saattvika tyaagam

Ramakrishnan Balasubramanian ramakris at EROLS.COM
Mon Oct 11 19:14:54 CDT 1999

<kartik2001 at> wrote:

Good to see you posting again.

> > If you mean the Ishvara is unaffected by the jiiva's
> > karma, don't you think
> > that's obvious: one cannot freely sin and then
> > simply say the actions were
> > God's! can say so, but it wouldn't be
> > true :-)

Well, it may or may not be obvious :-).

> > But if you mean advaitins are in agreement with the
> > statement "Isvara never
> > does anything" when you say that "Ishvara is never
> > the doer," then the
> > statement is in error.

Isn't that obvious? :-). Obviously, Ishvara dispensing the fruits of
the actions of the jIva itself is an act. So, obviously I couldn't
have meant that. It would be like climbing a telephone pole and
shouting to passers-by that I never climb telephone poles :-).

It also depends on what you mean by Ishvara. It is used in different

pAramArthika: Ishvara = supreme brahman, then Ishvara being the doer
is ridiculous.
vyAvahArika: the claim Ishvara doing all actions and jIva thinking
that it does any action, is an error due to "mAyA", is again
incorrect. vyAvahArika => Ishvara is phaladAta of jIvas actions. Of
course Ishvara being a kartA is true from the vyAvahAra point of view,
but then Ishvara is brahman limited by adjuncts (saguNa form).

Note that *only* from the pAramArthika point of view, jIva being a
doer is an illusion. In that case, Ishvara's acts are _equally_
illusory. vyAvahAre bhATTa nyAyaH (or something like that), as Anand
quoted recently. vishishhTAdvaita does not have this
pAramArthika-vyAvahArika distinction. So trying to import the
illusoriness of jIva being a doer (as per vishishhTAdvaita) into
advaita makes no sense.

> > The jiiva acts under the spell of avidya. The
> > Ishvara MUST also act in order
> > to maintain the jiiva.

[ quotes from BG snipped]

No disagreement here.

> > Well, there are great minds in other traditions too.
> > And tradition is for
> > Man, not Man for tradition. One ought to choose
> > whatever helps one the most.
> > If there is something in a tradition that is good
> > for a certain person,
> > he/she could/should take it up whole-heartedly, IMO.

Well, my point was this: before engaging in comparative hermeneutics,
we should first understand advaita. If the basic tenets of advaita
make sense, there is no need to look elsewhere. That is because the
traditions are shaped by philosophy. They are not weaved out of thin
air. IMO, there is a *fundamental* difference in the basic tenets of
advaita and vishishhTAdvaita. So, there is no point in importing
practices from that tradition into advaita. The tradition of each,
will more often than not, clash with the others tradition. Thinking
that the tenets of vishishhTAdvaita and advaita can be maintained as
is and still make a reconciliation between the two is a mere pipe
dream. More on the fundamental differences between these two
philosophies sometime later.


bhava shankara deshikame sharaNam

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