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Vaishnava-para upabrimhana of certain Shrutis in Puranas

In this article, we cover two topics: An upabR^iMhaNa of the Narayana Sukta in itihAsa/purANas, as well as the explanation of certain mantras related to Narasimha explained by the Narada Purana.
This upAkhyAna is very popular among Vedantins including Shankara who have quoted it in their works. It is an upabhR^iMhaNa of the Narayana Suktam and shows in a crystal-clear manner that the parabrahman in this sUkta and other upaniShads is none other than Lord Vishnu. It thus dispenses with silly, new fangled ideas of Narayana being Tripurasundari (as propagated by that imbecile running the Mahapashupatastra blog) or that “Narayana is strictly Nirguna Brahman and not the four armed Vishnu” (as propagated by the equally imbecilic Vishnu hating Veerashaiva).
Additionally, in regard to the latter, we would like to point out that - 1) nirguna brahman in advaita has no names and hence cannot be called “Narayana” and 2) It is not possible for the term “Narayana” to denote anyone other than Vishnu, be it Tripura Sundari or Nirguna Brahman or Shiva or whomever. This is because Narayana is identified with Vishnu in the Vishnu Gayatri and is not used anywhere in Shastra to denote anything else other than the Supreme Being, thus implying that wherever the Supreme is mentioned, it is Narayana only, and hence the God Vishnu only. In contrast, names like Shiva, Rudra etc have been used in Shastras to denote diverse entities lile Parvati Pati, Parabrahman, Jivatma, the mind, etc.
So, for Vishnu Dveshis to prove that “Narayana” does not refer to the God Vishnu, they have to provide an instance from Shastra where the term has been used to denote an object other than Vishnu/the Supreme Being (such as jivatma or mind etc) similar to how “Shiva” or “Rudra” have been used to denote objects other than Parvati Pati. Since they cannot do this, the argument is defeated. The chaaga-pashu nyAya is used to reconcile general terms like sat, atma, Brahman, Siva etc (which can denote objects other than Brahman) to the specific term Narayana that only denotes the Supreme Brahman everywhere, and this Narayana is equated to Vishnu in the Vishnu Gayatri. Thus, Shastras use the term “Narayana” to exclusively denote Parabrahman as the God Vishnu only.
Of course, those who propound such baseless arguments know very well that they are simply engaging in vitanda vAda. They know it isn’t true and simply invented it to desperately circumvent the truth of the Shastra.
There are two versions -- one in the Anushasanika Parvan of the Mahabharata, and a slightly longer version in the Narasimha Purana. We will highlight in yellow color interesting additional shlokas found in Narasimha Purana.
We present here our translation of the same in this article.
Some of the shlokas form an upabhR^iMhaNa of the Narayana Suktam in Taittiriya Upanishad. We have marked them in the below article with a bold red ‘NS’ superscript. Some have been quoted by Sri Sankara in his Vishnu Sahasranama Bhashya. We have marked them with the superscript ‘SB’ in bold blue. Most shlokas from the Narasimha Purana version have been quoted in full in the j~nAna prakaraNa section of the early Advaitic work ‘prapancahrdaya’ (See here). Some shlokas quoted in this work are not found in either of the existing versions of anushAsanika parvan or narasiMha purANa. These will be highlighted in blue.
Anushasanika Parvan (Mahabharata, 13), Chapter 186 (Southern Recension as per Kumbakonam Edition) (source)/Narasimha Purana, Chapter 65 (source)
yudhiShThira uvAcha .
yajj~neyaM paramaM kR^ityamanuShTheyaM mahAtmabhiH .
sAraM me sarvashAstrANAM vaktumarhasyanugrahAt ..
Meaning: Yudhishthira: Respected grandsire! Tell me that which is the essence of all shAstras, that which is to be known, the highest that is to be done and practised by great souls.
bhIShma uvAcha.
shrUyatAmidamatyantaM gUDhaM saMsAramochanam .
shrotavyaM cha tvayA samyagj~nAtavyaM cha vishAmpate ..
Meaning: Bhishma: Yudhishthira! O Lord of the people! Listen to this exceedingly secret doctrine that liberates one from the cycle of births and deaths. You should hear it as well as know it very well
puNDarIkaH purA vipraH puNyatIrthe japAnvitaH .
nAradaM paripaprachCha shreyo yogaparaM munim ..
nAradashchAbravIdenaM brahmaNoktaM mahAtmanA ..  
Meaning: In ancient times, a brAhmaNa named puNDarIka was performing penances in puNyatIrthas. He asked Narada, the sage, who is engaged in yoga regarding what is the best for welfare. Narada indeed narrated as follows, what was told to him by the great soul Chaturmukha Brahma.
shR^iNuShvAvahitastAta j~nAnayogamanuttamam .
aprabhUtaM prabhUtArthaM vedashAstrArthasaMyutam.  
Meaning: My son! Listen attentively. I hereby narrate to you the jnAna yoga that is unsurpassed. There is nothing more perfect than the perfect meaning it conveys. It is well endowed with the essence of the Vedic texts.
Note: “Jnana Yoga” here means the Yoga of brahma-jnAna. It doesn’t refer to the meditation on the individual self which is also called jnana yoga.
yaH paraH prakR^ite proktaH puruShaH pa~nchaviMshakaH .
sa eva sarvabhUtAtmA nara ityabhidhIyate ..
narAjjAtAni tatvAni nArANIti tato viduH .
tAnyeva chAyanaM tasya tena nArAyaNaH smR^itaH .. SB
nArAyaNAjjagatsarvaM sargakAle prajAyate .
tasminneva punastachcha pralaye sampralIyate ..
nArAyaNaH paro.avyaktAdaNDamavyaktasaMbhavam .
aNDAdbrahmApunarjaj~ne tena lokA ime kR^itA ..
Meaning: The Supreme who is beyond the mUla prakR^iti is the Purusha who has the twenty five tattvas (from mUla prakR^iti to jIvAtmA) as His form. He alone is the Lord of all beings and is called “nara”. From this Supreme Purusha called ‘nara’, the tattvas come into existence. Hence, these tattvas are called ‘nAra’-s. These ‘nAra’-s themselves are His abode, and hence He is called ‘nArAyaNa’. From Narayana indeed the entire universe is born during the time of creation. At the time of destruction, these tattvas are dissolved into Him. Narayana is beyond the mUla prakR^iti, the seed of samsAra, called “avyakta”. The brahmANDa is born from this avyakta. Brahma in turn was born of this brahmANDa. The lokas were then created by him.
nArAyaNaH paraM brahma tatvaM nArAyaNaH paraH .NS
parAdapi parashchAsau tasmAnnAsti parAtparaH ..
yaccaki~ncijjagatyasmin dR^ishyate shrUyate.api vA .
antarbahishca tatsarvaM vyApya nArAyaNaH sthitaH ..NS
Meaning: Narayana is the supreme Brahman, the Highest truth is Narayana. He is Higher than the High. Hence, there is nothing Higher than the Highest. Everything seen and heard in this universe is pervaded from inside and out by Narayana. Thus He remains.
Note that these shlokas are clearly explaining the shruti (nArAyaNa sUktam).
evaM viditvA taM devAH sAkAraM vyAharanmuhuH .
namo nArAyaNAyeti dhyAtvA cAnanyamAnasAH ..
kiMtasya dAnaiH kiM tIrthaiH kiM tapobhiH kimadhvaraiH .
yo nityaM dhAyate devaM nArAyaNamananyadhIH ..
etajj~nAnaM varaM nAto yogashcaiva parastathA ..
Meaning: Knowing Him thus, the devas enunciated ‘namo nArAyaNa’ repeatedly with external gestures (such as anjali mudrA). Thus, they meditated with single-mindedly. For one who meditates on the effulgent Lord Narayana single-mindedly every day, what is there to achieve by dAna, tIrtha yAtra, tapas, and ceremonies? This is the best knowledge. There is no higher means (Yoga) than that (for liberation).
Having explained Narayana is the highest means to liberation, Narada next emphasizes that the highest end or object of attainment is the Lord as well.
parasparaviruddhArthaiH kimanyaiH shAstravistaraiH.                                    
bahavo.api yathAmArgA vishantyaikaM mahatpuram ..
tathA j~nAnAni sarvANi pravishanti tamIshvaram .
sa hi sarvagato devaH sUkShmo.avyaktaH sanAtanaH ..
Meaning: By mutually contrasting desires (vAsaNas) and which (means to attain such desires) shAstras other than the Veda (anyaih) elaborate, all those with knowledge (conception of the Lord in different ways) reach the Lord, in the same manner as many roads lead to a great city. He, indeed is the omnipresent god (in all beings), subtler than the Jiva, imperceptible to the senses, the eternal.
“artha” refers to desires for different puruShArthAs. These desires are mutually contrary for different jIvAs despite their essential natures being identical, on account of differences in karma-ruchi-vAsaNAs. Based on their inclinations, the Jivas worship different gods like Surya, Indra, Rudra, Brahma etc using shAstras like the shaiva, sakta agamas etc.
However, all these jIvAs, endowed with knowledge in the form of perceiving the Lord in different ways, attain him only. But how can it be said that they attain him only when they worship others? It is because Narayana is present in all (sarvatraga) and is the imperceptible innerself of these gods as well (sukshma avyaktah) and he alone being eternal, dwelling in these gods who are non-eternal or temporary, bestows the fruits. Or it can be said that the eternality of these gods who are his bodies depends on he who is eternal by himself.
Many paths may lead to the same city. Some may be long-winded, some short, some difficult, some easy. Similarly, the easiest path to liberation is worshipping the Lord directly and not through other devatas. By this, the other paths are discouraged. Narayana alone is the highest end attained by all.
Not all these people are jnAnIs as they are worshipping other gods and that is why “sarvANi jnAnAni” - all those inseparably associated (endowed) with knowledge - is used, as opposed to saying for instance “sarvE jnAninAm” - apart from those who worship Vishnu alone, others are not jnAnis.
jagadAdiranAdyantaH svayambhUrbhUtabhAvanaH .
viShNurvibhuracintyAtmA nityaH sadasadAtmakaH ..
vAsudevo jagadvAsaH purANaH kaviravyayaH .
Meaning: Narayana is the source of the universe. He Himself is without beginning or end. He is self-manifest and creates all beings. He is Vishnu, all pervading, and unfathomable. He is eternal and is the in-dweller of the jIvas (sat) and mUla prakR^iti. He is Vasudeva, in whom all universe resides. He is the Ancient One, the seer, and without decay.
yasmAtprAptaM sthitaM kR^itsnaM trailokyaM sacarAcaram ..
tasmAtsa bhagavAn devo viShNurityabhidhIyate .
yasmAdvA sarvabhUtAnAM tattvAdyAnAM yugakShaye ..
tasminnivAsaH saMsarge vAsudevastatastu saH .
Meaning: He the radiant (devaaH) possessor of six auspicious attributes (bhagavAn) is called Vishnu because the three lokas along with all movable and immovable that that exist within them are born from Him. He is called Vasudeva because all tattvas and beings reside in Him during the time of pralaya and before the beginning of the next creation cycle.
tamAhuH puruShaM kecit kecidIshvaramavyayam ..
vij~nAnamAtraM ki~ncicca kecidbrahma paraM tathA .
kecitkAlamnAdyantaM kecijjIvaM sanAtanaM ..
kecicca paramAtmAnaM keciccaivamanAmayam .
Meaning: Some call him variously as puruSha (the purifier); avyaya-Ishvara (the Lord whose auspicious attributes are undiminishing), vij~nAnamAtra (whose nature is knowledge), Supreme Brahman, the (innerself of) beginningless and endless kAla (time), the jIva (one who gives life to his devotees) that is sanAtana (the most ancient), paramAtman, and similarly anAmaya (the adversary for the disease of samsAra).
Purusha means one who burns (purifies) - oshah - all sins by nature: sa yat pUrvah asmAt sarvasmAt pApmana oshah tasmAt purushah. This is according to Bhattar.
How does the Lord purify? By his auspicious attributes and nature which are worthy of contemplation. Why should he be considered our purifier and as worthy of being contemplated? Because he is the Supreme Brahman, the master of sentients and insentients, who even has the all-powerful Time (kAla) as his body.
What happens as a result of such contemplation? He gives bliss to his devotees by offering them a chance to serve him. Hence, he is said to give true life to his devotees. He is ancient in the sense that he has always been existing eternally and thus the bliss he gives to his devotees is also eternal. Thus, he is the supreme self and the enemy of samsAra which is a disease.
When it is said bhagavAn is kAla, it is meant that kAla is his body and he is the innerself.
Those who call him by these names, are jnAnis among the 4 categories of devotees declared by Krishna in the gIta (chaturvidha bhajantE mAm..)
kecitkShetraj~namityAhuH kecitShaDviMshakaM tathA ..
a~NguShTamAtraM kecicca kecitpadmarajopamam .
vAsudevaM tathA viShNumAtmAnaM cha tathA viduH .
saMj~nAbhedaiH sa evaikaH sarvashAstrAbhisaMskR^itaH ..
Meaning: Some others call Him variously as kShetraj~na (the innerself of the jIva), the essence of the 26 tattvas, a~NguShTamAtram (of the form of a thumb), or even comparable to the pollen grains of a lotus. In this manner, some call Him Vasudeva, Vishnu, and the Atman. With such various names, He alone is elaborated in all shAstras.
The yogis who are intent on attaining the individual self meditate on the Lord in this manner. These are the jignyAsus mentioned by Krishna in the gIta. They are a distinct class from the devotees mentioned in the previous shloka.
kShetraj~na” refers to the jIva. As the Lord has the jIva as his body and he is the innerself, he is called as “kShetraj~na” by virtue of sAmAnAdhikaraNya.
ete cAnye ca munibhiH saMj~nAbhedAH pR^ithagvidhAH ..
shAstreShu kathitA viShNorlokavyAmohakArakAH .
ekaM yadi bhavecchAstraM j~nAnaM niHsaMshayaM bhavet ..
bahutvAdiha shAstrANAM j~nAnatattvaM sudurlabham .
Meaning: These aforementioned differing appellations of Vishnu, various in kind, were popularised by the seers in various shAstras. This difference in names indeed deludes the world (since it is difficult to understand that the same Being only bears often seemingly contradictory or diverse names). Indeed, if there was only one shAstra, the Highest Knowledge would become known to the universe without doubt. This knowledge is now difficult to attain due to the multitude of shruti and smR^iti texts.
This shloka also justifies the existence of tAmasa purANAs. By it, silly questions of Shaivas like “why would vyAsa deliberately delude people?” is quashed. Not all are eligible for the truth, hence the shAstras are couched in mysterious and confusing language while the tAmasa purANAs exist to delude people.
AloDya sarvashAstrANi vichArya cha punaHpunaH .
idamekaM suniShpannaM dhyeyo nArAyaNaH sadA .. SB
tasmAttvaM gahanAnsarvAMstyaktvA shAstrArthavistarAn .
ananyachetA dhyAyasva nArAyaNamajaM vibhum ..
Meaning: Having enquired into these shAstras of various kinds, and analysing them repeatedly, the following one truth is brought forth: that Narayana is always to be meditated upon. Hence, you shall renounce these long and difficult shAstras and their explanations. Thereupon, without resorting to any other, meditate on Narayana, who is birthless and unlimited.
By saying “renounce the shAstra”, it is not meant that one should reject shAstra. Rather, it is being pointed out that the essence of the shAstra is meditation on Narayana (para vidya) and so knowing that, once can stop searching in shAstra and commence such meditation.
muhUrtamapi yo dhyAyennArAyaNamatandritaH .
so.api tadgatimApnoti kiM punastatparAyaNaH .. SB
namo nArAyaNAyeti yo veda brahma shAshvatam .
antyakAle japanneti tadviShNoH paramaM padam ..
Meaning: If one meditates on Narayana momentarily with concentration, that person too attains the Highest State. What then to say of the person who meditates on Him always? Knowing the Eternal Brahman with the mantra “namo nArAyaNa”, one shall attain the Supreme Abode of Vishnu by means of japa, at the end of his life.
jagataH sR^iShTisaMhAraparipAlanatatparaH .
nArAyaNaH paro dharmastapo nArAyaNastathA ..
nArAyaNaH paraM puNyaM shAstrANi vividhAni ca .
vedAH sA~NgAstathA cAnye viShNuH sarveshvaro hariH ..
Meaning: Narayana is the creator of the universe. He is also the one who protects it and dissolves it. He is the highest means (dharma). He is the Highest tapas or knowledge (to be known). Narayana is the Supreme Act of Dharma; He is verily all the various shAstras - the Vedas, Vedangas, and others. He is Hari, Vishnu, the Lord of all.
pR^ithivyAdIni ca tathA pa~ncabhUtAni so.avyayaH .
sarvaM viShNumayaM j~neyaM yadetatsakalaM jagat ..
tasyaiva mAyayA vyAptaM carAcaramidaM jagat .
tadbhaktAstadgataprANAH pashyanti paramArthataH ..
Meaning: The pa~ncabhUtas are Narayana. All this universe is to be understood as Vishnu’s body, with Vishnu as the antaryAmin. The entire universe comprising movable and immovable entities are indeed pervaded by the mAyA of none but Him. His bhaktas whose lives depend on Him alone perceive the highest reality (of the Lord sustaining other realities).
IshvaraH sarvabhUtAnAM viShNustrailokyapAlakaH .
tasminneva jagatsarvaM tiShThati prabhavatyapi ..
jagatsaMharaNe rudraH pAlane viShNurucyate .
utpattau cAhamevAsmi tathAnye lokapAlakAH ..
Meaning: Vishnu, the protector of the three worlds is the Lord of all beings. In Him alone is the entire universe stationed and from Him it arises forth. He attains the name “Rudra” at the time of dissolution, and the name “Vishnu” when it is protected. He is indeed me (four-faced brahmA) during the time of creation. All others who are protectors of the universe are indeed Him.
As it has already been clarified he has the Universe as his body, the reference to him being Rudra and Brahma should be taken in the vein of sAmAnAdhikaraNyam.
shravaNAnmananAchchaiva gItistutyarchanAdibhiH .
ArAdhyaM sarvadA brahma puruSheNa hitaiShiNA ..
kiM tatra bahubhirmantraiH kiM tatra bahubhiH smR^itaiH .
namo nArAyaNAyeti mantraH sarvArthasAdhakaH ..
Meaning: By hearing, reflecting about, singing, praising, worshipping (with flowers etc), and other acts, the Supreme Brahman (Narayana) is to be worshipped by any man who desires welfare. What is there to be achieved by many different mantras, and many different smR^itis, when there is one mantra “namo nArAyaNa” that fulfils all desires?
cIravAsA jaTI vA.api tridaNDI muNDa eva vA .
pUjito vA dvijashreShTha ! na li~NgaM dharmakAraNam ..
ye nR^ishaMsA durAtmAnaH pApAcAraparAstathaA .
te.api yAnti paraM sthAnaM narA nArAyaNAshrayAH ..
lipyate na sa pApena vaiShNavo vItakalmaShaH.
punAti sakalaM lokaM sahasrAMshurivoditaH ..
Meaning: There are those whose wear the cloth of a renunciate, those who have matted locks, those who carry the tridaNDa (three staffs), and those who have shaved head, respected by many. Best of brAhmaNas! These are not signs of dharma. However, cruel men who are of ill disposition committing sinful acts but who have taken refuge in Narayana will even attain the Highest state. Such a Vaishnava is untouched by sin as he is free of all ill. As a sun rising with a thousand rays illuminates the entire earth, even such a person will purify the entire universe.
brahmachArI gR^ihastho.api vAnaprastho.atha bhikShukaH .
keshavArAdhanaM hitvA naiva yAti parAM gatim ..
janmAntarasahasreShu durlabhA tadgatA matiH .
tadbhaktavatsalaM devaM samarAdhaya suvrata ..
Meaning: Persons belonging to any of the four Ashramas (brahmacAri etc.) cannot attain the Highest without worshipping Lord Keshava. It is extremely rare to attain the mind that concentrates on Narayana, even in a thousand births. Narayana the effulgent is exceedingly merciful to His devotees. You are of good resolve, and must worship Him!
nAradenaivamuktastu sa vipro.abhyarchayaddharim .
svapno.api puNDarIkAkShaM sha~NkhachakragadAdharam ..
kirITakuNDaladharaM lasachChrIvatsakaustubham .
taM dR^iShTvA devadeveshaM prANamatsambhramAnvitaH ..
Meaning: Having instructed thus by nArada, the brAhmaNa (puNDarIka) worshipped Hari. Even in his dream, he worshipped the lotus-eyed Lord with conch, discus, and mace as His weapons who wears a golden crown, earrings, and possessing the marks of shrIvatsa and kaustubha. Seeing Him the Lord of all devas, puNDarIka prostrated with great awe.
Note that the text says Pundarika worshipped Lord Hari “who has lotus-like eyes, carries a conch, discus, mace, shrIvatsa mark, and kaustubha jewel”, after hearing the mAhAtmya of parabrahman spoken of in the Narayana Suktam and other portions of shruti as “Narayana”. What a pity that our Veerashaiva clown does not even know the basics of advaita to ascribe the name “Narayana” that describes a person with attributes (etymologically interpreted as resort of the nAras, one who has the nAras as his resort, he who is the means, etc all of which are attributes) as a “name of nirguNa brahman”.
We are very interested to know how the clown can conceive of an attributeless entity (nirguna brahman) with names? The very conception of a name implies an attribute. “Vishnu” means “all-pervading”. “Siva” means auspiciousness. The etymology of Narayana has been given. Talk about inventing a new brand of advaita, next thing you know, the imbecile will probably invent a new mantra for Nirguna Brahman japa, homa and the like!!
We would also like to know how the Veerashaiva interprets “sahasrasIrsham devaM” as pertaining to nirguNa brahman. “devam” refers to god, or to shine out. Both these are attributes and hence can never refer to an attributeless entity. In fact, an attributeless entity can never be referred to at all, precisely because it is attributeless!
What about “nIlatoyadamadyasta”, “krishnapingalaM”; “virUpAksha”? Does Nirguna Brahman, an attributeless entity, also have a blackish, tawny hue and dissimilar eyes? This is quite a revelation!!
As mentioned earlier, the best that these Vishnu-dveshis can do is try to ascribe “Narayana” to someone other than Vishnu. But to do that, they have to show two things - 1) A place in the shAstra where Narayana is used via etymology to denote something other than Supreme Brahman, viz., an entity like Jivatma, mind etc, 2) A place in the shAstra where Narayana is used without involving Vishnu in context.
They cannot do either of these, since Narayana is only used as a term for Parabrahman and is equated to Vishnu everywhere. This is unlike terms like Siva, Rudra, Sadasiva, Parama-Siva etc which are used as common nouns to denote various objects.
The Veerashaiva who dreamed up this argument, being of an avaidika persuasion, was obviously unaware that this is the reason vaidikas always started with the name of Narayana to denote Parabrahman. That is why Alavandar asks in his stotra ratna - “nArAyaNaH tvayi na mrishyati vaidikaH kaH - What Vaidika is there, who does not acknowledge Narayana as the Supreme?” (Meaning, there were none during his time, including Shankara).
Hence, this chapter tears apart the asinine claim of cyber Vishnu-dveShIs that the name “Narayana” in Narayana Suktam has nothing to do with Lord Vishnu. Having laid waste to their idiotic statements, let us proceed further.
The Narasimha Purana has a few interesting shlokas here in its version, detailing puNDarIka’s meditation on Sriman Narayana further:
sUta uvAca --
ityuktvA devadevarShistatraivAntaradhIyata
puNDarIko.api dharmAtmA nArAyaNaparAyaNaH
namo.astu keshavAyeti punaH punarudIrayan
prasIdasva mahAyoginnidamuchchArya sarvadA
hRRitpuNDarIke govindaM pratiShThApya janArdanam
tapassiddhakare.araNye shAlagrAme tapodhanaH
uvAsa chiramekAkI puruShArthavichakShaNaH
svapne.api keshavAdanyanna pashyati mahAtapAH
nidrA pi tasya naivAsItpuruShArthavirodhinI
tapasA brahmacharyeNa shauchena cha visheShataH
janmajanmAntarArUDhasaMskAreNa cha sa dvijaH
prasAdAddevadevasya sarvalokaikasAkShiNaH
avApa paramAM siddhiM vaiShNavIM vItakalmaShaH
siMhavyAghrAstathAnye.api mRRigAH prANivihiMsakAH
virodhaM sahajaM hitvA sametAstasya saMnidhau
nivasanti dvijashreShTha prashAntendriyavRRittayaH
Meaning: (sUta paurANika narrated thus) Having spoken thus, Narada, the sage who perceives Sriman Narayana (devadevaR^iShiH), who is ever engaged in helping others, the unsurpassed ornament to the three worlds, disappeared from that very spot. In turn, Pundarika who is of the form of righteousness, who takes refuge in Narayana, repeatedly uttered phrases such as “salutations to Keshava!” without relent. Firmly establishing Lord Govinda i.e., Janardana in his lotus-heart, Pundarika the brAhmaNa proficient with the puruShArthas, resided all alone in the shAlagrAma forest where all austerities are fulfilled, for a long time. Even in his dreams, he did not perceive anything other than Lord Keshava. Even in the matter of sleep, there was nothing for him that was opposed to the highest puruShArtha. By means of tapas, celibacy, internal and external purifications especially, as well as by all the good inclinations (saMskAra = vAsana) accumulated across many births, and finally by the grace of Sriman Narayana the Lord of all devAs who is the sole witness to the universe, he attained the Highest Goal (of the shAstra; para-vidya) of meditation on Vishnu, viz., bhakti yoga (paramAM siddhiM vaiShNavIM) being cleansed of his sins. Lions, tigers, and all other animals that possess violent nature, now reside together in his hermitage. They have shunned their violent nature and have controlled their senses.
The Mahabharata continues the incident thus:
atha kAlena mahatA tathA pratyakShatAM gataH .
saMstutaH stutibhirvedairdevagandharvakinnaraiH ..
atha tenaiva bhagavAnAtmalokamadhokShajaH .
gataH sampUjitaH sarvaiH sa yoginilayo hariH ..
Meaning: After a long time of dhyAna (by puNDarIka), the Lord who is praised by sages, the Vedas, devas, gandharvas and kinnaras appeared in reality before puNDarIka. Then, the Lord who is worshipped by all and is the refuge of yogins, ascended into His own world i.e. Sri Vaikuntha, taking puNDarIka along.
Note that these shlokas are saying that Pundarika attained sAyujya in Karya Vaikuntha. It is an abode of the Lord in the material world and meant for his greatest devotees, who can continue their sAdhana in his presence and eventually attain moksha proper by his grace. We also have the Narasimha Purana detailing this. We shall split them and discuss them here:
tataH kadAchidbhagavAn puNDarIkasya dhImataH
prAdurAsIjjagannAthaH puNDarIkAyatekShaNaH
sha~NkhachakragadApANiH pItavAsAH sragujjvalaH
shrIvatsavakShAH shrIvAsaH kaustubhena vibhUShitaH
Aruhya garuDaM shrImAna~njanAchalasaMnibhaH
merushRRi~NgamivArUDhaH kAlameghastaDiddyutiH
rAjatenAtapatreNa muktAdAmavilambinA
virAjamAno deveshashchAmaravyajanAdibhiH

