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Rudra in the Upanishads: An analysis

Note 1): This page is a contribution of the Srivaishnava sampradAya follower who represented the side of Vaishnavism with me against the author of the mahapashupatastra blog page.

Note 2): There are innumerable verses found in Itihasas, Puranas, and other Smrtis that explain that all the dEvatAs' names belong to none other than Vishnu only, because of etymology. Here are a few examples:

Pramana #1, from Mahabharata Shanti Parva (credit goes to Sri Krishna Kadiri for pointing out this to us. He is a learned contributor to the dvaita list at
Arjuna uvAcha:
vedeSu sapurANeSu yAni guhyAni karmabhiH
teSAM niruktaM tvatto.ahaM zrotum icchAmi kezava
na hy anyo vartayen nAmnAM niruktaM tvAm Rte prabho

[Arjuna Said: 'O holy one, O Supreme ordainer of the Past and the Future. O Creator of all Beings, O immutable one, O Refuge of all the worlds, O Lord of the universe, O dispeller of the fears of all persons, I desire to hear from thee in detail, O Kesava, the significance of all those names of thine, O God, which have been mentioned by the great Rishis in the Vedas and the Puranas in consequences of diverse acts of thine. None else than thee, O Lord, is competent to explain the significations of those names.']

Sri Krishna uvAcha:
Rgvede sayajurvede tathaivAtharvasAmasu | purANe
sopaniSade tathaiva jyotiSe.arjuna |
sAMkhye ca yogazAstre ca Ayurvede tathaiva ca | bahUni
mama nAmAni kIrtitAni maharSibhiH
gauNAni tatra nAmAni karmajAni ca kAni cit | niruktaM
karmajAnAM ca zRNuSva prayato.anagha

[Krishna Said: 'In the Rigveda, in the Yajurveda, in the Atharvans and the Samans, in the Puranas and the Upanishads, as also in the treatises on Astrology, O Arjuna, in the Sankhya scriptures, in the Yoga scriptures, and in the treatises also on the Science of Life, many are the names that have been mentioned by the great Rishis. Some of those names are derivable from my attributes and some of them relate to my acts. Do thou hear, with concentrated attention, O sinless one, what the import is of each off those names (in particular) that have reference to my acts. I shall recite them to you.']

Pramana #2, occurs in Brahma Purana, quoted by Madhva in his Brahma Sutra Bhashya at 1.3.3 (courtesy:
caturmukhaśśatānando brahmaṇaḥ padmabhūriti /
ugro bhasmadharo nagnaḥ kapālīti śivasya ca /
viśeṣanāmāni dadau svakīyānyapi keśavaḥ //
iti ca brāhme
Kesava has given special names, which are also his names, to Brahma as caturmukhaH, shatAnandaH, and padmabhUH, and to Siva, the names such as ugraH, bhasmadharaH, nagnaH, and kapAlI.

Pramana #3, occurs in Brahmanda Purana, quoted by Madhva in his Brahma Sutra Bhashya at 1.3.3 (courtesy:
brahmāṇḍe ca -
rujaṃ drāvayate yasmādrudrastasmājjanārdanarḥ /
iśānādeva ceśāno mahādevo mahattvataḥ //
pibanti ye narā nākaṃ muktāssaṃsārasāgarāt /
tadādhāro yato viṣṇuḥ pinākīti tataḥ smṛtaḥ //
śivaḥ sukhātmakatvena śarvaḥ śaṃrodhanāddhariḥ /
kṛtyātmakamimaṃ dehaṃ yato vaste pravartayan //
kṛttivāsāstato devo viriñcaśca virecanāt /
bṛṃhaṇādbrahmanāmāsāvaiśvaryādindra ucyate //

Translation by Prof. Pandurangi:

Janardana (i.e., the redeemer, Vishnu) is called Rudra; for He cures the disease (of life).
He is Ishana (the ruler) for He rules the lords of the world;
He is Mahadeva; for He is great and splendid;
He is known as Pinakin; for those that have crossed the sea of life and obtained release, take their stand on Him and drink in pure pleasure.
He is Siva, for, He is absolutely blissful.
Hari is Sarva, for He closes (the gates of) happiness against (the wicked).
The Lord is called Krittivasa, for He shelters or dwells in the body covered over with skin, to guide it in life.
He is called Virincha; for He produces the world out of Himself;
He is Brahma, for He is perfect and He is Indra (the wealthy), for He is the sole Lord

This article is to be seen in light of the above pramANas, and it will be clear that this is not  'Vaishnava sectarian jugglery'.


This is an article that expounds the meaning of the rudra mantras in svetAsvatArA and mahAnArAyaNa upanishads.

As has been explained already in this website, the terms such as ‘Rudra’, ‘Shiva’, ‘Akasa’, ‘Shambu’, ‘Indra’, ‘Agni’, ‘Isa’, ‘Prana’, etc  which occur in the Upanishads are common nouns and hence, apply to the supreme brahman only. That this supreme brahman is Sriman nArAyaNa only and not other devatA-s has been established on this website, both through the words of authoritative acharyas as well as shruti and smriti pramAnAs. 

Thus, it stands to follow, that the Rudra of the Upanishads is sriman nArAyaNa and not the well known pArvati pati, as the latter has been declared to be 1) absent during pralaya in the mahOpanishad, 2) born of karma in the satapatha brahmana and 3) born of nArAyaNa in the nArAyaNopanishad and smritis. These pramAnAs have already been mentioned in the satarudriya section of the website.

In addition, the etymological meaning of Rudra is as follows, which had also been explained in the Satarudriya section:

1) rum drAvayati iti rudra: - He is Rudra as he is the destroyer of the disease of SamsarA.

2)    rOdayati iti rudra:  - He is Rudra as he makes one shed tears of joy by enjoying his kalyAna gunams.

3)   rudya vAgrUpAya, vAkyam, prApayatEti rudra: - He is Rudra as he is the one who gives the vedic speech to Brahma before creation.

Thus, Rudra is a name of nArAyaNa and occurs in the vishNu sahasranAmA as well. SrI parAshara bhattar gives the above meanings for the name.

The vedA mainly dwells on the kalyAna gunas he exhibited in rAmA and narasimhA avatArams because as rAmA, he revealed all his kalyAna gunAs to their fullest extent and as narasimhA, he proved that the purpose of his activities was only to protect his devotees such as prahlada and his avatAram was spontaneous. So, often these sections relate to Narasimha or Rama only as Rudra. The two avatAras are even related – SrI rAmA addresses himself as one who can kill his enemies by his nails in the vAlmiki rAmAyaNa!

Having said that, let us understand the true meanings of the mantras addressed to this parama purushan known as Rudra, ie, nArAyaNa.


There are three Rudra mantras in this Upanishad known as tvaritharudra mantrAs. These are recited for fulfilment of one’s desires.

Mantra 106

sarvo vai rudra-stasmai rudraaya namo astu | purusho vai rudra-ssanmaho namo
namah | vishvam bhootam bhuvanam chitram bahudhaa jaatam jaayamaanam cha yat |
sarvo hyesha rudra-stasmai rudraaya namo astu ||
Meaning: Rudra is verily everything. Let our obeisance be to that Rudra. Possessing all valor, Rudra is verily the great. Obeisance unto him again and again. All this universe, all these entities, all the wondrous worlds that were variedly born or are being born – all that is verily this Rudra alone. To that Rudra, our obeisance is offered.

The etymology of the term ‘Rudra’ has already been explained and here it denotes nArAyaNa. Because of the statements like ‘sarVo vai rudrO’ and ‘purushO vai rudrO’, vyAsArya interprets ‘Rudra’ as paramAtma only and not the well known pArvati pati.
 Ranga rAmAnuja muni states that Rudra is known as ‘Sarva’ because he is carrying on this world, ie he is jagathnirvAhaka.  The name ‘Sarva’ occurs in the sahasranAma as ‘sarva sharva shivas sthAnur’ and SrI parAshara bhattar commenting on ‘sarva’ gives the meaning as ‘One who is the creator and destroyer of all, the ruler of the universe and supremely omniscient. Being the origin and end of jivAs and prakrti, he knows all and hence, is Sarva.

The Bhagavad Gita is sufficient pramAnam to show that vAsudeva krishNa is indeed ‘Sarva’ – It is doubtful anyone, even a layperson, is ignorant of the relevant gita slokas declaring krishNa as the creator, destroyer, etc and I do not need to quote them here.
PurushO vai RudrO can be interpreted in two ways. The meaning of ‘Purusha’ is ‘sarvavIryasampaNam’ and hence, the valor, ie, vIryam, of the parama purushan is mentioned here. We are reminded of the valor of SrI rAmA. vAlmiki asks, ka: vIryavAn. One of his names is mahAvIra. In this respect, vide the following slokas in the introductory portion of rAmAyaNa (slokas 1.1.8 to 1.1.18):

samudra iva gAmbhIrye dhairyeNa himavAniva|  vishNunA sadRSo vIrye… (vAlmiki rAmAyaNa)

Meaning: rAma has gAmbhIrya like an ocean, dhairya of himavAn and vIrya of vishNu.

But if we take the word ‘Purusha’ as ‘vedAhamEdham purusham mahAntam’, then it simply refers to Rudra (nArAyaNa) as the parama purushan of the vedA.

Mantra 107

kadrudraaya prachetase meeDhushTamaaya tavyase | vo chema shantamagm hrude | sarvo hyesha rudra-stasmai rudraaya namo astu || 

Meaning:  He functions as a creator and hence is a creaton (kan). May we utter a pleasing praise to Rudra who is acutely intelligent, who drenches the world with rain and others, who is an ascetic and who is pleasing to the heart.

‘kam ivAcharathIthi kan’ – He acts like chaturmukha brahma (Ka) and hence, he is the creator.
‘prachEtasE’ means ‘prakrushta buddhishAlina’. He is intelligent because he understands the sufferings of the jivAs very well and knows how to protect us. Indeed, there is a slOka in the rAmAyaNa, where the citizens of ayOdhyA say to DasarathA regarding SrI rAmA, the following:

vyasaneshu manushyANAm bhrusham bhavati du:khita:, utsaveshu cha sarveshu piteva paritushyati (vAlmiki rAmAyaNa)

Meaning: SrI rAmA suffers greatly when he sees someone suffering and is very happy upon seeing others’ happiness.

Thus, he is well aware of the sufferings and joys of the chEtana and knows their desires, hence is extremely intelligent.

 mEdhushtamA means ‘sektRthmAya’. The shAstra says that rains must occur 3 times a month for a conducive atmosphere to undergo vaidika anushtanams. As he is parabrahman, he is the giver of these rains. This is the interpretation of sri ranga rAmAnuja muni. Or, it could be taken that the ‘rains’ refer to Bhagavan granting all sorts of purushArthams as per Gita, ‘chatuvidA bhajantE mAm…’ sloka.

He is an ascetic as evidenced in the rAmAyaNa again as follows:

Vyaktamesha mahA-yogI paramAtmA sanAtanah (yuddha khAnda 114.4)

These are the words of mandOdari who recognises SrI rAmA as the parama purushan. The term ‘mahA yOgI’ refers to srI rAghavan’s determination to protect the world, being his only goal always. He is always meditating on ways to save the jivAtmA and grant moksha.

Alternately, he is also a yOgI because he meditates on his own kalyAna gunAs and derives anandam from himself as per the pramAnAs such as ‘anandamaya’.

Also, refer the Vishnu SahasranAmA which says that he is ‘mahat tapaH’. The ‘tapas’ refers to the ability to direct and order others, ie, he is the supreme ruler of all.

Lastly, he is indeed very pleasing to the heart . ‘shantham’ means ‘manaH sukhAvaham stOtra’. The very name ‘rAmA’ means ‘one who gives pleasure to everyone’. Hence, he gives ananda to everyone and we praise him.

Mantra 108

namO hiranyabAhavE hiranyapatayE umApatayE ambikApatayE namO namaha:
Meaning: Obeisances to Rudra, who is the consort of Ambika and/or Uma, whose arms are bedecked with gold ornaments and who is the master of riches.

‘HiranyabAhavE’ occurs in the Satarudriyam as well. Only nArAyaNa is referred to in both the Rudraprashnam as well as in this mantra.

AmbikapatayE, umApatayE is repeated because of the great respect the Upanishad has for this Bhagavan. VyAsArya interprets Rudra as nArAyaNa here as well. The terms ‘umApati’ and ‘ambikApati’ are related to srI narasimha as revealed in the narasimha tApanIya Upanishad which also calls him Shankara and Nilalohita. ‘UmapatayE’ simply refers to the Lord of great splendour (Uma being a common noun) and similarly for Ambika.

At this juncture, it would be pertinent to mention that the narasimha tApanIya Upanishad is indeed accepted by all vaidikas and has been quoted by Shankara, Sureshvara, Vedanta Desika, Vidyaranya, Madhva and Ranga Ramanuja Muni. Hence, it is indeed an authentic Upanishad. This is meant to address those who may not be familiar with this Upanishad. It is accepted in its present form by all Advaitins,  Vishishtadvaitins and Dvaitins.

The vedA bhAshyakArars make a reference to narasimha tApanIya while commenting on this famous mantram of Satarudriyam:

stuhi shrutaM gartasadaM yuvAnaM mR^igaM na bhImamupahatnumugram.h |
mR^iLA jaritre rudra stavAno .anyaM te asman nivapantu senAH || (Satarudriyam 10.8)

Meaning:  Praise the famous Rudra who dwells in the cave of the heart, who is eternally young, and who is fierce like a lion. O Rudra! Being praised by our words, confer happiness to us who have been afflicted by having a body subjected to old age and death. Let your forces annihilate others who are Your enemies and spare us.

As established in the Shri Rudram section of this website, the entire Rudraprashnam is a praise of nArAyaNa only. Note that this same mantra occurs in the narasimha tApanIya, with a slight modification:

stuhi srutam gartasadaM yuvAnaM mrgam na bhImamupahatnum ugram.h |
mrDA jaritre simha: stavAno .anyam te asmin nivapantu senAH | (Nr.Tap. Up. 2.1)

The word ‘Rudra’ is replaced by the word ‘Simha’ in the tApanIya. This is enough to show that the Rudra of the Upanishads and Satarudriyam is none other than nArAyaNa.
Vedanta Desika mentions in his kAmAshikAshtakam that Sri Narasimha is the essence of the uttara bhAgam of the VedA, ie, the Upanishad and is revealed by the tApanIya. He has also explained the mantra rAja pada portion of the Upanishad.

Mantra 134

There are 5 mantras beginning from 134 in this Upanishad which are interpreted by other commentators such as bhatta bhAskara as referring to the 5 faces of pArvati pati (Sadyojata, Vamadeva, Aghora, Isana and Tatpurusha). Sri ranga rAmAnuja muni states that this is not the correct interpretation as these mantras are referred to as ‘pancha brahma mantrAs’ and hence, must only refer to the parabrahman, who is nArAyaNa.  The Upanishad only refers to parama purushan by all these names. Sri ranga rAmAnuja muni further states that srutis and smritis support the interpretation of these mantras as nArAyaNa and quotes them in defence of the interpretation. These will be indicated below.

