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Interpolations in the Mahabharata denying Vishnu's supremacy


When discussing the Parabrahman of Sruti, Smriti, IthihAsa and purAnA, it becomes clear upon a cursory read that it is only sriman nArAyaNa  who has been praised by all the devas, rishis, jnAnis and even by some asuras (shishupAla, mAricha and even rAvaNa have admitted it) as the possessor of infinitely auspicious attributes, the husband of shrI, the foremost of gods, who alone is worthy of worship, the sole bestower of moksha and the master of all jIvas.

So far, we know how shruti praises nArAyaNa. We have seen how the rAmAyaNa and mahAbhArata praise nArAyaNa. We know how to classify the purAnAs and understand their true intent of declaring the parathvam of sriman nArAyaNa. We know how the brahma sutrAs declare pAncharAtra Agamas are alone authentic as compared to the shaiva and shakta agamas.

To those who are averse to these truths and find all the shAstras against their viewpoints, the only tactic they employ is to take shelter of various stray verses in the mahAbhArAta that they keep repeating endlessly. There are certain portions in the mahAbhArata which superficially appear to praise Rudra as supreme. But upon a logical examination of these sections, one can conclude that:

  1. These sections are legitimate interpolations,
  2. There are many verses ascribing limitations to Rudra, establishing his status as a jivA and born of Brahma,
  3. These verses which supposedly declare his supremacy negate themselves in the end!

Therefore, it would be good to examine what the mahAbhArata says. Considering that every vishnu dveShi immediately quotes the concerned sections from the mahAbhArata when cornered, it is fruitful to dedicate an entire article to this subject.

Note that the mahAbhArata is a very large text and we may not produce the exact Sanskrit quotes in this article, as it would take too long to find. But we will do our best – and hope that the readers trust our integrity in this matter and possibly find the verses for themselves.


The mahAbhArata starts with “nArAyaNam namaskR^itya naram chaiva narOttamam…” and ends with “AlODya sarva shAstrANi vicArya ca punaH punaH idamekaM suniShpannaM dhyeyon nArAyaNaH sadA”.

The numerous statements in the various parvas describing the supremacy of Vishnu, the identification of Krishna as the Parabrahman, the presence of the Gita and Vishnu sahasranAmA, the abode of Vishnu described as inaccessible to all but jnAnIs and a world from which one does not come back (analogous to “anAvrtti sabdat” and “na ca punarAvartate”) and the loud proclamations of various rishis are all present here and quoted by various vedAntins to affirm that sriman nArAyaNa is the supreme deity.

For a detailed knowledge, please consult various works of vedAntins which quote these pramANas.


Rudra is described as being born of nArAyaNa, the son of Brahma and as a jivA who cannot grant moksha in various sections of the mahAbhArata. Here are select points:

1) Rudra was born from Vishnu

We have already quoted the section from sAnti parva where Krishna describes that he worshipped the antaryAmin of Rudra. He also states there that Rudra is born of his wrath, and that Rudra carries out the function of dissolution, simply as an agent being instructed by Sriman Narayana.

In the same sAnti parva, Arjuna asks Krishna the following:

Arjuna -“While felling the enemies with arrows in the battlefield, I find a Person standing ahead of me. He is brilliant like Agni, with a Trisula in the hand. In whichever direction he goes, my enemies in that direction are burnt and killed by him. I follow him and attack the same persons, who have already been attacked by him. Onlookers are unaware of this truth and think that my enemies have indeed been attacked and felled by me.”

To this, Krishna replies,

Krishna – “Under my protection, you have won a great victory in Battle. Know, O Son of Kunti, that he whom you saw going before you in battle was none other than Rudra also known as Devadeva and Kapardin. They say he is Kala (time or reckoner of death for souls), Born of my Wrath. Those foes you have slain were, in fact slain by him. Hence adore with a controlled mind, that Umapati, Devadeva, of immeasurable greatness, Maheswara, the Changeless (in yoga).”

Note the bolded words, “Born of my Wrath”. This shows again, as in many, many quotes, that Rudra was born of nArAyaNa. Now, we in all honesty, do not deny the greatness Krishna ascribes to him. He is changeless in yoga, he is a great deva, etc. But in a particular saivite site (which we will not care to provide the link for), while quoting the Sanskrit texts for this verse, they distort it as follows:

यस्तु तेह्यग्रतो याति युद्धे संप्रत्युपस्थिते ।
तं विद्धि रुद्रं कौन्तेय.................

Note the dots. The site, a shaiva one, from which I copied and pasted the Sanskrit verses conveniently deletes the part where it says Rudra was born of Krishna’s wrath and just adds dots in its place, while talking about the other things!

Thus, Rudra’s birth is confirmed. One can check Santi parva for these quotes.

2) Brahma-Rudra dialogue in Shanti Parva

And again, in the Shanti Parva, we have the following incident where Brahma declares Siva is his son, and Siva again addressed Brahma as his father:

atrApy udAharantImam itihAsaM purAtanam
brahmaNA saha saMvAdaM tryambakasya vizAM pate

“In this connection is cited the old narrative of the discourse between Brahma, O king, and the Three-eyed Mahadeva.”

(skipping a few verses that describe the Ocean of Milk and the mountain on which Brahma resides)

atha tatrAsatas tasya caturvaktrasya dhImataH
lalATaprabhavaH putraH ziva AgAd yadRcchayA
AkAzenaiva yogIzaH purA trinayanaH prabhuH

“While the four-faced Brahma of great intelligence was seated there, his son Siva, who had sprung from his forehead encountered him one day in course of his wanderings through the universe. In days of yore, the Three-eyed Siva endued with puissance and high Yoga, while proceeding along the sky, beheld Brahma seated on that mountain”

tataH khAn nipapAtAzu dharaNIdharamUrdhani
agrataz cAbhavat prIto vavande cApi pAdayoH

“Therefore, he (Siva) dropped down quickly on its top. With a cheerful heart he presented himself (to Brahma) and worshipped at his (Brahma’s) feet.”

taM pAdayor nipatitaM dRSTvA savyena pANinA
utthApayAmAsa tadA prabhur ekaH prajApatiH

Beholding Mahadeva prostrated at his feet, Brahma took him up with his hand. Brahma, that puissant and one Lord of all creatures thus raised Mahadeva up, ”

uvAca cainaM bhagavAMz cirasyAgatam Atmajam
svAgataM te mahAbAho diSTyA prApto 'si me 'ntikam
kaccit te kuzalaM putra svAdhyAyatapasoH sadA
nityam ugratapAs tvaM hi tataH pRcchAmi te punaH

“The Grandsire said, 'Welcome art thou, O thou of mighty arms. By good luck I see thee after such a long time come to my presence. I hope, O son, that everything is right with thy penances and thy Vedic studies and recitations. Thou art always observant of the austerest penances. Hence I ask thee about the progress and well-being of those penances of thine!”

Then, Rudra replies as follows:

tvatprasAdena bhagavan svAdhyAyatapasor mama
kuzalaM cAvyayaM caiva sarvasya jagatas tathA

Rudra said, 'O illustrious one, through thy grace, all is well with my penances and Vedic studies. It is all right, again, with the universe.

(Then Brahma explains to Rudra the meaning of ‘Purusha’. We find here two invaluable shlokas that show the supremacy of Sriman Narayana):

zRNu putra yathA hy eSa puruSaH zAzvato 'vyayaH
akSayaz cAprameyaz ca sarvagaz ca nirucyate
na sa zakyas tvayA draSTuM mayAnyair vApi sattama
saguNo nirguNo vizvo jJAnadRzyo hy asau smRtaH
azarIraH zarIreSu sarveSu nivasaty asau
vasann api zarIreSu na sa lipyati karmabhiH
mamAntarAtmA tava ca ye cAnye dehasaMjJitAH
sarveSAM sAkSibhUto 'sau na grAhyaH kena cit kva cit

Brahma said,--'Listen, O son, as to how that Purusha is indicated. He is eternal and immutable. He is undeteriorating and immeasurable. He pervades all things. O best of all creatures, that Purusha cannot be seen by thee, or me, or others. Those that are endued with the understanding and the senses but destitute of self-restraint and tranquility of soul cannot obtain a sight of him. The Supreme Purusha is said to be one that can be seen with the aid of knowledge alone. Though divested of body, He dwells in every body. Though dwelling, again, in bodies, He is never touched by the acts accomplished by those bodies. He is my Antaratma (inner soul). He is thy inner soul. He is the all-seeing Witness dwelling within all embodied creatures and engaged in marking their acts. No one can grasp or comprehend him at any time.

The last two lines have been quoted by Sri Adi Shankara in Brahma Sutra Bhashya (2.1.1) showing that this section, unlike other Saiva interpolations in the Mahabharata, are indeed authentic.

After this, Brahma declares to Rudra who exactly this Purusha is:

tatra yaH paramAtmA hi sa nityaM nirguNaH smRtaH
sa hi nArAyaNo jJeyaH sarvAtmA puruSo hi saH

'The truth is that He who is the Supreme Soul is always devoid of Rajas and Tamas (nirguNa). He is nArAyaNa. He is the universal soul, and he is the one Purusha.'

3) Rudra cannot grant Moksha

In the tirtha yAtra section of vana parva, Arjuna relates how Shiva appeared to him as a hunter and gave him the pasupathastra. Arjuna quotes Shiva as saying to him,

Shiva to Arjuna – “O hero, express the desire that dwelleth in thy heart. I will grant it. Except immortality alone, tell me as to the desire that is in thy heart.”

Note what Shiva says. He can grant any material boon, but not moksha. Because, moksham icchet janArdhanAt.

This is the translation at sacred texts. The link for this page is here:

Interested people can check out the Sanskrit to confirm the English translation.

4) Vishnu is the antaryAmin of Rudra

nArAyaNAtmako GYeyaH pANDaveya yuge yuge” – Santi parva, quoted earlier in the website says Rudra is nArAyaNatmaka.

viṣṇuś cātmā bhagavato bhavasyāmita tejasaḥ” – Karna parva, quoted earlier, says that Vishnu is the Self of Bhava who has great tejas (because of it).

These have been quoted here already in various other articles.

5) Rudra does not act without the approval of nArAyaNa, the supreme

The mahAbHArata contains the story of how 5 Indras were cursed by Shiva to be born as the 5 pAndavas. Shiva then, takes these Indras to nArAyaNa and asks approval for his actions as follows:

“Accompanied by all those Indras, the god Isana then went unto Narayana of immeasurable energy, the Infinite, the Immaterial, the Uncreate, the Old, the Eternal, and the Spirit of these universes without limits. Narayana approved of everything. Those Indras then were born in the world of men. And Hari (Narayana) took up two hairs from his body, one of which hairs was black and the other white. And those two hairs entered the wombs of two of the Yadu race, by name Devaki and Rohini.”

Note how nArAyaNa is described here as the supreme in relation to Rudra and Indra, whereas Isana (Rudra) does not enjoy such adjectives.

The link for that incident is here. Interested readers can dig out the Sanskrit verses:
6) Rudra is described as a jivAtmA with extended jnAnA

The same karna pArva which was quoted for showing how Rudra has Vishnu as his antaryAmin also says the following,

sarvātmānaṃ mahātmānaṃ yenāptaṃ sarvam ātmanā

This is how the text describes Rudra as he appeared in  numerous forms before the devas for the destruction of Tripura.

Now, this may appear as though it is praising Rudra as all-pervading, but those knowledgeable of the texts will interpret it as follows:

“He (Rudra), whose mind (jnAnA) pervades everywhere, so he is sarvAtmA. He is a mahatma due to his jnAnam. He is a friend, thus, to all the jivAs (as he is a jnAni who is equally disposed, sees no-one as an enemy and hence gives them knowledge of Vishnu).”

The sruti vAkya “brahmavid brahmaiva bhavati” says that the jivA becomes brahman on knowking brahman. Here, jivA is called brahman because of the greatness of its jnana (brahmatva means that which is great). The jiva has what is called dharma bhUta jnAnA, which radiates from it like light from a lamp. Just as light from a lamp is obstructed by placing a hand over it, karma contracts this radiating knowledge. The jnAnIs, who perform penance, get rid of these karmas and the knowledge blossoms forth like light. This knowledge radiates infinitely in moksha as per “sarva ha pasyam pasyati..” vAkya (he sees everything in moksha) and the jivA is omniscient.

So, “sarvAtma” says that Rudra’s knowledge has expanded greatly.  “AtmA” means “Buddhi” here. It does not mean “sarvAntarAtma”, but only a pervasiveness of buddhi, ie, knowledge. An expanded knowledge means one can remain anu (since jiva is anu) but by virtue of the knowledge, one can assume several bodies. So, Rudra was able to appear in many bodies. Similarly, Saubhari muni assumed many bodies as well. This also explains how he appears in linga and other forms. Unlike nArAyaNa who pervades by his svarUpa and svabhAva and hence is present everywhere, devas like Shiva are anu svarUpa, but pervade by their svabhAva (jnAnam) and control their lingas and other vigrahas/bodies.

Thus, in the face of all these pramanAs, it is not possible to call Rudra as  paramAtma.

Interpolations in the Drona Parva and Anushasana Parva ascribing 
supremacy to Rudra

Vaishnavas never shy away from interpreting any text properly. We never use the word “interpolation” as an excuse to deny the truth, as many distorters of sAstra do. But undeniably, there are times when we have to accept that some minimal amount of texts are interpolated.

Ancient vedAntins as early as the 13th century have admitted that the mahAbhArata has been interpolated. So, there are certain passages such as these:

Characteristics of Saiva interpolations in Mahabharata

The readers will also notice that all these shiva sections:

  1. Only talk of shiva as supreme by first saying Krishna/Vishnu worships him, etc
  2. Always say that Rudra is praised by the Satarudriyam.

In contrast, take the genuine sections - there Vishnu is praised as supreme, but not always by saying Rudra is subordinate (only in relevant places). And these portions do not say, "he is praised by narayana suktam" but simply say, "he is praised by all the vedas". The interpolators could not think beyond the fact that a supreme deity has all the veda addressed to him rather than just one section and were only thinking of the Satarudriyam which is wrongly interpreted as Shiva - Hence, they unwittingly give themselves away by parroting that Rudra is praised by the 100 mantras etc.

Discussion of the specific instances of interpolations

We shall first discuss the first two interpolations and then come to the third.

The first link is the FIRST INTERPOLATION which contains a dialogue between vyAsa and ashwattama. Ashwattama was angered by the fact that his astra did not affect Krishna and Arjuna and inquires veda vyAsa as to what is the reason for this. Vyasa (or rather, the interpolator speaking from the viewpoint of vyAsa) makes the claim that nara-nArAyaNa worshipped Rudra in their avatArA, who gave them a boon that they would not be affected by it and goes on to praise Shiva as a supreme deity of sorts.

The SECOND INTERPOLATION immediately occurs after this section, when Arjuna inquires about Rudra going in front and killing everybody which prompts our poor rishi veda vyAsa, a parama vaishnava to give an account of some names of Rudra from a shaiva context!!

Here, the unfortunate srI veda vyAsa is again made the scapegoat for some vested interests. This section need not be considered as an interpolation if we concede that Rudra is the devata for the satarudriyam and hence, the meanings can be given superficial value at the most. But even so, the context is not right and the meanings given do not conform to shAstra. For one thing, Arjuna already asks Krishna elsewhere about the deity who is going in front and killing everyone, upon which Krishna replies, "That is Devadeva, Maheswara, who is born of my wrath and worthy of your respect" as quoted elsewhere in the Santi parva. This incident is quoted by Saivites as well (who conveniently turn a blind eye to the fact that Krishna says Rudra was born of his wrath as shown earlier). If so, what was the need to ask Vyasa again, or Krishna, if you consider the latter the second time?

The proof that these two portions are interpolations are manifold -

- Nowhere in any text besides this interpolated section is it said that nara-nArAyaNa avataras, whose purpose was to reveal the glories of the nArAyaNa sukta, worshipped Rudra.

- The spurious passage seems to draw from certain genuine sections like HarivamSha, where Rudra says that Krishna will become more valiant than him!

- Elsewhere, the mahAbhArata says that Rudra came to BadarikAshramam and was engaged in a fierce fight with nara-nArAyaNa, which culminated in nArAyaNa strangling Rudra’s throat till it became black. Then, Brahma appeared and chastised Rudra and told him to worship the sages Nara-nArAyaNa, who were avatArAs of the supreme brahman, sriman nArAyaNa. So, this interpolation which talks of rishis nara-nArAyaNa worshipping Rudra contradicts the events stated in the mahAbHArata itself!

-  srI mAdhvA's mahAbhArata tAtparya nirnaya clearly says the following about this incident - that Ashwattama was furious about the ineffectiveness of his astra on Krishna and Arjuna. Veda Vyasa consoled Ashwattama and asked him to resume fighting. Sri Madhva does not refer to Rudra anywhere, whereas he does not hesitate to include some other incidents involving Shiva, such as Krishna showing Rudra to Arjuna for obtaining Pashupata astra, etc. and takes the time to interpret it in a vaishnava light.

Let us see how madhvAcArya, who is the vedAntin to openly say that the mahAbhArata had been tampered with even as early as in his time, summarizes this section in his mahAbhArata tAtparya nirnaya.

“Ashvatthama arrived. He employed Narayana Astra. Sri Krishna asked Pandavas to offer Pranamas to this astra and escape. All others followed Sri Krishna and escaped. However, Bhima did not follow. The astra fell on the head of Bhima, a fire erupted around. Arjuna covered Bhima by Varuna astra. Sri Krishna and Arjuna entered into the chariot of Bhima and brought him out of chariot. The fire of Narayanastra did not burn this three.Narayana Astra has to be respected by all. However, when an enemy employs it a Kshatriya has to fight it. Therefore Bhima did not offer pranama to it. Moreover Vayu is abhimani of the Astra and hence the fire did not hurt him. Then Ashvatthama employed Agnyastra which destroyed one akshauhini and Pandavas army. Arjuna escaped with the help of Shri Krishna. Ashwatthama became disgusted by this and threw away his bow. Sri Vedavyasa consoled him and asked him to continue to fight.” (~ mahAbhArata tAtparya nirnaya)

Note that madhvAcArya does NOT talk about vyAsa singing praises of Rudra here. He merely says vyAsa consoled Ashwattama. He also does NOT say vyAsa sung praises of Rudra to Ashwattama and does not mention anything about vyAsa speaking to Arjuna about Shiva. This clearly shows that these passages did not exist during his time.

SrI veda vyAsa was the rishi who raised his hands above his head and emphatically said the following - Satyam Satyam Punassatyam Udhrutya Bhujamuchyate Vedaachaastram Param Naasti Na Daivam Keshavaat Param.

Having said that, how could these portions, which talk of vyAsa praising Rudra and belittling nArAyaNa, be regarded as valid?

Lastly, one may make a claim that sri madhva purposely skipped explaining this. One need not be a Dvaitin (and yours truly is not one) to easily say that this is not possible because critics in that era would have immediately attacked any transgresses such as deliberately avoiding sections. Furthermore, srI mAdhva does not omit uncomfortable passages. Take another look at his interpretation of a particular incident in the mahAbHArata tAtparya nirnaya:

“If he (Arjuna) was not able to kill him (jayatradha) within the stipulated time he would offer himself to fire. At that night he had a dream. During that dream he was taken by Sri Krishna to Lord Shiva who strengthened Pashupatastra mantra already given to him. Though Sri Krishna could have fully protected him he wanted that the bestower of this astra should protect him.” (~MahabhArata tAtparya nirnaya, Abhimanyu vadham).

