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Sridhara, Anugita, and Miscellaneous topics: Part 2


There are several shaivas who claim that shrI krishNa was unable to recollect the bhagavad gIta, or was in yoga with some other deity while discoursing the gIta, etc  and that this is mentioned in the anu gIta.

To dispense with all these silly speculations, let us look at what the relevant section of anu gIta says, shall we?


vidita.n te mahAbAho sa~NgrAme samupasthite |
mAhAtmya.n devakI mAtastachcha te rUpamaishvaram || 5||
Meaning: One whose mother is Devaki! One of strong arms! When the war was about to begin, I perceived that greatness which is your vibhUtI-aishvarya (mAhAtmya) and your divine form which shows you as the ruler of the world.

Where “mAhAtmya” refers to the Lord being the possessor and controller of endless vibhUtIs and “rUpaM aishvaraM” refers to the cosmic form.

The term “rUpaM aishvaraM” means –

1)  The form which is extraordinary and unique to him (krishNa), which vividly shows him as the ruler, protector, creator, destroyer, supporter of all, and as the repository of auspicious attributes.

2)  The form that reveals the manner of his rulership over everything.

3)  The form that reveals the manner in which he protects everything – showing up certain aspects necessary for protection such as laying down the shAstra, nurturing the sAttvic qualities, etc.

4)  The form that shows how he creates everything – by demonstrating how brahma, rudra and others as well as the four castes originate from his limbs.

5)  The form that highlights the manner in which everything is destroyed – showing himself in the act of swallowing everyone etc.

6)  The form that shows how he supports everything which is explained by gIta 11.13 (tatraikasthaM jagatkrtsnaM…).

7)  The form that shows bhagavAn alone is the Supreme-most by his making brahma, rudra and others manifest in a corner of one limb of his.

8)  The form that shows his extraordinary, auspicious qualities clearly without pretending to be afflicted by sorrow, ignorance, etc as he normally does during his avatArAs.

This term occurs in the vishvarUpa adhyAya of the gIta where it is said by Arjuna:

evaM etat yathAttha tvaM AtmAnaM paramEshvarH
draSHTum icchAmi tE rUpaM aishvaraM puruShOttamaH (Gita 11.3)
Same meaning for “rUpaM aishvaraM” here as well.

So, this observation by Arjuna rules out any illogical contention that shrI krishNa is not paramAtma, and that he is the Lord of the Cosmic Form during both the bhagavad gIta or the anu gIta discourse. Note that arjuna says “your cosmic form”, which again shows that it is only shrI krishNa who possesses this form.

Now, let us look at what bhagavAn says before commencing the anu gIta.

shrI krishNa:

shrAvitastvaM mayA guhya.n j~nApitashcha sanAtanam |
dharma.n svarUpiNaM pArtha sarvalokAMshcha shAshvatAn || 9||

Meaning: Son of Kunti! You heard the secret of bhakti yOga and was instructed by me about the eternal self that is distinct from the body that forms the subject of jnAna yOga (sanAtanam), the nature of works that is the subject matter of karma yOga (dharma svarUpiNaM) and all the imperishable injunctions of the shAstra(sarvalokAMshcha shAshvatAn).

Bhakti yOga is “rAja guhyaM” as per the bhagavad gIta. It was taught in chapters 7-12.

“sanAtanaM” refers to the individual self which is eternal and hence distinct from the non-eternal (perishable) body. This refers to jnAna yOga which was taught as the “akshara brahmOpAsaNa” in the bhagavad gIta.

“dharma svarUpinaM” refers to karma yOga which was taught in the initial chapters of the bhagavad gIta.

“shAshvatAn” refers to the commands and injunctions stipulated by the shAstra, denoted by “lokAM”. These commands are all eternal or “shAshvatA” on account of their being applicable at all times.

“sarvalokAM” implies that the shAstra referred to as “lokAM” here not only includes the Vedas, but also the dharma shAstra and purANa-ithihAsa which are supplementary to the Vedas. The instructions they contain must be followed, are flawless and applicable at all times.

“pArtha” – the son of kunti. By using this name, shrI krishNa intends to say, “Arjuna, you are the son of Kunti, who is such a great jnAni that she told me to give her sufferings only, so that her remembrance of me is uninterrupted (as one often forgets the Lord in times of joy in samsAric matters). Thus, I related all these truths to you as you have the great merit of being her son.”

Thus, this one slOka summarizes the entire subject matter of the bhagavad gIta, thus implying that the Lord remembered everything perfectly well. How stupid is it then, to claim krishNa is unable to recount or recollect it again due to some defect?

abuddhvA yanna gR^ihNIthAstanme sumahadapriyam |
nUnamashraddadhAno.asi durmedhAshchAsi pANDava || 10||

Meaning: pANDava! It is to my great displeasure that you have not grasped it due to not possessing the determination to pursue it (ie, interest). Therefore, ie, due to a lack of determination, you are indeed devoid of a firm conviction in the truth, and are certainly of a perverse intellect (thus ineligible for liberation).

“abuddhva” refers to a lack of determination. “buddhi” means determination and in turn interest. In other words, Arjuna lacked the interest in parabrahman and was still possessed of interest in vishayAntarams.
The criterion for becoming eligible to bhagavad vishayaM is not caste, or anything else. It is simply “desire” or “interest”. swami manavAla mAmunigal, in his upadEsa ratna mAlai, says “Aasai udayOrkEllAm AriyargAl…”. The compassionate AchAryAs disseminated the secret meanings of shAstras to all who were interested. Those who are uninterested, are ineligible and hence the truths should not be revealed to them.

Arjuna despite listening to bhagavAn and understanding the truths superficially (as evidenced by his reference to “rUpaM aishvaraM”) did not have a deep interest in executing his teachings. As a result of this non-interest, bhagavAn says that he does not have a firm conviction in the truth, ie, he does not yet have the conviction that bhagavAn is alone worth pursuing as a puruShArtham and other things must be abandoned. Arjuna is still attached to petty desires.

And due to this non-conviction, he is of a perverse intellect, ie, he sees the low things as high and high things as low, etc. In other words, he is still possessed of rajas and tamas.

Note the usage of “pAndava” to refer to Arjuna. The term “pAndava” refers to possessing whiteness, ie, sattva guNa. krishNa, by using this name, intends to say, “I told you everything before because you are known as “pAndava”, of sAttvic nature – I assumed you were thus situated in sattva. But your understanding is still afflicted by rajas and tamas”.

Thus, the key takeaway from this is that Arjuna is not eligible for moksha. So what is the consequence of that? BhagavAn explains below.
sa hi dharmaH suparyApto brahmaNaH padavedane |
na shakya.n tanmayA bhUyastathA vaktumasheShataH || 11||

Meaning: Indeed, that means (bhakti yOga) is perfectly suited for directly perceiving the nature of Brahman through loving contemplation (which leads to liberation). It is thus not possible for me to declare it in its’ entirety (due to your perverse intellect and ineligibility for the same).

upAsaNa leads to vivid perception of brahma-svarUpa directly. This direct perception immediately results in fall of the body and liberation – one does not live a second longer in samsAra upon such perception. Thus, it is a vidyA that offers liberation.

“suparyApta” – It is well suited in the sense that it is easy to perform. As direct and vivid perception of Brahman is extremely joyous, so is the means practiced to attain such a perception – this bhakti yOga, which involves meditation on the auspicious qualities of the Lord - confers joy like the goal it is undertaken for, and is not at all an unpleasant thing.

We see in this world that in order to attain something pleasurable, such as making money, the means undertaken to attain it may be unpleasant, such as hard labor. But in the case of bhakti yOga (the means) and brahma-sAkshAtkAra (the end), both are pleasurable in themselves. Thus, the means is well-suited to the end.

And because of the fact that bhakti yOga involves loving contemplation of the Lord, its’ ability to easily confer liberation and the ineligibility of Arjuna for both loving contemplation and liberation, shrI krishNa says, “It is not possible for me to impart this secret and highest knowledge in its’ entirety to you”.

tathA” is a key word – it implies the following - “this yOga leads to liberation. It also involves loving contemplation on me. Since you lack interest in me, you cannot engage in such loving contemplation. On account of this, you are also ineligible for liberation. Thus (tathA), I cannot recount it in its’ entirety to you”.

