According to Panini, Sanskrit grammar says that the "Na" in "Narayana" turns it into a proper noun. A proper noun applies to that specific being unlike a common noun, like Shiva, which can apply to anyone since it just means "auspicious."

So, if a verse says "Narayana created the universe," and another verse says "Shiva created the universe," then "Shiva" in that verse actually means Narayana, since "Shiva" is just a common noun, so that that verse would mean "The auspicious one created the universe."

Do Shaivas or Shaktas refute that Narayana is a proper noun?

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    Does Sri Ramanuja say anywhere that the word Narayana is a proper noun?
    – user16581
    Feb 6 '19 at 16:54
  • no need. why dont u understand that Narayani means Durga?
    – user17294
    Feb 6 '19 at 16:56
  • 3
    "According to Panini, Sanskrit grammar says that the "Na" in "Narayana" turns it into a proper noun." Where does Panini say this or what rules of panini are applied here? If Narayana is proper noun, Narayani (Goddess Parvathi or Durga ) must also be proper noun ??
    – The Destroyer
    Feb 6 '19 at 17:20
  • @TheDestroyer Panini says it here: "According to Panini's AshtadhyAyi (8.4.3), the Na-kaaram' makes the word nArAyaNa' a proper noun. "
    – Ikshvaku
    Feb 6 '19 at 18:50

Panini 8.4.3 says nouns which are made of two words (need not be proper nouns), न (na) in second word changes to ण(ṇa), if first word has र (ra) or ष (ṣa) but not ग (ga),

Sutra just says Nouns not proper nouns. This rule is also present in other Indian languages like Telugu. Same is said in this page.

When two words are joined, according to pAnini's grammar, it becomes nArAyaNa (नारायण) and not nArAyana (नारायन)

Each sanskrit word has many meanings and nArAyaNa is no exception. nArAyaNa means the one who gives shelter to nAra (jIva-s). This meaning is called as 'yougika' (यौगिक) meaning. It is a raw meaning of the word and does not point it to any particular identity. yougika meaning the meaning derived by joining two words (yOga).

There is another meaning called as rUDhi (रूढि) meaning. It means the obvious meaning.

When we say surpaNakhA. nakha means nail. surpaNakhA means the one which big nails (long nails). This is the yougika (यौगिक) meaning. But by saying surpaNakhA, we only and only mean rAvaNa's sister and not any other identity. In other words, whenever surpaNakhA is used, it 'obviously' means rAvaNa's sister surpaNakhA. this obvious meaning is called as rUDhi (रूढि) meaning.

Scriptures and some commentators describes word "Narayana" as attribute only.

For example, here is what Sri Bhaskaraya, one of the finest SriVidya Acharyas, says about Narayana in his Lalitha Sahasranama Bhasya:

नारायणी नादरूपा नामरूप-विवर्जिता ।
ह्रींकारी ह्रीमती हृद्या हेयोपादेय-वर्जिता ॥ ७०॥

nārāyaṇī nādarūpā nāmarūpa-vivarjitā ।
hrīṃkārī hrīmatī hṛdyā heyopādeya-varjitā ॥ 70॥

Sri Bhaskaraya's commentary on word Narayani and Narayana: (translated by Anantha Sastry)

Narayana, Vishnu or Siva. The explanation of the word Nārāyana is given in Manu Smriti (I, 10): "The water is called Narah, because it emanated from Nara (Brahman) : that is his first abode (ayana), hence he is named Nārāyana.” The Br. Vaivarta Pr. also, “Because his abode is among men, hence he is called Nārāyana." The De. Bhāg. Pr., "Because Nara means leading, hence, supreme self is called Nara." The Bhārata, " The wise knows that the Tatvas emanated from Nara (Brahman) and form his abode, hence he is called Närayana." Here Narayana is ParamaSiva, because concerning the fourth state, the Kasi khanda Says, "He is the Husband of Lakshmi and also of Parvati." Or this saying 'the husband of Lakshmi' may indicate non-separation between Lakshmi and Devi. Or, the sister of Vishnu is called Nārāyani. For there is a saying, "Adoration in Siva, the husband of Narayani." Or, because there is no difference Adoration in Siva, the husband of Narayani." Or, because there is no ilifference between Gauri and Narayana.