Notice here, madhva does not avoid mentioning that Shiva appeared in a dream to Arjuna, but only seeks to justify the supremacy of Vishnu in this incident. Whether you accept his explanation is another thing, but there is no denying his integrity in quoting even incidents which seem to support shiva on a face-value.

(The link to the source for srI madhva’s quotes is here -

All this proves that he would not have ignored the previous passages if they had been genuine. So, they are interpolations indeed.

The above incident, in which Shri Krishna leads Arjuna to Lord Siva in his drem, actually brings us to the THIRD INTERPOLATION under consideration:

There are certain people claiming that flowers offered by Arjuna to Krishna reached Shiva. They quote this verse -

"taṃ copahāraṃ svakṛtaṃ naiśaṃ naityakam ātmanaḥ |
dadarśa tryambakābhyāśe vāsudeva niveditam ||"

which is present in Book 7, LXXXI of Mahabharata (

That whole portion seems to be another interpolated section. The reason we are saying this is because this incident, of Arjuna wanting the pashupatastra by propitiating shiva, is mentioned by nammAzhvAr in tiruvAymozhi (2-8-6) and the following explanation is given by the Srivaishnava AcAryas:

In the battle against the Kauravas, Arjuna needed the  weapon known as 'pAshupata astra' which could be had from Siva after due propitiation. The compassionate  Krishna, however, told Arjuna the shortcut whereby he could offer at the former's feet the garland intended for Pasupati. Arjuna did accordingly and that very night, Shiva appeared in Arjuna's dream, wearing that very same garland on the head and presented the weapon in question......Is there at ail any need to dispute the self-evident glory of Krishna?

In place of this incident, the reader should see what the interpolation says in the mahabharata:

The reason why we are confident it is an interpolation is not only justified by the tiruvAymozhi's version, but also because:

  1. Once again there is a reference to the satarudriyam which all these interpolations employ, plus,
  2. There is zero philosophical content in the praise of Shiva in anyway whatsoever.

In the commentary to tiruvAymozhi called “arumpadavurai”, the following statement is found:

இவ்விடத்திலே,पार्थो विजेता मधुसूदनस्य पादारविन्दार्पित चित्रपुष्पं । ददर्श गङ्गाधरमौलिमध्ये बभूव वीरः कृतनिश्चयार्थः ॥ என்ற ஶ்லோகம் அனுஸந்தேயம்

Translation: Here, the following shloka is fit to be remembered:

पार्थो विजेता मधुसूदनस्य पादारविन्दार्पित चित्रपुष्पं ।
ददर्श गङ्गाधरमौलिमध्ये बभूव वीरः कृतनिश्चयार्थः ॥

[Partha, the victor, saw the flowers offered at the lotus feet of Lord Madhusudana on the head of Lord Gangadhara i.e., Siva. By this, he became clear-minded.]

We have searched the above mentioned verse both in the BORI Critical Edition, as well as in the Kumbakonam edition. Both editions do not have this verse, even in the "appendix of additional verses not in the critical edition".

We should also note that villiputtUr AzhvAr, who rendered the Mahabharatam in Tamil as villibhAratam, has also recorded this incident as per the authentic story narrated by Vaishnava AzhvArs and AcAryas, showing that it was indeed present in the original version:

"கண்ணன்மேல் அணி மலர் அனைத்தும் காய் கனல்
வண்ணன்மேல் காண்டலும், மனம் களிப்புறா,
'எண்ணின், மேல் இரண்டு என இலது' என்று"
"With all the flowers that were offered to Krishna seen on Rudra, with a clear mind,
Arjuna declared ‘There are no two tattvas equal to each other. There is only one’."

Note that there is no reference here to Krishna and Arjuna praising Rudra with the shatarudrIya mantras. In addition, Villibharatam has wide acceptance as the authentic Tamil rendering of Mahabharata even by Saivites in Tamil Nadu.

Finally, Pillai Perumal Iyengar (Azhagiya Manavala Dasar), a Vaishnavite poet has written a verse (in Tamil) in his work "parabrahma vivekam" which goes as:

மங்கைப் பாகன் சடையில்  வைத்த கங்கை யார்ப தத்துநீர்
வனச மேவு முனிவ னுக்கு மைந்த னான தில்லையோ
செங்கை யாலி இரந்த வன்க பால மாற கற்றினார்
செய்ய தாளின் மலர ரன்சி ரத்தி லான தில்லையோ
வெங்கண் வேழ மூல மென்ன வந்த துங்கள் தேவனோ
வீறு வாண னமரி லன்று விறல ழிந்த தில்லையோ
அங்கண் ஞால முண்ட போது வெள்ளி வெற்ப கன்றதோ
ஆத லால ரங்க னன்றி வேறு தெய்வ மில்லையே
The waters originating from whose feet adorn the head of the one with the lady Uma half?
Is he not the son of the four-faced Brahma, who is seated on the lotus?
When Rudra roamed about asking for alms with a skull stuck in his palm, who relieved him?
Didn’t the flowers offered to the Holy Feet reach the crown of Hara?
When Gajendra cried out “Oh AdimUla”, was it your Lord Siva who came to rescue?
And did he not lose his strength while protecting bANAsura?
Oh, and was the kailAsa mountain left out when Lord Vishnu swallowed the whole Universe?
Hence, my dear friends, there is no Lord other than Ranganatha, the Lord of Srirangam

Note that the fourth line obviously relates to the incident in the Mahabharata that Vaishnava refer to. The incident is also recalled in the text kUresha vijayam.

Since "parabrahma vivekam" and "kUresha vijayam" are works addressing Shaivite opponents, the Acharyas would not have used incidents which are little-known or contentious. Everything else in the verse above relates to well-known parAkramas of Vishnu.

Lord Siva obviously likes to wear on his crown anything that was offered to Sriman Narayana’s feet. This is well known from the fact that he wears River Ganga on his head, which in the first place, constitutes of the waters that washed Lord Vishnu’s feet. This is very well attested in the Vishnu Purana.  Hence no wonder Lord Siva wore the flowers that were offered by Arjuna at Lord Krishna’s feet.

The FOURTH INTERPOLATION is a favorite one for the Shaivas in debates. This is known as the "upamanyu upAkhyAna / shiva sahasranAma adhyAya" by them.

This section too has all the characteristics of interpolation that have been highlighted here previously, considering statements in it such as (K M Ganguli’s translation):

"Among the Vedas thou art the Samans, among the Yajushes thou art the Sata-Rudriyam"

"Narayana also, uttering the Jyestha Saman, sang the praises of Bhava. Sakra also did the same with the aid of those foremost of Vedic Mantras, viz., the Sata-Rudriam."

None of the authentic works, by advaitins, dvaitins, vishishtadvaitins, or even shaivas before the 16th Century ever say that there is an "upamanyu upAkhyAna" in the Mahabharata where Krishna is said to have taken up Saiva initiation from sage upamanyu to worship Siva. If the portion that we allege to be a later interpolation was indeed genuine, the fact that everyone, including Saivas, were silent about them is inexplicable, considering that there are very few such instances where Siva is said to be the Supreme Being even in the current versions of Mahabharata (In contrast, there are innumerable instances where Sriman Narayana is declared to be the Supreme Being in the Mahabharata).

There is only one relatively old Saiva text which says that Krishna took Siva Deeksha from Upamanyu. This reference is found in the parapakkam section of the work sivajnAna siddhiyar by one Saiva known as aruNandi sivAcArya, who dates to later than CE 11th Century. Here again, it is not stated that the incident is found in the Mahabharata. Considering this, it is quite likely that the inspiration for aruNandi sivAcArya’s remark could have been kUrma purANa, a tAmasa purANa, where a similar incident is narrated:

atha devo hṛṣīkeśo bhagavān puruṣottamaḥ /
tatāpa ghoraṃ putrārthaṃ nidānaṃ tapasastapaḥ // KūrmP_1,24.1 //
svecchayāpyavatīrṇo 'sau kṛtakṛtyo 'pi viśvadhṛk /
cacāra svātmano mūlaṃ bodhayan bhāvamaiśvaram // KūrmP_1,24.2 //
jagāma yogibhirjuṣṭaṃ nānāpakṣisamākulam /
āśramaṃ tūpamanyorvai munīndrasya mahātmanaḥ // KūrmP_1,24.3 //

This is quite plausible since all other references given by aruNandi sivAcArya, such as lingodbhava, Siva defeating avatAras of Vishnu in various forms such as sharabha-mUrti, etc. are found only in tAmasic purANas.

Though saiva nAyanmArs of Tamil Nadu have praised upamanyu as a Saiva sage in the Tamil Saiva canon tirumuRai and other works, they have not mentioned anywhere that "the Mahabharata says that Krishna worshiped Shiva and chanted Shiva Sahasranama", or for that matter that Krishna took deekSha from upamanyu according to any scripture.

The inspiration for the interpolation in the Mahabharata, therefore, clearly seems to be the work of saiva nAyanmArs of Tamil Nadu who sang Siva to be superior to Vishnu in their works. The very fact that they don’t mention that Krishna took deekSha from upamanyu, despite praising upamanyu in several places, also points to the possibility that the incident has been interpolated into the kUrma purANa as well, finally finding its way into the Mahabharata editions.

We have now dealt with all the four sections in the Mahabharata where Siva is said to be the Supreme Being and superior to Sriman Narayana. This should be enough for the reader to get convinced that these sections are definite interpolations.


The shiva sahasranama has already been proven to be an interpolation in this article. Here we present to you further proof that clinches this from sri puttur swami, mahavidwan.

Excerpt from Q&A Section of "Srivaishnava Sudarshanam" Magazine by SRI U.Ve Krishnaswami Iyengar (Puttur Swami)

Question: The Indian Express dated 10th and 11th of October, 1979 contains an article, entitled, 'Glory of Siva', which is a summary of a talk given by Anna Subramanya Iyer at the Ramakrishna Mutt. It says that Lord Krishna worshiped Siva as primeval cause and that he received many boons from Siva and Parvathi. It also says that Krishna learnt the Siva Sahasranama from Upamanyu, which occurs in Anusaasana Parva of the Mahabharatha before Vishnu Sahasranama. Is this correct?

Answer: In the year 1910, the 'Vaidika Vardhani Mudraakshara Press' printed a version of Mahabharatha. After printing the 'Anusaasana Parva' of 252 chapters, it is mentioned that 22 chapters occurring between the [sic] 576 and 642 (66 pages) is an interpolation (material added to the original). It is observed that Anna Subramanya Iyer had drawn his reference from this questionable portion of Anusaasana Parva. There is an interesting footnote on page 576, which provides six reasons to establish that the question portion of 22 chapters is an interpolation:
  1. The original palm leaves do not contain these questionable chapters.
  2. The commentators on Mahabharatha clearly mention that these chapters are not part of the original Mahabharatha, but drawn from 'Linga Puranam' and 'Adithya Puranam'.
  3. Vidyaranya, the well-known author of the abridged Mahabharatha, who has not left out a single episode of the original, does not touch these questionable 22 chapters in question.
  4. The original Mahabharatha has been translated from Sanskrit to Telugu by three poets of the 11th 13th and 14th centuries, namely, Nannaya Bhattu, Thikkana Somayaji and Erra Pragada and Thikkana Somayaji, who deals with the concerned Parva, does not mention anything about these questionable chapters.
  5. Commentators on Anusaasana Parva like Arjuna Misra, in their introduction have clearly mentioned that the questionable chapters are not found in most of original palm leaves. They have however commented on this chapter with a note of caution that they are interpolations only.
  6. These questionable chapters of the Anusaasana Parva are not compatible with the Bhagavath Gita, Moksha Dharma, Anu Gita etc., which clearly declare Narayana as the primeval cause and that deities like Brahma and Siva are His creations only.
All the great acharyas and commentators like Adi Sankara, medical and other treatises like 'Charaka Samhitha' etc, great Sanskrit classics like 'Kaadambari' etc. and thousands of other works do not have any reference to these questionable chapters. That Siva Sahasranamam is a competitive interpolation by adventuristic [sic] saivites will become apparent to not only unbiased scholars, but also to common people, who are familiar with the entire story of Mahabharatha. Just as there are interpolations in the Ramayana (aditya hrudayam) the Mahabharatha also contain weeds of the kind mentioned here.

LASTLY, there is another section in the santi parva itself where Daksha seems to praise Shiva as supreme and embarks on a long stuti. This could be either genuine or interpolated, but can be easily explained because Shiva says the following at the end:

Shiva tells Daksha - The religion, however, which I have extracted, is unparalleled, and productive of benefits on every side. It is open to men in all modes of life to practise it. It leads to Emancipation. It may be acquired in many years or through merit by persons who have restrained their senses. It is shrouded in mystery. They that are divested of wisdom regard it as censurable. It is opposed to the duties laid down in respect of the four orders of men and the four modes of life, and agrees with those duties in only a few particulars. They that are well-skilled in the science of (drawing) conclusions (from premises) can understand its propriety: and they who have transcended all the modes of life are worthy of adopting it. In days of yore, O Daksha, this auspicious religion called *****PASUPATA***** had been extracted by me. The proper observance of that religion produces immense benefits. Let those benefits be thine, O highly blessed one! Cast off this fever of thy heart.

Note the starred word.  This resolves all issues.

Shiva says that Daksha is following the Pasupata religion in praising him, thus showing that the adhikAris for such worship are pAshupata tAntrikas, who are outside the purview of vedAnta, and not vaidikas. And as everyone knows, the brahma sutras openly denounce the pAshupata matham and embraces the pAncharAtra. Even shaivas accept this fact. Shri Veda Vyasa himself states in the Mahabharata that the Pancharatra is entirely Vedic. For details, the interested reader can refer to Pancharatra adhikaraNa (2.2.40-43) in shrIbhAShya, and/or shrI yAmuna’s Agama prAmANya.

Since the mahAbhArata and the brahma sutras are not held contradictory to one another, the only way to interpret this as a genuine incident is if we consider that Daksha was following an inferior religion, given by Shiva on purpose. As Daksha has ahaMkAram (as evidenced by his insult of shiva) and his mind is not sAttvik, he follows a religion based on his inclinations. In which case, his stOtra to Shiva praising him as the supreme is but in accordance with paShupata matham and hence, veda virodham as declared in the brahma sutrAs. The mahAbhArata simply records that incident and does not endorse it.

Or, if one wants to consider this an interpolation, that is also possible. In which case, the interpolator was not obviously aware that the pAsupata matham had been condemned in the brahma sutrAs and unwittingly gave himself away. Either way, it does not affect anything since the pAsupata matham is considered unvedic and the brahma sutra is an unassailable pramAnam.

srI rAmAnujar gives many quotations from mahAbhArata where the pAncharAtra alone is recommended as the true essence of the vedas in his sri bhAshya. So, we need not worry about this portion and can indeed consider it as genuine although nobody has quoted it. Its mention of pashupata mathaM itself renders the stOtra on shiva invalid.

There is also one interpolation of a “hari-hara aikya stuti” in the HarivamSha purana in the section on bAnAsura yuddham. This is clearly an interpolation because bAnAsura charithram has been quoted by many sri vaishnava acharyas and this stuti has never been mentioned by any achAryA and not even by shaivas. Furthermore, this stuti seems to follow appayya dikshitar’s philosophy closely, which suggests that it was an interpolation as late as the 16th century. Lastly, even if we consider this stuti as genuine, it would be very easy to grammatically interpret it in favour of Vishnu parathvam. Statements such as “Shiva is of the form of Vishnu and vice-versa” can be interpreted in favour of nArAyaNa parathvam only. So, it doesn’t pose problems at all.

To all this, opponents would say, “why not consider the ‘vaishnava’ portions which contradict these interpolations as the real interpolations?” To that we reply,

  1. Those other ‘vaishnava’ portions are well-supported by other sAstra such as sruti, smriti, etc. The entire body of sAstra is vaishnava in reality.
  2. The other ‘vaishnava’ portions are well accepted as genuine and quoted by vidwAns of the past, whereas these interpolated ones have never been quoted.
  3. The sections we claim to be interpolations clash with other sections of the mahAbhArata itself.
  4. In order to support the interpolated versions, you either need to reconcile these interpolations to sruti and other smriti like rAmAyaNa, Gita, etc (which is impossible) and also reconcile with the other sections of the mahAbhArat itself which directly contradict the interpolations.
  5. We do  not, unlike others, randomly shout “interpolations”, but have provide logical proof of the same.

This concludes the article. This is aimed at making readers understand what to accept and what to reject logically. Unlike some biased people who reject anything they do not like as “interpolation”, such as even well-known and commentated portions of rAmAyaNa, gita etc without justification simply because it doesn’t support their views and without examining everything properly, Vaishnavas give a lot of reasoning and logic if we actually call anything spurious or interpolated. And even then, we have only found very few interpolations in actuality after careful examination. These are those few.

This should clarify everything.


  1. Any proof that the verses praising Lord Shiva in Mahabharata are interpolations? How valid are your posts?

    1. If you want a proof, read the main page of this blog fully. Here is a small extract if you don't have the time for it:

      There are interpolated Shaivite verses in current editions of Mahabharatam, which no Acharya before has used. Here is what all Acharyas, including Shankara quote from the Mahabharata and Harivamsa:

      "After having analyzed all the shastras critically many times, I can say for sure this one rule -- that nArAyaNa is always to be meditated upon" (AlODya sarva shAstrANi vicArya ca punaH punaH idam ekam suniShpannam dhyeyon nArAyaNaH sadA)

      "There is no shAstra higher than the Veda and there is no deity higher than Keshava". (vedAt shAstram param nAsti na daivam keshavAt param)

      "In the Vedas, Ramayana, and Mahabharata, Vishnu is alone proclaimed as the highest everywhere" (vede rAmAyaNe puNye bhArate ca bharataRShabhaH Adau madhye tathA cAntau viShNuH sarvatra gIyate) note: hence there is no dOsham in identifying Vishnu as the upAsya devatA in rudram, shvetAshvatAra upaniShad etc.

      The first and last verse above have been quoted by Sri Adi Shankara in Vishnu Sahasranama Bhashyam.

      In the Mahabharata, there is a samvAda between Shiva and Brahma about the nature of Parabrahman. Here Brahma addresses Shiva as his son, and tells Shiva that "the Supreme Brahman cannot be known by me, or by you. He is the Lord of all beings" and goes to identify the Supreme Purusha as Vishnu, Narayana. This part has been quoted by Ramanuja in Vedartha Sangraha, and more importantly by Shankara in Brahma Sutra Bhashyam 2.1.1.

      When this is the case, those Shaiva interpolations in which Vishnu is portrayed as subordinate to Shiva must be interpolations. These portions have never been quoted by Shankara, Ramanuja, or Madhva, or by any Shaivite before the 16th century.

    2. Why the whole blog, just read this article properly, this is the proof. When so many sections of the mahabharata, 1) talk about Shiva as a jivatma, 2) are quoted by ancient vidwans as proof of supremacy of vishnu, then how can there be other sections that, 1) praise shiva at the expense of vishnu, 2) are not quoted by any shaivites before the 16th century in favor of shiva?

