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On the name "Narayana", Rudra stuti in Varaha Purana, and other topics

In several articles, we have repeatedly shown how the name “Nārāyaṇa” applies only to the Supreme Being, and only to Vishnu. Yet, we come across certain comments on the internet from laypeople and anti-vaishnava imbeciles who try to misrepresent the Sri Vaishnava position as follows:
We don’t normally address things referred in that site much since the vast majority of those people aren’t conversant with vedāntic methods of interpretation, but the misrepresentation of the Sri Vaishnava position and the unnatural number of idiotic threads this Vaishnava obsessed illiterate numbskull has made on Sri Vaishnavism caught our eye.
Let us make something perfectly clear here:
  1. Sri Vaishnava Acharyas do NOT claim that “Nārāyaṇa” is a proper noun based on Na-Kara.
  2. Sri Vaishnava Acharyas do NOT claim that Panini’s grammar is to be adhered to For proving supremacy.
  3. Sri Vaishnava Acharyas do NOT attempt to prove Vishnu Paratva using Panini.
  4. We have indeed referenced the Panini argument here - At that time, even we believed it was a proof given by Acharyas. However, we have to admit after proper research we were wrong and our Acharyas did not use the Panini argument. Which actually makes more sense in many ways.
  5. Despite the boo-boo we made, to our credit, we did say in that article that Panini is not the only way to prove anything and merely serves as a supporting proof, an afterthought, if needed.
To sum up, forget Panini ever existed. Forget we ever mentioned Panini. Is that clear? Crystal? Good.
Now, shall we no longer see stupid claims like “Only Sri Vaishnavas claim Nārāyaṇa is a proper noun?” Probably hoping for too much considering the idiocy of some of our “opponents” (using that term in the loosest sense here!).
For instance, here is a comment from that vaishnava hating imbecile:
“But Vaishnavites have long claimed that Panini's grammar makes "Narayana" a proper noun that can only denote the Vaishnavite God. It is said that even Appayya Diksihta was stumped by it. But things like a "satvika" purana (I think "varaha") calling Siva "narayana" and modern linguistic analysis has cooled them down and they don't claim it much any more.”
Just a note - This person who made the comment and created those threads in the links is not a Shaiva, as we deduced from his comments on our blog (openly said Shiva also was a “mythological character”). He appears to be a generic obsessed hindu hater, who has an obsessive compulsive disorder about Vaishnavas because we use the texts (that he hates) with greater reverence than Shaiva sects; or maybe he simply hates us period. This seems to be a weird basket case, with deep psychological trauma brought on by daddy issues in childhood.
As an example of his idiocy, he thinks “eko hi rudro” means “There is only one person named Rudra” -- this hilarity rivals Zakir Naik in terms of “interpretation”! Where do these morons come from!
While it is true we made the mistake of assuming the Panini argument was legitimate based on internet popularity of the theory, there is zero proof in any of our Acharyas works that “Vaishnavites have long claimed that Panini's grammar makes "Narayana" a proper noun”. This we know now. So it is the reverse -- It is not an old claim that has cooled down, but a new one that has arisen recently. And the second part regarding Varaha Purana is absolutely hilarious as he is just putting words into our mouths.
Of course, this  same mong calls a genuine Mahopanishad quotation (Eko ha vai nārāyaṇa āsīt na brahma neśāna) a “sectarian vaishnava upanishad” despite Shri Desikan showing it was popular before Acharya Ramanuja, and also not being aware of the fact that the same mantra occurs in the Paingirahasya Brahmana in a modified form as follows - eko ha vai nārāyaṇa āsīn na brahmā na ca śaṅkaraḥ!!
The amusing thing is that the Shaivite imbecile on Mahapashupatastra blog claims the Bhagavatam is a fake text because Shri Ramanuja did not quote it. Whereas, his brother from another mother, this Vaishnava hating dunderhead on this Stack Exchange website, says that the Maha and Subala Upanishads are sectarian and fake as Shri Ramanuja quoted it. So one moron uses Shri Ramanuja not quoting something to discredit authenticity of that work, while the other moron cites Acharya's quotation of something to discredit authenticity of that text. Make up your bloody minds, morons!!
Another hilarity from this Stack Exchange Fruitcake is this:
“At any rate when Siva is about to kill Garuda Vishnu had to intervene in Devon Ke Dev Mahadev”
Yes, Shri Ramanuja's quotations are sectarian or fake, but “Devon is Dev Mahadev” TV Show is a valid authority!! Clearly, hours of spending time in front of the TV watching trash has numbed what little brains he had left.
What this retard from the stack exchange website cannot grasp is that there is not even a question of a debate about  Upanishads like Mahopanishad or Subala Upanishad. Anything quoted by Acharya Ramanuja or any Vaidika prior to the 16th century is authentic and accepted with reverence by all Advaitins, Vishishtadvaitins and Dvaitins. Even the Veerashaiva nut, despite having a relatively small brain, understands that. It has nothing to do with whether they are Vaishnavas or not. They use this in debate and it would not have been accepted had it been spurious.
Anyway, moving on. We are clarifying things not for wastrels like him, but for the public. Such morons like the dung-brained fool do serve a purpose -- they inadvertently highlight certain aspects of the texts and bring our attention to interesting sections.
The Origin of the Panini Argument
The Panini grammar thing was never referred to by traditional Sri Vaishnava Acharyas. However, it appears to be a fairly ancient idea. The oldest reference occurs in Bhatta Bhaskara's gloss of the Narayana Sukta. He claims that “Nārāyaṇa” is a proper noun on account of Panini and the presence of the “Na-Kara”.
Bhatta Bhaskara was not a Vaishnava or a Vishishtadvaitin. He was a Shiva-Bhakta and a Veda-Bhashyakāra like Sayana. Hence, the very origin of this Panini “Na-Kara” claim is not from Vaishnavas as our ignorant opponents think, but from a Shaiva or Shiva worshipper!
So much for “sectarian Vaishnavas invented Panini proof”! Shows up these idiots like the guy on that website who made those threads for the illiterate, braindead cuck that he is. The ignominy of their position is mainly due to their complete and utter ignorance of anything remotely relevant to the broad category of “knowledge” and “common sense”.
Bhatta Bhaskara's proofs are not accepted by us. Shri Ranga Ramanuja Muni actually criticizes his commentary on Pancha-Brahma-Mantras.
Within the Sri Vaishnava tradition, this proper noun due to “Na-Kara” theory is a later idea occurring roughly around the 18th century, where a substandard Shaiva work (śivaparanārāyaṇaśabdṇatvasādhanam) was refuted by an equally substandard Vaishnava work (nārāyaṇasabdaniruktiḥ) and the claim was made in the latter work, perhaps being influenced by Bhatta Bhaskara. These are not authoritative.
The Position of Sri Vaishnava Purvacharyas
What have Sri Vaishnava Acharyas said about the name “Nārāyaṇa”? In his commentary (sarvārtha siddhi) to his own work “tattva-mukta-kalāpa”, Shri Vedanta Desikan explains that the name is asādhāraṇa, that it is not anekaruḍhi and it does not denote jāti or upādhi (na jātyupādhivacanam).
Similarly, Shri Sudarshana Suri, in his gloss Tatparya Dipika, says that compared to the word “Nārāyaṇa", words such as Shiva, Shambhu etc are "sādhāraṇa" and "sāmānya" padas.
Summarizing the above coherently, we find the identity of the Supreme Being without using panini grammar as follows:
  1. In Sāstra (shruti and smriti), terms like Sat, Atma, Brahman, Siva, Indra, etc are referred to multiple entities like devas, jIvātma, mind, supreme being etc. But the term “Nārāyaṇa” only refers to the highest Brahman everywhere and never to a lesser entity.

  1. Note that this does not mean we are advocating Panini here. Simply saying – “Nārāyaṇa” with all possible meanings is a unique name that denotes only one entity everywhere – the highest reality in the Sāstra.

  1. In his commentary (sarvārtha siddhi) to his own work “tattva-mukta-kalāpa”, Shri Vedanta Desikan explains why Nārāyaṇa is a unique term (asādhāraṇa) for the Supreme Reality - it is not “anekaruḍhi” and it doesn't denote jāti or upādhi.

  1. “Nārāyaṇa” does not denote a “jāti” -- for example, “Siva” or “Rudra” can denote a class of entities that are auspicious or can destroy the misery of samsāra - such as mind meditating on Brahman, the bliss of the individual self, the God Rudra who provides knowledge, the Supreme Being, auspicious or sin destroying things like bhagavat-prasāda and so on. Similarly, terms like Sat, Atma etc can denote any thing that is Real like Brahman, Self, Mind, Body etc. But “Nārāyaṇa” denotes only the Supreme Being everywhere.

  1. “Nārāyaṇa” does not denote a “upādhi” -- for example, “Siva” or “Rudra” can denote the attributes of “auspiciousness” or “destroying misery of samsāra”. For instance, the phrase “Paramasiva Bhava” uses “Siva” as a qualifying term for auspiciousness. Similarly, the Vāyu Purana describes the vision (loka) of the self as “rudra”  - that which destroys samsāra dukha, thus making Rudra a qualifying term to denote an attribute. In contrast, “Nārāyaṇa” is not used to qualify any object as an attributive term. While this may sound close to declaring it is a proper noun, note that this proof does not involve resorting to “Na-kara” using Panini, but rather merely establishes that “Nārāyaṇa” is a unique name used in the Sāstra.

  1. Based on the above, Shri Ramanuja uses “chāga pashu nyāya” – generic terms denote  the specific term when both occur in the same context – and thus, Nārāyaṇa is the entity denoted by Sat, Atma, Brahman, Siva, etc when the latter terms are used in the same context as the former in identifying the Cause.

  1. Got that? For the 1000th time, no Panini is involved.
  1. Now, who is this Nārāyaṇa? We find that the Vishnu Gayatri, a mantra specific to the devata Vishnu, attributes the names “Nārāyaṇa, Vishnu and Vāsudeva”. The Gāyatris of other entities do not begin with Nārāyaṇa. Hence, Nārāyaṇa is a name of Vishnu.

  1. Now, since Nārāyaṇa does not denote any entity other than the Supreme everywhere, and Vishnu is called Nārāyaṇa, it follows logically that Vishnu is Nārāyaṇa, the Supreme.

