Smarthas i.e. followers of Adi Shankaracharya believe that Sriman Narayana and Shiva are one and the same. They claim that this is what Shankara had taught.

The Vishnu Sahasranama mentions the name "Shiva" which is used by Smarthas to claim non-difference between Vishnu and Shiva. Vaishnavas, on the other hand, claims the name simply refers to the auspicious qualities of Sriman Narayana since the name "Shiva" also means auspicious. Ironically, Adi Shankaracharya in his commentary on the Vishnu Sahasranama takes the Vaishnava interpretation, ignoring the "non-difference" between Vishnu and Shiva.

Do any of the works of Adi Shankaracharya talk about the non-difference between Sriman Narayana and Shiva?


If you clearly read full Vishnu Sahasranama Bhasya of Adi Shankara, then it is clearly seen that he holds Hari Hara Abheda. Some points which I also discuss in my answer here.

While commenting on the name 'Shiva', Shankara cites Kaivalya Upanishad verse 'He is Brahma.. He is Shiva.. He is Indra'

And while commenting on the name Rudra, he cites a verse from Shiva Purana which states Shiva is Parama Karanam.

'रुर्दुःखं दुःखहेतु वा तद्रावयति यः प्रभुः ।
रुद्र इत्युच्यते तस्माच्छिव परमकारणम् ।।'

"Ru means suffering and cause of suffering and Lord is the remover of that. Thus he is called Rudra and thus Shiva is the Parama Kaaranam (Supreme cause)."

And most importantly in the beginning part of Vishnu Sahasranama he cites verse from Harivamsa, which is statement of Shiva:

नामानि तव गोविन्द यानि लोकेमहान्ति च ।
तान्येव मम नामानि नात्र कार्या विचारणा ।। (Harivamsha 3.88)

Oh Govinda your names which are famous in this world, these are also my names there is no doubt in it.

He also cites Vishnu Purana verse where Krishna speaks to Mahadeva as:

त्वया यदभयं दत्तं तद्दत्तमग्विलं मया ।
मत्तो विभिन्नमात्मानं द्रष्ट्रं नार्हसि शंकर ।।
योऽहं स त्वं जगच्चेदं स देवासुरमानुषम् ।
अविद्यामोहितात्मानः पुरुषा भिन्नदर्शिन ।।(Vishnu Purana 5.33.47-49)

That Abhaya which was given by you was also given by me. Oh Shankara do not see yourself different from me.That which is me the same is you, this entire creation, Devas, Manyushyas and Asuras. Only those who are deluded by Avidya see me and you as different.

And he also cites warning of Maheswara from Harivamsha in his Bhasya:

विष्णोरन्यं तु पश्यन्ति ये मां ब्रह्माणमेव वा ।
कुतर्कमतयोमूढा पश्यन्ते नरकेष्वध ।।
ये च मूढा दुरात्मानो भिन्नं पश्यन्ति मां हरे ।
ब्रह्माणं च ततस्तस्माद् ब्रह्महत्यासमं त्वधम् ।।

He who sees myself and Brahma different than Vishnu, such fools surely fall in hell. That Durãtmãn who sees myself different from Hari does a sin equivalent to BrahmaHatya.

Thus, it is clearly seen Adi Shankara strongly hold Hari Hara Abheda and as per Shankara those who differentiate between Hari and Hara are doing sin equivalent to BrahmaHatya.

  • 2
    Wow this answer really opened my eyes that Vishnu and Shiva both are same. If it is mentioned in Vishnu Puran then everyone should understand and grasp it. I hope other Vishnu devotees should grasp and not consider Shiva as a Vaishnav devotee.
    – user13155
    Feb 28 '18 at 18:21
  • Very well stated. The pramanas are all valid. Mar 3 '18 at 3:01
  • 5
    @Salvation "I hope other Vishnu devotees should grasp and not consider Shiva as a Vaishnav devotee". Why should they stop when Srimad Bhagavatam says it clearly? Is Lord Shiva First Vaishnava (Devotee of Lord Vishnu)? This answer only shows half of the truth. See the reason for non difference between them. Hope you will know this and open your eyes completely. Don't blame the Vaishnavas that they see difference. Mar 12 '18 at 4:32
  • @Sarvabhouma I am grateful to you for enlightening me further regarding Shiva being a Vaishnav devotee.
    – user13155
    Mar 12 '18 at 4:47
  • 1
    @Salvation You are welcome. Gods have any problem. It is the devotees who fight. If faiths are respected, fights will be gone. If you want to continue, you can use Hinduism Chat. Mar 12 '18 at 4:50

Yes; He clearly mentioned it in his Prashnottara Ratna Malika calling both Vishnu & Shiva as the Supreme Lord.


