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Everything posted by kimfelix

  1. Very complex question that depends on whether or not you think that either text has been added to after its initial composition. The Mahabharata does mention Rama on a number of occasions and includes a summary of the story, the Ramopakhyana. There is also an incident in which Bhima encounters Hanuman (who is his half brother), which indicates an awareness of the Ramayana story. So on this basis one would have to say that the Ramayana is earlier, which is I think in line with the traditional Hindu view. Modern scholars vary in their opinion and most seem to think that they were composed at about the same time, perhaps two thousand years ago.
  2. Jeffster, in verse 15 of Chapter 10 of the Gita, Arjuna praises Krishna as deva-deva jagat-pate, the god of the gods and the lord of the world. Regarding an Advaita translation of 10.8 that renders 'aham' as 'I, the Supreme Brahman called Vasudeva' that is an interpretation not a translation. The translation of aham sarvasya prabhavah is 'I am the origin of everything'. The verse itself makes no reference to Brahman or Vasudeva so it is not a translation.
  3. I think the term mayavada is used to indicate the view that the world is real but is not perceived as it truly is. The Buddhist idea is shunyavada, which indicates that nothing is real because nothing is permanent. Everything is in a constant state of flux and transformation and there is no changeless reality. This absence of an absolute reality leads to the idea of shunya. Shankaracharya is sometimes accused of being pracchana-baudha, a hidden Buddhist, and he certainly makes use of Gaudapada's teaching in the Karika on the Mandukya Upanishad. Gaudapada was a Vedantist but his writings display extensive Buddhist influence. However, a fundamental difference between Shankara and Buddhism is the former's view that Brahman is real and unchanging. He thus differs from the Shunyavada. The famous statement brahma satyam jagan mithya reveals this distinction. In Shankara's view the world that we perceive is wrongly understood due to illusion. We perceive the rope but we think it is a snake; the world is Brahman alone but we mistakenly see the infinite varieties of existence. The world is real but the world we perceive is not because of our misidentification. It is this misidentification that is referred to by the word maya in the mayavada. Most Vaishnavas (and Shaivites) hold to the view that the world as we perceive it is real, but it is only one part of the absolute reality. We cannot perceive the atman and we cannot perceive God; we perceive one part only but still that part is real. So Vaishnava teaching is sometimes designated as a satyavada as is Samkhya, which also teaches that prakriti and purusha are real (as does the Bhagavad Gita). It is quite easy to detect elements of an advaita-vada in the Upanishads (sarvam khalv idam brahma, ayam atma brahma etc) but the mayavada is less apparent and the Shvetashvatara would appear to deny such a view. The mayavada seems to first appear in Gaudapada's Karika on the Mandukya Upanishad. This is taken up by Shankara as it is deemed to be a necessary inference from the advaita vada. That has been my understanding of why advaitins are sometimes referred to as mayavadins, but perhaps I am not quite clear on the point and others may be able to enlighten us further.
  4. Theist, it is a bit like statements in the Puranas which state that anybody who dies in Varanasi will attain moksha. We had a big discussion on this in our local group and virtually no one would accept it even though verses were cited from the Puranas. Someone said it sounded like Christianity.
  5. Dark Warrior, I understand everything you say; it is just that I don't share your views or interpretations in their entirety. I do consider the Shvetashvatara Upanishad a Shaivite text because it refers to the Supreme Deity as Rudra and Shiva. I know you don't agree and I completely respect your opinion, although it differs from my own and that of many others. There are some who will agree with and there are many others who will agree with my views. We have to learn to live with that and perhaps try to learn from it. And to insult those who do not share your own view by calling them morons, bloody idiots, ignoramuses etc is in fact an archetypal sign of a one with a sectarian mentality. Again QED. In truth this discussion is doing nothing for either of us is it? And it seems to be having a rather negative effect on our states of consciousness by inducing harsh words and angry sentiments. So I will withdraw from it now. I really will . Thank you again for your attention to what I have said.