Note the term “asheshataH” – Although Arjuna is not eligible for the entirety of this secret knowledge on account of his lack of interest, he is still a person who is preponderantly sattva in his actions. He is not an asura after all. Thus, Arjuna is still eligible to hear some truths pertaining to karma and jnAna yOga, as well as the bare outline of bhakti yOga.

And this refutes nonsensical theories such as “krishNa is not omnipotent as he cannot speak the bhagavad gIta again”. The very fact that – 1) In the first slOka, krishNa summarizes the entire bhagavad gIta in one slOka, 2) he says he cannot describe it “fully” (and not “I cannot describe/remember it at all) discards these silly opinions.

Some ignoramus on the internet interpreted “asheshataH” as “recollection” when it simply means “entirety/fully” – this is the reason why such ridiculous opinions are floating around.

The inability to discourse the entire truth is simply because Arjuna is not eligible for it.

Now, Arjuna appears to have an objection. “If I am of perverse intellect and ineligible for the knowledge now, does that mean I had merit back when you discoursed the gIta back then? The merit gained from sAdhana never perishes. So if I had sufficient merit back then to hear the gIta, then should I not have the same merit now? And if you say I did not have merit even back then, you can be accused of being arbitrary in terms of choosing when to teach me and when to not teach me.”

Anticipating this objection, bhagavAn answers below.

para.n hi brahma kathitaM yogayuktena tanmayA |itihAsa.n tu vakShyAmi tasminnarthe purAtanam || 12||
yathA tAM buddhimAsthAya gatimagryA.n gamiShyasi |shR^iNu dharmabhR^itA.n shreShTha gadataH sarvameva me || 13||

