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Vishnu – Dwadashanamas – Part Four

01 Oct

Continued from Part Three –The Vyuha

F. Vyuhantara

Vyuhantara

19.1. In the Pancharatra schema of cosmology, Para is the undifferentiated Vasudeva while Vyuha is the stage of differentiated creation closer to the beings. Lakshmi Tantra (4:25-32) a Pancharatra text of about the tenth century explains “First there is only the substance (reality); then comes the state of being; next the creation; and then the activity”.

19.2. The text elaborates that right after the final stage of Vyuha evolution and the onset of jagrat (wakeful) state of existence, each of the four Vyuha produced three further forms that resembled their creators (Vyuha) in all respects.

19.3. Accordingly, from Vyuha -Vasudeva, Keshava, Narayana and Madhava emanated; from Sankarshana emanated Govinda, Vishnu and Madhusudana; from Pradyumna emanated Trivikrama, Vamana and Sridhara; and from Aniruddha emanated Hrishikesha, Padmanabha and Damodara.

19.4. Vyuha is the major formation and the twelve forms that emanated from it constitute the secondary formation; and therefore known as upavyha or vyuhantara, which literally means ‘the one that within the Vyuha’.

Maasa Devatha

20.1. Each of the twelve Vyuhantara is identified with a month and is revered as masa-devatha (lord of the month).And; collectively they are identified with the year.

Vyuha
– the source
Vyuhantara
form
Shakthi
 or
the consort
Maasa
the month
Vasudeva
Keshava
Sri
Margashira
Narayana
Vagishvari
Pushya
Madhava
Kaanthi
Magha
 
Sankarshana
Govinda
Kriya
Phalguna
Vishnu
Shanthi
Chaitra
Madhusudana
Vibuthi
Vaishakha
 
Pradyumna
Trivikrama
Iccha
Jesta
Vamana
Prithi
Ashada
Sridhara
Rathi
Shravana
 
Aniruddha
Hrishikesha
Maaya
Bhadrapada
Padmanabha
Dhi
Ashviyuja
Damodara
Mahima
Karthika

 

20.2. It is also said that the twelve Vyuhantara along with their source (four) together make sixteen ; and are symbolic of the phases of the moon “Shodasha kala) ; andthis also is a measure of Time.

Vyuhantara -Adityas – Sun -Vishnu

21.1. In the ancient Indian context, Year is identified with empherical Time, which in turn is identified with the Sun. Because, the Sun in its daily course defines the day (and night), the basic (shortest) unit of time and governs life.

[The shortest unit was obtained by dividing the day/night into eight equal parts and each eighth into sixty and each sixtieth into sixty again. One third of that resultant unit was kshana (three consecutive eyelid moments – roughly a second).]

21.2. The Vedic deities associated with the Sun and the energy are the twelve (Dwadasaha) Adityas, each controlling a month and collectively a year. They are the spokes of the wheel of Time. The twelve Vyuhantara therefore came to be identified with the Adityas.

With that the Vyuhantara came to be identified also with the empherical Time conceived as yearly cycles. And, thus, Vyuhantara are indeed the Sun.

21.3. Vishnu is the chief of the Adityas; and he is also identified with the Sun. The Vyuhantara, by extension, came to be recognized as the Adityas who in turn are the aspects of the Sun and Vishnu.

21.4. The identity of the Vyuhantara with the Adityas is discussed in detail in the Tantric texts such as Prapanchasara (12th century), Saradatilaka (14th century) and Tantrasara (16th century).

21.5. It is explained that the importance assigned to the twelve Vyuhantara is because of their identity with the Adityas, the Sun and Vishnu. And, their worship is indeed the worship of Vishnu as the Sun.