Indeed who is to be worshipped?
Incarnation of God.
Who is the Lord?
The Supreme Lord is both Narayana & Shankara. - Verse. 65

Above quotation along with him mentioning in B.Su. 4,4.17 on impossibility of two Ishwara implies his strong conviction of Hari-Hara Abheda.

  • 1
    +1 for good find.Added sanskrit verse + web link. Jul 9 '20 at 13:35

Yes, as per your question is concerned many people try to claim Hari Hara abedha as Adi Shankaracharya's final conclusion by stating some of the verses of Vishnu sahasranama bhashya and also in the 65th verse of Prashnottara ratna mallika bhagawath padha states "Mahesha shankara Narayanatmaka" Which means Shiva and Vishnu are one soul, but the thing is that later scholars doubt the authorship of Shankara bhagavath pada on these works.

Prabodha sudhakara. Aparokshanubhuthi. Shvetashwatara upanishad bhashya. Vishnu sahasranama bhashya Prashnottara ratna mallika. Tattva bodha. Vakya vritti.

These are the list of works which are doubted by later authors on the authenticity of their authorship by Adi Shankaracharya as there were no proofs of existence of these works before 10th century. 'Prashnottara ratna mallika' and 'Vishnu sahasranama bhashya' are doubted to be interpolated as they have many inconsistent contexts with respect to Prasthana Trayi bhashya of Adi Shankaracharya.

So, the later authors consider that only Upadesha sahasri as the most authentic work of Adi Shankaracharya as per many researches. A work called Vivekachoodamani is also accepted by many scholars as work of Bhagawath padha but there are few scholars who doubted on that also.

If Vivekachoodamani is considered then surely Bhagawath padha states Hari Hara aabedha virtually in the 494th verse which states:-

Narayano'ham Narakanthakoham Puranthak'oham Purusham'isham

I'm that Narayana the destroyer of Narakasura, I'm that destroyer of Tripurasuras the Supreme Purusha (Shiva).

But here, the thing is that many people doubt on this raising an objection that if Adi Shankaracharya's real motive was to declare absolute abedha (indifference) between Hari and Hara then he would have declared or taught it in any of his Prasthana trayi bhashya.

Many Sri Vaishnavas and neo Iskcon Vaishnavas tend to say that Adi Shankaracharya considered only Vishnu as saguna brahman and not others by quoting his gita bhashya in which he says that there cannot be two superior Ishvaras and only Vishnu is highest state of Ishvara.

Adi Shankaracharya himself states in his Brahma sutra bhashya 4.3.8 that Saguna brahmas can be in multiple number but supreme Nirguna Brahman is one and absolute.

So, are all the saguna brahmas equally powerful? No! Adi Shankaracharya clearly says that only Vishnu is supreme state of saguna brahman who is supreme state of shuddha sattva upadhi who's beyond Maya (Hiranyagarbha) and also subjectively closer to Nirguna (Incorporeal) Brahman. For example in Brahma sutra bhashya 1.2.17 he clearly says that Lord surya is a jivatva and cannot be all pervasive entity because he acts only on the terror of Brahman, in his Gita bhashya 9.25 says that Lord Ganesha is a inferior deity whose worshippers get only worldly benefits.

Now coming to the part of Shiva, Adi Shankaracharya never takes Shiva's name or identity in mythological view that we view today. Here are some of the most interesting facts hidden in Shankara bhashya and even Vedic correspondence to it.

Adi Shankaracharya considers Shiva as supreme incorporeal Brahman (Nirguna Brahman) the absolute Paramaatma of the universe. Yes many may be getting extremely curious or even confusing but yes it's reality.