Meaning: Indeed, the highest knowledge (paraM) of the vedas (brahma) was described by me (on the battlefield), by making use of my will which is unfettered (yoga yuktEna), ie, it was not because you performed any sAdhana to earn it. But now (on account of your rejection of my grace), I shall relate to you an ancient history based on that subject. So that by engaging your intellect to that (rememberance), you will attain to the highest state. Upholder of righteousness (dharmabhRta)! Listen to all that I say.
This “yOga-yuktEna” has been misused and abused by a number of internet vishNu-dvEshis.
“yOga-yukta” – If the Shaivas had read how many times “yOga” occurs in the gIta, they wouldn’t be misusing this term to claim that “krishNa was in yOga with shiva to discourse gIta”. For that matter, why bizarrely introduce shiva when he is nowhere mentioned either here or in the bhagavad gIta?
Firstly, these people need to understand the etymology of yOga. Here is what the amarakoSha says:
yogaH sannahana upAya dhyAna san’gati yuktishu (amara kosha 3.3.22)
Based on this, “yoga” can be interpreted in the following way for bhagavAn:
“yoga” means “dhyAna” – for bhagavAn, “dhyAna” means “thought” or “will”.
“yoga-yukta” – By engaging or making use of my divine will, which is unimpeded by anything. It was his will or sankalpa to discourse the gIta to Arjuna, and he does not have that sankalpa now, due to Arjuna causing displeasure for him.
BhagavAn himself has said this in the gIta itself, as follows:
maya prasannena tavarjunedam rupam param darsitam atma-yogat (~gIta 11.47)
Meaning: Through the unfettered power of my will (Atma-yOgAt), out of grace to you, ie, favoring you who are devoted to me (prasannEna), I have shown my cosmic form to you.
Thus, “yOga-yukta” has the same meaning as “Atma yOgAt” here. It is not to be interpreted as “meditation”, etc.
So, bhagavAn, anticipating the objection mentioned previously, is saying, “Do not think, Arjuna, that you had any merit back then. Because even back then, I discoursed the gIta out of my own will to favor you, not because you were eligible, but because you didn’t reject my grace, which is an alpa-vyAjam for me. But now, by forgetting everything, you have rejected my grace. So in that sense, I am not acting arbitrarily. The “acceptance or rejection of my grace” is my reason for deciding to teach you”.
By his divine will, he explained the gIta earlier to Arjuna although the latter, even back then, had not done any sAdhana and didn’t deserve it. It was purely his unconditional grace. The excuse he took for discoursing to Arjuna back then was, “Look, this Arjuna has not done any sAdhana, but he does not stop me from lecturing to him. I will consider that as “acceptance of my grace” and teach him”.
But now, he does not wish to explain again as Arjuna has not made use of that good fortune as follows:
Upon his exposition of the gIta, bhagavAn wanted Arjuna to fight, kill the Kauravas and after that – reject his brothers, the kingdom, etc and follow bhagavAn, practicing bhakti yOga and attain liberation. Similar to how bhIshma, lying on the bed of arrows, declared that he no longer had attachments for any of his family, kingdom, etc., bhagavAn expected Arjuna to follow suit. But Arjuna still had attachments to kingdom, to his brothers etc after the war. He did not evince an interest in meditating on the auspicious qualities of the Lord, and thus had rejected his grace.
Still, as Arjuna was not completely an asurA, bhagavAn discourses the anu gIta. But the anu gIta does not contain detailed descriptions of bhakti yOga. It focuses more on karma and jnAna yOgAs, ending with a terse description of bhakti yOga without the elaborate descriptions which are present in the bhagavad gIta. That is as per the will of bhagavAn.
“dharma-bhRta” – bhagavAn calls Arjuna the upholder of dharma. Despite Arjuna being influenced by rajas and tamas, he is still preponderantly sattva and his inclinations do go towards dharma for the most part. The highest dharma is the Lord himself. So, by using this name, bhagavAn is saying – “engage your intellect, ie meditate on the meanings of the histories I am about to relate and as you are the upholder of dharma, being always impelled by dharma, you will eventually attain sat-gati”.
One last note. “yoga” can also be interpreted as follows – “yujyatE iti yogaH” – That which is united with bhagavAn is called “yoga”. What is united with him? Well, he is ever associated with innumerable auspicious attributes, which are denoted by “yoga”. That is one meaning of the word. Yet another meaning is “upAyatva”, as bhagavAn is of the nature of being the means.
But these are not the meanings here for the context. Only the first meaning of divine will applies. We provided these other meanings as an example to show how “yOga” can mean something that is not even conceived by ignorant shaivas. The idea is that the term “yOga” can mean several things, but it definitely does not mean shrI krishNa meditated on some lesser deity who has repeatedly been defeated by the Lord whenever he came up against the latter.
With that, we end this commentary. It should be abundantly clear that the anu gIta, just like the bhagavad gIta and indeed any portion of shAstra, establishes the supremacy of krishNa over other deities only.
There is an anecdote from the Katha Aranyaka that is used by vaishnavas and shaivas alike, as follows:
devā vai rudraṃ svargaṃ lokaṃ gataṃ na vyajānann ādityavarṇaṃ carantan | te .abruvan ko .asīti ? ahaṃ rudro .aham indro .aham ādityo .ahaṃ sarvasyāvayā haraso divyasyeti | te .abruvan nirbhajāmainam iti | tān ruvann abhyavadata | tān prādhrajat | te .abruvan bhavān sarvam iti | yad ruvann abhyavadat tad rudrasya rudratvam | yad bhavān iti tad bhavasya bhavatvam | yat sarvam iti tac charvasya śarvatvam | sa śivo .abhavat tac chivasya śivatvam | tebhyo .amṛḍata tan mṛḍasya mṛḍatvam| taṃ devā abruvan bhavasya bhūtasya bhavyasyādhipatyam iti | sarvasyādhipatyaṃ yajamānaṃ gamayati || KA 2.100
Rough Translation: Indeed the deva-s did not recognize Rudra who had entered the heavenly world wandering in with a solar luster. They said: “Who are you?”. [He replied]: “I am Rudra, I am Indra, I am the Āditya, I am the arrival of all the divine luster. They [i.e. other deva-s] said: We shall not offer a share to this one [i.e. Rudra]. Roaring he [Rudra] yelled at them. He rushed at them. They [the other deva-s] said: “Sir, you are all of this”. Because roaring he yelled at them that is Rudra’s fierceness (rudratvam). Because they called him sir (bhavān) that is Bhava’s lordship over existence. Because they said you are all this that revealed Śarva’s [prowess] as an archer. Because he then became favorable that is Śiva’s benevolence. Because he became kind to them [the other deva-s] that is Mṛḍa’s compassion. The deva-s said to him: “The overlordship of the present, the past and the future [is yours]. [If he knows this while performing the ritual, i.e. offering the portion for Rudra] it leads the ritualist to lordship over all.
There are two opinions on this section:
  1. Some vitanDa vAdis use this section to claim that it is declaring Rudra as the supreme.
  2. On the contrary, we have the Vaishnavas (Dvaitins) who claim that this section is declaring VishNu as the supreme.
The Shaiva position is self-explanatory, they take this “Rudra” as their deity and simplistically interpret it as such. Well, even were it referring to Rudra devata, this section does not prove any sort of supremacy as it can be interpreted on basis of sharIrAtma bhAva. However, it most definitely is not referring to Rudra in anyway.
In contrast, the dvaitins (shaiva-sarvasva-khanDaNam) have quite an elaborate explanation as follows:
Dvaitin interpretation: Here, the devatas interact with a Being, whose identity they  seek to know. That Being says 'ahaM rudro.ahamindro.ahamAdityo.ahaM sarvasyAvayA haraso divyasyeti'. He later clarifies what this means by the following statements: 'yadruvanna abhyadvadattatrudrasya rudratvam.h' and 'sa shivo.abhavat.h | tachChivasya shivatvam.h'. He proclaims Himself to be the possessor of all guNas known as possessed by other devatas. Note that absolute identity between Shiva or Indra with that Being cannot be made out; for, the statement, 'shivasya shivatvaM' or 'rudrasya rudratvaM' would be nonsense then (Also, Indra is one of the deities having a conservation with the Being). Needless to say, this being is different from Rudra and Indra. That He is none other than Vishnu is known by the later proclamations where he is said to be 'sarvasya adhipati' AND that He is the yajamAna of all yaj~nAs (The Shatapatha Brahmana says -- yajamAno vai viShNuH).
This is a well meaning interpretation, but again cannot be granted. It is wildly out of context to say that the speaker is vishNu. For the statements, tān ruvann abhyavadata,  tān prādhrajat etc have to be interpreted as bhagavAn nArAyaNa rushing at these devatas, howling at/injuring these devatAs. As bhagavAn is “akrUraH”, it is not remotely possible that he resorted to such aggression because the devas denied his authority, as even narasimha acted that way only against an asura!
This has nothing to do with the atharvasiras either where the devas really do engage in a dialogue with Rudra.
Furthermore, it is never seen in shruti that vishNu is hailed as supreme in this manner. There is a proper way of doing things. One should always proceed from the Upanishads to understand the nature of the supreme being.
On account of the confusion arising from this, we have provided what we know, by the grace of pUrvAchAryAs, to be the correct meaning of the section. Here we go:
devā vai rudraṃ svargaṃ lokaṃ gataṃ na vyajānann ādityavarṇaṃ carantan
Meaning: The devas (indrIyAs) did not recognize the mind that destroys misery of samsAra (Rudra), that entered (experienced) the auspicious form (lOkaM) of Paramatma designated as “svargaM”, moving with the golden luster, ie, acting via the intellect that is luminous like the sun (AdityavarNam).
This whole section is not a real history. It is a metaphor aimed at educating the yajamAna (sacrificer) of the importance of the mind and its’ control of the indrIyAs. The “devas” here signify the indrIyAs – “divi” means to shine and the indrIyAs shine out external objects to the self.
It is well known that the mind can be the enemy or a friend of the self, depending on whether it is attached to sense objects or not. Here, in this metaphor, the shruti assumes that the mind is a friend, ie, it has been weaned away from sense objects. Thus, the mind is called “Rudra” as it destroys the misery of samsara arising from attachment to sense objects.
“svargaM lOkaM” – “lokaM” means abode, and refers to the aprAkrta divya mangala vigraha of paramAtma who is called “svargaM” – svar sukhaM gacchati – There (his auspicious qualities) where one experiences bliss. The mind is thus, engaged in meditation of his auspicious form.
te .abruvan ko .asīti ? ahaṃ rudro .aham indro .aham ādityo .ahaṃ sarvasyāvayā haraso divyasyeti |
Meaning: They (the indrIyAs) said, “Who are you?” He (the mind) replied, “I am Rudra as I destroy the misery of samsara by being fixed on Brahman. I am Indra as I am wealthy, ie, I possess all the qualities like buddhi, jnAna, asammoha, sama, dama, etc (described in gIta 10.4-5). I am Aditya, as I am belonging to “aditi”, which is the self that is boundless in intellect (dharma-bhUta-jnAna). I arrive at (perceive) the divine flame (Brahman, the indweller of the heart) of all.
The mind channels the intellect and is used to perceive, via meditation, the Brahman, Narayana, dwelling in the vaisvAnarAgni within the heart according to the nArAyaNa sUkta - nīlatoyadamadhyasthād vidyullekheva bhāsvarā.
te .abruvan nirbhajāmainam iti | tān ruvann abhyavadata | tān prādhrajat | te .abruvan bhavān sarvam iti
Meaning: They (the indrIyAs) said - We shall not give anything, ie, we shall not submit. Then he (the mind) hurt them (ie, subdued them). He moved towards them (ie, mind and senses were in accord). They said, “Lord (bhavAn), you are all (sarvaM), ie, you possess all jnAna and vairAgya.”
The mind first hurt or killed (ruvann) the indrIyAs, ie, subdued them from experience of sense objects.  Then the mind moved towards the indrIyAs, ie, the indrIyAs and the mind acted in accord.
“sarvaM” refers to jnAna and vairagya. Since there are many kinds of objects to develop jnAna and vairAgya about, they are referred to in plural as “sarvaM”.  As the mind is closely associated with these kinds of jnAna and vairAgya, it is called “sarvaM”. The indrIyAs which are used to experience sense objects are thus acknowledging that they are being subdued by the mind.
yad ruvann abhyavadat tad rudrasya rudratvam | yad bhavān iti tad bhavasya bhavatvam | yat sarvam iti tac charvasya śarvatvam |
Meaning: Because he hurt (subdued) the indrIyAs, that is the quality of destroying misery (rudratvaM) of Rudra, the mind which is the destroyer of misery caused by attachments to sense objects. Because they called him “Lord” (bhavAn), that is the quality of producing knowledge (bhavatvaM) of Bhava, the mind that produces knowledge of the difference between self and body. Because they said he was all, ie, the possessor of all jnAna and vairAgya, this revealed the quality of destroying ignorance or delusion (sharvatvaM) of Sharva, the mind that is the destroyer of ignorance or delusion.
sa śivo .abhavat tac chivasya śivatvam | tebhyo .amṛḍata tan mṛḍasya mṛḍatvam|
Meaning: Because he then became agreeable (to the self), that is the agreeable quality (SivatvaM) of Siva, the mind that is agreeable to the self on account of working in conformity with the self (by becoming fixed in Brahman). Because he was not favorable(amRdata) to them, ie, the sense objects, that is the quality of delightfulness (mRdatva) of Mrda, the mind that delights the self on account of being absorbed in the experience of Brahman (as opposed to sense objects).
taṃ devā abruvan bhavasya bhūtasya bhavyasyādhipatyam iti | sarvasyādhipatyaṃ yajamānaṃ gamayati ||
Meaning: The devas (indrIyAs) said to him (the mind) – The dominion of the past, present and future is yours, ie, you have the experiences of all objects of enjoyment at all times. (He who knows this), it leads the yajamAna to Lordship over all, ie, he attains the  experiences of all objects of enjoyment.
Thus, this section neither talks of rudradeva, nor does it talk about vishNu, except where it says the mind experiences Brahman (who is of course, vishNu). It only talks about the mind and senses.
The mahApaShupatastra blogger apparently has a twin blog here as the content seems to replicate his usual writing style, which is of course, utter nonsense -
Here, besides the claim that Shiva is the puruSha, he also says that rSi nArAyaNa (who is an avatAra of bhagavAn), “merged” with Shiva  (whatever that means) and as a “pramAna”, he quotes the following  shruti with “Griffith bhAshya”:
"puruṣo ha nārāyaṇo'kāmayata atitiṣṭheyaṃ sarvāṇi bhūtānyahamevedaṃ sarvaṃ syāmiti sa etam puruṣamedham pañcarātram yajñakratumapaśyattamāharattenāyajata teneṣṭvātyatiṣṭhatsarvāṇi bhūtānīdaṃ sarvamabhavadatitiṣṭhati sarvāṇi bhūtānīdaṃ sarvam bhavati ya evam vidvānpuruṣamedhena yajate yo vaitadevam veda" ( Sathapatha Brahmana 13:6:1:1)
Meaning given by Griffith/the Shaiva author: "Purusha Narayana desired, 'Would that I overpassed all beings ! would that I alone were everything- here (this universe) !' He beheld this 'five days' sacrificial performance, the Purushamedha and took it  and performed offering therewith ; and having performed offering therewith, he overpassed all beings, and became everything here. And, verily, he who, knowing this, performs the Purushamedha, or who even knows this, overpasses all beings, and becomes everything here."