  6. Well it is hard to hold a discussion with an angry man (or woman ) but I am afraid I cannot accept your view of the Mahabharata. There are in existence a number of old manuscripts of the Sanskrit text and although these do differ there is still a very substantial core that is common to all. And I would prefer to regard this as the Mahabharata. It is what we have. Just to say that if it doesn't agree with my own interpretation of shruti it must be an interpolation is not an argument that convinces me. I am sorry if that makes you angry but that is the way it is. My reference to Robert Zaehner's translation was not meant to elevate Western scholars but just to show that people without an agenda (or even with a pro-Vaishnava agenda) for the most part share Shankara's view on the meaning of 11.15. Again people will disagree but there is no malice intended; we are simply exchanging views and inevitably disagreements will arise. It is a shame if such exchanges lead us into anger and other lower states of consciousness. Best wishes, and apologies again for any offence caused. I can assure you it was wholly unintended. Sorry, I missed one point. The cremation of a body of Krishna is mentioned in all the existing Sanskrit manuscripts of the Mahabharata as collected and published by the BORI scholars. Now you can say that it is just an interpolation but that is a bit of a soft argument. There are certainly ways in which a Vaishnava explanation can be given. If you just shout 'interpolation' every time something appears that contradicts preconceptions then anybody else can do the same. I have discussed the Mahabharata with one excellent scholar from the Sri Vaishnava tradition who is based in Chennai. He seemed to have no problem in accepting the BORI Critical Edition and as I recall he used to work from it.
  7. When declined in the neuter the accusative singular is brahma so it is a reference to chatur mukha Brahma.
  8. Avinash, I think your Sanskrit is probably better than mine but when Brahman is declined in the masculine rather than the neuter it is Brahmaanam in the accusative, which would be apposition to isham and kamalasana-stham. I was in Cochin a couple of months ago. It's a delightful city although the hartal was on at the time.
  9. Just a couple of points on that. Rajagopalachari wrote an abridged version of the Mahabharata not a commentary on it and if Sri Krishnamachari Swami criticised his translation of certain passages then he would have had to use either the BORI Critical Edition or one of the versions included in the BORI Critical Edition. Madhvacharya didn't 'stealthily omit verses' because he never produced an edition of the text to omit verses from. There is no 'Madhvacharya Mahabharata'. He wrote a work entitled 'Mahabharata Tatparya Nirnaya'. This is not a version of the Mahabharata but a work of his own that retells parts of the story along with incidents taken from the Bhagavata Purana and Harivamsha. Even including the expositions of Dvaita philosophy and the extras from elsewhere it only contains 5200 verses, which is just a fraction of the Mahabharata's content. So in that case he 'stealthily omits' over 90% of the Mahabharata. I hope this makes it clear.
  10. Actually, it's not my agenda at all. And I have always insisted that the Bhagavad Gita should be understood as a Vaishnava work. The interpretation of 11.15 given by Prabhupada et al would certainly support my position on that, but I have never felt able to use it as evidence because I don't think it really means that. For what it's worth I have found it profitable to try to understand the Gita's Vaishnavism within the context of the Mahabharata. A reading of the entire text of the Mahabharata leads to the conclusion that its Vaishnavism is generally not exclusive of Shiva. It seems that Vishnu and Shiva alternate within the Mahabharata as the Supreme Deity. In the Sauptika Parvan for example, Vishnu as Krishna withdraws and Shiva takes centre stage as the form of divinity that inspires Ashvathaman. In the context of the Mahabharata's Vaishnavism it is clearer as to why Shiva is not perceived within the vishva-rupa.
  11. Isham is a further refinement of brahmanam as is kamala asana stham so there is no redundancy. It is commonplace to list attributes after a name. Isha usually refers to the quality of lordship (as in the Ishavasya Upanishad) rather than being used as a proper name and the placing of kamala asana stham after it very strongly suggests that this is the case here. Shankara certainly hasn't made a grammatical error and that is why Western translators all follow his version. Even Robert Zaehner who favours Ramanuja throughout his commentary does not agree with him on that one. And it is hard to see what 'agenda' they have, whereas the agenda from the other side is really very obvious. I agree that on the Gita, Ramanuja is the most faithful commentator but here it is hard to accept his version over that of Shankara. But of course we must again agree to differ.
  12. QED, DW Avinash, the phrase in 11.15 is brahmanam isham kamalasana-stham. Because the word isham appears between brahmanam and kamala-asana-stham it is almost certainly a designation of Brahma who sits on the lotus. "Brahma who is the lord situated on his lotus seat". Ramanuja and Madhva both suggest that isha means Shiva who is seated on Brahma who is on the lotus seat. In his Bhashya Ramanuja writes, tatha isham kamalasana-stham kamalasane brahmani sthitam and Madhva follows Ramanuja here. Shankara assumes that isham refers to Brahma. In his bhashya he writes, brahmanam chatur-mukham isham ishataram prajanam kamalasana-stham. Brahma is isham because of his lordship over all creatures. And all of the Western translators follow Shankara on this translation rather than Prabhupada' version. It is an issue because the question then arises as to why Shiva is not seen in the vishva-rupa if he is a part of the creation. Hence the attempt is made by Vaishnavas to explain the verse in that way but it is rather unlikely.