In addition, these mantras occur after some prayers to Medha for jnAnA. Medha here refers to Lakshmi. Once jnAnA is attained from Lakshmi, Vishnu is resorted to and hence, these mantras are positioned after Medha Sukta in the mahAnArAyaNa Upanishad. Taking all these factors, these mantras refer to nArAyaNa only.
That being said, let us take a look at the 134th mantra:

sadyojaataM prapadyaami sadyojaataaya vai namo namaH|
bhave bhave naatibhave bhavasva maam.h . bhavodbhavaaya namaH||

Meaning: I surrender to SadyojAta, who was born at the moment of his will. Obeisance to Sadyojata, who was born at will. May I not be born in births after births. Do bless me. Obeisance unto him from whom all effects emerge.
‘SadyojAta’ is a name of Vishnu. The Narasimha tApAniya refers to Narasimha as ‘IshAnas sarvavidyAnAm’ and hence, ‘Sadyojata’ is a suitable name of Narasimha. Furthermore, the nirvAna khAnda of Skanda Purana refers to SrI rAmA as ‘Sadyojata’ and gives the following etymology – ‘SadyojAta pravrtti sattvam IshIshE kshEtrarakshaka’.

As mentioned previously, the vedas glorify parabrahman in his Rama and Narasimha avatArams primarily.

The vedA here states that he was born at the moment of his will. This refers to satya sankalpatvam. As per the pramAna ‘sambhavAmi yugE yugE’, bhagavan takes avatArams out of his will and never due to karma.

The Vishnu sahasranAmA contains the nama ‘SambhavO bhAvanO bhartA’. Bhattar interprets ‘SambhavA’ as ‘Like a hidden treasure, he is One who manifests himself at will, at any place and time, and in any form such as matsya, kruma, narasimha, etc to those who sincerely seek him’.

This mantra in particular can refer to Narasimha because he exemplified being born at the moment of his will, ie, manifesting in that pillar exactly at the moment when Prahlada mentioned him to be there.

Sri Ranga Ramanuja Muni adds – Sankalpasamaya eva karanAntara nairapEkshan chidachidrUpEna bhagavathO jAthvAth sadyojAthathvam, nAthibhavE – athishayEna nothpadhEya, mAm bhajasva – mAm anugrahAna.
Bhavasya – kAryavargasya uRdhvaH yasmAth thadrushAya namaH.

Mantra 135

vaamadevaaya namo jyeshhThaaya namaH| shreshhThaaya namo rudraaya
namaH kaalaaya namaH| kalavikaraNaaya namo balavikaraNaaya namo
balaaya namo balapramathaaya namaH| sarvabhuutadamanaaya namo
manonmanaaya namaH||

Meaning: Obeisance to vAmadEva, the auspicious God. Obeisance to the eldest (jyEshta). Obeisance to One who drives away the disease of samsArA (rudra). Obeisance to the destroyer (kAla). Obeisance to him who is the cause of causing the divisions of moment, muhurtA, etc of time. Obeisance to the One who strikes even the mighty. Obeisance to the One who subdues all living beings. Obeisance to the One who is the disturber of the mind.

‘vAmadEvA’ is mentioned to signify SrI rAmA as well in the nirvana khAnda of the skanda purAnA as follows - ‘vAmadEvaH praTishtAyA vAsanAm tanumAsritam’. He is vAmadEvA as he is auspicious. He is manomanAya pertaining to his nAmam as ‘hrshikEsha’. He is the destroyer (kAla) as per the Gita 11.32 ‘kAlosmi lOkakshaya’.

The purpose of this mantra is to show that paramAtma is the supreme ruler and the master of the universe. None can oppose him. His power is immeasurably greater than others, He saves his devotees from migration in samsArA. Nobody can stand before him as an equal and he crushes the asurAs ruthlessly as he did hiranyakasipu, rAvana and the entire kaurava army.

Mantra 136

aghorebhyo.atha ghorebhyo ghoraghoratarebhyaH | sarvataH sharvasarvebhyo namaste astu rudraruupebhyaH||

Meaning: O paramAtmA known as Sarva! Obeisance to those auspicious forms of yours that are not terrible, or terrible or terribly terrible. Obeisance to you, who has these forms bestowing good.

The terms ‘aghOrEbhyO’, ‘ghOrEbhyO’ and ‘ghoraghoratarebhyAH’ signify all the Universes and all the things, ie, sentient and insentient that are present within these universes, which are classed as terrible, auspicious, or terribly terrible and these are saluted as the body of sriman nArAyaNa. This is as per the brihadAraNyaka which states ‘yasya AtmA sarIram’ and ‘yasya prithvi sarIram’, and the subalOpanishad, which states ‘esha sarvabhUtAntarAtma apahatapApma divyO deva eko nArAyaNaH’.

This mantra confirms that the universe and all within it constitute the body, ie, the forms of Bhagavan. Thus, all these forms are forms of Rudra (rudrarupEbhyaH). Rudra denotes nArAyaNa as does Sarva. These names has been explained earlier.

Mantra 137

tatpurushhaaya vidmahe mahaadevaaya dhiimahi . tanno rudraH||

Meaning: We meditate upon that Purusha (nArAyaNa) (OR) we meditate on that pArvati pati rudra who belongs to nArAyaNa. For that we pray to mahAdEva (pArvati pati rudradeva). May that Rudra fulfil it by motivating us.

Here, the Rudra gAyatri is mentioned because the shAstras say that pArvati pati Rudra grants knowledge of Brahman. So, the Upanishad exhorts the upAsaka, ie, the bhakti yogi, to pray to pArvati pati and attain the knowledge of nArAyaNa through him.
Bhagavatam says ‘vaishnavam yatha shambhu:’ Uma is a teacher of the devas in the kenOpanishad. We also have shAstra vAkyams like ‘shankarOpAsanasya bhagavathupAsanahEtuthvAth’ and ‘jnAnam iccheth sankarAth’. So, pArvati pati imparts jnAnA about nArAyaNa to the upAsakAs.

The relevance of praying to pArvati pati rudra for brahma jnAnam is also established in another way by Vishnu and Garuda purAnAs. The Vishnu Purana says Narasimha is an amSha of Samkarshana vyUha of BhagavAn. The Garuda Purana declares that pArvati pati rudra is in the penultimate stage of bhakti yOgA presided by sankarshana murthi (known as prajna in the mAndukya Upanishad). So, as the Upanishad mantras talk of narasimhA and pArvati pati is meditating on Sankarshana, the context is established.

‘TatpurushA’ is interpreted in two ways. If we take it as ‘sa chAsou purushashcha’, it refers to nArAyaNa, who is the purusha of the veda. If we interpret ‘Tatpurusha’ as indicating pArvati pati rudra directly, it is taken as ‘tasya paramAtmanaH purushAya’, ie, ‘Rudra, who belongs to that paramAtmA’. As per ‘yasya AtmA sarIram’ all entities are the body of nArAyaNa and are vibhUtIs belonging to him. ‘Tat’ signifies nArAyaNa, the parabrahman only as per ‘Om tatsadhithi nirdeshaH’.

The grace of pArvati pati is invoked by bhakti yOgIs to progress in their bhakti towards nArAyaNa. Note that the Vishnu gAyatri, unlike the other gAyatris contains ‘nArAyaNa’ and not ‘tatpurusha’ thereby identifying vishnu with nArAyaNa himself.

Mantra 138

iishaanaH sarvavidyaanaamiishvaraH sarvabhuutaanaaM|
brahmaadhipatirbrahmaNo.adhipatirbrahmaa shivo me astu sadaashivom.h||

Meaning: The Lord of all branches of knowledge, the Lord of all living beings, the Supreme master of the vedas, the Lord of Chaturmukha Brahma, the One who has Brahma as his body, the One who is ever free from anything defiling, the One who is signified by the syllable OM, may he be the bestower of good for me.

As mentioned previously, the Narasimha tApAniya refers to Narasimha as ‘IshAnas sarvavidyAnAm’. SadAshivaH means sarvadA niravadhyaH. BrahmA means one who has BrahmA as his body (yasya AtMA sarIram – br.Up and jagath sarvam sarIram tE – vAlmiki rAmAyaNa). shivOmeastu means shivapradhOstu. OM refers to praNavavAchyan, who is nArAyaNa. Or, OM also means the one (nArAyaNa), whose name is praNava.

This ends the pancha brahma mantras. It may be remarked that after this, the next mantra belonging to the couplet known as trisuparna mantras address BhagavAn as ‘Soma’. This name too is a name of nArAyaNa as ‘Soma’ means – southi uthpAdaya thithi sOmaH and hence denotes paramAtmA. Sri ranga rAmAnuja muni adds – yA prajAH tAH sarvO tE tava sEshabhUthA ityartha.

Even the meaning ‘Sa Uma’ for Soma denotes nArAyaNa as mentioned previously in ‘umApatayE ambikapatayE’.


Here there are some mantras that designate paramAtmA as Rudra. These too refer to nArAyaNa only. Since a detailed explanation has already been provided, a brief account will suffice here.

Mantras 3.5 and 3.6 are also part of Shri Rudram and have been explained in the Shri Rudram section. They will not be explained here.

Mantra 3.4

yo devaanaaM prabhavashchodbhavashcha vishvaadhipo rudro maharshhiH |
hiraNyagarbha.n janayaamaasa puurva.n sa no buddhyaa shubhayaa sa.nyunaktu ||

Meaning: May that Rudra, who is the cause of the origination of gods, who is the cause of their glory, who transcends this entire world, who is a great seer (ie, omniscient) and who created Hiranyagarbha first, unite us with an auspicious mind.

The etymological meaning of Rudra has already been explained and this is a name of nArAyaNa (rudrO bahushirA babhru: as per Vishnu SahasranAmA). And we have pramAnAs like nArAyaNat brahma jAyatE to show that Brahma was born of nArAyaNa only. He is called ‘maharishiH’ as he is omniscient.

Mantra 3.11

sarvaanana shirogriivaH sarvabhuutaguhaashayaH |
sarvavyaapii sa bhagavaa.nstasmaat.h sarvagataH shivaH||

Meaning: Having the faces, heads and necks of all as his, he resides in the cave of the hearts of all entities. Bhagavan is pervading everything. Therefore he is everywhere and also auspicious.

As per ‘yasya AtmA sarIram’ and ‘yasya prithvi sarIram’ (Br.Up), all bodies are his bodies and hence, he has all faces, heads and necks.  The term ‘shiva’ signifies he is free of all defects. Shiva is a name of nArAyaNa (sarvaH sharvaH shivassthAnu in the Vishnu sahasraNAma).

Mantra 4.10

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.

‘MahEshwarA’ is also a name of nArAyaNa which simply means ‘great lord’. Furthermore, since nArAyaNa alone is signified by AkAra  (akArasya visnoH), he is denoted by the meaning of the name ‘mahEshwara’ and hence, that name belongs to him.

The words of Krishna are relevant in this context, vide, mama mAyA durataya (Gita – 7.14) and sarva loka mahEshwaram (Gita – 5.29) which establish beyond a doubt that nArAyaNa is referred to by this mantra as mahEshwara.

Mantra 4.21

ajaata ityeva.n kashchidbhiiruH prapadyate |
rudra yatte dakshiNaM mukha.n tena maaM paahi nityam.h ||

Meaning: O Rudra (driver of the disease of samsArA), knowing that you are unborn, I, a cursed one, afraid of samsArA, meditate upon your face that is full of compassion. Save me always from samsArA, being pleased with this meditation.

‘Rudra’ means ‘samsArarugdrAvakaH’ and hence, the term ‘Rudra’ refers to nArAyaNa. He is ajaata, ie, not subject to birth and others. ‘DakshinaM mukhan prapadyathe’ is the prose order - ‘dAkshinyashAli prabuddhamugdhAmbhujachArulochanam’ and ‘shuchismitham komalagandamunasam lalAtaparyanthavilambithAlakam mukham dhyAyAmi’. ‘prapadyatE’ means ‘prapadyE’.

Mantra 4.22
maa nastoke tanaye maa na aayushhi maa no goshhu maa na ashveshhu riirishhaH |
viiraan.h maa no rudra bhaamito vadhiirhavishhmantaH sadaamit.h tvaa havaamahe ||

Meaning: O Rudra (driver of the disease of samsArA), do not harm us, we who are interested in our children or longevity of life of interested in cattle or in horses. Being angry, do not harm the vigorous ones such as jnAnA and vairAgya. We do worship you alone always bringing oblations in the assembly.

The meaning of this mantra is that the seeker of brahman asks nArAyaNa to not harm him (ie, bind him to samsArA and the chains of punya/pApa karmas) even if he (the upAsaka) desires children, cattle or horses. This is because articles such as children, cattle or horses are required as accessories for the development of bhakti yoga. Since bhakti yoga has karma and jnAna yoga as ancillaries, these items come in use for the performance of karma yoga. The upAsaka further says that “You (nArAyaNa) are also worshipped by the kamya karmas”.

bhaamith: refers to the anger of bhagavan on account of our offenses.

This ends the article. I hope readers find it informative. It is an unbiased interpretation, fully compatible with accepted rules of grammer, adhering faithfully to context, supported by quotations from authentic texts and provided by srI ranga rAmAnuja muni, whose knowledge and status among vedAntins is unquestionable.


  1. O Paramatma...Save Sanatana Religion....Why fight on Shaiva or Vaishnava....Ekameva Advitiyam Bramha..Ekam Sad vipra Bahuda vadanti..

    1. Dear Ram Nireja,

      I guess you are one of those neo-Hindus who are self-proclaimed custodians of 'Sanatana Religion'. Neo-interpretations such as these have nurtured a generation of people who just take pride in their 'Hindu identity', but have no real passion for the shAstras and lack bhakti. This has made them tame, helping the missionaries to convert them easily. Why is this so? Becuase you say that all gods are one and they are forms of paramAtmA... it then becomes easy for an abrahamic person to say that this paramAtmA is none but the holy spirit. Taking the position that 'worshiping a specific form', 'idolatry' is condemnable is easy if you say that none of the deities represent paramAtmA entirely.

      Coming back... There is no 'fight' here. What is going on in this site is intellectual debate. Why not go through my main page completely, and read what I have to say in this subject, as I have given innumerable references with links?