  1. Not only is Nārāyaṇa is equated to Vishnu, but Nārāyaṇa is differentiated from Shiva and Brahma as per the following pramāṇās:

  • Eko ha vai nārāyaṇa āsīt na brahma neśāna (Only Nārāyaṇa existed, not Brahma, Shiva etc) ~ mahOpanishad
  • mamāntarātmā tava ca ye cānye dehasaṃjitāḥ ~ {Nārāyaṇa is my (Brahma’s) indweller, he is yours (Shiva’s) and everyone’s}  ~ mahābhārata
  • sabrahmakāḥ sarudrā ca sendrā devāḥ saharṣibhiḥ ca arcayanti surareṣṭhaṃ devaṃ ṇārāyaṇaṃ harim – (Brahma, Rudra, Indra, the devas, rishis all worship the Lord of Nityasuris, the effulgent god Nārāyaṇa, Hari) ~ mahābhārata
And many more. Thus, the rest are jIvās.
So, this exercise proves three things – Number One, Panini is not used to prove Nārāyaṇa is Vishnu or that it refers to the Supreme entity. Rather, it is merely proven that unlike other names, thus “Nārāyaṇa” does not denote jāti or upādhi thus enabling use of chāga pashu nyāya. Number Two, Nārāyaṇa is equated to Vishnu and hence by virtue of this, Vishnu is Supreme. Number 3, Nārāyaṇa is differentiated from Brahma and Rudra who are thus not Supreme.
Rudra is not named Narayana, Vasudeva or Vishnu anywhere
Since like the names Nārāyaṇa, Vishnu and Vāsudeva are “vyāpaka nāmās” and since they all occur in the gAyatri of the God deemed supreme by the Veda (Vishnu), these names do not denote any god other than the Lord of Shri in any shāstra. Not just sāttvika shāstra, but even the tāmasīka shāstra which demeans Nārāyaṇa does not dare to attribute these names to Shiva or any devata.
To this, our opponents contend – there are certain sections in the tāmasa purāṇās that attribute the name “Nārāyaṇa” and “Vishnu” to Shiva. So, let us see what they are. The shlokas claimed by our opponent are as follows:
maheśvarāya devāya namaste paramātmane // Linga Purana_1,71.96 //
nārāyaṇāya śarvāya brahmaṇe brahmarūpiṇe /
This is a stuti of Shiva by Vishnu in the Linga Purana and the claim is that the name “Nārāyaṇa” is used to hail Shiva here.
Wrong. The meaning is as follows:
Meaning: Salutations to Maheshvara, to the effulgent god, to the Supreme Self, to Vishnu (nārāyaṇāya), to Shiva (śarvāya), to Brahma (brahmaṇe), to the one who has the Vedas as his body (brahmarūpiṇe)
This shloka is certainly hailing Shiva as Brahman and saying Vishnu is praising him, but look how carefully it attributes the name "Nārāyaṇa" to only Vishnu. It hails Shiva as one who is the god Vishnu (Nārāyaṇa) and does not attribute the name "Nārāyaṇa" directly to Shiva!
That is clear by the reference to śarvā and brahma namas. It is merely saying Shiva is in the form of the trimUrtIs, of whom Nārāyaṇa (Vishnu) is one. Thus, again, “Nārāyaṇa” here refers to the Lord of Shri, who is mentioned to be a lesser manifestation of “Sadashiva” whereas “Sadashiva” is not hailed as Nārāyaṇa independently of the form of Vishnu.
The Shiva Purana, in the section on Tripura Samhara, has the devas praising Shiva as follows:
“Obeisance to you, who are Bhagavan Nārāyaṇa, who are devoted to Nārāyaṇa, who is the body of Nārāyaṇa and the one born of Nārāyaṇa’s body” (~Shiva Purana, Rudra Samhita)
Obviously doesn’t refer to any identity considering it mentions Shiva is born of Nārāyaṇa and is devoted to him. The previous shloka hails him as “Aniruddra, Pradyumna, Vasudeva, destroyer of Kamsa etc” thus showing again that the name “Nārāyaṇa” is evocative of Vishnu only. In fact this is a unique stotra even within the Shiva Purana, mixing sāttvic and tāmasic elements.
Yet another shloka from the Shiva Purana as follows:
Sivo Maheswarachiva Rudro Vishnuh Pithamaha /
Samsara Vaidyah Sarvajnah Paramatmeti Mukhyataha /
Namashtaka midam nitya Sivasya Prati padakam/ (~Shiva Purana)
Meaning: Shiva, Maheswara, Rudra, Vishnu, Pitamaha, Vaidya, Sarvajna and, Paramatma are the major eight names in vogue belonging to Shiva.
This shloka is quoted by some to claim “Vishnu” is a name of Shiva.
Actually, this shloka says the names belong to Shiva because he assumes the respective forms for the functioning of the Universe. Vishnu here again refers only to Lakshmipati who is declared to be a manifestation of Shiva for a particular function. This is indeed the argument given by Appayya Dikshitar, dvEshi-in-chief himself who explains this shloka in his work “Ananda Lahiri” as follows – “There are many statements of authority which state that Nārāyaṇa is a Jiva. The Shiva Purana says that “Shiva”, “Maheshvara”, “Rudra”, “Vishnu” and “Pitamaha” are five Jivas holding different positions.”
Note that even Appayya doesn’t try to deny these names exclusively denote Vishnu!
Now, we come to the Shiva Sahasranāmās in various Puranas where it is claimed “Vishnu” is a name of Shiva. Let us examine those particular Sahasranāmās.
brahmā viṣṇuḥ prajāpālo haṃso haṃsagatiryamaḥ (~Shiva Sahasranama, Linga Purana)
Here, the name “Vishnu” occurs. But again, context shows that it is etymologically being applied to Shiva. Look at the sentence. The term “Vishnu” is sandwiched between “brahmā” and “prajāpāla” – thus, it means:
  • Shiva is Brahma, the creator
  • Shiva is Vishnu, the preserver
  • Shiva is thus “prajāpāla” – he protects all beings (prajas) as he appears as Brahma and Vishnu.
Thus, the context clearly shows that Vishnu here denotes the Lord of Shri as a vibhūti of Shiva, and that Shiva is not directly referred to as Vishnu.
Then, we come to the Shiva Sahasranama in the Vayu Purana:
ādityamatha viṣṇuñca brahmāṇaṃ sabṛhaspatim (~ Shiva Sahasranama, Vayu Purana)
Again, here, “Vishnu” is not etymologically referring to Shiva, but to the Lord who along with Brahma, Brihaspati etc are referred to as vibhūti sof Shiva. It is a tāmasa purāṇa after all.
Then we see the Shiva Purana’s version of the Shiva Sahasranama below:
tattvaṃ tattvavidekātmā vibhurviṣṇuvibhūṣaṇaḥ॥…brahmā viṣṇuḥ prajāpālo haṃso haṃsagatirvayaḥ (~ Shiva Sahasranama, Shiva Purana)
Note that “viṣṇuvibhūṣaṇaḥ” is to be taken as one word and means Shiva is adorned or decorated by Vishnu. Because “vibhU” also occurs separately, it is not possible to attribute Vishnu etymologically to Shiva again. The second part is exactly the same as Linga Purana and was explained earlier.
There is a Shiva Sahasranama in the Saura Purana, a minor upapurāṇa. Let us see that as well:
mahātapā dīrghatapāḥ sthaviṣṇuḥ sthaviro dhruvaḥ (~ Shiva Sahasranama, Saura Purana)   
sthaviṣṇuḥ” – “stha” means “tishtati” – to be established in. Shiva is mentioned here to be established as Vishnu (his vibhUti), the Preserver and hence is “sthavira” – one who has always existed (implying that Vishnu is lesser to him and he is superior).
Thus, the context again shows “Vishnu” in “sthaviShNuH”  refers to the Lord only.
tattvaṃ tattvavidekātmā vibhūtirbhūtibhūṣaṇaḥ ।
ṛṣirbrāhmaṇavidviṣṇurjanmamṛtyujarātigaḥ ॥  (~ Shiva Sahasranama, Saura Purana)
We have to take these names together to understand how “Vishnu” is used. Firstly, it says Shiva is wealthy in the sense of being the master of all (vibhūtir) and that is because he is adorned by bhUti or the Earth denoting the Universe (bhūtibhūṣaṇaḥ).
Shiva is cognized by the rishis and brAhmaNAs in this manner (ṛṣirbrāhmaṇavid). How? In his manifestation as “Vishnu” which exceeds samsAra (janmamṛtyujarātigaḥ). The idea is that according to the tAmasa purANAs, Shiva has ordained the rishis and dvijas to worship Vishnu for moksha and attaining true knowledge. This is reteirated as below:
(Rudra says:) “O Vishnu! Be the bestower of salvation at my command. The benefit accruing from your vision will be the same as that from mine. This boon is given to you (by me). “ (~Shiva Purana, Rudra Samhita 9.54).
Thus, the above name “Vishnu” in the Shiva Sahasranama does not denote Shiva directly again, but refers to the rishis and dvijas cognizing Shiva in the form of Vishnu who exceeds the cycle of births and deaths (ie, conferring that status to them). This is indeed the absurd contradiction of the tāmasa purāṇās!
brahmā viṣṇuḥ prajāpālo haṃso haṃsagatirmataḥ |  (~ Shiva Sahasranama, Saura Purana)
This was explained earlier. That will be all for the shiva sahasranāma. The ones occurring in mahābhārata and padma purāṇa are interpolations and hence not addressed, but even they do not contain anything different to what we have explained.
There is one more theory going around, which we produce below:
“In the Kurma Purana Siva says, “I, the supreme Lord, have divided myself into two forms, one is Nārāyana, the other is Gaurī, the mother of the universe. So my supreme nature is known to neither the Devas, nor to the Rishis, because I am one, I am Devi and Vishnu." The Devi Purana says, “Because she has her abode in the water, not in air, or she has her seat in the ocean, hence she is called Närayani, the creator of Nara (men) and women." Accorling to the Padma Purana Närāyani is the name of the goddess worshipped in the sacred place Supars'va.”
Even in the above, the name “Nārāyaṇa” is only attributed to Vishnu. “Narayani” does not mean Shiva is Nārāyaṇa – rather, pArvati has the name on account of a boon granted to her by Vishnu. She herself states in the Padma Purana that she had served Vishnu in a former birth, on account of which she was elevated to become the wife of Shiva and also gain one major name out of Vishnu’s thousand names – thus, “nArAyaNi” means one who is associated with Nārāyaṇa, Lord Vishnu only.
And again, a similar theory:
“The explanation of the word Nārāyana is given in Manu Smriti (I, 10): "The water is called Narah, because it emanated from Nara (Brahman) : that is his first abode (ayana), hence he is named Nārāyana.” The Br. Vaivarta Pr. also, “Because his abode is among men, hence he is called Nārāyana." The De. Bhāg. Pr., "Because Nara means leading, hence, supreme self is called Nara." The Bhārata, " The wise knows that the Tatvas emanated from Nara (Brahman) and form his abode, hence he is called Närayana." Here Nārāyaṇa is ParamaSiva, because concerning the fourth state, the Kasi khanda Says, "He is the Husband of Lakshmi and also of Parvati." Or this saying 'the husband of Lakshmi' may indicate non-separation between Lakshmi and Devi. Or, the sister of Vishnu is called Nārāyani. For there is a saying, "Adoration in Siva, the husband of Narayani." Or, because there is no difference Adoration in Siva, the husband of Narayani." Or, because there is no difference between Gauri and Nārāyaṇa.”
Firstly, the mahābhārata and kūrma purāṇa identify the manu smriti quote to Vishnu only. Secondly, the statement “Adoration in Siva, the husband of Narayani” does not mean Shiva is called Nārāyaṇa as we have explained.
Thus, the terms “Nārāyaṇa, Vasudeva and Vishnu” do not denote Shiva anywhere. Of course, Vishnu is said to be a manifestation of Shiva, but the actual names do not denote Shiva directly.
Brahma is not named Narayana, Vasudeva or Vishnu anywhere
There is a theory again going around that Brahma is named Nārāyaṇa. We produce the following:
Here, it is averred Medhatithi attributes the name “Nārāyaṇa” to Brahma because he says:
“The mere difference in names does not necessarily imply difference in the things denoted; so that the Beings described under the names ‘Brahmā,’ ‘Nārāyana’ and ‘Maheśvara are one and the same; though they form the objects of diverse forms of worship, yet they do not differ among themselves”.
Firstly, Medhatithi does not directly attribute the name to Brahma. He says that since the three gods are identical, Brahma can be called Nārāyaṇa. Note that he uses “Nārāyaṇa” to denote only Vishnu in the above statement.
Secondly, Medhatithi himself accepts he is unclear whether Brahma is being hailed as the supreme or whether he is an offspring of the Supreme here:
The meaning is that he had originally (as Hiraṇyagarbha) assumed a body by the force of occult powers, he gave up that body and entered within the egg.—Or, it may be that when he created water, Hiraṇyagarbha had no body, hence he took up a body within the egg.—Or again, the being spoken of as ‘he who’ (in verse 7) was different from the Brahmā who is described here as being born in the egg; this would be in keeping with what is going to be stated (in verse 11) in regard to the latter being ‘created by him,’ i.e., created by the Supreme Lord (described in verse 7).
Conceding in the last alternative that it is possible Brahma is different from the Supreme Being, Medhatithi gives a justification why Brahma can be called by names of the Supreme:
“But (under this last explanation) how could he be said to be ‘himself born?’—and the text apparently speaks, as ‘Brahmā,’ of him who was ‘himself born’ (in the egg).”
This does not affect the position; the son is often called by the name of the Father, when he is described as the ‘self being born out of itself.’
All this shows Medhatithi was not a scholar with respect to the Upanishads. He himself claims that differentiation of gods is arthavAda and seems to not care one way or other. Neither is his bhāśya on manu smriti error free. In any case, even he has recognized “Nārāyaṇa” as Vishnu only when he said the three gods – Brahma, Nārāyaṇa and Maheshwara – were one.
Now, to explain the Manu Smriti properly, the very next shloka of Manu differentiates Brahma from the Supreme Being called “Nārāyaṇa”
yat tat kāraṇamavyaktaṃ nityaṃ sadasadātmakam |
tadvisṛṣṭaḥ sa puruṣo loke brahmaiti kīrtyate || 11 ||
Meaning: That which is the cause (Nārāyaṇa) —unmanifest, eternal and consisting of the sentients and the nonsentients (as his body),—the being produced by that (cause) is described among people as ‘brahmā.’
Here, Brahma is clearly differentiated from the Cause as a product of the Cause.
Then, some Veerashaivas quote the Kurma Purana verse as follows:
tadā samabhavadbrahmā sahastrākṣaḥ sahastrapāt ॥ 1,6.2 ॥ sahastraśīrṣā puruṣo rukmavarṇastvatīndriyaḥ ।brahmā nārāyaṇākhyastu suṣvāpa salile tadā ॥ imaṃ codāharantyatra ślokaṃ nārāyaṇaṃ prati// (~kūrma purāṇa 1.6.2-3)
Meaning: “(After dissolution), there appeared (the Lord as the innerself of) “brahmā”, having a thousand eyes and thousand feet, the Purusha of a thousand heads and of golden color. He was beyond the scope of the sense organs. That (innerself of) brahmā who is called Nārāyaṇa, lay asleep on the cosmic waters at that time.”
Here, the antaryAmi tattvam is alluded. “brahmā” means “brahmā-śarīraka-paramātma” – the brahmā of antaryāmin. This is justified by the following facts:
  1. This Lord reclining on the waters creates brahmā and hence it is apt to refer to him as the innerself of brahmā.
  2. The rāmāyaṇa says after brahmā was born, he became varāha as follows:
sarvam salilam eva āsīt pṛthivī yatra nirmitā । tataḥ samabhavad brahmā svayambhūr daivataiḥ saha ॥ sa varāhaḥ tato bhūtvā projjahāra vasumdharām । asṛjac ca jagat sarvam saha putraiḥ kṛta ātmabhiḥ ॥ (~ Srimad Ramayana, Ayodhya Khanda 2-110-3-4)
Meaning: All was water only in the beginning" from which element the earth was formed. After that, the self-existent Lord called “brahmā” with all the gods came into existence. Thereafter, that (innerself of) brahmā, assuming the form of boar, caused the earth to rise from water and with his sons of pure soul, created the entire world.
Obviously, varāha avatāra was not taken by Brahma so, “sa varāhaḥ tato bhūtvā” only means “the innerself of brahmA became varAha”.
  1. The same section of the kūrma purāṇa which spoke of “brahmā nārāyaṇākhyastu suṣvāpa salile…” describes varāha avatāra immediately and praises him as follows:
namaste vāsudevāya viṣṇave viśvayonaye /nārāyaṇāya devāya devānāṃ hitakāriṇe // namo 'stu te caturvaktre śārṅgacakrāsidhāriṇe / (~kUrma purANa 1.6.13)
Note that varAha is praised as “Vishnu”, “Vasudeva” and “Nārāyaṇa”, and also as “śārṅgacakrāsidhāriṇe” indicating who he is. He is also called “caturvaktre” showing he is the innerself of brahmA.
Implications of the above observations
  1. Nārāyaṇa, Vishnu and Vasudeva exclusively denote the Lord of Lakshmi, on account of which he is Supreme.