In the Kurma Pr. Siva says, “I, the supreme Lord, have divided myself into two forms, one is Nārāyana, the other is Gaurī, the mother of the universe. So my supreme nature is known to neither the Devas, nor to the Rishis, because I am one, I am Devi and Vishnu." The Devi Pr. says, “Because she has her abode in the water, not in air, or she has her seat in the ocean, hence she is called Närayani, the creator of Nara (men) and women." Accorling to the Padma Pr. Närāyani is the name of the goddess worshipped in the sacred place Supars'va.

He uses the word "Narayana" (Nara + ayana) as attribute to describe it for both Vishnu and Goddess.

Actually, references cited by Bhaskaraya provide more info on name Narayana. For example, Medhathithi completely uses the word "Narayana" as Attribute and says it can refer to Brahma in Manu Smriti 1.10.

आपो नारा इति प्रोक्ता आपो वै नरसूनवः । ता यदस्यायनं पूर्वं तेन नारायणः स्मृतः ॥ १० ॥

āpo nārā iti proktā āpo vai narasūnavaḥ | tā yadasyāyanaṃ pūrvaṃ tena nārāyaṇaḥ smṛtaḥ || 10 ||

Water is called ‘nara,’—water being the offspring of nara; since water was the first thing created by (or, the original residence of) that being, he is, on that account, described as ‘nārāyaṇa.’—(10)

Medathithi proves attribute "Narayana" is also suitable for creator Brahma.

The Being just described is the same who, here and there in the scriptures, is described under the name ‘Nārāyaṇa,’ as possessed of a superior degree of creative and cognitive powers, and hence being the Personal Creator of the world; the mere difference in names does not necessarily imply difference in the things denoted; so that the Beings described under the names ‘Brahmā,’ ‘Nārāyana’ and ‘Maheśvara are one and the same; though they form the objects of diverse forms of worship, yet they do not differ among themselves; as we shall show under Discourse XII.

How this is (i.e. how Brahmā is the same as ‘Nārāyana’) is explained now:—‘Water is called Nara.’—described under the name of,—‘Nara.’

In answer to the objection—“There is no such usage current among experienced persons; nor is it generally known that water is called Nara,”—the Author adds:—‘Water being the offspring of Nara,’—the supreme Being (Hiraṇyagarbha, described in verse 8 as having created water) might well be known under the name ‘Nara,’ Person; and water is his ‘offspring;’ hence water is spoken of as ‘Nara,’ the name of the father is often applied to the child, e.g., the ‘sons of Vaśiṣṭha,’ the revered sages Tāvabhru, Maṇḍu and Lomaka, are spoken of as ‘Vaśiṣṭhāḥ’; and such usage is based upon the

figurative identification of the child with the father.—‘Since’ because—‘Water,’ known as ‘Nara,’ was ‘the first thing created by’—or it was his container when he lay in the womb (egg)—‘he is, on that account, described as Nārāyaṇa.’

In the sense of ‘he whose container is Nara’the compound should be ‘narāyaṇa;’ but the first vowel may be taken as lengthened according to Pāṇini’s Sūtra 6.3.134, which justifies such lengthening in several other cases also,; just as we have in the word ‘pūruṣa’ (which is a variant for ‘puruṣa’);—or we may have the lengthening due to the affix ‘aṇ’ in the sense of ‘mass’ [so that nāra would be ‘mass of water,’ and ‘he who has this mass of water as his container, ayana,’ would he ‘nārāyaṇa’]. (10)

So, commentators like Medhathithi says it refers to Brahma also.