      Indeed, how can both sections exist as part of the original text? Even hari-hara aikya cannot be arrived at by these portions as they are too extreme to be reconciled.

      Common sense and statements by vedantins about corruptions in the mahabharata as early as the 14th century (even vedanta desikan makes similar comments about the bogus upanishads existing today) clearly show that only one of these sections is true and the other is the interpolated. And seeing that the vishnu para portions have been quoted and accepted by all ancient scholars whereas the shiva sections find no takers until the period after appayya dikshitar, this article shows that the shaivite portions are interpolations.

      The icing on the cake is, the shaivite portions are very shallow philosophically, even the praises of shiva. See how the Vishnu Sahasranama is used as a philosophical tool to understand the names and meanings given by the veda (ref. Rudram, Manyu Suktam and Prayers of Sri Krishna to Shiva articles in this site to see how sahasranama is used). In contrast, the shiva sahasranama and other such interpolations are just a string of random names in a vain attempt to arrive at a contrived reconciliation.

      Lastly, note that we have analysed and provided pramanas for our stand, whereas others such as the person running the mahapashupatastra blog lack a basic knowledge of sanskrit, grammar and even do not consider the views of ancient scholars (including shaiva scholars before the 16th century) and lack depth in their articles.

  2. Dear readers,

    The shiva sahasranama has already been proven to be an interpolation in this article. Here we present to you further proof that clinches this from sri puttur swami, mahavidwan. Credit goes to HBB for researching this.


    Question: The Indian Express dated 10th and 11th of October, 1979 contains an article, entitled, 'Glory of Siva', which is a summary of a talk given by Anna Subramanya Iyer at the Ramakrishna Mutt. It says that Lord Krishna worshiped Siva as primeval cause and that he received many boons from Siva
    and Parvathi. It also says that Krishna learnt the Siva Sahasranama from Upamanyu, which occurs in Anusaasana Parva of the Mahabharatha before Vishnu Sahasranama. Is this correct?

    Answer: In the year 1910, the 'Vaidika Vardhani Mudraakshara Press' printed a version of Mahabharatha. After printing the 'Anusaasana Parva' of 252 chapters, it is mentioned that 22 chapters occurring between the [sic] 576 and 642 (66 pages) is an interpolation (material added to the original). It
    is observed that Anna Subramanya Iyer had drawn his reference from this questionable portion of Anusaasana Parva. There is an interesting footnote on page 576, which provides six reasons to establish that the question portion of 22 chapters is an interpolation.

    1. The original palm leaves do not contain these questionable chapters.
    2. The commentators on Mahabharatha clearly mention that these chapters are not part of the original Mahabharatha, but drawn from 'Linga Puranam' and 'Adithya Puranam'.
    3. Vidyaranya, the well-known author of the abridged Mahabharatha, who has not left out a single episode of the original, does not touch these questionable 22 chapters in question.
    4. The original Mahabharatha has been translated from Sanskrit to Telugu by three poets of the 11th 13th and 14th centuries, namely, Nannaya Bhattu, Thikkana Somayaji and Erra Pragada and Thikkana Somayaji, who deals with the concerned Parva, does not mention anything about these questionable
    5. Commentators on Anusaasana Parva like Arjuna Misra, in their introduction have clearly mentioned that the questionable chapters are not found in most of original palm leaves. They have however commented on this chapter with a note of caution that they are interpolations only.
    6. These questionable chapters of the Anusaasana Parva are not compatible with the Bhagavath Gita, Moksha Dharma, Anu Gita etc., which clearly declare Narayana as the primeval cause and that deities like Brahma and Siva are His creations only.

    All the great acharyas and commentators like Adi Sankara, medical and other treatises like 'Charaka Samhitha' etc, great Sanskrit classics like 'Kaadambari' etc. and thousands of other works do not have any reference to these questionable chapters. That Siva Sahasranamam is a competitive interpolation by adventuristic [sic] saivites will become apparent to not
    only unbiased scholars, but also to common people, who are familiar with the entire story of Mahabharatha. Just as there are interpolations in the Ramayana (aditya hrudayam) the Mahabharatha also contain weeds of the kind mentioned here.

  3. Can you please address the points in the following link -

    The blogger also claimed (in a discussion group) that madhwas accept Shiva sahasranama as authentic.

    1. Thanks. We are aware of this person's rants in that link and have examined them already. Some lone person arguing that Shiva Sahasranama is authentic cannot make it so given the evidence we have amassed.

      If you noticed, he has not addressed the core strongest points in our write-up. This is his style. There is no point in responding to each one of his comments. According to us, he lacks basic skills in logic and in developing an argument. He just parrots his long-held beliefs that he has accepted for years without critical examination. You would have realized this by now from the google groups discussions you have been having with him.

    2. Dear Sri Lakshminarayana K,

      We are always aware of what our opponents write. We do however, feel that only points which are worthy of some refutation need to be refuted. For example, take a look at what he writes:

      QUOTE:The above is the blogger’s display of his viśiṣṭādvaitic leanings, with which he struggles to explain the concept of ‘sarvātmatva’. As per Shankara, the one who realizes Brahman is Brahman alone and is ‘sarvātmā’.../UNQUOTE

      So, effectively in writing this article, he has failed to understand that we ARE staunch vishishtadvaitins and not those "with vishishtadvaitic leanings". His "research" has been so hasty that he doesn't even understand this simple fact.

      Anyway, even if we take the advaitin explanation of "sarvAtma", we should point out that it still means shiva is one who has realised, through reflection on the mahAvAkyas, that he is "sarvAtma" or the advaitic Brahman. That makes Shiva equivalent to Adi Shankara, a realised guru and not saguNa brahman.

      Neither is there any "struggle" in the Vishishtadvaitic position. The interpretation of "sarvAtma" as pertaining to all pervasive knowledge is perfectly within the realms of grammar and context where it says "visnor cAtma bhagavatO bhava" - vishNu is the antaryAmin of bhava. The person who tried to refute us lacks a basic knowledge of sanskrit grammar itself if he thinks this interpretation is a struggle.

      Then he writes,

      QUOTE - Actually, Nīlakaṇṭha, a disciple of Sridhara Swamin (who commented on the Srimadbhagavatam) has commented on the Mahabharata (including the Bhagavadgita). His commentary for the complete Shivasahasranāma which is available:[/UNQUOTE]

      HBB addressed this to me in a private communication that the nIlakaNtha mentioned by this person as a disciple of sridhara swamin is not the one who commented on the mahAbhArata. There are ample proofs that nIlakaNtha bhAshyam on mahAbhArata was much later. HBB can explain this in full with proofs if required.

      He also writes,

      [QUOTE]The blogger admits that the ‘tāmasa purāṇas’ are compositions of Veda Vyasa and says above that they contradict Veda Vyasa!! If Veda Vyasa has contradicted himself, he ceases to be an Achārya who can be relied upon.[/UNQUOTE]

      Well, what's the contradiction in that? Vyasa only *compiled* the purAnAs which are actually spoken by others. It is Brahma who propagates the purAnAs and based on the dominance of sattva, rajas and tamas - speaks differently in each epoch.

      Vyasa merely compiled the purAnAs and his own opinion is very clear - "na daivam keshavAt param". The tAmasa purAnAs contradict this statement of Vyasa and were propagated to delude since some people are indeed purposely deluded due to their karma. Ultimately they will attain the absolute truth by learning the supremacy of vishNu from the deities they worship. This is mentioned in both Rudra Gita by Rudra himself (quoted by sudarshana suri).

      Many such absurdities and lies are propagated by him without a proper examination. Please read the section on prashnOpanishad bhAshya in the new article on advaita in the blog and you will see how irrational his "refutations" are.

    3. Follow up on Aaryamaa's replya:

      HBB addressed this to me in a private communication that the nIlakaNtha mentioned by this person as a disciple of sridhara swamin is not the one who commented on the mahAbhArata. There are ample proofs that nIlakaNtha bhAshyam on mahAbhArata was much later. HBB can explain this in full with proofs if required.

      I clarify what I intended to say here: Sridhara, the teacher of Nilakantha who commented on the mahAbhArata, is not the same Sridharaswami who commented on Bhagavatam, Bhagavad Gita etc.

      Sridharaswami, the commentator on bhAgavatam lived before the time of Chaitanya. You can see his bhagavad gItA commentary's influence in Madhusudana's Gudartha Dipika.

      Neelakantha, the mahAbhArata commentator is understood to be a personality belonging to 17th century or later.

      Desperate to somehow 'answer' our challenges, he takes help from random people who pose as 'scholars'. He shows some random quote by one "Ram Gopal" (screenshot in the mediafire document that he has compiled) to rely on the 'fact' that Nilakantha was Sridhara's disciple/contemporary! And then, he asks others to "Come out of the influence from Dasgupta and the like. "

      In one thread in the advaita list, he claims that Rama was under the influence of ignorance and was affected by it, since 'laghu yoga vashishta' (which is not even a canonical smriti, and not mentioned by anyone before Vidyaranya) says Vashista instructed Rama 'upon seeing the effect of sorrow and delusion in Rama':

      at least the need of 'chitta vishrAnti' could be adduced as the cause of Sri Rama's behaviour in the Sita abduction or the golden deer event.

      This interpretation is correct, according to him. But if the mahAbhArata says that Rudra was created by Brahma and Brahma guides Rudra in knowing about Brahman, we should not interpret Rudra as inferior to Brahma!

      He shows his anti-Vishnu bias here: "How can any force be superior to Shiva who is the samhārakartā of the entire creation (Praśnopaniṣad with Shankara bhashya) that includes all deities such as Vishnu and all Vishnu loka-s?"

      These are clear enough to not regard him as a serious scholar of Shankara's bhAShyas. He nibbles on what suits him and rejects others while depending on later-day advaitins and various biased "shAstrins" to fill in.

      As Aaryamaa suggests, please read the article in the link below.

      In the soon-to-be-published sequel to this article, we shall show how subbu is deliberately twisting Madhusudana's and Gauda Brahmananda's statements in advaita-siddhi and laghuchandrika.

    4. ADDENDUM: As you can see from the screenshot itself, subbu tried to desperately search for Nilakantha the commentator's date. He didn't reveal us the results, as it is clear that Nilakantha is a late author.

    5. ADDENDUM 2:

      To the following remark of subbu:

      Now, in
      the following post I am adding that the Madhva recension of the MB contains
      the same Shiva sahasra nama (pl see attachment). I have it on the
      authority of a renowned Madhva scholar Vidwan Dr. Haridasa Bhatta Acharya
      of the Purnaprajna vidya pitha, Bangalore, who regularly discourses on the
      MB (in Kannada and Tulu too sometimes) that the Kumbhakonam edition is what
      is authoritative to them and that it contains the Shiva sahasra nama. I am
      citing the Madhva admissibility here because the blogger had said that
      Madhva has in his MBTN mentioned that there are interpolations in the MB
      and therefore *according to the blogger*, stories of Shiva being eulogised
      are mere interpolations and the sahasra nama too is one such. In order to
      just show that the Madhvas admit the sahasra nama not as interpolation, I
      made the enquiry and here is the result.

      We reply as follows:

      1) The text quoted (Kumbhakonam edition) is not a "mAdhva recension" but an edition of the mahAbhArata, based on southern manuscripts, that have been compiled and published by a press managed by vaidika mAdhvas in Kumbhakonam. The publishers happen to be mAdhvas, that's all. And they have published the manuscripts "as is" without making any changes to suit their beliefs.

      2) The mAdhva vidwAn simply stops at saying " Kumbhakonam edition is what is authoritative to them and that it contains the Shiva sahasra nama". This might be a politically correct statement to suit the public without giving up the truth. Note that the vidwAn has not stated "we accept Shiva sahasra nama as an authentic portion".

      3) As I stated before, even otherwise, a lone mAdhva accepting Shiva Sahasranama as authentic does not make it so, because -

      4) Even some Srivaishnava vidwAns who conduct upanyAsas have stated in public to the effect that Shiva Sahasranama is an authentic portion of the mahAbhArata (to point out how Shankara chose to comment only on the Vishnu Sahasranama). However, it does not imply that all Srivaishnavas accept it so. As I have stated in the article, Sri Puthur Swami, a towering Srivaishnava Vidwan, has given a number of compelling reasons to reject Shiva Sahasranama as an interpolation.

    6. ADDENDUM 3:

      An authoritative article by P.K. Gode in BORI, vol. 23, pp. 146- clearly establishes with several pieces of evidence that Nilakantha Chaturdhara, the commentator on mahAbhArata, lived in the later half of the 17th century.

      Sridhara Swami must have been much earlier, for two reasons: (1) Several early authors of Gaudiya tradition such as Jiva Goswami etc. refer to Sridhara in their commentaries. They lived earlier than the aforementioned Nilakantha. (2) There is a tradition in the Gaudiya sect itself (Chaitanya Charitramrita) that their preceptor Sri Chaitanya held Sridhara Swami in high esteem.

  4. Regarding the issue of some mAdhva and Sri vaishnava scholars regarding Shiva sahasranAma as genuine, let me assure you that all this is only out of political correctness. One vidwan who regularly appears on TV says this because he is speaking to a secular audience - these vidwan are revered as elders by non Sri vaishnava as well who wouldn't understand the truth if they stated it - they would think it's some sort of ninda.

    What constitutes proof is what the guru parampara of the traditions think, not average post 18th century scholars who would never reach the heights of the ancient gurus.

    1. Namaste

      The original Mahabharatha has been translated from Sanskrit to Telugu by three poets of the 11th 13th and 14th centuries, namely, Nannaya Bhattu, Thikkana Somayaji and Erra Pragada and Thikkana Somayaji, who deals with the concerned Parva, does not mention anything about these questionable chapters.

      Can you please throw light on where you got the above information from? Do these questionable chapters include the Shiva Sahasranama?

    2. As we have already mentioned in the article, this was an excerpt from the interview of sri puttur krishnaswami iyengar swami conducted in 1979, which was published in his magazine. Regarding this swami, he was no ordinary "19th century vidwan", but an intellectual giant of his times who single-handedly took on the anti-vaishnavas like the controversial kamakoti mutt and other shaiva advaitins of that period. He proved that Adi Shankara was a vaishnava, that advaita had been a vaishnava matham in its origins and also confronted C Rajagopalachari, erstwhile governor general on several anti-vishnu statements the latter had made. Needless to say, he won every debate he had and published a wealth of material in his books. Notable among his works is "Sankararum Vainavamum" (Shankara and Vaishnavism) which solidly proves the vaishnavatva of ancient advaitins.

    3. I would like to give some further information about Puthur Swami. He was no sundry vidwAn fitting subbu's caricature/stereotype.

      For his Tamil work "Sankararum Vainavamum", he has even earned the title of 'vidyA viShAradha" from an advaitic peeThadhipati, HH Sri Swami Venkateswarananda of Arogya Asramam, Kolar Avanthi Mutt. Even one vidvAn Brahmasri S. Subrahmanya Sastrigal of Kumaramangalam has positively acknowledged "Sankararum Vainavamum" of Sri Puthur Swami.

      The well known "Varahur Sastri" promised to refute "Sankararum Vainavamum". However, this promise was not kept by Varahur Sastri who like our subbu was in the denial mode till the end. Not only him, nobody has dared to refute "Sankararum Vainavamum" systematically in a public manner (magazine etc.), in fear that the lay people will come out of the cage of ignorance that these anti-Vaishnava institutions and 'Brahmasrees' have kept them in.

      This Swami has participated in several "Hindu Temple Protection Conferences" where Swami has stood shoulder-to-shoulder with Shaivas to protect Astika Hindus of all sects against Government takeovers.

      Not only this, Swami has authored several books on ancient Tamil Sangam literature ("Saathi Matha Aaraaychi", "Sanga Kaala thamizhar Samayam", etc.) where he has proved that the ancient Tamil society accepted Vishnu's supremacy and Vishistadvaita Vedanta, while showing Advaita and Shaiva tenets were non-existent to the scholars of those times. No one thus far has succeeded in refuting these findings. Moreover, several non-Vaishnava Tamil scholars have praised this work and Puthur Swami who authored it.

    4. ADDENDUM: My comment was to show that Sri Puthur Swami has a very good reputation/track record when it comes to neutrality and acknowledging pramANas, and is not like how our adversary portrays in his wishful thinking.

  5. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  6. Namaste

    The following links vouch for the authenticity of Shiva Sahasranama -

    Your comments welcome.

  7. Namaste,

    While searching for the authenticity of the Akhyana of Upamanyu (which contains Shiva Sahasranama), I came upon the following link

    The author C V Vaidya thinks that Shiva Sahasranama (the entire Akhyana in fact), is a later day addition to the text (page 44 of the book and 52 of the pdf file).

  8. Dear all

    The editor of the Anushasana parva (for the critical edition) R N Dandekar, thinks that the entire Upamanyu episode (including SS) is probably a later day interpolation. Here is the link from encyclopedia on Saivism -

    He also confirms that this incident is not present in Andhra Mahabharata.

    1. You had asked us to comment on certain links which try to show the shiva sahasranama as authentic. Those were authored by our resident veerashaiva on the internet, Subbu. He has no knowledge of shruti or smriti and he also has zero knowledge of even advaita, vishishtadvaita and dvaita. Even his knowledge of sanskrit seems to be suspect. All he does is copy and paste huge chunks of shankara bhashyas and misinterpret them. We have already addressed his stupidity despite his tendencies to keep regurgitating the same nonsense. Even in an argument with you, he first accepted Gaudapada was calling nArAyaNa as saguna brahman. Then realising this stance would harm him, he quickly changed his tune and claimed nArAyaNa was nirguna brahman, an idiotic stance which he has maintained everywhere despite even Appayya Dikshita accepting Narayana as saguna form and the same as Lakshmipathi in all his works and that the Narayana suktam is accepted by him and other advaitins as pertaining to daharOpAsaNa, a saguNa vidyA. FYI, all advaitins refer to nirguNa brahman by only terms like "param/paramArtha" etc and not by names as it has no names - a point we have established earlier, and as the higher nature of saguNa brahman vishNu/vAsudeva/nArAyaNa.

      He has argued with some madhwas saying that the SatarudrIyam was not a hymn to Vishnu because it had more "prasiddhi" as a Shaiva hymn. prasiddhi, really? Well, firstly, he doesn't seem to include vaishnavas in that "prasiddhi" for whom the Rudram has been a praise of vishNu since ages. Secondly, if "prasiddhi" is the factor to judge anything, then the ultimate truth would be the abrahamic religions which have more "prasiddhi" than Vedanta in the world.

      A third characteristic of him is to ignore all things that go against him. We may keep repeating that Shankara calls Brahma and Rudra as vibhUtIs with vishNu as saguNa brahman in the sahasranAma bhAshyam for "bhUta krt, bhUta brt", which we quoted in defense of our prasnOpanishad bhAshya interpretation, that Rama Tirtha and SarvagnAtma muni identify Murari/Krishna and Narasimha as saguNa brahman, replacing vishNu with those namesin "tad visnoH paramam padam". Shankara too specifically mentions creation of Rudra in many places. Sridhara and Agnicit Purushottama Mishra do the same. Yet, veerashaiva will not directly dare to address these unambiguous statements. He will keep pasting chunks of other portions of Shankara bhAshya and misinterpret them. It is like someone reading the taittirya upanishad's statement "Brahman does not exist..." and concludes that there is no Brahman according to the veda, when in reality, the second half of the statement says "for those who think he does not exist" (meaning, he does not exist for nAstikas only).