Many modern people when they tend to quote works like Nirvana shatakam, Dasha shloki, Nirvana manjari, Maya panchakam in the name of Adi Shankaracharya which actually concludes with 'Shivoham' or 'Shiva Kevalo'ham' many authors or even people reject that by saying here Shiva means auspiciousness and not Kailasa's Parameshvara and some people also negate this and say these are not penned by Adi Shankaracharya but are came into existence later after Shankara digvijaya of Swami Vidyaranya in 13th century.

But very fewer and fewer people know that Adi Shankaracharya has directly declared that Shiva is supreme absolute incorporeal Brahman who is the only supreme reality.

In the Vaishvanara adhikarana of 2nd padha of 1st chapter of Brahma sutra bhashya, Adi Shankaracharya clearly states that Shiva is the supreme incorporeal absolute Brahman.

𝗕𝗿𝗮𝗵𝗺𝗮 𝘀𝘂𝘁𝗿𝗮 𝗯𝗵𝗮𝘀𝗵𝘆𝗮 𝗼𝗳 𝗔𝗱𝗶 𝗦𝗵𝗮𝗻𝗸𝗮𝗿𝗮𝗰𝗵𝗮𝗿𝘆𝗮 𝟭:𝟮-𝟮𝟰 𝘁𝗼 𝟭:𝟮-𝟯𝟮

“But he who worships this Vaisvanara, his atma extending from heaven to the earth as identical with his own atman, eats food in all beings, in all selves; of that Vaisvanara self (heaven) is the head, 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝘀𝘂𝗻 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗲𝘆𝗲”, etc. (Chh. 5. 18. 1-2). Now what is this Vaisvanara the swatathma (soul of being) ‘Vaisvanara’ generally means fire, the presiding deity of fire and the gastric fire. Thus vaishvanara is both the individual soul (jiva)and the Supreme (Brahman) Which of these is referred to in the passage? Whatever be the ordinary meaning of these two words, the says that here the Supreme Soul is referred to, on account of the qualifying adjuncts to these words. The adjuncts are: Heaven is the head of this Vaisvanara, the sun its eyes, etc., and this is possible only in the case of the Supreme atman Again the result of meditation on this Vaisvanara atman having the parts stated is the attainment of all desires, and freedom from all sin. (Vide Chh. 5. 24. 8). This also can be true if the Highest atman is meant as brahman 𝗣𝗮𝗿𝗮𝗺𝗲𝘀𝗵𝘃𝗮𝗿𝗮. Moreover the chapter begins with the inquiry, “What is our jiva? What is Brahman?”—where the word ‘Brahman’ is used in its primary sense, and so it is proper to think that the whole chapter delineates Brahman. Hence 𝗣𝗮𝗿𝗮𝗺𝗲𝘀𝗵𝘃𝗮𝗿𝗮 alone is Vaishvanara the supreme brahman.

The are interpretations of Sruti texts. So where a doubt arises as to the meaning of a Sruti the former may be consulted to throw light on the subject. The Smriti describes the cosmic form of the Supreme brahman as “He whose mouth is fire, whose head is heaven, whose ears are the regions—salutation to Him, whose body is the universe”,which agrees with the description in the text under discussion. Hence we have to conclude that the 𝗣𝗮𝗿𝗮𝗺𝗲𝘀𝗵𝘃𝗮𝗿𝗮 is referred to in the text and He alone is one supreme brahman. Though "salutation to Him who· is embodied in the three worlds" is a eulogy, still a eulogy, -involving the presentation of such a form, is not quite possible unless there is some Vedic text forming its basis. Other Smrti texts like the following can also he quoted here: "His nature is inscrutable and He is the creator of beings, of whom, the Brahmanas say, that heaven is the head, sky is the navel, 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝘀𝘂𝗻 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗺𝗼𝗼𝗻 𝗮𝗿𝗲 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗲𝘆𝗲𝘀, the directions are to be known as the ears, and the earth constitutes the two feet."