Meaning: Sometime after that, Lord possessing six auspicious attributes who was in Pundarika’s mind, known as Janardana, the Lord of the Universe, the one having lotus-like eyes, appeared (before Pundarika). He was possessing the conch, discus, and mace, wearing golden garments, and shining with a garland. He was possessing the shrIvatsa mark, was the residing place of Lakshmi (in His chest), and had the kaustubha-jewel as ornament. He had Garuda as the mount, and was like a dark mountain in appearance. He was like a dark (rain-bearing) cloud atop the meru mountain sporting a streak of lightning. He was resplendent to look, was possessing a silver umbrella laced with a border made of perls, a chAmara-fan (chowrie) and other ornaments.
Note that the shlokas give the upabR^iMhaNa for the Narayana Sukta mantra “nIla-toyada madhyastha vidyullekhaiva bhAsvaraH”.
Note also that the shlokas say the Lord in such a form was meditated upon by Pundarika. Hence, the earlier description of meditation was only saguNopAsana on Sriman Narayana with form. Grammatically, note that “dhImataH” is not to be taken here in the ShaShTI vibhakti, since there is no mention of the object of possession in these shlokas. Hence, “puNDarIkasya dhI+mataH” is the correct anvaya, signifying that the Lord was in Pundarika’s mind before He appeared.