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    @Sarvabhouma दक्षिणायन . Second word has still न after uniting with first word. There's no र or ष in Dakshina. it has क् + श = क्ष
    – The Destroyer
    Feb 7 '19 at 4:09
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    @TheDestroyer what is the highest and lowest forms in Advaita. All are illusory forms. Reality is one nirguna brahman.
    – user17439
    Feb 7 '19 at 5:34
  • 1
    @TheDestroyer even at Vyavaharika level in advaita, atleast five forms are considered equal..There is no higher & lower there. The distinction is only between us & saguna brahman. I think only vaishnvs have distinction not non-dualists.
    – user17439
    Feb 8 '19 at 6:05
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    Why did you remove the name Lalitha then? Bhaskararaya referred to Lalita only. Right? I am unclear why you removed Lalitha here. Lalitha is also called Narayani. Is that edit influenced by any comment under this answer? Feb 8 '19 at 6:29
  • 1
    @Sarvabhouma Because different sects have different opinions on usage of Narayani. Narayani is amsa of Lalitha who is sister of sthithikara Vishnu and consort of Rudra. Thought to just mention Goddess instead of Lalitha as Lalitha denotes highest form of Goddess.
    – The Destroyer
    Feb 8 '19 at 6:39

Narayana worships Siva, calling him "Narayana" in the Siva Purana. Of course the counterattack would be either Narayanastra ("Tamasic" purana) or Vaishnavastra ("interpolation").

There is a "Vaishnavite" refutation - namely - Varaha Purana


Page 90

(The text is corrupted in the source in some places)

  1. О three-eyed god, when there was no stem of the uni-verse, and there was no sun, moon or Indra, then you alone re-mained beyond the purview of any reasoning.

  2. О lord of gods, wearer of the garland of skulls, bearer of the crescent moon on the head, resorter to the cremationground, smearer of ashes all over the body and encircled byserpents, you are capable of protecting us.

  3. You are the Male and the beautiful daughter of the mountain is your Energy. You are fierce to the whole world with your trident, but the three sacrificial fires (Garhapatya, Ahava-nlya and Daksina) remain in your three eyes.

  4. In the form of your matted hair remain all oceans, all great mountains and all rivers. The whole universe is your body,though men without proper inner vision see only the physical aspect.

  5. You are Xarayana, the source of the universe. Similarly,you are the great Brahma, li.y the difference in the Gunas and difference in the fires and by the difference in the yugas you re-main threefold.

  6. О lord, all these chieftains of the gods now seek your favour. О you Rudra, who shine with ashes, we bow to you again,be pleased to save us all.

  • 1
    1) In that section, the Devas were praising Shiva by flattery so that they could obtain a worthy commander, and then Shiva created Skanda. 2) Shiva is called Narayana in the same way Indra is called Brahman in the Kaushitaki Upanishad. When Shiva is called Narayana, it is doing so through Samanadhikaranya, since all beings are the body of Vishnu, who is the Antaryami.
    – Ikshvaku
    Feb 6 '19 at 18:49
  • 1
    who you gonna believe - "me, or your lying eyes"? This is hilarious - those who pretend to sleep, you can never awaken. At least this person didn't say that this portion of Varaha Purana is "Tamasic."
    – S K
    Feb 6 '19 at 18:52
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    Look - the "antaryami" argument is irrefutable but it is just an assertion. (IIRC, there is scripture that Siva is everybody's antaryami also) - everybody knows that. Where they tie themselves into knots is to explain the "tamasic" acts of entities they denigrate - they have to say that at those times they are disobeying their "antaryami". The whole thing id childish and boils down to "what is good is ours, what is bad is yours."
    – S K
    Feb 6 '19 at 19:04
  • 1
    "but it is just an assertion." - It is a Vedic assertion. Shiva being the Antaryami is probably a Puranic assertion, and wherever Puranas contradict the Vedas, the Puranas must be ignored. "they have to say that at those times they are disobeying their "antaryami" - No one is trying to denigrate entities, at least they don't intend to. Sri Vaishnavas say Shiva is the foremost Bhakta of Vishnu.
    – Ikshvaku
    Feb 6 '19 at 19:10
  • 2
    @Ikshvaku Read Sri Rudram... Core Vedic Samhita which declares Shiva Supreme. Now, Antaryami notion can be imposed if Samhitas themselves say Rudra in Sri Rudram extolled because of nArAyaNa being antaryAmi there, not any subsidiary scripture or XYZ sect or philosopher. Feb 6 '19 at 19:31

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