Are GODs just symbolic ???

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at BRAINCELLS.COM
Sun Aug 4 14:39:38 CDT 2002

On Fri, 2 Aug 2002, Srikrishna Ghadiyaram wrote:

> In the above referred article it is mentioned:
> ""Concerning this system we wish to remark that we do not intend to
> controvert the doctrine that Narayana, who is higher than the avyakta
> (pradhana or the prakriti of Samkhya in its unmanifest state) who is
> the highest Self and the Self of all, reveals Himself by dividing Himself
> in multiple ways;"
> ***********
> Would you/someone elaborate the statement, 'Narayana is higher than the
> avyakta, and who is the highest Self'.
> I can understand Narayana as the 'Self' of all; but what is this 'higher
> than avyakta' ?

Avyakta means "unmanifest."  In the Ishopanishad section I posted a couple
of days ago, it also talked about the worshippers of the unmanifest and
manifest.  Shankaracharya says these refer to the followers of Samkhya and
Yoga respectively.

In Samkhya, as we have discussed before, the entities of purush and
prakrti are totally distinct.  Purush is the atman, intelligent and
capable of action.  Prakrti is inert.  It starts off in an unmanifest
state (called pradhana or avyakta.) from that it develops into a manifest
state (called mahat or vyakta) and from that into the three gunas, sattva,
rajasa, and tamasa, which in various combinations make up the 25 tattvas
or tanmatras.  It is this unbalanced manifest prakrti which "traps" the
purush into samsara.

Yoga mostly follows Samkhya with one innovation -- Ishvara as the 26th
tattva.  Ishvara in their conception is a kind of super-purush.  Whereas
in Samkhya the process of the evolution of prakrti is more or less
automatic, in Yoga, Ishvara has the power to shape it according to His
ends.  He still remains distinct from Prakrti itself.

The Bhagavatas' philosophy goes a further step beyond Yoga.  While they
also acknowledge the evolution of prakrti, they describe it as the four
vyuhas or manifestations of Bhagavan.  Bhagavan in His highest form is
the cause and hence higher than the avyakta of the Samkhyas.

Vedanta (we are talking about all types here, not just Advaita)  holds
Brahman to be not just the efficient but the material cause of the
universe too.  So Vedantins can also agree that Shrimannarayana
is "higher than the avyakta."  Where Advaitins part company with the
Bhagavatas, is the latters idea that that there is an actual
transformation (parinama) of Brahman into the material world.  Rather we
believe the world-appearance is an adhyasa (superimposition) onto Brahman.

Btw, did you notice that in the Gitabhashya Shankaracharya also repeats
this phrase "higher than the avyakta" to refer to Bhagavan?

Raghavendra gave some important information:

> The shloka "naaraayaNaH paro.avyaktaat.h..." is taken
> from either the brahmANDa purANa or the mahAbhArata.
> This shloka has been recognized as that of
> kR^iShNa-dvaipAyana in the vArtika.
> This shloka also indicates that the Self(or brahman or
> nArAyaNa), which is higher than the manifest and
> unmanifest, is the same as shrI-kR^iShNa-parabrahman,
> described in the gItA.

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at>
It's a girl! See the pictures -

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