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Introduction: Refutation of Hari-Hara Aikya Vada

The Illogical Premise of Hari-Hara Aikya (Shiva=Vishnu) Vada
It is well known that ancient advaitins, including Shri Shankara Bhagavatpada and his immediate disciples, were  Vaishnavas. This will be proven in the following passages. Before that, let us examine the claims of the modern day smArtas. They claim that both vishNu and siva are equal (though most are either shaiva or outright vishNu dvEshIs in their outlook) and they try to discredit vaishNavas by saying the following things:
  1. Adi Shankara established Shanmata and Advaita is “above” distinctions of devatA.
  2. The “Hari and Shiva are One” is more secular and tolerant.
  3. There is nothing to be gained by limiting Brahman to one form.
  4. That it is quite possible to be a vishNu bhakta and a shiva bhakta equally.
Point 1) has been disproved by this blog. Although advaita does not recognise bhEda at the paramArtika sath, there is a strong recognition of devata tAratamya (not very unlike that of the dvaitins, their bitter opponents!) at the vyAvahArika sath. Further proof will follow.
Point 2) is highly illogical. Secularism, etc are political, social and cultural concepts. They are not tools for determining the supreme truth of the veda.
Point 3) is also quite ridiculous. By saying Shiva is not Brahman, we are not limiting Brahman. For that matter, neither you or I are Brahman and that certainly does not limit vishNu. Of course, everything is Brahman in a philosophical sense of sharIrAtma bhAva and aprthak siddhi, but that is another matter.
Point 4) is a contentious issue now. Our opponents, the modern day smArtas say, “Hey look! My so-and-so relative wears Bhasma and he worships Rama. I go to a vishNu temple and a shiva temple, upon which I feel the same ecstasy on worshipping both. Why are you then insisting on a rigid path?”
Firstly, the shAstra is very clear that Parabrahman is only One. That One is nArAyaNa-vishNu. That nArAyaNa-vishNu takes avatArAs. And from the shAstra, we know that shiva is neither listed as an avatAra of bhagavAn and nor is he declared as Parabrahman anywhere. There are vAkyas differentiating shiva from nArAyaNa and hence, shiva is not parabrahman, but a jivAtma only. He controls his lingas and mUrthys in temples via his jnAna, whereas nArAyaNa pervades his suddha sattva divya mangala vigraha by both svarUpa and svabhAva in temples.
Secondly, let us address the issue of worshipping both deities. The Vaishnava, ie, Vaidika claim is simple. By eka bhakti alone can one understand vishNu-nArAyaNa properly. So, while it is possible to worship n number of deities along with vishNu, the anubhava and knowledge of Brahman gained from such worship is extremely poor. This we shall illustrate with the example of none other than Appayya Dikshita, who is arguably the sole prop for all these hari-hara aikya vAda claims.
Appayya Dikshita initially claimed to be above sectarian differences, ie, he did not care whether vishNu or shiva was Brahman, but as time progressed, he tried his best to establish shiva over vishNu, shiva with vishNu and umA as his “saktis”, a “sadAshiva” or “turIya brahman” above the trimUrthy and so on. His changing stance itself shows his utter inability to prove any of these.
However, modern day smArtas hail him as a great scholar and go to the extent of fabricating tales about him (such as him “transforming” tirupati srinivAsa into shiva). They also claim that Appayya’s compositions on vishNu such as varadarAja sthava prove two things – 1) It is possible to be a shaiva and still worship vishNu, 2) He was unbiased thus in his worship.
Point 2) here is dismissed. No doubt he composed stOtras on vishNu, but that was only due to his own admittance in the Ananda-lahiri that were he to transgress the divine utterances of the rishis that nArAyaNa was sAkshAt parabrahman, his head would burst into a thousand pieces. In that sense, his stutis of vishNu are simply like a reluctant performance of nitya karmas – he did it because he had to; he was only a very staunch shaiva in the guise of a vedAntin.
Regarding his scholarship, no doubt he was learned, but what is the use of knowledge in grammar and logic without the correct comprehension of tattvas? Despite all his scholarship, Appayya Dikshita, severely lacked an understanding of bhagavad kalyAna guNas. And this demolishes the claim that one can wear bhasma and worship rAma, krishNa, etc. Yes, maybe such people can worship vishNu, but the comprehension of his kalyAna guNams will always be alien to them.
Let us prove this. It is well known that Appayya Dikshita wrote a commentary on yAdavabhyudaya, the mahA-kAvyam of srI vedAnta desikan. Those knowledgeable of the shAstra will say that this kAvyam rivals and excels the rAmAyaNa of vAlmiki maharishi himself in its deep and profound knowledge of bhagavad kalyAna guNams.
smArtas also trumpet that Appayya’s commentary was an asset to even sri vaishnavas and mock the latter by saying that it required Appayya’s intellect to understand Desikan. The answer to this is – Appayya Dikshita’s commentary does not measure to even a tithe of the grandeur of yAdavabhyudaya. SrI vedAnta desikan was an AchArya of the highest order, one deeply immersed in vishNu bhakti, who had delved into the ocean of bhagavad guNas and extracted the choicest nectar from the veda. On the other hand, Appayya Dikshita was a mere scholar and a shaiva who could not understand a single one of bhagavad guNas. Let us illustrate with some examples from his commentary on yAdhavabhyudaya:
(Note: This write-up is derived from the great kAnchi mahAvidwAn, srI prativAdi bhayankaram annangarAchAriar swami’s refutation of Appayya Dikshita’s inadequate commentary on yAdavabhyudaya).
In Chapter 1 of yAdavabhyudaya, srI nigamAnta mahAguru declares that KrishNa is “Valavee jana vallabham”, the beloved of the gopis. The reason given for this is the guNam of bhagavAn known as “sousIlyam”. SousIlyam is defined as “mahathah mandhaihi saha neerandhra samslesha svabhaavah” – he who is great and unapproachable, makes himself a friend of the lowly ones. Thirumangai Azhwar has stated this in his pEriya thirumozhi as “Ezhai Edhalan Kizhmagan Ennadh irangi” – The lofty one (srI rAma) who descended to make friends with Guha. After all, is it not a wonder that the all-pervading Brahman, the source of infinite universes, assumes a form and enters this universe, insignificant among so many other universes and makes friends with gopIs, who are lower than even the great devas, who have no knowledge of the shAstra? Is it not an unimaginably blissful and wonderful phenomenon? You are actually seeing that great paramAtma who is declared as beyond speech and mind by the veda becoming your friend and allowing himself to be chastised and toyed with by yaShoda, the gOpIs, etc. This is “sousIlyam”.
Appayya Dikshita in his commentary, defines sousIlyam as follows, “He who enjoys  the uninterrupted union with Mahalakshmi was also able to enjoy the company of the simple cowherd girls is the proof of His sousIlya”.