      Coming back to the point, we will comment later on any key points we find in those links. Please note that we do not address very silly objections without logic or shAstric basis. We are dealing with a person who knows he is wrong and yet keeps posting nonsense and we also have other articles pending. Lastly, the very fact that 1) shiva sahasranAma has not been quoted by ANY ancient vedAntin, 2) vishNu sahasranAma alone has over 40 commentaries, 3) shiva sahasranAma is contrary to shruti and other smriti - is more than enough to establish its an interpolation. Even for "kim ekam daivatam lokE" the commentators state vishNu is the supreme deity in the shAstra/world (lokE interpreted as either shAstra or world). If the shiva sahasranAma had existed, such definite statements would have not been made. No amount of bleating will change that, we don't even need modern day scholars substantiating our position to show its true. HBB will address any points we may have left out (which I doubt we have).

    2. ADDENDUM: I said - "Appayya Dikshita accepting Narayana as saguna form and the same as Lakshmipathi in all his works and that the Narayana suktam is accepted by him and other advaitins as pertaining to daharOpAsaNa, a saguNa vidyA"

      What I meant was, Appayya does accept the nArAyaNa sUkta as pertaining to lakshmipathi and saguNa vidyA, but he tries to prove that shiva is superior to that nArAyaNa (and hence that nArAyaNa is not the daharAkAsan) by interpreting the sUkta as"nArAyaNat param brahma:" - point being, he does indeed take "nArAyaNa" as lakshmipathi and the sUkta as relevant to dahara vidyA, a saguNOpAsaNa, and tries to bring shiva into the whole thing.

    3. Vadiraja very well acknowledges Madhva's statement in MBTN that the extant version of Mahabharata even from his time was corrupted. And this SS portion has never been quoted by any pUrvAcAryas in the mAdhva tradition as well.

      The 'evidence' pointed out by Subbu only shows one statement from the commentary of Sri Vadiraja on that verse.

      Arjuna Misra, a commentator on the Anushasana Parvan who belonged to a similar period also comments on the Upamanyu Upakhyana portions while adding a note of caution that this section is interpolated, as we have noted from Sri Puthur Swami's comments.

      Even in the Vishistadvaita sampradAya, Shri Govindaraja has commented on the Aditya Hrudaya chapter of Valmiki Ramayana in line with Vishnu-paratva (as does Sri Maheshvara Tirtha, an advaitic commentator). In the end, he adds a note of caution saying that the chapter is most likely inauthentic (since in Udaari's commentary, which is earlier, this chapter is not found).

      A similar thing is possible in the case of Vadiraja Tirtha as well. Since we are not aware of the full contents of the commentary by Vadiraja, it is possible that he also flags the chapter as inauthentic even though he comments on it.

      It is also possible that the contents of the version commented by Sri Vadiraja Tirtha has a different version of the Upamanyu/Siva Sahasranama episodes where the Shaiva overtones are not as high as in the current version, but we are not leaning on this possibility.

    4. Commentators before and during the time of vadiraja had already acknowledged shiva Sahasranama as an interpolation. Hence, Vadiraja who acknowledges mAdhva's opinion that the mahAbhArata is corrupted also knew this but simply was showing that even if considered authentic, the chapter dies not contradict vishnu paratva. Even so, as HBB said earlier, the shiva Sahasranama has not been quoted as purvapaksha OR siddhantha by anyone. Madhwas also have a track record of adventurously trying to accept openly bogus scriptures by interpreting them in the vein of vishNu paratva - like the sharaba upanishad (even so, vadiraja never does this for shiva sahasranama which blows all arguments for authenticity out of the water). So, in the stark absence of shiva Sahasranama being quoted and also this section being openly declared as interpolation by ancient commentators, coupled with several proofs we have given, it substantiates our position that this section is a shaiva interpolation.

      So, it is laughable to think that quote of vadiraja supports the stand of vishNu dveshis. They should try addressing the strong points we have made before coming up with weak quotes like this.

  9. Dear bloggers

    The moment I found that the Akhyana of Upamanyu is not present in the Andhra Mahabharatam (of 13th century), I became completely convinced that the Shiva Sahasranama is not authentic. Of course, you have also given other reasons for your viewpoint, but I have not yet personally verified them, and now I do not think it is necessary, since I am already convinced.

    Because the Andhra Mahabharatam is frozen in the 13th century, it is possible to know what sections in the Mahabharata are interpolated by looking at it. However, by the time of the 13th century itself there were many interpolations (as Madhva has noted), and we may not be able to catch these by looking at Andhra Mahabharata. In any case, thank you for bringing the Andhra Mahabharata to my notice. This has completely convinced me of your position on the Shiva Sahasranama.

    Another question - I see you have quoted the Vishnu Sahasranama Bhashya of Adi Sankara sometimes. Can you give any reasons why you think this is a genuine work of Sankara? I am asking this because Sankara has been attributed so many works and only a few of them are accepted as authentic.

    1. Thank you for the comment. It was quite useful to have the google books proof on shiva sahasranama.

      Regarding the authenticity of VSB, here is an authoritative analysis:

      I have verified each of the points given by the above poster personally and found them to be indeed true..

  10. Dear bloggers

    I think you should seriously address these points, for they strike at the very heart of your hypothesis -

    1. Dear Shri Lakshminarayana,

      You have asked to seriously address some 'points' raised in this poor excuse for a scholarly writeup delivered with difficulty after 10 days of labor by this insane person who engages in vitaNDA vAda foaming with Vishnu/Vaishnava hatred.

      To what avail, dear reader? To what avail? This response itself has taken me 1 hour of my precious time to write, which I could have spent on the new upcoming articles.

      Do you think that it will...

      1) Convince our vitaNDA-vAdin into reconsidering his position?

      2) Convince those who are STILL in doubt, after having seen innumerable proofs of our integrity in dealing with opposing views and an equal number of proofs of the lack thereof of this desperate person who wrote this long-winded pointless document?

      Or do you think that the sort of childish ramblings that subbu resorts to will:

      1) Perturb the minds of scholarly parama-vaidikas and those who have great regard for parama-vaidikas, who have been conditioned by a careful and neutral analysis of all darshanas, pUrvapakSha positions, historical texts to arrive at their siddhAnta, in a manner that it will shake their convictions?

      2) Distract unbiased observers who can tell objective evidence from false assertions half-truths colored with a zealot's opinions, from their quests for truth and historicity?


    2. (contd. from above)

      Why have you not yet concluded that it is useless to engage with this dishonest unscrupulous person who even goes to the length of:

      1) Writing to us that venerable ones like Narayana Bhattathiri and Deshamangala are some kind of peddlers who used Shankara's name to peddle their wares

      2) Repeatedly insisting that Advaita supports trimUrti-aikyatva (equality of Brahma, Vishnu, and Rudra) and NEVER answers our challenge that Shankara specifically rules out that Hiranyagarbha/Chaturmukha Brahma as a Jivatma who is endowed with the power to engage in creation due to the grace of Hari (satyapi sarvavyavahārocchedini mahāpralaye parameśvarānugrahādīśvarāṇāṃ hiraṇyagarbhādīnāṃ kalpāntaravyavahārānusaṃdhānopapatteḥ - BSB, 1.3.30), and that this Chaturmukha Brahma is subject to the effects of good and bad karma (dharmādharmayoḥ phale pratyakṣe sukhaduḥkhe śarīravāṅmanobhirevopabhujyamāne viṣayendriyasaṃyogajanye brahmādiṣu sthāvarānteṣu prasiddhe - BSB, 1.1.4), showing that he is not the Ishvara who is apahata-pApmA ('ya eṣo 'ntarāditye' 'ya eṣo 'ntarakṣiṇi' iti ca śrūyamāṇaḥ puruṣaḥ parameśvara eva, na saṃsārī / kutaḥ, taddharmopadeśāt /... sarvapāpmāpagamaśca paramātmana eva śrūyate- 'ya ātmāpahatapāpmā' (chāṃ. 8.7.1) ityādau - BSB, 1.1.20 and yathāhi parameśvaraḥ sarvadoṣairaliptaḥ, apahatapāpmatvādiśravaṇāt - 1.2.13). And yes, we know the reason why... to keep misinterpreting verses in shruti, smriti, and even Shankara Bhashyas that seem to equate Brahma, Vishnu, and Rudra, whose only intent is to show that Vishnu is the antaryAmi of both Brahma and Rudra.

      3) Deliberately misquoting Agnichit Purushottama Mishra and not reveal the full statement, to support his cock-and-bull story of "Vishnu in advaita is not the four-armed deity".

      4) Accusing Jnanottama, supposed to be Chitsukha's guru, of misunderstanding Shankara's position because Jnanottama says that Vishnu is jagat-kAraNa Ishvara.

      5) Deliberately misinterpreting Madhusudana Saraswati's statements in Advaita Siddhi by deliberately mistranslating "avAntara-pralayasthatva" as "existence up to pralaya" while it means "existence in between pralayas", and mistranslating Gauda Brahmananda Saraswati's statement "bhUtatvena brahma-janyatva-nashyatva kalpane lAghavAt, abhautika vaikuNTha loke mAnAbhAvAt" as "there is no pramANa for abhautika vaikuNTha", while it means "created beings which proceed forth from and get dissolved in Brahman can be easily considered as bhUtas, while Vaikuntha cannot be considered to be of this nature because of its (declaration in scriputres of) abhautikatva".

      Be that as it may.

      Just for one final time, I will shoot down this gigantic red herring hurled at us with a short, crisp, and clear reply that is hopefully convincing enough for you.

    3. OK. So here is my quick response to that long-winded writeup:

      1) First of all, Subbu accepts that while the Andhra Bharatamu alludes to the Vishnu Sahasranama, it does not talk about a Shiva Sahasranama.

      2) An episode where Krishna talks about Mahadeva's various exploits, and gives an explanation (nirvachana) to a few of his names is not the same as the Upamanyu episode where Krishna's narration of 1000 names of Shiva is given.

      3) Agreed that the Andhra Bharatamu cannot be expected to have every upAkhyAna in the original Mahabharata. However, consider this: The Mahabharata recensions, as it stands today with all the interpolations, still contains only a handful of episodes (4-5) where Shiva's supremacy is allegedly talked about. It would be strange that the Shaivite poets have chosen not to faithfully reproduce them, and have rather done their own narrative which is completely different.

      4) Nobody denies that Krishna prays to Shiva for progeny. However, as per purANas, this was to fulfill a boon that Vishnu gave to Shiva previously: Shiva requested Vishnu to ask him a boon sometime in future. Even in the Harivamsa episode where Krishna goes to Kailasa and prays to Shiva for progeny, Shiva replies immediately with a long stuti, from which Shankara has quoted amply in the Vishnu sahasranama bhAShya. Shiva says in the stuti that Krishna is indeed the Supreme and asks all Vaidikas to consider Him alone to be so. Shiva also says that both he and Brahma were born from Vishnu. See here, Chapters 88-90, Bhavishya parva:

      5) All vaidikas, including Shankara in Vishnu Sahasranama Bhashya, have quoted the following statements from mahAbhArata/Harivamsa;

      āloḍya sarva śāstrāṇi vicārya ca punaḥ punaḥ
      idamekaṃ suniṣpannaṃ dhyeyo nārāyaṇah sadā

      'vede rāmāyaṇe puṇye bhārate bharatarṣabha।
      ādau madhye tathā cānte viṣṇuḥ sarvatra gīyate

      Anything that runs contrary to this was obviously not considered a pramANa by Vedantins including advaitins, and was not in the mahAbhArata at all originally according to them.

      6) See how Subbu selectively quotes to arrive at his preconceived favorite position. He quotes in his document (on page 18-19) several verses, which if coming from an authentic recension, intends to show that Vishnu is the antaryAmi of Rudra, and misinterprets them to say "Rudra = Vishnu". What about the below verses occurring in the same chapter, just before those quotes, where Vishnu says that Brahma and Rudra are his instruments in creation and destruction, that they act under his orders, and that they are born respectively from his grace and wrath?

      namo 'tiyaśase tasmai dehināṃ paramātmane
      nārāyaṇāya viśvāya nirguṇāya guṇātmane

      yasya prasādajo brahmā rudraś ca krodhasaṃbhavaḥ
      yo 'sau yonir hi sarvasya sthāvarasya carasya ca
      brāhme rātrikṣaye prāpte tasya hy amitatejasaḥ
      prasādāt prādurabhavat padmaṃ padmanibhekṣaṇa
      tatra brahmā samabhavat sa tasyaiva prasādajaḥ

      ahnaḥ kṣaye lalāṭāc ca suto devasya vai tathā
      krodhāviṣṭasya saṃjajñe rudraḥ saṃhārakārakaḥ

      etau dvau vibudhaśreṣṭhau prasādakrodhajau smṛtau
      tadādeśitapanthānau sṛṣṭisaṃhārakārakau
      nimittamātraṃ tāv atra sarvaprāṇivarapradau

      Note that these are authentic portions. Sureshvaracharya has adapted the first shloka in Brihadaranyaka Upanishad Bhashya Vartika, which we have shown in the main page (tasmai namo'stu devāya nirguṇāya guṇātmane । nārāyaṇāya viśvāya devānāṃ paramātmane ॥ ) while Vedanta Desika in the 13th century has quoted the shloka "etau dvau vibudhaśreṣṭau prasādakrodhajau smṛtau" in Gitartha Sangraha. Whereas Subbu has never shown any direct quotes by any serious scholars in that period from his favorite Shiva Sahasranama/Upamanyu episode!

    4. Dear Reader,

      You seem to be in a state of perpetual doubt. If you think this excuse of an article you sent us is in anyway refuting our stand, it is quite astonishing considering the body of proof we have provided. We do not really address trifling objections which hardly affect our stand. So it seems rather like we are fighting your battle.

      Please do not think this objection "strikes the heart of our responses". Maybe it is for you; it is not so for true vedAntins like us. Even if we go by your view, it hardly is worthy as a refutation; our opinions on the Andhra mahabhArata remain validated.

      However, you may be under the mistaken belief that we consider this as the main proof. FYI, the true "heart of our responses" are simply three vital points:

      1) Rudra is declared a jivAtma in shruti and smriti. Shiva sahasranAma contradicts shruti, smriti and even the rest of mahAbhArata and hence is not authentic.

      2) Shiva sahasranAma is not commented on in the context of debate by any vedAntin belonging to Shankara, Ramanuja and Madhva traditions (this includes Vadiraja as well). Whereas, vishNu sahasranAma is completely validated.

      3) Those who have commented on the shiva sahasranAma, do so by carefully adding that this is an interpolated section and also only give a secular translation. It is never used in debate. When they openly declare it to be an interpolation, there is no room for further argument.

      These are the crux of the arguments given by Puttur Swami and as he says, no serious scholar - a vedAntin - considers shiva sahasranAma as authentic anyway. Everything else, be it Andhra mahAbhArata, kannada mahAbhArata, etc - is helpful, but as a supplementary proof which bolsters our opinion.

      It appears you do not give much weightage to the more important points and focus on what you think is important. While that is acceptable if it leads to the right decision, it is not the right method of inquiry as it could also lead to the wrong decision. Anybody who has seen our commentaries would not be bringing up this nonsense as a "refutation" at all.Just because someone writes something, it doesn't immediately become a refutation. Note that he has not addressed the points which clearly go against him and simply ignores it, instead preferring to quote random points out of context. It is a feeble form of jalpa and viTanda vAda. Such people are irredeemable. Even so, we did humor him just because you brought it up and refuted those asinine points already.

      Time and again, we have reteirated that we have covered all bases and that it is not our prerogative to address each and every silly point made against us. We only refute anything if it genuinely is a worthy objection, or if a sincere seeker of truth brings it to us AFTER pointing out that we have not covered this material in our blog. What you have brought up is pure rubbish written by a half baked shaivite. He will never accept the truth. And we do not even consider this worthy of refutation since we have addressed his objections adequately enough so far.

      In conclusion, we have done the groundwork. Any person who claims to follow the vaidika tradition will be convinced of our arguments. In fact, several readers have indeed communicated to us of their satisfaction. However, if you persist in ignoring what we have already written and come to a preconceived opinion on what constitutes more important proof and what does not, you will always be plagued by doubt. Choose a side and stick to it.

      Next time, we welcome you to bring us VALID and RELEVANT objections, not just tripe by a well-known and exposed vishNu dvEshi with no knowledge of vedAnta. Otherwise, it is a waste of time as we intend to write more articles on the blog despite our busy day-to-day life.

    5. ADDENDUM:

      Regarding these:

      "namo 'tiyaśase tasmai dehināṃ paramātmane
      nārāyaṇāya viśvāya nirguṇāya guṇātmane

      yasya prasādajo brahmā rudraś ca krodhasaṃbhavaḥ
      yo 'sau yonir hi sarvasya sthāvarasya carasya ca"

      Subbu will be up to his usual tricks by claiming nArAyaNa is nirguNa brahman, but we have already proven that nArAyaNa is saguNa brahman who is nirguNa in his essential nature according to advaita and that is how advaitins will interpret it. Furthermore, this is proven by "yasya prasAdajO brahmA rudras ca krodhasambhavaH".

      Of course, according to Vishishtadvaita and Dvaita, "nirguNa" means devoid of doShas.

  11. Dear bloggers

    I take it as a compliment when you say that I am in a state of perpetual doubt. It shows that I am open minded on this issue. I have learned a lot from this blog and I know that there is a lot more to learn from you. I seek to engage in a meaningful dialogue (not debate) with you. My mail id is and I prefer to communicate with you by e-mail. If you think this is fine, please send me a hello message from your ID. If you prefer not to communicate thru e-mail, please let me know. Thanks.

    1. There is a difference between open-mindedness and doubt. Open-mindedness involves questioning in a neutral manner and arriving at an answer. However, not understanding the answers given because of a lack of contextual grasp is not part of open-mindedness, but rather, either 1) a lack of acceptance of the ground rules that determine the outcome of a debate, 2) a complete misunderstanding of the situation in that the "open-minded" person approaches it with a mindset alien to the nature of the debate involved.

      Case in point is, an open-minded person would question whether shiva or vishNu is supreme and what is the authority of people who quote scriptures. He enters the debate with an earnest view to understand the tradition and seek the truth logically. If either view is proven, he would accept it and then understand the rest of the position from that view-point. However, another "open-minded" person would not care who is supreme and may not have any interest to determine it, but would yet want to enter into the debate; which means he would not understand the answers being contextually void of the tradition and keep on at it.

      We believe, to be brutally honest, and you are free to correct, you are of the second mold considering your emphasis on unimportant issues like the andhra mahAbhArata. No offense as this is not an insult and its certainly not a problem or business of ours as everyone is free to their opinions, but it certainly is not our priority to cater to these category 2 people.

      Regarding communications, we appreciate your compliments and interest in dialogue or debate, no matter what it is. HBB however is in-charge of these issues, so I will leave it to him to judge. We do like to keep our IDs privy though; that is not to say we do not appreciate or remain grateful to our readers for their support, which keeps the blog running.