  1. Therefore, arguments like “Vishnu” in “tad visnoh paramam padam” does not refer to Lord Vishnu are baseless. Furthermore, if “Vishnu” denoted a general being in that statement then the term “paramam” would not be there and “tad vaishnava padam” would suffice. Rather “paramam” implies that there is also a lower state that is something well-known (which is the auspicious body and attributes of Lord Vishnu) whereas the higher state (paramam padam) which is the divyātma svarūpa, alone is not well-known.

  1. It is not enough to show instances of brahmā and rudra being called Nārāyaṇa here and there. One must also explain why they are differentiated from Nārāyaṇa in other places, and also show an instance of Vishnu being mentioned as distinct from Nārāyaṇa – such as eko ha vai ṇārāyaṇa āsīt, na hari … for instance. Otherwise, even we can show upanishadic statements like “brahmā nārāyaṇa: śivasca nārāyaṇa..” etc which don’t imply identity at all.
  2. Every being is referred to as Nārāyaṇa somewhere in shāstra. One can find references saying Indra is Nārāyaṇa, sun is Nārāyaṇa, moon is Nārāyaṇa etc. This doesn't mean the name applies to them -- it means Nārāyaṇa is their innerself. There are shloka differentiating Brahma, Shiva etc from Nārāyaṇa and saying he is their indweller (mamāntarātmā tava ca ye cānye etc) Hence, statements like Brahma is Nārāyaṇa etc only mean he is their indweller.
  3. In contrast, there is neither any statement distinguishing Vishnu from Nārāyaṇa, nor is there is a statement saying Nārāyaṇa is Vishnu's indweller. Even if we were to consider the ludicrous arguments of our opponents, the most they can say is “Nārāyaṇa who is Vishnu = Brahma, Shiva etc”. They cannot divorce Vishnu from Nārāyaṇa to attribute it to other devas because there are no statements endorsing it. On the contrary, Shruti and smriti are unambiguous in identifying Vishnu/Nārāyaṇa as the Supreme Being.
So, dispense with the pointless exercise of showing quotes like “Brahma is Nārāyaṇa, Shiva is Nārāyaṇa, Indra is Nārāyaṇa, Chandra is Nārāyaṇa etc”. We know they exist top, just that their meaning isn't what you think.
Non-Exclusivity of Other Names
brahma-krt-brahmā” in the sahasranāma is an instance where “brahma” applies etymologically to Vishnu as the Great Creator.
Rudra is a term that refers to Hari, mind and jIva as follows:
  • ṣahasranāma - “rudro bahuśīra babhrur” – refers to Vishnu as Rudra .

  • It refers to the jīvātma in vāyu purāṇa:

etena vidhinā yogo virakta sukśmavarjitaṃ prakrtiṃ samatikramya rudraloko mahīyate (~Vayu Purana 12.35)

Meaning:  The Yogi, by this procedure (of Jnana-Yoga), becomes detached from desire for material objects and being devoid of the (afflictions of) the senses constituted of the subtle elements, he crosses over prakrti (ie, attains freedom from old age, death etc) and is joyous or exalted in the bliss of the self called “Rudra Loka”.

Here “loka” refers to vision as in experience of the bliss of the self that is rudra – the destroyer of the misery of samsAra as evidenced by “prakrtiṃ samatikramya”.
Similarly, terms like Isana, Shambhu, Shiva etc also have multiple usages in Sāstra. In contrast, even the tāmasa purāṇās do not attribute ṇārāyaṇa, viśṇu and vāsudeva to any god other than the Lord of Shri.
Some Opinions of Rivals
  1. Appayya Dikshitar did not directly say Nārāyaṇa is a name of Shiva anywhere. Even he knew this was not tenable.

  1. Sri Vaishnavas have not used Panini grammar as a proof. Sure, it could be a minor prop for arguments, but it has flaws and is a  later day contention.