It is said that vaishvanara is not supreme nirguna brahman as he possesses gunas being called namely as 'Vishwa' & ‘Narah', the universal cosmic being, the Vedanta also says Brahman has golden beard (Ch. Up 1.6.6) being meditated upon by yogis, that doesn't mean he's fixed to an abstract form. Objection: The ordinary meaning of ‘Vaisvanara’ is fire and the Sruti also savs that it is seated inside: “He who knows this Vaisvanara abiding within man” (Sat. Br. 10. 6. 1. 11), which applies to the gastric fire only. Hence it alone, and not Brahman, is referred to in the text under discussion? . The Sutra refutes this objection firstly because the scripture here teaches the worship of Brahman in the gastric fire by way of meditation (), even as in the passage, “Let a man meditate on the mind as Brahman” (Chh. 3. 18. 1), Secondly because the gastric fire cannot have heaven for its head, and so on. Thirdly because Vaisvanara is conceived as a person by the Vajasaneyins : “This Vaisvanara is a person” etc. (Sat, Br. 10. 6. 1. 11). Hence ‘Vaisvanara’ here refers to Brahman, which is all-pervading and can also be conceived of as a Person 𝗵𝗲𝗻𝗰𝗲 𝗣𝗮𝗿𝗮𝗺𝗲𝘀𝗵𝘃𝗮𝗿𝗮 𝗮𝗹𝗼𝗻𝗲 𝗶𝘀 𝘀𝘂𝗽𝗿𝗲𝗺𝗲 𝗮𝗯𝘀𝗼𝗹𝘂𝘁𝗲.

For the same reason (Vaisvanara) is not the deity (saguna) or the element (material). The averment that the fanciful attribution of members contained in the passage 'His head is Sutegas,' &c. may apply to the elemental fire also which from the mantras is seen to be connected with the heavenly world, &c., or else to the divinity whose body is fire, on account of its power, is refuted by the following remark: For the reasons as Here already stated 𝗣𝗮𝗿𝗮𝗺𝗲𝘀𝗵𝘃𝗮𝗿𝗮 𝗩𝗮𝗶𝘀𝘃𝗮𝗻𝗮𝗿𝗮 is neither the divinity nor the element. For to the elemental fire which is mere heat and light the heavenly world and so on cannot properly be ascribed as head and so on, because an effect cannot be the Self of another effect.--Again, the heavenly world cannot be ascribed as head, &c. to the divinity of fire, in spite of the power of the latter; for, on the one hand, it is not a cause (but a mere effect), and on the other hand its power depends on the 𝗣𝗮𝗿𝗮𝗺𝗲𝘀𝗵𝘃𝗮𝗿𝗮. Against all these interpretations there lies moreover the objection founded on the inapplicability of the term the self.

Gaimini (declares that there is) no contradiction even on the direct worship of the Vaishvanara who is the supreme brahman and 𝗣𝗮𝗿𝗮𝗺𝗲𝘀𝗵𝘃𝗮𝗿𝗮 Above (Sûtra 26) it has been said that Vaisvânara is the 𝗣𝗮𝗿𝗮𝗺𝗲𝘀𝗵𝘃𝗮𝗿𝗮, to be meditated upon as having the gastric fire either for his outward manifestation or for his limiting condition; which interpretation was accepted in deference to the circumstance that he is spoken of as abiding within--and so on.--The teacher Gaimini however is of opinion that it is not necessary to have recourse to the assumption of an outward manifestation or limiting condition, and that there is no objection to refer the passage about Vaisvânara to the direct worship of the 𝗣𝗮𝗿𝗮𝗺𝗲𝘀𝗵𝘃𝗮𝗿𝗮 -But, if you reject the interpretation based on the gastric fire, you place yourself in opposition to the statement that Vaisvânara is supreme brahman and to the reasons founded on the term, &c. (Sû. 26).-we reply that we in no way place ourselves in opposition to the statement that Vaisvânara is the self-atman. For the passage, 'He knows him as man-like, as abiding within man,' does not by any means refer to the gastric fire, the latter being neither the general topic of discussion nor having been mentioned by name before.--What then does it refer to?--It refers to that which forms the subject of discussion, viz. that similarity to man (of the highest Self) which is fancifully found in the members of man from the upper part of the head down to the chin; the text therefore says, 'He knows him as man-like,as abiding within man,' just as we say of a branch that it abides within the tree .--Or else we may adopt another interpretation and say that after the highest Self has been represented as having the likeness to man as a limiting condition, with regard to nature as well as to man, the passage last quoted ('He knows him as abiding within man') speaks of the same highest Self as the mere witness (sâkshin; i.e. as the pure Self, non-related to the limiting conditions).--The consideration of the context having thus shown that the highest Self has to be resorted to for the interpretation of the passage, the term 'Vaisvânara' must denote the highest Self in some way or other. The word 'Visvânara' is to be explained either as 'he who is all and man (i.e. the individual soul),' or 'he to whom souls belong' (in so far as he is their maker or ruler), and thus denotes the highest Self which is the Self of all. And the form 'Vaisvânara' has the same meaning as 'Visvânara,' the taddhita-suffix, by which the former word is derived from the latter, not changing the meaning; just as in the case of râkshasa (derived from rakshas), and vâyasa (derived from vayas).--In the last Sutra it was explained that meditation on Brahman in the gastric ūre, taking it as a symbol, was taught. This Sutra says that ‘Vaisvanara’ can be taken directly to mean Brahman as an object of contemplation, for ‘Vaisvanara’ is the same as Visvanara, which means the universal man, i.e. the all-pervading Brahman Itself. The word 'Agni' also may denote the highest Self if we adopt the etymology agni = agranî, i.e. he who leads in front.--As the Gârhapatya-fire finally, and as the abode of the oblation to breath the highest Self may be represented because it is the Self of all. But, if it is assumed that Vaisvânara denotes the highest Self, how can Scripture declare that he is measured by a span?--On the explanation of this difficulty we say Parameshvara alone is supreme absolute.