The great scholar wrongly defines sousIlyam as a guNam that means bhagavAn can enjoy bhOgam of both the gopIs and srI mahAlakshmi! This commentary not only defines “sousIlyam” incorrectly, but is also so devoid of any anubhava (as compared to the previous explanation) that it saps the life out of the krishNa leela itself! One can easily see that this commentary is not that of a person matured in krishNa bhakti. And even this commentary does not make sense – What exactly is so significant about him being able to enjoy the company of both mahAlakshmi and the gopIs? And where did he get this distorted definition for “sousIlyam”?
Let us take another instance in the yAdavabhyudaya. The fourth chapter has krishNa’s act of subduing kAliya by dancing on his 5 hoods. Here, vedAnta desikan implies that the incident has an inner meaning. This meaning is given by the AchArya himself in his stOtra on srI rAmAnuja, yatirAja saptati, as follows:
vigaahe yaamunaM tiirthaM saadhu bR^indaavane sthitam.h.
nirasta jihmaga sparshe yatra kR^iShNaH kR^itaadaraH (yatirAja saptati – 8)
We shall bathe in the holy waters of Yamuna (Alavandhaar), who has severed all connections with mean passions and attachment, who stood steadfast in safeguarding the Saadhus, and in whom the things emphasised by Krishna were present perfectly. (A second meaning: We shall bathe in the holy waters of Yamuna river, form which poisonous snake had been removed, which is close to Brindhavanam, and in which Krishna was interested).
naanaabhuutair.h jagati samayair.h narma liilaaM vidhitsoH
antyaM varNaM prathayati vibhor.h aadima vyuuha bhede.
vishvaM traatuM viShaya niyataM vya~njitaanugrahaH san.h
viShvakseno yatipatira bhuud.h vetra saaras.h tridaNDaH (yatirAja saptati -32)
Who is Ramanuja? The Lord has created many religious system - which are fighting against one another- almost as a mischievous sport, so to say. His first- beginningless- vyUha form, VAsudeva. Took a latter-day avtaar as a dark-hued Krishna. During Kali yuga, in which people get drunk with hedonistic pleasures, the Lord sent Vishvaksena, who, by His Grace, took birth (as Ramanuja), the wand (the whip) in his hand, becoming the thridaNdam of Ramanuja.
And the third slOka,
kutarka vyaalaughaM kumati mata paataaLa kuharam.h (yatirAja saptati -56)
The darkness of conceit and the baseless arguments, indulged in by vile speakers of contesting systems, who can be likened, for their effect, to snakes.
From all these slOkas, we get the following inner meaning given by srI vedAnta desikan for kaliya mardhana – The river yAmuna is the vedas. The 5 hoods of kAliya represent the 5 different incorrect systems of philosophy – 1) Those who claim there is no Brahman, 2) Those who claim that several deities are Brahman, 3) Those who claim that the trimUrthy is Brahman, 4) Those who claim that Shiva and VishNu are equally Brahman, 5) Those who claim that the “sadAshiva” is turIya Brahman over the trimUrthy.
These 5 darshaNas are like venomous hoods of kaliya spewing poison on the Vedas likened to yamuNa. KrishNa (whose other name is rAmAnuja, ie, the younger brother of balarAma) dances on the snake and crushes it; just like srI rAmanuja destroys these wrong darshaNas with his crystal clear logic.
This is indeed a lofty and wonderful anubhava of the Acharya. Even those who do not belong to srI rAmAnuja’s system can take the general meaning that the incident refers to the destruction of wrong systems of philosophy by BhagavAn.
However, our scholar, Appayya Dikshita, gives a bland and uninteresting meaning for this slOka, against the opinion of the kavi, as follows – “When Krishna started dancing on the hoods of Kaliya it reminded of his subduing the five indhriyas of His devotees extricating the poison of the sensual desires.”
Indriya nigraham is a commonly known tattva and has been declared in shAstra. Such a basic meaning hardly does justice to the magnitude of the incident. This shows that Dikshita, for all his scholarship, lacked the basic knowledge to understand the inner meaning of incidents.
Noting this, srI PBA Swami jocularly remarks in his khandaNa of appayya dikshita’s commentary – “After all, Appayya Dikshita himself is one of the hoods of that snake on which KrishNa is dancing, so we cannot expect him to understand or elaborate this meaning!”
The third error occurs right after this incident. When NandagOpa hears of bhagavAn subduing Kaliya, he (NandagOpa) performs a ritual to ward off all evil eyes. SrI nigamAntha mahA desikan praises NandagOpa here as “paramArtha vEdi:”, ie, One who has crystal clear knowledge of the parama purushArtha.
What is the Acharya implying here? The answer is this – NandagOpa did not see that his son was parabrahman, had defeated the mighty snake. His overpowering love for KrishNa blinded him to the paratva (supremacy) of krishNa. He only saw krishNa as his son, who had been in danger and rushed to ward off evil eye even though krishNa had adequately proven himself to be Brahman. This ignorance, as swami pillai lOkAchArya puts it in “srI vachaNa bhUshaNam”, is not ordinary ignorance, but is the outcome of the ripened knowledge that is bhakti and understanding of the sousIlyam of bhagavAn as well as his soukumAryam (tender and soft nature). And thus, srI vedAnta desikan hails the act of warding the evil eye from krishNa as the “parama purushArtham” of the veda, ie, kaimkaryam or service, performed by NandagOpa.
And what does Appayya Dikshita say here? His commentary, trite as ever, reads – “NandagOpa performed the ritual to seek the protection of krishNa who had subdued kaliya”.
In other words, Appayya Dikshita has shown himself to be the very opposite of NandagOpa and as someone who has no clue of the sousIlya guNa of krishNa, always looking at his paratva (supremacy)!
This is just a sample. There are many such errors in Appayya Dikshita’s commentary on yAdavAbhyudaya. This shows that Appayya Dikshita was not qualified to write a commentary on this work and there is nothing for the modern day smArta to boast about here; rather those who profess to follow him must be ashamed of his poor understanding bhagavad guNams.
This write-up is to dispel the claim of the smArtas that it is possible to worship several deities and still be a vishNu bhakta. This is refuted because the very definition of “vishNu bhakta” is someone who understands and experiences the kalyAna guNams of bhagavAn vishNu. And as seen here, someone like Appayya Dikshita, who constantly gave distorted meanings to shAstra and tried to deny the absolute supremacy of vishNu, could never understand bhagavad leelas. This sets apart the exclusive worshippers of vishNu, ie, the true vaidikas beginning with Adi Shankara, and the modern day “hari-hara aikya vAdIs” who claim they worship rAma, krishNa, etc with bhasma on their foreheads.
And now, a further refutation of this “hari-hara aikya vAda” shall follow from the words of ancient advaitins themselves. You can read them under the “hari-hara aikya vAda” and "Advaita and Vaishnavism" sections in the menu above.