  12. Dear Sri Aryamaa

    You and I know very less about each other. I therefore suggest that you not be judgemental about me. Not everyone who disagrees with you is guilty of not understanding your arguments. I actually agree with you on many issues. I agree that Adi Sankara considered Vishnu alone as Ishwara, he considered Rudra as born. I agree that the Ramayana considers Vishnu as superior to Rudra. These are easy to verify for any neutral person. But there are other points where I do not (yet) agree with you because I have (1) not been able to yet verify what you wrote and (2) I am seeing contradicting evidence.

    Finally a question - May I ask you on what basis you consider the Andhra Bharatam issue as unimportant?

  13. Dear Bloggers

    If you do not think that I am asking you to fight my battles, I will present a recent evidence given by Sri Subbu.

    He mentioned that Kshemendra (around 1000 CE) has written the Bharatamanjari, which is a condensed version of Mahabharata. This contains the upamanyu episode and a condensed list of names of Shiva (though not explicitly SS).( Kshemendra moreover also condenses VS, according to Sri Subbu.) I am trying to verify these claims. You can go through the Bharatamanjari here -

    1. HBB will reply if he has more points, but I can easily address this myself. Kshemendra's affliation with shaiva philosophy and Abhinava Gupta is well known. Maybe you are not aware, but all shaiva including the nAyanmars of Tamil nadu cite the Upamanyu episode and names of Shiva in a bid to show krishna as inferior to Shiva. While this incident occurs in the tAmasa puranas, shaiva often link it to the mahAbhArata.

      For instance, the incident of Rama worshipping shiva does not occur in the rAmAyaNa but only in the shiva purANaM. However, tulasidas, who worshipped both vishNu and shiva, included the shiva purAna incident as part of his rAmacharitramanas which is supposed to be a rendering of rAmAyaNa.

      It is quite probable that a similar case has happened here whereby kshemendra included the shaiva belief of krishna worshipping shiva from the tAmasa puranas into his condensation of the mahAbhArata, if it exists. And even then, the early shaiva only claimed the Upamanyu incident regards krishna and only mentioned shiva sahasranAma as part of the tAmasa purANas. So, if as you say, a similar thing exists with the kshemendra version, it validates our opinions that interpolation s slowly evolved into including the shiva sahasranAma as part of the mahAbhArata itself by the 17-18th century.

      Subbu needs to understand that the only way he can prove his patently idiotic stand is by showing that 1) vedAntins commented on Shiva sahasranAma as part of a debate, 2) secular commentators accepted it as genuine (which they have not as they have openly labelled it as an interpolation). He cannot do this.

      The opinions of shaiva are well known and discarded as avaidika. This kshemendra proof does not do enough to stand the scrutiny under the crushing weight of so many counter proofs we have given.

  14. Dear Shri Lakshminarayana,

    Thank you for your contacts. At the moment, my hands are full and I am afraid I will not be able to dedicate time for such a dialogue. I have other articles to write up and to catch up on my own sAdhana.


  15. For a person who considers the vaidika tradition, the shiva sahasranAma is inauthentic even if it occurs in every existing version of the mahAbhArata (which is not even the case here) unless it has been quoted by ancient vaidikas in the context of debate.

    This is simply because the very authenticity of a text is judged by whether it is quoted in debate in the vaidika tradition, as opposed to indological methods adopted by western scholars who claim for instance, bhagavatam is a 10th century text (which is unacceptable since scholars in srI rAmAnuja's and mAdhva's tradition have quoted it).

    If no one has quoted it, then the litmus test is whether the portion atleast does not contradict the genuine parts. Shiva sahasranAma fails that test as well.

    Therefore, the andhra mahAbhArata is not even an issue, though all such evidences support our position only.

    Please go through the three point summary I gave for the "heart of our responses". I explained it there.

    1. Dear Sri Aryamaa

      The Mahabharata is a very large text and it is not correct to expect that every portion of it should be used in a debate. Even Krishna's act of saving draupadi during her disrobing is an interpolation as it is not present in the critical edition. It is actually dharma that saves draupadi. So vaishnavas are also equally guilty of adding interpolations to Mahabharata.

      Coming to the bhagavata purana, Adi Sankara does not quote it anywhere. It shows that bhagavata has not attained its popularity during his time and is hence of relatively recent origin, even if quoted by much later day acharyas. If you argue that Sankara need not quote everything, you should also accept that not everything genuine need be quoted. This would undermine your own position on SS.

    2. Dear Sri Aryamaa

      To add - The mahopanishad that you mention as Sruti, is not quoted by Adi Sankara anywhere. So its status as Sruti is highly doubtful. Compare this with the Mahanarayana upanishad that Sankara quotes. Of course you might say that Ramanuja quotes from mahopanishad, but then just as Kshemendra is a Saivaite, Ramanuja is a vaishnavaite (both belonging to similar period) and if you accept Mahopanishad as genuine you should also accept Kshemendra's upamanyu episode as genuine. The Andhra bharatam (which is mostly of 13th century) admittedly does not contain the upamanyu episode but does contain Siva stuti where Siva is treated as supreme. Give me one good reason why these should not be treated as crushing evidences that Siva is also treated as supreme in the Mahabharata.

    3. 1) This is exactly what I meant when I said you did not understand the context.

      The mahAbhArata is a large text, but whatever portions are worthy of debate, are indeed covered by all vedAntins. And any portions neutrally accepted were quoted by shaivas like Haradatta in debate. That is indeed the purpose of works like mahAbhArata tAtparya nirnaya and other works.

      If there was a contradiction, as in the case of Rudra Gita where the pAsupata matha is praised, the context is always explained by vedAntins.

      Since you don't accept this position and go by recensions, versions, etc., it is futile.

      2) The mahOpanishad is not accepted in its entirety. However, srI rAmAnuja quotes "eko ha vai nArAyaNa asIt..." from it. Those lines are accepted.

      3) The difference between a shaiva and a vaishnava is this - all vaishnavas were vedAntins who accepted the infallibility of the veda and then accepted only those texts that did not contradict the veda. The shaivas belonging to kapAlika, kAlAmukha, saiva siddhAntha, kashmira, etc were the opposite - they openly considered the shaiva agamas as authority and whatever contradicts the agamas, including the vedic portions, is rejected.

      Thus, the shaivas never came for debate with vedAntins. Their sect accepted certain works unique to them and is not a cause for concern since the brahma sutrAs themselves dismiss all their sects.

      4) Because of the irregular nature of prAmAnika followed by shaivas, only vedAntic quotations are valid. SrI rAmAnuja may be a vaishnava, but he never left seemingly contradictory portions uncommentated.

      5) This fact is unquestionably accepted by all vedAntins - whatever is quoted by Shankara, Ramanuja and Madhva is authoritative. Whatever is quoted by Shaivas, Shaktas and Tantrics outside the Vaidika tradition is not always authoritative. If you do not understand this simple fact, I do not know how you can claim to be "open minded" as opposed to merely "in doubt" as you did not get the grasp of the vedic tradition of debate.

      6) Hence, if Shiva stutis had been present in mahAbhArata which shaivas could use as an advantage, they would have not been left untouched by vedAntins. The andhra mahAbhArata is a non-issue.

      Please understand how the vedAntic debate is conducted and then you will realise this.

    4. == "Even Krishna's act of saving draupadi during her disrobing is an interpolation as it is not present in the critical edition. It is actually dharma that saves draupadi. So vaishnavas are also equally guilty of adding interpolations to Mahabharata." ==

      This is exactly the mindset I was talking about.

      1) Vedantins accept that Krishna saved Draupadi and it is not an interpolation. If you do not accept the assumption that Vedantins are superior to Indologists then I am afraid you are in the wrong place; we cater, as I said, to the first category people, those open minded who have respect for the vaidika tradition of debate and not a secular indological one.

      2) "Dharma" is nothing but Krishna. "rAmO vigrahavan dharma", "Krishnan Dharmam SanAtanam" - He is called Dharma as he is the means to liberation. "sarva dharmAn parityajya mAm ekam sharanam vraja" - leave other dharmas and surrender to Me, the eternal dharma. Hence, if the name krishNa is replaced by dharma in certain recensions, it is valid.

      Once again, you haven't taken into consideration the interpretations of all vedAntins before jumping to conclusions. Indologists may believe the veda talks about nature deities and sOma juice as an intoxication, but vedAntins don't

    5. ==Coming to the bhagavata purana, Adi Sankara does not quote it anywhere. It shows that bhagavata has not attained its popularity during his time and is hence of relatively recent origin, even if quoted by much later day acharyas. If you argue that Sankara need not quote everything, you should also accept that not everything genuine need be quoted. This would undermine your own position on SS.==

      Vedanta Desika and Azhagiya Manavala Perumal Nayanar before him (late 13th century) do quote it. A tIka is attributed to srUtaprakAsikAchArya and veerarAghavAchAriar has written a commentary. Hence, since vaidikas have quoted it, it is accepted since they would not quote a recent text in debate. This is unlike the shiva sahasranAma.

      Furthermore, those who cling on to the theories of indologists fail to see why Shankara and Ramanuja did not quote it. The vishNu purAna is far more philosophical and explains crucial upanishad passages. Hence, it was important to them. The bhAgavata has the mindset of one who knows the tattvas and wants anubhava, hence it is not quoted much by them (for Shankara in particular, it placed more emphasis on saguNa vidya which was unimportant to him). As an example, the vishNu purAna would describe bhagavAn as "his chakra is the ego, his conch is knowledge, his bow is the mind," while the bhAgavatam would say "his chakra is effulgent, his conch is beautiful with the stain of his lotus lips, his bow saves his devotees". One expounds the tattvas, and the other talks about the experience of the tattvas in ripened form.

      And if you don't believe it, please go ahead by all means. Needless to say, we who know the darSana know srI rAmAnuja's intentions well. As I said before, we do not cater to the queries of indologists but to sincere seekers of tradition.

    6. Dear Lakshminarayana,

      For a person who believes in scientific inquiry and open-mindedness, you have flip-flopped from making one assertive conclusions to another one of contrary nature at the sight of any apparent evidence. I would suggest that you examine the nature of an evidence first before stating anything conclusive. Here are some points for you to consider:

      1) The Bharatamanjari edition of Nirnayasagar is not a critical edition. Usually, such texts have an introduction by the editor where the manuscripts cited are named, numbered, and described in terms of contents and quality. None of this is seen in the edition of Bharatamanjari in question (some of the first 20 pages are missing from the link Subbu has given. The full text is here:

      2) There does not seem to be any other editions of this text other than the Nirnayasagar one.

      3) There is ample evidence in the immediate history of Saivites finding an occasion to interpolate Saivite-friendly stories and suppression of Vaishnava-friendly works in many works. For example:

      a. The innumerable number of Saivite hymns spuriously attributed to Shankara. Even to the extent of spuriously ascribing sub-commentaries of the same to disciples of Shankara. For example, "Manasollasa" being ascribed to Sureshvara.

      b. There have even been versions of Kambaramayanam by one "Velli Ambala Desikar" a Saivite scholar where stories of Ramalinga pratiShTha in Rameswaram are produced using poor prosody. These verses have been duly relegated to "excess verses" ('migai pADalgaL' in Tamil) by "Kamban Aranilaya Vilakkak Kuzhu", an organization of neutral scholars who do not have a Vaishnava affiliation interested in preserving Kamban's work. Such an effort needs to be undertaken for all kAvyas in Sanskrit, Tamil, and other languages.

      c. The numerous Saiva-friendly Upanishads which no Saivite, including Appayya, seemed to have been aware of until lately, such as 'Sarabhopanishad' etc. Please do not bring in Mahopanishad as a counter to Vaishnavas. Ramanuja was not the first to quote it. From the same tradition, Yamunacharya has quoted it as well, I believe, in Agama-prAmANya and other works. Swami Desikan has clearly shown, with quotations, that even the AchAryas Yadvaprakasha and Narayanaswamin belonging to the Bhaskara school had quoted this Upanishad.

      d. Negative interpolations, i.e., deletions of Vaishnava-friendly portions. An example is Maitrayani Upanishad. The present "108 Upanishads" book released by modern Saiva/Shakta-advaitins does not have important Vishnu-centric verses. However, there is an edition, along with a commentary ironically by an advaitin, which contains these verses brought out with an English translation by the work of one Edward B. Colwell. Similarly, many Vaishnava-friendly verses quoted from Mahopanishad by Swami Vedanta Desika are absent in the "108 Upanishads" edition. Even during Swami Desika's time, it seems that the Upanishad was known only in fragments. Both Mahopanishad which you seem to claim is a Srivaishnava concoction and Paingi-Rahasya Upanishad which was quoted by mAdhva have been accepted by the authors of Advaitasiddhi and Laghucandrika as genuine shruti. Hard to imagine advaitins would quote concoctions by rival schools as shruti.

      e. Spurious additions, for example, the additional chapters in the "108 Upanishads" version of Mahopanishad. Older editions of this Upanishad printed with the commentaries of two late Hari-hara aikya-vAda advaitins Shankarananda and Abhinava Narayanendra do not have these additional spurious chapters.


    7. (contd. from above)

      f. Canonization and non-inclusion: There has been no talk of "108 Upanishads" anywhere in our ancient and medieval literature, unlike 4 Vedas, 6 Vedangas, 18 Puranas, and 2 itihAsas, until some 300 years ago when some Saiva/advaitins decided it will fit their agenda. Moreover, many Upanishads quoted by ancients like Swami Desikan have not been included in the "108" canon, such as: Sudarshanopanishad, Katyayana-Upanishad, and Dvayopanishad (a part of Katha-valli). However, thanks to an Adyar Library edition (by C. Kunjunni Raja) of "aprakAshita upaniShadaH", these texts, in their entirety, have now seen the light of the day.

      g. Introduction of competitive parallels: You would be knowing that there is a "Devi Bhagavatam" in circulation, which is now propped up by some shaivas and shaktas as the original Bhagavatam mentioned in the Vishnu Purana. This has been duly put down, establishing the authenticity of the Vaishnava bhAgavata purANa, by none other than Ramasrama/Bhanuji Dikshita, the son of Bhattoji Dikshita, in his work "Durjana-mukha capeTikA" etc. And on the bhAgavatam issue, you would note that mAdhva himself notes that there were many commentaries on it during his time. Moreover, Anubhuti Svarupacarya (13thC CE) in Prakatartha Vivarana, which Anandagiri quotes quite clearly from, has quoted the bhAgavatam. It is understood that Citsukha (12th-13th C CE) has written an advaitic commentary on bhAgavatam before Sridhara. It is inconceivable that a text concocted after Ramanuja's time started enjoying acceptance among the followers of three different rival schools.

      e. In conclusion, if you can note down evidences (not Eurocentric-minded speculations) to show a movement among Vaishnavas, commensurate to the above, to desperately keep interpolating new Vishnu-centric portions to texts, your theory of "Vaishnavas are equally guilty of interpolating" would hold water.

      4) Let us assume, in spite of the above, that the current edition of bhAratamanjari is exactly in its original form as produced by kShemendra in the 10th-11th century. Let us also note the case of the Andhra Mahabharata. I do not see how it is possible for you to neutrally conclude that SS was part of vyAsa's mahAbhArata.

      a. First of all, it is inconceivable to think that Shankara, who has quoted amply from both Shanti Parva and Anushasana Parva in prasthAna-trayI bhAShya, has skipped the 22 chapters dealing with Upamanyu upAkhyAna in Anushasana Parva.

      b. Both Srivaishnava and Madhva AchAryas have not shied away from explaining apparently Shaiva-friendly portions of Shruti/Smriti. Ramanuja has shown in Vedartha Samgraha how Svetasvatara, Atharvasiras, and Atharvasikha do not threaten but support the Vaishnava position of Narayana supremacy. Same with Puranas as well. Ramanuja and Madhva not only explain Linga, Skanda, etc. by categorizing them as "tAmasa purANas", but also by taking great pains to quote verses from purANas themselves to justify the threefold classification. Veeraraghava and Vijayadwaja Tirtha who have commented on the bhAgavatam have similarly shown that the two hymns where Shiva is apparently praised as paramAtman (one occurring after Daksha Yajna destruction and another one before the Halahala-poison swalling) is actually a praise of Shiva's antaryAmin Vishnu. Such devices are usually employed by Vaishnavas to explain these portions, rather than shy away from them, whether or not you deem them to be fair arguments. However, none of the AcAryas in Shankara, Ramanuja, or Madhva traditions treat the upamanyu/SS episode in the mahAbhArata either favorably or in a disregarding manner. Noteworthy is the case of Mahabharata Tatparya Nirnaya.


    8. (contd. from above)

      c. Just count the number of episodes/verses where Vishnu/Krishna/Narayana is held to be supreme and as the creator and ordainer of Brahma and Rudra in clear terms. Then count the number of episodes/verses where Shiva is held as supreme in the Mahabharata or Shiva is equated to Vishnu. The results will clearly show which one is out of context and which one is not.

      d. Look at the flow of ideas up to the point where VS and SS occur. In the former, you will see a natural continuity. The chapters preceding VS concern with various dharmas. The first few shlokas in the chapter on VS then go to say: "having listened to all the dharmas, yudhishthira asks 'what is the highest dharma?' 'who is the highest deity?' etc.". Note the flow as well as the general nature of the questions. On the contrary, look at the section where the SS occurs: There is an unwarranted out-of-the-blue question from Yudhishthira suddenly, of a specific nature, "please tell me the names explaining the greatness of Mahadeva" when Bhishma was explaining other dharmas. This section also contains the non-vedAntic idea that Vedas were created by Shiva. He is described as "vedakAra" etc.

      e. Pancharatra, which is vehemently against Shiva > Vishnu and Shiva = Vishnu theories, is extolled in the Mokshadharma section. Yamunacarya and Ramanuja have quoted these sections and they remain unchallenged by Advaitins. In fact they were so successful that the 13th Century Amalananda was forced to disagree with their Adi-guru Shankara by accepting Pancharatra to be entirely in agreement with Vedanta and objections such as jeevotpatti etc. are not valid objections (See Kalpataru and Sastra Darpana commentaries on Brahma Sutra Bhashya).

      f. It is inconceivable that Mahabharata should, in the same breath, introduce episodes of Shiva's supremacy while a number of suprasiddha verses ("AloDya sarva shAstrANi...", "vede rAmAyaNe puNye...", "satyaM satyaM punaH satyaM..." etc.) quoted by many in the past including Shankara claims that the Mahabharata is entirely dedicated to singing Vishnu's glories.

      g. Haradatta, an ancient Saiva Siddhantin, has argued using the ten Upanishads and Mahanarayana Upanishad that Siva is supreme, in his work "Shruti Sukti Mala". He has cited many incidents from Linga, Skanda, etc. in his other works to show Siva's supremacy. It is strange that, when AcAryas such as yAmuna, rAmAnuja, etc. have quoted many verses from the mahAbhArata to argue Vishnu's supremacy, until 500 years ago no one had come forward with quotations from the Shaiva-centric portions of the mahAbhArata in reply to them, disproving "Vishnu > Shiva" to establish either "Shvia > Vishnu", or "Shiva = Vishnu".

      h. In light of 4a-4g how can one then, without being biased, argue that Shaivite-friendly poets were more trustworthy in reproducing the Mahabharata faithfully (including the author of Andhra Mahabharata, who supposedly for some reason replaced the Upamanyu/SS with some other Shaivite-friendly narrative), while Vaishnavites were the ones who were dishonestly silent about them?