  1. Nilakantha Dikshitar argues “eko ha vai nārāyaṇa asīt” only refers to one kalpa and that Shiva or Brahma create the other two in other kalpas based on ṣiva purāṇa. Unfortunately, for that to be true, he needs to show statements like “eko ha vai maheśvara asīt na brahmā na hari” or something to that effect in shruti. It also flouts the rule that Nārāyaṇa only applies to the Supreme Being. But atleast even he admits it is only a name of viśṇu.
Names Referring to Brahma, Rudra and Indra denote their innerselves
There are 3 instances where names of the Lord are used to denote the devas:
  1. In the Satapatha Brahmana’s Purushamedha, Brahma is called “puruṣo ha nārāyaṇo” – it means the innerself of brahma (purusha), who is nārāyaṇa – and goes on to describe the actions of brahma.

  1. The pravargya rite similarly refers to Rudra as “Vishnu”(ie, the indweller of Rudra) to denote the actions of Rudra.

  1. The Taittiriya Samhita refers Indra as “Vishnu” similarly as 2) in “sa etaṃ viṣṇurvāmanam paśyata” to denote the actions of Indra.
All these have been explained in comments section or in articles of our blog earlier. The pramāṇas for such interpretations is statements like “visnorcātma bhagavato bhavaḥ amitatejasaḥ” (mahābhārata), “mamāntarātmā tava ca ye cānye dehasaṃjitāḥ” (mahābhārata) and “eśa sarvabhūtāntarātma apahatapāpma divyo deva eko nārāyaṇaḥ” (subālopaniśad).
In finality, I hope this clarifies any doubts and nobody continues to claim we are so limited as to rely on Panini for our proofs.
Rudra Stuti from Varaha Purana for Birth of Skanda
We came across the following anti-vaishnava article:
Where the author assumes a whole lot of ridiculous things and ends with the emphatic (sic!) proclamation:
“Can there anything more emphatic as the above from a Purana considered Vaishnavite in nature? So, all talk of difference among the Trinity is just plain bunkum, ignorance and ineptitude. What can we expect from the blind leading the blind?”
Well, we have seen many of these before, haven’t we? Let us address his diatribe.
Status of the Varaha Purana
The varāha purāṇa is a parama-sāttvika śāstra. Shri Vedanta Desikan hails it as a śuddha sattva purāṇa in his work “rahasya sikhamani”. However, there are several discrepancies in the current version of the purāṇa:
  1. Sections that appear to be lifted from tāmasa purāṇās and tāntrika śāstrās such as sapta-mātrika worship. Note that even Shankaracharya has condemned such worship.
  2. Sections on certain modes of worship for loukika phalas that appear to conflict with shri desikan’s opinion that this purāṇa only talks about ādhyātma-vidyā.
  3. Some genuine sections entirely missing --- the Kaisika māhātmya chapter which was commented in full by śrī parāśara bhattar is absent in current recensions.
Thus, while we can confidently say some sections of purāṇa are not in their pristine form. Why would vedāntācārya make such a claim otherwise? However, we aren’t saying sections quoted by our “rival” aren’t genuine – they appear to be so. It is just certain other portions which prove that this purāṇa is all but lost except for certain parts like Rudra Gita.
Be that as it may, the burth of Skanda appears to be a genuine section. Let us examine this section of the purāṇa quoted by this person to “refute” Vaishnavas.
Rudra Stuti by Devas for Birth of Skanda
The context of this chapter is to explain how upon the prayer of the devas, Shiva agreed to give them a son of his who would protect them. The chapter thus proceeds to narrate the tattvas behind the birth of Skanda as follows:
ṣarveśāmeva tattvānām yaḥ paraḥ puruṣaḥ smritaḥ  tasmād avyaktaṃ utpannaṃ tattvādi trividhantu tat puruśāvyaktayor madhyE mahatvaṃ sampadyatE sa cāhankara
Meaning: From that Purusha (Jiva) which is the highest of all the tattvas (other than Paramatma) arose Avyakta or the body which is of three-fold in guṇās (by virtue of karmas). In the (union of) purusha (Jiva) and avyakta (body), the buddhi (mahat) arose which is also called ahankara (on account of close association).
The creation is described specifically to highlight the nature of the birth of offspring.
ityuktO yO mahānsamudhāhrta puruṣo viṣṇur ityuktaḥ śivo vā nāmataḥ smṛtaḥ  avyaktantu umā devī śrīr vā padmanibhekṣaṇā that samyOgādahankāraḥ sa ca sEnapathiguha
Meaning: That Jiva (Purusha) is said to be Vishnu (ie, having Vishnu as his innerself) and is known by the name of Shiva. That body (avyakta) is said to be Uma Devi and is said to be Lakshmi (as the innerself). Their union is Ahankara, also called Guha or Senapati.
In this particular context, the union of Shiva and Parvati is likened to the union of the jīvā and avyakta (body). Just as jīvā and avyakta combine to produce ahankara, Shiva and Uma combined to produce Skanda. The implication is that Skanda was a product of both of them and not merely one.
As the Vishnu Purana says, all males in the world are vibhūtīs of Hari and all females are vibhūtīs of Lakshmi. Thus, Shiva-Parvati, who are likened to jIva-avyakta, are said to be Vishnu-Lakshmi. It is only śarīrātma bhāva that is emphasized here, to show that Skanda was born by the grace of Lakshmi and Vishnu through Shiva and Parvati.
While describing Skanda’s birth, a description is given for the sake of meditation. The body is called “avyakta” as it is not manifest, ie, not self-luminous. The Jiva associates with the body on account of karmas and produces mahat or buddhi which is of the form of “I-ness” – self identification with the body.
Hence, in the matter of Skanda’s birth, the Jivatma which has Vishnu as its’ inner self, is Shiva. The body is called the sakti of the Jiva as it affords power to perform sādhana. Hence, the body is likened to Uma, who is the sakti of Shiva for bearing progeny (Skanda). That innerself of Uma is Lakshmi (or specifically, Vishnu inseparable with Lakshmi as per atidesa-nyāya).
The union of the Jiva (Shiva) and Body (Uma) causes Ahankara, which is likened to Skanda. Apt, since Skanda is associated with rajas and tamas (by being fire born).
Thus, this purāṇa verse does not talk of any identity. Then, the devas eulogize Shiva for bearing progeny.
The Rudra Stuti is like the one in the bhāgavatam where the devas prayed to Shiva for swallowing the poison. It superimposes the attributes of Vishnu on Rudra. This is because Vishnu is the indweller of Rudra and a pure object can be superimposed with attributes of Brahman as per the brahma-sūtra nyāya “brahmadṛṣṭirutkarṣāt” (vedānta sūtras 4.1.5).
Thus the praise here goes to Hari only, as seen via evidences like visnorcātma bhagavato bhavaḥ amitatejasaḥ” (mahābhārata), “mamāntarātmā tava ca ye cānye dehasaṃjitāḥ” (mahābhārata) and others.
As Shiva is going to give them a son who will be a protector, the devas see Shiva as a manifestation (Avesha-avatāra) of the Supreme Brahman who is going to protect them, and thus eulogize Shiva with the attributes of Brahman (Vishnu).
devā ūcuḥ -
namāma sarve śaraṇārthino vayaṁ maheśvaran tryambaka bhūta-bhāvanam |
umāpate viśvapate marutpate jagatpate śaṅkara pāhi naḥ svayam || 1 ||
Meaning: We who are desirous of self-surrender (to Vishnu, the Parabrahman), salute the lord of yoga (Maheshvara), who has three eyes (Tryambaka), who is the creator of all beings. The consort of Uma, the Lord of the liberated self (Vishvapati), the Lord of the transmigrating self (marutpati), the Lord of the Universe (jagatpati), who performs auspicious deeds like tripura dahanam etc (Shankara), protect us all.
Here the devas are superimposing the attributes of Vishnu on Rudra. “vishva” refers to the liberated selves (muktas and nityas) who are full of the 8 attributes like apahatapApma, etc. “maruta” refers to the individual self that moves ceaselessly like wind that never stays still in samsAra. “jagat” refers to the Universe. He is the Lord of cit and acit on account of both being his body.
“Maheshvara” – An Ishvara is one who has quelled his senses and mind (Ref: Ishvara Gita of Kurma Purana). Shiva is the great Ishvara owing to his prowess in Yoga. This proves that he is worthy of being a pratīka or symbol for meditation on Brahman.
jaṭākalāpā'gra śaśāṅka dīdhiti prakāśitā'śeṣa jagattrayā 'mala |
triśūlapāṇe puruṣottamā 'cyuta prapāhi no daitya-bhayād-upasthitāt || 2 ||
Meaning: The entire Universe is illumined by the moon in your matted locks. O bearer of the Trident! O Lord of muktas, nityas and baddhas (Puruṣottamā)! O One who never lets his devotees fall (Achyuta)! Protect us who have come to you due to fear of the Daityas.
Note that since Shiva is the pratIka, a manifestation of Brahman (Avesha-avatāra) on whom the attributes of Brahman are superimposed on, it is possible to say that the moon on his locks illumines the Universe etc. It is very similar to the bhāgavata stuti in samudra mathanam which says his three eyes are the Vedas etc.
tvaṁ ādidevaḥ puruṣottamo harir bhavo maheśas tripurāntako vibhuḥ |
bhagākṣahā daitya-ripuḥ purātano vṛṣadhvajaḥ pāhi surottamottama || 3 ||
Meaning: You are the foremost God, the supreme above Brahma (purushottama), the destroyer of pāpa karmas (Hari), the Cause of Samsara (Bhava), the great ruler (Mahesha), the destroyer of the ṭripurāsurās (tripurāntaka), all –pervading (Vibhu). The tearer of the eyes of Bhaga (bhagākṣahā), the enemy of daityas (daitya-ripuḥ), the Ancient (purātano), the Bull-bannered (vṛṣadhvajaḥ). Protect us, O Lord of Indra!
Should be a straightforward meaning. Note that it is only Vishnu, in his manifestation as Rudra who is his body, who is the referrant of this praise.
ādidevaḥ puruṣottamo - Narayana is foremost as he is above Brahma.
Hari – On account of his status as the supreme god, He destroys samsāra by removing pāpa karmas.
Bhava -  He is also the cause of samsara despite being the liberator.
Maheśa -  In this manner, he is the great ruler of all.
Tripurāntaka - He destroyed the 3 asurās signifying 3 guṇās in the form (body) of Rudra. That is to say, Rudra has elevated himself from the effects of the triguṇās and hence has become worthy of such worship.
vibhuḥ - Thus, he is all-pervading as he was the innerself of Rudra during the destruction of Tripura, indicating also that he purifies Rudra by granting him his strength.
bhagākṣahā – Rudra also tore the eyes of Bhaga which signifies removal of the experiences of pleasure-pain. Being unaffected by the triguṇās, he is naturally detached from pain and pleasure.
daitya-ripuḥ - He is thus an enemy to the “daityas” which represent afflictions. Just as he helps the devas against the asuras, he also grants knowledge.
Purātana - Rudra is ancient as he was among the earliest offspring of Brahma and hence respected by all.
Vṛṣadhvajaḥ - the bearer of the bull which signifies dharma. Thus, this Rudra-Shariraka-Paramatma, who in his form as Rudra, the Lord of devas headed by Indra, will protect us.
girīśajā-nātha giripriyāpriya prabhuḥ samastā-'mara-loka-pūjitaḥ |
gaṇeśa bhūteśa śivākṣayāya prapāhi no daityavarāntakā 'cyuta || 4 ||
Meaning: You are the Lord of the revered goddess Uma (girīśajā-nātha), fond of the mountain (Kailasa)/fond of abiding in the Vedas (giripriya), who is not fond of that which is contrary to the Vedas (apriya), the Lord who is worshipped by all the worlds (prabhuḥ) . You are the Lord of the Ganas like Vinayaka, Nandi, etc, the Lord of the embodied selves (bhūtās), the one who has a compassionate eye of grace (śivākṣayāya). Protect us, O One who never  slips from his austerities (Acyuta), who is the destroyer of the asurās (daityavarāntakā) !
This shloka talks of Shiva’s jnāna -pradatvam as a vibhūti of nārāyaṇa.
“giripriya” – “girau” can mean abiding in the veda or Kailasa. Uma also is renowned for her knowledge of Brahman and thus the meaning makes sense here. Thus, he himself is a jnāni.
Shiva is the Lord of embodied beings (isoham sarva dehinām) – harivamsha.
pṛthvyādi-tattveṣu-bhavān-pratiṣṭhito dhvani-svarūpo-gagane-viśeṣataḥ |
līno dvidhā-tejasi sa tridhā-jale catuḥ-kṣitau pañca-guṇa-pradhānaḥ || 5 ||
Meaning:  You are established in the tattvas beginning with earth etc as the indweller. You are of the nature of sound which travels through the sky. You are hidden two-fold in fire, three-fold in water, four fold in Earth and with 5-fold guṇas or dharmas (para, vyūha, vibhava, antaryāmin and archa).
This is a straightforward shloka describing the attributes of Nārāyaṇa, superimposed on Rudra. The part about fire, water etc describes panchikaranam, let us skip that. “pañca-guṇa-pradhānaḥ” refers to his five fold forms as para, vyūha, vibhava, antaryāmin and archa. Here, “guṇa” means “dharmas” such as having the 4 armed body, the 2 armed body, antaryāmi-rūpa, etc.
agni-svarūpo'si-tarau tathophale satya-svarūpo'si tathā 'nileṣvapi |   
taila-svarūpo'si Bhagavān maheśvaraḥ prapāhi no daitya-gaṇārdditān hara ||6 ||
Meaning:  In the acts of saving (tarau), your unique condition is that of being the guide or leader out of samsāra (agni-svarūpa). In the fruits, you are of the unique condition of imperishability ie, you grant the imperishable fruit (satya-svarūpa). In the mind which is restless like the wind (anila), you are of the condition of being the oil, ie, concentrated meditation (taila-svarūpa). O Respected One (Bhagavān)! Master of Yoga (Maheshvara)!  Protect us who are oppressed by the Daityas.
Shiva leads us out of samsāra by imparting knowledge. Thus, the fruit of knowledge he gives is imperishable as opposed to perishable fruits. He is characterized by steadfast meditation on Brahman.
Alternatively, these can be taken as attributes of nārāyaṇa directly as well.
nā'sīd yadā kāṇḍamidan trilocana prabhākarendrendu vināpi vā kutaḥ |
tadā bhavān eva viruddha-locana pramāṇa-bādhādi-vivarjitaḥ sthitaḥ || 7 ||
Meaning:   O Paramātma whose body is the Three-Eyed Lord (Trilocana)! When this entire Universe was absent and there was no sun, moon, Indra, etc was not present, you alone, O Lord whose eyes are dissimilar, remained beyond the ken of reasoning.
Eko ha vai nārāyaṇa āsīt na brahma neśāna – This shloka describes nārāyaṇa, the indweller of the three eyed Rudra, on account of such shruti pramāṇās. Since Shiva is the body of the Lord who is his indweller, it is possible to refer to Vishnu in this manner (as Rudra-ṣarīraka-Paramātma) in accordance with the brahma-sūtra nyāya “śāstradṛṣṭyā tu upadeśao vāmadevavat" (Br।ṣu।1।1।30-31), or since ṣiva is an aṃśāvatāra of bhagavān nārāyaṇa
Bhagavān’s eyes are dissimilar (viruddha-locana) as one eye is full of grace and the other is full of anger. It implies his grace is the reason for creation (to enable sādhana) and his anger is the cause of dissolution (due to jīvās not acting in accordance to dharma).
The Varaha Purana itself declares in the 17th Chapter that Vishnu created all the devas as follows:
sarve devā sapitaraḥ brahmādayāścāṇḍamadhyagāḥ ।viṣṇoḥ sakāśādutpannā itīyaṃ vaidikīśrutiḥ ॥indro jagatpatirviṣṇuḥ yamo rudraḥ śaśī tathā ।pitaraśceti saṃbhūtā prādhānyena jagatpateḥ ॥ (~ Varaha Purana, 17th Chapter)