  1. Why did Adi sankaracharya in his introduction of vishnu sahasrana bhasya quoted many verse from hari vamsa,vishnu purana and few others to prove the nondifference of lord vishnu and lord shiva? Was Adi sankaracharya a proponent of hari hara aikya vada?.Please clarify.

    1. These quotes occur in the context of the commentary for "daivataM devatAnAM ca". They are quoted to support the fact that Vishnu is the antarAtman of everything, including Brahma and Shiva, and hence is the "ekam daivatam" and "daivataM devatAnAM".

      The way a quote is used can be inferred from the upakrama-upasaMhAra rule, i.e. in the opening and concluding discussion of the section where the quote occurs.

      Contrast the work of Adi Shankara (say, his Gita and Vishnu Sahasranama Bhashyas) with that of a true hari-hara aikya vAdin like Bodhendra Saraswati. The difference can be understood then.

      Adi Shankaracharya was not a proponent of hari-hara aikya vAda. He was an advaitin and considered Lord Vishnu alone as saguNa-brahman. This is not because of personal preferences or family tradition, but because shAstras allow only Vishnu supremacy for a vaidika. Among vedAntins, doubt over Vishnu's supremacy over Shiva was raised only from the time of appayya dIkShita.

  2. According to you what would you say about the story of Lord Ayyappan born off Lord Vishnu Mohini Avatar and Lord Shiva... Hari Har...

    1. Bogus later-day interpolated story in tAmasa purANas which has no evidence in any ancient texts. Read the account in Srimad Bhagavatam which is reliable.

      We know the shortcomings of other devatAs compared to Lord Vishnu who is Supreme and Eternally Perfect. There is no need to dwell on the Mohini episode any more than this essential message.

    2. As Shri HBB correctly observed, story of Ayyappa is most certainly bogus and is not found in any authentic ancient scriptures.

    3. Ayyappa story is fictitious. They have no basis in puranas. The only reference is there in Brahma or Brahmananda purana, where one Sasta was born out of the energy of Siva spilled on ground. Absolutely, No role play here for mohini at all in any puranas...Bhagavatham says that the energy spilled by Siva became Gold and silver. So, the present day Ayyappa has no reference in puranas or any valid Hindu scripture.