Dwadashamurti

22.1. Mainly by virtue of its association with the Sun and Vishnu, the Vyuhantara or Upavyuha or the Dwadasha-murti (the twelve forms) is an indispensable part of the Sri Vaishnava daily prayer –sandhya vandanam– which essentially is Sun worship; and of the daily purification rite of investing the designated upper-body parts with the Vishnu insignia, the urdhva pundra. Each upavyuha is associated with a specific spot: Keshava – forehead; Narayana-lower abdomen(centre); Madhava-chest; Govinda-front neck (middle) ; Vishnu-lower abdomen (right); Madhusudana-right arm; Trivikrama-neck(right side);Vamana-lower abdomen (left); Sridhara-left arm; Hrishikesha-neck(left side); Padmanabha-back (lower spine); Damodara-back (upper spine); and concluded with salutations to Vasudeva –top of the head.

The appropriate Upavyuha is invoked through anga-nyasa (gestures) with devotion and reverence while investing each set of urdhva-pundra.

22.2. As regards their iconography, the Dwadasha-murtis all resemble the four-armed form of Vasudeva in jagrat (wakeful) state. And, ichnographically they are alike; each possess four arms, carries the same or almost the same Vaishnava insignia (ayudha) – the conch (shankha), the discus (chakra), the mace (gada) and the lotus (padma); they have pleasing countenance (saumya vaktra); they stand erect (sama-bhanga) on lotus pedestal; and wear yellow silk garment (pitambara), royal crown, regal ornaments and flowing garlands of flowers (vanamala). Their color or complexion, are derived from their source vyuha, which is the vyuha among the four (chaturvyuha) from which they originated.

22.3. All the Dwadasha murtis are depicted as solitary images, standing alone; yet each of them is associated with a Shakthi, a consort. Each Shakthi is regarded a form of Lakshmi.

22.4. The forms are differentiated by the order of the four ayudhas or insignia (shankha, chakra, gada and padma) they hold. The Padma Samhita (kriyapada: 16, 30-36) as also Lakshmi Tantra and others describes in detail the iconographic features of the Vyuhantara-murtis. There are again variations among those texts. Let’s talk of that in the last segment of this post.

Caturvimsati murti

23. 1. The emanation process did not cease with the twelve Vyuhantara. Padma Samhita (Jnana kanda: 2, 26- 28) mentions that the four Vyuha  ‘ for some reason’ went on to create a sub –secondary Vyuhantara forms numbering twelve in two sets (4+8).This was achieved in a rather strange manner. Here, Vyuha- Vasudeva manifested another Vasudeva who manifested Nrusimha who in turn manifested Acchuta.

Sankarshana manifested another Sankarshana who gave raise to Purushottama who in turn manifested Adhokshaja.

Pradyumna manifested another Pradyumna who manifested Janardana who in turn manifested Upendra.

And Aniruddha manifested another Aniruddha who manifested Hari, who in turn manifested Krishna.

23.2. Thus the celebrated Caturvimsati murti group (the twenty-four forms) is composed by:

(a).  The twelve Vyuhantara or secondary forms:

[1.Keshava;2.Narayana;3.Madhava;4.Govinda;5.Vishnu;6.Madhusudana;7.Trivikrama;8.Vamana;9.Sridhara;10.Hrishikesha;11.Padmanabha;and 12.Damodara]

(b). Plus the four forms:

[13.  Sankarshana;  14. Vasudeva; 15.Pradyumna; and 16.Aniruddha]

(c). And, the eight further (sub secondary) emanatory forms:

[17. Purushottama; 18. Adhokshaja;   19. Nrusimha; 20. Acchuta; 21. Janardana;  22. Upendra; 23. Hari; and 24.Krishna]

24.1. The iconography of the latter set of twelve (from 13 to 24: from Sankarshana to Krishna follows that of the Dwadasha-murtis (from 1 to 12:  from Keshava to Damodara). As regards their colour, they follow the colour or the complexion of their source, that is: The first group of three along with Vasudeva is white; the second group along with Sankarshana is ruby red; the third group along with Pradyumna is golden yellow; and the fourth group along with Aniruddha is dark.