[There is a statement in the shruti which says: “All devas from Brahma, along with the Pitrs were born from Vishnu. Indra, the Lord of the universe Vishnu, Yama, Rudra, Chandra, and Pitrs are the notable ones who were born from the Lord of the Universe (Narayana).]
The above shloka is an upabrahmana of the Atharva-Shikha. First it says every being was born from Vishnu and in the next statement includes Vishnu among other created beings to clarify that it is an avatāra of the Lord taking birth among them. Note the epithet of "jagatpati” as well.
kapāla-mālin śaśi-khaṇḍa-śekhara śmaśāna-vāsin smita-bhasma-guṇḍitaḥ |
phaṇīndra-saṁvīta-tano 'ntakāya prapāhi no dakṣadhiyā sureśvara || 8 ||
Meaning: O wearer of the garland of skulls! Bearer of the crescent moon on the head! One who resides in the graveyard! Smearer of ashes all over the body! Whose body is surrounded by the King of Serpents! Destroyer! You alone can protect us, O Lord of the Devas!
Each of these attributes have an inner meaning.
“kapāla-mālin” – For Rudra, he is the protector (palaka) of “ka” which refers to sukham or happiness.  Meaning, he is the giver of boons and wears this attribute like a garland/ornament.
“śaśi-khaṇḍa-śekhara” – How is he the giver of boons? The moon signifies the cool auspicious attributes of Brahman that Rudra is meditating on. Thus, his ascetic prowess and meditation on Brahman is the reason.
“śmaśāna-vāsin” – Why is he meditating always on the cool attributes of Brahman? Because he is located in the crematorium. Samsāra is signified by crematorium as it is a place of deaths. Rudra is a jīva located in samsara, and to escape this samsara, he is meditating on Bhagavān.
“smita-bhasma-guṇḍitaḥ” – How is he situated in Samsāra? By being detached, whichj is signified by the wearing of ashes that is part of his upāsaṇa on Brahman. The pāśupata-vrata as described by the Atharvasiras which involves application of ashes, signifies detachment from sense objects and Rudra is a practitioner of this Vidya.
“phaṇīndra-saṁvīta-tano” – How is he detached? The snakes on his body signify karma-yoga. The mouth of the snake is the experience of the fruits, whereas the tail signifies desireless action. Rudra embodies one who performs actions without seeking fruits, which explains the cause of such detachment.
“antakā” – One who brings an end to samsāra – By virtue of the above qualities, Rudra, brings an end to samsāra for himself and others by imparting knowledge of Brahman.   
bhavān-pumān śaktiriyaṁ-gireḥ-sutā sarvāṅga-rūpā bhagavaṁs tathā tvayi |
triśūla-rūpeṇa-jagad-bhayaṅkare sthitaṁ-trinetreṣu-makhā'gnas-trayaḥ || 9 ||
Meaning: Lord! You are endowed with virility (pumān) and the daughter of the mountain of beautiful form is your capability (sakti) for progeny. You cause fear to samsāra in your form with the trident (as you take away lives/or you destroy the triguṇās), but your three eyes signify the three sacrificial fires (as your stand is in dharma/ or you perform the prescribed duties).
In the previous shloka, the devas asked for protection. Since they want Skanda to be born for protecting them, they are now imploring Rudra to beget Skanda for that purpose.
“pumān” means “vīrya sampannam”. “Sakti” denoting Uma also refers to the body which is the vehicle for progeny, and hence is his capability (which is again an etymological derivative of the word). This was what was implied earlier by saying Shiva is Purusha and Uma is Avyakta.
The remaining part of the verse has a wealth of meanings. The idea is, he is the destroyer who takes away lives, but his eyes represent the 3 sacrificial fires, ie, he is performing his work of destruction as part of his vaidika karmas and so is situated in Dharma. The three fires represent proper performance of duties and adherence to dharma, since it is said yatra trayam etat nityam, tiṣṭanti samasta devatās tatra (where the three fires are tended, all the gods abide).
Alternatively, if we interpret “jagad-bhayaṅkare” as samsāra, it means Rudra drives away samsāra by piercing the triguṇās with his trident which has 3 prongs. The idea is, he is detached from samsāric matters and does not desire progeny or women. However, his 3 eyes represent the sacrificial fires, meaning, being a grihastha, he always executes his duties faithfully and thus would consent to having a child.
jaṭā-svarūpeṇa-samasta-sāgarāḥ kulācalāḥ sindhuvahāśca sarvaśaḥ |
śarīrajaṁ jñānaṁ idantvavasthitan tadeva paśyanti kudṛṣṭayo janāḥ || 10 ||   
Meaning: The oceans, mountains and rivers remain in your form with the matted hair. People of crooked sight, perceive by the mind that arises from (attachment to) the body, abiding in (the sense objects).
The stuti superimposed attributes of Parabrahman on Rudra according to the brahma-sūtra nyāya “brahmadṛṣṭirutkarṣāt” (4.1.5).  Hence it is possible to say that oceans etc are Rudra's form.Matted locks signify he is an upāsaka and the world is said to be situated in such a meditator of Brahman, ie, his greatness is such that everything depends on him.
“śarīrajaṁ jñānaṁ” means “the means to know/perceive arising from (attachment to) the body”. “jneyate anena iti jñānaṁ” – it refers to the mind which is the means to perceive. The kudhrishtis perceive the physical form of Rudra with their mind that is abiding in sense objects (idam tu avasthitham), such as him having Uma in one half of his body, inhabiting the crematorium and sprinkling himself with ashes and make wrong assumptions about his qualities. They do not recognize his greatness or true nature.
This parallels the Bhagavata shloka where it is said only fools consider Rudra as fierce, promiscuous for giving Uma one half of his body etc.
So what is his true condition beyond his physical form? As below:
nārāyaṇas-tvaṁ-jagatāṁ-samudbhavas bhavān-eva-caturmukho-mahān |
sattvādi-bhedena-tathā'gni-bhedato yugādi-bhedena ca saṁsthitas tridhā || 11 ||
Meaning:  Lord! You are Narayana, who is the Cause of the Universe and you are Brahma, who is Great on account of having created great things (which is this Universe). By the difference in the guṇās, the difference in the desires and the difference in the beginning and end of yugas, you remain three-fold (as Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva).
You, that is to say, your innerself, is Narayana. You, that is to say, your innerself, is the (innerself of) the great Brahma. That is the true condition of Rudra responsible for his greatness.
“sattvādi-bhedena” - Vishnu in the form of Brahma is associated with rajas, in his own form associated with sattva and in the form of Rudra is associated with tamas.
“agni-bhedana” – “Agni” means to lead. It refers to desire which leads or guides the Lord to differentiate himself into forms. Desire to create causes him to create by being the innerself of Brahma. Desire to protect causes him to protect by residing in a beautiful auspicious body that is aprAkrta, as Vishnu. Desire to destroy causes him to destroy by being the innerself of Rudra.
“yugādi-bhedena” – “yugādi is interpreted as “yugasya Adi ante api” by Bhattar. It signifies the beginning as well as the end, and the middle of a yuga. Thus, in the beginning of the yuga, Sriman Narayana creates in the form of Brahma, in the middle of the yuga, he performs acts of protection such as maintenance of the Universe and propagation of shAstra as Vishnu, and at the end of the yuga he destroys as Rudra.
Again, Shiva is not being referred to by the name of “Narayana” here. It merely says his jeweller is the same as Narayana and the jeweller of Brahma.
bhavantaṁ ete suranāyakāḥ prabho bhavārthino 'nyasya vadanti toṣayan |
yatas tato no bhava-bhūti-bhūṣaṇa prapāhi viśveśvara rudra te namaḥ || 12 ||
Meaning:  O Master! All the leaders of these gods, seek prosperity. Salutations to you, Rudra, who are the Ruler of the Universe, who are adorned with ashes and prosperity in the form of bhagavad jnāna, be pleased to protect us!
“Rudra” – As he cried upon birth due to his realization, he is a jnAni.
“bhava-bhūti-bhūṣaṇa” – “bhava” refers to prosperity which is the wealth of knowledge of Brahman. “bhūti” refers to ashes which he adorns as part of his upāsaṇa on Sriman Nārāyaṇa and signify detachment from sense objects. Thus, Rudra has both jnāna and vairāgya.
“viśveśvara” – On account of the above, he is a master of the Universe.
This concludes the stuti. As one can see, it does not talk of Rudra as the Supreme at all.
On the Puranic Classification
There is some modern day work that seems to quote the Skanda Purana that reverses the classification of the Puranas as follows:
“dasha shaivapurANAni saattvikAni vidurbudhAH . vaiShNavAni ca chatvAri tAmasAni munIshvaraaH. [ Meaning: The ten shaivapurANas are sAttvika. The four vaiShNava puraaNas are tAmasika. ]
I found this quotation in a book titled 'gunjAgarvabhanjanam' (sanskrit). This book also says that there is no pramANa for the three types among jiva-s.”
Obviously a bogus invention, for the classification traditionally quoted in the same Purana says the opposite:
In the Sattvika Kalpas, the greatness of Hari is supreme. They know that the greatness of Brahma reigns supreme in the Rajasa Kalpas. Similarly, the greatness of Siva is to be found in the Tamasa Kalpas. In a Purana of a mixed nature, the greatness of Saraswati and Pitrs is narrated (~Skanda Purana
If the opponent claims both verses are present, then obviously one is not genuine. Considering the Garuda, Padma and Matysa Puranas also have the classification agreeing with the idea that Puranas praising Vishnu are Sattvika, considering the scholars of ancient times have all commented on Puranas praising Vishnu and also quoted the second classification given above, considering Shruti and Smriti declare Vishnu to be Supreme and also considering the numerous proofs we have given by examining the content of tāmasa purāṇās, it is safe to say that the shloka classifying Vaishnava Puranas as tāmasic is spurious.
Concluding Thoughts
People are welcome to believe Shiva is supreme despite the mountain of evidence to the contrary if that is their inclination. However, we would think they would have the integrity to stop assuming that Vaishnavas haven’t examined all parts of shāstra, or that Vaishnavas are making knee-jerk claims, or that Sri Vaishnavas are dependent on Panini for their proofs.
Let us end this write-up with the very apt and powerful shloka from the Narasimha Purāṇa:
nārāyaṇāya nama ityayameva satyah samsāra ghora viśa samharaṇāya mantrah । ṣṇvantu bhavyamatayo yatayo'starāgā uccaistarāmupadiṣāmyaham ūrdhva-bāhuh ॥ (~Narasimha Purāṇa 18.31)
Meaning: “This is the imperishable mantra that destroys the deadly poison of samsāra - nārāyaṇāya namah. This I proclaim loudly with uplifted hands; Let the ascetics, with passions curbed and intellects clear, listen to me".