      And kindly do not pull out verses from out of context and twisting its meaning to benefit your favorite position. Ekam Sad vipra Bahuda vadanti.. Do you know the proper meaning of this verse is? You have to take into consideration shruti vAkyas like "nArAyaNAd rudro jAyate", "bhIShAsmAd vAtaH pavate", "eSha AtmA apahatapApmA", "angAni anya devatAH", "yo devAnAm nAmadhA eka eva", etc. to arrive at a meaning that is consistent with the entire Veda. Certainly, I presume you are not smarter than Shankara, Ramanuja, and Madhva who proclaim unanimously that the all the Vedas proclaim Sriman Narayana only, and that Rudra (Siva) and others are his vibhUtis (possessions under his control). Again, I would ask you to read the main page of this blog in its entirety before responding...

    2. sir, i've a question can u please answer me? please reply soon as possible it's an important question :)

    3. Sir, those illiterate shaivas are claiming that srimad-bhagwatam is a bogus text because sukadev (the narrator of SB) died before bhisma-pitama. so how can he narrate SB to parikshit (who was the grandson of arjun i guess) recently some shaivas have been asking this question but we all know SB isn't a bogus text. it's a mahapurana. but shaivas are asking this silly question and trying to mislead what do u have to say about this question ?.....

    4. What shaivas of today think is not important. Many respectable scholars today and in ancient times have held bhAgavatam as an authentic purANa. The discrepancy with regard to the departure of Shri Shuka can be explained by kalpa bheda.

  2. Pranams for this nice article on the analysis of the word 'Rudra'. It is written in the artilce that the Narasimha Tapaniya Upanishad is quoted by all acharyas. Just a small query on this. Does Adi Shankara quotes it anywhere in his bhashyas? Can you please give the reference of where he quotes this upanishad?

    there is a commentary on the Narasimha Purva tapaniya Upanishad whic is attributed to him but this view is contested by most scholars.

  3. Dear Anonymous,

    Thank you for your response. Credit goes to the guest blogger who wrote up this.

    You are right in saying that the Narasimha Purva Tapaniya Bhashya attributed to Shankara is not widely accepted.

    According to Swami Madhavananda's translation of Brihadaranyaka Upanishad Bhashya, Shankara does quote it. I am saying this since this is found in the list of references:

    I myself have not been able to locate that verse, but am inclined to think that Madhavananda is not mistaken. I myself would not assert that this is 100% sure.

  4. Dear Anonymous,

    May I seek your help in publicizing this blog, Vaishnavas and especially Smarthas who are inclined towards Vishnu? I would appreciate this very much.

  5. Dear Sir,
    My sincere pranams and many thanks for the answer on the quotation of Narasimha Tapaniya Up. I will try to refer the Brhad Aranyaka commentary and locate this verse. Also does Sri Shankara quotes this upanishad in his brahma sutra bhashya?

    I will share with my friends who share similar interest in this subject.

  6. Dear Harikumar,

    Thank you for the response. I do not think Shri Shankara quotes this Upanishad in the Sutra Bhashya.

    Have you read the main page of this blog and the page on Puranas? Eager to hear your feedback on those.

  7. Dear Sir,
    Pranams. Yes I read the arcticle on Narayana's Supremacy and the article on Puranas. They'e very enlightening and its a real great effort. One point though the puranas. The rajasic and Tamasic puranas cannot be set aside as invalid in totality. They've got lot of sattvic portions in them glorifying Sri Hari. Those have been accepted by acharyas like Madhva fore.g. Skanda purana contains Bhagavata mahatmyam, glory of the karthika month which are accepted by all acharyas.Even Sattvic puranas like Varaha puranas contaion some sections which are to be set aside or to interpreted in consistency with Vedas.

    Kindly correct me if my understanding is wrong.

    Also regarding explaining the word Rudra, I was reading the commentary on Maha narayana Up by Dr NSA based on ranga ranamuja Swami's commentary. There he uses the tapaniya upanishad (as mentioned in this article) to interpret that the mantras referring to Lord Siva basically refers to Narayana. But he does not do so while interpreting the mantras ascribed to other deities like Agni. Any idea why is it so?

    1. Dear Sir,

      Regarding the following question:

      Also regarding explaining the word Rudra, I was reading the commentary on Maha narayana Up by Dr NSA based on ranga ranamuja Swami's commentary. There he uses the tapaniya upanishad (as mentioned in this article) to interpret that the mantras referring to Lord Siva basically refers to Narayana. But he does not do so while interpreting the mantras ascribed to other deities like Agni. Any idea why is it so? //

      I am afraid I do not have the knowledge to ascertain why this is so, but still here is my take... my basic understanding is that there are multiple layers of interpretation that are possible for Shruti. I believe this is in harmony with the term "Chandas" in Sanskrit and "Marai" in Tamil for Vedas - both mean concealing, and concealing is also in the form of one layer of interpretation covering inner rahasyArthas.

  8. Dear Sir,

    Thank you for the feedback and appreciation.

    I believe I have made the point in the Puranas articles. Here is an extract:


    The same tAmasa purAnAs that belittle Vishnu also contain statements like ‘In Sri Vaikunta, the supreme abode, the liberated serve the Lord and his devotees’ (shiva purAnA)’. Similar statements like ‘Achyuta is superior to Brahma and Rudra’ occur in other tAmasa purAnAs.
    This shows that these purAnAs are confused with respect to the knowledge they advocate. They mix the right meanings of ShAstra (such as the above quotes) now and then with the largely tAmasic portions. In contrast, the sAttvika purAnAs like Vishnu and Bhagavata PurAnAs are consistent with respect to the supremacy of Vishnu.

    Since confusion arises from and is a form of tAmas, these purAnAs are classified as ‘tAmasa purAnAs’.

    %%% Note: In this context, I would like to point out the following extract from Madhva's Brahma Sutra Bhashya (Translation by Prof. Pandurangi) first adhyaya, first pada, first sutra (1.1.1) :

    "Also in the Skanda Purana celebrating the supremacy of Siva, this is said:

    'O, Undecaying One, the moment thou shouldst, in wrath, turn thy face away from them, Brahma, Isana, and other gods would be doomed to miseries worse than those inflicted upon the basest of the base';

    and in the Brahma Vaivarta Purana which seeks to extol Brahma, it is said:

    'Neither I nor Siva nor others can lay claim to even a small fraction of his power. As a child sports with its toys, so does Achyuta with us.'

    And no such statement is to be found in the works declaring the supremacy of Vishnu,..."

    1. I would also like to bring to your attention the following section in that article:


      But this does not mean we must reject the tAmasa purAns wholly. They are authoritative so long as they do not contradict shruti.

      Puranas are classified into Sattva, Rajas and Tamas. The Rajas and Tamas puranas are not authentic because they are veda virodha. But this does not mean they are entirely to be rejected. There are often sattvik portions in rajasa and tamasa puranas which are accepted. Examples include the ones stated in point 4) of this article, such as praise of Vishnu as parabrahman as well as some portions such as Sri VenkatAchala mAhAtmyam and BrindAranya Kshetra mAhAtmyam in BrahmAnda purAna and others. Indeed, sri rAmAnuja, sri parAshara bhattar as well as srI mAdhva have quoted these sAttvic portions from the tAmasa purAnAs.

      Similarly, the sAttvik puranas are not of the form of pure sattva, but only mishra sattva (sattva mixed with rajas and tamas). So, even the sAttvik puranas may contain a little amount of Rajas and Tamas. For instance, some chapters of Padma Purana are veda virodha. But for the greater part, that purana is sattvik. Since the tamasic and rAjasic portion of this purAnA are minimal, and sAttvik portion is greater, the purAnA is classified as ‘sAttvik’ overall.

      This is also why Vishnu and Bhagavata Puranas are praised as the greatest of even the Sattvik puranas, because they are the most sattvik of all. The tAmasic/rAjasic content in them is almost nil.

      Have I made the points clearly? Or is there anything more to add? I would like to know if there is anything that I wrote that was misleading.

      Pardon adiyen for any confusion caused.

  9. Dear Sir,
    this is absolutely brilliant explanantion. Please share your email ID so that we can stay in touch.

    1. Dear Sir,

      I would like to maintain anonymity in public. However, you can contact me personally by using this form in the link below. Do remember to provide your email address though:

      Once I get the email notification, I will reply to the email address you provide.

    2. Dear Sir,

      I did not see your reply to my comment. I did not mean any offense. I will share the email address with you in private once you contact me with the form at the address specified above. Apologies if you found my comments otherwise. Looking forward to your email.

  10. Dear Sir,

    Do acharyas in the Sri and Madhva Sampradaya accept the Gopal Tapaniya Upanishad as shruthi?
    By the way I am very much happy to read your answer clearing misunderstandings on Vaishnava siddhanta and silencing Vaishnava dweshis like the Mahapashupati blogger. I had visited their page and felt very much sad after going through one of the articles. I wanted to silence them but i felt I shouldnot since I am not qualified. Thank you for protecting the honour of Vaishnavas and Sri Hari,the Supreme parabrahman in the Vedas! please keep us enlightened with the teachings of all the four Vaishnava Sampradayas:Sri,Brahma(Tattvavada & Gaudiya),Rudra and Sanat Kumara.
    May Janardana blss you!

    1. I am pleased to read your note of appreciation to my writings. As I said in the main page, I am just an instrument at the hands of Sri Hari.

      Have you read all my pages, including the home page? Kindly also forward to your acquaintances (Saivas/Vaisnavas/Smarthas) who are interested in this topic.

    2. Thank you for raising the question about Gopala Tapaniya Upanishad. As far as I know, it has not been mentioned/quoted by Acharyas in the Madhva sampradAya. It has also not been quoted by Ramanuja Sampradaya Acharyas.

  11. Dear Sir,

    Do Vaishnavas of Ramanuja and Madhva line accept the Gopala mantra found in the Gopala Tapaniya Upanishad?
    The mantra is: Klim Krishnaaya Govindaaya Gopijanavallabhaya Swaha. The other two sampradayas:sanat kumara and rudra aswell as gaudiya branch of madhva sampradaya accepts the Upanishad and the mantra as shruthi mantra. I have heard that a scholar called Sri Narayana Bhatta accepted the Upabishad to be shruthi.And what are your views on the Sharabha Upanishad?
    And I thank you for your kind reply!

  12. Vaishnavas of Ramanuja lineage have not mentioned this mantra. As far as I know, traditional Vaishnavas of Madhva lineage also do not mention it.

    'Sharabha Upanishad' is an entirely bogus scripture and is only 300-400 years old. It is not shruti.

  13. Dear sir,

    Could you please explain how HRI referred to in the purusha suktam refers to Bhu devi and not Durga(bija mantra HRIM)? Please explain in detail,sir!

    1. I guess the "HRI means Durga" idea was posted it in one of the Advaita forums, and you want to refute it here. Let me consult a few people and books and let you know soon.

      For a start, neither Sayana nor Bhattabhaskara Mishra (both Siva devotees) identify "HRI" Durga. They say "HRI" is the Goddess of Modesty (implying Bhudevi) and Shri is the Goddess of Wealth (Lakshmi). Hence, this "HRI = Durga" identification is modern and is not accepted by prAchInas.

      As I said, I will get back with further details.

    2. It is actually a matter of anusandhaana since all these forms are expansions of Sri Lakshmi - which is why in different traditions of Purusha Sookta hri and shri are interchanged. Sri Lakshmi expands in multiple forms to please SrimannArAyaNa. The problem is only with those who have no, or more dangerously, half knowledge. Because even a devout ShAkta whose ultimate tantra is Sri Vidya has to humbly accept "Shri" - irrefutably Sri Lakshmi - as the prime sAdhana toward attaining SrimannArAyaNa. But for the veera shaivas there weren't any vedic scholars who had any confusion on hari sarvottamatva - and it is sometimes unfortunate to see even the vedic advaitins intellectually subdued by veerashaiva Avesha! AS with the tAmasI purANAs, the difficulty is in understanding them properly so as to not contradict the shruti pramANAs as described in several places in the blog. Even then, for those with good understanding of import of shrutis and an open mind, not just the tamasI but even the tantras give immense knowledge on strengthening our sAdhAna towards haribhakti. Like in the samudra manthana the kaalakoota of confusion, doubt, and disbelief do arise, and only shiva can contain it, but shiva too will do so only for hari preeti (refer bhagavatham). Continued sAdhana in understanding the import of shrutis will eventually open up a multitude of meanings with no contradictions. No external answer can ever satisfy as much as internal experience of the mantra - so do meditate and pray to antaryAmi nArAyaNa for guidance.
      यदेव विद्यया करोति श्रद्धया उपनिषदा तदेव वीर्यवत्तरं भवति ।

  14. Dear sir,

    I have one more question. What is the position of Srimati Lakshmidevi in Sri Vaishnava and Tattvavada sampradayas. Do they accept lakshmi as equal to Narayana or the highest nitya siddha jiva? I have heard that in Mthe madhva line, they take Lakshmi to be a nityasiddha jiva.

    1. Dear Nripendra,

      In both sampradAyas, Lakshmi is not held equal to Narayana, but as the divine consort who is beyond the realm of prakRti/samsAra.

      The role of Lakshmi is different in the two traditions, though. Kindly get this clarified with learned members on the internet who formally belong to either sampradAya. I do not formally belong to Ramanuja/Madhva sampradAyas, though I accept Sri Ramanujacharya as the ultimate Acharya.

  15. Dear sir,

    I'm having a doubt. Recently I had come across a statement that there is no worship of sri murti in the four vedas! Is it true?How can vaishnavas defend their worshipping of murties of Vishnu? Is there any statemnt in the Vedas which supports the worship of sri murti?

    1. Dear Munshi,

      I have referred to a book (in Tamil) called "Vishnu Chitta Vijayam, Part 4", published by Srivaishnava Sudarsanam/Srivaishnavasri, Srirangam (page 120) in which the following convincing argument is given:

      "It is the opinion of the ignorant that there is no Murti Puja in the Vedas. There are many places in which the Vedas talk about Murti Puja. For example, in the Rigveda (Mandala X, Sukta 130, Mantra 3), we have the statement 'kAsIt pramA pratimA' which means 'what was the size and what was the deity form (mUrti form) of that God?'. Sayana's Bhashya for 'pratimA' here goes as 'pratimA means the vigraha form which the God takes in order to accept the sacrificial offerings in a yajna' (haviH prati yogitvena mIyate nirmIyata iti pratimA devatA'.

      In addition, there is a description of the yajna called 'iShTishayanaM'. (Taittiriya Samhita 5.2.7) There is an instruction to conduct the yajna with a form similar to that of Garuda using bricks. Here, we also find the following statement: 'If one worships the golden mUrti of Purusha seated on the mUrti of that bird, the conductor of the sacrifices (yajamAna) obtains all glory'. This is an obvious reference to Lord Vishnu seated on His mount, Garuda."

      In addition, it is said in the Ramayana that Rama worshiped Lord Vishnu (Himself) in the mUrti form inside ayodhya (in Ayodhya Kanda). In this worship, Valmiki states that Lord Rama performed a Vedic yajna in the temple for the purpose of this worship. In addition, when Rama goes to the hermitage of Agastya (in Aranya Kanda), he finds that Agastya, the sage, had consecrated the mUrti forms of many Vedic devatas. These two incidents also support the fact that mUrti pUja is supported by the Vedas.