On account of the manifestation, so Âsmarathya opines.The circumstance of the 𝗣𝗮𝗿𝗮𝗺𝗲𝘀𝗵𝘃𝗮𝗿𝗮 who transcends all measure being spoken of as measured by a span has for its reason 'manifestation.' The 𝗣𝗮𝗿𝗮𝗺𝗲𝘀𝗵𝘃𝗮𝗿𝗮 manifests himself as measured by a span, i.e. he specially manifests himself for the benefit of his worshippers in some special places (as shrines) such as the heart and the like, where he may be perceived. Hence, according to the opinion of the teacher Âsmarathya, the scriptural passage which speaks of him who is measured by a span may refer to the 𝗣𝗮𝗿𝗮𝗺𝗲𝘀𝗵𝘃𝗮𝗿𝗮 𝘄𝗵𝗼 𝗮𝗹𝗼𝗻𝗲 𝗶𝘀 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝘀𝘂𝗽𝗿𝗲𝗺𝗲 𝗯𝗿𝗮𝗵𝗺𝗮𝗻

𝗣𝗮𝗿𝗮𝗺𝗲𝘀𝗵𝘃𝗮𝗿𝗮 may be called “measured by a span” (to render the term ‘Pradesamatra’ differently), because He is remembered through the mind, which is seated in the heart, and the heart is of the size of a span it must be admitted that barley-grains themselves have a certain size which is merely rendered manifest through their being connected with a prastha measure; while 𝗣𝗮𝗿𝗮𝗺𝗲𝘀𝗵𝘃𝗮𝗿𝗮 himself does not possess a size to be rendered manifest by his connexion with the heart. Still the remembrance (of the Lord by means of the mind) may be accepted as offering a certain foundation for the Sruti passage concerning him who is measured by a span.

Sampat Upasana is a kind of meditation in which something is imagined as identical with something else on account of some kind of similarity or likeness. As, for example, when the cosmic being (Purusha) is worshipped through the identification of His different limbs with the different parts of the worshipper’s body from the top of the head to the chin. The head of the worshipper is heaven, the 𝗲𝘆𝗲𝘀 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝘀𝘂𝗻 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗺𝗼𝗼𝗻, and so on. In this meditation of the cosmic Person He is limited to the size of a span, the distance from the top of the head to the chin. Therefore, says Jaimini, in the text under discussion, 𝗣𝗮𝗿𝗮𝗺𝗲𝘀𝗵𝘃𝗮𝗿𝗮 is regarded as of the size of a span.

Here Adi Shankaracharya has said Parameshvara and taught that how he's Vaishvanara Brahman the supreme absolute reality, but where has he declared that it's Shiva? The very next sutra that is the 1.2.32 which states:-

Brahma sutra bhashya of Adi Shankaracharya 1.2.32

Here in this sutra bhashya Adi Shankaracharya clearly declares that Parameshvara the eternal absolute Vaishvanara is Avimukteshwara of Varanasi who is described by Jabalas (This is actually a quotation from Jabala upanishad which glorifies Lord Shiva).

