Advaita alike in the Bhagavata and Skanda Puranas

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V Subrahmanian

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Aug 1, 2022, 7:25:34 AMAug 1
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Advaita alike in the Bhagavata and Skanda Puranas

The following premise is conveyed by this sloka from the Sruti Gita of the Bhagavata:

श्रीमद्भागवतपुराणम्/स्कन्धः १०/उत्तरार्धः/अध्यायः ८७

स्वकृतविचित्रयोनिषु विशन्निव हेतुतया
तरतमतश्चकास्स्यनलवत् स्वकृतानुकृतिः ।
अथ वितथास्वमूष्ववितथां तव धाम समं
विरजधियोऽनुयन्त्यभिविपण्यव एकरसम् ॥ १९ ॥

Meaning: Brahman shines in the variegated bodies it has created. An illustration of this: Agni pervades all inflammable substances and resides there in potential form. This Brahman, which is one-natured, is realized by those who have attained Vairagya, dispassion, to worldly matters, as the true substance, the Real principle, in the unreal bodies.

श्रीमद्भागवतपुराणम्/स्कन्धः १०/पूर्वार्धः/अध्यायः १४

https://sa.wikisource.org/s/twj
एकस्त्वमात्मा पुरुषः पुराणः
सत्यः स्वयंज्योतिरनन्त आद्यः ।
नित्योऽक्षरोऽजस्रसुखो निरञ्जनः
पूर्णाद्वयो मुक्त उपाधितोऽमृतः ॥ २३ ॥

The Supreme Being is One, the Soul of all, the One who resides in all, Purana (ancient), Satya (Real), Swayamjyotisvarupa, (self-effulgent) Ananta (infinite), Aadya (the foremost), Nitya (eternal), Akshara (undecaying), Nityasukha Svarupa (ever blissful), Niranjana (free of blemish), Purna (Full, Complete), Non-dual, Detached from bodily attributes (Nirupadhika) and Amrita (deathless). These are all epithets of Brahman/Atman.

तस्मादिदं जगदशेषमसत्स्वरूपं
स्वप्नाभमस्तधिषणं पुरुदुःखदुःखम् ।
त्वय्येव नित्यसुखबोधतनावनन्ते
मायात उद्यदपि यत् सदिवावभाति ॥ २२ ॥ 10.14.22

This whole world is of the nature of non-existence, asat, like a dream. That which is non-sentient, that which is miserable, that which is produced by maya in the adhisthana, substratum, called Paramatma, is just that which appears to exist.

This expression, 'sadiva avabhAti', can be found in Shankara's Bha. Gita Bhasya:

[BGB 13.26 निरस्तसर्वोपाधिविशेषं ज्ञेयं ब्रह्मस्वरूपेण यः पश्यति, क्षेत्रं च मायानिर्मितहस्तिस्वप्नदृष्टवस्तुगन्धर्वनगरादिवत् ‘असदेव सदिव अवभासते’ इति एवं निश्चितविज्ञानः यः, तस्य यथोक्तसम्यग्दर्शनविरोधात् अपगच्छति मिथ्याज्ञानम् ।

2.16: ‘विकारोऽयमसन्नेव मरीचिजलवन्मिथ्यावभासते’ ]

In these verses of the Bhagavata the main tenets of Advaita that Brahman alone appears as the Jiva and that the world is not real, stand out clearly.

In the sequel, similar Advaita principles can be found in the Suta Samhita section of the Skanda Purana:

https://sanskritdocuments.org/doc_giitaa/brahmagiitaaskanda.html

स न जीवः शिवादन्यो यो भुङ्क्ते कर्मणां फलम् ।
भेदाभावाच्चितश्चेत्यं न कर्मफलमर्हति ॥ २७॥

The Jiva enjoying karmaphala is none other than Shiva. Since the observed world is not different from the illuminating spirit, the karma-experiencing by the spirit is untenable.

[This is a translation of the well-known Dwa Suparna mantra of the Mundakopanishad of the Atharvaveda:

द्वा सुपर्णा सयुजा सखाया समानं वृक्षं परिषस्वजाते।
तयोरन्यः पिप्पलं स्वाद्वत्त्यनश्नन्नन्यो अभिचाकशीति ॥
समाने वृक्षे पुरुषो निमग्नोऽनिशया शोचति मुह्यमानः।
जुष्टं यदा पश्यत्यन्यमीशमस्य महिमानमिति वीतशोकः ॥
यदा पश्यः पश्यते रुक्मवर्णं कर्तारमीशं पुरुषं ब्रह्मयोनिम्‌।
तदा विद्वान्‌ पुण्यपापे विधूय निरञ्जनः परमं साम्यमुपैति ॥

In the beginning the enjoyer of karma misunderstands himself as jiva, but gradually he realizes that he is the spirit witnessing the experience of the karmic fruit and says 'I am not the body; I am the witness of that,' and gradually becomes that very Brahman that is the witness consciousness. This premise of Advaita is conveyed here in Skandapurana by these verses.]

अतः सर्वजगत्साक्षी चिद्रूपः परमेश्वरः ।
अद्वितीयो महानन्दः क्रीडया भोगमर्हति ॥ २८॥

Therefore Parameshwara, the witnessing spirit of the whole world, is unique, transcendental form. He seems to experience self-created bhoga.

जीवरूप इव स्थित्वा यः क्रीडति पुरत्रये ।
स न जीवः सदा शम्भुः सत्यमेव न संशयः ॥ ३५॥

Appearing as a jiva, embodied, in the states of waking, dream and sleep, he experiences all joy and sorrow. There is no doubt that he is Shambhu.

ततस्तु जातं सकलं विचित्रं सत्यवत्सुराः ।
स सत्योऽसत्यसाक्षित्वाच्चित्सुखं तथा ॥ ३६॥

This world of variety created by him seems real, though unreal. The only truth, the Lord is the witness of this unreal world.

[These slokas are annotations of the mantras of the Kaivalyopanishad of the Atharva shakha :

https://sanskritdocuments.org/doc_upanishhat/kaivalya.html

पुरत्रये क्रीडति यश्च जीवस्ततस्तु जातं सकलं विचित्रम् ।
आधारमानन्दमखण्डबोधं यस्मिँल्लयं याति पुरत्रयं च ॥ १४॥ ]

प्रेमास्पदत्वादद्वैतो भेदाभावात्सुरर्षभाः ।

This individual Atma Chaitanya, which is the abode of Supreme Love, is not different from the Supreme Brahman. So it is advaita svarupa.

Thus, in the Bhagavata, which tells about the supremacy of Vishnu, and in the part of the Skanda Purana, the Suta Samhita, which teaches the supremacy of Shiva, the main tenets of Vedanta such as Jiva - Brahman identity, the unreality of bondage and the world can be seen explicitly without the need for any interpretation. Hari-Hara unity also stands out here.

Our respectful obeisance to ShrI Swayamprakasha Yati, the commentator of Shankara's Harimeedey Stotra, who pointed out this similarity of Advaitic thought in these two Puranas.

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Om Tat Sat






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