  3. Sir, we today see the worship of lot of bogus gods, but it pains me sometimes to see that brahmA, the son of Narayana himself, is not worshipped. Is there any genuine reason why brahmA is not worshipped? My second question - we talk of Surya as Surya Narayana murthy. Why is this so? Is Surya considered an amsha of Narayana?

    1. To the first question, it will require a long explanation plus it is kind of unrelated to the blog material here. So I will skip it.

      Surya Narayana is none but Sriman Narayana who is savitR^i-maNDala-madhya-vartI. He is the antaryAmin of sUrya devatA.

  4. Dear HBB & Arayama,

    Isn't Iskcon's teaching also a threat to vaishnavism ?? They propagate theory that lord vishnu is an expansion of lord krishna. To see difference in lord vishnu and his avatars is a vaishnav apradha according to Madhavacharya but Iskcon propagate that lord Rama , lord vishnu & other incarnations are parts of parts of lord krishna. They give an example of story where lord Mahavishnu kidnaps brahmanas sons to have darshan of lord krishna & krishna yajurveada to support their view.

    I request you not to consider this subject as out of context of this blog because it is related to deviating & confusing the devotees which is also against vaishnavism . Kindly comment.

    Thanks in advance.

    1. Dear reader,

      I believe we have already discussed this at length in one of the comments section. Plus, debating with ISKCON's followers is not the aim of this blog.

      Whatever we have provided as pramANas in various articles itself is sufficient to prove that para-vAsudevan / Sriman Narayana / Mahavishnu is supreme and is non-different from Krishna or any of the pUrNAvatAras.

    2. Whether you call the supreme being nArAyaNa or krishNa, it is the same entity. The confusion arises when you use names like "nArAyaNa" specifically for the "four handed form" or "the Sri vaikunta form" and the name of krishNa specifically for the "two-handed, rasa leela form with the flute".

      Obviously, this is not true. Forms don't determine names. The Sri vaikunta form is also called krishNa, rAma, etc. The two handed form is also called nArAyaNa.

      Rasa leela can be experienced with rAma and paravAsudeva, whereas "dAsya-rAsa" described to be the "domain" of paravAsudeva by the gaudiyas can also be exclusively enjoyed with krishNa. Just because one avatAra did something doesn't mean that avatAra is not capable of something else. Yogis experience different guNas through meditation.

      It is the same lord with different forms. There is no particular "mUla-rUpa". Even paravAsudeva appears in different forms as per the whims of the liberated jIvAs.

      We do not consider gaudiyas as "threats to vaishnavism". They are also vaishnavas and their philosophy stems from a love of krishNa avatAra, which is fine.

      We have no problems with ISKCON either, except for a mild grievance over their concocted stories of Sri rAmAnuja in navadvIpa dham mAhAtmya and some activities which resemble proselytization ala Xtianity. Indeed, I personally am against the hawking of books like the Gita at common places like airports and train stations. Begging others who dont know its value to give it a try seems to demean this priceless shAstra and is against the brahma sUtrAs which establish that such interest comes naturally by vAsaNas over time.

    3. Dear HBB & Aaryamaa,
      Thanks for the reply .I do not have any problem with ISKCON except such confusion with which internet is flooded with. As per Madhavacharya , differentiation between lord vishnu and his incarnations leads to eternal damnation. I end this subject here .
      Can you please guide me where the english or Hindi translation of historical scriptures of Acharyas rAmAnuja, madhva are available on internet. I will read myself and further clear the doubts, if any.

      Thanks ,
      Hari Om / Hare Krishna

  5. There is no difference between Lord Krishna and Lord Vishnu in ISKCON too certainly not as you people think or have understood. Now that difference is not of the differences between Vishnu Tattva and others Like Shiva... etc. The example in Gaudiya Madhav Sampradaya, which ISKCON is of is that of a candle lighting other candle such as itself... No difference in quality or light... etc just that the original candle Krishna is the one which lit others. Now another way of explaining this is Krishna in office is in the form of Lord Vishnu... so there he doesn't exhibit a lot qualities which otherwise he can at home or in an informal gathering... No difference is being made here what is being simply said here is the state, which exhibits all the opulence in Full is Lord Krishna... Even it is said by Goswamis that if you can surrender surrender to not the form of Dwarkadhish or to Krishna in Mathura but surrender to Krishna with Radha in Vrindavan... it is the acme of spiritual advancement. Please know that it's Gaudiya Madhav Sampradaya, which saved Hinduism and by Bhakti Movement. I read here Para Vasudeva... Vasudeva is para no need to add para... etc to him Vasudeva is another name of lord Krishna... it means son of Vasudeva...