Those who read this blog should now know that the translations of indologists can hardly be trusted. Even in that translation, there is no talk of “merging with shiva”.
In fact, this pramAna actually shows that the Supreme Lord is nArAyaNa only.
True meaning of the Purushamedha:
The satapatha indeed does describe the true nature of the supreme being in this mantra, but it is not reflective of the blabberings of the shaiva blog author. Here is the real meaning:
puruṣo ha nārāyaṇo'kāmayata atitiṣṭheyaṃ sarvāṇi bhūtānyahamevedaṃ sarvaṃ syāmiti sa etam puruṣamedham pañcarātram yajñakratumapaśyattamāharattenāyajata teneṣṭvātyatiṣṭhatsarvāṇi bhūtānīdaṃ sarvamabhavadatitiṣṭhati sarvāṇi bhūtānīdaṃ sarvam bhavati ya evam vidvānpuruṣamedhena yajate yo vaitadevam veda" ( Sathapatha Brahmana 13:6:1:1)
Meaning: puruSha nArAyaNa (ie, chaturmukha brahma), desired, “I want to exceed all beings. Would that I alone were everything (ie, I want to meditate on my antaryAmin nArAyaNa, who is the Cause as the inner self of all)”. He perceived (ie, gained knowledge of) the “essence of the five-fold shAstra”, the worship of the Lord who is the object of the “kratu” called “puruShamEdha” and offered (himself in self-surrender) and performed worship, ie meditation on the auspicious qualities of the Lord. And having performed such worship, he surpassed all beings (ie, he became the creator) and became everything here (ie, he meditated on the Cause, his antaryAmin as the innerself of all). And indeed, he who knows this (jnAna) and performs the puruShamedha (anuShtAna) or who even knows this (as he is one who is “kritakritya”), exceeds all the gods and becomes everything here (ie, he becomes established in meditating on himself as ensouled by paramAtma, who is the Atman in all).
puruSha ha nArAyaNaThe term “puruSha” refers to Charturmukha Brahma, not paramAtma. The BrihadAraNyaka Upanishad 1-4-17 uses the term “puruSha” to denote “puruSha rUpEna shrishta jIva” – namely chaturmukha brahma.
Thus, “puruSha nArAyaNa” means, “brahma sharIraka nArAyaNa” – the nArAyaNa who is the inner self of Brahma. As Brahma is the body of nArAyaNa, the term “puruSha” refers to Brahma and then the Lord nArAyaNa who is the indweller in its’ ultimate connotation. The idea is that, nArAyaNa who is the Cause is the innerself of Brahma.
As the term “Jack” denotes both Jack’s body and the self that is the indweller the body, similarly “puruSha” denotes the jIvAtma and the Lord indwelling in the jIvAtma which is his body (yasya Atma sharIraM). It is sAmAnAdhikaraNyaM due to sharIrAtma bhAva.
The performer of this sacrifice is not the Lord. It is actually Brahma, which is designated as “puruSha nArAyaNa” on account of having the Lord as his innerself. So when it says “nArAyaNa performed this”, it means, “the lord nArAyaNa in the form of Brahma performed this” – implying that it is the jIva Brahma performing this. That should dispense with any silly objections and claims that nArAyaNa was performing some sort of tapas on other deities.
atitiṣṭheyaṃ sarvāṇi bhūtānI – Brahma desired “may I exceed all these beings”. The idea is, “May I be the creator of all”. Brahma wanted to create.
ahamevedaṃ sarvaṃ syāmiti – “May I alone be all”. This means, “May I meditate on that Supreme Cause paramAtma nArAyaNa who is my antaryAmin (ahaM) as the sarvAntarAtma of all (sarvaM)”. As mentioned earlier, the jIvas and jagat are the body of Brahman, so “ahaM” and “sarvaM” denotes the indwelling Lord in its’ ultimate connotation. The idea is that one should understand that the Lord in oneself is the same as the Lord in others. This is “neha nAnAsti kinchana”.  There is no second entity other than paramAtma as everything is its’ body.
As brihadAraNyaka Upanishad 1.4.10 explains, Brahman (nArAyaNa) alone is all this, because there is no other entity than Brahman that is to be meditated as the Cause. As the Cause alone is to be meditated upon, and there is no other Cause than Brahman who is the Cause of all, there is no other entity to be meditated upon. And those who meditate upon the Cause, realize that they are ensouled by that Paramatma which is the inner self of all, having everything as its’ body. Thus, they realize that they alone are everything, ie, the paramAtma in them alone is the sarvAntaryAmin of all.
This is similar to rishi vAmadeva who realized, “The paramAtma in me, is the same as the paramAtma in Manu, the Sun”.
Even though the Lord is the antaryAmin of diverse entities, he does not undergo any changes. One should not think that the antaryAmin of a man is reduced in strength, or different from the antaryAmin of a deva. He is the same everywhere.
With this vision, the jIva no longer sees others as enemies since they are all identical in nature to himself and also have the Lord as indweller. There is loss of rAga, dvEsha, etc. This is the aim of the puruShamedha sacrifice. This is why Brahma is also referred to as “puruSho ha nArAyaNa” here, to identify that nArAyaNa alone is his indweller and the Cause to be meditated upon.
Āharattenāyajata – Brahma, with the above desires, offered himself in self-surrender and meditated on the Lord. In other words, he meditated by considering himself as the “sesha” and the Lord as the “seshi”.
puruShamEdha” – means “sacrifice of the puruSha” – here, “puruSha” denotes Brahma or the jIvAtma. Hence, “puruShamEdha” denotes self-surrender. One more meaning is that “puruShamEdha” can mean “sacrifice of paramAtma” as he undertakes all efforts on behalf of the chEtanas.
yajnakratuM” – The Lord is called “kratuH” as he is the object of worship of sacrifices like jyOtishtOma, etc which are kratus. “yajnakratuM” means “Worship of the Lord who is the “kratuH”. The implication being, only the Lord nArAyaNa who is the Cause and the sole recipient of offerings in all sacrifices is to be worshipped. Not other gods.
pAncharAtraM” – This worship of the Lord that is sharanAgati is “pAncharAtra” or the essence of the five shAstras. As per the following slOka:
purANaM vedavedAntaM tathA.anyat sAMkhyayogajam | pa~nchaprakAraM vij~neyaM yatra rAtryAyate.abjaja | phalotkarShavashenaiva pA~ncharAtramiti smR^itam || ~( Paushkara samhitA 38-307-308)
Meaning: The five shAstras are purAnAs, vedA, vedAnta, samkhyA and yOga. The knowledge which is the pre-eminent fruit of these shAstras is pancharAtra.    
Continuing onward, the Satapatha itself mentions this:
sa vaa eSá puruSamedháh- pañcaraatró yajñakratúrbhavati paáN^kto yajñah- paáN^ktah- pashuh- páñcartavah- samvatsaro yatkíM ca pañcávidhamadhidevatámadhyaatmaM tádenena sárvamaapnoti ( Sathapatha Brahmana 13:6:1:7)
Meaning: Now this Purushamedha is a fivefold worship of the Lord --the sacrifice is fivefold, the “paShu” or the beast of sacrificial offering is fivefold, and five seasons are a year: whatsoever of five kinds there is, either concerning the devata or the individual self, all that he thereby obtains.
The five-fold sacrifice refers to the five angas of sharanAgati or “Atma nikShepa” – “Anukulyasya sankalpaM, prAtikUlyasya varjanaM, mahAviShvAsaM, gOptRtva varaNaM and kArpaNyaM”.
The five-fold “paShu” is the mind associated with the 5 senses. The ego of thinking oneself as independent and using self-efforts to attain the Lord is sacrificed.
The year is composed of five seasons, the implication being, time is an accessory for the sacrifice and that this sharanAgati implies that the prapanna should wait until death for liberation.
He attains whatever is of five kinds with respect to the Lord or the individual self”. In other words, he attains the enjoyment in the form of experiencing the auspicious attributes of the five forms of the Lord – para, vyUha, vibhava, antaryAmin and archa, and with respect to the self, he attains the (knowledge of the) fivefold form - This can be annamaya, pranamaya, manomaya, vijnanamaya and anandamaya. Or, it could be Earth, Intermediate Region, Celestial Region, Directions and Intercardinal directions.
The mantra ends by saying that “he who performs this puruShamedha or who merely knows…”. The idea is that, the mere knowledge of this sacrifice and the meaning behind it makes one a “kritakritya”, ie, one who has fulfilled his duty.  For the Gita says:
iti guhyatamaṃ śāstram idam uktaṃ mayā’nagha | etad buddhvā buddhimān syāt kṛtakṛtyaśca bhārata || (Gita 15.20) ||
Meaning: Thus, this Sastra, the most secret of all secrets and which teaches about me as the Purushottama, has been imparted to you by me, as you are worthy to receive it because you are sinless. By understanding this, a man will become truly wise and will have fulfilled his duty. Whatever wisdom has to be cultivated for attaining me, all that should be taken as cultivated and that whatever duty has to be fulfilled in that connection - all that is to be taken as fulfilled by knowing this (the Purushottama Vidya).