  16. Dear Sir,

    I am disturbed by a certain comment by a saivite person.The comment runs like this:
    " The great Guru of that chain Gorakshanath Babaji still appears infront of these shishyas even now and all in this chain could achieved Nirvikalpa samadhi like Narayana rishi who wrote Purushsooktham of Shiva in Rig Veda-10.90 (Who later took birth as Krishna together with his shishya Nara rishi as Arjuna). "
    I am fully aware that the purusha suktam is fully devoted to Narayana only.But I am having a doubt on the Nara Narayana issue.Are they really Krishna and arjuna?Why did they perform Purushamedha yajna for Five nights(Does this have anything to do with the Pancharatra Agamas?) and why did they want to become all beings,supreme,etc.If that sage Narayana is Parabrahma Krishna Himself,why did he have to do that yajna and desire to be all creation/beings?Also this Nara Narayana story is I think present in the mahabharata also.Also, I would be grateful if you enlighten us more abou the Hri=Bhudevi issue as you promised to Mr.Niladri. Please reply soon, thank you!

    Your servant.

    1. Dear Munshi Padma,

      There are many instances in the Shanti Parva section of the Mahabharata which assert that Nara and Narayana are indeed Arjuna and Krishna respectively.

      Do not worry about the comments of anti-Vishnu folks. They will never understand the avatAra tattva properly without shedding their hatred.

      I clarify your other questions soon.

      Your servant

  17. Sir is Rudra Hridaya Upanishad which claims shockingly that MahaVishnu is the resul of union between Rudra and Sakti is inauthentic?What are its reasons?

    1. It is inauthentic because it contradicts many statements in the Vedas that declare Mahavishnu as supreme and aprAkRta (eg., Narayana Upanishad, Mahopanishad, Subala Upanishad, Narayana Suktam, Purusha Suktam, etc. etc.). This also contradicts many statements in the two itihAsas -- Srimad Valmiki Ramayana and Mahabharata -- where there are innumerable statements of Vishnu's supremacy over Brahma and Siva.

  18. Dear sir,
    I would be grateful if u give the Vaishnava interpretation of this Harivamsa statement:

    “ahaM brahmA kapilo yo.apyanantaH | putrAH sarve brahmaNashchAtivIrAH |
    tvattaH sarve devadeva prasUtA | evaM sarveshaH kAraNAtmA tvamIDyaH |” (Harivamsa Parva 2-74-34)
    “O the lord of lord! Myself (Krishna/ Vishnu), brahma, kapila, ananta (sheSha), all the valiant sons of brahma who conquered over the internal enemies - all are created from you. Hence you are the lord of all. Hence you, the lord of all, are worthy of praise”.
    A Saivite told me that Vishnu(Krishna) is adressing it to shiva.

    And one from Mahabharata:
    “sa e?a rudra bhaktas ca kesavo rudra sa?bhava? |sarvabhutabhava? jñatva li?ge 'rcayati ya? prabhum | tasminn abhyadhika? priti? karoti v??abhadhvaja? |” (MBH 7:172:89-90)
    “Kesava is that devoted worshipper of Rudra who has sprung from Rudra himself. The Lord Kesava always worshipped Siva in the phallic emblem as the origin of all creatures. The God having the bull for his mark cherisheth greater regard for Kesava”.

    Could you please remove my doubts and clarify it to me?

    1. That chapter/some verses in it is/are an interpolation. Challenge your Saivite friend to show any Shaivite scholar before 15th century referring to that verse.

      On the other hand, we have chapters in Harivamsa proclaiming the supremacy of Vishnu that have been quoted by none other than Shri Shankara Bhagavatpada Acharya.

    2. The second verse that you quoted also seems to be an interpolation in the Drona Parva section of the Mahabharata. In many ways, it resembles the spurious Upamanyu interpolation in Anushasana Parva.

  19. It is possible that it may be an interpolation. NeelakaNtha dikshitar was not above inserting spurious texts. But we need not assume it to be so. It does not hurt our sampradAya one bit to accept that claim as genuine.

    Fact is, the sAttvika purAnAs say that Shiva worshipped Vishnu and asked him for a boon. The boon asked by Shiva is that in one of his avatAras, sriman nArAyaNa must worship him so that he (Shiva) will be highly respected by the manushyas and devas. Obviously, BhagavAn agreed to this request.

    Now, the only avatAra in which bhagavAn actually worshipped Shiva was in Krishna avatArA. And even in that avatArA, he says that when he worshipped Shiva, he worshipped the antaryAmin of shiva and not shiva, the devatA per se. That's the key to interpreting that incident.

    If we assume that incident is not an interpolation, we can easily link it to Krishna's explanation of his worship of Shiva in the Santi Parva. In which case, look at the slokas Krishna used to worship Shiva. These can be easily explained as follows:

    rudro devastvaM rudanAdrAvaNAchcha
    rorUyamANo drAvaNAchchAtidevaH |
    bhaktaM bhaktAnAM vatsalaM vatsalAnAM
    kIrtyA yu~NkShveshAdya prabhavAmyantareNa ||2-74-22

    shrIkR^iShNa said:

    Lord! you are lord rudra since you are the one who cries, you cause crying, you destroy the world appearing in the form of birth and death. You are the primal god. I am the devotee of your devotees, I am the affectionate of your affectionate. Please make me partake the fame of victory. Today I seek refuge in you, the ultimate refuge.

    Here, Krishna is referring to the antaryAmin of Rudra by the pretext of worshipping Shiva. It is nArAyaNa who is known as Rudra. Instead of interpreting it as he "cries", we can say, he "roars" as explained in that his roaring scares the asuras. All these are general attributes and can refer to nArAyANa as Rudra.

    grAmyAraNyAnAM tvaM patistvaM pashUnAM
    khyAto devaH pashupatiH sarvakarmA |
    nAnyastvattaH paramo devadeva
    jagatpatiH suravIrArihantA ||2-74-23

    Lord of lords! You are the lord of those who have denounced the pleasures of life. Hence you are famous by the name, lord of living beings. This entire world is your creation. There is no one above you. You are the lord of the world and the slayer of the enemies of valiant deva-s.

    This is again a general meaning. The upanishads refer to dva bird does not eat, but looks on. nArAyaNa is apahatapApma. So, he is paShupati and Sarvewswara.

    bhavAnAdyaH prItidaH prANadashcha |
    tasmAddhi tvAmIshvaraM prAhurIshaM
    santo vidvAMsaH sarvashAstrArthatajj~nAH ||2-74-24

    You are the lord of lords and the great ones. You are the primal person, you provide pleasure and you provide life. The good and the wise, knowledgeable about the meanings of all scriptures pronounce you as the god and the lord.

  20. Contd...

    Aloka sarva sAstrAni vichAreta...dhyEyo nArAyaNo hari. He is Isvara as per vishnu sahasranAmA. Again, this connotes the antaryAmin only.

    bhUtaM yasmAjjagadatyantadhIra
    tvatto.avyaktAdakSharAdakSharesha |
    tasmAttvAmAhurbhava ityeva bhUtaM
    sarveshvarANAM mahatAmapyudAram ||2-74-25

    You are the ultimate. You are the one who prompts the intellect. You are the lord of the imperishable. You the incomprehensible, the one who does not have destruction, the supreme lord who creates the world. Hence the wise call you bhava. Actually, you are eternally accomplished. You are highly benevolent even towards the great gods.

    Bhava is interpreted as a name of nArAyaNa in the upanishads by srI ranga rAmAnuja muni. The rest of this verse resonates with the Gita sloka, "Param Brahma Param Dhama..." as stated by Arjuna about srI Krishna. Thus, these refer to nArAyaNa only.

    yasmAjjitairabhiShikto.asi sarvai-
    rdevAsuraiH sarvabhUtaishcha deva |
    maheshvaraM vishvakarmANamAhu-
    stvAM vai sarve tena devAtideva ||2-74-26

    Lord! All the deva-s, asura-s (demons) and the entire living entities, conquered by you, have anointed you as the great lord. All the wise call you, the lord, the creator of the world, as the great lord or the lord of the gods.

    The meaning needs no explanation. It is srI hari who is praised by srI krishna!

    pUjyo devaiH pUjyase nityadA vai
    shashvachChreyaH kA~NkShibhirvaradAmeyavIrya |
    tasmAdvikhyAto bhagavAndevadevaH
    satAmiShTaH sarvabhUtAtmabhAvI ||2-74-27

    O great lord! The one who is enriched with immeasurable valiancy! the one who provide boons! The gods, always wishing for the auspicious, always worship you, the supreme lord, to be worshipped. You are famous as the lord, the lord of gods. You are the god preferred by the good men. You create the entire physical world within yourself.

    The reference to the deity being a varaprasaddhi could be Krishna's way of indicating that he is worshipping himself through Rudra because he gave that boon to Rudra!

    bhUmitrayANAM deva yasmAtpratiShThA
    punarlokAnAM bhAvanAmeyakIrtiH |
    tryambaketi prathamaM tena nAma
    tavAprameya tridisheshanAtha ||2-74-28

    O lord whose form is immeasurable and who is the lord of deva-s like brahma! O the lord who promotes the welfare of the world! O the one who creates the world! You are the refuge of the three worlds (earth, the nether world and heaven). Hence your primal name is tryambaka (the three eyed lord). Your fame is immeasurable.

    Note the cleverness of Krishna here. Bhagavan has given his own interpretation of the name "Tryambaka". If he had interpreted it as the 3 eyed one, it might have caused a doubt - because although we can take "3 eyed one" as Narasimha, the deity who is standing in front of Krishna also has 3 eyes! So, he provides a more general explanation which clearly shows that he is referring to the antaryAmin!

  21. Contd...

    sharvaH shatrUNAM shAsanAdaprameya-
    stathA bUyaH shAsanAchcheshvareNa |
    sarvavyApitvAchcha~NkaratvAchcha sadbhiH
    shabdasyeshAnaH shrIkarArkAgryatejAH ||2-74-29

    You are called sharva since you are the destroyer. Since you rule over the entire enemies, you are enriched with immeasurable power. Since you rule over the entire world in the form of lord, you are immeasurable. Since you are all pervading and auspicious for the good men, you are immeasurable. O the supreme lord! O the one who makes the accomplishment of wealth possible! You are the lord of all voices. Your splendour is greater than the sun.

    All this requires a deeper interpretation, but I have no time. But "sarvam sharva shivas sthAnur" should explain that sarva is a name of vishnu as per sahasranAmA.

    saMsaktAnAM nityadA yatkaroShi
    shamaM bhrAtR^ivyAnyadvyanaishIH samastAn |
    tasmAddevaH sha~Nkaro.asyaprameyaH
    sadbhirdharmaj~naiH kathyase sarvanAthaH ||2-74-30

    You always provide comfort and peace to your devotees. You punish all the demons who oppose you as enemies. Hence you are called sha~Nkara having immense power. Good men who are fixed in dharma call you the lord of all.

    Shankara is a name of Narasimha as per the narasimha tApanIya. We know that Rudra is always meditating on Sankarshana and the amsam of Sankarshana, ie, Narasimha as his antaryAmin. Shiva, as Ahirbudhnya, worshipped Narasimha with the mantra rAja pada stotra. This is thus, a clear reference to Narasimha as the antaryAmin of Rudra.

    dattaH prahAraH kulishena pUrvaM
    taveshAna surarAj~nAtivIrya |
    kanThe nailyaM tena te yatpravR^ittaM
    tasmAtkhyAtastvaM nIlakaNTheti kalpaH ||2-74-31

    O highly valiant lord! Long ago, the king of deva-s, indra struck your neck with vajra. Hence there was a mark of blue. Hence you became famous as the one with blue neck. You perceive all. Even then you pardon all such deeds.

    Once again, Krishna shows his cleverness. Shiva attained the name of nIlakaNtha when he drank the poison. He attained the name of SitikaNtha when his neck turned black because he was strangled by nArAyaNa. Avoiding the poison incident to ensure there is no confusion, Krishna addresses the antaryAmin.

    We can interpret this incident the following ways - 1) Either Indra, at some point, hit nArAyaNa on the neck which turned his neck black (not blue, as I don't agree with the interpretation above) and we don't have the text, 2) Or, it could actually be a reference to nArAyaNa strangling shiva's neck, turning it black. SurarAja or Indra is a name of Vishnu and Vajra is always a general reference to his ayudhams (in the rAmAyaNa, Upendra, an avatAra of Vishnu, is hailed as Vajra pAni Indra!). So it refers to Shiva being strangled by Vishnu and attaining the name of nIlakaNtha/SitikaNtha (Note, both names can be interpreted as Black necked).

    Since Shiva is the body of Brahmam (yasya AtmA sarIram, anganyAnya devata), this name denotes first shiva, then principally the antaryAmin. But the mention of such an incident also shows that Shiva is NOT the supreme being, as he attained the name and fame due to nArAyaNa.

    Such, is the intent of Krishna.

  22. yalli~NgA~NkaM yachcha loke bhagA~NkaM
    sarvaM soma tvaM sthAvaraM ja~NgamaM cha |
    prAhurviprAstvAM guNinaM tattvavij~nA-
    stathA dhyeyAmambikAM lokadhAtrIm ||2-74-32

    O Soma! The fixed and movable entities of this world marked by masculine and feminine genders, are the manifestations of both of you. The wise brahmins, knowledgeable about the principles, call you the one with qualities and worship ambikA, as the mother of the world.

    Soma means "One who is like nectar" as per sahasranAmA "somapo amritapas somah" and another interpretaion of the name is given by srI ranga rAmAnuja muni, which can be seen in this article. Also, even if we take Soma as "One who is with Uma," we remember that Narasimha is referred to as UmApati in the tApanIya upanishad. UmApati = Lord of Fame.

    vedairgItA sA hi tattvaM prasUtA
    yaj~no dIkShANAM yoginAM chAtirUpaH |
    nAtyadbhutaM tvatsamaM deva bhUtaM
    bhUtam bhavyaM bhavadevAya nAsti ||2-74-33

    The same mother (ambikA) is described in veda-s. She is the mother of the prime principle. You are the wealth of those who offer sacrifices. You are the wealth of yoga, who perform yogas. By the worldly form, you are the divine idol. There is no one else most wonderful and similar to you in the past, present and future.

    This can be taken as Lakshmi (Narasimha is known as Ambika pathi, though the actual sloka does not refer to Ambika by name and need not be taken as such). Lakshmi is the jagan mAtha. The rest of the verse describes Vishnu only.

    ahaM brahmA kapilo yo.apyanantaH
    putrAH sarve brahmaNashchAtivIrAH |
    tvattaH sarve devadeva prasUtA
    evaM sarveshaH kAraNAtmA tvamIDyaH ||2-74-34
    O the lord of lord! Myself, brahma, kapila, ananta (sheSha), all the valiant sons of brahma who conquered over the internal enemies - all are created from you. Hence you are the lord of all. Hence you, the lord of all, are worthy of praise.