  13. Dark Warrior, it does matter what type of person you are in terms of a debate because your personal qualities are a reflection of the beliefs you hold. It is an obvious assumption to make that the values you espouse make you the person you are; this is what Krishna says in 17.3. If I see that a person of a specific belief system is vulgar, rude and ill-mannered then it must reflect on the belief system he adheres to. As Krishna says, we are what our faith makes us. And if our faith has made us rajasic or tamasic in conduct then it reflects on those values. Rudeness is not usually a sign of being spiritually enlighened. Just the opposite. And by the way, the reference to Shiva in 11.15 is very, very dubious. It is not the obvious meaning of the verse and one might indeed consider why Shiva is not present within the vishva-rupa.
  14. Dark Warrior, as you say the debate has more or less concluded itself and as is to be expected neither side has succeeded in convincing the other. I have read all of your posts carefully and although I can understand and appreciate the points you make, my views are unchanged. I am not convinced that all Shaiva passages in the Mahabharata are interpolations as they appear in every recension and every full manuscript. And I found your objections to the BORI edition of the text impossible to understand as it is the only text that exists. Secondly, the explanation that where the Shvetashvatara Upanishad mentions Rudra it really means Vishnu does not convince me. And finally the view that the Shiva Purana is Tamasic does not match my experience of studying the text. In another post you refer to our friend Avinash as an asura who is tamasic. However, I have to say that it is yourself who gives evidence of the influence of the lower gunas through the vulgarity of your speech and your constant recourse to insults. The type language you use and your abusive mode of discussion is not a sign of Sattva but of Tamas and at best Rajas. I have an acquaintance from your own Sri Vaishnava tradition who I admire very much for his scholarship, his erudite Sanskrit learning and also his consistently Sattvic demeanour. I have had several discussions with him on subjects similar to the one covered here and at all times he has been a perfect gentlemen. He quite appreciates the other point of view and makes his points in a most courteous and learned manner. The result is that one is left with admiration for the tradition he represents. Vulgarity and rudeness are never admirable qualities and referring to someone as a 'bloody moron' suggests that the speaker is rather ill-bred. I hope you won't find this paragraph irritating or offensive, but I do feel it is the most important advice that has appeared on this thread. I have no desire at all to convert you from your views but I don't think you bring honour or prestige to your tradition by consistent vulgarity. All the best.
  15. Have you read Ganguli's translation or Nilakantha's commentary? Madhvacharya makes a commentary on certain selected passages of the Mahabharata, but he is not presenting a definitive of the text. What do suggest, that we simply ignore every part of the Mahabharata that Madhvacharya doesnn't mention? That doesn't seem reasonable.
  16. Dark Warrior, just a word of explanation. Firstly, there is no 'Madhvacharya' Mahabharata text. It just doesn't exist so I can hardly refer to it. The BORI (Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute) Critical Edition consists of a collection of existing Sanskrit manuscript of the Mahabharata. These have been set against each other by a team of scholars and the attempt made to provide a definitive edition of the Sanskrit text, which corresponds most closely to the majority of manuscripts. They have not invented anything and if you study the BORI edition you have access to every existing manuscript and the major and minor differences between them. So if you reject the BORI edition of the Mahabharata, there isn't anything else! Prior to the publication of the Critical Edition, the most widely used version of the Sanskrit text was the Vulgate employed by Nilakantha, the main commentator on the Mahabharata. Ganguli is the only scholar to provided a complete English translation, but this was based on Nilakanth's manuscript not the Critical Edition as his work predates its publication. Given this information, I can't see why you find references to these texts so infuriating. There really isn't another version to use! If you want to impose a criterion that only verses cited to by pre-modern acharyas are authentic, then you will be left with less 1% of the text, which seems a little ridiculous.
  17. And in the Mahabharata (Book 3, Chapter 185, Critical Edition) there is an account of the Matsya avatar, but at the end Matsyadeva reveals his true identity: aham prajapatir brahma! Smriti and Shruti both say Vishnu is Supreme and also say Shiva is Supreme. Contradictions, contradictions. We must therefore conclude, 'The Shiva Purana is lying' But if we accept the view of the Mahabharata that Vishnu, Shiva and perhaps Brahma are different features of the same Supreme Deity then all the apparent contradictions melt away so easily.