  1. This new article should dispel any further furore over the name "Narayana", I believe. Time to move on from this, as the claims of our opponents lack a basic knowledge of shAstra.

    Excuse some of the grammatical errors in the article. We wrote it using mobiles, and didn't think that the typos were so serious to require editing.

  2. Excellent article! I must say that particular user S K has been using Stack Exchange platform to abuse Vaishnavas even to the lowest levels. I personally have been a victim of his unfounded accusations each and everytime. Fortunately, he's currently been suspended for a year. Despite his absence, though, the site still contains a vast share of his supporters.

    1. Yes, we noticed. We couldn't help ourselves with the rather colorful language in this article on account of his idiotic diatribes against Sri Vaishnavas in particular.

      He seems to have an entrenched belief that Sri Vaishnavas are sectarian and hate Shiva. Nothing could be further than the truth.

      Sri Vaishnava acharyas have treated Shiva with respect, apart from the situations where nahi-ninda-nyAya is used to depreciate him in favor of Bhagavan. It is Shaivas like Arunagirinathar who have disrespected Vishnu.

    2. *Arulnandi Sivacharya, not Arunagirinathar. Excuse the typo.

    3. That's the beauty of those people on the forums. For all the hue and cry about sectarianism and hate, they are the ones who clearly spreading both.

      Anyway, I think you have done enough exposure on the shallowness on that forum. Looking forward to reading more articles here.

  3. The furore over who "Narayana" is, is a constructed one and illogical. If one sees who are creating most of the noise, it would be clear as to why they are doing it as well. People lile S K are just a symptom. The root cause, the actual disease, lies in the depths of sentimentalism, dishonesty in the face of accepting truth and mindless acceptance of ceratin modern personalities.

    1. Actually, this person admitted he doesn't believe in anything. He even said Shiva was a "mythological character".

      He is just an anti-hindu troll.

    2. That might be true. One cannot but wonder at the lengths he goes to spew his venom. His outwardly anti-hinduism is only targeted towards Vaishnavism and Vedas, and all that just to position a mythological character (in his view) as the object to be known from -gasp!- the Vedas themselves! There is only one group of people that I know of who are capable of such depths of hyprocrisy. :D

    3. This SK is such incorrigible troll, that he goes around all the social media like blogs, you tube and makes unpleasant comments about the srivaishnavas wearing tiruman (by calling srivaishnavas "paint their faces white" and so on) This person's hatred towards srivaishnavas, vaishnavas, vishnu, is psychopathic to extent that he had made obnoxious remarks on srivaishnava women, srivaishnava girls, etc. I am sure this psycho has been commenting and downvoting many of the upanyasams, lectures etc given by Srivaishnava acharyas, srivaishnava scholars on you tube etc. You really hit the nail on the head of this person when you say that "This seems to be a weird basket case, with deep psychological trauma brought on by daddy issues in childhood".

  4. Cont'd from above...

    “aila uvāca

    na vai vātaḥ parivṛṇōti kaścinna jīmūtō varṣati nāpi dēvaḥ.
    tathāyuktō dṛśyatē mānuṣēṣu kāmadvēṣādbadhyatē muhyatē ca|” (MBH 12:73:20)

    Meaning: Aila said, “The wind does not cover or obstruct anything, nor does the cloud hurt (anyone), nor also do they shine out (other objects). On the other hand, it is seen among men that they become deprived of clear discrimination and become bound (in samsāra).”

    Aila raises an objection to the comparison of the nature of desire to wind and cloud. Desire covers the knowledge-nature of the self, depriving it of it’s discrimination, thereby harming the self. This it does by shining out sense objects to the self by making them appear as objects of enjoyment. It is by this that men become deprived of the discrimination between real and non-real and become bound in Samsara.

    However, wind and cloud do not bind anyone, nor do they obstruct or illuminate other things. Note that Aila is not contesting the fact that wind and cloud share some common characteristics with desire like movement and concealment. However, he points out that they do not compare with all characteristics desire possesses. He is subtly showing that it is not necessary to invoke wind or cloud at all, but fire alone would suffice to describe desire with all it's characteristics.

    Kashyapa concedes this point and replies,

    “kaśyapa uvāca

    yathaikagēhē jātavēdāḥ pradīptaḥ kṛtsnaṁ grāmaṁ dahatē ca tvaraṁ vā.
    vimōhanaṁ kurutē dēva ēṣa tataḥ sarvaṁ spṛśyatē puṇyapāpaiḥ|” (MBH 12:73:21)

    Meaning: Kashyapa said, “Just as Fire, kindled in one house, burns an entire village or a quarter, this desire which shines out sense objects (deva) deludes the senses of someone and then that delusion touches all, the virtous and the wicked alike, without any distinction.”

    Kashyapa concedes that fire alone can account for all characteristics of desire and there was no need to bring in the comparisons with wind or cloud. Fire is bright and illumines things. Similarly, desire is called “devah” as it shines out sense objects making them look enjoyable. This rules out the need for using wind as an example of desire moving one towards sense-objects. Fire can envelop or surround a house and burn it down, similarly desire envelops the true nature of the self and harms it. This rules out the need for bringing in the cloud example.

    Fire can spread to the entire village, similarly the desire in one, affects the minds of others. Ravana kidnapped Sita, and it led to not only his ruin, but to the destruction of all his relations, well-wishers and his subjects who associated with him.