    This is absolutely true. In addition to Brahma, Kapila, Ananta, the Sons of Brahma (includes Rudra-pArvati pati himself, Prajapatis and the sanatkumaras), BhagavAn nArAyaNa is worshipped by Krishna as well. The bhagavatam contains a story of how Arjuna and Krishna worshipped Mahavishnu in the milk ocean. SrI rAmA worshipped srIman nArAyaNa in his home (who is srI ranganatha).

    Thus, these slokas pose no problems at all. Note that among the boons granted by shiva after Krishna finished his stuti, Shiva says to Krishna,

    avadhyastvamajeyashcha mattaH shUratarastathA |
    bhavitAsItyavochaM yattattathA na tadanyathA || 2-74-38

    You can not be killed, you can not be conquered, you will be more valiant than me. All this will happen as told by me. None will be able to change this.

    If he was the supreme deity, no-one would be able to become more valiant than him, even if it was a boon granted to a devotee. One might ask, if the deity is omnipotent, can he not make the boon receiver greater than him? Answer provided by kuresar is that omnipotence means - "doing whatever is possible and whatever exists to be done". The existence of an entity with valor greater than Brahman is impossible and hence, an impossible thing does not exist to be accomplished by omniscience.

  23. Note the following that Shiva says,

    bilvodakeshvaro nAma bhavitAhamihAnagha |
    deveshvara tvayAsthApi devasiddhopayAchanaH ||2-74-40

    O the one without any sin! O lord of lords! O lord! I will remain here by the name of the lord of bilva and water (bilvodakeshvara) as you installed me. According to me, all requests made from here will become fruitful.

    Note that Shiva calls Krishna as Deveshwara! If he really had been the recipient of the stuti, no-one would call his devotee that way.

    Shiva will stay with that name and everyone can worship him to get jnAnam about Vishnu. That is what he means by saying "all their requests will be fruitful". Bilva is, as per the purAnAs, also a favorite of Lakshmi and can be offered to Vishnu and it is indeed being offered to srInivAsA at Tirumala. So, one can worship the antaryAmin of shiva with Bilva as well. If one regards shiva as a guru, he can worship shiva directly as a guru with bilva.

    The mode of prathishtai of course, is not saiva agama, but pAncharAtrA, which allows installation of Lingam if it is done with the right mindset of Shiva as a bhakta of Vishnu. We can see Shiva in many vaishnava temples installed in this manner.

    ihasthopoShito vidvAnbhaktimAnmama keshava |
    trirAtramIpsitA.NllokAngamiShyati janArdana ||2-74-41

    O keshava! O janArdana! The wise person who worships me with devotion, fasting for three nights, will attain the worlds desired by him.

    In what manner must the wise person worship shiva? Shiva himself uses the Keshava and Janardhana namas to indicate this. Keshava means "Lord of Brahma and Rudra", Janardhana means Lord of all. So, the wise man who knows the intent of Krishna's stuti to Shiva will worship Shiva for attaining knowledge of Vishnu. That is the intent here.

    This much explains the verses. Elsewhere, Shiva explictly says that Hari, the Lord of all worlds, the supreme thief (of the jivatma) is actually worshipping a lesser deity like himself (shiva) and is overwhelmed by it. The exact harivamsha quote of this can be provided if needed.

    Of course, this could be an interpolation as well. The end of the chapter does no describe anything about Shiva appearing in front of Krishna but only talks about the mountain being blessed by Krishna in the phala sruti. But we vaishnavas need not fear even such texts - none of them contradict shruti.


    I forgot to address one point:

    ahaM brahmA kapilo yo.apyanantaH
    putrAH sarve brahmaNashchAtivIrAH |
    tvattaH sarve devadeva prasUtA
    evaM sarveshaH kAraNAtmA tvamIDyaH ||2-74-34

    O the lord of lord! Myself, brahma, kapila, ananta (sheSha), all the valiant sons of brahma who conquered over the internal enemies - all are created from you. Hence you are the lord of all. Hence you, the lord of all, are worthy of praise.

    Here, it is mentioned that Krishna, in addition to others, is created from the supreme being. How can we interpret this? There is no problem. The atharvasiras, quoted by srI rAmAnuja, states the following:

    "Brahma, Vishnu, Rudra, Indra are all effects. One must worship the Cause, which is Shambhu."

    SrI rAmAnuja interprets Shambhu as Narayana and says that sruti enjoins meditation on the jagath kAranan, nArAyaNa. Brahma, Rudra and Indra are all creations. Vishnu is mentioned as created and effect only because he is a manifestation of nArAyaNa in the material world and is included in the effects category. But Vishnu alone among these devas is identical to nArAyaNa as evidenced by Vishnu Gayatri. The Vishnu Purana itself says, "The same Janardhana has become Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva", so it is normal to include Vishnu among these other lesser deities. As per "ajAyamAno bahudA vijAyatE", he, though being unborn, is born of his own will among the created ones.

    Similarly, the sloka addresses the antaryAmin of Rudra and says, "Oh BhagavAn nArAyaNa, also known as Shambhu in the Atharvasiras, who stands as the antaryAmin of Rudra! You are worshipped by Myself, Brahma, etc, who are created by you!"

    Here, we use the nyAya elaborated earlier and interpret that Krishna, who is identical to the antaryAmin of Rudra, is including himself in the category of created beings by virtue of being born of his own will (and not of karma).

  25. ADDENDUM 2

    I paid a closer attention to this sloka and would like to rephrase my earlier explanation as follows. The sloka does not mention anything about Indra or Vajra, its just the commentator (nIlakaNtha) reading such irrelevant things here:

    dattaH prahAraH kulishena pUrvaM
    taveshAna surarAj~nAtivIrya |
    kanThe nailyaM tena te yatpravR^ittaM
    tasmAtkhyAtastvaM nIlakaNTheti kalpaH ||2-74-31

    For this sloka, please take the following meaning and not the one I gave earlier.

    O highly valiant lord! Long ago, sUrarAja (rishi nArAyaNa), struck your neck with his valor (surarAjnAtivIrya). Hence there was a mark of black. Hence you became famous as the one with black neck. You perceive all. Even then you pardon all such deeds.

    Once again, Krishna shows his cleverness. Shiva attained the name of nIlakaNtha when he drank the poison. He attained the name of SitikaNtha when his neck turned black because he was strangled by nArAyaNa. Avoiding the poison incident to ensure there is no confusion, Krishna addresses Shiva as the one whose neck was strangled to a black color by nArAyaNa. nIlakaNtha also means "black neck".

    sUrarAjA denotes the Lord of jnAnIs or the Lord of Nitya Suris (Adi Sesha, Garuda, etc) and it is a reference to rishi nArAyaNa. The mahAbhArata describes the incident of Shiva's fight with Nara-Narayana rishis and how the latter strangled Shiva's neck to make it black.

    Throughout the stuti, the antaryAmin was referred to directly. In this sloka, Bhagavan refers to the antaryAmin (Vishnu) as One who has the black necked shiva as his body. As per yasya atma sarIram, anganyAnya devata, all the devas are the body of Brahman. So, just as the names of the body pertain to the soul, the names of the devas pertain to Brahman. This sloka refers thus, to the antaryAmin, who has NilakaNtha as his body and hence can be referred to as NilakaNtha.

    By referring to the black neck, Krishna has pointed out that Shiva attained this neck-color and fame on account of rishi nArAyaNa. In this particular sloka, therefore, he is emphasising that the being standing before him, whose antaryAmin he is praising, is a vibhUti of nArAyaNa and has attained all his fame due to nArAyaNa's grace. Hence, here too, Krishna is worshipping himself.

    One must also note that throughout this stOtra, bhagavan does not glorify well-known lakshanas of Shiva's body such as matted locks, crescent, cobra around neck, the damaru, the trident, etc. And he does not mention Shiva's chief exploits like tripurAsura vadham, andhakAsura vadham, swallowing hala-hala, etc (although even these incidents were accomplished by Shiva with the grace and assistance of nArAyaNa only). In contrast, most shiva stutis seen in tAmasa purAnAs and shaiva works dwell on such things. That is enough to show that the stuti is about Vishnu, the antaryAmin of Shiva, only.

    Lastly, BhagavAn also does not practice humility. He does not say, "I am an inferior, ignorant, so save me, etc" which is seen in most stOtrAs where the author expresses his humility and helplessness towards the deity he is invoking. That is because BhagavAn is praising himself. While Vishnu is fully capable of worshipping himself, he cannot practice humility towards himself!

  26. And lastly (and this really is the last post), I must state clearly that Ambika is a name of Lakshmi. I had not mentioned that properly in the previous slokas, though I had stressed that Narasimha is known as Ambika pathi. Ambika just means "mother" or a uttama strI with all lakshanas, hence, it refers to Lakshmi here.

    JitantE pundarikAksha!

  27. UPDATE: I have written a detailed and more accurate commentary on those verses of Krishna supposedly praying to Shiva. Coming soon as a separate post on this blog.

  28. On the "gaNapati" mantra in the Rg Veda that I had interpreted recently - a few notes. Since it does not fit into an article, I thought of posting it as a comment.This section is probably appropriate.

    Om Gannaanaam Tvaa Ganna-Patim Hava-Amahe
    Kavim Kaviinaam-Upama-Shravas-Tamam |
    Jyessttha-Raajam Brahmannaam Brahmannas-Pata
    Aa Nah Shrnnvan-Nuutibhih-Siida-Saadanam ||

    Meaning: AUM (praNava denoting seshatvam), unto you, sriman nArAyaNa, (tvA), we offer sacrifice, ie, self-surrender (havAmahE) who are known as the lord (pati) possessing multitudes of auspicious attributes (gaNa), of the class of prapannas (gaNanAm), the wisdom of the wise (who have knowledge of liberation), ie, you are the means or upAyam as well since knowledge is dependent on your grace and the wise are your vibhUtIs (kavim kavInAm), the highest (upama) and most desirable (tamam) fame of being the refuge of all, hence you are the end or puruSartham too (shravas). The one who is older than even Brahma (jyEshta), supremely independent (rAjam), the form of the vedas (brahmaNAm), the lord of Brahma (brahmaNaspati), hearing our supplication for protection (shrNvaNUtibhih), destroy (sAdanam) that which covers, ie, ignorance that hides knowledge of our true self (sIdati iti sad).

  29. Now, the icing on the cake for sri vaishnava readers. This mantra should indeed remind you of the followng pasurAm in the thiruvAimozhi:

    uyarvu aRa uyar nalam udaiyavan yavan avan*mayarvu aRa madhi nalam aruLinan yavan avan*
    ayarvu aRum amarargaL athipathi yavan avan*thuyaraRu sudar adi thozhuthezhu enmananE! (~thiruvAimozhi 1.1.1)

    The superficial meaning of this pAsuram (translation from the internet) is: Oh my mind! you attain salvation by prostrating at the bright shining Lotus Feet of the One,- the unparalleled one, who has got all auspicious attributes, who has blessed me, out of his own volition, with gnAnam and Bhakthi which destroys my "agnAnam" (ignorance and wrong knowldege) completely- who is the Chief of immortal dEvAs."

    Note now the correlation. We take the last line of the pAsuram in conjunction with the first 3 lines as that is the intent of Nammazhwar:

    Om Gannaanaam Tvaa Ganna-Patim Hava-Amahe - uyarvu aRa uyar nalam udaiyavan yavan avan, uyarvu aRa uyar nalam udaiyavan yavan avan

    Both have the meaning: We surrender to the Lord of infinitely auspicious attributes

    Kavim Kaviinaam-Upama-Shravas-Tamam - mayarvu aRa madhi nalam aruLinan yavan avan , thuyaraRu sudar adi thozhuthezhu enmananE!

    Both have the meaning: We surrender to the Lord, who out of his own volition gave the jivA unparalleled knowledge which makes him the means to moksha (which again is attaining him).

    Jyessttha-Raajam Brahmannaam Brahmannas-Pata - ayarvu aRum amarargaL athipathi yavan avan, thuyaraRu sudar adi thozhuthezhu enmananE!

    Both have the meaning: (We surrender) to the Lord of the Devas (thiruvAimozhi) or the Lord of Brahma who is supremely independent ( Rg Veda)

    Aa Nah Shrnnvan-Nuutibhih-Siida-Saadanam - thuyaraRu sudar adi thozhuthezhu enmananE!

    Both have the meaning: Accepting our Prapatti (Self-Surrender), destroy our sorrows arising from ignorance.

    I thought this would interest the public. For general readers, I would like to remark how amusing it is that this mantra with so many deep meanings is so popularly dedicated to ganEsha by a face value reading of “gaNapati”.

    For sri vaishnavas, this would now make everyone understand why srI parAsara bhattar describes the Divya Prabandham as follows:

    rishim jushAmahe krshNa trshNaa tattvam ivOditam | sahasra SakhAm ya: adrAkshit drAviDeem brahma samhitAm

    Meaning: We lovingly pay obeisance to the one, much-honoured, Rishi, who was a visible manifestation of the truth called 'krishna-trishna' (Intoxicated by love for Krishna) had taken, who 'saw' (as the vedic seers) and gave to the world, the Veda Upanishad of a Thousand verses in Tamil, as they were, a thousand shakhas of the Veda (ThiruvAimozhi) that praises Brahman.

    A lovely sloka from a great acharya on another.

  30. are there any verses in svetAsvatArA up. which refer to more specific names of vishnu such as narayana or unique chacteristics attributed only to him...?

    1. Of course, there is:

      mahān prabhur vai puruṣaḥ sattvasyaiṣa pravartakaḥ / (3.12)

      This is none but Vishnu, as He alone is shuddha-sattva among the trimUrtis. This is well known not only in the sAttvika purANas, but also in shruti such as Maitrayani Upanishad which specifies Vishnu as the sAttvic one among Brahma, Vishnu, and Rudra.

    2. "unique chacteristics attributed only to him...?"

      Dunno what you mean by that. All characteristics in the Veda described as attributes of Brahman are unique to him, namely, vishNu. There is no question of another sharing or possessing his qualities. Names like Rudra, Purusha, etc denote nArAyaNa only in the svEtAsvatAra.

      A long, long time ago - Long before modern day Shaivas and Veerashaiva-advaitins took to the internet and started writing asinine articles, it was well accepted by vedAntins, non-vedAntins, secular poets and all that the term "puruSha" and "puruShottama" in the context of Brahman denoted only vAsudeva and no-one else. This is mentioned by srI yAmunAchArya, srI parAsara bhattar and by non-vaishnavas like Kaalidasa as well as by secular scholars of science like Aryabhata, etc.

    3. thanks for answer...i m just an infant in serious study of vedas....just trying to understand...