    9. ADDENDUM: Anyone such as you who is interested in neutrally determining the authenticity of texts should look into procuring the edition of Mahabharata that Sri Puthur Swami has referred to, and into (i) Arjunamisra's statements regarding Anushasana Parvan (ii) Vidyaranya's (Vidyasagara?) version of the Abridged Mahabharata which apparently covers every narrative in the original.

    10. // As an example, the vishNu purAna would describe bhagavAn as "his chakra is the ego, his conch is knowledge, his bow is the mind," while the bhAgavatam would say "his chakra is effulgent, his conch is beautiful with the stain of his lotus lips, his bow saves his devotees". One expounds the tattvas, and the other talks about the experience of the tattvas in ripened form"

      i love collecting pearls of wisdom like this from this blog! :-)

  16. And let us not forget, if the likes of subbu, the person who quoted kshemendra and the like, come out and openly say they are shaiva, we have no problems with them accepting shiva sahasranAma and following the tradition of ancient shaivas who happily rejected veda and had their own unique set of literature that they followed. But when you claim you are an advaitin belonging to shankara's tradition, then the shiva sahasranAma is most definitely inauthentic (in the tAmasa purAnas) and an interpolation (in the mahAbhArata)

  17. ADD: ==Give me one good reason why these should not be treated as crushing evidences that Siva is also treated as supreme in the Mahabharata.==

    I have already given the example of Tulsidas to that of Kshemendra regarding the Upamanyu episode. Show a vedAntin or a secular vidwAn who quoted the shiva sahasranAma, not those belonging to traditions that accept non-canon scriptures. Anybody using Kshemendra can very well use the nAyanmars as pramAna and thus wash himself off the vaidika tradition.

    Kshemendra was a kavi and that would explain the inclusion of upamanyu episode as well. It is also like srI kambar who included the episode of hiranya vadham in the rAmAyaNa. Neither of these incidents are in the actual texts.

  18. Something that could be useful... A critical study of kShemendra:

    1. Okay... here is the deal. Chapter 11 in the above book shows that the Nirnaya Sagar edition of Bharatamanjari is based on only *two* manuscripts. They were obtained by one Buhler, one in Bhuj and the other in Kashmir. One of them is not even a palm-leaf manuscript but a paper one.

      The first para in the chapter also shows that Kshemendra was virtually unknown, and only existed in stray quotations in a few works.

    2. Dear Sri Lakshmi Narayana,

      Draupadi Manasamrakshanam was very much done by the Lord! Yes, I did not see it live but Azhwars have mentioned it and Acharyas have given brilliant commentaries on the episode!! Why would one unknown Dharma jump into the scene when She was clearly calling out the Lord's Divine Names like Shanka Chakra Gada Pani, Dwarakanilaya, Govinda, Pundarikaksha, etc.? The entity Dharma that you talk about surely doesn't possess the attributes indicated by these lovely Names of the Lord? The Lord is Dharma. That is the only explanation.

  19. There was really no need for this lengthy exercise if it had been properly understood that only what is quoted by vedAntins is accepted. We do not care tuppence about what indologists believe regarding bhagavatam purAna etc as we reject their opinions wholesale. Otherwise, we could have even used works of certain indologists who think SS is an interpolation and Shankara was a vaiSnava; but we didn't because we reject their methodology even if they somehow arrive at some correct conclusions. There is a difference between efficient tly researching the truth and bumbling onto the truth accidentally as some indologists did.

    Anyway, some additional points to wrap up this wearisome exercise. The only possible riposte is that Kshemendra also wrote some poetic works praising vishNu and hence cannot be lumped into the shaiva group. To that we reply,

    . Kshemendra was a kavi and hence praised vishNu as his avatars are the subject of kavIs works popularly. Kalidasa too has written both kumarasambhavam and raghuvamsam.

    2. He had shaiva affliation and hence included their thoughts in his works as well. A verse attributed him says he thought of shambling (shiva) as supreme. Thus, he was at best a poet with shaiva leanings.

    3. This makes him only a kavi and exaggerations always happen, as in the case of tulasidas ramcharitmanas.

    4. Just as kalidasa and tulasidas and even for that matter Abhinava Gupta are not used to determine authenticity of a text, neither is kshemendra.

  20. Correction:

    -he thought of shambling (shiva) as supreme.--

    That should be " shambhu" and not shambling. Mobile auto correct playing tricks Apologies.

  21. Namaste

    I have been discussing the issue of interpolations in the Mahabharata with a friend of mine and the issue of the shiva sahasranama also came up, and he told me a few points, which in my opinion, cast doubt on the authenticity of the shiva sahasranama. While I have so far not made up my mind on these issues, I would like to abandon my (previously changed) position that the Shiva sahasranama is authentic, as a result of my discussion. Here are a few salient points from my discussion.

    1. Scholars generally accept that there are three redactions of the Mahabharata. One that is given out by Vyasa, which contains 8800 verses and called as Jaya. The second given out by Vysampayana, which is called Bharata, that contains 24000 verses, and the third that is given out by Sauti, that contains 100,000 verses. Some scholars think that Jaya and Bharata are the same. If we go by this, the original Mahabharata (called as Bharata) was about one fourth the size of the current day Mahabharata. Sauti added many verses into the Mahabharata, to suit the context of his day and mostly as an answer to other religions like Buddhism and Jainism. In other words, the brahmanas were trying to use the Mahabharata, which is a popular epic, to counter the influence of Buddhism and therefore they added many verses to it. Hence, we find many interpolations in the Mahabharata.

    2. The Mahabharata occurs in different recensions and the smallest Northern recension is about 83000 verses and the longest Southern recension is about 125000 verses. This shows that there are many interpolations in the southern recension. But there are some verses in the Northern ones that are not present in the southern ones and hence these must be regarded as interpolations.

    3. The oldest surviving manuscript, dated to the Kushan period (200 CE) DOES NOT contain the Anushasana and virata parvas. So both these parvas or most episodes of them are likely to be interpolations. It is to be noted that while Vishnu stuti occurs throughout the Mahabharata, a lot of Siva Stuti occurs in the Anushasana parva. Hence, a lot of Shiva stuti is of questionable authenticity.

    4. Apart from Anushasana parva, even the Shanti parva is full of interpolations. Scholars have always doubted both these parvas and any events in these parvas must be viewed with a suspicious eye. This includes both the Vishnu and Siva sahasranamas. However, as mentioned earlier, Vishnu stuti is found throughout the epic while Siva stuti is found predominantly in the Anushasana parva.

  22. continued

    5. Another shiva sahasranama, which is found in the Shanti parva, has been omitted in the critical edition as an interpolation. While this strictly does not show anything about the Shiva sahasranama of the anushasana parva, it casts a doubt on its authenticity. If one is dubious, there are high chances that the other is dubious as well.

    6. The iconography of Vishnu in the Mahabharata is not well-developed. He is rarely portrayed in the form that he is currently popular, whereas the iconography of Shiva in the Mahabharata is highly developed. He is often described with explicit details and is more or less in the form that he is currently worshipped. This shows that the verses praising Vishnu are earlier in origin that those that praise Shiva.

    7. The Vishnu of the Mahabharata is more or less praised in terms that are very similar to the vedantic brahman of the upanishads, compared to Siva. This does not mean that Siva is not praised as brahman, but the praises of Vishnu, in general, are more closer to the vedantic style of describing brahman that is followed in the upanishads. This shows that the verses praising Shiva are late interpolations as compared to the verses praising Vishnu.

    8. With the exception of sections like Narayaniya (which are late interpolations), most of the passages that extol Vishnu display syncretism while most of the passages that extol shiva are sectarian. In these passages, sectarianism generally takes the form of Krishna (an incarnation of Vishnu) worshipping Siva. These sectarian passages are later day interpolations either by Saivas or by Sauti to include the Saivism religion in the Mahabharata, in order to counteract non-vedic religions like Buddhism.

    9. In the earlier part of the epic narrative, there is seldom any mention of Siva as the supreme being. This shows that Siva stutis are late interpolations in the epic.

    10. Passages in the Mahabharata that talk of linga-worship for Siva are treated as late interpolations in the epic.

    11. Now, coming to Kshemendra: Keshemendra’s Bharata-manjari is mostly based on the Kashmiri resension of the Mahabharata and because of the existence of Kashmir saivism in that period, it contains many Siva stutis. Whereas the Andhra bharratamu is based on southern manuscripts and does not contain the shiva sahasranama, even though it contains some of the siva stutis. This shows that the shiva sahasranama has not yet made it into the mainstream southern recensions of the text by the thirteenth century. Hence the siva sahasranama is a late interpolation into the text. This conclusion is also reached by scholars like Vaidya, of course, by using other forms of reasoning. We will not go into this here, but the reader can refer to Vaidya’s reasoning in: Mahabharata: A criticism, which is available in

    All these points show that Shiva stutis in the Mahabharata are later in origin than Vishnu stutis. And the Shiva sahasranama is an interpolation.

  23. A word of advise to Lakshminarayan - you seem to have this incurable habit of resorting to indological views without even consulting the tradition. Desist.

    As we told you before, we do not accept most of the points or the way you arrived at your conclusion, regardless of whether it is correct or not. For one thing, statements like these:

    ---In other words, the brahmanas were trying to use the Mahabharata, which is a popular epic, to counter the influence of Buddhism and therefore they added many verses to it. Hence, we find many interpolations in the Mahabharata.----

    And these,

    ====The iconography of Vishnu in the Mahabharata is not well-developed. He is rarely portrayed in the form that he is currently popular, whereas the iconography of Shiva in the Mahabharata is highly developed...............The Vishnu of the Mahabharata is more or less praised in terms that are very similar to the vedantic brahman of the upanishads,=========

    Are absolutely ridiculous since the "Brahman of the Vedanta" is the same as Vishnu and the Shiva of the Veda (where he is properly mentioned as opposed to shaiva interpretations) is the same as the "popular" shiva.

    Neither do we accept brahmins "interpolated mahabharata" to compete with buddhists. A baseless theory which is beneath our dignity to comment on.

    We have already told you we do not subscribe to the views of Indologists. We do not believe that a "vedic vishnu" evolved into a "puranic vishnu", etc. The same shankha-chakra-gadA-dhAri of the puranas is described by the upanishads as well.

    So, please do not come here with theories of max muller, george hart and the other indologists you seem to adore. Neither do we subscribe to Agniveer or PN Oak. This is the last time we will allow indological posts of this kind.

    What is the proof you use to rely on these indologists? The fact that YOU think the veda does not talk about the popular deities? Well, then, the ideal way would be to study how traditional scholars interpret it - the Veda does talk about these deities and they are the same conclusions as in the puranas. But without studying it, you arrogantly keep coming back and tossing nonsensical ideas of indology here.

    We already saw enough of that nonsense when you claimed "vaishnavas interpolated draupadi disrobing" - you laughably failed to understand "Dharma" was a name of Bhagavan only. Even the context suggests it - Draupadi is the jiva, the kaurava court is samsara, the 5 pandavas are the 5 indriyas that forsake the jiva in samsara, the jiva that is draupadi then performs sharanAgati which is hailed as the highest dharma, and then bhagavan who is the means for the sharanagatas and hence called "dharma", saves her.

    So, this would be unpalatable to you. Rather, you would accept some no-name european indologist who claims this is an interpolation. Fine then.


    1. // Even the context suggests it - Draupadi is the jiva, the kaurava court is samsara, the 5 pandavas are the 5 indriyas that forsake the jiva in samsara, the jiva that is draupadi then performs sharanAgati which is hailed as the highest dharma, and then bhagavan who is the means for the sharanagatas and hence called "dharma", saves her.

      One more pearl! :-) If i remember alright, even Draupadi pleads for the Lord's mercy stating that She is drowning in the ocean of kurus.

  24. Contd...

    Another case in point is this,

    ==Even the Shanti parva is full of interpolations. Scholars have always doubted both these parvas and any events in these parvas must be viewed with a suspicious eye. This includes both the Vishnu and Siva sahasranamas.====

    And who are these "scholars"? I suppose some indologists who think "Indra is a vedic deity, Soma is an intoxicating drink, the vedic vishnu was a solar deity" and hence they believe everything is an interpolation are these "scholars"? The very audacity to suggest this shows that you have scant respect for the true vaidika scholars who know that "Indra" is an epithet of Parabrahman for "wealthy" and "Soma" as One whose qualities are nectarine and hence do not consider anything as an interpolation but as a general coherent conclusion of the vedanta.

    For the last time, do not bring this trash to our blog. There are plenty of groups to discuss Max Muller, Wendy Doniger and other morons who write such nonsense as "vedic vishnu evolved into puranic vishnu" in the name of Indology..

    If I haven't made myself clear on this, HBB will. He is usually better at communicating than me. For the last time, stop bringing indological trash to our blog, which is based on tradition.

  25. Note to our readers: Shaivas and Vaishnavas alike.

    Do not be confused by the likes of Lakshminarayan and the ilk of ignorant indologists. The Vishnu of the Vedas is verily the Vishnu of the Puranas and Agamas. Similarly, the Shiva of the Vedas is indeed the Shiva of the Puranas and Agamas. Only those unread buffoons who have no clue of grammar would consider the Vedas to be saying one thing and everything else as "later interpolations". And of course, Brahmin vs Buddhist conspiracy theories.

    Our blog is to defend Vaishnavism, but as we have reiterated in our "Notes" section, we have nothing against Shiva (who we respect) or Shaivas, whose maTha, for all its faults, is still an ancient and honorable tradition. A greater enemy than ignorant and rabid shaivas would be the likes of Indologists who mislead a number of laypeople by idiotic interpretations of shastra.

    Therefore, we would stand shoulder to shoulder with shaivas on this issue.

    Let us give you an example of rubbish indological interpretations in my next post and end it at that.


  26. Since the likes of Lakshminarayan raked up indological theories, let us actually see how much these indologists are worth their salt. A divergence from our usual debate on shaiva/vaishnava issues.

    The indologists set great store in the interpretations of max muller and griffith. This is what they often use to date scriptures and so on. Let us take a particular mantra from the Rg Veda and see how Griffith interprets it:

    arAyi kANe vikaTe giriM gacha sadAnve |
    shirimbiThasyasatvabhistebhiS TvA cAtayAmasi || (10.155.13)

    This mantra is interpreted by ancient scholars as referring to the Lord of Thirumala. This is my translation based on how srI rAmAnuja has interpreted it as documented by "thirumalai anantAzhwan" in "venkatAchala ithihAsamAla"

    Meaning: You (tvA) who are desirous of the highest purushArtha (kAnE), of little fame, ie, destitute, (arAyi), to be hidden, ie, protected from samsAra (cAtyAmasi) must go (gaccha) to the hill (girim) that is capable of burning all sins to ashes (vikaTe), crying out (sadAnva) the names of bhagavAn, where Sriya pathI, ie, SrinivAsa (shirimbiThasya) along with the sAttvikas, ie, other devotees (satvabhistEbhis).

    arAyi - ara + ayi (feminine case for aya) - little yaShas or fame, so one who is poor. This refers to prapannas unlike the bhakti yOgIs who have the strength to perform upAsaNa and do not need srInivAsa as the direct means. The reason why the feminine case is used is because prapannas are like the obedient wives of bhagavAn who do not seek any other means. bharta-bhArya sambandha is demonstrated.

    kAnE - this refers to desire. This allows us to interpret "arAyi" as prapannas. Since "arAyi" already refers to being destitute, why mention that the destitute are desirous here when its something obvious? Its to show that "arAyi" are prapannas desirous of mOksha.

    cAtaya - Refers to being hidden, or protected from samsAra. It is true even to this day that tirumala alone is the sole bastion of sanAtana dharma, untouched by samsAra. One can feel the presence of previous yugas atop the great hills.

    Crying out refers to shouting his names, "SrinivAsa, VenkataramaNa, Govinda". The rk also recommends travelling with other devotees.

    Now, let us take a look at how Griffith interprets it,

    "ARAYI, one-eyed limping hag, fly, ever-screeching, to the hill. We frighten thee away with these, the heroes of Sirimbitha."

    Do I need to say more? Indologists have the ability to take a grand mantra and turn it into mush. And based on these foolish interpretations, the "historians" would say something like "there was a vedic vishnu, who morphed into a puranic vishnu due to brahmin-buddhist fights". And we are supposed to believe that shiva was also a tribal god who became suddenly popular based on such ridiculous translations of the veda. And lo, we have a medthology for dating the texts!

    The likes of Lakshminarayan can adhere to this trash. We have no objection. Leave our blog, and the traditional vaishnavas and shaivas out of it.

  27. ADDENDUM: A few other tripe should also be rejected:

    ===The oldest surviving manuscript, dated to the Kushan period (200 CE) DOES NOT contain the Anushasana and virata parvas. So both these parvas or most episodes of them are likely to be interpolations.===

    Your grand opinion, this? As we have said many times before, we do not care for theories of indologists. What is not quoted by scholars, which contradicts the veda and which is absent is an interpolation. Both these parvas are quoted (except for Shiva Sahasranama and the like) by traditional scholars and hence authentic.

    == With the exception of sections like Narayaniya (which are late interpolations),====

    And how is the Narayaniya a late interpolation? Because your "scholars" interpreted it in a way (not unlike Griffith) that makes it an interpolation? Or wait, I suppose the sanskrit is different from the other text? Well, case 1 is a non argument thanks to the example of the "arAyi kAnE" mantra I explained above and case 2 is also not a problem since importance given to oral tradition often means texts were handed down in different ways and in any case, no ancient vedantin, who are all proficient in sanskrit, saw discrepancies.

    The conclusion is that the Narayaniya is as authentic as the very veda. Foolish interpretations by indologists and then claim based on those very interpretations that it is an interpolation. Genius.

    This was just an addendum. Maybe you should consider that there is a way to interpret shAstras coherently in a manner that doesn't involve saying "the vedantic brahman is different from puranic brahman". If a continuity is established by one interpretation, that remains valid. Instead, you rely on ignoramuses who interpret something foolishly with scant regard for grammar or context and then claim the rest of the texts are interpolations because it doesn't match their foolish interpretations.

    === I would like to abandon my (previously changed) position that the Shiva sahasranama is authentic, as a result of my discussion===

    You can keep vacillating for all we care, or you can do whatever you want. Just do not post rubbish.

    A frog in the well does not know the world outside and thinks its a cut above the rest. Describes indology well. Same goes for the likes of PN Oak who go to the other extreme to defend shastras.

  28. Dear Lakshminarayana,

    // Sauti added many verses into the Mahabharata, to suit the context of his day and mostly as an answer to other religions like Buddhism and Jainism. In other words, the brahmanas were trying to use the Mahabharata, which is a popular epic, to counter the influence of Buddhism and therefore they added many verses to it.//

    // With the exception of sections like Narayaniya (which are late interpolations)...//

    Oh dear! Aren't these Indologists and 'research' are such sitting ducks for Vedantins (i.e., genuine Vedantins and not cacophonous pretenders like subbu). It is so easy to show how their knowledge is half-baked and their intentions biased.

    // The iconography of Vishnu in the Mahabharata is not well-developed. He is rarely portrayed in the form that he is currently popular, whereas the iconography of Shiva in the Mahabharata is highly developed. //

    What about the Bhagavad Gita? I guess that would be an interpolation too, considering the 11th chapter shows Vishnu in His caturbhuja form with Shankha, Chakra, Gada, and Padma! And the in the Ramayana, "tamasaH paramo dhAtA shaN^khacakragadAdharaH" statement by Mandodari?