    Thus, Kashyapa despite being the teacher, accepts with all humility the suggestion offered by the student Aila, that fire alone is the ideal comparison as it can describe all the characteristics and there was no need to bloat the discussion with incomplete examples of wind and cloud. It is the Vedic decorum of a teacher being corrected by a student and the former accepting it without pride!

    In this manner, the nature of desire is explained here. Note that the same desire is called “danda” in the next shloka (yadi daṇḍaḥ spṛśate..) – “danda” signifies authority or control, and desire is said to be higher than the self in the gita, as it has everything in it’s sway. Thus, terms like rudra, deva, danda etc are used to describe this desire only.

    We would advise our opponents to not jump at the very mention of “rudra” or “shiva” in the shAstra blindly and attribute it to pArvati pati without studying the context and nature of the discussion that such terms are embedded in. This should be enough proof that these names aren’t exclusive to pArvati pati. It seems as though they are the ones stupefied by the description of entities like desire that stupefy in the shAstra!


  5. In this article by the Mahapashupatastra author (, he gives proof of how “Rudra is the in-dweller of everyone stupefies and destroys” from the Mahabharata as follows. I am quoting him:

    [QUOTE]Rudra who is the Mahakala and the Supreme Brahman and dwells in the hearts of all beings as their Atman, sets an expiry date to the creatures and stupefies them under his illusion. And then the same men become the instruments of their own destruction under the hands of Rudra.

    The detailed answer is given in Chapter 72 of Shanti Parva of Mahabharata as a discourse between prince Aila and sage Kashyapa.

    “kaśyapa uvāca

    pāpaiḥ pāpē kriyamāṇē hi caila tatō rudrō jāyatē dēva ēṣaḥ.
    pāpaiḥ pāpāḥ sañjanayanti rudraṁ tataḥ sarvānsādhvasādhūnhinasti |” (MBH 12:73:17)

    “In consequence of the sins perpetrated by sinful men, the god Rudra appears in the kingdom. Indeed, the sinful by their sins bring upon them that god of vengeance. He then destroys all, the honest and the wicked alike (without making any distinction).’”.

    “aila uvāca

    kutō rudraḥ kīdṛśō vāpi rudraḥ sattvaiḥ sattvaṁ dṛśyatē vadhyamānam.
    ētatsarvaṁ kaśyapa mē pracakṣva kutō rudrō jāyatē dēva ēṣaḥ |” (MBH 12:73:18)

    “Aila said, ‘Whence does Rudra spring? What also is his form? Creatures are seen to be destroyed by creatures. Tell me all this, O Kasyapa! Whence does the god Rudra spring?’”

    “kaśyapa uvāca

    ātmā rudrō hṛdayē mānavānā̃ svaṁ svaṁ dēhaṁ paradēhaṁ ca hanti.
    vātōtpātaiḥ sadṛśaṁ rudramāhurdērvairjīmūtaiḥ sadṛśaṁ rūpamasya|” (MBH 12:73:19)

    “Kasyapa said, ‘Rudra exists in the hearts of men as their indwelling Atman. He destroys the bodies themselves in which he dwells as also the bodies of others. Rudra has been said to be like atmospheric visitations and his form is like that of the wind-gods’.”

    “aila uvāca

    na vai vātaḥ parivṛṇōti kaścinna jīmūtō varṣati nāpi dēvaḥ.
    tathāyuktō dṛśyatē mānuṣēṣu kāmadvēṣādbadhyatē muhyatē ca|” (MBH 12:73:20)

    “Aila said, ‘The Wind does not, by blowing, visibly destroy men on all occasions, nor does the deity of the clouds do so by pouring rain. On the other hand, it is seen among men that they lose their senses and are slain through lust and malice.’

    “kaśyapa uvāca

    yathaikagēhē jātavēdāḥ pradīptaḥ kṛtsnaṁ grāmaṁ dahatē ca tvaraṁ vā.
    vimōhanaṁ kurutē dēva ēṣa tataḥ sarvaṁ spṛśyatē puṇyapāpaiḥ|” (MBH 12:73:21)

    “Kasyapa said, ‘Fire, blazing forth in one house, burneth a whole quarter or an entire village. Similarly, this deity stupefies the senses of someone and then that stupefaction touches all, the honest and the wicked alike, without any distinction’.”


    As is usual with every illiterate reading of the Mahabharata, neither Ganguli, the translator, nor the Mahapashupatastra author, get the true meaning of the above shlokas. Yet both simply latch onto the word "Rudra" and give irrelevant, out-of-context meanings.


  6. Cont'd from above...

    Firstly, note the words of the shloka describing this “Rudra” – “ātmā rudrō hṛdayē mānavānā̃” – Here, if iit would mean “Rudra is the innerself in all hearts” – then, look at the next statement – “svaṁ svaṁ dēhaṁ paradēhaṁ ca hanti” – Our opponents interpret it as “He destroys the bodies in which he dwells and other bodies also”.

    If this “Rudra” is indeed the indweller of all, then why differentiate between bodies he dwells and “other bodies”? He should be dwelling in those bodies as well as the indweller, should he not?

    Without noting context or such logic, these people simply look at the word “Rudra” and rush into conclusions.

    Here is the actual meaning. The context is a dialogue between Aila and Kasyapa in which Aila explains that when Brahmanas are not protected by the Kshatriyas, and when Brahmanas move away from their study of the Vedas, then the subjects of the Kingdom commit sins. And then, the dialogue quoted by the Mahapashupatastra author resumes.


  7. Cont'd from above...

    I provide the proper interpretation of the shlokas:
    “kaśyapa uvāca

    pāpaiḥ pāpē kriyamāṇē hi caila tatō rudrō jāyatē dēva ēṣaḥ.
    pāpaiḥ pāpāḥ sañjanayanti rudraṁ tataḥ sarvānsādhvasādhūnhinasti |” (MBH 12:73:17)

    Meaning: Kashyapa said, “In consequence of the contemplation on sense objects associated with purva-janma karmas (pāpē kriyamāṇē) done by those who possess attachments (pāpaiḥ), desire known as “Rudra” as it causes weeping, which is “devaH” as it shines out objects of enjoyment appears here. Indeed, the ones associated with karmas (pāpaiḥ), by their attachments (pāpāḥ) bring forth desire known as “Rudra”, that then destroys all, the virtuous and the wicked alike (without making any distinction).’”.

    Gita 2.62 explains this succinctly. “pāpaiḥ” refers to those with attachments that are in turn associated with purva-janma karmas (hence, they are called pāpaiḥ). “pāpē kriyamāṇē” literally meaning “doing sins” actually refers to the action of contemplating on the sense objects which is associated with attachments, that in turn are associated with karmas --- hence such meditation on sense objects itself called “pāpē”.

    What does repeated rememberance of sense objects lead to? As the Gita says, desire, which is the most formidable enemy. This desire or lust is called “Rudra” as it causes weeping or misery, or further attachment. It is called “deva” as it shines out sense objects to us, making them look attractive. This desire consumes everyone, be he a sAttvika or a tAmasika, as none can resist it.

    Thus, this is again an instance of “Rudra” being used as a sAmAnya shabda to denote something other than pArvati pati.

    “aila uvāca

    kutō rudraḥ kīdṛśō vāpi rudraḥ sattvaiḥ sattvaṁ dṛśyatē vadhyamānam.
    ētatsarvaṁ kaśyapa mē pracakṣva kutō rudrō jāyatē dēva ēṣaḥ |” (MBH 12:73:18)

    Meaning: Aila said, “Where does desire known as “Rudra” as it causes weeping, exist (ie, what is it’s locus)? What also is its’ appearance or nature? Living beings are seen to be destroyed by other living beings. Tell me all this, O Kasyapa! In what manner does this desire (Rudra) which shines out sense objects become (the destroyer)?”

    In the last shloka, Kashyapa already explained attachments lead to desire. So the cause of desire is known.
    However, Aila wants to know three things:

    Firstly, the locus of desire, ie, What is it’s agent? Is it something inherent to the Atman, or is it something like the mind, senses etc?

    Secondly, what is the nature of desire?

    Thirdly, it is known that living beings kill other living beings and hence the former are the cause of destruction. That being the case, how does desire become (the destroyer)?


  8. Cont'd from above...

    Kashyapa answers these three questions of Aila below in the order 1, 3 and 2:

    “kaśyapa uvāca

    ātmā rudrō hṛdayē mānavānā̃ svaṁ svaṁ dēhaṁ paradēhaṁ ca hanti.
    vātōtpātaiḥ sadṛśaṁ rudramāhur dāvair jīmūtaiḥ sadṛśaṃ rūpam asya |” (MBH 12:73:19)

    Meaning: Kashyapa said, “Desire or lust (Rudra) is that which moves or causes agitation (ātmā) in the minds (hṛdayē) of all beings (mānavānā̃). It destroys the embodied selves that it abides in, as well as other embodied selves. They (the acharyas) say that it is like wind – in the same way wind moves objects in a particular direction by force, desire makes one move towards sense objects by force. The nature of desire (Rudra) is like fire (dāvair) as it is insatiable or a cloud (jīmūtaiḥ) as it envelops.

    “ātmā” - Root “ata-“ signifies movement. Desire is said cause movement in the form of agitation in the minds of all beings. “hrdaye” refers to minds and not to hearts, as mind is also denoted by “hrdaya”. This answers Aila’s first question – what is the locus of desire.

    Desire not only destroys one person, but the desire of a person affects others. “deham” here does not refer to mere bodies, but to the embodied self inseparably associated with a body. When Ravana kidnapped Sita, it not only brought grief to Ravana, but also to his well-wishers, relatives and even his enemies like jatAyu, rAma and sIta. Though living beings only cause harm to other living beings, desire causes harm not only to others, but to oneself. This answers Aila’s third question – how does desire become the cause of destruction.

    The nature of desire is like wind, fire and cloud. As wind forcefully pushes an object in a particular direction, desire forcefully pushes one towards sense objects. Gita 3.39 describes desire for sense objects as “analena ca” – it is like fire as it can never attain satisfaction. It is like a cloud, as it envelopes or covers the nature of the embodied jIva which is knowledge, just as a cloud blocks the sun. This answers Aila’s second question – what is the nature of desire. It also explains what “destruction” caused by desire means – it is in the sense of a loss of discrimination and knowledge.

    “aila uvāca

    na vai vātaḥ parivṛṇōti kaścinna jīmūtō varṣati nāpi dēvaḥ.
    tathāyuktō dṛśyatē mānuṣēṣu kāmadvēṣādbadhyatē muhyatē ca|” (MBH 12:73:20)

    Meaning: Aila said, “The wind does not cover or obstruct anything, nor does the cloud hurt (anyone), nor also do they shine out (other objects). On the other hand, it is seen among men that they become deprived of clear discrimination and become bound (in samsāra).”

