1he lsvoto Clto under Lhe lnfluence of Lhe 8boqovoJ Clto

8andy ulble
12/13/2010
Among Lhe holy books of Lhe ShlvlLe vamacara (ºlefLŴconducL") ÞashupaLa secL ls Lhe lsvoto Clto
(mldŴLenLh cenLury CL)Ŧ 1he lsvoto Clto lsţ llke Lhe laLer uevl Cltoţ ln many respecLs an adapLlon of Lhe
8boqovoJ Clto (Lhlrd cenLuryţ CL)Ŧ 1he key dlfference ls Lhe orlenLaLlon of Lhe personal Lhelsm of Lhe
Lwo LexLsŦ Whereas Lhe 8boqovoJ Clto ls Lhe earllesL LexL of valshnavlsmţ seelng krlshnaŴvasudeva as
Lhe Lord (lsvara) and 8lessed Cne (8hagavan)ţ and supreme manlfesLaLlon of Lord vlshnuţ ln Lhe lsvoto
Clto lL ls Lord Shlva who ls ulLlmaLeŦ 1he 8boqovoJ Clto ls embedded ln Lhe eplc Mobobototoţ and Lhe
lsvoto Clto ls embedded ln Lhe kotmo lotoooţ so Lhelr conLexLs dlfferţ buL many Lhemes ln Lhe laLLer are
dlrecL quoLes from Lhe formerŦ
ln vedlc rellglous LradlLlons generallyţ lmlLaLlon ofLen granLs auLhorlLy raLher Lhan Lhe censure
of plaglarlsm LhaL lL does ln our culLureŦ 1hls ls also Lhe case wlLh auLhors of laLer LexLs Laklng on Lhe
name of former masLersŦ ln any caseţ Lhls lnvesLlgaLlon wlll focus on Lhe resemblances beLween Lhese
Lwo rellglous worksŦ
ln Lhe beglnnlng of Lhe lsvoto Cltoţ we hear flrsL from ºLhe sages"ţ who dlrecL Lhelr lnqulrles Lo
Lhe dlvlne myLhlc sage vyasaţ Lhe knower of Lhe vedaţ who ls narayana personlfledţ krlshna uvalpayanaţ
son of Þarasara and SaLyavaLlŦ As vlshnu ln hls LorLolse form Lhe myLhlc vyasa had prevlously explalned
Lhe savlng knowledge of 8rahman Lo SuLaţ and now SuLa wlshes LhaL vyasa would explaln lL Lo Lhe
congregaLlon of sagesŦ Slnce vyasa was presenL long ago Lo hear Slva hlmself explaln lL Lo Lhe lords of
yogaŦ 8efore Lhem appeared Lhe anclenL unmanlfesL splrlLţ eLernal self of Lhe unlverse narayana wlLh
hls glrlfrlend nara (ln unlon perhaps?)Ŧ 1he sages presenL Lhelr quesLlons Lo narayanaţ who Lhen casLs
off hls appearance of an asceLlcţ and for a momenL nara becomes lnvlslble ln Lhe brllllance of narayanaţ
who holds Lhe bowţ dlscusţ conchţ and clubţ remlnlscenL of krlshnaŴvasudeva ln Lhe 8boqovoJ CltoŦ
1hen Lhe LhousandŴformedţ LhousandŴfooLed lmpeller of Lhe unlversal machlne and husband of Lhe
moLher goddess Lord Shlva appearsţ whose emblem ls Lhe bullţ crescenL moon on hls foreheadţ LrldenL
ln handţ self of all belngsŦ Pe embraces Lhe brlsLllngŴhalred narayana who ls really vlsnuţ and narayana
who ls really vlsnu asks Shlva Lo explaln Lo Lhe congregaLlon of sages Lhe knowledge of 8rahmanŦ
A flawless Lhrone appeared ln Lhe skyţ and Lhere saL Shlvaţ Lhe self lnslde Lhemselvesţ fllllng Lhe
unlverse wlLh radlanceţ beslde vlsnu and narayanaŦ lL ls explalned ln 1Ŧ31ţ and perhaps Lo Lhe
congregaLlon made selfŴevldenL by Lhe dlsplay ln Lhe skyţ ºLveryLhlng ln lnslde of hlmŦ 1hls world ls noL
separaLe from hlmŦ" ChapLer Lwo beglns wlLh Lord Shlva spllllng hls secreLsŦ
1he besL of Lhe besL become 8rahmanŦ lL ls Lhe self beyond darknessţ pure consclousness lLselfţ
Lhe maglclan whose Lrlck ls Lhe manlfesLaLlon of Lhe unlverseŦ Lord Shlva conLlnues Lo explaln Lhe self/
8rahmanŦ ºWhen he percelves Lhe varlous sLaLes of belng/ As resLlng ln Lhe Cneţ/ And from LhaL alone