In many other later chapters of Adi Shankaracharya's Brahma sutra bhashya he says that Parameshvara Vaishvanara is supreme absolute Brahman but in various English translations Parameshvara is translated as 'Highest Lord' and Vaishvanara is translated as 'Universal being' hence this hidden reality remained unrecognized.

Modern Advaita Vedantins tend to declare that Adi Shankaracharya taught Hari Hara abedha using Vedic injunctions but Adi Shankaracharya has never quoted or declared anything relative to absolute indifference between Shiva and Vishnu in any of his Prasthana trayi bhashya.

If Shiva is the Paramarthika Nirguna chethana then Lord Vishnu who's supreme state of Saguna upadhi (Saguna brahma) is his virtual eternal reflective status, hence absolute oneness is illogical as it's even contradictory to Shruthis.

Even if Vivekachoodamani's 494th verse is considered, Virtual oneness of Vishnu with Shiva is exhibited. How? It actually states:-

Narayano'ham Narakanthakoham Puranthak'oham Purusham'isham

I'm that 𝗡𝗮𝗿𝗮𝘆𝗮𝗻𝗮 the destroyer of Narakasura, I'm that destroyer of Tripurasuras the 𝗦𝘂𝗽𝗿𝗲𝗺𝗲 𝗣𝘂𝗿𝘂𝘀𝗵𝗮 (𝗦𝗵𝗶𝘃𝗮).

Here Adi Shankaracharya considers Shiva as eternal purusha.

In his gita bhashya there's one of his statement "Narayana paro vyaktad andam avyaktha sambhavam" which is actually famous is Vaishnava circles which try to say that Adi Shankaracharya considered Vishnu as ultimate (Avyaktha) and there's nothing above that, but

Katha upanishad 2.3.8 states that:-

avyaktāttu paraḥ puruṣo vyāpako'liṅga eva ca | yaṃ jñātvā mucyate janturamṛtatvaṃ ca gacchati || 8 || 𝗕𝗲𝘆𝗼𝗻𝗱 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗔𝘃𝘆𝗮𝗸𝘁𝗮𝗺 𝗶𝘀 𝗣𝘂𝗿𝘂𝘀𝗵𝗮, all-pervading and devoid of linga (indicative mark), whom knowing the mortal is freed and attains immortality.

Even if we consider Prashnottara ratna mallika's 65th verse which states:-

Mahesha Shankara narayanatmaka || (Prashnottara ratna mallika) Lord Shiva is the supreme who is the soul of Narayana.

Here also Virtual oneness between Nirguna Brahman and Saguna brahman is depicted and not absolute oneness.

Modern Vaishnavas (Especially sri Vaishnavas) tend to quote numerous verses from Bhagavadgita bhashya of Adi Shankaracharya and say that he declared Vishnu's supremacy.

Qualifications of Lord Vishnu according to Adi Shankaracharya:-

The supreme tattwam,
The supreme ishvara among all saguna upadhis, Avyaktha saguna paramaatma, Nobody is greater than Vishnu. Vishnu alone is Bhagwaan as he posses 6 qualities of Lordship.

On an overall view, these are the glorifications made by Adi Shankaracharya on Vishnu which are picked by Vaishnava circles to somehow prove that Shankara bhagavath pada was Vaishnava. To this the clarification is as clear as the philosophical injunctions conclude.

Lord Vishnu being supreme tattva is in the mode of Upadhi (Status) as even Narayana suktam of Yajurveda states that "Tattvam narayana parah'' but Nirguna chethana according to Adi Shankaracharya (as per upanishadic injunctions) is not any tattvam or upadhi but it's beyond that and just a Chidananda Paramarthika swaroopa.

