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New Article: Sridhara Swamin's position

Our latest article discusses the issue of Hari-Hara aikya vAda and shows how Sridhara Swamin has upheld Vishnu's Supremacy without compromising, in his commentaries on both bhAgavata and Vishnu Purana.
In this article, we highlight portions from Sridhara Swamin's commentaries that our adversaries are conveniently silent upon. Using this, we show how to consistently interpret the whole of the Advaita gurus' works. Also, we have quoted important portions from the Narayaneeyam of Narayana Bhattathiri that our hari-hara aikya vAdin friends cannot deny.

Some extracts worth highlighting:
sa paraḥ paraśaktīnāṃ brahmaṇaḥ samanantaram /
mūrtaṃ brahma mahābhāga sarvabrahmamayo hariḥ // ViP_1,22.63 //
Meaning: He (Vishnu) is the Supreme of all powers of Brahman, being the closest to it. This is Brahman with form, oh great one, as Hari is Brahman embodied as a whole
Shridhara’s Commentary:
“hareH sarvashreShThatvamAha, sa para iti dvAbhyAm | brahmaNaH shaktInAM madhye sa paraH  shreShThaH | yataH samanantaraH atinikaTaH | yato mUrtaM ghanIbhUtaM brahmaiva saH | tatra hetuH, sarvabrahmamayaH kR^itsnabrahmarUpaH na tu brahmAdivat tadaMshaH |”
Meaning: (parAshara) states that Hari is Supreme above all, in this shloka. Of all the powers of Brahman, He is the Supreme, most excellent. This is because He is nearest to it. In turn, this is because He is indeed the embodiment of Brahman. The reason for this is -- He is the complete form of all of Brahman, unlike Brahma and others who are partial manifestations of Brahman.
Shridhara thus rips apart the trimUrti-aikyatva vAda of Vishnu-hating pseudo-vedAntins
In the fifth aMsha, shrIdhara svAmin shatters the hopes of shaivAdvaitins and hari-hara aikya vAdins, by showing that the shvetAshvatara upaniShad says Lord Vishnu is the progenitor of Brahma, and hence does not think that the shvetAshvatara is a shiva-para upaniShad:
tvaṃ parastvaṃ parasyādyaḥ paraṃ tvattaḥ parātmaka /
parasmātparamo yas tvaṃ tasya stoṣyāmi kinnv aham // ViP_5,7.62 //
Meaning: You are supreme, you are the progenitor of the highest, from you (springs) the highest, Oh Lord! You are Higher than the highest, how indeed is it possible for me to praise you in full? (It is not possible to praise You in full)
“tvamiti tvaM paraH sarvotkR^iShTa etadevAha parasya hiraNyagarbhasyAdyo janakastvaM ‘yo brahmANaM vidadhAti pUrvam’ iti shruteH | tatra hetuH | paramavyaktaM tvattaH pravartate he parAtmaka |”
Note that shrIdhara quotes “yo brahmANaM vidadhAti pUrvam” from the shvetAshvatara as addressing Vishnu.
In the sixth aMsha, the commentator says that nindA of other devatAs is found in the shAstras to explain the Supremacy of Hari:
anye tu puruṣavyāghra cetaso ye vyapāśrayāḥ /
aśuddhāste samastāstu devādyāḥ karmayonayaḥ // ViP_6,7.77 //
Meaning: The others such as devAs, oh tiger among men (parAshara addressing Maitreya), are sentient beings who are impure and are impacted by their karma.
“arvAgdevatAnindayA bhagavanmUrttidhAraNAmeva dR^iDhIkaroti anye ceti dvAbhyAM”
Meaning: By censuring the lower devatAs, parAshara is emphasising that the form of Bhagavan (Vishnu) alone is fit to be fixed in one’s mind.
Note that Shridhara is saying “nindA of the lower devatas” and not just “nindA of other devatas”. This means that our commentator agrees on the devatA tAratamya, with Vishnu as the Highest. We have already seen this in the astra-bhUShaNa adhyAya commentary above.
 In the article, we also show how Advaitins like Narayana Bhatta/Desha Mangala have interpreted alleged hari-hara abheda para vAkyas in purANas, such as the following spoken by Shiva:
“ahaM tvaM sarvago deva ! tvamevAhaM janArdana ! |
AvayorantaraM nAsti shabdairarthairjagatpate ! ||”
“I am indeed you, who is all-pervading, oh effulgent one! You alone exist as me, oh janArdana! Between us, there is no difference in terms of words or meanings, oh  Lord of the universe!”
 Another extract from Desha Mangala's commentary:
"For the sake of the shaivas, the paurANikas have created injunctions to worship You in the form of Rudra/Shiva, as the One who is beyond the brahmANDa. You are indeed the “Purusha”  (as You enter into the universe and establish Yourself there). Hence, You are the in-dweller in all of the different cosmic brahmANDas. Since you are the cause of all i.e., since the trimUrtis are established in You, the existence of such injunctions is not exceedingly inappropriate. Even so, from the paramArtha state, those forms are all Yours alone and not those of Brahma or Shiva. We have many pramANas that state so."
The interested reader can read the whole article here. This is the first of a two-part article series. The second part will contain some discussion of Anu-Gita and some portions in the brAhmaNas that are contended by Shaivas.

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