The following are some of the questions from various people and the response to them. ....
>kAnchi paramaacharya as gives a reference in shrii rudram which
>points to sankaraacharya and it could not be explained otherwise.
>To be honest, I like that view, however,
>the opinion of kAnchi paramAcharya certainly made me reverse that to
>accept shankara as incarnation of Lord shiva.
In fact when I wrote the line "I have seen many such statements
offlate, including from many respectable people. " I was exactly
refering to sri chandrashekarendra saraswati of the Kanchi mutt (and
some more of the bagavatpAda lineage of saints). To be specific the
point you are referring to in the "rudra samhita" is "namaH kapardine
cha vyptakeshAya cha". The direct translation gives "salutations to
the long haired and the shaved headed". The interpretation given is
that "the shaved headed refers to bagavad pAda as he is a saint with
shaved head. Lord Shiva has matted hair, so how else do we explain
that He is shaved headed ?" If we apply the same logic the same
rudram also hails, "namo vanychate parivanychate" that
means, "salutations to One with vengence and Revenging". So to
explain that do we have to consider somebody revengeful as the
incarnation of Lord Shiva ? No, it cannot be. It is a very well known
fact (acknowledged by shankara lineage including sri paramAcharya
too) that the sata rudrIyam hails the Universal form of the Supreme.
It hails, "Salutations to the one in wet wood, dry wood, well, lake,
trees" and so on. We certainly cannot be searching for so many
incarnations, other than hailing the Lord as "vishveshvara" (the Lord
of the whole world).
To my little knowledge of vedas, there are no predictions (like those
given in some parts of purANas) are given. When the vedas are silent
about the much respected avatars of Rama and Krishna, why should they
just talk about bagavad pAda. So the sri rudram statement will not
stand as a testimony that shankara is an incarnation of God.
Since we are talking about quite respected seer sri paramAchArya, it
would be appropriate to look at the statement of the Adi guru of that
lineage, shankara bagavadpAda itself. In one of the beautiful verses
of shivAnanda lahari he mentions, "While blessing me don't give me
the position of brahma or viShNu. If you give so I may have to get
tired in search of you taking the form of bird and animal (swan and
pig). Give me the devotion to Your feet." This hymn where he outpours
his great bhakti would be grossly inappropriate if he is the
incarnation of the Lord Himself. (There could be multiple such
references possible from the words of bagavadpAda).
>To add on to this discussion I have another point too The "Shiva
>which speaks about the shaivam and its followers speaks also about
>where The Eternal Father speaks about the fact that a child will be
>But another amazing fact is that In
>BagavatGita when Krishna reveals to Arjuna his Eternal form, the
>he saya "Roopam Ishvaram" the Ishvara roopa. So lord Shiva is
With reference to the first point, well if we are talking about an
amsha of God I dont think there needs to be asecond opinion on that.
Shaivism very much holds that (in fact one of its speciality) the
devotees get the amsha or even form or even name itself of the God.
For example look at "chaNDIsha", he is having like the Lord axe,
deer, crescent crown, three eyes and so on. Same way by the
names "gaNesh, chaNDisha, nandi, Ishana" we think of various
gods, but it could be established that these are the names of the God
and the respective (respectable) divines got these names from the
Lord. You can list a big number of such cases in both these. This is
called the "sArUpya mukti". One could also site a reference from
rAmAyaNa where Sri Rama, worships to get "rudrAmsha" in him before
the war with rAvaNa begins. We could even refer to the shivAnanda
lahari of bagavad pAda much talked about in this thread, where
he refers to the four stages of liberation (sAlokya, sAmipya, sArUpya
and sAyujya). So amsha (part of the form/characteristics) is not the
question at all, as even the much ahead sArUpya itself is a well
supported concept, specially in Shaivam.
Well, the second point I feel is much to do with the emaning of
Ishvara than the Ishvara Himself. Anyway even if we take for the sake
of argument that it refers to Ishvara, it is a well given the
philosophy that viShNu is in all things. The word viShNu means
omnipresent. It is for this reason viShNu sahasranamam refers
as "vishvamUrti" where as the Lord Shiva is being hailed
>The Koti Rudra Samhita (or Sata Rudra Samhita?) of Shiva Purana
>lists in detail numerous avataras of Shiva. Some of them appear at
>will and then disappear, like for ex: KirAteshvara
>while some of them are Amshams of Shiva/Parameshvara like Hanuma etc
On the first point, (The place where the kirAta and other mUrtis are
described are in the skandha purANa) a small correction. It says
mUrtis and not avatars. That refers to these mUrtis as 25, 64 and
much more. In Shaivism the Supreme which is beyond Form, gender etc
is called parashiva which is very difficult to comprehend. Due to Its
grace on pashus, it took the form of Flame (which we worship as shiva
lingam), which is neither form nor formless. This is called
sadAshiva. Even further to bless the devotees on various occasions It
took the forms (like the much adorable ardanArIshvara - in this
context refer to appar thEvAram "virikadhir nyAyiRallar") which are
called mAheshvara mUrthams. (For information on the same please refer
to maheshvara murtam ) These are not avatars but are forms.
There has been quite some confusion about amsha and avatAr again in
the case of Hanuman. The discussion on the first point of Sri Sankaran
will hold good for this too. (We all know the worship Hanuman did to
get the shiva linagam for Rama to worship at rAmeshvaram).
Well this discussion has been long, but one thing is very easily
inferable. We Hindus have got to the syndrome of asssigning avatArs
to most of the great people we encounter. Look at todays state where
so many swAmijis are being claimed by avatAr of one or the other !!
In this case I like the concept of Islam (Though it is not something
that is not there in our religion, we just missed the thread
somewhere in the middle) that only God is worshippable and any body
including Mohammad can only be respected and not worshipped. There
were good enough reason for us Hindus to consider the gurus as gods
(guru sAxAt parabrahma), because they are our interface which makes
us to link to the Supreme. When we say somebody who helped us in
need, "You came like God" why not the gurus be seen as though they
are gods ! But the problem we are over applying things. When we tell
the one who helped as you are the god, one doesn't really mean it.
But in case of gurus we seem to have lost that point !!
Thank you all.