25.1. Padma Samhita states that the images of these twenty-four deities should be established in temples in order to acquire merit and prosperity. They might be established either separately or together. But, sculptural representation of all the forms is extremely rare. They are seen only in a few temples of Hoysala period (c.11th century).

25.2. While performing the daily Sandhya it is customary to recite the names of these twenty-four forms and invoke them in the twenty-four spots in the body.

25.3. The Gayatri- Sara- Samgraha, it is said, identifies of the twenty-four letters of the Gayatri Mantra with the deities (abhimana devatha) presiding over the names of the Caturvimsati murtis.[Please see the table appended.]

25.4. It is said the Vyuhantara from 13-16 though they bear the names of the original Vyuhas, they are not the same; they are different. Similarly, it is clarified that Vyuhantara murti with names such as Krishna, Narasimha, Trivikrama, Narayana etc should not be mistaken for the original deities bearing those names. It is also clarified that although the names of Vyuhantara forms resemble the names of Vishnu, ichnographically or otherwise they are NOT the Vishnu.

25.5. Among these twenty-four forms, the set of first twelve Dwadasha- murti, (from Keshava to Damodara), is assigned greater importance than the latter twelve.

*****

Iconography of the Dwadasha murti

1.1. As mentioned earlier, the Vyuhantara murtis are ichnographically similar; they all resemble the four armed Vasudeva in jagrat state. They are differentiated by the manner they hold the four ayudhas or Vaishnava insignia (shankha, chakra, gada and padma).There is however no uniformity among the various texts .For instance, Tantra Sara draws up an elaborate scheme by taking the conch (shankha) symbolizing emancipation as the principle ayudha and works out various positions/ combinations  of the other three ayudhas in relation to shankha in upper right hand, shankha in upper left hand, shankha in lower left hand and shankha in lower right hand. Agni Purana, Padma Purana and Skanda Purana etc propose their own scheme.

1, 2. But the commonly accepted form is the one that is given in the Shilpa text Rupamandana, The order given there commences with the upper -right –hand, then goes on to the upper-left-hand , then down to the lower –left-hand and finally to the lower-right-hand. The flow is clock-wise commencing from the upper-right-hand. The initial configuration is with reference to the ayudhas held by Keshava: Shankha (URH); Chakra (ULH); Gada (LLH) and Padma (LRH). The ayudha-positions of the other vyuhantara are worked out by rotation.

[Please refer to the tables appended for the ayudha-positions of all the twenty-four Vyuhantara forms].

Let’s discuss briefly about the iconography of the Dwadasha murti; that is the first twelve Vyuhantara from Keshava to Damodara.

1. Keshava –Murti

Keshava-murti the first of the Vyuhantara who emanated from Vyuha-Vasudeva is lustrous like gold (suvarna-bha). He wears white garments; and pearl ornaments.

His ayudhas are: shankha (URH); chakra (ULH); gada (LLH); and padma (LRH).

His Shakthi is Sri or Kirti.

He is the Lord of Margashira month.

He is invoked in the forehead of the devotee (lalata).

His flag bears the emblem of the great Eagle (Mahat Garuda Ketana).

2. Narayana- Murti

Narayana –murti the second of the Vyuhantara who emanated from Para-Vasudeva is glowing like a dark blue cloud. His countenance is benign (saumya). He wears yellow silk garments (pitambara); and gem studded gold ornaments.

His ayudhas are: padma (URH); gada (ULH); chakra (LLH); and shankha (LRH).

His Shakthi is Vagisvari.

He is the Lord of Pushya month.

He is invoked in the lower abdomen (centre) of the devotee.

His flag bears the emblem of the great Eagle (Mahat Garuda Ketana).

3. Madhava-Murti

Murti the third among the Vyuhantara who emanated from Para-Vasudeva shines like blue-lotus (nilothphala) .He dress is multicoloured and is adorned with garlands of many hues. He looks magnificent like a full blossomed lotus.

His ayudhas are: chakra (URH); shankha (ULH); padma(LLH); and gada (LRH).

His Shakthi is Kanthi.