(Note that when we say “saguNopAsaNa”, we only intended to clarify that it is so even for advaitins. We do not accept the nirguNa/saguNa dichotomy of advaita and have only interpreted the shlokas in accordance with Vishishtadvaita).

taM dRRiShTvA devadeveshaM puNDarIkaH kRRitA~njaliH
papAta shirasA bhUmau sAdhvasAvanato dvijaH
pibanniva hRRiShIkeshaM nayanAbhyAM samAkulaH
jagAma mahatIM tRRiptiM puNDarIkastadAnagha
tamevalokayan vIrashchiraprArthitadarshanaH
Meaning: Upon glancing the Lord of all devas, Pundarika joined palms and prostrated on the earth with his head. He was awestruck with fear and respect, and filled his eyes with the nectar of the Lord Hrishikesha. He then reached great satisfaction, having seen the one who he wished to see for a very long time.
Seeing the greatness of the Lord, Pundarika was afraid in the sense of wondering as follows: “ This Being standing before me is the Lord of all, full of auspicious attributes and devoid of blemishes. So far, I had been thinking that by virtue of my austerities, I am eligible to know him. But now I realize that no amount of sAdhana makes one eligible to see him, for his greatness is such that we who are full of sins can never do enough to merit his grace. What a great offense I made by thinking that my upAsaNa makes me deserving of his vision! Because of that ego of mine, I am thus full of sins and he might be displeased with my austerities”.
This was Pundarika’s mood on seeing the Lord.
tatastamAha bhagavAn padmanAbhastrivikramaH
prIto.asmi vatsa bhadraM  te puNDarIka mahAmate
varaM vRRiNIShva dAsyAmi yatte manasi vartate
sUta uvAcha
etachChrutvA tu vachanaM devadevena bhAShitam
idaM vij~nApayAmAsa puNDarIko mahAmatiH
puNDarIka uvAcha
kvAhamatyantadurbuddhiH kva chAtmahitavIkShaNam
yaddhitaM mama devesha tadAj~nApaya mAdhava
Meaning: The Lord Padmanabha who possesses the universe-bearing lotus in his navel, who measured the three realms as Trivikrama, then spoke to the brAhmaNa as follows: “I am pleased Pundarika, my child. May all auspiciousness be to you, who is of great mind. Ask me for a boon; I will give whatever is in your mind.” (Suta narrates further) Hearing these words spoken by the Lord of all devas, Pundarika verbally petitioned as follows: “(You know) how exceedingly poor my intellect is! How is it possible for me to see what is good for myself? Lord of all devas, Lord of Lakshmi (mAdhva) may you yourself command me to do what is good.”
Bhagavan immediately dispels the doubts of Pundarika by saying “I am pleased with what you have done”. The previous shloka highlighted the Lord’s greatness (paratvam) which causes such fears of inadequacy. This shloka highlights his accessibility (sousIlyam) by which he is satisfied with what little sAdhana we do.
Why is the great Lord accessible in such a manner? Because he is the one who has the Universe in his navel -- as he created all, so does he protect all and appear before them irrespective of their differences and competencies. This is further highlighted by his Trivikrama avatAra - when he measured the 3 worlds, his divine foot that rose up is said to have blessed all the beings in the 3 worlds, as they would all be under his foot at that time. And in doing so, he did not discriminate between asura, deva, good, bad etc -- As he raised his feet, everyone regardless of their disposition came under its’ shade and protection.
Thus, Pundarika’s fears were eased. Furthermore, the above realization has rooted out the ego he had earlier regarding his sAdhana. This is because he has realized that everything is granted to him by the Lord’s grace and his sAdhana is trivial.
So now, Pundarika realizes that the true extent of his seshatva (servitude) to the Lord is by existing only to be commanded by the Lord (pAratantrya). He knows that he must not seek anything for himself, but only exists for the pleasure of BhagavAn. Hence, he tells BhagavAn to command him in whatever manner BhagavAn pleases.
evamukto.atha bhagavAn suprItaH punarabravIt
puNDarIkaM mahAbhAgaM kRRitA~njalimupasthitam
AgachCha kushalaM te.astu mayaiva saha suvrata
madrUpadhArI nityAtmA mamaiva pArShado bhava
Meaning: Having been replied thus, the Lord possessing six auspicious attributes was very well pleased. He in turn spoke thus: “May there be all welfare to you! Come with me, one with a good resolve! You shall attain a form similar to mine, become ever-liberated taking up the role of my attendant!”
BhagavAn is pleased that Pundarika has finally understood the sesha-seshi bhAva. As he no longer has ahamkAra regarding his self-efforts and recognizes that he only exists to please bhagavAn, this has made the latter happy.
The attainment of a form similar to the Lord etc is not mukti proper. Pundarika is going to Karya Vaikuntha, which is a replica of Sri Vaikuntha in samsAra. This region is relatively free from misery due to the presence of the Lord and so Pundarika can continue his sAdhana there till he attains moksha.
sUta uvAcha
evamuktavati prItyA shrIdhare bhaktavatsale
devadundubhayo neduH puShpavRRiShTiH papAta cha
devAH sendrAstathA siddhAH sAdhusAdhvityathAbruvan
jagushcha siddhagandharvAH kiMnarAshcha visheShataH
athainaM samupAdAya vAsudevo jagatpatiH
jagAma garuDArUDhaH sarvadevanamaskRRitaH
Meaning: (Suta continues narration) When Lord Sridhara, who is lenient to his bhaktas, spoke pleasingly out of affection, the celestial drums roared and a rain of flowers fell. Along with that, the Devas along with Indra, Siddhas, Gandharvas, Kinnaras uttered together “This is good! This is good!” and sang rejoicing. Thence, Vasudeva the Lord of the universe worshipped by all Devas, departed on his vehicle Garuda, taking  Pundarika along with him.
We have seen all the shlokas we intended to show from the Narasimha Purana. Coming back to the Anushasanika Parva section, Bhishma concludes his narration as follows:
tasmAttvamapi rAjendra tadbhaktastatparAyaNaH .
archayitvA yathAyogaM bhajasva puruShottamam ..
Meaning: “O King of kings (yudhiShThira)! For this reason (i.e., taking Pundarika as example), you too shall become a bhakta of that Supreme Being, taking Him alone as the refuge, shall worship and praise Lord Purushottama according to your capacity.
“tat” here means - That Sriman Narayana mentioned previously, who by virtue of the greatness (paratva) and accessibility (sousIlya) that he exhibited, is determined to be the Supreme Being and alone worthy of worship.
ajaramamaramekaM dhyeyamAdyantashUnyaM
saguNamaguNamAdyaM sthUlamatyantasUkShmam .
nirupamamupameyaM yogivij~nAnagamyaM
tribhuvanagurumIshaM samprapadyasva viShNum ..  
Meaning: (This Lord Purushottama is) without old age, death, unique or matchless with reference to his Supreme Nature which is incomparable, is the one to be meditated upon, devoid of origin and end, possesses all auspicious attributes, devoid of bad qualities, the origin of all, gross and subtlest at the same time (due to his pervasion), incomparable (in terms of possessing all as his vibhUtIs) and is the one to be compared (with all that is great), is known to the knowledge (dharma-bhUta-jnAna) of yogis in meditation, the preceptor to the three worlds, one who controls. He is Vishnu and you, Yudhishthira, shall surrender unto Him.
The first “ekaM” denotes that his supreme nature is incomparable.
Then, “nirupamaM” denotes that as he pervades all (indicated by him being both gross and subtle), he possesses all as his wealth (vibhUtIs) and thus is incomparable in that sense. This is his greatness (paratva).
But though he possesses all greatness exceeding everyone else, he is often compared to objects that are his vibhUtIs - as luminous as the Sun, as beautiful as the Ashwins - for the sake of meditation. This is his accessibility (sousIlya).
We do not have anything more to say on this chapter, as the concluding shlokas we translated above are clear enough.

Having seen how the nArAyaNa sUkta has been explained in the purANAs, we will now see how certain portions of the Vedas which praise the Narasimha rUpa are also explained in the nArada purANa, which is  a sAttvika purANa. This is a section of the purANa that describes the worship of nR^simha for wealth, warding off diseases and other such minor puruShArthAs.
We are not going to reproduce the entire section, but just select shlokAs which unambiguously prove that sriman nArAyaNa is the referent of all names in the Veda.
The section begins as follows:
sanatkumāra uvāca
śṛṇu nārada vakṣyāmi divyānnaraharermanūn /
yānsamārādhya brahmādyāścakruḥ sṛṣṭyādi karma vai // NarP_1,71.1 //
Meaning: Listen Narada, as I speak about the celestial mantras of Narasimha, whose worship was conducted by brahma and others for the purpose of creation.
The following shlokAs describe the names of 32 forms of Narasimha:
kṛṣṇo rudro mahāghoro bhīmo bhīṣaṇa ujjvalaḥṛ / karālo vikarālaśca daityānto madhusūdanaḥ // //raktākṣaḥ piṅgalākṣaścāñjano dīptarucistathā /sughorakaśca suhanurviśvako rākṣasāṃtakaḥ //  //viśālako dhūmrakeśo hayagrīvo ghanasvanaḥ /meghavarṇaḥ kubhaghakarṇaḥ kṛtāntatīvratejasau //  //agnivarṇo mahograśca tato viśvavibhūṣaṇaḥ /vighnakṣamo mahāsenaḥ siṃhā dvātriṃśadīritāḥ // NarP_1,71.8-11 //
Meaning: (The 32 forms of Narasimha are:) Krishna (black-colored), Rudra (destroyer of samsAra dukkha), Mahaghora (the highly terrible), Bhima (the formidable), Bhishana (the fierce), Ujjvala (the effulgent), Karala (the one with gaping mouth), Vikarala (the very dreadful), Daityanta (Slayer of Daityas), Madhusudhana (Slayer of Madhu)…
….Raktaksha (One with blood-red eyes), Pingalaksha (the tawny eyed), Anjana (the Collyrium applied for knowing the truth), Diptaruchi (Effulgent Light), Sughoraka (of agreeable or auspicious terribleness), Suhanu (One with clear knowledge), Visvaka (all-pervading), Rakshasantaka (Slayer of Rakshasas), Visalaka (the large bodied), Dhumrakesa (dark-haired; ever young), Hayagriva (Horse necked), Ghanasvana (One with thunderous sound), Meghavarna (One with the color of a dark cloud), Kumbhakarna (Pot-Eared), Krtanta (One who puts an end to sinful actions), Tivratejas (One whose effulgence is fierce to the asuras)…
Agnivarna (of the color of fire), Mahogra (the highly formidable),  Visvavibhushana (One who has all conceivable ornaments),  Vighnakshama (who endures the obstacles in rescuing the Jiva) and Mahasena (One with a great army of nitya-sūrīs).
Next, the meditation on the Lord is described as below:
galāsaktalasadbāhuspṛṣṭakeśo 'bjacakradhṛk /nakhāgrabhinnadaityeśo jvālāmālāsamanvitaḥ // dīptajihvastrinayano daṃṣṭrograṃ vadanaṃ vahan /nṛsiṃho 'smānsadā pātusthalāṃbugaganopagaḥ // NarP_1,71.34-35 //
Meaning: (Meditate in the heart) Narasimha, whose arms shine closely with the neck, who holds the lotus and discus, who split the daitya (Hiranyakasipu) with the tips of his nails, who is enveloped by garlands of flames,  whose tongue is shining (like red fire), who has 3 eyes, a formidable face due to teeth – May that Narasimha protect us, who is always abiding in the abode belonging to the sun manifest to all, ie, solar abode (pātusthalāṃ), the abode of the waters, ie, the milky ocean (ambu), the Supreme Abode of Sri Vaikunta (gagana).
Some time later, another type of meditation on Narasimha is described for attaining wealth. That is reproduced as under:
dhyānabhedānatho vakṣye sarvasiddhipradāyakān /
śrīkāmaḥ satataṃ dhyāyetpūrvoktaṃ nṛhariṃ sitam // NarP_1,71.50 //
Meaning: I shall explain the different types of meditation for attainment of all siddhis. One who desires prosperity shall meditate on the pure Narasimha as previously described.
vāmāṅkasthitayā lakṣmyāliṅgataṃ padmahastayā /
viṣamṛtyūparogādisarvopadravanāśanam // NarP_1,71.51 //
Meaning: On his right side, he is embraced by Lakshmi, who has a lotus in her hand. Poison, death, other minor ailments are all destroyed by him.
narasiṃhaṃ mahābhīmaṃ kālānala samaprabham /
āntramālādharaṃ raudraṃ kaṇṭhahāreṇa bhūṣitam // NarP_1,71.52 //
Meaning: Narasimha is very formidable to the asuras (mahābhīmaṃ), has the effulgence of the fire of dissolution (kālānala samaprabham). He wears a garland of intestines (āntramālādharaṃ), is terrible in appearance to the wicked (raudraṃ) and is ornamented by a necklace around his neck (kaṇṭhahāreṇa bhūṣitam).
nāgayajñopavītaṃ ca pañcānanasuśobhitam /
candramauliṃ nīlakaṇṭhaṃ prativaktraṃ trinetrakam // NarP_1,71.53 //
Meaning: He has Adi Sesha as his sacred thread (nāgayajñopavītaṃ). He has five faces shining brightly (pañcānanasuśobhitam). His hair is lustrous like the moon (candramauliṃ), his wide-open throat is black like a cave (nīlakaṇṭhaṃ) and he has three eyes on each of his five faces (prativaktraṃ trinetrakam).
bhujaiḥ parighasaṃkāśairddaśabhiścopaśobhitam /
akṣasūtraṃ gadāpadmaṃ śaṅkhaṃ gokṣīrasannibham // NarP_1,71.54 //
dhanuśca muśalaṃ caiva bibhrāṇaṃ cakrasuttamam /
khaḍgaṃ śūlaṃ ca bāṇaṃ ca nṛhariṃ rudrarūpiṇam // NarP_1,71.55 //
Meaning: His arms are shining resembling ten iron maces (with) string of beads, the Kaumodaki mace, the lotus, the conch which resembles a cow’s milk (in whiteness), bow, club, bearing the excellent sudarshana chakra, the Nandaki sword, trident and the arrow. Narasimha has this form that bestows good (rudrarūpiṇam).
Rudrarūpiṇam - Rudam dadaati iti Rudrah – the form that bestows good.
indragopābhanīlābhaṃ candrābhaṃ svarṇasannibham /
pūrvādi cottaraṃ yāvadūddhvārsyaṃ sarvavarṇakam // NarP_1,71.56 //
Meaning: He is of blue color, resembling the insect (in terms of color). His luster is like the moon and he resembles gold (in terms of being desirable like gold). He has every color, beginning from the first part and the end, as well as the folds (of his body).
evaṃ dhyātvā japenmantrī sarvavyādhivimuktaye /
sarvamṛtyuharaṃ divya smaraṇātsarvasiddhidam // NarP_1,71.57 //
Meaning: Meditating in this manner on the divine form that destroys all forms of death and bestows siddhis by rememberance, the one who recites mantras shall perform japa for liberation from all diseases.
These shlokAs thus leave no doubt that all names refer to bhagavAn only. Moving on, in another section of the same topic, a mantra is prescribed for protection, which is given below.
saṃspṛśan dakṣiṇaṃ bāhuṃ śarabhasya manuṃ japet /
praṇavo hṛcchivāryanti mahate śarabhāya ca // NarP_1,71.112 //
vahnipriyānto mantrastu rakṣārthe samudāhṛtaḥ /
athavā rāmamantrānte paraṃ kṣadvitayaṃ paṭhet //
Meaning: Touching the right arm, one shall perform japa of the Sharabha mantra – (do japa thus) – the praNava (om), the self designated as “hrt” (nama), Sivāya, Mahate, Sarabhā. The mantra ends with “svaha”. It is declared to be for protection. Alternatively, after the end of the rAma mantra, repeat “kshaum” twice.
The mantra is “Om namaḥ śivāya mahate śarabhāya svāha”.
The name “Sharabha” occurs in the sahasranAma and means the destroyer of those like hiranyakasipu who violate dharma.
The final few shlokas we quote from this section again eulogize Narasimha as described by names occurring in the Shatarudriyam:
tato dhyāyeddhṛdi vibhuṃ nṛsiṃhaṃ candraśekharam // NarP_1,71.133 //
Meaning: Then, one shall meditate in the heart, on the all-pervading Narasimha, who shines brilliantly at the peak of the Veda, ie, the Upanishads (Candraśekharam).
śrīmannṛkesaritano jagadekabaṃndho śrīnīlakaṇṭha karuṇārṇave sāmarāja /
vahnīndutīvrakaranetra pinākapāṇe śītāṃśuśekhara rameśvara pāhi viṣṇo // NarP_1,71.134 //
Meaning: One who has the beautiful body of half-man, half-lion (śrīmannṛkesaritano)! One who is the sole (true) relative of the Universe (jagadekabaṃndho)! One who has a beautiful wide open black throat (śrīnīlakaṇṭha)! One who is the ocean of compassion (karuṇārṇave)! One who is the King of the Samans as they sing his praises (sāmarāja)! One whose eyes are like fire and moon showing anger and grace, whose hands have sharp nails (vahnīndutīvrakaranetra)! One who wields the abode (the conch Panchajanya) that abounds in bliss as it is always bathed in the nectar of his lips (pinākapāṇe)! He who has cool rays emanating from the gem studded crown (śītāṃśuśekhara)! The Master of Rama (Lakshmi)! O Vishnu, Protect me!
With this, the article is concluded. The key insight to be gained from all this is that it is only Sriman Narayana, who is described everywhere in the Vedas as the Supreme by every conceivable name.