  31. Sabash!
    Aitreya Brahmana Verse 1 is written to portray the all-encompassing nature of vishnu. All arguments can be settled from vedic perspective an in favor of vishnu and with due respect to all other devatas.

  32. Also, adiyen came to know that going by the anukramani index for Rg Veda, the "Om Gaananam tvaa ganapati ...." has nothing to do with MahaGanapati/Ganapati/ Vinayaka, son of Parvati and Siva. As per anukramani index, it refers to Bruhaspati, the Deva guru. Also, one can say that Lord Vishnu being the Guru of all Gurus ( Lord Hayagriva), even in that sense it can be made applicable to Narayana. Anyway, ultimately as per your beautiful explanation, as antaryami of all devathas, it is completely and comprehensively applicable to Sriman Narayana alone.

    Similarly there is another verse in Rg book 10 verse 112 verse 9 :

    ni su sīda ghanapate ghanesu tvāmāhurvipratamamkavīnām |

    Even in this verse as per anukramani, it refers to Indra and not Ganapati or Vinayaka.

    Again may be using your wonderful explanation it can be made to refer to Narayana alone.

    Thanks a lot to Aaryamaa and HBB for wonderful explanation.

    BTW, adiyen got this anukramani info from Hinduism stack exchange where an answer was provided by a member called Keshav Srinivasan using the Anukramani details.

    1. Gananam tva ganapatim havamahe and ni Su sida ghanapate are included in Brahmanaspati suktam of Rg Veda. ayam mE hasto bagavAn ayam mE bagavatharaja rik is included in this suktam. Many mantras in Sri Rudram are also in pancha rudram of Rg veda. It looks like at latter times these riks are adapted in saiva worship.

  33. Also sandyavandana mantras provide another pramanam for claiming primacy for vishNu's and nArAyana's in vedic tradition.

    You can hear a lot of vishnu namas in this yajur veda nitya vidhi mantras.

    Vedic tradition has settled on vishNu, nArAyAna, madhava, and govinda as worthy of maximum worship on a daily basis.

    Advaitam, vishishtAdvaitam, and dvaitam take the same perspective. Contrary opinion is not in line with vedic tradition.

    Rudram itself provides an ancient perspective on how rishis felt about the viswam and vishNu. This is a very ancient perspective. We have a more refined and divisive perspective even starting with latter vedic period. Yet common practice starting with sandyavandanam provides proof as to what rishis thought. We need to reflect on these symbolisms and hierarchize the devatas according to primary vedic tradition.

  34. "Om Gaananam tvaa ganapati ...." should be correctly interpreted as Vishwambhara roopa of Lord Narayana himself. Vinayaka obtained his form after meditating on this aspect of Narayana.

    1. That interpretation is wrong. The correct interpretation has already been given in the comments above. It does not refer to any elephantine forms of the Lord or Vinayaka in any manner.

      The "vaisvAnara state" of the mAndukya is interpreted as a form with a trunk by dvaitins, which forms the kernel of such theories like this one on "vishvAmbara form". It is not right.

  35. Dear All,

    I said I would not deal with Veerashaiva anymore, but we would like to report a breakthrough. The old fool has finally snapped. After our recent exchange, being unable to hide his bias under the guise of hari-hara aikya, he has come out as a full blown shaiva.

    This is what we wanted. If you are a shaiva, say so. Do not hide under “hari-hara aikya vAdin” or “advaitin” labels. Be honest. We have no enmity with you if there is no dishonesty, lies and deception. Believe in Lingodbhava and the other nonsense all you want.

    So, it is with great joy that I’d like to address, again, certain balderdash that the toad has been spewing.

    First he quotes the “sOmaH pavatE” mantra and says,
    //सोमः पवते जनिता मतीनां जनिता दिवो जनिता पृथिव्या:।
    जनिताग्नेर्जनिता सूर्यस्य जनितेन्द्रस्य जनितोत विष्णोः 9.5 which depicts
    Shiva as the progenitor of agni, surya, indra, vishnu, etc. is slightly
    elaborated in the BhasmajAbAlopanishad://

    Ha Ha. Desperate old fool.

    The bhasmajAbala Upanishad is not authentic. But ok, we will come to it later. Let us first address this “sOma pavatE” mantra.

    The ignoramus does not realize that “sOma” is a name of vishNu as per the sahasranAma – “sOmapo amrtapaH sOmaH”.

    Thus, the “sOma” in that mantra refers to the Lord nArAyaNa only. Not to Shiva So, the meaning of the mantra is as follows:

    somaH pavate janitA matInAM janitA divo janitA pR^ithivyAH |
    janitAgnerjanitA sUryasya janitendrasya janitota viShNoH ||

    Meaning:The Lord who is like nectar on account of his auspicious attributes (sOmaH), 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 (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.

    “sOma” has three meanings – “One who is like nectar” or “sa-uma” – “One who is associated with splendor (uma)”. Note that Narasimha is referred to as “umApati” in the nrsimha tApanIya Upanishad. ShrI ranga rAmAnuja muni interprets “sOmaH” as “sOti utpAdatiti sOmaH”.

    vishNu is an avatAra of the parama-puruSha in the material world. This is reteirated by the shAstra as follows:

    gatiSca nastvam pUrvajo jagatah prabhuh | rakshArtham sarva-bhUtAnAm vishNustvam upajagmivAn || (MB Udyoga 12.11)

    "You are our refuge; You are the first-born amongst the gods. You are the Lord of the Universe. You have assumed the role of vishNu for the protection of all the worlds.”

    srisHtistHityantakaraNI brahmavishnushivAtmikAm | sa sangyAm yAti bhagavAnEka eva janArdanah |" (Vishnu Purana 1:2:66)

    Meaning: "That god Janardana alone assumes the forms of Brahma, Vishnu and Rudra for the tasks of creation, maintenance and destruction".

    In the Veda, the Supreme Cause is known by various names like “Sat”, “Atma”, “Brahman”. These terms are applied to “nArAyaNa”, who is then mentioned to be distinct from brahma and rudra (eko ha vai nArAyaNa AsIt, na brahma nEshAna) and is said to be identical to vishNu in the vishNu gAyatri. Then, this Being is said to be born as well – “ajAyamAno bahudhA vijAyatE”.

    Thus, there is no scope for interpreting “sOma” as “shiva” on account of the name being declared as one of the names of bhagavAn and there is also no scope for declaring vishNu has a kArmic birth since he is identified as nArAyaNa himself.

    What Shaivas fail to understand is, they cannot prove Shiva as the supreme stand-alone god. "Shiva" itself is a common noun. They can only prove his paratva by identifying him as nArAyaNa. This is impossible, so they fail in all their attempts.


  36. Cont'd...

    Now, coming to the bhasma-jAbala Upanishad. It is not an authentic Upanishad for it has atleast not been quoted in its’ entirety. We do not deny an authentic Upanishad under the name could have existed, but whether the current form is genuine is doubtful. But why not? It can be interpreted properly.

    //स एव ब्रह्मोपदेशः । ब्रह्म सोमोऽहं पवनः सोमोऽहं पवते सोमोऽहं जनिता
    मतीनां सोमोऽहं जनिता पृथिव्याः सोमोऽहं जनिताऽग्नेः सोमोऽहं जनिता
    सूर्यस्य सोमोऽहं
    जनितेन्द्रस्य सोमोऽहं जनितोत विष्णोः सोमोऽहमेव जनिता स यश्चन्द्रमसो
    देवानां भूर्भुवस्वरादीनां सर्वेषां लोकानां च ।

    The above is the declaration of Parabrahman Shiva as the cause of
    everything in creation including the devas such as vishnu.//

    If by “Parabrahman Shiva/Soma”, you mean the Parabrahman nArAyaNa whose names are sOmaH (sOmapo amrtapaH sOmaH) and shivaH (shAsvataM shivaM achyutaM, sarvaM sarvasshivas sthAnur…), and that he has taken an avatAra as vishNu among the devas (ajAyamAno bahudhA vijAyatE, nArAyaNAya vidmahE vAsudevAya dimahi tanno vishNuh prachodayAt)

    …then you are 100% correct.

    //The Upanishad further says:

    विश्वं भूतं भुवनं चित्रं बहुधा जातं जायमानं च यत्सर्वस्य सोमोऽहमेव
    जनिता विश्वाधिको रुद्रो महर्षिः । हिरण्यगर्भादीनहं
    जायमानान्पश्यामि । यो रुद्रो अग्नौ यो अप्सु य ओषधीषु यो रुद्रो विश्वा
    भुवना विवेशैवमेव । अयमेवात्मान्तरात्मा
    ब्रह्मज्योतिर्यस्मान्न मत्तोऽन्यः परः । अहमेव परो विश्वाधिकः ।

    [The above resembles the familiar portion from the Taittiriya
    Mahanarayana Upanishad.]//

    Indeed, those mantras seem to be taken from the mahAnArAyaNa Upanishad. Readers are welcome to read the correct interpretation already provided in the blog through this link, saves me writing it up:

    A small note. The mantra belonging to the shrI rudraM – “yo rudrO agnou” is echoed in the svEtAsvatAra where “rudra” is replaced by “Deva” – “yO devO agnou”. This alone shows that “rudra”, “deva” etc are common nouns denoting parabrahman nArAyaNa and thus, “rudra” is a dispensible term which does not indicate the well-known rudradeva.

    So much for that. No shiva paratva here as well.


  37. Cont'd from above

    तत्र पूर्वस्यं दिशि ब्रह्मा कृताञ्जलिरहर्निशं मामुपास्ते ।
    दक्षिणस्यां दिशि विष्णुः कृत्वैव मूर्धाञ्जलिं मामुपास्ते ।
    सन्नताङ्ग उपास्ते ।

    [Brahma, Vishnu, Indra, etc. are meditating upon
    Shiva, with various postures signifying obeisance.]

    Obviously, this Upanishad is not authentic as stated earlier, but if you want to play along, then we can simply say Brahma, vishNu, Indra are saluting that Lord who is the indweller of Rudra.

    I haven't checked the online reference, but I am assuming it is Shiva who is saying "mAm upAsatE"?

    When Shiva says “mAm upAsatE”, here “mAm” refers to the antaryAmin of shiva by virtue of sharIrAtma bhAva (“yasya Atma sharIraM” ~ brihadAraNyaka upanishad) and sAmAnAdhikaraNya. This is very clearly stated in the mahAbhArata as follows:

    “vishNorcAtma bhagavatO bhavasya amita tejasaH” –vishNu is the antaryAmin of rudra.

    “nArAyaNAtmako GYeyaH pANDaveya yuge yuge”

    O Arjuna, know Rudra as 'nArAyaNAtmaka' in every yuga (nArAyaNatmaka = One whose mind is filled with meditation on nArAyaNa in bhakti yOgA, or One whose indweller is nArAyaNa).

    hamAtmA hi lokAnAM vishvAnAM pANDunandana tasmAdAtmAnamevAgre rudraM sampUjayAmyaham yadyahaM nArchayeyaM vai IshAnaM varadaM shivam AtmAnaM nArchayetkashchiditi me bhAvitaM manaH

    O Son of Pandu, I am indeed the AtmA, the indweller of the Vedas (lokAnAm) and worlds (vishvAnAm). Therefore, I worship myself first when I supposedly worship Rudra. If I did not worship the inner Self of Rudra also called Ishana, Shiva, the bestower of boons, some would not worship me. This is my opinion.

    That vishNu can worship himself is also validated by the words of krishNa in the same section:

    tasmin hi pUjyamAne vai devadeve maheshvare sampUjito bhavetpArtha devo nArAyaNaH prabhuH

    It is nArAyaNa, who is well-known as Deva (Possessor of auspicious attributes worthy of worship), PrabhuH (Master of all and hence the only one fit to worship) IN Maheshwara, the Lord of the Devas (pArvati pati rudradeva, who is mahEshwara and devadeva only due to nArAyaNa’s grace), who is worshipped.

    यं ब्रह्मा नावपश्यति । यं विष्णुर्नावपश्यति । यमिन्द्राग्नौ
    नावपश्येताम् । यं वरुणादयो नावपश्यन्ति ।

    [Brahma, Vishnu, Indra, Agni, Varuna, are all unable to comprehend Shiva.]

    A non-sequitor. The reference here is to the antaryAmin of shiva and not shiva as specified by “mAm”. Brahma, Indra, Agni, Varuna are jIvAs who cannot comprehend the glory of the Lord.

    vishNu also cannot comprehend his own glory. Because his glory is infinite, there is no end to it and thus, he cannot comprehend his own limits, being unlimited. This is reteirated in the bhAgavata purANa as follows:

    “tvam api na yayur antam anantatayā”, which means, “even you can not reach the end of your glories, because of it being unlimited”.

    Now, why isn’t Shiva mentioned along with all these deities as worshipping bhagavAn and not comprehending his glory? Because the upAsaNa is on Rudra shArIraka paramAtma and as such, the vision is considering Rudra (the body) and his antaryAmin (the self) as one entity, just as “Jack” signifies both Jack’s body and the self inside the body. Thus, Rudra is not mentioned to be praying here.

    So, again, there is no shiva paratva.


    1. Correction 3:

      //The reference here is to the antaryAmin of shiva and not shiva as specified by “mAm//

      "yaM" not "mAm". Same meaning though.

  38. Cont'd from above

    //अप्रमेयप्रभावं तं देवदेवमुमापतिम्। नमस्व देवं प्रयतो विश्वेशं हरमक्षयम् ।।

    Shiva's glory is beyond comprehension, Arjuna, purifying yourself, bow
    to that Devadeva, Umapati, the Lord of the Universe, Hara, the Imperishable.//

    This has already been refuted comprehensively. Owing to the mention of "krodhaja", the innumerable references in the Vedas as well as the mahAbhArata, the proofs in the rAmAyaNa etc, such an interpretation is not correct and is veda-virodha.

    "apramEya-prabhAva" - One whose strength is the Lord nArAyaNa who cannot be gauged by the senses.
    "viShvEshAna" - The ruler of the Universe, as he directs all minds of beings towards Brahman on account of his knowledge of Brahman.

    "hara" - The destroyer of kAma or desire. "akShaya" - One who does not abide in the sense-objects, ie, does not experience them.

    //The particular episode is of Brahma and Vishnu taking the form of a swan and a boar trying in vain to find the origin and end of Shiva.//

    The particular episode is of Veerashaiva desperately trying to claw and scratch a brick wall trying to break it down with his bare hands. Keep trying.


    1. Correction 2: Should be "viShvEshaM", not "viShvEshAna".

    2. Small note here - "viShvEshaM" can also mean "the master/ruler of all vidyAs". The term "viSvaM" denotes pUrnatva, ie, fullness or entirety or totality and hence, can refer to all brahma vidyAs that constitute the knowledge of Brahman. Rudra is the master of all knowledge in its' entirety - "iSAnas sarvavidyAnAm". Thus, he is "viSvEShaM".