He is Lord of Magha month.

He is invoked in the chest of  the devotee.

His flag bears the emblem of the great Eagle (Mahat Garuda Ketana)-

4. Govinda-Murti

Govinda-Murti the fourth among the Vyuhantara; and the first to emanate from Sankarshana is soothingly bright like moon, like a pearl. His eyes are lustrous and attractive like red lotus. He is adorned in rich gold ornaments.

His ayudhas are: gada (URH); padma (ULH); shankha (LLH); and chakra(LRH).

His Shakthi is Kriya.

He is Lord of Phalguna month.

He is invoked in the front neck (middle) of the devotee.

His flag bears the emblem of the lofty palm-tree and a plough.

5. Vishnu-Murti

Vishnu-Murti the fifth among the Vyuhantara; and the second to emanate from Sankarshana is crystal white (sphatika). He wears gold coloured bright garments; and richly adorned with ornaments.

His ayudhas are: padma (URH); shankha (ULH);chakra (LLH); and gada (LRH).

His Shakthi is Shanthi.

He is Lord of Chaitra month.

He is invoked in the lower abdomen (right) of the devotee.

His flag bears the emblem of the lofty palm-tree and a plough.

6. Madhusudana-Murti

Murti the sixth among the Vyuhantara; and the third to emanate from Sankarshana is glowing like a red lotus. He wears silken yellow garments. He is richly adorned with ornaments.

His ayudhas are: shankha (URH); padma (ULH); gada (LLH); and chakra (LRH).

His Shakthi is Vibhuti.

He is Lord of Vaishakha month.

He is invoked in the right arm of the devotee.

His flag bears the emblem of the lofty palm-tree and a plough.

7. Trivikrama-Murti

Trivikrama Murti the seventh among the Vyuhantara; and the first to emanate from Pradyumna is glowing like a ruby. He is richly adorned with gold armlets, chains, earrings etc.

His ayudhas are: gada (URH); chakra (ULH); shankha (LLH); and padma (LRH).

His Shakthi is Iccha.

He is Lord of Jesta month.

He is invoked in the neck (right side) of the devotee.

His flag bears the emblem of crocodile (Madana)

8. Vamana Murti

Vamana Murti the eighth among the Vyuhantara; and the second to emanate from Pradyumna is mellow glowing like jasmine , has wide eyes like lotus petals.

His ayudhas are: chakra (URH); gada (ULH); padma(LLH); and shankha (LRH).

His Shakthi is Priti.

He is Lord of Ashada month.

He is invoked in the lower abdomen (left) of the devotee.

His flag bears the emblem of crocodile (Madana).

9. Sridhara-Murti

Sridhara-Murti the ninth among the Vyuhantara; and the third to emanate from Pradyumna is lustrous like white lotus. His eyes are beautiful and shining like a red lotus petal. He wears strings of pearls.

His ayudhas are: chakra (URH); gada (ULH); shankha (LLH); and padma (LRH).

His Shakthi is Rathi.

He is Lord of Shravana month.

He is invoked in the left arm of the devotee.

His flag bears the emblem of crocodile (Madana).

10. Hrishikesha – Murti

Hrishikesha – Murti the tenth among the Vyuhantara; and the first to emanate from Aniruddha is dazzling like lightning. He wears red garments; red flowered garlands and has stuck a red lotus in his hair.

His ayudhas are: chakra (URH); padma (ULH);shankha (LLH); and gada (LRH).

His Shakthi is Maaya.

He is Lord of Bhadrapada month.

He is invoked in neck (left side) of the devotee.

His flag bears the emblem of deer (mriga).

11. Padmanabha Murti

Padmanabha Murti the eleventh among the Vyuhantara; and the second to emanate from Aniruddha is glowing like a blue diamond. He wears bright yellow garments; and is adorned with many coloured gems and jewels; and multihued garlands.

His ayudhas are: padma (URH); chakra (ULH); gada(LLH); and shankha (LRH).