  1. We have our resident Veerashaiva cooking up some new fantasies regarding the name “Narayana”. He says that the name applies to all brahma and rudra as well in this garbage of a post here -

    As we have already shown, the name belongs to the Supreme Being exclusively. It is not a name applied to mind, jIvAtma, indrIyAs or any other such object – unlike names like Rudra, Siva, Brahma, Indra etc which are used to denote such entities. The Being known as Narayana is the Supreme Brahman and he is identified with Vishnu everywhere, which means the God Vishnu is Brahman.

    When Narayana is clearly differentiated from Brahma and Rudra by the statements – “eko ha vai nArAyaNa AsIt, na brahma, nEshAna” and “nArAyaNAt brahma jAyatE, nArAyaNAt rudro jAyatE” – the prattling of Veerashaiva that the name applies to these Gods is laid waste.

    This article on Pundarika maharishi also clarifies this stance of all vaidikas amply well.
    However, let us see what these purANa statements are that he has twisted to suit his fantasy.


    1. I have no words for people who prattle such nonsense. I feel that they do this as they are 'insecure', for whatever reason, about Vishnu as a God, the Devadideva, and all such epithets. In the same Vishnu Purana they quoted, there is a verse where Vishnu is praised as, "rudra roopaya kalpante", which can be taken in different meanings. One is, Vishnu comes in the form of Rudra/Shiva when each Kalpa ends to cause Pralaya, or, Vishnu comes in HIS own Rudra form, at the end of each Kalpa. This is just one such example of misunderstanding of some Shaivas. They take one word, twist it around, and interpret it completely wrong, without understanding the basics. I, who am but a beginner in the language of Sanskrit and a learner of Sanatana Dharma, know much better than they do.

      -A Vaishnava devotee

  2. We are not addressing Veershaiva ramblings, but merely the purANa statements which we believe warrant a proper explanation:

    First he says,

    //The Vishnu Purana has at least two instances where the name is directly referring to (the god) Brahma:
    nārāyaṇākhyo bhagavānbrahmā lokapitāmāhaḥ
    utpannaḥ procyate vidvannityamevopacārataḥ // (1.3.4)//

    He is trying to equate Brahma (and later Rudra) with the name "Narayana" here. Then he can say there is a "sadashiva" above all of them of course. Typical strategy, getting tiring!

    The meaning is simple. Veerashaiva being ignorant of any sort of vedantic philosophy does not even know what is being asked here.

    This section starts off with the question,

    nirguṇasyāprameyasya śuddhasyāpy amalātmanaḥ /
    kathaṃ sargādikartṛtvaṃ brahmaṇo 'bhyupagamyate // ViP_1,3.1 //

    The question is: How can creation of this Universe be attributed to the Supreme Being who is devoid of blemishes, pure, etc.

    The question is that as Brahma is well known to be the creator, and the Universe is full of defects, how can the Supreme Being who is free of blemishes be called the creator?

    To that, the answer is that:

    nārāyaṇākhyo bhagavānbrahmā lokapitāmāhaḥ // (1.3.3)
    utpannaḥ procyate vidvannityamevopacārataḥ // (1.3.4)//

    Meaning: Bhagavan, the Being with 6 auspicious attributes (signifying his supremacy), who is called Narayana, is said to be born as Brahma (ie, having Brahma as his body) who created all….etc etc

    Meaning, he was born as, and created all in the form of Brahma, ie, having Brahma as his body, being the antaryAmin of Brahma. This answers the two-fold question: Not only is the Supreme Being the true creator, but he is ever with 6 auspicious attributes even while having Brahma as his body and creating the Universe, meaning the defects do not accrue to him.

    It is simply the sharIrAtma bhAva that is being used here. Even the Vishnu Purana declares Vishnu is the antaryAmin of brahma in many places. The idea is, Narayana is born as Brahma-Shariraka-Paramatma and Rudra-Shariraka-Paramatma.

    See how Veerashaiva twists “nārāyaṇākhyo bhagavānbrahmā” which means “Bhagavan, called Narayana, who is born (in the form of) Brahma” as “Brahma is also called Narayana”. Blithering idiot!

    Later on the section says "kālasvarūpaṃ viṣṇoś ca yan mayoktaṃ tavānagha" - Time (kAla) is a body of bhagavAn as well. So just as kAla has vishNu as its' antaryAmin, so does Brahma.

    Logic is not Veerashaiva's strong suit.


  3. Cont'd from above...

    Then he pulls Sridhara Swamin, who we have already proven to support only the Vaishnava position ad infinitum into this:

    //Sridhara Swamin comments:’If Brahma is verily Narayana, even by name, narayanakhya, how is it that by the shruti ‘हिरण्यगर्भः समवर्तताग्रे…’ (Hiranyagarbha originated…) his origination is spoken of? Reply: The birth is only figurative as taking a form by mere will is similar to origination – स्वेच्छया आविर्भावस्यापि उत्पत्तिसादृश्यात् – Thus, even the idea that Brahma is a separate entity is denied by the Vishnu Purana and Sridhara Swamin.//

    In advaita, all the devas are saguNa brahman under various upAdhis. Brahma is Narayana under rajo guNa upAdhis. Shiva is Narayana under tamo guNa upAdhis. Vishnu is verily Narayana and hence saguna brahman, as he is under sattva upAdhis. Hence, Brahma is a form assumed by Narayana in this manner.

    Sridhara here is alluding to the fact that Brahma is a manifestation of saguna brahman under upAdhIs here, and he has clearly distinguished brahma and rudra elsewhere in his bhAgavata vyAkhyAna as follows:

    guṇāḥ sattvādayaḥ śānta-ghora-mūḍhāḥ svabhāvataḥ viṣṇu-brahma-śivānāḿ ca guṇa-yantṛ-svarūpiṇām
    nāti-bhedo bhaved bhedo guṇa-dharmair ihāḿśataḥ sattvasya śāntyā no jātu viṣṇor vikṣepa-mūḍhate
    rajas-tamo-guṇābhyāḿ tu bhavetāḿ brahma-rudrayoḥ guṇopamardato bhūyas tad-amśānāḿ ca bhinnatā
    ataḥ samagra-sattvasya viṣṇor mokṣa-karī matiḥ aḿśato bhūti-hetuś ca tathānanda-mayī svataḥ
    aḿśatas tāratamyena brahma-rudrādi-sevinām vibhūtayo bhavanty eva śanair mokṣo’py anaḿśataḥ

    We have shown this a million times, yet Veerashaiva ignores this and twists other parts of the vyAkhyAna. Note the words – svarūpiṇām nāti-bhedo bhaved bhedo guṇa-dharmair ihāḿśataḥ - Senile old fool!

    HBB will explain the Sridhara vyakhyana in more detail later, along with Engal Azhwan's explanation as well, which is bound to be more reflective of the purANa's intent of course..


  4. Cont'd from above...

    If Brahma is verily Narayana, what about the Gita shloka which says all abodes from Satya Loka are fraught with misery, and that Narayana created Brahma? Ignoramus.

    Next he says,

    //In fact Sridhara Swamin has also commented there that Shiva and Brahma are avataras of Vishnu, the Parabrahman. it is well known that an avatara is non-different from the moolarupa.//

    The ignoramus does not realize that there is such a thing as “AvEsha-avatArAs” which are quite different from the mUlarUpa, as they are only certain jIVAs invested with powers of the Lord. Sridhara does not call Shiva or Brahma as equal to Narayana anywhere.

    Atleast he accepts Vishnu is mUlarUpa. That is a saving grace. No fancy theories of “Sadashiva” or “Turiya Shiva” can be drawn from this shlokas, though that is what he is angling at by trying to establish trimUrti aikya.


  5. Cont'd from above...

    Now, he starts mangling the Kurma Purana.

    //The Kurma Purana too says this:
    tadā samabhavadbrahmā sahastrākṣaḥ sahastrapāt ॥ 1,6.2 ॥
    sahastraśīrṣā puruṣo rukmavarṇastvatīndriyaḥ ।
    brahmā nārāyaṇākhyastu suṣvāpa salile tadā ॥ 1,6.3 ॥
    imaṃ codāharantyatra ślokaṃ nārāyaṇaṃ prati//

    He thinks "brahmA" here denotes Chaturmukha. The state of this fool!

    Those shlOkAs are only talking about Narayana as Supreme and not Brahma. Rudimentary for all Vedantins, but then Veerashaiva is just some two-bit Shaiva with no knowledge of philosophy.

    Here is the meaning,

    “(After dissolution), there appeared the great creator called “brahmA” , 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 great creator (brahmA) who is called Narayana, lay asleep on the cosmic waters at that time.”

    The entire section of the purANa is then a stuti to Narayana, who is clearly identified as Vishnu, and is praised as Varaha etc later on. When all names apply to Narayana, what stupidity it is to interpret “brahmA” here as referring to Chaturmukha Brahma! Even the Kurma Purana says that section that this Narayana appeared (in the form) of Brahma much later!

    The sahasranAma refers to nArAyaNa as “brahmA” as follows – “brahma-krt-brahmA” – He who is the “brahmA” or the big one who created the four faced Brahma who in turn creates big things (chaturmukha is called “brahma-krt” as he creates big things).

    The Ramayana also refers to bhagavAn as “brahmA” as follows:

    sarvam salilam eva aasiit pR^ithivii yatra nirmitaa | tataH samabhavad brahmaa svayambhuur daivataiH saha || sa varaahaH tato bhuutvaa projjahaara vasumdharaam |
    asR^ijac ca jagat sarvam saha putraiH kR^ita aatmabhiH || (~ 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 “brahmA” with all the gods came into existence. Thereafter, that Lord called “brahmA”, assuming the form of boar, caused the earth to rise from water and with his sons of pure soul, created the entire world.

    Note that the reference to varAha shows it is vishNu only who is called “brahma”. When names of Shiva, Indra etc denote Hari, what to speak of Brahma? Stupidity.


    1. FINAL ADDENDUM: Needed to add a note on the above. I had quoted the rAmAyaNa shlOkAs in haste out of memory without consulting the vyAkhyAna. Shri Govindaraja takes that "brahmA" in the rAmAyaNa shlOka as referring to "chaturmukhA" as follows -

      sarvam salilam eva aasiit pR^ithivii yatra nirmitaa | tataH samabhavad brahmaa svayambhuur daivataiH saha ||

      All was water only in the beginning" from which element the earth was formed. After that, the self-born Brahma with all the gods came into existence.

      Then, Govindaraja Swamy takes the next verse as pertaining to the indweller of brahmA, who has brahmA as his body.

      sa varaahaH tato bhuutvaa projjahaara vasumdharaam | asR^ijac ca jagat sarvam saha putraiH kR^ita aatmabhiH ||

      Meaning: Thereafter, that Lord who is the antaryAmin of brahmA (sah), assuming the form of Varaha, caused the earth to rise from water and with his sons of pure soul, created the entire world.

      Not an issue of course, it still refers to the Lord only, but as the antaryAmin. The term "sa varAhaH" is interpreted by Govindaraja Swamin as follows - "saH" refers to the Lord nArAyaNa who is the antaryAmin of the aforementioned brahmA, "varAhaH tato bhUtvA" - That nArAyaNa assumed the form of varAha.

      This is a proper explanation since varAha avatAra issued out of brahmA's nose, so natural to refer to him as brahmA's antaryAmin.

      Sri Ranga Ramanuja Muni uses the same logic while interpreting the mantra "IshAnas sarvavidyAnAm...brahmAdhipathi brahmaNAdhipathi brahmA" - the latter part is interpreted as follows, "the Master of the Vedas (brahmAdhipathi), the Master of Brahma (brahmaNAdhipathi), the One who has Brahma as his body (brahmA)" --- note that "brahmA" here is interpreted as brahma-sharIraka-paramAtma.

      So, it is quite plausible to take the kUrma purANa reference of "brahmA nArAyaNAkhyAstu..." as "ChaturmukhAntaryAmin, who is called nArAyaNa". That section is about varAha avatAra as well, hence this relationship between brahmA and the Lord is relevant. The section goes on to praise the Lord as shankha-chakrapAni, mAdhava, vishNu, hari etc thus dispelling any ridiculous notion that nArAyaNa is anyone other than vishNu.

      But since the sahasranAma also refers to the Lord as "brahma-krt-brahmA", the name can be applied to him directly and hence interpreting the kUrma purANa reference in that way is not improper. Either way, it refers to the Lord only.

      Just a minor clarification which changes nothing. Rather, it only reinforces how strongly the shAstras use the sharIrAtma bhAva to refer to the Lord.

  6. Cont'd from above...

    Next, Veerashaiva abuses the Manu Smriti as follows:

    //The Manu smriti 1.11 to 16 too says the name Narayana applies to Brahma:
    tadaṇḍamabhavaddhaimaṃ sahasrāṃśusamaprabham ।tasmiñjajñe svayaṃ brahmā sarvalokapitāmahaḥ ॥ ॥ āpo nārā iti proktā āpo vai narasūnavaḥ । tā yadasyāyanaṃ pūrvaṃ tena nārāyaṇaḥ smṛtaḥ //

    “tasmiñjajñe svayaṃ brahmā sarvalokapitāmahaḥ” – This does not mean Narayana himself is Brahma. It means, he himself was born as the indweller of Brahma. Again, “yasya AtmA sharIraM” – By virtue of SharirAtma bhAva, it is said Narayana himself is born as Brahma, since Brahma is his body.

    It is only sAmAnAdhikaraNyam. We know from other places such as “nArAyaNAt brahma jAyatE” and “eko ha vai nArAyaNa AsIt na brahma…” that brahmA is not Narayana.

    The idea is, just as there are shrutis like "ahaM brahmAsmi" and "dvA supraNa" declaring oneness and difference, there are statements like "nArAyanAt brahmA jAyatE" and "sa brahma". The bridge to these shrutis is the gataka shruti - "yasya Atma sharIraM" - since everything is the body of the Lord, he is the referrent of all names. Thus when it is said he is born as brahmA, it is meant that he is born as the antaryAmin of brahmA, as the name "brahmA" extends to the god's antaryAmin.

    So much for that anti-vaishnava rubbish.