  18. Yes, I agree, it is a very complex matter. There is a useful passage in the Mahabharata on this at the start of the Anushasana Parvan. At the start of Chapter 6 (BORI Critical Ed, I am afraid), Yudhishthira asks directly about this: daive purusha-kare cha kimsvich cheshthataram bhavet. In reply Bhishma cites a conversation on the subject between Brahma and Vasishtha. This chapter appears in Volume X of the Ganguli translation beginning from page 16 on the Anushasana. It is quite a lengthy discourse but the gist of it is that destiny and personal endeavour are like a field and a seed planted in it. A field may be ploughed and fertile (in the sense that one's destinty may be propitious) but without sowing the seed no crop will grow (so if we don't make endeavours destiny alone will not suffice). The idea is that destiny is certainly a major factor in our lives but that does not mean that it is useless to make endeavours. Just the opposite, without endeavour destiny alone will not bring the result we seek. And 18.13-14 of the Gita, Krishna offers an enumeration of five causes for a result: 1. The situation (adhishthana) 2. The performer of the action (karta) 3. The instruments employed 4. The different endeavours made 5. Destiny (daiva). So in Krishna's analysis again destiny is one factor in the outcome we experience, but it is only one of five.
  19. Avinash, this is Chapter 328 of the BORI Critical Edition. Ganguli follows Neelakantha and has translated the Vulgate. In his version, the chapter in question is 342 and starts from page 150 of Volume X. The key verse from Dark Warrior's perspective is verse 12, which is translated half way down page 151: 'From his grace hath arisen Brahman and from his wrath hath arisen Rudra . . ' However, one page 152 we find a translation of verses 21f, beginning from 'I am the Soul . . ' which suggests that Narayana and Rudra form a single identity and one should not distinguish between them. Verse 24 even states: rudro narayanas chaiva sattvam ekam So even in the passages that are from a sectarian Vaishnava perspective, there is still some complexity to the debate. And thank you for your interesting and learned contributions.
  20. Dark Warrior, Chapter 328 of the Shanti is an interesting chapter. It is the eighth chapter of the Nara-Narayaniyam, which is definitely Vaishnava in its orientation, and possibly Pancharatric. Even there though the issue is not clear cut as one can see from reading verses 24 to 26. But thank you for pointing it out, it is an interesting passage, and I am sorry to have annoyed you. It was not my intention.
  21. Dark Warrior is rather misrepresenting the citations from the Brihadaranyaka. Like GaneshPrasad, I would advise readers to look at the actual verses for confirmation.
  22. Avinash, it is very difficult to learn Sanskrit just from a book without a teacher to help. You could try 'Teach Yourself Sanskrit' by Coulson or 'A Sanskrit Primer' by Perry if you can get it. They do help I think but it will be a number of years before you are able to properly apply what you have learned to translating Sanskrit literature. Good luck
  23. Actually 'interpolation' means a later addition to a text. That is the dictionary definition and the actual meaning of the word. The fact that a passage contradicts what is said elsewhere may possibly suggest that it is an interpolation but it is not the defining criterion. With a text like the Mahabharata, which has around 80,000 verses it is not possible that acharyas could have cited all of them so that is not much help either. Anyway, the actual meaning of the verb to interpolate is 'to add to an existing text'; but you may reinterpret the word so as to give a meaning you find more suitable. And if we are going to say that all the passages of the Mahabharata which praise Shiva as the Supreme Deity are not really Mahabharata, then there is no point reading it all. But that is a pity because it is a wonderful work and one that all of us can learn from in so many ways.
  24. Again you must give verse references for these assertions so they can be checked. Otherwise they might just be like they might be like the other ones you have given. As you have probably guessed I don't regard the Shiva Purana as Tamasic. Could you tell me what there is about it that renders it Tamasic? Tamas is defined in the Gita very clearly but there is nothing in the Shiva Purana that fits in with that definition. Perhaps the verse from the Padma Purana is a late Vaishnava interpolation? There are also many Shaiva passages in the Mahabharata. In the final two chapters of the Drona Parvan (172 and 173 BORI Crit Ed) and in Chapters 14 to 17 of the Anushasana Parvan (the Upanmanyu Upakhyana) we learn that Krishna worshipped Shiva. This is clearer evidence than anything found in the Mahabharata. I am afraid I have to log off now, but I thank you for your attention and your learned contributions. It has been a pleasure to exchange views in this manner. More later perhaps.
  25. Rama's devotion to Shiva is discussed at length in the Shiva Purana. I am sorry I don't have a copy immediately to hand so I can't give you the references. In the Adhyatma Ramayana of Brahmanda Purana we find the following verse: setum arabhamanas tu tatra rameshvaram shivam samsthapya pujayitvaha ramo loka-hitaya ca After building the bridge, Rama established Shiva Rameshvara there and worshipped the Deity for the welfare of the world. He then said, (Yuddha Kanda, Ch4, v1)
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