    ISKCON is the best organisation propagating pure knowledge of Vedas and I have seen people trying to demean it and disparage it. This is the Organisation which was foretold by none other than Shri Krishna Chaitanya Mahaprabhu himself, which will spread the purest Vedic Knowledge of Krishna Consciousness around the world. If people of this forum do not understand a subject please get to know about it. Book distribution is the best way of doing prachar. Distribution of Gita is the best job someone can do in his life. To talk down at that is the biggest Vaishnava apradh anyone can do. I am deeply HURT.

    to say that ISKCON activity some of them represents "proselytization ala Xtianity" is most foolish act. I shows how grossly negligent you are about the philosophy of "Gaudiya Madhav Sampradaya". Its foolishness like this that made Chaitanya Mahaprabhu accost all contemporary acharyas of his time and they accepted their follies at the time. ISKCON is only 1 of the off shoot of Gaudiya Madhav Sampradaya... The Gaudiya math established by Bhakti Siddhant Swamy Prabhupada his disciple Abhay Charanaravinda BhaktiVedanta Swamy Prabhupada established ISKCON on instructions of his spiritual master... He left in the age of 69 yrs 13th August 1965 in a cargo ship to USA with a trunk of books clothes mridanga... etc he suffered 2 heart attacks on that cargo ship reached USA and in just 12 yrs in 14th Nov 1977 he established more that 100 ISKCON temples around the world making true the prophecy of Shri Krishna Chaitanya Mahaprabhu come true. All the books of ISKCON are authentic Gaudiya Madhav Sampradaya books. You may follow Ramanuja there is no issue in that but stop your nonsense on ISKCON and Gaudiya Madhav Sampradaya and don't dare pass judgements on issues you have very little understanding Aaryamaan!.

    1. //You may follow Ramanuja there is no issue in that but stop your nonsense on ISKCON and Gaudiya Madhav Sampradaya and don't dare pass judgements on issues you have very little understanding Aaryamaan!//

      This was very funny.

      Relax, I have respect for Gaudiya sampradaya, as I do for Advaita or Dvaita darshanas. However, much of what you wrote is based on ISKCON philosophy which quite frankly does not have a proper understanding of shAstra, and according to Gaudiyas, differs even from their sampradaya a bit, as follows:


    2. Cont'd..

      //The example in Gaudiya Madhav Sampradaya, which ISKCON is of is that of a candle lighting other candle such as itself... No difference in quality or light... etc just that the original candle Krishna is the one which lit others. Now another way of explaining this is Krishna in office is in the form of Lord Vishnu... so there he doesn't exhibit a lot qualities which otherwise he can at home or in an informal gathering...//

      That is ISKCON of course. However, shruti does not admit an "original candle" or "mUla-rUpa" for the Lord. No form of the Lord is the original and the others proceeded from it -- rather, the Lord assumes whatever form you want to see in moksha. The only characteristics that shruti says are features of the "mUla-rUpa" are the following - lotus eyes and shrI mahalakshmi on his chest. This form can be that of Krishna, Rama, Narasimha, Hayagriva, Varaha etc. as they all possess these traits. And so Para-Vasudeva, the Supreme Form sitting in Sri Vaikuntha, appears in whatever form you wish to see him as - dancing with the gopis, or with bow and arrow, two arms or four arms or anything else, but always with lotus eyes and shrI mahAlakshmi on his chest.

      So the candle analogy is not something the shAstra endorses. All forms of the Lord coexist, and appear and disappear at some times. In any case, what makes 4 arms not as endearing for mAdhurya rAsa as two arms? It is the same Lord with the same beautiful lotus eyes, blackish complexion, curly hair and so on. The One Narayana who has the names of Vishnu, Krishna, etc assumes several forms that are exactly the same.

      The bodies of the Lord are insentient. The divyAtma svarUpa of the Lord is characterised by auspicious attributes and this is appropriately reflected in whatever form he assumes in the form of beauty etc. Since the divyAtma svarUpa is the same everywhere, there is no gradation in forms like "office" or "playtime".

      The Agamas say that the Lord's body is like a beautiful case enclosing the diamond within -- it is the beauty of the diamond which causes the case to be beautiful to be suited for it.

      Lastly, just as rAsa leela is a leela, the "office" you talk about is also a leela. You think Vishnu is doing some serious work among the devas with 4 hands, calling it "office"? Even that is a sport, he assumes that form so that his devotees in deva-loka can enjoy him, as the gopis did in Vrindavana!

    3. cont'd...

      //Another way of explaining this is Krishna in office is in the form of Lord Vishnu... so there he doesn't exhibit a lot qualities which otherwise he can at home or in an informal gathering//

      As mentioned earlier, there is no "office" for the Lord. "lokavattu leela kaivalyam" - everything is a sport. His form as Vishnu delights the residents of deva-loka in the same way Krishna delighted the gopis. Read the words of Hanuman (Sundara Khanda) or Shiva in Ramayana or Mahabharata (Shiva's words to Jayadratha) and how much love they have for his form. Vishnu never takes avatara anywhere for "office" purposes - it is always for sport so that his devotees can delight in his auspicious form.

      This is of course, an ISKCON tenet. They are not aware of the fact that most of the azhwars have expressed gopi-bhAvana to shrI rAma, shrI narasimha and other forms as well. If I remember correctly, one azhwar admires the lovely hair of Kurma avatara (can a turtle have hair? A jnAni can see mAdhuryam in kUrma as well)!

      The predication to focus only on the form during rAsa-leela is due to their excessive love for krishNa and that is understandable, but there is no difference in "rAsa" or "Ananda" in other forms. A jnAni can see mAdhurya rAsa in Narasimha or dAsya rAsa in rAdhe-krishna --- the forms of the Lord have no distinction in that sense. Only the contractions and expansions of our dharma-bhUta-jnAna cause us to see differences.

