the FAQ section, as Sri AryamA has explained. Your queries have been answered there.

      Delete
  9. Dear all,

    Just an additional note on the kaivalya upanishad mantra:

    umaasahaayaM parameshvaraM prabhuM trilochanaM niilakaNThaM prashaantam.h dhyaatvaa munirgachchhati bhuutayoniM samastasaakshiM tamasaH parastaat.h

    We have provided the meaning for this above. It occurs in the upanishad and refers to Lord Narasimha as umAsahAya, trilochana and nilakaNtha. There are certain interesting points to consider here:

    1) Mantra 25 of the Kaivalya Upanishad declares that meditation on the ShatarudrIyam and surrendering to the supreme self known as "Siva" as he performs deeds which are auspicious for his devotees (sivam karatvAt sivah). Therefore, this upanishad is mainly concerned with Narasimha who is the upAsya mUrthy of the yajur veda and the ShatarudrIyam.

    2) The current Kaivalya Upanishad mantra we are discussing mandates such a Lord is to be meditated within the cave of the heart. This ties in well with the "stuti shrutam gartasadam" shruti which describes the Lord in the cave of the heart as a lion. KrishNa, in his stotra to (the antaryAmin of) Siva describes Narasimha as the One in the cave of the heart as well. The nArAyaNa sUkta describing the antaryAmin in the heart lotus is also part of the yajur veda.

    3) All these pramAnAs establish that the Lord dwells in the cave of the heart permanently in the form of Narasimha, as that is SankarshaNa-rUpa.

    4) By saying that those who meditate on Narasimha in the cave if the heart attain the Cause of the Universe, it echoes the Atharvasiras which enjoined meditation on the Cause and reject the effects. Again, the atharvasiras is dedicated to Narasimha according to the Nrisimha tApanIya upanishad.

    5) Narasimha is meditated as trilOchana with 3 eyes resembling chandra-surya-agni. The 3 eyes stand for the TriguNas, according to bhAgavatam 8.7.30 and indicate his control over the guNas. Sri VedAnta Desikan says in his kAmAshikAshtakam that his three eyes banish the tApatraya brought about by the TriguNas.

    6) He is umAsahAyam as explained earlier in the article -- he grants mukti. He is nIlakaNtha in the sense that the inside of his throat is black. His jaws are open and his cavernous black throat is visible, which gives him this appellation. Thus, he has this form to show his auspicious quality of being terrifying to our enemies, viz., obstacles to moksha and could "frighten" away samsAra itself (thus he is known as mrtyumrtyu or one who is death to samsAra!)

    7) The kaivalya upanishad is a beautiful exposition of vishishtadvaita. After expounding the nature if paramAtma as the indweller, the upanishad declares the next level of realisation which is "aham brahmAsmi" -- I am the body and inseparable attribute of Brahman, with Brahman as my innermost self. Thus the upanishad tells the seeker to think of himself thus - "I alone am taught by the Veda, I alone am the revealed of the Vedanta, I am the effulgent one....". This is sharIrAtma bhAva, where the term "I" refers to Brahman, who is the innermost self of the jIvAtma and who has the latter as his body.

    The Kaivalya Upanishad is very beautiful and majestic in its meanings. It instantly looks superior to the bogus man made "upanishads" and is clearly a part of the classically recognized shruti. I'd recommend reading even the rough translations once.

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    1. A small note. I said earlier the following:

      aham brahmAsmi" -- I am the body and inseparable attribute of Brahman, with Brahman as my innermost self.

      Rather, I believe our AchAryAs interpret "aham brahmAsmi" thus - "I (my inner self) is Brahman (the cause). The antarAtma abiding in the effects, ie, having the gross states as its body is identified with the Causal Brahman who has the subtle states as his body. The same meaning is given for tat tvam asi.

      Apologies for the error. If you notice, this meaning tallies with the upanishad's statement that meditation on the antaryAmin as Narasimha makes attainment of the Cause possible.

      Delete
  10. Very informative article. I really like the way you refuted the claims of shaivas and shaktas.
    I have a few questions. How do you expain this verse?
    "řtamṁ satyamṁ paramṁ brahmam puruṣamṁ křṣņapiṅgalam .
    ūrdhvarētamṁ virūpākśamṁ viśvarūpāya vai namō namaḥ |" (Taittīriya Āraņyaka 10:23:1)
    The interpretation given by shaktas/shaivas is:
    "Supreme Brahman, the Absolute Righteousness and Truth, is the androgynous Ardhanārīśvara, who is Puruşa having semen raised up (Śiva) combined with the one who is dark and tawny in hue, absolutely chaste and possessing three eyes. Salutations to that Brahman alone who is Viśvarūpa".
    Is this interpretation correct?
    Also I want to ask you is Devi Bhagavatam a tamasik text? Or can it be taken as an authority?

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  11. We cannot repeat everything. Please read the article on nArAyaNa sUkta. Those mantras belong to that sUkta.

    This will be the last time we explain this concept.

    Whatever is quoted by ancient vedAntins is authentic. All vedaAntins recognise only srimad bhagavatam as a maha-purANa.

    Devi Bhagavatam is not even an upa-purANa. It is a bogus scripture of recent origin.

    "Rtam satyam param brahmam purusham krishNa pingalam" does not signify ardhanArIshvara. "krishNa" means black and it is only referring to the black complexion of vishNu. "pingala" refers to the golden effulgence of Sri on his chest.

    I do not know how they derive " tawny black" from krishNa pingalam and say it is ardhanArIshvara. Even if it is "tawny black", it still only refers to nArAyaNa who is "rohita" as per sahasranAma, with reddish eyes and a black complexion. VishNu has all such attributes. In any case, we have already covered these objections by publishing the sri vaishnava commentary on the nArAyaNa sUkta.

    The questions you ask can be easily clarified with a bit of common sense and perusal of this blog.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Correcting an error:
    {I do not know how they derive " tawny black" from krishNa pingalam and say it is ardhanArIshvara. Even if it is "tawny black"}

    That should be "reddish black", not "tawny black". Was a typo, as tawny/golden is our interpretation. I have seen some shaiva sites interpret "pingala" as reddish, was referring to that.

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  13. The way shaivas use to derive the name bhAgavata is itselfine faulty .They derive the term Bhagavata as "bhagavatyascha purAnaM"(the purana belonging to bhagavati which is wrong as per grammar due to the rule of "strībhyo dhak"(Panini Sutra 4.1.120). If it indeed meant Bhagavati's purana then it would have been Bhagavitiya purAna not bhAgavata purANa according to the same rules.

    ReplyDelete

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