Thus, one who merely knows the Lord as puruShottama, is a krita-kritya. Alternatively, prapatti is chaitanya-krt and thus one who knows is said to have fulfilled his duties.
He who performs this self-surrender or who merely knows this, will exceed all beings and becomes everything here, ie, he will exceed the gods such as Indra, Rudra, Brahma, etc who are denoted by “sarvAni bhUtAni” (in the ending portion of the mantra) and identifies his antaryAmin Lord as the sarvAntaryAmin of all.
This is mentioned in brihadAraNyaka 1.4.10, that even the gods are not competent to prevent a person who realizes “I am that Brahman” from gaining mukti, for he becomes their self. Meaning, the person sees his antaryAmin denoted by “I” as the Brahman who is “sarvAntaryAmin” of all, including the gods and thus exceeds the gods.
How Interpolators of the Mahabharata Misunderstood the Purushamedha Sacrifice  
From the above explanation, it is clear that the sarvAntarAtma to be propitiated by the “puruShamedha” rite is none other than nArAyaNa. Also, a very interesting thing to note is that the interpolations in the anuShasana parva of mahAbhArata which claim krishNa worshipped shiva, etc wrongly appear to be based on the above Satapatha.
Rudra bhakthya thu krishnena jagat vyaptham mahathmana, Tham prasadhya thadha devam bhadaryam kila bharatha. Arthath priya harathwam cha sarva lokeshu vai yadhaa, Prapthavaaneva rajendra suvarnaakshan maheswaraath.
"Krishna, due to his devotion to Supreme Lord Rudra, has spread all over the universe, Oh Bharatha, Oh king of kings, After making Lord Shiva pleased by his penance in Bhadrinath, He has attained the state of being more dear, than all the worlds and all aspects of knowledge."
The above is an interpolated verse (quoted by the Shaiva blog here - in the anuShAsana parva which claims that krishNa worshipped shiva and exceeded all beings. It seeks to exhibit itself as an explanation of the “puruShamedha” rite in the Satapatha, and claim that “puruSha nArAyaNa” worshipped shiva.
This itself shows that these verses are interpolated, for that explanation is an incorrect understanding of the puruShamedha sacrifice. The interpolator did not understand that “puruSha nArAyaNa” refers to the brahma sharIraka paramAtma (thus meaning, nArAyaNa is the indwelling Lord being propitiated by Brahma as the Cause and not the worshipper) and the goal of this sacrifice is to understand the Lord as the Cause, not to attain special powers.
The Satapatha itself says of the puruShamedha, tásmaadyávamadhyo yuté ha vaí dviSántamwhosoever knows this repels (yu) his hateful enemy: 'He alone exists, not his hateful enemy,' thus they say of him.” – It means, one should not see anyone as enemies, etc by transcending external differences and should see all beings as identical in nature as they all have bhagavAn as their inner self.
Thus, it is a sacrifice that allows one to see only paramAtma nArAyaNa as sarvAntaryAmin everywhere as the Cause. It is not any form of worship performed by nArAyaNa at all!
This is just another proof that these portions of drona parva/shiva sahasranAma/anushAsana parva in the mahAbhArata were interpolated by ignorant shaivas who had no knowledge of the shAstra. The interpolators do not even understand the true meaning of the Satapatha and wrongly used the shruti to create a scenario of krishNa worshipping rudra using this Satapatha rite!
We have this famous mantra from the KaivalyOpanishad “umAsahAyaM…” which describes meditation on Brahman.
shrI vijayEndra tIrtha, in his paratattva prakAshika, devotes a section to the explanation of the KaivalyOpanishad mantra “umAsahAyaM”, refuting Appayya Dikshita’s contention that it refers to Rudra. Let us see what his understanding is, as we have some problems accepting his interpretation in entirety.
ShrI Vijayendra Tirtha’s Explanation
Refuting Appayya Dikshita’s claim that the Upanishad hails Shiva as Parabrahman, Vijayendra Tirtha first explains that the preceding mantra refers to nArAyaNa in the cave of the heart:
hR^itpuNDarIkaM virajaM vishuddhaM vichintya madhye vishadaM vishokam.h
achintyamavyaktamanantarUpaM shivaM prashAntamamR^itaM brahmayonim.h
Meaning (According to ShrI Vijayendra): The Lord described in the Upanishads, in the heart (hRit punDarIkaM), devoid of rajas (virAja), removed from tamas (vishuddhaM), to be thought of  (vichintya) as prior to meditation on the object of contemplation and after saluting the guru, hence the middle (madhyE), clear to the devotees (vishadaM), free from grief due to rajas and tamas (vishokaM), the inconceivable (achintyaM), unmanifest to the ignorant (avyaktaM), unlimited form (anantarUpaM), most auspicious (shivaM), bestowing grace and anger depending on the action (prashAntaM), whose form is the Supreme Goal of Attainment (amRtaM), the Cause of the four-faced Brahma (brahmayOniM).
ShrI VijayEndra says that this is a description of nArAyaNa owing to the adjectives of supremacy.
Then, the guru explains that the following portion of the subsequent mantra actually does talk about Shiva, the husband of pArvati, who should be meditated upon to attain nArAyaNa described earlier:
tathAdimadhyAntavihInamekaM vibhuM chidAnandamarUpamadbhutam.h
umAsahAyaM parameshvaraM prabhuM trilochanaM nIlakaNThaM prashAntam.h .
Meaning: Therefore on account of not existing prior to creation (tathA), meditating on the One (Rudra) who is absent in beginning, middle and end, ie, one who is other than nArAyaNa (AdimadhyAntavihInaM),  having a form that is opposite (arUpaM) to that form (of nArAyaNa) which is bliss and consciousness without limit (vibhuM chidAnandaM), the wonderful (adbhutaM),  who is accompanied by Umadevi, who is known as “paramEshvara”, the master (prabhuM), the three-eyed (trilOchana), the blue-necked (nIlakaNtha, the peaceful (praShAntaM),
Then, he avers that it talks about nArAyaNa again by the words –
dhyAtvA munirgachChati bhUtayoniM samastasAkShiM tamasaH parastAt.h
Meaning: The munis reach him (nArAyaNa) who is the Cause of all Beings (bhUtayOnIm), the Omniscient (samastasAkshiM), who is free of contact with matter (tamasaH parastAt)
So, according to shrI vijayEndra, this Upanishad is instructing upAsakas to meditate on Rudra in order to gain parOkSha jnAna of nArAyaNa and attain moksha. Simply put, he says that meditation on Rudra leads to parOkSha jnAna of nArAyaNa.
shrI vijayEndra ingeniously interprets “tathAdimadhyAntavihInaM” as an adjective of Rudra as follows –
It is known from the shruti that Rudra is created by nArAyaNa  - “nArAyaNAt rudrO jAyatE” – Thus, the deity accompanied by Uma was not present in the beginning of the creation. This is indicated by “tathA” – As he was not present during creation, he can be understood to be without beginning, middle and end.
The term “hIna” refers to “absence”. Rather than taking “AdimadhyAntavihInaM” as “having no beginning, middle and end”, it should be understood as “absent in beginning, middle and end”.
By saying “absent in beginning, middle and end”, it is meant that it refers to a condition in which there is absence of being more or less – basically, a state of being devoid or uncreated. So, it indicates a Being (Rudra) who was not “more” or “less”, ie, he was devoid, or did not exist in the beginning of creation. In other words, the “absence of more or less” indicates a being other than nArAyaNa, the creator of brahma, who did not exist prior to creation and thus refers to Rudra.
Thus, the term “AdimadhyAntavihInaM” denotes that Rudra is a being different from nArAyaNa, who did not exist prior to creation. “tathA” according to shrI vijayEndra tIrtha implies – therefore (as Rudra did not exist prior to creation), he is understood as being absent in the beginning, middle and end.
He interprets “vibhuM chidAnandamarUpaM” by taking “arUpaM” as a form opposite to that of the form of the Lord (nArAyaNa) that is unlimited consciousness and bliss, implying Rudra is limited. This grammatical rendering allows him to reinterpret the mantra as referring to Rudra.
ShrI vijayEndra tIrtha further adds that this differentiates Rudra from the entity previously referred to as the supreme by adjectives of “hR^it punDarIkaM…vichintyaM”, etc.  
He finally says that if all the adjectives are taken as denoting Rudra, then the terms “vichintya”, “dhyAtva”, “madhya”, “tathA” and “AdimadhyAntavihInaM” become useless.