His Shakthi is Dhi.

He is Lord of Ashviyuja month.

He is invoked in back (lower spine) of the devotee.

His flag bears the emblem of deer (mriga).

12. Damodara Murti

Damodara Murti the twelfth and the last among the Vyuhantara; and the third to emanate from Aniruddha is enchanting like the tender green blades ofdurva grass and wide eyes like pools. He wears yellow silk garments; and many types of gems and jewels; strings of precious stones.

His ayudhas are: shankha (URH); gada (ULH); chakra (LLH); and padma(LRH).

His Shakthi is Mahima.

He is Lord of Kartika month.

He is invoked in back (upper spine) of the devotee.

His flag bears the emblem of deer (mriga).

*****

The following tables indicate the ayudha positions of each Vyuhantara Murti , its presiding deity and its association with the letters of Gayatri Mantra.

Sl.
No.
Vyuhantara
Murti
Upper hands
 
Lower Hands
Letter of
Gayatri
Mantra
Presiding
Deity
Right
Left
Left
Right
01
Keshava
Shankha
Chakra
Gada
Padma
Tat
Agni
02
Narayana
Padma
Gada
Chakra
Shankha
Tsa
Prajapathi
03
Madhava
Chakra
Shankha
Padma
Gada
Vi
Soma
04
Govinda
Gada
Padma
Shankha
Chakra
Tur
Ishana
05
Vishnu
Padma
Shankha
Chakra
Gada
Va
Savitr
06
Madhusudana
Shankha
Padma
Gada
Chakra
Re
Brihaspathi
07
Trivikrama
Gada
Chakra
Shankha
Padma
Ni
Pitru Deva
08
Vamana
Chakra
Gada
Padma
Shankha
Yam
Bhaga
09
Sridhara
Chakra
Gada
Shankha
Padma
Bhar
Aryama
10
Hrishikesha
Chakra
Padma
Shankha
Gada
Go
Savitri
11
Padmanabha
Padma
Chakra
Gada
Shankha
De
Tvastr
12
Damodara
Shankha
Gada
Chakra
Padma
Va
Pushan
13
Sankarshana
Shankha
Padma
Chakra
Gada
Sya
Indra
14
Vasudeva
Shankha
Chakra
Padma
Gada
Dhi
Agni
15
Pradyumna
Shankha
Gada
Padma
Gada
Ma
Vayu
16
Aniruddha
Gada
Shankha
Padma
Chakra
Hi
Mitra varuna
17
Purushottama
Padma
Shankha
Gada
Chakra
Dhi
Bratru deva
18
Adhokshaja
Gada
Shankha
Chakra
Padma
Yo
Visvedeva
19
Narasimha
Padma
Gada
Shankha
Chakra
yo
Vishnu
20
Acchuta
Padma
Chakra
Shankha
Gada
Nah
Vasava
21
Janardana
Chakra
Shankha
Gada
Padma
Pra
Tustabha
22
Upendra
Gada
Chakra
Padma
Shankha
Cho
Kubera
23
Hari
Padma
Chakra
Gada
Shankha
Da
Dasra
24
Sri- Krishna
Gada
Padma
Chakra
Shankha
Yat
Brahma

Sl.

No.

Vyuhantara

Murti

Letter of

Gayatri

Mantra

Presiding

Deity

01 Keshava Tat Agni  
02 Narayana Tsa Prajapathi  
03 Madhava Vi Soma  
04 Govinda Tur Ishana  
05 Vishnu Va Savitr  
06 Madhusudana Re Brihaspathi  
07 Trivikrama Ni Pitru Deva  
08 Vamana Yam Bhaga  
09 Sridhara Bhar Aryama  
10 Hrishikesha Go Savitri  
11 Padmanabha De Tvastr  
12 Damodara Va Pushan  
13 Sankarshana Sya Indra  
14 Vasudeva Dhi Agni  
15 Pradyumna Ma Vayu
16 Aniruddha Hi Mitra varuna  
17 Purushottama Dhi Bratru deva  
18 Adhokshaja Yo Visvedeva  
19 Narasimha yo Vishnu  
20 Acchuta Nah Vasava  
21 Janardana Pra Tustabha  
22 Upendra Cho Kubera  
23 Hari Da Dasra  
24 Sri- Krishna Yat Brahma