      //BhaktiVedanta Swamy Prabhupada established ISKCON on instructions of his spiritual master... He left in the age of 69 yrs 13th August 1965 in a cargo ship to USA with a trunk of books clothes mridanga... etc he suffered 2 heart attacks on that cargo ship reached USA and in just 12 yrs in 14th Nov 1977 he established more that 100 ISKCON temples around the world making true the prophecy of Shri Krishna Chaitanya Mahaprabhu come true. All the books of ISKCON are authentic Gaudiya Madhav Sampradaya books//

      He may have been a great bhakta, but he certainly did not know much philosophy. His works are very wrong, sometimes the first word of the translation itself is an error. But it is good for beginners if they want to learn to love the Lord in a rudimentary manner.

      Anyway, feel free to disagree. We don't intend to refute a sampradAya, we are just establishing shrI hari as the Supreme. I understand you may feel emotional if we say "Sri Prabhupada was wrong", but we don't shy away from telling the truth -- without insulting the personality and his bhakti, of course.

    4. Another thing I'd like to clarify is that this person has misunderstood who insulted ISKCON in the first place. It was the poster named "Great Vishnu" who wrote saying "ISKCON is a threat", not us. I was merely replying to him saying we have no problems with ISKCON, but it seems like this poster thinks I was the one who insulted his sampradaya.

      Better read the comments thread again properly.

    5. ADD: Regarding my earlier statement,

      //No form of the Lord is the original and the others proceeded from it -- rather, the Lord assumes whatever form you want to see in moksha. The only characteristics that shruti says are features of the "mUla-rUpa" are the following - lotus eyes and shrI mahalakshmi on his chest. This form can be that of Krishna, Rama, Narasimha, Hayagriva, Varaha etc. as they all possess these traits. And so Para-Vasudeva, the Supreme Form sitting in Sri Vaikuntha, appears in whatever form you wish to see him as - dancing with the gopis, or with bow and arrow, two arms or four arms or anything else, but always with lotus eyes and shrI mahAlakshmi on his chest.//

      I was a bit wrong about this. It seems like "para-vAsudeva" as described in the Agamas and Vaikunta gadyam does have 4 hands and all weapons. From that form arises the vyUhas, vibhava etc.

      Sincere apologies for the error. In my mind, when I wrote the above, I was thinking about Shri Parasara Bhattar's statement that he would not stay in the Supreme Abode if he did not see Shri Ranganatha there and thus forgot about the Agamic descriptions -- I assumed Bhattar was implying that the mUla-rUpa is flexible.

      Texts like Lakshmi Tantra contain specific descriptions of the Para-Vasudeva form. However, I was not entirely wrong -- though Para-Vasudeva has a specific form, the experiences of all avatArAs and all forms of the Lord is available to the mukta in moksha sthAna.

  6. Sorry these question is probably not related to this blog.

    What is the difference between Shaiva and Vaishnava agamas?
    I heard that the Shaiva Agama's are not vedic. but a mimic of Vaishnava Agama's (and that only devotees of Shiva found it), can you explain this?
    Thank you!

  7. Please read our Rudra gita article. Everything is explained there

  8. Appayya Dikshita is said to have composed a shloka on Nataraja and Govindaraja in Chidambaram in an effort to prove hari-hara aikya, as follows:

    मारमणमुमारमणं फणधरतल्पं फणाधराकल्पम्।
    मुरमथनं पुरमथनं वन्दे बाणारिमसमबाणारिम् ॥

    Meaning: My homage to the consorts of Ma (Lakshmi) & Uma (Parvati), to him who has a snake for his bed and to him who wears a snake as an ornament, to him, who killed Mura and to him, who killed Tripurasura,
    to him, whose foe is Banasura and to him, whose foe is the one with odd number of arrows (Kamadeva)”.

    Appayya's intent was to prove that there was no significant difference between the gods, just as the names too sound similar. But verses like these do not work for one reason - it is impossible to exclude the Lord from any attribute as he possesses all attributes. Azhwar says "manisarkut devar pola thevarku thevavo" - just as devas have all the auspicious attributes of humans and even have attributes unique to them and not seen in humans, similarly for Shri Hari with respect to the gods.

    In that sense, that verse does not work because:

    - Shri Hari is the consort of both mA (bhUdevi) and umA (shrIdevi). "Shri", "mA" etc are names of bhUdevi as well. And the upanishad refer to the Lord as umApati as well. Alternatively, as rudrAntaryAmin, he, the rudra-sharIraka-paramAtma, can be referred to directly as the consort of pArvati herself!

    - Shri Hari is not only Murari, but also Tripurari, as the shastras describe him as the antaryamin of Rudra during the destruction of tripuras, as well as the arrow that actually destroyed them.

    - Shri Hari not only has Adi Sesha as his bed, but the latter serves as his ornament, as his umbrella etc as per Azhwar (SendrAl kudaiyAm..). Alternatively, Vishnu is said to wear snakes as his ornaments in certain forms.

    - Shri Hari is not only a foe to bAnasura, but also to kAmadeva. For it is he who declared kAma as the great enemy in the gIta and himself as the means to overcome it (mama mAyaya duratyaya...).

    So quite inadvertently, Appayya's verse actually shows that bhagavan encompasses whatever auspicious attributes Shiva possesses.