    Aila raises an objection to the comparison of the nature of desire to wind and cloud. Desire covers the knowledge-nature of the self, depriving it of it’s discrimination, thereby harming the self. This it does by shining out sense objects to the self by making them appear as objects of enjoyment. It is by this that men become deprived of the discrimination between real and non-real and become bound in Samsara.

    However, wind and cloud do not bind anyone, nor do they obstruct or illuminate other things. Hence, Aila objects to the comparison.

    Note that Aila is not saying the comparison given for wind and cloud is entirely inaccurate. He is merely saying, there is no need for them as the third example (fire) can adequately explain all the characteristics explained by wind and cloud as well. Giving 3 examples causes the discussion to get bloated when one would suffice.


  9. Cont'd from above...

    Kashyapa concedes this point and replies,

    “kaśyapa uvāca

    yathaikagēhē jātavēdāḥ pradīptaḥ kṛtsnaṁ grāmaṁ dahatē ca tvaraṁ vā.
    vimōhanaṁ kurutē dēva ēṣa tataḥ sarvaṁ spṛśyatē puṇyapāpaiḥ|” (MBH 12:73:21)

    Meaning: Kashyapa said, “Just as Fire, kindled in one house, burns an entire village or a quarter, this desire which shines out sense objects (deva) deludes the senses of someone and then that delusion touches all, the virtous and the wicked alike, without any distinction.”

    Kashyapa concedes that out of the three examples, fire is the best illustration for desire or lust. Fire is bright and illumines things. Similarly, desire is called “devah” as it shines out sense objects making them look enjoyable. This eliminates the need for the wind example as making objects look enjoyable itself implies movement towards those objects.

    Fire can envelop or surround a house and burn it down, similarly desire envelops the true nature of the self and harms it. This eliminates the need for using the cloud example.

    Fire can spread to the entire village, similarly the desire in one, affects the minds of others and is insatiable. Ravana kidnapped Sita, and it led to not only his ruin, but to the destruction of all his relations, well-wishers and his subjects who associated with him. This characteristic is not explained by wind or cloud at all.

    Note that even gita compares lust to fire only (analena ca).

    This is thus, a case of the teacher humbly accepting the argument of his student, which is a Vedic tradition. Kashyapa did not possess any arrogance in his status as a teacher and accepted the interpretation of Aila despite the latter being his student. It is the norm in Vedic tradition.

    In this manner, the nature of desire is explained here. Note that the same desire is called “danda” in the next shloka (yadi daṇḍaḥ spṛśate..) – “danda” signifies authority or control, and desire is said to be higher than the self in the gita, as it has everything in it’s sway. Thus, terms like rudra, deva, danda etc are used to describe this desire only in the current discussion.

    Next time, we would advise looking at the context before jumping to conclusions.


  10. Here is a sample of "SK"'s crazed ravings for everyone to enjoy btw. "Swaminath Kumar" appears to be a human version of a baboon sitting in New Jersey and spamming the internet with whatever he bashed off his keyboard in anger.

    I was laughing my head off at some of what he's written. Specially this one almost made me spill my drink:

    "Hinduism is just another name for white Racism practiced by people who range from white to brown to black. The value of Hinduism is Advaita Vedanta which is a form of Buddhism."

    "White racism" practised by brown and black people as well. Ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner here!

    He seems to have a bizarre obsession over race. Must be really ugly with a huge inferiority complex over his skin color and got insulted for his looks or something I suppose. Psychological issues.

    I sincerely hope this missing link in the evolutionary chain is given more scope for ranting in the future. He's totally fun. Whenever I am bored, I read this stuff he's vomited in Quora and other places just for kicks.

    Also note, most of these utterly deranged, incoherent Lemurian nutters are from Tamil Nadu. Land of Soriyar and Thee Kaa. Sums up our state really, *sigh*.

  11. Dear all,

    Despite clarifications, there are always some who keep repeating statements without understanding the context. Case in point is a recent post on Hinduism Stack Exchange where a poster has again tried to attribute usage of panini grammar to our Acharyas here:

    Quickly addressing his erroneous assumptions here:

    "That Ramanuja subscribed to the theory that the word "Narayana" was unambigous in its reference can be clearly seen in the Sribhashya."

    It isn't a "theory". The name unambiguously only refers to the Supreme Reality everywhere in shAstra and nothing else. However, Shri Ramanuja does not say the reason for this is Panini grammar. Rather, the fact that "Narayana" denotes only the Supreme Brahman everywhere in shAstra is taken as sufficient reason for it's status. It is a reason in itself - a clear pramANa from shAstra as opposed to grammatical causes.


  12. cont'd from above...

    He writes,

    "From #5, it is clear that Desika considers Narayana to be a term that (1) uniquely identifies an entity, and (2) cannot be ambiguous in what it means."

    And the reason Desikan feels that way is because that is the way it is presented in shAstra. Take any sentence from any portion of shAstra with the word "Narayana" and it will be a description of the Supreme Brahman only and nothing else.

    This is a self-sufficient reason to use chAga-pashu-nyAya and there is no need to add an extra assumption that "they thought Panini was the reason behind this". When sabda pramANa itself testifies the name to uniquely denote Brahman, why violate Occam's Razor and force another assumption of Panini on the Bhashya?

    If Panini were so important or the ultimate reason, our Acharyas would have clearly specified it. Vedanta Desikan is called "kavi-tArkika-simham" and even dveshis like Appayya Dikshitar have lauded him for his clarity in explaining things. Shri Ramanuja also never leaves anything in ambiguity, and yet doesn't use extra words to explain a point. If any of these Acharyas thought Panini was a deal-breaker for their adversaries, they would have mentioned it openly.


  13. Cont'd from above...

    "Both Ramanuja and Desika appear to have taken for granted that other Vedantins not only clearly understood why the term "Narayana" was unambiguous but also that the claim would not be contested. Otherwise, they would have provided reasons for why they felt so"

    They didn't take it "for granted". If you see the Bhashya, the explanation they give is that the name denotes only the supreme Brahman everywhere in shAstra. Thus, this is a shabda pramANa. Obviously, they cannot quote all the instances of shAstra calling Narayana as Brahman here as it is too many!! Hence, they quoted the Mahopanishad which talks of Narayana as the Cause.

    There is no counter pramANa showing Narayana to be used in the context of mind, jIva or other entities. Hence, nothing is "taken for granted". If you feel their explanation is shaky, incumbent on you to provide pramANAs showing Narayana denotes multiple entities. So where is the logic of claiming they didn't provide pramANAs?


  14. Cont'd from above...

    "Some editors have opined that the basis for this argument of Vedanta Desika is based on Panini Sutra 8.4.1. E.g. The edition of Tattvamuktakalapa with Sarvartha Siddhi edited by Pandit Rama Misra Sastri and published in 1900 has an editorial footnote to this effect."

    Editors opine many things but they aren't all right. Recently, we showed an example of how editors misunderstood Shri Ramanuja's quotations -- the Acharya quoted the shruti vAkya "antah praviShta shAsta janAnAm sarvAtma" - a statement from Taittirya. However, the editors for some bizarre reason split the vAkya as "antah praviShta shAsta jananAm" -- attributing it to Taittiriya --- and the final word "sarvAtma", --- attributing this single word to the Kaivalya Upanishad!!

    Why would Shri Ramanuja quote a single word "sarvAtma" when it has so many meanings and contexts, and why particularly from Kaivalya Upanishad? Who divined it to be from this particular Upanishad? When the Taittiriya vAkya ends with "sarvAtma" why would Acharya quote 3/4ths of that vAkya, omit "sarvAtma" at the end and then quote a single word "sarvAtma" from another place?

    Therefore, dispense with the argument of editors and their opinions. Panini argument was originally mentioned by Bhaskara. It crept into Sri Vaishnava thought courtesy of some lesser scholars in the 18th century. No major vidwan or Acharya before them reference it.


  15. ADD: Just to address one additional comment,

    "Unlike these, the word Narayana is neither a descriptor of categories nor attributes" I would disagree with this. Narayana has atleast two etymologies which describe attributes, one of them being "refuge of man".

    This person does not understand what is meant by the Acharya when he says Narayana is not jAtyupAdhi vachana". It means that Narayana with all it's definitions is used exclusively as a name to denote the Supreme Brahman. Unlike terms like "Siva" or "Rudra" which are used to denote classes of entities (jIvA, mind etc) or used as a qualifying attribute (rudraloka - the sight which destroys misery of samsAra, sivam - auspicious thing), "Narayana" is not used as a qualifying attribute.

    For example, even the meaning "refuge of naras" or "one who reclines in the waters" or "one for whom men are his naras" refer to the Supreme Being. It is not used for example, as "narayanam" as a qualifying attribute to describe something like the jIva or mind which also recline in waters (subtle elements constituting the body), but always refers to the Lord. This is what our acharyas meant.

    Enough with this.

  16. "I sincerely hope this missing link in the evolutionary chain"...ha ha...!
    God, don't know where you got the phrase...but wow...I had to take a break in my reading, as I could not stop laughing for about a minute.
    Nice one Aaryamaa.

  17. Hello,

    I have a question about the Na-kara thing of Panini. They say that the final "Na" in NarayaNa proves that the word is a proper noun. But isn't the "Na" there simply because of rules of internal sandhi? The "ra" in Narayana changes the "na" to a "Na". For example, instrumental case of "Rama" is "RameNa" and not "Ramena."

    If the final "Na" makes Narayana a proper noun, does this also mean that every word that has a final "Na" a proper noun also, like "RameNa".

    Is this a flaw of the argument that you are referencing?

    1. Namaste. The Sutra "pUrvapadAt samj~nAyAmagaH" is the one that sets the rule of changing na to Na. It applies only to compound words, where the notion of "pUrvapada" is possible. Your other examples are samAna pada, simple words. For those ones, the preceding sUtras set the rules: "raShaabhyaam no NaH samAna pads" and "aTkupva~NnumvyavAye.api" for words like rAmeNa.

    2. //
      The Sutra "pUrvapadAt samj~nAyAmagaH" is the one that sets the rule of changing na to Na//

      Add clause "in compound words like nArAyaNa where samAsa is in play".
      //aTkupva~NnumvyavAye.api// read as: "aTkupvA~NnumvyavAye.api"

    3. Adiyen Dasan. Thank you both for your answer.

  18. And as we have clarified before, this was never used as a proof by our Acharyas. It was originally proposed by Bhatta Bhaskara in passing and gained popularity among lesser scholars in the 18th century. So don't dwell on it overmuch.


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