    Do you know that the bhAsa, a great Vaishnava poet, has praised Vishnu in highest terms and described His form and other aspects in good detail in his works based on the Mahabharata? And this bhAsa has been quoted (anonymously) by as early an author as Kautilya? This shows Vishnu's form described in a work prior to even 300 BCE, a date by which you suppose the Mahabharata was not even composed in its present form! Moreover, Indologists do not even dare to refute the fact that Kalidasa has celebrated Bhasa in his works with great regard.

    Similarly, Paripadal of Tamil Sangam literature too contains descriptions of Vishnu's form. So much for their "undeveloped iconography" theory!

    Of course, Indologists still refuse to accept such genuine evidences coming from traditional sources [genuine ones, not like PN Oak etc. as Aaryama has indicated], as they will have to reconsider their entire research spanning the whole of their career and in fact the roots of the field of Indology itself, upon which they have built a false sAmrAjya of numerous best-paper awards, various accolades and recognitions, honorary positions in various universities, etc.

    Pretty much everything that they have got against us is the result of contempt, jealousy, and scant regard for the contributions of our Acharyas. Any unbiased and careful reader (who is not haughty and willing to admit he is wrong if proved wrong) will be able to tell this. There is no consensus among Indologists on any issue either.

    And please don't say things like "to deny Indology is akin to deny that the earth is a sphere" etc. Anybody can verify that the earth is a spherical object revolving around the sun using direct perception and inference. On the other hand, Indology is not science... it is but a bunch of wishful speculations of hate-filled racists, none of which is verifiable beyond doubt. As a field of study, it is just an invention of a few jobless Missionary-minded Europeans which some people, including a few brown-skinned children of McCaulay, found convenient to take up as a profession and to build their careers upon.

    I will just post one example, Paul Hacker, to show how flawed Indology is. Apart from this,

    ***No more Indological reports in the comments section of this blog, please. Won't approve them anymore.**

    Not that we are threatened by any new "findings" of Indologists. As we have indicated to you already, the authors and the target audience of this blog reject the methods used by Indologists even though they stumble upon some aspects of Vaidika religion/Vedanta correctly by accident. In areas where they differ from us, we hardly ever consider them a challenge worth answering. These theories are annoying distractions at best.

    1. Following up on the above comment, to show how Indologists like Paul Hacker should not be taken seriously by pious Hindus. This is from a private email conversation:

      ===== begin quote =====

      This is in connection with the link I sent yesterday where dvaitins have coherently and convincingly replied to a Western Indologist's take on Madhva (The Madhvas' response is a must read, and it shows the true colors of Western Indologists in a lucid manner. Please see the link in the long email I sent to the group yesterday: )

      Most of us will now be familiar with how Shankara and his original followers considered only Vishnu as saguNa brahman. The following google book link has a discussion by a westerner, Paul Hacker, who makes a similar observation. However, as is usual with Western indologists, you should take notice at the shallow analysis combined with overtones of intellectual superiority and opinionated comments (ignoring strong evidences against it in Shankara's own works). You may read whatever is available from the preview, parts of Chapters 1 and 2 of this book here:

      Here are a few examples from the book:


      "Sankara's Brahmasutrabhashya and other works which are of undisputed authorship indicate that he came from a Vaisnava background. This is shown by the fact that whenever he refers to examples of cults of deities he chooses those belonging to the Visnuite sphere, that he explains the name of Sambuddha mentioned by Gaudapada, Mandukyakarika IV.1 as Narayana, that he refers to Siva not by the name of Siva but Rudra. Mandanamisra, on the other hand, who was Sankara's rival and probably contemporary, came from a Saivite background, as the last passages of his Brahmasiddhi show, where he describes release as "paramasivabhAva". Even for a few centuries after Sankara, the works of those Advaitins who were strict followers of his school point as a rule to a Vaisnava provenance, for instance, in their "benedictions" (mangalacarana)...." p.28

      In other words, Sankara's inclination for Visnu is not because of his personal conviction (shown by innumerable attestations in Prasthanatrayi Bhashyas which the Westerner has not cared to notice), but because he was conditioned by his cult background.

      And what does "paramasivabhAva" have to do with Saivism??? The same nonsense is repeated elsewhere by this author. Mandana Misra quotes bhagavad gita in Brahmasiddhi, that too from the vibhUti yoga (tenth) chapter. I don't think a Saiva would ever do this:

      bhagavānuktvā ---
      ‘munīnāmapyahaṃ vyāsaḥ'ityādi, upasaṃjahāra ---
      ‘yadyadvibhūtimatsattvam’ iti /

      And his work has been commented upon by an author called "Shankhapani", an obviously Vaishnava name.

      And here is the exact phrase in Brahmasiddhi where the phrase "Paramasivabhava" occurs: विश्वाशिवोपशमात् परमशिवभावाच्च परिपूर्णः पुरुषार्थो आप्तो भवति, which only means "the puruShArtha (desirable ultimate result) comes from the cessation of all inauspicious things and from the birth of the auspicious"... so where does Parvati-pati Rudra come here?


      "There is a broad stream of Visnuite Advaitism -- not only insofar as the earliest authors of Advaitavada give evidence of the fact that their milieu was Vaisnava, even if their philosophy itself did not give a mythological name to Brahman" p.27

      Again, quite shallow to suggest that early advaitins did not give a "mythological" name to Brahman. And yet again, their milieu i.e., ambience was Vaishnava, and so they had a tendency to talk about Vishnu.


    2. (contd. from above)


      "... by the bhAgavatapurANa, of which the Advaitic character is not noticed by Gonda. I conjecture that the term Bhagavata refers specially, though not exclusively, to Advaitic Vaishnavism, whereas the ancient Vaisnava group, the Pancaratra, was dualistic or pluralistic in thinking, as we can see from Vaisnava Samhitas." p.28

      "The fact that radical Advaitism was cultivated in Vaisnava circles is borne out also by the existence of texts that expressly profess Vaisnavism and teach radical Advaitism at the same time. To this category belong certain passages of bhAgavatapurANa" p.39

      If anyone can make sense of how bhAgavata purANa is "advaitic" in character, it will be illuminating to me.


      "... a few indications -- not very conspicuous, it is true, and therefore, as far as I can see, not noticed by scholars so far, but nevertheless unambiguous -- can be detected in SBh (Shankara's Bhashyas) to show that the Vaisnava religion was, to say the least, more familiar to the author than Saivism."

      Silly remark... See Smrtyadhikarana (Brahma Sutra 2.1.1) for details. Nothing can be more conspicuous than that. Silly again to suggest that these only indicate that he was "more familiar" with Vaisnava religion.


      "the name of Rudra in a passage where myths are cited to substantiate certain statements (Brahma Sutra Bhashya 3.3.32). It is said that Skanda was generated by Rudra. This is quite an impartial mention, not different from allusions to myths of other gods. No predilection for Siva can be educed from it" p.34

      Impartial mention? It is hardly "impartial" to say that while the sage apAntaratamaH was born as Veda Vyasa as *ordered by Vishnu* and that Sanatkumara, *on granting a boon to Rudra* was born as Skanda:

      "apāntaratamā nāma vedācāryaḥ purāṇarṣir viṣṇuniyogāt kalidvāparayoḥ saṃdhau kṛṣṇadvaipāyanaḥ saṃbabhūveti smaranti
      sanatkumāro 'pi brahmaṇa eva mānasaḥ putraḥ svayaṃ rudrāya varapradānāt skandatvena prādurbabhūva"

      The author seems to be totally unfamiliar with Upanishadic concepts like Supreme Ishvara's avApta-samasta-kAmatvam, anapahatapApmatvam, etc. To say "no predilection for Siva can be educed from it." is like ignoring the proverbial "elephant in the room". Similar to this situation... Guru asks disciple A to check if disciple B is he is fasting on that day, as per his orders. Disciple A comes back and says "Guruji, I am unable to tell you whether B is properly fasting or not. I asked him if he was, but he was busy eating and could not answer my question".

      6) "Conspicuously different, however, is the case of Vaisnavism. Exception made of the passage where the Pancaratra doctrine is criticized, Visnu is mentioned under this name at least seven times and once each under the names of Hari and Narayana. Let us now examine these passages. One of them (3.3.32) cites a myth, another (3.2.17) mentions Narayana in connection with a Mahabharata verse quoted. Neither of the two passages yields any material utilizable to answer our question". p.35

      ... except that the verse quoted in 3.2.17 is from the section in Shanti Parva where Lord Krishna shows his Vishvarupa form to Narada and declares Himself as the Supreme Being.


    3. (contd. from above)

      7) On Shankara's commentary on the Pancharatra adhikaraNa:

      "I think it cannot be overlooked that a marked sympathy for the Vaisnava religion speaks from these words. This sympathy even goes beyond what might be expected from the point of view of strict Advaitism. For not only does Sankara stress that the doctrine of God or the Brahman being the material as well as the efficient cause is common to both his system and that of Vaisnavism, but he even identifies the Highest Self as taught by the Advaita system with a figure of mythology, namely with Narayana, the Bhagavan, who is the highest deity of Vaisnavism, and..."

      Shows that even after studying so much, the author *does not get it* at all! And notice the assumption that Advaita Vedanta and 'Mythology' have nothing to do with each other echoing repeatedly here.


      "But in the compound paramasivabhAva the word Siva is probably not an adjective. For Paramasiva or Parasiva is a Saiva term used in different systems to denote the Absolute (cp., to quote only one instance Pratyabhijnabrdaya 3), transcending the manifestations of Siva. Therefore, Mandana's use of the word paramasivabhAva, which may, a la rigueur, be explained as containing the adjective Siva but still inevitably suggests the typically Saiva notion, most probably points out to a religious preference... We may infer from this that Mandana hailed from a Saiva environment. If this is true, i.e., if Sankara and Mandana hailed from different religious environments, which would naturally more or less coincide with sociological differences, an additional explanation for the rivalry between the two great monists would suggest itself from this fact, and this would account for the fact that the few and rather insignificant divergences between their respective doctrines were taken as an occasion for a stiff controversy." p.39

      What I said for point 1 holds true here. Note here that the author is also suggesting that just because Mandana and Suresvara were theologically different, they sought to oppose whatever the other person said (like children).

      ===== end quote =====


  29. The simple conclusion is this - Lakshminarayan has been selectively ignoring what we write and sets great value in the half baked opinions of indologists. It is very curious that he thinks this is open-mindedness when these indologists write like little children and have no respect or knowledge for the tradition. In fact the only one who seems to be following blind faith is the person who follows these indologists. Let Lakshminarayan chew on this as food for thought:

    1. Why should we follow the opinion of a George Hart who says Bhagavata purAna has "incorrect sanskrit" when great scholars like Sri dharma, veeraraghavacharya and Madhva found no sanskrit errors in the text?

    2. Why should we follow a Griffiths who says the Vedas are tribal texts when he interprets "ArAyi kAnE" as a "one eyed limping hag"? You purposely give a stupid meaning and then claim. "vishNu's iconography has not evolved yet!" Oh yes, very scientific way of thinking!

    3. When Wendy Doniger interprets "goghna" in the Vedas as cow slaughter, she says this means cows were sacrificed. However why should we take this interpretation when this word occurs in context of the mind and hence "go" means sense organs or indriyas as per sanskrit grammar - meaning that it only refers to killing the actions of the senses and not cows?

    4. Why should we then accept that mahabharata and pAncaratra are "late interpolations" because these "scholars" first interpret the Vedas wrongly and then say the ithihAsa is of later origin because it does not fit their stupid interpretations?

    5. Why accept the stupid tribal migration theories of Witzel who claims "aryas" and "dasyus" refer to racial tribes when actually they are metaphors for "punya" and "pApa" karma?

    The one who practices blind faith is the person who like sheep follows these indologists and disregards the true vaidikas who had the utmost knowledge of grammar. It is a case of the blind leading the blind.

  30. There are those who say things like Vrishabdev is an incarnation of Lord shiva etc, how to understand that. Is that in tamasic sastras and holds no ground? Especially since Rishab dev is mentioned in the Srimad Bhagavatam.

  31. Also there are some shivaites or "hindus" who state some of the following. How to counteract such nonsense.

    lease refer mahabharat in which it is clearly mntnd that shiva is most supreme as he only parted vishnu from him for nourishing the universe and he himself kept his tamasguna(anger) within himself to become the sanharak or the destroyer. That is why shiva and vishnu both say that i am everything and everything belongs to me and is inside me.

    Rameshvaram is there because when after the war ram ordered hanuman to destroy the shivalingas that were made by ram then they came out to be i destructible . Even ram was not able to take them out of earth. Hence rama left them as it is and hence

    Even vishnu was not able to stop veerbhadra when he approached daksha. Vishnu denied to use sudarshan chakra against veerbhadra. Because he knew that he cant stop veerbhadra

    The gem from these people is amazing. If a proper reply is given that would be great

    1. Dear reader,

      There is no hope for such Vishnu-haters, who still cannot even be convinced even after reading the vast amount of material in this blog.

      As we have reiterated elsewhere, there is no point in endlessly answering such objections and it is only a waste of precious time which can be spent in sAdhana, nAma sankIrtana, shAstra appreciation, etc.

      No more silly Vishnu-hater interpretations of shAstras.

    2. Dear Sri HBB,

      The effort put in by this Blog's Authors is very commendable. It is extremely illuminating also. For people like me who have always admired Swami Ramanuja as the compassionate Acharya who made reaching Paramapadam very easy even for creatures like me, it is exhilarating to know Swami's intellectual greatness also in detail. And the articles will help us guide the younger generation also. So, please do post the great articles. :-)

    3. One of our motives despite retaining neutrality on this blog, is for Sri Vaishnavas themselves to realise how great our acharyas were. They have not left one inch of the shAstra unexamined. Whatever meaning they impart in one place, is applicable at all places in the shAstra, even in differing context. If a neutral person reads our articles, he could probably relate to the fact that we are vaishnavas. If a sri vaishnava reads our articles carefully, they will notice how the eternal Veda perfectly echoes the tattvas of sri vachana bhUShanam and AchArya Hrudayam. We are glad that this has been achieved, if you can see it.

      No wonder Swami Manavala mamunigal chose these two works to write a commentary on - such was his genius in recognizing these works which are more important than other (also treasured) works of acharyas and singling them out for commentaries. I can modify the first sUtra of srI vachana bhuShaNam to "vedArthaM arutiyiduvathu pillai ulahAriyan thiruvadigalAlE" and it is truer than what the AchArya himself wrote (smriti ithihAsa purAnankalAlE)!

      But of course, we do tend to not over-emphasize on this fact as we try to cater to all readers and not just sri vaishnavas.

      Regarding other articles, watch this space. We have many planned, in various states of progress, so will get around to it eventually one-by-one.

    4. // I can modify the first sUtra of srI vachana bhuShaNam to "vedArthaM arutiyiduvathu pillai ulahAriyan thiruvadigalAlE" and it is truer than what the AchArya himself wrote

      :-) Nice Acharya Bhakti!!

  32. Dear bloggers

    This is Lakshminarayana.

    On a lighter vein, you could have as well labeled your blog as Vaishnavastra. In the Mahabharata war, Bhagadatta uses this astra against Arjuna. Krishna covers Arjuna and takes the astra on himself, which falls as a garland on him. Arjuna asks Krishna, why he has interfered when he (Arjuna) is very well able to fight. Krishna explains that the waepon can kill anyone. He explains that even Indra and Rudra can be killed by the Vaishnavastra -

    "nAsyAvadhyo.asti lokeShu sendrarudreShu mAriSha"

    "There is none, in all the world, O sire, including even Indra and Rudra, who is unslayable by this weapon."

    This adds weight to your point that rudra is a jIva only and not the supreme Brahman.

    1. Sri vaishnava acharyas say that the vaishnavastra, nArAyaNastra, the arrows of rAma issuing from the Sarnga/Kodanda, the nails of narasimha and other weapons of bhagavAn are simply manifestations of the Sudarshana chakra. Even the tip of Siva's arrow which burnt Tripura was vishNu holding the sudarshana in prayoga - this is mentioned in the Sudarshanashtakam.

      Whenever bhagavAn kills, it is sudarshana who is involved. Even the palms of krishna who killed the asurAs in gokula, mustika/chanura, kuvalayapeetam, kamsa, etc (accompanied by balarAma of course) bore the mark of the chakra according to the Acharyas.

      So really, the blog could have been named "Sudarshanam"!

    2. Beautiful suggestion with a good reason and beautiful reply quoting the Acharyas! Reminded of Sri Putthur Swami too. :-)

  33. amazing article and comments by blogger...i have a stuti of krishna to siva ever quoted by acharya of any tradition as sidhanta or purva paksha or any other context...?...does it fulfill ur criteria of it being an authentic text....or is its authenticity doubtful?

    1. srI parAsara bhattar references it in bhagavad guNa darpaNa, his bhAshya for the vishNu sahasranAma. It is also referenced by periyavAchan pillai and other sri vaishnava acharyas in the commentaries on the divya prabandha.

      I believe mAdhvas do have quoted it, not sure about it though.

  34. Shivaya Vishnu rupaya, shiva rupaya vishnavey, shivasya hrudhayam vishno: vishnusya hrudhayam shiva: - Padma puranam

    How do you see this?

    1. Point no. 1) - we have already explained how it can be interpreted in a manner perfectly acceptable to vishNu paratva. You can dig it out in the comments section where we have commented on this verse.

      Point no. 2) - Quoting it without providing the verse numbers, we don't feel inclined to do your work for you.

      Point no. 3) - Assuming the verse is indeed genuine, the padma purana is mishra sattva and hence has some rajasic/tamas content despite being a predominantly sattvika purana. This has also been explained in our articles. But again, we have already commented on it anyway in an acceptable manner.

      Point no. 4) - No vedAntin has quoted it and hence it is a non-issue.

      So, in summary, we "see it" this way - we have already explained this in the blog and will comment on it no further. Funny how some ignore whatever is already written in this blog and keep bringing insignificant things up. This will be the last time we allow comments on already discussed and done-to-death issues.

  35. Hi Vikram Srinivasan,
    Where in padma purana, these verses appear? It would be nice if you can let everyone know, in which Khanda and exact verse details.


  36. (SrI veda vyAsa was the rishi who raised his hands above his head and emphatically said the following - Satyam Satyam Punassatyam Udhrutya Bhujamuchyate Vedaachaastram Param Naasti Na Daivam Keshavaat Param.)

    I know Madhvacharya quotes this verse, but I tried searching in the BORI critical edition of the Mahabharata and I could not find this verse anywhere. Is it present in Harivamsa? Please clarify.

  37. (The mahAbhArata starts with “nArAyaNam namaskR^itya naram chaiva narOttamam…” and ends with “AlODya sarva shAstrANi vicArya ca punaH punaH idamekaM suniShpannaM dhyeyon nArAyaNaH sadA”.)

    The starting verse is present in the BORI critical edition of the Mahabharata, but the ending verse is not present in it. Any comments?

    1. We honestly do not care whether BORI incorporated those verses are not. Because as you said, sri mAdhva and also sri shankara (as mentioned in our FAQ) as well as acharyas in the Sri vaishnava tradition quote them.