  39. Cont'd..

    //The सोमः पवते mantra is annotated also in the 'sanatkumara samhita
    where Vishnu instructs Prabhakara:

    मतीनाञ्च दिवःपृथ्व्या वह्नेः सूर्यस्य वज्रिणः ।

    साक्षादपि च विष्णोश्च सोमो जनयितेश्वरः ॥//

    Whatever the source, nothing contradictory to vaiShnavas in that. "Soma" refers to our beautiful Lord nArAyaNa of course.


    द्यावाप्थिव्योरिन्द्राग्न्योर्विष्णोर्धातुर्यमस्य च ।

    वरुणस्य शशांकस्य जनिता परमेश्वरः ॥//

    A rAjasa purANa that is not valid in entirety. However, it is quite easily taken to denote vishNu as "paramEshvara" is his name:

    paramaatma ca sarveshhaam adhaarah *parameshvarah*;
    vishNu naamaa sa vedeshhu vedaanteshhu ca geeyate ~ vishNu purANa

    udbhavah kshobaNo devah SrI-garbhah *parameSvarah* ~ vishNu sahasranAma

    If the purANa slOka was spoken by shiva, then it can be easily discarded as rAjasa/tAmasa. Or, interpreted as the indweller of shiva as per context.


  40. //Vedantins do not subscribe to the unvedic concept of classification of
    puranas and vedas as sattvik, etc.//

    shrI rAmAnuja quotes the classification in his vedArtha sangraha, which means it was very well-known and accepted by all vedAntins.

    //Shankara has cited from the Shiva purana in the Vishnu sahasra nama bhashya to
    give the meaning for the name 'Rudra' as 'Shivah parama kaaranam', Shiva is the Supreme Cause.//

    Nobody says tAmasa purANas cannot be quoted at all. The sAttvika portions of tAmasa purANas and certain tAmasa portions themselves which offer a valid vedAntic explanation (such as Hari being called "pundarIkAksha" on account of offering his eye as lotus to shiva) have been quoted not only by advaitins, but also by vishishtadvaitins and dvaitins.

    Correction. Shankara quoted from a section of shiva purANa to explain "Rudra" as a name of nArAyaNa. Therefore, he quoted the entire slOka as it is quite inoffensive in nature and can be attributed to nArAyaNa. The context of a tAmasa purANa is never important.

    Even shrI ranga rAmAnuja muni quotes the section that Shankara does. That section offers an etymology of names like rudra, shiva, mahEshvara, etc and thus is quite useful for vedAntins. So, it is clear that the intent of all vaidikas is same - to extol nArAyaNa only.

    The completely useless portions like lingOdbhava, nrisimha samhAra by sharabha, etc are not quoted because they offer nothing and are completely anti-vedic. If the advaitins didn't accept this classification, one wonders why this so-valued tAmasa purANAs have no commentaries on them in their entirety.

    //Sri Vishveshvara Saraswati, in his yati dharma sangraha has cited from the Kurma purana, all for bringing out the Supremacy of Shiva, as the goal of sannyasins, to be meditated upon. He has also cited from the Shiva purana.//

    HBB has already written an entire article on Yati Dharma Sangraha. There is nothing shaiva about it, it is all vaiShnava, and quoting acceptable portions from tAmasa purANas is a common practice for all traditions of vedAnta. Enough with the nonsense.


  41. Cont'd from above...

    //The Nrsimha Uttara Tapini Upanishat teaches that the Trimurtis are products of Brahman through the agency of Maya. Here is a short article on this mantra with Shankaracharya's commentary, bringing out the essentially Advaitic teaching of the Upanishat://

    The Upanishad does not say that and the entire article is a useless waste of space. No need to even address it, its' complete garbage as usual from Veerashaiva trying to desperately prove his sadAshiva tUriya brahma vAda.

    Now, he says

    //Atharvashira and Atharvashikha upanishads shows Shiva as the source of
    the Trimurtis.//

    They do not. Let us explain these upanishads.

    First, the Atharvashika. Here is an interpretation:

    brahmaviShNurudrendrAste samprasUyante sarvANi chendriyANi saha bhUtairna

    Meaning: Brahma, Vishnu, Rudra, and Indra are produced along with indriyas and bhUtas.

    This talks about creation. The devas are produced out of karma, whereas vishNu is the self-manifest Lord himself (ajAyamAno bahudha vijAyatE).

    kAraNa.n kAraNAnA.n dhyAtA kAraNa.n tu dhyeyaH sarvaishvaryasampannaH

    Meaning: "The cause of all causes (kAraNAnAM kAraNam) is not dhAtA (Brahma) or dhyAtA (Rudra)"

    This mantra clarifies that neither "dhAtA" who is Brahma, nor "dhyAta" who is Rudra are the Cause. the Cause is different from them.

    That rudra is "dhyAtA" is clear from the mahAbhArata pramANA which says -nArAyaNAtmako jJeyaH pANDaveya yuge yuge. O Arjuna, know that in every yuga, Rudra is 'nArAyaNAtmaka" - One who is immersed (meditating) in nArAyaNa every yuga.

    Indra is not mentioned here for consideration, because it is well-known he is a jIva. As seen in the bhAgavata purANa's episode of bhrigu testing the trimUrthis, the confusion over who is parabrahman occurs only between Brahma, vishNu and shiva.

    Some versions only contain "dhyAtA". If that is the case, then it is permissible. For the more pronounced doubt as to who is parabrahman occured between vishNu and shiva, as seen in the rAmAyaNa's story of the vishNu-shiva yuddha narrated by parashurAma, which showed that vishNu alone is supreme.

    It is also necessary to say that dhyAtA (shiva) is not the kAraNa to rule out the fact that he is the "shambhu" addressed as the kAraNam below:

    "shaMbhurAkAshamadhye dhruva..."

    Thus, this shambhu is not "dhyAtA" (rudradeva) but the Lord nArAyaNa who is hailed as "svayambhu shambur Aditya" in the sahasranAma.

    So much for shiva paratva here.


    1. Correction: The quoted upanishad vAkya should be "na kAraNaM kAraNAnAM dhAtA dhyAtA ca". In some editions, it is only "dhyAta" and "dhAtA" is not mentioned.

  42. Now, let us explain the atharvasiras:

    devA ha vai svarga.n lokamAya.nste rudramapR^ichChanko
    bhavAniti . so.abravIdahamekaH prathamamAsa.n vartAmi cha
    bhavishyAmi cha nAnyaH kashchinmatto vyatirikta iti .

    Here, Rudra describes himself as the paramAtma in the sense of sharIrAtma bhAva. This is aptly proven by shrI rAmAnuja in the vedArtha sangraha. Since the same name "Jack" denotes both Jack's body and Jack's soul, similarly, when Rudra says "ahaM", it refers to his antaryAmin, ie, the rudra-sharIraka paramAtma.

    That is evident from statements like "yasya Atma sharIraM" and is established by the vedAnta sUtrAs (shAstradR^iShTyA tu upadesho vAmadevavat).

    The rishi vAmadeva describes himself in a similar manner. So does prahlAda in the vishNu purANa as follows:

    prahlAda - "As the infinite one is all-pervading, I am he, all things arise out of me and they all dwell In me, the primeval one" ~ (Vi. Pu. 1:19:85)

    Just as PrahlAda is not Brahman, neither is Rudra. And the Atharvasiras itself clarifies that by the next line - so.antarAdantaraM prAvishat.h dishashchAntaraM prAvishat.h - Saying thus, Rudra entered all spaces, "entered" meaning, he identified his antaryAmin as the sarvAntarAtma of all.

    Similarly, even prahlAda says "As the infinite is pervading, so am I". ie, my antaryAmin denoted by "I" for whom I am the body, is the same as that all-pervading infinite. There is no difference (neha nAnAsti kinchana).

    Lastly, an additional note on Veerashaiva's diatribes over the vishNu sahasranAma claiming that "shiva" nAma refers to his favorite deity. It is illogical as the sahasranAma even contains names like vAyu, Aditya, etc and so no AchArya has equated those deities with vishNu on the basis of those names being there.

    It has been proven in the sahasranAma itself that Adi Shankara considered Shiva as a vibhUti of vishNu. Vide the following,

    In Vishnu Sahasranama Bhashya of shrI Adi Shankara, while explaining the names “bhUtakRRit” and “saMpramardanaH”:

    Explaining “bhUtakRRit”, Shankara says that Lord Vishnu, by assuming the quality of tamas through Rudra, carries out the destruction of beings:

    “tamoguNamAsthAya rudrAtmanA bhUtAni kRRitant ikRRiNoti hinastIti bhUtakRRit”.

    Note the word - "rudrAtmanA" - it is thus abundantly clear. vishNu is the antaryAmin of rudra.

    Immediately after that, while explaining “bhUta bhRRit”, he says that Vishnu directly carries out the act of sustenance through the quality of sattva:

    “sattvaguNam adhiShThAya bhUtAni bibharti pAlayati dhArayati poShayatItivA bhUtabhRRit”

    Shankara does not say “viShNu-rUpeNa” (through the form of Vishnu) here, but says paramAtman Himself carries out sustenance, showing paramAtman is only Vishnu and not Rudra.

    Explaining “saMpramardanaH”, Shankara says that bhagavAn Sriman Narayana Himself carries out universal annihilation through His vibhUtis such as Rudra, Kala, etc:

    “samyak pramardayati rudrakAlAdibhir *vibhUtibhir* iti sampramardanaH”

    Thus, only a person with bipolar disorder and selective amnesia can claim that Shankara was claiming Shiva as Brahman when commenting on "shiva" nAma. The quote from the tAmasa purANa was used to describe vishNu only, just like the vishishtadvaita AchAryAs did.

    With this, I end this long discussion. HBB will later on take up the issue of Sridhara and the advaitic topics. I do not think Veerashaiva and his ilk will ever learn, but I hope readers are enlightened by this discussion.

  43. As a finality, I would also like to quote Veerashaiva's guardian angel, Appayya Dikshita, the chief hater of vaiShnavas. In his Ananda Lahiri commentary, Appayya Dikshita says:

    vEdhaviBhAgArThamEvAvathIrNEna sakalavEdhathAthparyABhigyEna sarvajnyashirOmaNinA vEdhavyAsEna pulasthyavaradAnalabDhadhEvathApAramArThyavEdhanEna shriparAsharENa anyaIscha maharShiBhi:
    vEdhOpabrahmaNArTham praNIthEShu shrimahaBhAratha vishNupurANAdhiShu nischithaparabrahma BhAvasya
    sadBhi: sarvaIrapyaviBhAgEna parabrahmEthyEva pUjithasya shrinarayaNasya kvachithkONE
    niviShtamanthrArThavAdha purANavachanAdhilEshamavalambya jIvaBhAvam vakthum
    nAsmajjihvA pravarthathE I thaThA chEth mUrDhA cha shathaDhA Bhavathi I
    vEdhavaIdhikadhrOhO dhEvathAdhrOhascha jAyathE I athO nArAyaNa: parabrahmakOtirEvEthyasmAkam
    siDdhAntha: II

    [Meaning: Our tongue would not rise to assert in the wake of a few mantras, arthavadas, and puraNic
    statements found in some insignificant place that Sri Narayana is a jiva since He has been worshipped by
    sadhus as Godhead and has been confirmed and declared as parabrahman in the Mahabharata, and other religious works, which were composed solely for bringing out the essence of Vedas by eminent sages like Vedavyasa, who classified and analysed the vedas, and Parashara, who was blessed with the true knowledge about Godhead by Sage Pulastya. If any such attempt were made, our head would burst into a hundred pieces. We would be guilty of treachery to the vedas, sages, and the deity itself. Therefore, it is our considered opinion that Narayana alone qualifies for the title of Godhead.]

    A few things to note here. This was clearly an admission by Appayya after his failure to prove that Shiva alone is the Parabrahman. He recognized that nArAyaNa was indisputably the Parabrahman, and this also shows how laughable Veerashaiva's invented claims are that "nArAyaNa" refers to nirguNa brahman - firstly, nirguNa brahman in advaita does not have names, and secondly, this nArAyaNa is hailed as "devaM, vishvashambhuvaM" etc in the nArAyaNa sUkta which is nothing but saguNOpAsaNa.

    Be that as it may. Appayya merely admitted his failure to elevate Shiva above nArAyaNa. But this did not stop his blazing hatred - this was the point where he tried to prove that Shiva = nArAyaNa/vishNu in his works, having failed to relegate vishNu to a lesser god.

    That is evident from how he phrases even his "apology" - he still claims that a few mantras, "arthavAdas" etc still seem to deny brahmatva to nArAyaNa, but he chooses to ignore them because nArAyaNa is hailed as Parabrahman everywhere else. Well, in reality, there are NO "few mantras, arthavAdas" etc even that deny paratva to nArAyaNa -- shruti and smriti are 100% aligned to vishNu paratva. It is just Appayya's blind hate and shaiva bias that prompts him to say this even while admitting nArAyaNa is parabrahman. Even tAmasic incidents like vishNu offering his eye as a lotus to shiva proves nArAyaNa paratvaM quite inadvertently --- that incident identifies vishNu alone as "pundarIkAksha", which in turn means that the being in the sun described as lotus-eyed by the chAndogya is vishNu alone. Thus, a tAmasa story, by setting out to negate the glory of the Lord, inadvertently identifies nArAyaNa alone as the "pundarIkAksha" of the solar orb! This fact has been pointed out by sri vaishnava AchAryAs and as this incident thus has a vedAntic value, it is quoted by Sridhara thus, in his vishNu purANa vyAkhyAna (we will explain that in detail later).

    So, nArAyaNa is parabrahman, that is the opinion of all who are vaidikas. vishNu is hailed as parabrahman because the shruti identifies him with that nArAyaNa. So, to all miscreants, first try proving shiva = nArAyaNa first before you even think of elevating shiva above nArAyaNa.

    I hope this write-up was illuminating to all sincere seekers of the truth whose mind is not clouded with bias and hatred.

  44. "Explaining “bhUtakRRit”, Shankara says that Lord Vishnu, by assuming the quality of tamas through Rudra, carries out the destruction of beings"

    Is the destruction of the universe and all beings exclusively tamasic? Is that why Lord Visnu assumes the from of Rudra? Why doesn't Lord Visnu destroy the universe through his effulgent sattva? Or does sattva guna not destroy? Only Tamas? What of Rajas?

    1. Vishnu creates and destroys both with and without an agent (brahma and rudra). Initial creation before brahma and final destruction after rudra and brahma are carried out by vishnu directly. Thus says a shloka in padma purana:

      brahmANamindram rudram ca yamam varunam eva ca
      nihatya harate yasmAt tasmAt haririha ucyate

      Meaning: Lord Vishnu is called Hari because He destroys brahmA, indra, rudra, yama and varuNa with His might

    2. In addition to HBB's quote, it is also possible for the Lord to do Brahma and Rudra's work directly and still be unaffected by rajas and tamas. But he does not do it because of the below reason.