Our Review of Shri Vijayendra Tirtha’s Interpretation
We feel that the above interpretation by shrI vijayEndra tIrtha does not reflect the true intent of the shruti.
  1. General Observations on shrI vijayEndra tIrtha’s interpretation
This explanation by shrI vijayEndra, while commendable in trying to establish that Parabrahman is nArAyaNa alone, does not hold water for several reasons:
  1. In the phrase “vibhuM chidAnandaM arUpaM adbhutaM”, the adjective “chidAnandaM” cannot be applied to a description of the body of nArAyaNa. For the body of Parabrahman is not sentient (cit), and it is insentient, different from him, being his inseparable attribute.  The theory of Brahman’s body being non-different to him is not admitted by the shruti and Agama shAstra.

  1. shrI vijayendra’s interpretation is also untenable by the fact that “adbhUtaM”, occurring after “arUpaM” if not taken in conjunction with “arUpaM” meaning “non-material”, would look out of context. It makes no sense to say “Rudra’s form is opposite to that unlimited form of the Lord (nArAyaNa) and is wonderful”. For only a praise of the form’s greatness can be accompanied by “adbhutaM”, not depreciation.

  1. Thus, “chidAnandaM” means “consciousness and bliss by essential nature” and “arUpaM” means “having a form that is non-material, ie, made of suddha sattva” which is “adbhutaM” or wonderful. “vibhuM” is a separate adjective indicating pervasion of Brahman.

  1. As this phrase is interpreted in the manner described in 3), the entire statement can only denote Brahman and thus, it is not feasible to interpret “umAsahAyaM..” as referring to pArvati pati Rudradeva.

  1. On account of this, “AdimadhyAntavihInaM” should be interpreted as “devoid of a beginning, middle or end” signifying the unlimitedness of the Supreme Being.

  1. The Upanishad also says, “yaH shatarUdriyamadhIte so.agnipUto bhavati…”.”One who reads the ShatarudrIya becomes purified”. So, the Being described by this Upanishad is the same as the Deity who is described in the ShatarudrIya. The nRisimha tApanIya Upanishad explicitly describes the shatarudrIya as eulogizing narasimha. Furthermore, the Upanishad refers to bhagavAn narasimha as “umApati”, etc. Hence, there is no need to attribute these terms to Rudra when context and pramANAs allow for a direct interpretation as nArAyaNa. This is made clear by shrI ranga rAmAnuja muni in his Upanishad bhAshyas.

  1. On account of all this, it is quite feasible to understand the terms “umAsahAyaM…” etc as referring to narasimha only. Even the term “adbhutaM” is especially used in smriti to denote this form of the Lord, as a form that is half-man, half-lion, neither human nor animal, is of great wonder.