    1. Additionally for this manu smriti vAkya, take a look at how the old fraud has torn the shloka out of context.

      The mamu smriti starts by saying bhagavAn created the worlds and then says he was born as (the indweller of) brahma as follows:

      tadaṇḍamabhavaddhaimaṃ sahasrāṃśusamaprabham ।tasmiñjajñe svayaṃ brahmā sarvalokapitāmahaḥ ॥

      Then, the next shloka describes the name of this creator as follows,

      āpo nārā iti proktā āpo vai narasūnavaḥ । tā yadasyāyanaṃ pūrvaṃ tena nārāyaṇaḥ smṛtaḥ //

      Now the question: Having said previously that this Being became Brahma, Is this Narayana verily identical to Brahma? Or is he different? That is answered in the next shloka:

      yad tad kāraṇam avyaktaṃ nityam sad-asad ātmakam tad viśrśta: lokE brahmā

      Meaning: From that Cause (Narayana), which is imperceptible to the senses (as the inner self), eternal (the reality of all realities), who is constituting the nature of sentients (sat) and insentients (asat) as their inner self,produced that Purusha, who is famed in this world (under the appellation of) Brahma.

      This shloka clarifies that Brahma was created by the Being described as Narayana in the previous shloka.

      Then why did the shloka before that say he was born as Brahma? The answer is given by the references to the Lord being the inner self of all in this shloka. Thus, he is the innerself of Brahma - so when we say "Brahma is born", it means "The Lord who is the innerself of Brahma is born".

      Crafty of Veerashaiva to omit this as usual. He clubbed two shlokas he thought would fool some morons.

      There is no point quoting such shlokas. Even shruti contaibs vAkyas like "brahma nArAyaNa:, shivasca nArAyaNa:"...this isn't identity.

      The only way to prove either Brahma or Rudra are identical to Narayana is to show an instance where they are praised in the manner Vishnu is in Pundarika Rishi's story, and equated with Vishnu. And explain numerous pramANAs dustinguishing them.

      Since pramANAs like "eko ha vai nArAyaNa AsIt na brahma nEshAna"..."nArAyaNAt brahma jAyatE, nArAyaNAt rudro jAyatE", "
      mamAntarAtmA tava ca ye hi nArAyaNo jJeyaH sarvAtmA puruSo hi saH" not reference vishNu as a being separate to nArAyaNa and reference the other two as not existing during pralaya, being born etc., they are unambiguously different from nArAyaNa, who is identified as vishNu in the vishNu gAyatri and all conceivable smritis.

      With this, I will end the discourse for real and allow HBB to respond. Our aim was not to drum sense into Veerashaiva who is a lost cause, but to educate interested readers.

  7. Cont'd from above...

    Now, he tries to torture the poor, ever suffering Harivamsha text:

    //While there are these references, Shankara has cited a verse in the Vishnu Sahasra Nama bhashyam:
    Harivamṣa 3.88. 61, 61, 62 which are addressed by Maheśwara during the Kailāsa yātra episode:
    nāmāni tava govinda yāni loke mahānti ca ।
    tānyeva mama nāmāni nātra kāryā vicāraṇā ॥
    [O Govinda, your esteemed names alone are mine as well; no doubt need to be had in this regard] There Veda Vyasa, through Shiva, conveys that all the names of Viṣṇu, including the name ‘Nārāyaṇa’ are that of Śiva. Thus the thousand names of Viṣṇu are also those of Śiva since there is no difference in name and sense between the pair Hari and Hara.
    tvadupāsa jagannātha sevāstu mama gopate ॥
    yaśca tvāṃ dveṣṭi deveśa sa māṃ dveṣṭi na saṃśayaḥ ।
    [The worship/meditation of You, O Gopati, let that be meditation on me too. He who hates you O Deva, hates me too, undoubtedly.]
    Thus, those who worship Narayana are worshiping Rudra too by default, whether they like it or not, and vice versa. The names of Narayana are that of Shiva too, says Veda Vyasa which Shankara cites. Thus for Shankara, the name Narayana is not exclusively that of Vishnu.//

    Firstly, “Narayana” cannot be the name belonging to other names like “Siva” etc, but only the vice-versa is possible.

    Funny, Shiva here spends a long time in this section hailing Krishna as Parabrahman, who is worshipped by Shiva himself, and even says Brahma and himself (Shiva) were born from Krishna, that Krishna’s tapas to Shiva was mere leela, that he is subordinate to Krishna, etc….and Veerashaiva of course turns a blind eye to all this to twist one shloka out of context.

    Explanation below.


  8. Note what that shloka says. It only says all names apply to both, not that they are identical. This is because Shiva begins this section by first saying the following,

    ahaM tvaM sarvago deva tvamevAham janArdana |

    “sarvatragO” explains why Shiva is saying this. It is a reference to all-pervasiveness. This all-pervasiveness is because everything is his body, and just as an Atma pervades a body, and all names of the body refer to the Atman, Bhagavan has pervaded Shiva and thus names of Shiva refer to Hari. Names of Hari refer to Shiva on this account as well, because when the Atman is being referred to, it includes the body as well.

    So, explaining the whole shloka:

    āvayorantaraṃ nāsti śabdairarthairjagatpate ।
    nāmāni tava govinda yāni loke mahānti ca ॥
    tānyeva mama nāmāni nātra kāryā vicāraṇā ।
    tvadupāsa jagannātha sevāstu mama gopate ॥
    yaśca tvāṃ dveṣṭi deveśa sa māṃ dveṣṭi na saṃśayaḥ ।
    na tadasti vinā deva yatte virahitaṃ kvacit ॥
    yadāsīdyacca varteta yacca bhāvi jagatpate ।
    sarvaṃ tvaṃ deva deveśa vinā kiñcitvayā na hi ॥

    Meaning: O Lord who possesses the Universe as his body! there is no difference between us in terms of words and their meanings (which extend to the antaryAmin by virtue of body-soul relationship). (On account of this), Whatever names are applicable to you are applicable to me too. Whoever worships you worships me too. Whoever hates you, he hates me too. There is nothing whatsoever that is without you. Whatever was, Whatever is, Whatever will be, is due to you. You are everything; there is nothing without you, O Lord of the Gods.

    By the term “AvayorantaraM nasti”, note that Shiva says there is no difference between them *in terms of words and meanings*. So, he is not saying there is no difference at all or implying identity here, but is proving sharIrAtma bhAva. Since Shiva is the body and the Lord is the innerself (yasya Atma sharIraM), both body and soul are denoted by the same name, just as “Jack” denotes both Jack’s body and Jack’s self.

    So, when one says “Shiva”, it can refer to the deva, and also to his antaryAmin, nArAyaNa. Similarly, when one says “nArAyaNa”, it can refer to the Lord and also Rudra-sharIraka-paramAtma, of whom Rudra is his body and hence an inseparable attribute. This explains how the Lord can do a penance by praising Shiva (the praise goes to his antaryAmin only) and how the shAstras (such as the shiva stuti in the bhAgavataM) refer to Shiva with attributes of supremacy (again, only refers to his antaryAmin).


  9. Cont'd from above...

    Note that Shiva clearly says in the end “sarvaṃ tvaṃ deva deveśa vinā kiñcitvayā na hi” – You are everything, and nothing exists – This has two implications:

    1 )Firstly, by saying “sarvam tvam”, Shiva clarifies that just as everything is him, so is Shiva (aham tvam) and this is because of all-pervasiveness (sarvatrago). That is, the Lord who is sarvAntaryAmin (sarvaM) and rudrAntaryAmin (ahaM) is Krishna only (tvaM).

    2) Without him, there is nothing – Just as a body cannot exist without the Atma, neither can “Sarvam” (everything) or Shiva.

    Even in the Gita, Arjuna says in the 11th chapter, “as you pervade everything, you are everything!”.

    By addressing the Lord as “Jagatpati”, Shiva clarifies that there is no identity, but the above oneness due to sharIrAtma bhAva. “pati” means possessing the Jagat (as his body/inseparable attribute).

    He is everything, meaning, he is the innerself of everything which is his body. Without him, there is nothing, meaning, just as a body cannot exist without the self, nothing can exist without being his body.

    //Since the above verse says ‘Your upasana is mine’, the specific suktas, hymns, verses in the epics and puranas referring to the name Narayana are all by default applicable to Shiva too.//

    Whoever worships Krishna, worships Shiva, meaning, they worship that Antaryamin of Shiva who has Shiva as his body, and who is identical to Krishna. Whoever worships Shiva, whether knowing the Antaryamin or not, that worship goes to Shiva’s antaryamin which is the same as Krishna. That is the meaning of “whoever worships you, worships me, whoever hates you, hates me etc”. All names extend right down to the antaryAmin due to sharIrAtma bhAva.

    //This is because, the name itself is etymologically derived and shown to be referring to the jagatkaaranam and not to a finite person. //

    More blather. The name “Narayana” refers to the Supreme Purusha exclusively in the Shastra no matter what etymology is used - "he who reclines in the waters", "he who is the resort of all", "he for whom all are his resort", "he who is the means for all". And though other words like Brahman, Rudra, Shiva, Indra, Brahma, Prajapati, etc with etymological applications are applied to objects like mind, jIva, devas, etc – the term Narayana, with all its etymological implications only refers to the Supreme Purusha everywhere --- even terms like Brahman, Atma, Parabrahman etc refer to other entities than the Supreme Being, but the term "Narayana" is unambiguously ONLY used for the Supreme.

    And this Narayana is identified with Vishnu in the Vishnu Gayatri, making Vishnu the Supreme Being, or rather, the avatAra of Narayana among the devas. All the etymological implications of "Narayana" indicate attributes only, so no hiding behind the apron-strings of a weak philosophy like advaita and hand-waving it off as nirguNa brahman --- not that any advaitin ever considered nirguNa brahman as having a name anyway.


    1. ADD 2: To make Shiva's words even clearer,

      "Whatever names are applicable to you are applicable to me too. Whoever worships you worships me too. Whoever hates you, he hates me too."

      Here "you" denotes Krishna and "me" denotes Shiva's antaryAmin by sharIrAtma bhAva. Names of Krishna are names of Shiva's antaryAmin. Worship of Krishna is thus worship of Shiva's antaryAmin. Those who hate Krishna in favor of other gods like Shiva, hate Shiva's antaryamin as well, who is the same Krishna and the true recipient of worship.

      This statement is that of a jnAni recognizing that the Lord standing before him, is the same as his antaryAmin (neha nAnAsti kinchana). One who does not know this, thinks Shiva is independent, worships Shiva as supreme and hence is deluded.

      As per the words of Brahma - "mamAntarAtmA tava ca ye hi nArAyaNo jJeyaH sarvAtmA puruSo hi saH" - these two gods, brahma and rudra, are not independent and have Narayana as their antaryAmin.

    2. ADD 3: Just clarifying further,

      One can look at Vishnu and say, "You (Hari) are Rudra, Shiva etc" on account of the names "Rudra, Shiva etc" denoting Shiva's antaryAmin in their ultimate connotation. One can also look at Shiva and say "You (Shiva) are Hari, Achyuta, etc" on account of "You" denoting Shiva's antaryAmin in its' ultimate connotation. Thus, names of Shiva refer to Hari and vice-versa.

      Thought I should make it absolutely clear since this is the heart and soul of the Vedic philosophy, which some neanderthals cannot understand and try to misinterpret.

  10. Cont'd from above..

    This is the basic of Vedanta and yet Veerashaiva can’t comprehend it. Show us a single place where Narayana denotes an entity other than Brahman. We can show you hundreds of places where “Sadashiva” or “Rudra” denotes entities other than Parvati Pati.

    //Sayanacharya has in the commentary to the Narayana suktam said clearly that: narayana is not a murtivishesha and gone on to cited the Brahmasutra to show that it refers to nirguna chaitanyam.//

    Haha…It is true that advaitins believe prior to creation, Saguna Brahman has no form. But having no form does not mean having no attributes – it merely means that saguna brahman with all attributes existed without a form prior to creation and assumed a form afterwards.

    Nirguna Brahman has no form and no attributes – saguna brahman can have attributes while existing without a form as well. The fool cannot even comprehend this aspect of advaita!

    This is a point of debate between us and advaitins – our acharyas prove that Narayana existed with form prior to creation as well. In that debate between advaitins and vishishtadvaitins, as recorded in the works of acharyas, it is made clear that the discussion is whether saguna brahman has a form or not prior to creation.

    //Brahmananda, in the commentary to the Advaita siddhi, says that in the vedic passage ‘eko narayana AsIt…’, the reference is to ‘maayaavacchinna-chinmatra vastu’ which is avyakta svarupam, not referring to any formed entity for that is impossible in that pralaya state.//

    Quite true. Bodies are not assumed prior to shrishti according to advaita. But that is accepted as saguna brahman, the jagat-karaNa, vishNu only as existing without a form.

    //A scholar has pointed out: Since Parvati is called ‘Narayani’ (being the sister of Narayana), her consort too gets the name ‘Narayana’.//

    Who is this “scholar”? Or maybe it is your brain inventing a split personality. Parvati has that name because she is associated with Narayana due to her services to him, not because Shiva is called “Narayana”.

    //There is a paper titled ‘शिवपरनारायणशब्द्णत्वसाधनम्’ written in 1925 by a scholar from Andhra which was located and published by Vidwan Sripada Subrahmanyam, of Hyedrabad and shared with me.//

    Yes, this sort of nonsense and poor scholarship is only propagated by modern era Vishnu dveshis.

    //On the basis of ‘यच्च किञ्चित् जगत् सर्वं व्याप्य नारायणः स्थितः’ , the pervading, vyaapti, in Advaita is being non-different from the vyaapya, every single object, animate and inanimate is Narayana and also gets that name.//

    Even in Vishishtadvaita, on account of vyApti being non-different to vyApya in terms of svarUpa (due to sharIrAtma bhAva and sarvAntaryAmitva), every single object, animate and inanimate, is Narayana and gets that name.

    So what's your point?

    //Hence, there are innumerable instances to prove that the name ‘narayana’ is not exclusive and limited to Vishnu.//

    On the contrary. Narayana only refers to Vishnu, and he in turn is the ultimate referrant of all names, thus he is everything.

    Garbage dumped. That’s a chore complete. No more dealings with this fool now, I’ll let HBB add a bit on Sridhara when he is able.


  11. Addendum:

    Regarding the first Vishnu Purana verse, it is as follows:

    tan nibodha yathā sarge bhagavān saṃpravartate /
    nārāyaṇākhyo bhagavān brahmā lokapitāmahaḥ // ViP_1,3.3 //
    utpannaḥ procyate vidvan nitya evopacārataḥ // ViP_1,3.4 //

    Apologies, I misread it earlier. I took the latter half of 1.3.3 and the first part of 1.3.4 without considering the full 1.3.3 shloka. The correct meaning is as follows,

    "Hear then how the Lord with six auspicious attributes (bhagavAn), called Narayana, who is (the innerself of) Brahma, the Loka Pitamaha, created all. Brahma is said to be born etc...."

    I believe this is the meaning. Either way, despite my oversight, the essential idea that Brahma is the sharIra of Narayana and hence the latter is his antaryAmin, with the reference being sAmAnAdhikaraNyam, remains intact. 

    HBB will explain this shloka with both Sridhara's and Engal Azhwan's vyAkhyAna later.