 

 

Sources and References

I gratefully acknowledgethe line-drawings and notes fromBrahmiya Chitrakarma Sastram

by Prof G Gnanananda

Vishnu Koshaby Prof.SK Ramachandra Rao

Ritual, state, and history in South Asia By J. C. Heesterman, A. W. van den Hoek, D. H. A. Kolff, M. S. Oort

http://www.wilbourhall.org/sansknet/agama/Pancharatraagama/poushkara_samhita/36.htm

http://www.ramanuja.org/sv/bhakti/archives/feb96/0014.html

http://www.stephen-knapp.com/thousand_names_of_the_supreme.htm

http://www.hindu.com/2001/03/13/stories/13130179.htm

http://www.ramanuja.org/sv/bhakti/archives/jan98/0082.html

http://www.ramanuja.org/sv/bhakti/archives/dec2000/0142.html

 
7 Comments

Posted by on October 1, 2012 in Vishnu

 

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7 responses to “Vishnu – Dwadashanamas – Part Four

  1. sreenivasaraos

    March 19, 2015 at 8:26 am

    since all theses are so new to me
    i have no comments..
    all thesse symboliosms need to be
    internalised before any uesions can rise..
    i wonder what these symbols meant
    to the beleivers..
    DSampath

     
    • sreenivasaraos

      March 19, 2015 at 8:28 am

      Dear Shri Sampath, Thank you. The network of these various forms is intricate and elaborate. The Dwadasha-murtis (the first twelve names) occupy a very important position in the Sri Vaishnava practices, prayers and rituals.

      As regards the Caturvimsati –murtis, their twenty-four names are invoked by most every day during aachamana.

      I reckon they are revered as they are; and I doubt if much attention is paid to the symbolisms associated with those forms. I admire your patience; you read through all the four parts.

      Regards

       
  2. sreenivasaraos

    March 19, 2015 at 8:28 am

    Dear Sreenivas Rao…Hi..Thanx for explaining the names and the shaktis although we recite we’re never aware of these details..regards and love..kalpita

     
    • sreenivasaraos

      March 19, 2015 at 8:29 am

      Dear Kalpita Raj, Thank you for reading through all the four parts.Regards

       
  3. sreenivasaraos

    March 19, 2015 at 8:29 am

    Dear Rao,

    I have gone through several times all your 4 parts – with all these details.Unfortunately my mind wandered away from these history of icons ( murthis ) to the history of Hinduism itself.

    To simplify the complexity of 10 avathars ( an attempt in lay man’s language ) Rama and Krishna in human forms stand out ( rest of avatars were in animal forms ) – because only humans could communicate in language known to us.Speech is civilization – Rama was described as mridhu bhashi and Poorva Bashi ( who initiated discussion ) .Lord Ram’s question and answer sessions ( with Vashist- Eko vashita Ramayan – with Vishwamitra too ) and even Emperor Janaka’s doubts on secrets of life – In krishna avatar Gita – could have been inserted at a latter date to give it a divine status ( as these texts were associated with supreme God Himself )by authors who were profound and great thinkers on religion and philosophy. I have heard from some one Adi sankara was the author of Gita.Was he the one who compiled Vishnu Sahasranamam ? ( the one which we chant )

    Rama was human an ideal one ( PUrushottam ) so he listened to Vashista – Krishna was God on earth – so he delivered Gita.Most of the men of religion among vashnavites whom I talked to say Krishna,Narayana and Visnu are one and the same Vasudeva known by the 12 names from Keshava to Damodara..It is so strange Buddha as an avatar ( if he is one of Narayana’s ) took a different line and advocated complete different path.