    1. //Shri Hari is not only a foe to bAnasura, but also to kAmadeva//

      Isn't Manmadha, the son of Vishnu and Lakshmi?

  9. So? Kamadeva prayed to Vishnu to get his body back. The God Kamadeva himself is a Vishnu bhakta, that's all.

    Doesn't negate the fact that Kama or lust for which kamadeva is the presiding deity, is destroyed only by meditation on bhagavan kalyana gunas, and such lust is declared an enemy by bhagavan in the gIta.

    The sahasranama refers to the Lord as "kamaha" or destroyer of kama (kamaha kamakrt-kantaha kamah kamapradah prabhuh).

  10. Lord Shiva called sundara nayanmar also a friend that means lord Shiva also has sousallya guna like Vishnu.sorry for any wrong

    1. Even a normal king often calls his dear servants or close confidantes his friends and equals, or may wander in disguise among his subjects as one of his own."Sousilya" means "accessibility or ease by which one mixes with others" and that guNa assumes significance only when someone highly inaccessible to samsArIs becomes accessible, ie, Parabrahman, who created infinite Universes, becoming son of Yashoda or Devaki who were samsArIs. Everybody in a high position can be accessible, but Shiva's accessibility is not so significant as he is also a samsAri unlike Parabrahman and his abode/kinship was with other samsArIs like the nAyanmars.

      Shiva certainly has high regard for those who do bhakti to him, but as he is not a liberated soul himself, he is prone to certain flaws. He could not protect his devotee bANAsura, he demanded the cooked meat of Siruthonda Nayanmar's child as proof of the latter's devotion, etc.

      The devas, being superior to humans, treat their bhaktas like highly regarded servants and are attractive to their servants, reciprocating their bhakti. But this is because Shiva, Indra, etc are the Aveshas of Narayana, their bhaktas experience bliss by meditating on them, and their interactions are directly driven by Narayana, which the mahAbhArata attributes to Narayana being the antaryAmin of the darshaNAs which are used to propitiate them:

      yathāgamaṃ yathā jñānaṃ niṣṭhā nārāyaṇaḥ prabhuḥ

      (In all the above-mentioned systems like Shaiva etc) in accordance to the tradition and aids to knowledge like logic, the ground or basis (for these systems) is the Supreme Lord, Nārāyaṇa.

      This shloka lends itself to the idea that Shiva is capable of such interactions with his devotees and exhibiting such guNAs because he is the Avesha of the Lord. It is a fraction of the Lord's glory and will manifesting through Shiva, for the sake of those who believe Shiva is Supreme. The error is on the part of those devotees who do not recognize the source of their experiences (as per yathArtha khyAti vAda). We even have shlokas claiming that Shiva purANa etc culminate in praise of Hari only, in that sense. Note that this is the mahAbhArata and not some "Sectarian vaishnava literature" claiming such things.

      And the Upanishad adds a caveat to such relationships here:

      taddevAnAmannaM taM devA bhakShayanti

      (And upon reaching the Gods), the Gods eat him, he is eaten by the gods.

      This occurs in the context of panchAgni vidya where it says one who reaches the abode of the gods (as opposed to moksha), is "eaten" by them --- meaning, they treat him as their slaves. They regard him as someone insignificant but amusing to them, and their reciprocation to their devotees, while for the most part sincere, is often tinged with a bit of cruel selfishness (such as asking for the cooked meat of a child).

      You understand the analogy the Upanishad is giving? It's like a very high person being amused by the slavish devotion and antics of an insignificant person, and thus deigns to accommodate the latter, and despite being for the most part kind, makes the latter do repeat exhibitions of his devotion.

      In conclusion, every higher being who is essentially sAttvic in behavior has "sousIlyam", so it isn't a unique guNa, just as "beauty", "courage" etc are also not guNAs unique to nArAyaNa. But the One whose "sousIlyam", "vIryam", "lAvaNyam" matters, is THE "sousIlyam", THE "vIryam" etc is Parabrahman, and that is nArAyaNa.

      Shiva being a samsAri, mixing with other samsArIs like the nAyanmars is not a great feat. The Brahman that is above samsAra, mixing with samsArIs, is a great feat. All these guNAs are celebrated because they gain their greatness by association with brahma-svarUpa, since when they are associated with jIva-svarUpa, they really aren't a big deal.

      Hope that clarifies.

    2. thx for your explantion.
      when i see the paintings and hear of nayanmars experience with lord siva. you will see atleast 50% of them getting stabbed or something violent. is this what sri narayana baddadri says that shiavas have a tamasic "bhakti"?

    3. It is extreme devotion, but in a manner that is outside of the pale of the Veda. From one perspective, their devotion is noble as it is selfless for Siva. From a Vedantic perspective, the Supreme Brahman would never allow his devotees to exhibit their devotion in such a manner. Our azhwars and acharyas would hurt themselves if Bhagavan wanted them to, to show their devotion, but that is the point --- both Bhagavan and the Azhwars/Acharyas do not think it is necessary, or suited to the nature of the devotion.

      In contrast, Siva is a jIva and thus he experiences some pleasure in seeing the Nayanmars exhibit such extreme devotion for him. Recall that even in the rAmAyaNa, he was appeased when rAvaNa sang his praises while enduring excruciating pain as his hands were trapped under the weight of Kailasa. This is what the Upanishad means when it says, "He becomes food for the gods, the gods eat him". Extreme devotion for such gods is a norm, and particularly so for Siva.