      Certain jIvas with rajas and tamas aspire for positions of power. If they earn enough merit by their penances, bhagavan gives them the following powers:

      1) A jIva with ascetic merit and rajo guNa is given the power to create. Thus, in order to direct the jIva's bad quality of rajas into something constructive and also rewaed him for his penance, bhagavan makes the jIva brahma and allows secondary creation by Brahma.Rajas is desire and in this way, desire of progeny becomes something useful.

      2) A jIva with ascetic might but still having tamo guNa is similarly chosen by the Lord as Rudra. Tamas is a destructive quality but by virtue of this, the tamas is channelled into something useful.

      Thus, Brahma and Rudra's faults of rajo and tamo guNa are transformed into works which become a form of service to the Lord. They eventually purify thenselves in this manner. It illustrates the great mercy of the Lord.

      Since protection is a duty that requires - 1) protecting people from every possible threat, 2) granting liberation -- no-one but the Lord himself can do it. Brahma and Rudra are protectors at a minimal level, but they can't offer complete proection -- Brahma could not overcome Hiranyakasipu and Rudra could not protect Banasura from Krishna. They also cannot grant moksha.

      It is Hari alone who can protect anyone from anything by his Lordship over all and also grant moksha. It is for this reason that "protection" is not a post occupied by a jIva.

  45. I am currently going through the Sikharinimala/Sivatattva Viveka of AppayyaDikshita. Reading through this work, it becomes clear where the absurd ideas of some vishNu dvEshison the net like Veerashaiva come from.

    Let me be honest – I have never come across more flimsy, poorly researched and weak arguments by anyone professing to be a vedantin from anydarshana, that is as bad as the Sivatattva Viveka. Dikshita, who is supposed to be this wonderful “scholar” who is hailed as “sarvatantra svatantara” by Shaiva advaitins, shows a lack of knowledge of even the basics of interpreting the shAstras in this work. The “proofs” he gives for supremacy of Siva are literally built on a house of cards – one puff and it will all collapse.

    I wonder how some of these shaivas actually consider him a foremost scholar, or how any self-respecting vidvAn regards this work as great. If this work contains the greatest proof of shiva paratva that he can come up with, then it surely is a very poor level altogether.

    To show I am not exaggerating, let me show you a sample of his arguments. He tries, in one section of the work, to prove that a deity above brahma,vishNu, rudra exists, which he terms is the “umAsahAyaM paramEshvaraM” of the kaivalyaUpanishad. We have seen the Kaivalya Upanishad already, so I won’t elaborate on that. Anyway, he claims that this “sadA-shiva” is higher than nArAyaNa.

    Here is the section below. His is the “Purvapaksha” and our reply is the “Siddhantha”.



  46.  Cont'd from above...

    Purvapaksha: The words "sa harihara" (in theSikharinimala) are explained by referring to theBrahmopanisad which speaks of another principle that is higher than Brahma, etc., expressed by the word "indestructible" which is the essence of all the gods as expressed in "athasya purusasya ...visnuscesvarasca". (And so a being higher than the trimUrti/nArAyaNa exists).

    Siddhantha: The relevant section of the BrahmOpanishad is as follows:

    athAsya puruShasya chatvAri sthAnAni bhavantinAbhirhR^idayaM kaNThaM bhUrdheti . tatrachatuShpAdaM brahma vibhAti . jAgaritaMsvapnaM suShuptaM turIyamiti . jAgarite brahmAsvapne viShNuH suShuptau rudrasturIyaMparamAkSharaM AdityashchaviShNushcheshvarashcha sa puruShaH

    Meaning: Now this Purusha has four seats, the navel, the heart, the throat, and the head. In these shines forth the Brahman with four aspects: the state of wakefulness, of dream, of dreamless sleep, and the fourth or transcendental state. In the wakeful state, He is Brahma; in the dreaming state, He is Vishnu; in dreamless sleep He isRudra; and the fourth state is the Supreme Indestructible One; and He again is the Sun, the Vishnu, the Ishwara, He is the Purusha, He thePrana, He the Jive or the animate being, He the Fire, The Ishwara, and the Resplendent; that Brahman which is transcendent shines within all these ! In Itself, It is devoid of mind, of ears, of hands and feet, of light.

    Now, the Purusha who is described as “paraMAkSharaM” is none other than nArAyaNa, as per “akSharaM paramaM prabhuM” (~nArAyaNasUktaM). So, there is no need to wildly assume that a being different from nArAyaNa exists, higher than the trimUrti.

    Then, the meaning of this mantra is as follows. The PuruSha, nArAyaNa, is to be meditated upon in the four places of the body, and this should be superimposed with the meditation of the four (or three) vyUha forms of the Lord corresponding to the four states of waking, dreaming, dreamless sleep and the tUriya sthAna.

    Thus, when the shruti says Brahma is the waking state, it means that the Lord Aniruddha, who is the inner self of Brahma and hence referred to as “Brahma” on account of sAmAnAdhikaraNya, is to be meditated as associated with the waking state. Alternatively, Aniruddha himself is called “Brahma” or the “Great One” who makes everything big, ie, as he is the creator, he expands the non-sentient matter into gross forms and thus is called “Brahma”.

    The Lord of the dream state is Pradyumna, who is “vishNu” as he sustains everything by pervading them all.

    The Lord of the dreamless state is the inner self of Rudra (ie, rudra-sharIraka-paramAtma), namely,SankarshaNa. Alternatively, Sankarshana himself is called “Rudra” as he is the destroyer of misery of samsAra by granting knowledge, which is his function.

    The fourth state is the tUriya sthAna, which is the highest state of ParavAsudeva, who is identified as the highest form on account of being endowed with all auspicious attributes (as opposed to the vyUhaforms that selectively display only few attributes).

    Thus, this mantra only proves the supremacy of the Lord nArAyaNa. All this is proven in the mAndukyaUpanishad which links thes 4 states to the 4 vyUhAs.


  47. Cont'd from above...

    Having butchered a simple meaning of the brahmOpanishad, Appayya Dikshita now proceeds to mutilate the meaning of a section in the naradimha tApanIya upanishad in his zeal to prove his sada-shiva tUriya brahma vAda as below:

    Purvapaksha: In the Tapanlyopanisad first the worship of Brahma, Visnu and Rudra who are denoted by the three matras of "akara", "ukara" and "makara" in the place of the navel, heart and thecentre of the eyebrows as described in the statement "akaram brahmanam nabhau ... makaram rudrambhrumadhye" is enjoined. Then, by the statement "omkaram sarvesvaram dvadasante" another principle higher than them endowed with all the qualities of sovereignty expressed by omkara which is representative of totality, and the object of worship at the end of the 12th day is shown.

    Siddhantha: A similar explanation is enough to dismiss this silly interpretation. Since the shAstrAs claim “akAro vai visnoH”, it is not feasible for the Upanishad to claim Brahma is akAra. Furthermore, it is known from the gIta that all worlds from satyalOka are subject to misery; thus Brahma is a created being and cannot be the reference of “akAra” which denotes paramAtma as the creator of all.

    In the light of such statements in the gIta openly calling brahma loka an abode of misery, how did Dikshita lack the common sense in ascribing akAra to Brahma?

    The meaning then, is the same as was previously explained. Aniruddha, who is brahma-shArIraka-paramAtma, or “Brahma” by name, is akAra.Pradyumna who is vishNu is ukAra. SankarshaNa, who is rudra-shArIraka-paramAtma or “Rudra” by name is makAra. Higher than the vyUhAs, shines paravAsudeva in the supreme abode, resplendent with all attributes of sovereignty and representive of totality, the object of worship.

    The 4 vyUhAs and their 4 states being linked to the 4 pAdas of OmkAra are seen in the sahasranAma(caturAtma caturvyUhaH..)

    This is just a sample. That work is full of such absurdities where Dikshita makes school boy errors despite claiming to be a scholar. Maybe we will publish a full refutation sometime.

  48. Dear Author(s),

    I'm Decotee of Lord Shiva. Just have a glance look at your Article of Sri Rudram.
    As per Sathapath Brahmana Rudra is Manifested from Eye-brows of Prajapati.
    And that Rudra is Considered as Parvati-Pati. Scripture says "Eko Vai Rudrah" "Rudra is Truly ONE" then How Could Rudra of Sri Rudram differs from Parvati-Pati.

    It would be Great if Author Provide Some Key-Point to Answer So that It would be Helpful to me to Grasp that. As I told Earlier I'd just Glance Look at your Article.

    (P.S:-Do not Consider my Comment as Debate or like that.)

    1. Dear Reader,

      You are welcome to comment on our blog. We have no quarrel with honest shaivas and are only defending Vaishnavism from some vitanda-vadis who seek to actively malign it.

      Your questions have already been answered many times on this blog. Please read through our FAQ first which may allow you you to understand our position better.

  49. Please accept my pranams. In some of the Narasimha temples I have seenLord Narasimha decorated as pancha mukha narasimha with face of lion(main), other four faces being Hayagrivar, Garuda, Hanuman and Varaha. In another article on this blog Narada purana verses are quoted which states that Lord Narasimha has 5 faces with three eyes in each face. Does this refer to the Pancha mukha narasimha ? Also does the pancha brahma mantras of the Maha narayana Upanishad (which refers to the Lord as Sadyojata, Vamadeva, tat purusha, Ishana and Aghora) refer to Panchamukha narasimha who has five faces?

    1. The five faced form of Narasimha is a minor form assumed by the Lord for those upAsakAs who seek petty aims like relief from fevers etc. Its faces are all leonine and not that of Garuda, Hayagriva etc.

      The five faced form consisting of Hanuman, Garuda, Hayagriva etc you are mentioning is called "pancha-mukha-hanuman" and not "pancha-mukha-narasimha". To our knowledge, it is not a correct form since Hanuman and Garuda are jIvAs and hence cannot be associated in forms of the Lord. The temples might contain sculptures of these forms due to the propensity and beliefs of the Kings who helped construct the temples, but as far as I know, authentic archa-avatArAs of the Lord do not contain these forms.

      The pancha-brahma-mantras refer to the Lord Narayana only, but not to his five faces in particular. The names Sadyojata, Vamadeva, Aghora, Tatpurusha and Ishana are simply names of the Lord. The meanings are:

      "Sadyojata" - "One who was born at the very moment of his will" - This aptly refers to Narasimha who was born instantaneously from the pillar. In general, it refers to the ability of the Lord to manifest as avatArAs in the forms of chit and achit. Alternatively, the nirvANa khanda of Skanda Purana refers to Lord Rama as "sadyojata pravrittistvam ishishE kshetrarakshaka" -- thus, again we see a connection between Narasimha and Rama in terms of qualities.

      "Vamadeva" - The beautiful god. The same nirvANa khanda of Skanda Purana is quoted by Shri Ranga Ramanuja Muni which refers to Rama as Vamadeva - "vAmadeva prathisthtAya vAsanAm tanumAshrita"

      "Aghora" - The Lord who has forms which are not terrible, as his body. Here, paramAtma is called "Sharva" and the "aghora, ghora, ghoratara" forms are the various forms in the Universe that constitute his body, which are called "rudrarUpEbhya" because they confer good "rudam dadAti iti rudra".

      "tatpurushA" - That Purusha, who is Narayana. The rest of the mantra is the rudra gAyatri which essentially says that to attain that Purusha (Narayana), we pray to Mahadeva and ask Rudra to guide us. This is because Rudra provides knowledge of Brahman.

      "iShAna" - Narasimha is referred to as "ishAnas sarvavidyAnAm" in the tApanIya upanishad.

      The pancha-brahma-mantras refer to sriman nArAyaNa only on the strength of smriti as well as shruti.

  50. Dear Swamy .Sri Vedanta Desika said that there is a possibility that Jiva can become Nitya Samsarin .I am aspiring sri vaishnav and I have developed full faith in sri samprdayam and it’s acharyas n Narayan as supreme being.Swamy can you tell me how do I know that I am not a Nitya Suri n should get Diksha from acharya.Can you tell the characteristics of Nitya Samsarin.I have accepted Narayan as supreme n sri Vaishnavas as true path is there a possibility that I can already be Nitya Samsarin.

    1. You are probably on the right path if you are following our Acharyas, so the likelihood of you being a nitya samsarin is low. It's mostly referring to people with a hatred of the Vedas, Brahman, the Devas, our practices and our Acharyas -- about 90% of the liberal-left marxist-christoislamic population in our country could be quite eligible for it!

  51. Dear adiyen,Jai Sriman Narayan.Adiyen this concept of Jiva becoming a Nitya Samsarin is it a vadik fact or an opinion of our acharyas?.Adiyen you once wrote in kaivalya Mukti there are different views on this topic of acharyas some say that once attained soul is trapped in that forever while others disagree n hold that Narayan helps them.Is it same case with Jiva becoming a Nitya Samsarin? Does alternate views against concept of Jiva becoming exists ?this concept of Jiva becoming Nitya Samsarin is it opinion based on certain way of interpretationing shashtras or is it a cold hard fact?Here i m not asking madwas views but views of our Acharyas Does acharyas view against this concept?like two different views exists on kaivalya Mukti?What i want to know is concept that Jiva becomes Nitya Samsarin an opinion or hard cold vaidik fact like supremacy of Narayan??

    1. The explanation by Shri Vedanta Desikan is supported by Gita 16.20. Bhagavan clearly states "mam aprapyaiva kaunteya" - they don't attain him.

      The acharya says that some Acharyas take this to imply that these jivas become nitya samsaris, whereas others emphasize that the Lord is too merciful by nature to let this happen and thus, "they never attain me" simply means they don't attain him for a long time -- much like the word "sanAtana" when used for devas like Brahma, Rudra etc simply means they are very old and not that they are eternal or unborn.

      There is no difference of opinion. Shri Desikan treats this as well as the Kaivalya issue as some mysteries which the Lord alone can know, and while he favours a certain opinion,he acknowledges the alternative explanations.

      There is no need to be concerned about it. It is trifling issue unconnected with people like us. Our Acharyas are not going to let us be hurled into helps.

  52. Dear Brother, Adiyen.

    Do not be so concerned about being in samsara. As long as you have infallible love towards Lord nArAyaNa, and think of yourself as his instrument....whether you are in the prakriti or in the vaikuntha, matters little. What matters most is...about remembering him, serving him and his bhakthas, whereever we are and whatever we do.

    If we can do our daily activities (bathing, eating, sleeping, studying etc) as a worship to antaryAmi vishnu (like Prahlada did), then JanArdhana will be with you.
    Of course, it takes time and sAdhana to accomplish. Give it a try.

    And about mukthi, let us leave it to our lord vaikuntha...let him allot the type of service he wants from us. Whatever and whereever (samsAra or vaikuntha) that might be.
    P.S: Vaikuntha is also a name of our lord.

    Jai Sri Ram.


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