    I think every thing changed from Adi Sankara’s time when his established philosophy reigned over Buddhism and Jainism.

    I compliment your exemplary work and enjoyed reading every bit of it.

    Thanks and Regards.

    NKR

    Ps : I may be completely wrong in above way of understanding to sort things out in a time frame of things.

     
    • sreenivasaraos

      March 19, 2015 at 8:31 am

      Dear Shri Ravi, Thank you for reading the articles closely. You raised some interesting points. Let me say briefly about them.

      Yes, as you said everything changed from the time of Sri Sankara. There were no significant developments in the systems of Indian philosophies for at least 1, 200 years from the time of Brahma sutras to the advent of Sri Sankara (say from 3rd century BCE to 8th century AD). The various schools of Indian philosophy that developed later were basically in reaction to the position taken by Sri Sankara on the Substratum (Isvara), the perceivable world (jagat) and the individual (jiva); and their mutual relations

      Bhagavad Gita was definitely not the work of Sri Sankara. It is an ancient text, centuries earlier to him. Sri Sankara wrote a commentary on the Gita; and it is one of his celebrated works

      Similary, Vishnu Sahasranama too was definitely not compiled by Sri Sankara. It is found in Mahabharata (perhaps inserted) and there is another version of it in Padma Purana. Even A commentary on Vishnu_sahasra_nama ascribed to Sri Sankara is not his. It is decidedly a recent work. It is, at places, inconsistent too.

      While on Sri Sankara let me mention a large number of works that were definitely not his have been hoisted on Sri Sankara, perhaps, just to gain authenticity and recognition. We have today, more than 250 works ascribed to Sankara. Some of them undoubtedly have merit. It is however, obvious not all of them could be works of one author. The ideas expressed in them are not only various but often inconsistent. In a few cases, the works contradict each other.

      The scholarly tradition recognizes only three texts as authentic works of Sri Sankara. These are his commentaries on the Upanishads, the Gita and on Vedanta Sutras; grouped under the name prasthana_thraya.

      For more on these and the related issues, please check:

      Sri Sankara – a genius, misunderstood

      The texts that Shankara relied upon

      Brahma Sutra

      As regards the Buddha and his position in the Hindu pantheon,some of the Hindu scriptures notably Srimad Bhagavatha Purana accept the Buddha as one the avatars of Vishnu. There are of course numerous dissenting scriptures. Srimad Bhagavatha explains the teaching of the Buddha as:” The Buddha taught that material existence is dukha; and that there is samudaya, a cause of material existence; and because there is a cause, there is also nirodha, a way to remove material existence. That way is marga, the path of righteousness”. Naradiya Samhita (1, 60) describes the Buddha as a great sage with limitless compassion and self restraint (muni varo vasi); and as emanation of Pradyumna the Vrishni hero and son of Vasudeva-krishna.

      Please check The Buddha iconography in Hindu texts for more on depiction of the Buddha in the Hindu tests.

      Please keep talking.

      Regards

       
      • sreenivasaraos

        March 19, 2015 at 8:31 am

        Dear Rao,

        The confusion is due to the fact that Adi Sankara challenged the Jains,Buddhists and Sankya philosophy.Buddha/Buddhism rejected the God theory ( No Brahmam ) and has confusion on existence of Atma – a stand different from Upanishads.

        They accept only two basics Pratyatcham and Yugam in their philosophy ( and do not accept Vaaku,Upamanam,Arthapathi,and anubalapthi.)

        Those 1200 years you mentioned was dominated by Buddhism ( source : Sahitya academy winner R.S. Nalla prumal in Brhma Rahasyam ) who were non believers.

        Revival started by the three Acharyas – Sankara,Ramanuja and Madhwa.

        That is why I found it strange that some puranas describe Buddha an avatar.There is no question of Buddha’s great findings and establishment of a great path of enlightenment – but they are not in conformity with the other popular sects of Hinduism and the established rituals glorifying the Gods or their avatars.So too are Jains.

        NKR

         

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