  12. Incidentally, for this,

    //There is a paper titled ‘शिवपरनारायणशब्द्णत्वसाधनम्’ written in 1925 by a scholar from Andhra which was located and published by Vidwan Sripada Subrahmanyam, of Hyedrabad and shared with me.//

    A proper vaidika rebuttal to this nonsense and similar idiotic works by shaivas in the 1900s exists and is known as "nArAyanasabdaniruktih". This work addresses most of the shaiva "arguments" (I use the term loosely) and disposes of them.

    Both are in our possession, but we did not reference either of them because the Shaiva works are full of improper understanding of vedic context and very amateurish, while we did not feel that the vedAntic/vaishnava rebuttal was anything extraordinary for us to quote -- fairly run of the mill.

    Trust Veerashaiva, the old dinosaur to dig up immature works of modern day vidwAns.

  13. Adding to Sri Aaryamaa's recent comments:

    First of all, let us look at the claim --

    //In fact Sridhara Swamin has also commented there that Shiva and Brahma are avataras of Vishnu, the Parabrahman. it is well known that an avatara is non-different from the moolarupa.//

    In fact, Sridhara says (Vishnu Purana, 1.2.57-60) that the mUla rUpa is Vishnu only, and that Vishnu, Brahma, Shiva are "guNAvatAras" and confirms the Vishnu Purana statement that their respective guNas are sAttvika, rAjasa and tAmasa. In Advaita, Ishvara is shuddha-sattvopAdhi-vishiShTa only. This is confirmed by Shankara in Chandogya Upanishad Bhashya ("saṃkalpāḥ kāmāśca śuddhasattvopādhinimittā īśvarasya citraguvat") and Bhagavad Gita Bhashya ("sarva-yogaiśvarya-sarva-jñāna-śaktimat-sattvopādher īśvarasya").

    Here is the evidence from Sridhara Swamin's Vishnu Purana Bhashya: (1.2.58) "tadevaM brahmANDaM sR^iShTvA tasmin lIlayA praviShTasya parameshvarasya guNAvatArairavAntarasR^iShTyAdilIlAmAha | juShanniti yAvadadhyAyasamAptiH |" Meaning, "Parashara states that the Supreme Lord (sriman nArAyaNa) takes the guNAvatAras (brahmA, viShNu, and shiva) to perform the intermediate creation, sustenance and dissolution as sportive activities, having created the cosmic-egg".

    We say that by "parameshvara" Sridhara means Sriman Narayana with form only, due to the following statement to the Vishnu Purana Shloka that says He reclines on the Adi Sesha after dissolution of Brahma and others:

    "sa bhakShayitvA bhUtAni jagatyekArNavIkR^ite |
    nAgaparya~Nkashayane shete ca parameshvaraH ||"

    [The Supreme Lord, having devoured all the beings, and having dissolved the entire universe into an ocean, reclines on the serpent (Adi Sesha)]

    Sridhara's commentary: "parameshvaraH shete brahmAdyavatAramUlasvarUpeNa" [The Lord reclines, with the essence of the form that is the origin of the (guNa) avatAras such as brahmA] Who else other than Sriman Narayana can be described as reclining on nAga parya~Nka!!?


    1. (..contd from above)

      Having seen this, let us look at the main verse in question:

      "nArAyaNAkhyo bhagavAn brahmA lokapitAmahaH |
      utpannaH procyate vidvan nitya evopacArataH ||"

      We first give Sri Engalazhwan's commentary here.

      "nArAyaNAkhyaH sR^iShTau nArAyaNo lokapitAmaho brahmA brahmarUpeNa | utpanna iti | utpanna ityupacAreNocyate | sa tu nitya eva | atra nArAyaNatvaM hetuH | svecChayaiva brahmA pratikalpamutpanna ityupacArata ucyate | dviparArdhakAlasthAyitvena nityatvAttasya svecChAgR^ihItasharIrasyApi kadAcitkatvasAmyAdutpannatvopacAraH |"

      Meaning: "The one called Narayana in creation is born as brahmA the grandsire of the universe i.e., with the form of brahmA. It is said that he is born, just as a figure of speech. He (nArAyaNa) in fact is eternal only. This is because of His nature as Narayana. Hence as a figure of speech it is said that brahmA is born in every kalpa (day of brahmA) out of his own volition. In other words, brahmA is said to be eternal since he exists for two parArdhas. Even though he comes into being in every kalpa with a body out of his own volition, he is said to be born as it resembles something that comes into being every now and then."

      Note that Engalazhwan is only saying that brahma, who lives for 36000 kalpas, appears in the beginning of every kalpa out of his own volition from a kalpa-to-kalpa basis, just like a man wakes up every day out of his own volition.

      Sridhara: "nanu nArAyaNAkhya eva ced brahmA, kathaM tarhi 'hiraNyagarbhaH samavartatAgre' ityAdi shrutibhistasyotpattirucyate | tatrAha utpanna iti | upacArataH svecchayAvirbhAvasyApyutpattisAdR^ishyAt ||"

      Meaning of the above ["If Narayana Himself is bhagavAn, how is it that his birth is described in the shruti as 'hiraNyagarbhaH samavartatAgre'? The answer is, it is called 'birth' even though it is His voluntary appearance in a certain form, since it looks like an actual birth"]

      With this, we should also compare Shankara's statement in Brahma Sutra Bhashya (1.3.30) that Hiranyagarbha/caturmukha's appearance in every kalpa is subject to the mercy of the Supreme Lord. Thus, the trimUrti-aikyatva vAda of Vishnu-dveShis has been crushed into pulp by none other than Sri Sankara Himself.

      Hence, Sridhara's interpretation, though different from that of Engalazhwan does not in any way support trimUrti aikyatva.

      We have already seen the Veerasasiva copping out of our early Sridhara articles when he said

      // What might appear to be contrary to this in his commentaries are to be seen as contextual and not his personal view //

      Now that we have published this article in this page, he has gone mad and is approaching pramANas with a "bull in a china shop" strategy.


    2. Addendum: In Sridhara's commentary, by examining his approach and context, it is quite clear that he says Narayana's appearance as brahmA is voluntary. This is different to saying that brahmA himself appears voluntarily.

    3. HBB's comments should resolve everything. Note that Engalazhwan uses the term "brahmarUpEna" - to denote sharIrAtma bhAva and not identity.

      It is impossible to speak of Narayana as divorced from the god Vishnu. Every inch of the shAstras describes Vishnu only whenever the name "Narayana" is referenced. Even in the tAmasa purANAs, the lingodbhava story references vishNu alone as "Narayana" and even calls him "Maheshwara"!

      That explains why our braindead Veerashaiva had to scrounge for scraps and highlight a sloka from kUrma purANA while ignoring the fact that the section actually describes varAha avatAra! At this point, surely he is not as stupid as to actually believe the garbage he writes. He tries to research some obscure poorly written shaivaite work on the 1900s, but ignores something that's staring at him in the face - the entire praise of varAha in the kUrma purANa after describing the Lord as "brahmA nArAyaNAkhyAstu"! Truly this has to be deliberate ignorance or he has senile dementia!

      Even here, were identity with Brahma intended, the most one can say that "Vishnu=Brahma" and not "Narayana who is not Vishnu in this context = Brahma". For the Vishnu Gayatri and every possible smriti only describes Narayana with the characteristics of Vishnu.

      Lastly, it is not possible to establish even identity. Because shruti vAkyAs like "eko ha vai nArAyaNa AsIt na brahma nEshAna" are clear. It is not possible to explain this as "brahma and rudra are manifestations/avataras and this describes them not being there because:

      1) The purpose of this shruti is to identify the Cause and distinguish it from the Effects. As such, brahma and Ishana are effects different from the Cause (Narayana). Therefore, it is not possible to conosder thos as a statement of avatara leela like "ajAyamAno bahudha vijAyatE".

      2) Brahma and Ishana are mentioned with sun, moon, stars etc as being absent. Just as sun, moon, stars are not avataras and not existent prior to shrishti, so are they both jIvAs not existent and not "avataras/manifestations".

      3) If Narayana were different from Vishnu, it would be "na hari" as well in this vAkya along with "na brahma nEshAna". But that is not seen, proving that Vishnu is verily Narayana.

      There is not a single line in shruti or smriti that describes Narayana as anything other than Lord Vishnu. With that, we conclude the exercise and move on. It is well established that Veerashaiva lacks knowledge of anything and is a troll making himself a mildly annoying nuisance on hindu internet.

  14. Sri Aaryamaa and Sri HBB, thanks for your enlightening articles.

    I have a question. All 3 vedAntic schools consider jIva as unborn. How then can we say that jIvas like brahmA and Shiva did not exist before creation? Please enlighten.

    1. This is really basic. Jiva does not have an origin (BG 2.12). However, its birth is due to karma.

      Brahma and Siva are positions attained by various jiivatmans in various cycles of mahApralaya. These nAma rUpa differentiations do not exist in pralaya, and the jIvAtmas go to other forms in the new cycle after that while other jIvas will take the position of brahmA, Siva, Indra etc.

  15. While waiting for HBB’s input on the Vishnu Purana verses, let us enjoy some “Appayya-Kapola-Kalpita”. I was reading Appayya Dikshita’s Ananda Lahari, where he tries to prove that Shiva is the highest Brahman, and Narayana is the “chit-shakti” of Shiva.

    Reading this garbage that masquerades as a Vedantic work, one can safely say that Appayya was indeed the guiding light for all Veerashaivas. Anyway, here are a few choice cuts that highlight his absurd arguments:

    Appayya: “There are many statements of authority which state that Narayana is a Jiva. The Shiva Purana says that “Shiva”, “Maheshvara”, “Rudra”, “Vishnu” and “Pitamaha” are five Jivas holding different positions.

    Reply: Besides the obvious fact that the Shiva Purana is a tAmasa purANa, there is actually no direct statement to the effect that Vishnu is a Jiva. While the Shaiva puranas degrade the Lord in many ways, calling him a Shiva-Bhakta, a dependent on Shiva, incapable of knowing Shiva, etc, they do not explicitly declare him a Jiva. They merely say he is subordinate to Shiva, and even Appayya can’t find a direct statement that Vishnu is a Jiva, unlike the sAttvika shAstras which declare in many places that Shiva has Vishnu as his antaryAmin.


  16. Cont'd from above...

    Appayya: There are statements like “Purusho ha vai Narayana Akamayath” (Shatapatha), which declare that the position of Vishnu can be attained by a Jiva. Shrutis like “vaishnavam vAmanamAlabEtha spardhamAno vishNoreva bhutvEmAn lokAn abhijayathi” state that the position of Vishnu can be obtained by performance of certain karmas. It is described in Mahabharata, Harivamsha and Skanda Purana how Vishnu got himself well-established in his position by performing penances to Shiva.

    Reply: This is a hilarious misinterpretation of shruti. We have explained in our articles that the Purushamedha Yaga was performed by Brahma. “Purusho ha vai Narayana” refers to Brahma (shrshti-rupa purusha), who has Narayana as his antaryAmin. One can read the meaning for this shatapatha incident on our blog in one of our articles where we explained it.

    For the second pramANa, Appayya plays havoc with the statement “vishNoreva bhutvE” – the term does not mean one attains the position of Vishnu. It means, one attains the nature of Vishnu – the nature of the liberated self is similar to the nature of Vishnu in terms of being characterized by the 8 qualities of apahatapApma etc – and thus is said to become Vishnu. This is as per the pramANAs like “paramam sAmyam upaiti”, “brahmavid brahmaiva bhavati”, “tad vishNoh paramam padam” (the highest nature of Vishnu), etc. Note that the statement “vishNoreva bhutvE” is followed by “imAn lokAn abhijayathi” – it signifies the state of Moksha where the liberated Jiva has free movement in all worlds.

    The Narayana Upanishad says, “shuddho deva eko nArAyaNaH na dvitIyo.asti kashchit ya evaM veda sa viShNureva bhavati sa viShNureva bhavati” – here too, it says one who knows Narayana as one without a second, the pure, etc., becomes Vishnu. It is impossible to interpret this as attaining the position of Vishnu, for the Being propitiated here is Narayana, and it is merely saying knowledge of Narayana provides this result – thus, it means one becomes liberated and attains the nature similar to Vishnu.

    Compare this to clear statements in the Mahabharata where it says each deva (Brahma and Rudra) attained their respective positions:

    yuga-kOTi-sahasrANi vishNum-ArAdhya padma-bhU: | punas-trailOkya-dhAtRtvam prAptavAn-iti SuSRuma || ~ mahAbhArata, kuNTataropAkhyAnam

    Meaning: Worshipping VishNu for one thousand million yuga-s, the lotus born catur-mukha-brahmA attained the ability to create the three Worlds.

    MahAdEva: sarvamEdhE MahAthmA huthvaa-aathmAnam dEva dEvO BhabhUva visvAn lOkAn vyApya vishtabhya keerthyA virAjathE dhyuthimAn KrutthivAsa: ~ mahAbhArata: 20.12

    Meaning: Mahadeva performed the sarvamEdha YAga , where He offered himself as Havis and became the greatest among DevAs. He shines brilliantly in all the worlds, pervading by his knowledge , took on eight kinds of radiant forms (Ashta Moorthy) and became renowned and splendorous (keerthimAn , DhyutimAn virAjathE).

    As for Appayya’s final statement, we all know why Hari worshipped Shiva for obtaining progeny, and that has been explained by bhagavAn himself as a propitiation of Shiva’s antaryAmin, and Shiva himself explains that Hari alone is to be worshipped in the Harivamsha. Quite unnecessary for Appayya to butt in with ridiculous theories when both Hari and Hara have clarified that incident as establishing only Hari sarvottama.

    How can Appayya call himself a Vedantin with such poor knowledge of Shruti, unless he is deliberately misinterpreting Shruti...


  17. Cont'd from above...

    Appayya: No doubt Vishnu is described as the Supreme Being in works like Bhagavad Gita and Vishnu Purana. This is only due to the special manifestation of Parabrahman in him unlike other Jivas. Similarly, the Shaiva puranas extol Rudra as Brahman, but Rudra is also a Jiva (Appayya distinguishes “SamhAra rudra” with a “shiva” who is beyond the trimUrthi”.

    Reply: Nowhere has Appayya proven Vishnu is a Jiva to make such speculations. Secondly, neither has it been proven that Rudra is “samhAra rudra” and there is another “Shiva” above him. The Narayana Upanishad says “nArAyaNAt rudrO jAyatE” and adds “shivasca nArAyaNa:”, thus showing rudra and shiva are the same person.

    Appayya: In the Bhagavad Gita, Shloka 18.61 (Ishvara sarvabhUtAnAm) where Shri Krishna says, “Ishvara resides in the hearts of all” – refers to Shiva as “Ishvara”. Anugita says Krishna was in Yoga with Shiva to discourse the Bhagavad Gita. In the context of explaining the dharmas of his bhaktas to Yudhishthira, Krishna says “madbhakta: sakala tirthaM shankarasya viSheshataH”

    Reply: So Appayya was the originator of this Anugita nonsense. We have interpreted the Anugita properly on this blog. As for the Gita shloka, how foolish to assume that a common noun like “Ishvara” refers to Shiva! Shri Krishna declared in Gita 15.15 “sarvasya cAham hrdi” and thus, “ishvara sarvabhUtAnAm” in 18.61 refers to him alone here. He even follows it up with "mAm namaskuru" and "mAm ekam sharanam vraja" in the later shlokas. Due to difference in avatAra-rUpAs, referring to himself in the third person is his sport. And the anugIta does not say he was in yoga with any lesser devata to argue otherwise.