There are many Vishnu devotees who tend to say that Adi Shankaracharya said only Vishnu as saguna brahman by quoting his gita bhashya 11.43 in which he states there cannot be possibility of two ishvaras and only Vishnu is Ishvara, but we like to clarify them that, Adi Shankaracharya considering Lord Vishnu as supreme saguna ishvara is true as per Vedic ideologies but he never said that other saguna upadhis or ishvaras doesn't exist at all as he clearly says in his Brahma sutra bhashya 4.3.8 that Multiple saguna brahmas do exist but all are not same in terms of upadhis or gunas.

Lord Vishnu being avyaktha refers to a being beyond Hiranyagarbha and moreover Adi Shankaracharya considers Shiva as supreme purusha (Nirguna purusha) and Upanishads state that Purusha is beyond avyaktha.

Adi Shankaracharya states that nobody is greater than Lord Vishnu in terms of Tattva or Upadhi and not with comparison to eternal Parameshvara Shiva who's Nirguna paramarthika chethana beyond all tattvas. Vaishnavas often quote Bhagavadgita 7.7 to say nothing exists above Krishna to which even Adi Shankaracharya interprets it as Vishnu is a tattwam who's highest i.e in terms of saguna ishvara chaitanya Vishnu is paramam padam.

Adi Shankaracharya considers Lord Vishnu because he possesses 6 eternal qualities of Lordship as stated in Vishnu purana but Shiva is Bhagwaan by incorporeal eternal reality.

As it's clear from 2nd padha's Vaishvanara adhikarana that Adi Shankaracharya clearly declared Parameshvara Shiva as supreme absolute eternity.

Some people question that Shiva is worshipped as a God in mortal world and he has a form shape and qualities, then how can he be Nirguna chethana the absolute Brahman and the self? To which Adi Shankaracharya himself states in his bhashya 4.4.19:-

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Similarly, in 1.2.26 also he clarifies that :- Shiva is somehow viewed as an absolute saguna and fit to a form says opponent because Upanishadic views like Chandogya upanishad 1.6.6 states that Brahman is golden is colour and have golden beard and resides inside Sun etc: to which we reply that it's just for the sake of meditation that our eternal conscious can connect with, by conceiving him as a Person just in our conscious.

Finally, in the entire Prasthana trayi bhashya of Adi Shankaracharya, he compares Vishnu and Shiva only once which is known to none in fact. It is the Brahma sutra bhashya 4.1.3

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Here Shankara bhagavath pada clearly compares Lord Vishnu with Shiva (Parameshvara as addressed by Jabalas even explained in 1.2.32 of his bhashya) and explains that meditation on Shiva as the supreme incorporeal absolute - the single reality as the self as declared by Vedas is ultimate and he also quotes 'mahavakyas' and strongly establish that Shiva is supreme absolute and meditating on images of Vishnu with ultimate unity is improper and he's just a substitute to absolute Brahman which he also explains in his Prashna upanishad bhashya 5.2:- enter image description here

References from Prashna upanishad and Mandukya upanishad. Bhagavath pada in his Prashna upanishad bhashya 2.9 states

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In Mandukya upanishad bhashya 1.7 and 1.2 Shankara bhagavath pada says:-

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Here translators interpret Shiva as auspiciousness or somewhat like a blissful state but what actually Adi Shankararacharya meant? Bhagavath pada in the same mandukya upanishad's bhashya on 1.3 talks about Vaishvanara as the supreme Brahman and it's already explained in Brahma sutra bhashya 1.2.32 that who is Vaishvanara? Lord Avimukta of Varanasi.

Madhusudana Saraswati in his Shiva mahimna stotra bhashya clearly explains:-

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Hence, I think those Vaishnavas who were trying to dogmatise that Vishnu is supreme in Advaita Vedanta must have kept silent for good.

Yes modern Advaita Vedantins tend to declare Hari Hara abedha but it's Vedantic only in terms of Virtual oneness and not absolute oneness.

Does shruthis corelate with this explanation of Adi Shankaracharya? Yes indeed they corelate.

Shiva sankalpa suktam of Rigveda states:-

योऽसौ सर्वेषु वेदेषु पठते ह्यज ईश्वरः । अकायो निर्गुणोऽध्यात्मा तन्मे मनः शिवसंकल्पमस्तु ।। That ultimate Lord to be known by all Vedic verses is the supreme incorporeal Nirgunaatman, may my heart always be filled with Shiva thoughts.