      The bhakti cannot be classed as sAttvic or tAmasic, their bhakti to Siva is certainly admirable. Rather the understanding that results in such extreme forms of bhakti (violence, etc) is due to tamo guNa. The nAyanmArs were souls who had enough sattva guNa to desire moksha, but also had just enough karmas that manifested as tamo guNa in the form of ignorance of the truth and obstruction of true knowledge --- as they were still noble souls, bhagavAn gave them over to Siva so that they could cleanse their karmas by devoting themselves to the latter, and eventually attain sat-gati.

      Many people think the azhwars and nAyanmArs had equal levels of bhakti and their works are equal, but a true vedAntic scholar with a trained eye can appreciate that the depth of knowledge and the intricacies are greater with the azhwars, despite the superficial similarities in tamizh usage. The Shiva Sutras may be as obtuse and cryptic as the Brahma Sutras, but one is nonetheless vastly inferior in content as compared to the other. A comparison of Thevaram with Thiruvaimozhi would lead to this conclusion only.

      Sri Ramanuja comments on the nature of the Saiva matha as follows - "Whatever good is found in that tradition, is not unique (ie, we have it too, such as selfless devotion, worship of Siva in the proper way, application of ashes etc). Whatever is unique to that tradition (the extreme devotion and practices of more extreme sects like kApAlikAs, the consideration of Siva as Brahman), is not good, ie, it is not conducive for moksha.

    4. Correction: "may be as obtuse" -- should be abstruse not obtuse. Autocorrect issues.

    5. Additionally, Shiva himself prophesies the appearance of the nAyanmArs and reveals their true identities in the following shloka of the Rudra Gita from Varaha Purana (which we have translated on this site):

      teShAM gautamashApAddhi bhaviShyantyanvaye dvijAH |teShAM madhye sadAchArA ye te machChAsane ratAH || svargaM chaivApavargaM cha iti vai saMshayAt purA |vaiDAlikA.adho yAsyanti mama saMtatidUShakAH ||prAg gautamAgninA dagdhAH punarmadvachanAd dvijAH |narakaM tu gamiShyanti nAtra kAryA vichAraNA || 71.(59-61)||

      Meaning: In the future, those brahmaNas cursed by Gautama will be born in that clan. Among them, those who conduct themselves well, devoted to my commands (in the pAShupata shAstra) will attain svargaM and also get pardon (from the curse) indeed,there is no doubt. Those of my clan, opposed to the path of the Veda, who transgress (this pAShupata doctrine) go down. Burnt by the curse of Gautama previously, and now by my words, they will go to hell. We need not doubt this.

      This is a pretty clear reference to the chief propagators of Shaivam in Kali Yuga, the nAyanmArs being very preeminent ones.

      And Rudra also clarifies what he thinks of the bhakti he receives from such devotees of his here:

      ye rudramupajIvanti kalau vaiDAlikA narAH |laulyArthinaH svashAstrANi kariShyanti kalau narAH |

      uchChuShmarudrAste j~neyA nAhaM teShu vyavasthitaH || 71\.55||

      Meaning: Those people who sustain themselves on desire which causes weeping or attachment (Rudram) in kali are enemies of the path of the Veda. These people create their own shAstras (derived from the niHshvAsa) for the purpose of rajas or passion in Kali. They of manifest passion (rajas),abide in Rudra (myself), but it should be known that I am not situated with them (in that path).

      Though this shloka is more directed towards extreme forms like vAmachara/kApAlika etc (as nAyanmars were for the most part desirous of moksha as opposed to material pleasures), the second part of the shloka is applicable to the nAyanmArs -- Rudra says they consider him to be Supreme and worship him, but he does not think himself to be supreme on account of that and does not endorse their views.

    6. thank you so much for clearing my doubt.

      i learned so much from you.

      In the thirumanthiram by thirumoolar, i read stuff about lord vishnu.
      He puts him on a lower status by retalling the tamas stories from linga purana, BUT even then he says like somethimes (in thirumanthiram) :

      368: The Lord Split Power of Chakra
      He bestowed on Damodara the divine discus,
      But potent far was it for him to hold
      And so he prayed to the Lord in fervour
      And the Lord split its power in twain.
      369: The Lord Split Power of Chakra*
      Splitting thus the power of goodly Chakra
      One part He gave to Vishnu,
      One part He gave to Sakti,
      And that part He on His forehead assumed.

      in this one he is sayin the chakra is too powerful, but he never dedicatede even one song about the trident of lord shiva.

      but in some verses he accepts the greats supreme qualaties of our lord like this :

      With Hari who spat out the seven worlds

      so my question is, are the saiva texts like the tamasa purans where they downgrade vishnu but have to sometimes say his great qualaties, which nobody can deny?

    7. The Saiva texts are Veda bAhya and unlike Tamara purANAs, they are authored by Saivas. They should be rejected completely other than those parts agreeable to the Vedas.

      ThirumUlar sees Hari as a manifestation of Para-Siva (who appears as Brahma, Vishnu, Kalarudra, Maheshwara and Sadasiva. This praise he is giving Vishnu is not sAttvic and based on a wrong premise.


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