    Regarding the shloka “madbhakta: etc” – it is not found in the ithihAsAs to our knowledge. This could be from a tAmasa purANa, in which case it is not worth notice. If anyone finds this shloka in the Mahabharata, they can bring it to our attention and we will address it.

    Now, Appayya tries to show that the reason Narayana is declared Parabrahman is because there ias a “paranArAyaNa” and an “aparanArAyaNa” with the latter being Vishnu!

    Appayya: According to “nArAyaNa paraM brahma tattvam nArAyaNa para:” - Shiva is above Narayana and Narayana who is identical with all tattvas beginning with shivatattva and ending with bhUmi is “para:”. So, if “nArAyaNa” is “para”, then there must be someone who is “aparanArAyaNa” and that is Vishnu who is the jagatpAlaka. The varAha purANa states that Vishnu is of two types, para and apara. That “paranArAyaNa” is an amsha of Shakti.

    Reply: What a mess. Firstly, “nArAyaNa paraM brahma” does not mean there is someone above nArAyaNa. As Sri Ranga Ramanuja Muni explains, in the first pada “narayanaparam” is not one word. Narayana is in the nominative case and hence cannot be taken as “nArAyaNAt paraM brahma”. In addition, the mahOpanishad has a clearer reading – it says “nArAyaNa: paraM brahma”. Thus, it only means “nArAyaNa is parabrahman”.

    To the claim that there must be an “aparanArAyaNa” just because “para” is mentioned, it is not so. For Narayana is called Highest Brahman, Highest Tattva and Highest Light. That simply means there are lower Brahmans, lower tattvas and lower lights. The Jiva and Prakrti are called “Brahman” in various places. There are several tattvas of sAnkhya, with the Jiva as the 25th tattva and Ishvara as the 26th. There are many lights like sun, fire etc. All these are lower and Narayana is higher. It does not mean there are two Narayanas.

    Thirdly, the Varaha Purana context needs to be studied. The para and apara forms of Vishnu can be variously interpreted as Jiva (para) and prakrti (apara) which are his body, or the meditation of the form of direct perception (para) and the Vedas (apara). No need to take it as two Vishnus here as well.

    Zero pramANAs to bring in shaiva or shakta theories here. Appayya has a mediocre knowledge of shAstra and logic.


  18. Cont'd from above...

    Appayya: “samhAra rudra” and his amshas are different from “paramashiva” and this is proven by parAshara purANa which says that the inferiority (apakarSha) ascribed to Rudra in the VaishnavAdi purANas only pertains to the vibhUti of Hara (taken as “Paramashiva” here).

    Reply: There is again, zero pramANAs in shruti or smriti to differentiate a “Rudra” and a “Paramashiva”. The Parashara Purana is a tAmasa upapurANa (upapurANAs are also divided into three types – sAttvika, rAjasIka, tAmasIka) and hence cannot be considered a valid pramANa. It is even contradicted by shruti and smriti which assigns both "shiva" and "rudra" nAmAs to pArvati pati as one being only everywhere.

    Furthermore, Appayya is a concoctor of new works like the Srikantha Bhashya and even quoted interpolated sections like those in the Drona Parva (Which were verified as interpolations independently by other scholars during his period itself) – hence, wouldn’t put it past him to make up verses.

    In any case, it is not possible to make up this “Shiva” and “SamhAra Rudra” dichotomy based on the fact that shruti at one place says “anapahatapApma” with reference to Rudra, declares he is a creation (eko ha vai nArAyaNa AsIt…nEshAna) and then says “eko hi rudro…” and “siva eva kevala:” in other places. For there is no need to assume two entities, when Narayana himself is denoted by such terms (shAsvatam shivaM achyutaM). Even the Mahabharata calls Narayana as Shambhu:

    iti nārāyaṇaḥ śambhuḥ bhagavān jagatām prabhuḥ
    ādiśya vibudhān sarvān ajāyata yodoh kule ( ~ anuśasana parva 149।10)

    In the light of pramANAs hailing Narayana by such names, there is no need to concoct two Rudras, two Vishnus, etc.

    Let us assume, for a second, that there is a “Parama Shiva” who is the Supreme Being, who has 3 eyes, blue throat and is the consort of Uma (I suppose this is a “Parama Uma” as well!). Then, what is the relationship between this Parama Shiva, and the SamhAra Rudra, part of the trimurti, the destroyer, who is described in shAstra as the consort of Uma, having 3 eyes and a blue throat as well?

    1) Is this Parama Shiva absolutely identical to Samhara Rudra?
    2) Is this Parama Shiva both identical and non-identical to Samhara Rudra?
    3) Is this Parama Shiva different from Samhara Rudra?

    It cannot be 1). For if so, then the “anapahatapApmatva” and the mahOpanishad vAkya “na brahma, nEshAna” would apply to Parama Shiva, thus ascribing doshas to Brahman. And you would be faced with the same problem you tried to avoid by inventing a “Parama Shiva”.

    It cannot be 2). For if one says the relationship is inconceivable, that is escapism. It can only be 3). And that is the view adopted by our opponents. But then, it again opens a whole new can of worms.


  19. Cont'd from above...

    Because though this Samhara Rudra is different from Parama Shiva according to Appayya and Veerashaivas of his ilk, he is understood to be the most proximate to Parama Shiva in qualities, and resides wherever Parama Shiva is, and is even more proximate than Brahma and Vishnu.

    So, by saying a created entity with doshas of karmas has attributes similar to or close to Brahman, the shrutis claiming Brahman has no equal are undermined. Thus, if you say that Parama Shiva is “Dakshinamurthy”, “Umapati”, “Nilakantha” and Samhara Rudra is also called all this, it implies an equality or likeness between a supreme being and a created entity. This is not possible (na tasya pratimA asti).

    Why indeed, is this Samhara Rudra alone closest to this Parama Shiva and not Brahma and Vishnu? For our opponent accepts that Narayana created both Brahma and this Samhara Rudra as per the Mahopanishad, though Narayana is inferior to Parama Shiva. Then, as Narayana is the highest of the trimurti, which is irrefutable from the Mahopanishad, should he not be the closest or proximate to Parama Shiva? Why should be destroyer be proximate? There is no logic in this then.

    Thus, as Samhara Rudra is inferior to Narayana, who is inferior to Parama Shiva, it can only be Narayana who can be closest to Parama Shiva, even going by the absurd arguments of our opponents! Hence, the idea that a Parama Shiva and a Samhara Rudra dichotomy exists is uprooted at its’ very foundations. The only way that two near identical beings can exist is if one is an avatAra of the other, and in that case, the doshas of Samhara Rudra accrue to Parama Shiva as well, so this is not possible and not accepted by our opponents either.

    Basically, Appayya's philosophy is a mess, as we have stated before.


  20. Cont'd...

    Appayya: The Purusha Sukta’s statement “hrIsca tE lakshmIsca patnyou” --- :this is understood as Shiva since Shiva Purana attributes the name of “mahAlakshmi” to pArvati who sits on the lap of Shiva (Appayya quotes a shloka to the effect from the purANa). “ahOrAtrE” denotes the black and white form of “ArdhanArIshvara”.

    Reply: “Lakshmi” is a common noun denoting wealth of several kinds and can denote several women. Even Sachidevi, etc have been called “shrI” and “Lakshmi” in various places, so a claim could be made for Indra and others to be Brahman on that basis.

    No. The Purusha is proven to be Narayana who is distinct from Brahma and Rudra according to the mahOpanishad. The Narayana Sukta begins with “sahasrasIrshaM devam” which is similar to “SahasrasIrsha purushA” – thus, Purusha is Narayana. It has already been proven that there is no "paramashiva" above Narayana.

    The Mahanarayana Upanishad attributes modesty (Hri) to Bhumi Devi, while Lakshmi is obviously Vishnupatni.

    Furthermore, “ahorAtrE pArshvE” does not mean the Purusha has two halves (like the ardhanAri form). Rather, it should be taken in conjunction with “hrIsca tE lakshmIsca patnyou” – The two devis, Shri and Bhudevi are at his side, day and night. They never leave him. Hence, "ca" here does not mean "also" to indicate Hri and Shri are qualities of one Devi, but the "ca" refers to "and" to indicate two distinct devIs, Hri and Shri. This establishes that the Purusha has two wives and rules out Shiva – for whom only pArvati is his wife, and Ganga cannot be called “patni”.

    Honestly, quite strange that Appayya is considered as the avatAra of Shiva (abhinava-shiva perhaps?) by his bhaktas. Seems like "abhinava-shiva" is the polar opposite of the "purANa shiva" (umApati himself) who is described as a vishNu-bhakta, and one who has mastery of the shAstra! Hatred results in loss of knowledge --- his philosophy is built on a foundation of sand.

    This concludes the portion of "(Nir)Ananda Lahari" where Appayya finishes his torturing of the shrutis. Next, he proceeds to mutilate the rAmAyaNa and massacre the mahAbhArata to twist it to his illogical viewpoints. Time permitting, I will post some comments examining those views as well.

  21. We have seen how Appayya has misinterpreted the Vedas in a futile attempt to prove Shiva Paratva. We shall now see how he mangles the Ramayana.

    Note: We are not going to address Appayya’s misinterpretations of the Mahabharata. This is because he does not do anything much with the Mahabharata – he merely quotes certain interpolated sections of the Drona Parva that modern day Veerashaivas do. As they are interpolated, there is no point addressing them. He steers clear of all the genuine sections in the Mahabharata. This isn’t the case with the Ramayana, so let us see what he does.

    Appayya: The Ramayana establishes the greatness of Shiva only. This can be seen in a few examples. When it is said that all the gods wait on Agastya at his hermitage, Valmiki mentions the places of all gods including Indra and Vishnu, but does not refer to the abode of Shiva, which indicates the greatness of Shiva. It also indicates that while all the gods worshipped Agastya, he was worshipping Shiva with all types of penance.

    Reply: Devoid of proper and direct pramANAs to prove Shiva paratva, all Appayya can do is extrapolate his own imagined meanings out of incidents and try to establish his position. Poverty of an argument.

    Firstly, the absence of a god does not automatically mean the god is superior to others. It can mean anything – the god is excluded from such worship, the god is also inferior to others and so on. So, the mere absence or presence of a devata in the vicinity of worship is not enough to reach a conclusion regarding their status.


  22. Cont'd from above...

    Secondly, this issue has been explained by all commentators of the Ramayana to satisfaction. Appayya is referring to the following shloka:

    sa tatra brahmaNaH sthaanam agneH sthaanam tathaiva ca || viShNoH sthaanam mahendrasya sthaanam caiva vivasvataH |soma sthaanam bhaga sthaanam sthaanam kauberam eva ca || dhaatur vidhaatuH sthaanam ca vaayoH sthaanam tathaiva ca |sthaanam ca paasha hastasya vaaruNasya mahaatmanaH || sthaanam tathaiva gaayatryaa vasuunaam sthaanam eva ca |sthaanam ca naagaraajasya garuDa sthaanam eva ca || kaartikeyasya ca sthaanam dharma sthaanam ca pashyati |

    Meaning: Rama entered the hermitage (of Agastya) and saw therein the sanctum of Brahma, Agni, Vishnu, Indra, Vivasvat (Sun-God), Soma (Moon-god), Bhaga and the sanctusms of Kubera, and passed by the three of them, sanctums of Dhaata, Vidhaata, Vayu - the Air-god, the noble minded VaruNa and the sanctum of Gayatri, Vasus and Adi Sesha, and GaruDa, the sanctum of Kaartikeya - and the sanctum of Dharma.

    Appayya’s contention is that these gods were worshipping Agastya in his hermitage, while the absence of Shiva implies Agastya was worshipping Shiva. He is wrong on both counts.

    Firstly, these gods were not worshipping Agastya, but were installed in his place to be worshipped. Secondly, Rudra is also present here. This is explained in two ways:

    - Shri Govindaraja says that there is a pATha-bhEda (recension) where viShNoH sthaanam mahendrasya sthaanam is read as viShNoH sthaanam maheshasya sthaanam – instead of Mahendra (Indra), it is Mahesha (Rudra) who should be construed here. Thus, Rudra is also present. Indra not being present does not mean much.

    - Alternatively, if the first paTha with “Mahendra” is accepted, then it should be understood that Rudra alone is denoted by the name “Agni” – it does not refer to the fire-god, but to Rudra. Thus the Mahabharata says –

    rudram agniṃ dvijāḥ prāhū rudra sūnus tatas tu saḥ (~Vana Parva, Mahabharata)

    Meaning: The twice-born refer to Rudra as Agni, thus he (Skanda) is the son of Rudra.

    This is understood in two forms. Firstly, as Rudra is associated with destruction, Agni, the tool for destruction, is inseparably associated with him and thus he is called Agni. Secondly, Rudra is also called Agni because he leads the jIvAs to Brahman by providing knowledge (agre nayati – agni).

    Thus, the argument of Appayya is quashed. Here, we must note that Shri Govindaraja does give another explanation that if it be taken that Rudra is completely absent, it is because he is a tAmasa shAstra pravartaka and hence unfit for worship – but this doesn’t seem right because Skanda is mentioned to be present. Besides, Rudra does not gain any sin by propagating tAmasa shAstra as he himself has declared in the Rudra Gita of VarAha purANa:

    uchChuShmarudrAste j~neyA nAhaM teShu vyavasthitaH || 71.55||

    Meaning: They (the veda bAhyas) of manifest passion (rajas), abide in Rudra (myself), but it should be known that I am not situated with them (in that path).

    Rudra clarifies that while they worship him as supreme, he doesn’t have any illusions himself and does not agree with their position. Thus, propagating tAmasa shAstra does not diminish his stature. But it is not Shri Govindaraja’s prime argument here, merely an afterthought.


  23. Cont'd from above...

    Appayya: (In the Uttara Khanda), While sending Shatrugna to kill the Asura Lavana, Shri Rama gives him an unfailing astra in the form of Hari (Narayanastra) but cautions Shatrugna by saying that it should be used only when Lavana does not have the trident, got by the grace of Shiva in his hand. This indicates the unquestionable greatness of Shiva and the respect Shri Rama had for him.

    Reply: On the contrary. The verse Appayya is referring to is this:

    apraviṣṭaṃ ca bhavanaṃ yuddhāya puruṣarṣabha āhvayethā mahābāho tato hantāsi rākṣasaṃ anyathā kriyamāṇe tu avadhyaḥ sa bhaviṣyati . yadi tvevaṃ kṛte vīra vināśamupayāsyati etatte sarvamākhyātaṃ śūlasya ca viparyayam śrīmataḥ śitikaṇṭhasya kṛtyaṃ hi duratikramam (~Uttara Khanda, Ramayana)

    Meaning: (Rama said): O Shatrugna of Mighty Arms! You should invite Lavana for battle when he is weaponless and in that way you will be able to destroy him (with the arrow I have given you). And by no other means is he to be slain. I have told you all about how the Shula must be avoided. It is impossible to overcome the order or command of Srimad Shitikantha (of the boon of giving the Trident to Lavana).