  1. The Usage of “tathA” and other terms
ShrI vijayEndra tIrtha makes the following argument to justify his interpretation to say that knowledge of the Being described as “umAsahAyaM” (Rudra) is not the sole means to moksha, but that knowledge of Rudra is secondary to meditation on another (nArAyaNa), to attain moksha:
“It is not possible that only one Being (Rudra as taken by the Shaivas) here is denoted by the entire set of mantras, for if that is the case, then terms like “vincintya” (to be meditated upon) and “dhyAtva” (similar meaning) would be futile, (apparently implying a flaw of redundancy; its’ not clear if shrI vijayEndra means that). The word “tathA” becomes useless and the adjective “AdimadhyAntavihInaM” – absent in the beginning, middle and end – also becomes unjustifiable.”
To this we reply –
There is no contradiction in interpreting the entire section to be about the Lord without bringing Rudra into it.
The term “tathA” is not used in the sense of qualifying “AdimadhyAntavihInaM” as argued by shrI vijayEndra tIrtha but in the sense of “therefore, on account of the qualities mentioned previously”. This is explained as follows,
First, the Upanishad describes nArAyaNa as residing in the cave of the heart by saying,
hR^itpuNDarIkaM virajaM vishuddhaM vichintya madhye vishadaM vishokam.h
achintyamavyaktamanantarUpaM shivaM prashAntamamR^itaM brahmayonim.h
Meaning: In the heart-lotus, devoid of desire (virAja), pure (vishuddhaM), who is contemplated upon in the midst of the vaiSvAnara agni (vicintya madhyE), shining like a streak of lightening (vishadaM), devoid of sorrow (vishokaM), who is incomparable (acintyaM),  who is unmanifest to the ignorant (avyaktaM), who assumes innumerable forms by his will depending on the occasion (anantarUpaM), who is agreeable (shivaM), who exists solely for his devotees (praShAntaM), who is nectarine (amRtaM) and the Cause of the collection of sentients and non-sentients (brahmayOnim).
brahmayOniM” – tasmAd etat  brahma nAmarUpaM annaM ca jAyatE (~ mundakOpanishad) –  it refers to the collection of sentients and non-sentients according to shrI ranga rAmAnuja muni.
“prashAntaH” – shAntaH - tEShAm asti iti shAntaH – he exists only for his devotees.
vishadaM” – “nIlatoyadamadyasta” as in nArAyaNa sUkta.
So, this Being in the cave of the heart is Parabrahman, sriman nArAyaNa. Then, the Upanishad says:
tathAdimadhyAntavihInamekaM vibhuM chidAnandamarUpamadbhutam.h
umaasahaayaM parameshvaraM prabhuM trilochanaM niilakaNThaM prashaantam.h
dhyaatvaa munirgachchhati bhuutayoniM samastasaakshiM tamasaH parastaat.h
Meaning: Therefore (tathA), meditating on the (aforementioned) Being who is devoid of a beginning, middle and end, who is all-pervading as the protector (vibhuM), who is of the nature of consciousness and bliss (chidAnandaM), who has a wonderful non-material form of half-man, half lion (arUpaM adbhUtaM), who is always accompanied by shrI mahalakShmi who is his fame (umAsahAyaM), the Lord of all (parameshvaraM), One who has the power to attract the minds of all towards him by his beauty (prabhuM), the three-eyed (trilOchanaM), the black throated (nIlakaNThaM), One who makes the devotee enjoy him alone to the exclusion of all (prashAntam), the wise men reach that (supreme abode of shrI vaikuntha) which is the Abode of the Muktas (bhUtayOnIm), that is perceived by all the nitya sUrIs (samastasAkshiM), that is beyond prakrti (tamasaH parastAt).
Now, the explanation of “tathA” – The Upanishad described the Being in the cave of the heart of “viShoka”, “vishada”…”brahmayOnim”, etc. So, the Upanishad says “tatha” – therefore, meditate on this Being who is without a beginning, middle and end, etc. The idea conveyed by “tatha” is thus – Because this Being in the heart has all these qualities, therefore (tatha) the wise meditate on this being who is umAsahAyaM, etc. The thinking is that knowledge of this Being is the means to liberation and nothing else. The initial statement is brought to a logical conclusion – that this Being alone is worthy of meditation. Thus, only one entity is signified by all terms.
There is no redundancy in the interpretation. “vicintya madhyE” implies that he is to be thought of as residing in the middle of the intestinal fire as described in the nArAyaNa sUkta, shining like a streak of lightening. Whereas, “dhyAtva” that occurs later describes how his form is to be meditated upon.
Similarly, “anantarUpaM” describes he can assume infinite number of forms by will as and when the occasion demands, like he did for prahlAda. Whereas, “AdimadhyAntavihinaM” implies he is not limited by time, place or object and thus is “vibhu” – he is all-pervading and can appear even in a pillar.
Now, for the explanation of “dhyAtva” – Just because the Upanishad says, “meditating on the Being who is “umAsahAyaM” etc, the wise reach that abode”, it is not referring to 2 different beings, Rather, meditating on that Brahman, one reaches shrI vakuntha, the supreme abode. It is well known from the shAstras that Brahman alone is the means (upAya) to the end.
The vedAnta sutrAs say “tad-hetu-vyapadeSAc-ca(brahma sUtra 1.1.15)He is the cause of the Bliss that all selves enjoy. – esha hveya AnandayAti (taitt. Ananda. 2.7.1). And also, the Lords says “aham tvA sarva pApebhyo mokshayishyAmi” (gItA 18.66) – "I will release you from all sins". This much establishes that he is not only the goal, but also the means to reach the goal. Thus, both the object of meditation and the object reached by meditation is the Lord.
Indeed, the adjectives – “bhUtayOnIM”, “samastha-sAkshIM”, show that it refers to the supreme abode, shrI vaikuntha, who is distinguished from the form of the Lord in the cave of the heart who is the means.  One cannot say “meditation on Rudradeva leads to paramapada” and thus, the Being described as “umAsahAyaM...” etc is nArAyaNa only.
bhUta-yOniM” – "Yoni" means abode. "bhUta" refers to all muktas who have reached the abode.
Thus, while shrI vijayEndra tIrtha’s interpretation is well-intended and a better one than Appayya Dikshita’s, it does not however bring out the full meaning of the mantra.
Lastly, we have the upabrahmaNam for our interpretation in the brahmAnda purANa, which occurs in the form of a stOtra (kavacha) to Narasimha. Quoting the sloka,
विवृतास्यं त्रिनयनं शरदिन्दुसमप्रभम् ।
लक्ष्म्यालिङ्गितवामाङ्गं विभूतिभिरुपाश्रितम् ॥ ३॥ (~ narasimha kavacham, brahmAnda purANA)
Meaning: His (Narasimha's) mouth is wide open, he has three eyes, and he is as radiant as the autumn moon . He is embraced by LakShmIdevI on his left side, and his form is the shelter of all auspicious attributes which are his wealth.
Note that shrI narasimha is called nIlakaNtha or nIlagrIva because of his throat, which is perpetually open, and looks black and cavernous. The avanti khANDa of the skanda purANa also refers to vishNu as “nIlakaNtha”.
Then, he has lakShmi by his side, who is verily his umA or "fame". As the shruti says, "ShraddhayA dEvO dEvatvam asnutE" - The Lord is known as "Deva" only due to his association with Lakshmi. Thus, "umAsahAyaM" here refers to his association with the Devi who gives him that reputation and hence is his "umA". The tApanIya Upanishad also refers to this Lord as “umApati”.
Thus, our interpretation of the Kaivalya Upanishad, which is based on shrI ranga rAmAnuja muni’s bhAshya on similar mantras, stands. ShrI vijayEndra tIrtha’s interpretation is correct as per the shAstras as Rudra is a medium of knowledge of Brahman, but flawed as that is not the context of the Upanishad.
We hope readers found our write-up illuminating.


  1. Another gem, dismantling the errenous claims of Vishnu haters.

    Jai Sriman Narayana

  2. Hari Hari. Its a really fantastic article. So enlightening. I will save it in my personal hard disk and preserve. A great service to Vaishnavism done by you.

    1. Thank you. Everything is by the grace of Sri Ramanuja. We haven't said anything here that is of our own thinking, but only the words of our Acharyas.

  3. Pranams Swami. One query on the Kaivalya Upanishad. I guess Shankara has quoted it in the Aitareya Upanishad Bhashya. But has it been commented by Sri Vaishnava acharyas? Looks like it is not famous like the 10 major upanisahds and the ones like Mahopanishad Subala Upanishad quoted by all acharyas

    1. You can read the full commentary on the Kaivalyopanishad here:

      We often have additional content in the journal section.

      In the comments under that article, we also explained why the Upanishad is not quoted by Sri Ramanuja. It is focused on Jivatma, not Paramatma and hence the Acharya did not quote it for polemics. Shankara is reputed to have quoted it.

      It is accepted as authentic and its' contents are meaningful philosophically unlike some bogus upanishads (like rudrahridaya etc) which make no sense.

  4. Respected Swami,
    My pranams to you. I read the commentary on the kaivalya Upanishad in the above link. Is it the translation of the Ramasubba Sastri's commentary? Many thanks for sharing it.

    Also some of the mantras mentioned here can be understood to mean the jiVA ensouled by paramatma narayana and hence the mantras like 'Apani Pada' 'achinty sakti' can be attributed to Narayana also who is antaryami of the jIva. Kindly give your comments.

    1. The commentary is not that of Sri Rama Subbu because he was an advaitin. It is a Vishishtadvaitic commentary. We wrote it based on similar mantras commented upon by our Acharyas already in other works, so it is not something new.

      As to your query, Sri Ramanuja has interpreted "apAnipAda" etc as referring to the jIvAtma in his gIta bhAshya. We simply followed his vyAkhyAna.

      The Kaivalya Upanishad is not talking about paramAtma ensouled by the jIva because of the following reasons:

      1) "Kaivalya" itself is the term used to denote pure state of the jIva aloof from prakrti generally in the shAstra.

      2) The clear reference to "saṃnyāsayogādyatayaḥ" in mantra 3 which is the theme of the Upanishad - The sixth chapter of the gIta is termed sannyAsa yoga which shrI rAmAnuja interprets as "the yoga of meditation on the individual self, with renunciation of action".

      3) Mantra 10 - "sarvabhūtasthamātmānaṃ..." has a parallel in the Bhagavad Gita (6.29) which is interpreted by shri rAmAnuja as referring to the upAsaNa on the jIvAtma. Ditto for "apAnipAda" etc which occurs in Chapter 13 of the Gita (check up the verse number, I don't remember).

      4) "te brahmalokeṣu parāntakāle...sarve" (mantra 4) -- note the references to plurality. Obviously, only the jIvAs are many, paramAtma is only one.

      5) "viviktadeśe..." (mantra 5) refers to finding a secluded spot to meditate which shrI rAmAnuja takes as a unique prerequisite of jnAna-yoga, or meditation on Brahman to attain the similar state of the individual self, in his bhAshya to gIta 6.14.

      6) Note the innumerable references to the waking, dreaming and dreamless sleep states of the Jiva. The Upanishad explicitly says "svapne sa jīvaḥ" in mantra 13 to show that the subject matter of the entire Upanishad is the jIvAtma only. What more clear proof is needed.

      7) Finally, the reference to Shatarudriya, which is always an accessory for curbing the indrIyAs to aid in the meditation of the self.

      It is very easy to see that the Upanishad is talking about the jIva only. Most of the mantras have been commentated in various ways by the Acharyas in other contexts.

    2. Also, as an aside, no need to refer to me as "swami" or offer pranams. I am not a scholar or vidvab, don't require such labels. You can talk to me as an equal.