spreadlng ouLţ/ 1hen he aLLalns 8rahmanŦ" 1hls ls lsvoto Clto 2Ŧ3ţ and ls compleLely ldenLlcal wlLh
8boqovoJ Clto 13Ŧ30Ŧ 1he Lheme ls anclenL and common Lo Lhe vedas and much of Lhe laLer vedlc
LradlLlonsţ buL sLlllţ wlLh Lhe exacL wordlng Lhe sameţ Lhe reference ls clearŦ ln 2Ŧ42 Shlva explalns LhaL
?ogls and followers of Samkhya boLh aLLaln Lhe same sLaLeţ and Lhose who can see Lhls also know LhaL
Samkhya and ?oga are really Lhe sameŦ ln pracLlceţ Samkhya and ?oga are generally dlsLlngulshed by
Samkhya's emphasls on knowledge and ?oga's emphasls on experlenceţ buL Lhey do have very close Lles
and ln any case Lhe wordlng ls so slmllar Lo 8boqovoJ Clto 3Ŧ3 where Lhe same ls sLaLedţ LhaL once agalnţ
Lhe reference ls clearŦ
lollowlng Lhe llsL of concordances ln Þrofessor nlcholson's recenL LranslaLlon of Lhe lsvoto Clto
wlll furLher elucldaLe Lhe ofLen preclse slmllarlLy beLween Lhe Lwo LexLsŦ 8uL furLhermoreţ wlLhln Lhe
lsvoto Clto lLselfţ Lhere are hldden concordances beLween Lhe very characLers ln Lhe narraLlveţ even
beLween Lhe characLers and Lhe readerŦ 1he nonŴduallsm of Lhe maglclan ÞashupaLa ShlvlLes may have
aL lLs hearL a monlsLlc prlnclple of Lhe Cneţ Lhe Self who ls noL oLher Lhan oneselfţ lf we read lL from an
AdvalLlc perspecLlveŦ When Lhe self aLLempLs Lo see lLselfţ lL becomes oLher Lhan lLselfţ hence Lhe
necesslLy of appearance or manlfesLaLlon of Lhe aloneness of Lhe purusha (ºpure consclousness"ŧ
ºbeyond darkness") ln Lhe venerable form of Lhe Lord lsvaraţ be lL Shlvaţ vlshnuţ or krlshnaŦ ln Lhe ?oga
LradlLlonţ ln addlLlon Lo lsvaraţ lL ls called ÞurushaŴkalvalyamţ Lo denoLe lLs separaLlonţ lsolaLlonţ or
alonenessŦ Cf courseţ Lhe reader lsn'L Lord krlshnaţ nor am l Lord Shlvaţ buL lL may be useful Lo lmaglne
lsvara seaLed on a Lhrone ln my hearLţ deŴmonaLlng Lhrough Lhe undulaLlons of whlch ln an emanaLlon
of reverenL referenLs Lo Lhe quallLy or prlnclple l lnsLanLlaLe ln conLrasL Lo Lhe characLers of Lhe narraLlve
form of expresslonť my acLual llfeţ my llvlng sub[ecLlvlLyţ brlngs me closer Lo Lhe nonŴduallsLţ or monlsLlc
salvlflc goal of onLologlcally sLrlcL unlLy ln radlcal separaLlon from all elseŦ ln Lhls modeţ sympaLheLlc Lo
Lhe AdvalLa vedanLa of Adl Sankaracaryaţ lsvara ls Lhe knowable 8rahmanţ and Lhe nlrguna 8rahman ls
Lhe ºlnnermosL Self" or ºsupreme Self" Sankara refers Lo ln hls commenLary on 8boqovoJ Clto 14Ŧ27 (ºl
am Lhe Abode żor foundaLlonŽ or 8rahmanŧ")Ŧ AlLhough Lhe ÞashupaLa ShlvlLes may be classlfled under
'nonduallsm' for a survey of yoglc schools as ln leuersLeln's LexLbookţ LhelsLlc LradlLlons generallyŸand
Lhe adherenLs of Lhe lsvara ClLa are deflnlLely LhelsLlcŸand boLh ?oga and Sankhya properţ are duallsLlcţ
generallyţ and may be furLher speclfledŦ 1o see a more speclfylng Lendency of Lhls Lhelsmţ observe Lhe
nexL concordanceť
ÞanenLhelsm and 8hedabheda
lsvoto Clto 3Ŧ2Ŵ3ť ºlL dwells ln Lhe worldţ/ enveloplng everyLhlngţ/ hands and feeL everywhereţ/ eyesţ
headţ faceţ and ears everywhereŦ// lL appears Lo have quallLles/ of all Lhe sensesţ yeL ls free of Lhem all/