    Anyway, firstly, the weapon Rama gave Shatrugna was not mentioned to be the infallible “Narayanastra” anywhere – it was merely an arrow created formerly for the destruction of Madhu and Kaitabha asuras during creation and used for the destruction of Ravana. In the Yuddha Khanda, this arrow is mentioned to be presided over by Brahma.

    Secondly, the clarification on the declaration of Rama that it is impossible to kill Lavana when he has Shiva’s trident – Shri Govindaraja offers two plausible explanations – First, he comments that it is purely for the sake of “avatAra maryAda”. Rama allowed himself to be bound by the brahmAstra on occasion, and he has also praised Brahma in similar terms:

    manye svayambhuurbhagavaanachintyo |yasyaitadastraM prabhavash cha yo.asya| baaNaavapaataaMstvamihaadya dhiiman mayaa sahaavyagramanaaH sahasva || 6-73-70

    Meaning: (Rama says:) I consider the self-born Brahma who is the source of the universe being of unsurpassing greatness or power and this missile is presided over by him. O wise one! Remaining undistracted in mind, you bear along with me today the hail of arrows.

    Here, he refers to Brahma’s prowess in similar terms - as Shiva's prowess is "durAtikramam", brahma is "achintya, meaning achintya prabhAva". The reason is because Rama, having donned a manushya-rUpa, wishes to respect the hierarchy that the devas cannot be overcome by ordinary humans. Thus, he tells Shatrugna that it is impossible to flout the command or boon of Shiva in giving the trident to Lavana. However, in reality, he is above all the weapons of these devas as Hanuman says:

    brahmā svayambhūś caturānano vā rudrastrinetrastripurāntako vā |
    indro mahendraḥ suranāyako vā trātuṃ na śaktā yudhi rāmavadhyam ||” (V-51-45)

    Meaning: Brahma the self-existing god with four faces or Rudra with three eyes and the destroyer of Tripura or Mahendra the god of atmosphere and sky as also the lord of celestials would not be able to protect the one to be killed by Rama in battle."

    This is one explanation. The second explanation given by Shri Govindaraja is even more apt – he says that Shiva’s trident has been made impossible (durAtikramam) to overcome by none other than Bhagavan Vishnu (Rama) himself – for even the shruti declares that Rudra obtains his Rudratvam from Vishnu, and it is the Lord who has made Rudra competent to bestow boons. On account of that, Rama has resolved that none can overcome Rudra and flout his boons.

    Thus, these are not incidents to prove supremacy. When a clear statement like "adhikam mEnirE VishNum" exists elsewhere in the tale of the two bows, there is no need to concoct an explanation to contradict that.


  24. Cont'd from above...

    Appayya: While returning from Lanka, Rama shows Sita the Sethu and says it was built by the grace of “Mahadeva”.

    Reply: Numerous commentators have already clarified that “Mahadeva” does not refer to Shiva here but to the Lord of Waters.

    Appayya: Aditya Hrudayam is in praise of Shiva only on account of terms like “rudrAya vapushE nama:”

    Reply: Aditya Hrudayam is an interpolation, but it has only been interpreted in terms of Vishnu Paratva by all scholars. For “rudrAya vapushE nama:” – the vyAkhyAnam is as follows – When Vishnu becomes the destroyer of all, in that time he assumes the form or body of Rudra (ie, he destroys all being the innerself of Rudra). So, hardly any Shiva paratva here.

    Appayya: After the death of Ravana, Brahma told Rama to go back to svarga as his mission was accomplished. But Shiva told him to go back to Ayodhya and rule the country, which Rama obeyed.

    Reply: Dull-headed Appayya does not understand the tattva here. All of the gods other than Shiva, and including Brahma, merely praised Rama and acknowledged him as the Supreme Brahman. They were glad that the task of killing Ravana had been accomplished, and had no more to ask Bhagavan. Thus, their motives for praising Rama could be construed as dependent on their own needs; they were considered by Valmiki to be a bit selfish. In contrast, Shiva alone was concerned about what Rama wanted, as opposed to what Rama could do for the gods. He knows that Rama is concerned about the welfare of devotees like Bharata, and even Kaikeyi who was ostracized for her act of sending Rama to exile etc. Thus, Shiva was concerned about what Rama wanted, and what Rama’s devotees wanted.

    This shows that Shiva is an exemplary devotee of Rama, and what he said was most agreeable to Rama, to go back to Ayodhya and gladden the hearts of his devotees like Bharata.


  25. Cont'd from above...

    Appayya: While ruling the Kingdom, Rama performed Ashwamedha to please Shiva. At the time of performance of the Ashwamedha, Lakshmana tells Rama that Vishnu was worshipped by some by performing Ashwamedha, but Rama told Lakshmana another story of Shiva being worshipped by Ashwamedha. This indicates Rama’s bhakti for Shiva.

    Reply: Appayya’s logic is that Lakshmana and Rama were involved in an argument about who was worshipped by the Ashwamedha, and he posits that Rama overruled Lakshmana’s claim about Vishnu being worshipped! The stupidity!

    In truth, Lakshmana is highly intelligent and is aware of all the truths – the rAmAyaNa refers to him as “mahaapraajJNaH “. Thus, it is inconceivable that Rama was correcting Lakshmana on tattvas in a debate.

    Here is a summary of what Appayya is referring to – In the Uttara Khanda, Lakshmana tells Rama that Indra defeated Vritra by worshipping Vishnu in the form of the Ashwamedha Yaga (yajñaṃ cādbhutasaṅkāśaṃ tadā śakro.abhyapūjayat). To that, Rama narrates the story of his ancestor Ila who was cursed to lose his manhood by Rudra, and upon advice by Kardama, propitiated Rudra with the Ashwamedha to get back his manhood.

    The two are not contradictory stories as Appayya imagines. The logic is as follows – Lakshmana explains that Ashwamedha is a sin destroying Yaga as it involves worship of Vishnu, who is propitiated by it. Rama then agrees and narrates the story of Ila to show that the performance of this great sacrifice has been regular in his lineage, and thus implying that he should perform it as well. So, there is no Shiva vs Vishnu debate between the two, but merely an exchange of stories that denote the greatness of the sacrifice and the continuity of its’ practice in the Ikshvaku kula.

    Now, with respect to Rudra being propitiated by the Ashwamedha, we can refer to the commentary of Govindaraja. Kardama advises Ila to propitiate Rudra by saying the following:

    nānyaṃ paśyāmi bhaiṣajyamantareṇa vṛṣadhvajam nāśvamedhātparo yajñaḥ priyaścaiva mahātmanaḥ

    Meaning: I do not find any good medicine (for your curse) other than the bull-bannered Rudra. There is no sacrifice other than the Ashwamedha which is more dear to the noble-minded God.

    The meaning is, since Rudra was the one who cursed Ila, he alone can remove it and thus Kardama says there is no other medicine. And the way to please Rudra, is to perform the Ashwamedha, which propitiates Vishnu. The propitiation of Vishnu pleases Rudra, for the latter is his devotee. And when Vishnu is satisified, all gods including Rudra are satisfied.


  26. Cont'd from above...

    The proof for this commentary lies in the fact that Lakshmana had previously established that Vishnu alone is propitiated by the Ashwamedha, and here, it merely says the Ashwamedha is “dear” to Rudra and not that Rudra is worshipped by Ashwamedha. Furthermore, the reference to Rudra as “mahAtmanah” – of a noble mind – implies that he has a mind which is always immersed in contemplation of Vishnu, and hence the performance of Ashwamedha, which propitiates Vishnu, pleases him. This is the correct explanation which does not involve Appayya’s technique of randomly rejecting Lakshmana’s story in favor of Rama’s, but reconciling the two.

    We can also say - Lakshmana established that the sacrifice propitiates the para-devata (Vishnu) and Rama, who is that para-devata, says that the sacrifice also pleases his devotees like Rudra.

    Now, after Rama said this, the rishis (who were listening with Lakshmana to the story) are said to have saluted Rudra (namaskritya vrishadhvaja) and commenced preparations for the Ashwamedha. To that, Shri Govindaraja says – The salutation is an ironic gesture, and implies that as in the case of Ila, there is no propitiation of Rudra here as well. This is because in this Yajna, there is no role for Rudra. Indeed, Rudra is barred from having a share in all Yajnas because of a curse by Daksha. However, Rudra is pleased when his master Vishnu is propitiated by Ashwamedha. It has already been established that Vishnu is propitiated by the sacrifice.

    Appayya: When Rama was anguished by the loss of Sita and vowed to reduce the worlds to ashes, none of the gods came to inform him Sita was in Lanka. This was because Shiva had arranged for Sita to be in Lanka and Rama to kill him, and no-one flouted his wish.

    Reply: This lacks logic and pramANa in every way. No need to even counter this as its’ rubbish.
    Appayya: Valmiki, through the medium of Vishvamitra, suggests the greatness of Ganga is because it is sanctified by contact with Shiva.

    Reply: All shAstrAs are agreed that Ganga descended on Shiva’s head from Vishnu’s feet. Thus, it only implies Shiva is a devotee of Vishnu.


  27. Cont'd from above...

    Appayya: Parashurama narrates a battle between Shiva and Vishnu, and says Vishnu was deemed superior. However, we have seen the narrative where Rama tells Shatrugna that the Trident of Shiva is unassailable. Rama is a person who is steeped in dharma, while Parashurama is filled with arrogance. The words of Rama are thus more reliable than Parashurama and so we should discard Parashurama’s story.

    Reply: It is very amusing that Appayya wants to reject the classification of certain Puranas as tAmasic and accept them as authority, but has the audacity to discard a whole portion of the Ramayana on account of his thinking that the narrator had tamo guna! In addition, it was the same Appayya who quoted Vishvamitra, a person who had plenty of kAma and krodha, to talk about Shiva and Ganga’s greatness, but when Parashurama talks about Vishnu being superior to Shiva, proceeds to reject it on basis of his perceived arrogance!

    It does not work that way in ithihAsa. No part of ithihAsa can be discarded. Parashurama may have ahamkAra, but he was well-versed in the tattvas and there is no cause for rejection. Furthermore, rather than rejecting one anecdote and accepting other, we have already seen how the incident concerning the Trishula of Shiva can be easily reconciled to the narration of vishNu paratva by Parashurama – hence, the interpretation that accepts both incidents is alone authoritative.

    Finally, there is no proof to say Parashurama was deluded because of arrogance. He had arrogance, but was clear in his knowledge, as he himself says “mahendra nilayaH tapo bala samanvitaH” – I was abiding in Mahendra Mountain united with the power of tapas. Mundakopanishad says “yasya jnAnamayam tapaH” – Tapas is a form of knowledge.


  28. Cont'd from above...

    Appayya: Some say that Ramayana is a sharanagati shAstra and reference Vibhishana’s surrender which is in one corner of the ithihAsa. This is wrong because Vibhishana only surrendered for his Kingdom and not for moksha. Secondly, in a kAvya, the vyaGgArtha (suggested sense) is to be given precedence over the vAchyArtha (directly conveyed). Therefore prapatti which comes under the latter, cannot be given importance over the greatness of Shiva which comes under the former.

    Reply: Firstly, the “greatness of Shiva” is not the theme of the ithihAsa as we have proven. The suggested sense is that Rama is Vishnu, who is the Parabrahman, and the directly conveyed sense is also prapatti. Since Vishnu is the siddhOpAya or direct means, he himself is prapatti and both senses convey the same meaning.

    Now, let us look at Vibhishana’s episode. Appayya’s main contention is that Vibhishana surrendered to Rama for material benefits, as evidenced by this statement of Rama:

    na vayam tatkuliinaashca raajyakaamkshii ca raakshasaH |
    paNDitaa hi bhaviShyanti tasmaadgraahyo vibhiiShaNaH ||6-18-13

    Meaning: We do not belong to the same family. Further, Vibhishana the demon is desirous of acquiring the kingdom. A few of the demons also may be rather learned ones. That is why, Vibhishana is acceptable.

    Here, Rama says Vibhishana is desirous of acquiring the Kingdom. Shri Govindaraja says that this means – I am desirous of giving the Kingdom to Vibhishana. Vibhishana is desirous of me killing Ravana, which will lead to acquisition of the Kingdom. He knows I am not one who is prone to speaking falsities, etc.

    From the perspective of Rama, he wishes to see his devotee as the King of Lanka, and speaks in that manner – “he is desirous of the Kingdom” – which only means “he is desirous of my victory”.

    But Vibhishana himself does not aspire for it. This is proven by the fact that when Vibhishana surrenders to Rama, he forsakes everything and declares it all belongs to Rama.

    parityaktaa mayaa la.nkaa mitraaNi ca dhanaani ca || bhavad gatam hi me raajyam ca jiivitam ca sukhaani ca | (~Yuddha Khanda)

    Meaning: Abandoning Lanka, friends and possessions, I place my kingdom, life and happiness at your disposal.

    This is the quintessence of “atyanta pAratantrya” – not considering anything, including himself, as belonging to him, but to Rama. When he says his Kingdom is Rama’s, then where is the question of him coveting the Kingdom and surrendering for that purpose?

    Furthermore, notice how he says “my Kingdom” – this means he understands Rama’s wish to make him King is infallible and already considers that Ravana is killed –that is his conviction. He himself does not aspire for Kingship, but as him becoming King of Lanka pleases Rama, he accepts it. Like Bharata accepted to rule in Rama’s absence because Rama wanted it. A prapanna acts to please the Lord.

    This ends our discussion on how Appayya has tortured the Ramayana. It should be clear that none of his opinions are supported by Valmiki. Contrary to popular opinion, Appayya’s knowledge of the shAstra itself is mediocre, what to speak of writing “refutations”.


  29. Cont'd from above...

    There is one last shloka that some Veerashaivas misinterpret. Decided to include it here:

    abravIchcha tadaa raamaH sugrIvaM pratyanantaram | vibhIShaNaM cha dharmaatmaa hanuumantaM cha vaanaram || jaambavantaM harishreShThaM maindaM dvividameva cha | etadastrabalan divyaM mama vaa tryambakasya vaa || (~Yuddha Khanda)

    Meaning: Then, the virtuous Rama spoke also to Sugreeva, Vibhishana, Hanuma the monkey, Jambavan, Mainda the foremost of monkeys and even Dvivida, who were in close proximity to him as follows "Such wonderful power of this missile exists either with me or with Tryambaka.

    On the basis of Rama saying this astra which was used by him to kill the rakshasas exists with him or with Tryambaka, some Veerashaivas try to claim this means both are equal (or shiva is superior, pick any asinine opinion). Just because an astra is common to both does not mean both become identical. Then, one could extrapolate that to saying, “XYZ knows the Veda, Narayana knows the Veda, so both are identical!”

    Besides, Shri Govindaraja explains “tryambakasya vA” – as “samhAra kAlE asti” – It is used during dissolution. Rudra is closely associated with samhAra kAla. There is nothing more significant to it.

    This ends the discussion on addressing the misinterpretations of rAmAyaNa by Appayya. The direct message of this ithihAsa is vishNu paratva and nothing else.



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