Does shruthis corelate with the explanations of Adi Shankaracharya in terms of Virtual indifference between Hari Hara and Absolute supremacy of Shiva over Vishnu? Yes indeed.

Atharavana veda 15:14-5 which actually comes under the context of Saunaka atharvana samhitha's Vratya suktam states that:-

“sá yád dhruvā́ṃ díśam ánu vyácalad víṣṇur bhūtvā́nuvyàcalad virā́jam annādī́ṃ kr̥tvā́ |” (Atharva Veda 15:14:5) Shiva when he wanted to move to steadfast region went away having manifesting himself into Vishnu.

Absolute supremacy of Shiva over Vishnu is openly stated in the Same Shiva sankalpa suktam of Rigveda which says Shiva is Nirguna Brahman.

परात्परतरो ब्रह्मा तत्परात्परतो हरिः । तत्परात्परतो ईश तन्मे मन शिवसंकल्पमस्तु ।। Greater than the great is Brahma, greater still than that great one is Hari, even greater than this one is Isha. May my heart always be filled with Shiva thoughts.

The simultaneous equality and non equality between Hari and Hara in terms of Virtual and Absolute reference according to Vedic injunctions is even more nicely explained by Madhusudana Saraswati in his Mahimna sthava bhashya which you can refer for even more deep understanding my friends.

Hence, hereby I conclude by saying that 'Realities are always hidden in Kaliyuga'. Understanding of Vedic and Adi Shankaracharya's views on Shiva keshava must be cleared and clarified. 😊

  • 1
    I think the word 'Parameshwara' by Adi Shankara in the Bhashyas aught not to be identified with the Kailasapati Shiva. That expression only means 'Supreme Lord, Brahman.' One may like to see this: Here is the English version of the article (which was originally composed in Kannada): adbhutam.files.wordpress.com/2021/07/shankara-shanmata-eng.pdf Jul 11 at 6:58
  • Yes, even I had a doubt initially, later it's clear. Didn't you observe, Adi Shankararacharya clearly addresses Parameshvara as Avimukta of Varanasi talked by Jabalas in 1.2.32 of his bhashya hence that's clear there itself and in 4.1.3 also he compares Vishnu with Shiva (addressing him as Parameshvara spoken by Jabalas). 1.2.32 of that is actually the quotation from Jabala upanishad an upanishad in contrast of Shiva's glorifications.
    – Raman
    Jul 12 at 14:05
  • The word 'Parameshwara' could be misleading. न मां परमेश्वरं नारायणं दुष्कृतिनः..मामेव परमेश्वरं विष्णुं This is just a couple example of Shankara using that term for Narayana. There are shlokas in the Bh.Gita: एवमेतद्यथात्थ त्वमात्मानं परमेश्वर । द्रष्टुमिच्छामि ते रूपमैश्वरं पुरुषोत्तम ॥11.3॥ समं सर्वेषु भूतेषु तिष्ठन्तं परमेश्वरम् । विनश्यत्स्वविनश्यन्तं यः पश्यति स पश्यति ॥ २७ ॥ So, merely the term Parameshwara does not help in the conclusion. Jul 16 at 10:14
  • I pity your illiteracy seriously. Who is Parameshvara spoken by Jabalas? Who is Avimukta of Varanasi the quotation of Adi Shankaracharya in his Bhashyam 1.2.33 from Jabalopanishadh of Shukla Yajurveda?. Now tell me Who's Parameshvara in context. Narayana is Parameshvara in terms of upadhis but here Shankaracharya is talking about absolute incorporeality by the name Parameshvara, who is avimukta of varanasi, now I'm waiting for your reply.
    – Raman
    Jul 17 at 18:26
  • What is the use in exchanging abuses? The term Parameshwara is a generic term for Shankara and not something specific to be applied to Shiva alone. That is why I showed several instances of his usage with reference to Vishnu/Narayana too. It would be shortsightedness to conclude the way you are doing. That Shankara is happy with accepting Shiva too as the Supreme Brahman, saguna brahman, is evident from the 'Sarvajna Ishwara' he says in Kenopanishat, as Uma's consort. In Vishnu Sah.nama bhashya Shankara cites Shiva Puranam for the Rudra name to say 'shiva is parama karanam.' Jul 19 at 4:40

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