SupporLlng all Lhlngsţ lL ls eLernal bllssţ/ Lhe unmanlfesLţ free from duallLlesŦ"
8boqovoJ Clto 13Ŧ13Ŵ14ť ºPavlng hands and feeL everywhereţ/ Lyesţ heads and faces everywhereţ/
Pavlng ears everywhereţ/ 1haL sLandsţ enveloplng everyLhlng ln Lhe worldŦ// Shlnlng by Lhe funcLlon of
Lhe sensesţ/ ?eL freed from all Lhe sensesţ/ unaLLached yeL malnLalnlng allţ/ lree from Lhe quallLles yeL
experlenclng Lhe quallLlesŤ"
lrom Lhe above example lL ls clear LhaL Lhe poslLlon of Lhe sub[ecL descrlbed aboveŸlsvaraŸ
from boLh LexLs ls Lhe sameţ as boLh are LhelsLlc LexLsţ one ShlvlLe (lC)ţ one valsnava (8C)Ŧ AnoLher
sLrongly LhelsLlc LexL ls Lhe SveLasvaLara upanlshadţ lLself sLrongly lnfluenced by ShlvlLe LhelsLlc
Lendencles and SamkhyaŴ?ogaţ also bearlng sLrong resonances ln Lhls LexLŦ A more speclflc Lendency of
Lhls Lhelsm may be expounded under a couple useful labels l wlll nexL explalnŤ bbeJobbeJo or
JvoltoJvolto on Lhe one handţ and pooeotbelsm on Lhe oLherŦ lL doesn'L qulLe roll off Lhe LongueŸ
nelLher Lhe Lechnlcal phraseologyţ nor Lhe concepLsŸ buL Lhe dlssonance ls mnemonlc and lconlc ln lLs
dlsLance from lnLulLlve poslLlonsŦ 1hls Lheologlcal sLrucLure ls a sound answer Lo Lhe phllosophlcal
quesLlon of ºLhe Cne and Lhe Many"ţ noL oLherwlse as saLlsfled by Lhe comparaLlvely slmpllsLlc noLlons
of monlsm and duallsmŦ LeL me explalnť
lsvaraţ wheLher krlshna or Shlvaţ ls omnlpresenLţ yeL noL llmlLed by Lhe llmlLaLlons of Lhe flnlLe
mulLlpllclLy or conLexLurallLy of Lhe slLuaLedŦ 1hls ls panenLhelsmţ allŴlnŴCodŦ noL mere Lhe equaLlon of
Cod (or Lordţ lsvaraţ Lhe Supreme ÞersonallLy of Lhe Codhead) wlLh Lhe unlverse (or naLureţ Þanţ ºLhe
All")ţ buL lncludlng and exceedlng LhaLŦ 1hls ls mosL succlncLly summed up ln Lhe lasL llne of 8boqovoJ
Clto 7Ŧ12ţ º8uL l am noL ln LhemŤ Lhey are ln MeŦ" AlLhough enLlLles may depend on and consLlLuLe
some of Lhe body of Codţ Cod does noL depend on LhemŦ Such ls Lhe glsL of vlslsLhadvalLa vedanLln Srl
8amanu[a ln hls commenLaryţ Lhe 8boqovoJ Clto 8bosyo on 7Ŧ12Ŧ SLrucLurallyţ Lhls panenLhelsm may be
seen as slmllar Lo dlfferenceŴandŴnondlfference or duallLyŴandŴnonduallLy vedanLaţ Laklng
vl[nanabhlksu's leadŦ
ln hls commenLary on Lhe ?oga SuLras of ÞaLan[allţ 1Ŧ26 (ºlsvara was also Lhe Leacher of Lhe
anclenLsţ because Pee ls noL llmlLed by 1lmeŦ")ţ 8hedabheda (dlfferenceŴnondlfference) vedanLln
vl[nanabhlksu explalns Lhe relaLlonshlp beLween lsvara (personlfled 8rahman) and purushaŦ lsvara ls
one wlLh Lhe llvlng enLlLles or lndlvldual soulsţ buL also dlfferenL (a ºspeclal purusha" as ln ?S 1Ŧ24)ţ as ln
Lhe relaLlon of whole and parLţ flre and sparksţ eLcŦ 1he relaLlon ls noL one of absoluLe unlLy as ln
AdvalLaţ buL of nondlfference (from Ldwln 8ryanL's 2009 LranslaLlon wlLh commenLary of ÞaLan[all's
qo 5ottos)Ŧ º1he spark ls nondlfferenL from Lhe flre ln subsLanceţ yeL noL absoluLely ldenLlcal Lo Lhe
flreŤ lL has lLs own lndlvlduallLyŧŦ ln Lhls wayţ Lhe purusha ls one wlLh 8rahman ln quallLy buL also
eLernally dlsLlncL ln LhaL lL has lnherenL lndlvlduallLyŦ" (lbldŦ)

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