      As we have mentioned a dozen times already, the verses quoted by the acharyas from the 3 traditional schools are accepted as authentic without question, even if these verses do not appear in current recensions. If the verses can indeed be seen in current recensions, it's just a bonus.

      We have done the groundwork, so perhaps you can dig them out. Unless we absolutely need to, we do not have to go digging in shAstras when the verses are glaringly available in the works of the acharyas themselves. BORI edition etc are supplementary references (only if the verses are not quoted by acharyas do we need to provide references/verse numbers as proof) and not prime authority as compilations.

    2. The verse "satyam satyam punaH satyam..." is quoted by Sri Madhva and even before him Sri Parasara Bhatta in bhagavad-guNa darpaNa. Yes, it occurs in Harivamsa. It is found here: (verse 2-15

      Regarding the verse "nArAyaNam namaskR^itya" etc. there is an even stronger verse in the very first chapter of Adi parvan, a few verses later:

      "nAstinArAyaNasamam na bhUto na bhaviShyati
      etena satyavAkyena sarvArthAn sAdhayAmyaham"

      The verse "AlODya sarvashAstrANi..." etc. is included in the appendices of BORI, in the Ashvamedhika parvan. It only shows how lame the BORI edition is. It is quoted by Shankara in Vishnu Sahasranama saying "iti mahAbhArate bhagavatA vedavyAsena upasaMhR^itam".

      You would also find it useful that all these verses are found in the aShTAkShara-mAhAtmya chapter of the Narasimha purANa (Chapter 17, verses 32-33) as well, which is also sarva-vaidika-sampratipanna (favored by all vedAntins).

    3. Thanks for the information provided. I appreciate it.

      But I must say that I am surprised by your summary dismissal of the BORI edition as lame. In his preface to the Adi parvan, Vishnu Sukthankar describes the method adopted for coming up with the critical edition and he even specifically addresses the issue raised by you regarding quotations from Mahabharata by ancient authors. However, since you do not place much value on the BORI edition, let me just leave it at that.

    4. Sri HBB

      (The verse "AlODya sarvashAstrANi..." etc. is included in the appendices of BORI, in the Ashvamedhika parvan.)

      I tried searching it here and could not find this verse -

      (It is quoted by Shankara in Vishnu Sahasranama saying "iti mahAbhArate bhagavatA vedavyAsena upasaMhR^itam".)

      Could you give the more exact reference please? Which is the nAma among the 1000 names for which Shankara quotes this verse? Are there any other Acharyas who quote this verse?

    5. (The verse "AlODya sarvashAstrANi..." etc. is included in the appendices of BORI, in the Ashvamedhika parvan.)

      Its in the Anushasana appendix actually.


    6. // Its in the Anushasana appendix actually. //

      Correct. Thank you for the correction.

      // Could you give the more exact reference please? Which is the nAma among the 1000 names for which Shankara quotes this verse? Are there any other Acharyas who quote this verse? //

      It is found in the long commentary to "vishvam" in S's Sahasranama Bhashya. See this page (plus the one before/after) to see the context:

      Madhvacharya too quotes it in Mahabharata Tatparya Nirnaya. It is a well-known verse found in many Vedantic works in all three schools.

  38. Sirs, as far as I know, Shiva is not equated with vedantic brahman in the first six parvas of the Mahabharata. The interpolations, making this equation, are mainly found in 7th and 13th parvas. On the other hand, Vishnu is considered as vedantic brahman in almost all parvas of the Mahabharata.

  39. Sirs, In Mahabharata vana parva, Jayadratha asks boon from Shiva, that he should be able to defeat all Pandavas. Shiva says that Jayadratha cannot defeat Arjuna because Arjuna is under Krishna's protection, who himself is unconquerable. Below are relevant Sanskrit verses. This also dispels the myths propagated by some people that the Pandavas were actually protected by Shiva and not Krishna.

    ajayyA.nshchApyavadhyA.nshcha vArayiShyasi tAnyudhi |
    RRite.arjunaM mahAbAhuM devairapi durAsadam ||

    yamAhurajitaM devaM sha~NkhachakragadAdharam |
    pradhAnaH so.astraviduShAM tena kRRiShNena rakShyate

    1. Thank you for that info.

  40. Dear all,

    In the Ashwamedha section of the Mahabharata, Uttara pleads with shrI krishNa to save her son Parikshith, who was delivered stillborn due to the effects of the brahmAstra. ShrI krishNa obliges by first making a vow, upon which the baby comes back to life.

    The vow made by shrI krishNa is very interesting and is full of vedAntArthams. One must note that Parikshith was not resurrected because of the vow made by the Lord, but rather the vow simply explains the reasons why Parikshith deserved to live. That bhagavAn had the power to bring back the child to life without requiring a vow is not a matter for debate.

    Here is the link to the section with Ganguly’s trite commentary –

    I have tweaked his translation below to bring out the tattvArthas housed in the words of bhagavAn as follows:

    śrutvā sa tasyā vipulaṃ vilāpaṃ puruṣarṣabhaḥ
    upaspṛśya tataḥ kṛṣṇo brahmāstraṃ saṃjahāra tat

    Meaning: That foremost of beings (puruSharSabhah), hearing those heart-rending lamentations of hers, touched water and withdrew the (force of the) Brahmastra.

    pratijajñe ca dāśārhas tasya jīvitam acyutaḥ
    abravīc ca viśuddhātmā sarvaṃ viśrāvayañ jagat

    Meaning: The Lord who never lets his devotees fall (Achyuta), belonging to the race of the Dasarhas, promised to give the child his life. Then he who is pure in nature as he sacrifices everything for his devotees and bestows them with his grace (Vishuddhatma), said these words in the hearing of the whole universe.

    These names occur in the sahasranAma - BhagavAn is called "Achyuta" as he never lets his devotees slip. He is called "VishuddhAtma" or pure in nature as he sacrifices everything for his devotees. Ie, whatever he possesses, his wealth, qualities, etc - nothing is for him. He gives it all away to his devotees. Vide the Jitante Stotra,

    na tE rUpam na chAkArO nAyudhAni nachAspadam
    tathApi puruShAkArO bhaktAnAm tvam prakAshasE

    Meaning: Your essential nature, your divine form, your weapons, your divine abodes of shrI vaikuntam and others, are not intended for You (ie, all these are intended for your devotees). You are the property of your devotees. Thus, by having all Your svarUpa-rUpa-guNa-vibhUti (essential nature, divine form, auspicious qualities and extensive wealth) at the behest of Your devotees, you shine brightly with the virtue of absolute greatness as described in the PuruShasUkta.

    Is this not his greatest kalyANa guNa, that he gives everything to us, including himself? The AchAryAs remark that bhagavAn literally sells himself to his devotees. What other petty devata can be so magnanimous?


  41. Cont'd from above...

    Now, bhagavAn makes his vow. Basically, the vow is not the reason the child comes to life. Rather, the vow takes the form of reasons given for justifying bhagavAn's decision to bring back the child to life. That he has the power to bring back the child to life is never in question, this merely clarifies why he did it.

    na bravīmy uttare mithyā satyam etad bhaviṣyati
    eṣa saṃjīvayāmy enaṃ paśyatāṃ sarvadehinām

    Meaning: Uttara, I never utter a falsity. My words will prove true. I shall revive this child in the presence of all creatures.

    “na bhavAmi mithyA” - Bhagavan always speaks what is in accordance with the shAstra. This is the implied meaning. If it be said that he has also propagated the tAmasa shAstra, that is reconciled by the fact that he propagates them only via his AvEsha avatArAs like vyAsa, buddha, rudra, etc. In his pUrna avatArAs, he only speaks the truth, ie, the import of the shAstra such as the bhagavad gIta, anu gIta, pAncharAtra, etc.

    “satyaM etad bhaviShyati” – On account of me always speaking in accordance with the shAstra, what I say will come true. Thus it is said in the rAmAyaNa, “satyEna lOkAn jayati” – shrI rAghava has conquered the worlds by “Satyam” or speaking the truth, which is the essence of the shAstra.

    For everyone adores the one who speaks the truth and he conquers their hearts.

    noktapūrvaṃ mayā mithyā svaireṣv api kadā cana
    na ca yuddhe parā vṛttas tathā saṃjīvatām ayam

    Meaning: Never before have I uttered something in vain, even in jest. Never also have I turned away from the baddha jIva which is called “yuddha” as it fights against its’ true nature due to karmas. (On account of this) let this child revive!

    The “mithyA” here should be interpreted differently from the previous “mithyA” which meant falsity then.
    Here, “mithyA” means “in vain”, or something that is spoken just for the sake of. The idea is, bhagavAn tells the jIvAs to surrender to him and then he says “ahaM tvA sarvapApEbhyO mokshayishyAmi” – I will liberate you from your sins, and gives us the assurance “mA sucaH” (do not grieve). He is not saying this in vain, it is always fulfilled by him.

    “yuddhE” – root is “yudh” - to fight. It refers to the baddha jIva who is always associated with the quality of fighting against his true nature due to being bound by karmas and ignorance. What is his true nature? It is seshatva or servitude to the Lord. But the jIva in samsara always thinks itself independent and thus is fighting against this true nature of subservience.

    In summary, the Lord thus clarifies here, “ Listen! I never turn my back on this Jiva even though he fights against serving me, I make him surrender to me, I liberate him from his sins and give him the assurance that he has no need to grieve. All this is not said by me in vain. On account of me being of this disposition, Parikshith will definitely live, for I won't forsake him or you, his mother, who has surrendered to me for this desire.”


    1. Correction: "na bhavAmi mithyA..." should be "bravImi", not "bhavAmi". Autocorrect error.

  42. Cont'd from above...

    yathā me dayito dharmo brāhmaṇāś ca viśeṣataḥ
    abhimanyoḥ suto jāto mṛto jīvatv ayaṃ tathā

    Meaning: As dharma or protection of the sAdhus, which is dear to me, as the instructors of the Veda (brahmaNAs) are specially dear to me, (on account of that) let Abhimanyu's son, who is born dead, revive!

    bhagavAn is called “satya-dharma” in the sahasranAma as he is always true to what he has declared as his dharma. His dharma is nothing but what he has mentioned in the gIta – “sAdhu paritrANAM”. He protects the sAdhus. How does he protect them? These sAdhus love him so much that they cannot live without enjoying his guNas. Thus, he makes sure he always gives his darshaNam to them through his avatArAs. This is his protection.

    Though all sAdhus are dear to him, the brAhmaNAs are especially dear to him. Thus he is called “brAhmaNaH-priyaH” in the sahasranAma. Why does he love the brAhmaNas especially? bhagavAn explains thus in the gIta:

    ye tu dharmyAmRtamidam yathoktam paryupAsate |
    SraddhAnA mat-paramA bhaktAste atIva me priyAh || (gItA 12.20)

    “But those who follow Bhakti Yoga - 'which is a nectar of virtuous duty,' i.e., which is at once virtuous duty and nectar, and which even as a means, is real to its end in conferring bliss on those who follow is as stated above, i.e., in the manner taught in the stanza beginning with 'Those who, focusing their minds on Me' (Gita 12.2) - such devotees are exceedingly dear to me.”

    Thus, he loves his devotees. He even attributes his victory over asurAs to the fact that his devotees bless him:

    vipra prasAdAt asurAn jayAmi (~vishNu dharma 52.23)

    “I am victorious over the asura-s because of the blessings of the wise”.

    These jnAnIs such as periyAzhwar bless him as such – “May you be victorious, may no evil eye fall on you”. In their love for the Lord, they forget that he is invincible, supreme etc and think of him as a vulnerable child who could be hurt. So they become anxious for his welfare. bhagavAn considers this loving ignorance (which is one form of knowledge) as dear to him, and becomes so grateful to his devotees, that he really feels blessed to receive their protection.

    Can any lesser deity ever claim to possess this wonderful quality of the Lord? He even attributes his prowess to the blessings of his devotees, as though they are superior to him!

    The idea conveyed is, Abhimanyu was one such person who followed the Lord, and Parikshith will hence also be one of these devotees loved by the Lord and therefore, he will live. In addition, brAhmaNAs in a Kingdom are protected by a virtuous King, and for that reason too, Parikshith will live as he will favor the brAhmaNAs.

    yathāhaṃ nābhijānāmi vijayena kadā cana
    virodhaṃ tena satyena mṛto jīvatv ayaṃ śiśuḥ

    Meaning: Never has contrariety arisen between me and my kin Vijaya (Arjuna). Let this dead child revive by that truth!

    Arjuna is called “Vijaya” as he has subdued his senses that cause ego and hence, is sAttvika in nature. Thus, he understands the nature of the Lord as his master and himself as the servant. Owing to this, he has the favor of the Lord. On account of this, his son will live.

    bhagavAn refers to Vijaya as his family relation. Just as a person should be proud to be related to a bhAgavata, a devotee of the Lord, similarly bhagavAn too is proud of having devotees as his blood relation during avatArAs. He thus makes a reference to his kinship with Arjuna.

    “virodham” means “conflict” in the sense of Arjuna disobeying the Lord. The idea is, Arjuna has never done anything that the Lord disapproves of, and whatever he has done has always been to the liking of the Lord. He has paripUrNa bhagavad anugraha. For that reason, Parikshith who comes in Arjuna's lineage, will survive.


  43. Cont'd from above...

    yathāsatyaṃ ca dharmaś ca mayi nityaṃ pratiṣṭhitau
    tathā mṛtaḥ śiśur ayaṃ jīvatām abhimanyujaḥ

    Meaning: As truth (Satyam) and the means to attain the Truth (Dharma) are always established in me, let this dead child of Abhimanyu revive.

    This is very straightforward. What is Truth? It is his greatness which is spoken of by the shAstras. Bhattar gives the definition - The Lord is delineated by the sAttvika shastras, and all the greatness attributed to him is true, and he stands fully established in Truth.

    The shAstras say thus:

    Satye pratisthitah Krishnah satyam asmin pratihthitam |
    Sattasatte ca govindah tasmat Satyah satam matah || (~Udyoga Parva 69.12)

    Meaning: Krishna is established in Truth, and the Truth is established in him. The jIvAs (sat) and matter (asat) are both established in Govinda. Hence He is called ‘Satya’ or ‘Truth’.

    He is the propagator of these sAttvika shAstras which describe his greatness as follows:

    mahan prabhur-vai purushah sattvasya esha pravartakah |
    su-nirmalaam imam Santim Ishaano jyotir-avyayah || (~Svetashvatara Upanishad (3.12)

    Meaning: This Purusha alone is the Great Giver of Moksha. This Purusha is the propagator of Sattva. Therefore this Immutable light is the ruler (Ordainer) of this pure peace of the form of Moksha.

    The shAstra is nothing but the commands of the Lord. Abhimanyu obeyed the command of the Lord at all times until his death and thus can be considered to have adhered to the shAstra, for attaining the Truth. Hence, his son Parikshith would live.

    yathā kaṃśaś ca keśī ca dharmeṇa nihatau mayā
    tena satyena bālo 'yaṃ punar ujjīvatām iha
    ity ukto vāsudevena sa bālo bharatarṣabha
    śanaiḥ śanair mahārāja prāspandata sa cetanaḥ

    Meaning: As Kamsa (mind) and Kesi (senses) have been slain by me by virtue of my dharma which is a means to protect my devotees, let this child revive today by that truth!' After these words were uttered by Vasudeva, that child, O foremost one of Bharata's race, became animate and began gradually to move, O monarch.'

    In the sahasranAma, bhagavAn is known as “dharmI” because he uses dharma as an instrument. The idea is, dharma refers to the shAstras and the knowledge contained in them. He uses this to protect his devotees from samsAra. As his devotees follow these shAstrAs and make use of the knowledge, he becomes duty-bound to protect them from asurAs like Kamsa and Kesi. Hence, this dharma is an instrument that has resulted in the death of these asurAs.

    But there is more to this. bhagavAn has killed so many asurAs. Why specifically mention Kamsa and Kesi? It is because there is an inner meaning.

    The inner meaning is thus – “Kamsa” refers to a vessel. This is a metaphor for the mind which is referred to as “hiranmayEna pAtrEna” in the Isavasya Upanishad. The asura Kesi is a horse that represents the indrIyAs. Thus, it means bhagavAn, using the knowledge of the shAstra (dharma), vanquishes the wayward mind and senses for his devotees, making them surrender to him.


  44. Cont'd from above...

    In this manner, Parikshith was brought back to life by the unshakeable words of bhagavAn who is “satya-vrata”, one whose vow to protect his devotees is always true.

    Then, an asarIri (disembodied voice) hailed this vow of bhagavAn as follows:

    brahmāstraṃ tu yadā rājan kṛṣṇena pratisaṃhṛtam
    tadā tad veśma te viprā tejasābhividīpitam
    tato rakṣāṃsi sarvāṇi neśus tyaktvā gṛhaṃ tu tat
    antarikṣe ca vāg āsīt sādhu keśava sādhv iti

    Meaning: When the Brahma-weapon was withdrawn by Krishna, at that time, the laying-in room was illumined by thy father with his energy. All the Rakshasas (that had come there) were forced to leave the room and many of them met with destruction. In the sky, a voice was heard, saying, 'Excellent, O Kesava, Excellent!'

    A couple of points to note here:

    1) sAdhu paritrANAm is always accompanied by vinAshAya cadushkritAM. The protection of the sAdhus involves providing his darshaNam. Destruction of the asurAs is a by-product as they may disturb the sAdhus from their experience of the Lord. It is not a separate act. Just as when one waters a plant, one needs to remove the weeds, both are interconnected according to Nampillai.

    2) The voice in the sky referred to the Lord as “kEshava”. Why this name in particular? Because the Lord had described his auspicious qualities by virtue of which he revived Parikshith. So, the voice is saying, “From your words, I recognize you, O krishNa, as the Lord of brahma and rudra (kEshava) and hence the Supreme Being”. Thus, it is a confirmation of the fact that shrI krishNa is sAkshAt nArAyaNa and refutes hari-hara aikya vAda, trimUrti-aikya-vAda as well as sadashiva tUriya brahma vAda.

    From this, it should be clear that each and every akshara of the mahAbhArata is intended to convey the absolute supremacy of shrI hari, who possesses unmatched and unique auspicious attributes. Thus, there is no scope for interpolators and vishNu dvEshis to equate him or subordinate him to other petty deities.

    1. Wonderful explanations. Just curious. Is this taken from any AchArya's commentary?

    2. No. This is not such a significant section that needs their attention.

      It is ours, but we have based it completely on what AchAryAs have taught. Though the AchAryAs may not have covered everything, they certainly have covered the important parts and also provided the tools to interpret the parts they did not cover, so there is nothing lacking.

      Common sense in making an interpretation can be seen from commentaries of divya prabandham and related works - 1) Determine context, and what the section is talking about 2) Always give importance to every word and question why it is there, eg: Why is krishNa called keshava here and not mAdhava for instance, 3) Never assume that shAstra, despite using simple well-known words like "satyaM" "dharma" etc, is actually talking about superficial things, 4) Always search pUrvAchAryAs' works to see how they have interpreted these words and use it in the context, for the AchAryAs have never let anything go unaddressed and their translations always fit the context everywhere. Do not give your own assumptions as meanings.

      Its' very easy for anyone to follow these rules. The AchAryAs have already extracted all the meanings, all we need is common sense and respect for their works.


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