  5. The Purushamedha Sacrifice, for which we have provided the interpretation above, and where "puruSho ha nArAyaNa" refers to Brahma (Purusha) who has Narayana as his innerself, has an upabrahmaNa in the Umasamhita of the Shiva Purana as follows:

    Chapter 29 of the Shiva Purana where the Umasamhita starts is a sAttvika portion (only this chapter is to be accepted by vaidikas) that talks about the Cause of the Universe, Narayana. One can read a rough english translation in the above link. There, note the shlokas 5-6. Since the interpretation there is a bit awry, I am rephrasing the words based on what I think the sanskrit is (too lazy to dig out the actual sanskrit, might do it later). I am also splitting the shlokas into points (numbered below) for clarity:

    1- "Purusha (Narayana) is eternal and he constitutes the Sat (Permanent entities) and Asat (Impermanent entities) as (the innerself of) Pradhana (Asat Prakrti) and (innerself of) Purusha (Sat - the bound self).2- The creator of the worlds (Brahma) created the Pradhana (prakrti) after becoming Purusha, ie, after meditating on his innerself to be the same as the Purusha who is the Cause. 3- He (Narayana, the indweller of Brahma), created the Creator of all living beings (Brahma), devoted to Narayana. 4- O great sage, understand him (Narayana) to be (the innerself of) Brahma of immeasurable knowledge and prowess."

    Later on this Purusha is identified as Narayana by the verse "Apo nArA iti proktA...tena nArAyaNaH smR^itaH" and this Narayana is obviously a name of none other than Lord Vishnu which is indicated by shloka 25 (Vishnu created the Virat etc). Obviously goes without saying, but unfortunately, there are some brainless Veerashaivas who don't even understand the basics of Vedanta nowadays.

    Anyway, the gist of the above verse is:

    1) First, it says the Purusha (Narayana) is the innerself of the bound self (Purusha) and prakrti (Pradhana).

    2) Then it says Brahma was able to create the worlds only by meditating on this Purusha. "Becoming Purusha" is the same as what the Satapatha says "ahamevedaṃ sarvaṃ syāmiti" - It means Brahma meditated on his innerself as identical to the Purusha, the Causal Brahman. This is "ahamgrahOpAsaNa".

    3) Having said that Brahma realized his innerself to be the Purusha Narayana, the next line says that this Purusha Narayana who is the innerself of Brahma, is the creator of Brahma who created everybody. The previous line talked about Brahma, this line uses the term "saH" to denote CaturmukhAntaryAmin nArAyaNa. Basically, it says, "The antaryAmin of Brahma created Brahma, the creator of all beings devoted to Narayana". Th

    4) Finally, it says, understand him (Narayana, the Purusha) to be Brahma, ie, understand the Lord to be the innerself of Brahma. "Brahma" denotes the indwelling Lord by virtue of sAmAnAdhikaraNyam and sharIrAtma bhAva.

    Thus this shloka which has a wealth of meanings is a supporting proof of the Purushamedha Sacrifice in the Satapatha. One can find such sAttvic portions even in the tAmasa purANAs.

    It also refutes the stupid interpolation in the Anushasana Parva which seeks to model itself on the Purushamedha and claim Krishna worshipped Shiva. That alone is a proof that this section is interpolated, since the Shaivite interpolator clearly had no idea of what the Purushamedha meant. Ironically, the shaivite interpolation is undone by the Shiva Purana's explanation itself.

  6. Apropos to the topic of the names "Narayana, Vishnu and Vasudeva" not being applicable to any devata other than Bhagavan, the Shaivas and Veerashaivas would quote a section of the Shiva Purana which has even been referenced by Adi Shankara (more on that later), to attempt to prove that "Vishnu" is a name applicable to their devata as follows:

    śivo maheśvaraścaiva rudro viṣṇuḥ pitāmahaḥ // saṃsāravaidyaḥ sarvajñaḥ paramātmeti mukhyataḥ //
    nāmāṣṭakamidaṃ mukhyaṃ śivasya pratipādakam // (Shiva Purana, Kailasa Samhita and Vayaviya Samhita)

    Meaning: The 8 names "Shiva", "Maheshvara", "Rudra", "Vishnu", "Pitamaha", "Samsaravaidya", "Sarvaj~na" and "Paramatma" -- mainly indicate Shiva.

    This section (which occurs in both the Kailasa Samhita and Vayaviya Samhita of the Purana) goes on to describe the etymological meaning of the names and says "Shiva is Vishnu as he is all-pervading". Thus, Shaivaites argue that here, "Vishnu" is directly applied to "Shiva".

    Let us discuss this...

    Cont'd below...

  7. Cont'd from above...

    Not really. One only needs to look at the succeeding line to this shloka to see the truth:

    ādyantu pañcakaṃ jñeyaṃ śāntyatītādyanukramāt //upādhivinivṛttau tu yathāsvaṃ vinivartate //
    padameva hi tannityamanityāḥ padinaḥ smṛtāḥ // (~Shiva Purana, Vayaviya Samhita)

    This verse says that the first five names are to be understood to refer to the devatas who preside over the functions of SantyatIta, Nivrtti, PratistA, VidyA and SAnti which are described in the Veda Bahya Shastras of the Shaivas. It also says that these five names exist only so long as the conditions (upAdhis) in the forms of the devatas exist, and disappear when these conditions no longer exist. In other words, these 5 names are indicative of the 5 devatas - Brahma, Vishnu, Rudra, Maheshvara and Shiva (or Ishana/Sadashiva in some cases) - who constitute the 5 manifestations of "Sadashiva" in Shaivite philosophy.

    Only the last 3 names truly refer to this "Sadashiva" according to the Purana. So even here, "Sadashiva" is mentioned to be all-pervasive and referred to as "Vishnu" only in the form of Lakshmipathi and the name is not directly applied to "Sadashiva".

    Needless to say, all this is completely contradictory to the Vedanta which recognizes only the trimUrtIs and establishes that Narayana is the Lord of the trimUrtIs. Furthermore, the Narayana Upanishad dispels this bogus "Sadashiva" and "Samhara Rudra" dichotomy by saying "nArAyaNAt rudrO jAyatE" (From Narayana was born Rudra) and then following it up with "shivasca nArAyaNa:" (Shiva is the VibhUti of Narayana) -- thus showing "Shiva" and "Rudra" are the same person. In any case, differentiating them opens a whole different set of problems for the Shaivas to reconcile, which we will discuss in future articles.

    Lastly, Adi Shankara quotes the etymology for "Rudra" in the Vishnu Sahasranama from this section as follows -

    rudduḥkhaṃ duḥkhaheturvā tadrāvayati naḥ prabhuḥ // rudra ityucyate tasmāt śivaḥ paramakāraṇam //

    The etymology provided by this section is quite acceptable despite its' tAmasic qualities.

    Some Veerashaivas take the fact that Shankara quotes the entire shloka including "tasmāt śivaḥ paramakāraṇam" to think he was endorsing this baseless sAdAshiva brahmavAda I described above. Actually, Shankara was simply quoting the entire shloka to show where he quoted it from, as it is the only section that provides an etymology for "rudra". Furthermore, according to advaita philosophy, the devas Brahma and Shiva are identical to saguNa brahman vishNu in nature, but are under rAjo-tamO guNa upAdhIs, and therefore, their essential condition is that of "jagatkAraNatva", ie, they are to be considered identical to the jagatkAraNa, the saguNa brahman vishNu when the upAdhis are transcended. Hence, "tasmāt śivaḥ paramakāraṇam" is not a problem for Shankara, whose Vaishnavatvam is unquestionable, as he would interpret in terms of siva's abheda with saguNa brahman vishNu at the paramArthika sath. This is indicated to be the advaita philosophy by Sridhara himself in the commentary for the bhAgavata shloka "ahaṁ brahmā ca śarvaś ca jagataḥ kāraṇaṁ param" (Vishnu's words to Daksha). Shankara has already indicated that vishNu is the innerself of Shiva as long as the vyAvahArika illusion of limiting adjuncts persists, under his bhAshya for "bhUta-krt, bhUta-brt" where he says Vishnu, as the innerself of Rudra, assumes tamo guNa for destruction (Shankara says "rudrAtmaNa" to denote Vishnu's antaryAmitva of rudra).

    Therefore, the idea of Shiva being referred to by the three mukhya vyApaka nAmAs of nArAyaNa, vishNu and vAsudeva even in the tAmasa purANAs is refuted.



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