Summary (of "Question", "braHmavid=Krishna?" series of mails)

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at BRAINCELLS.COM
Wed Aug 21 15:41:05 CDT 2002

On Mon, 19 Aug 2002, Kiran B R wrote:

> 1. I asked the following question: After attaining the
> braHman (or sajujya mukthi or whatever is the ultimate
> state attainable through advaita), will I be capable
> of changing the rules of this maayaa (for eg the rules
> of Physics)? For example, will I be able to freeze
> water by boiling?

Put me down as an emphatic NO. :)  You have misunderstood both the nature
of maya and the reason for transcending it.

The Advaitin is not a philosophical idealist in other words he doesn't
believe that "it's all in your mind."  If that were true then the first
time someone got enlightened, the world would end.  Also there is too much
coincidence.  Our perceptions may cause us to see the world slightly
differently but 99% is the same which you wouldn't expect if it was all a

Rather the Advaitin believes there is "stuff," the problem is the nature
of that stuff is misunderstood.  Because of the ignorance of the observer,
what is dimensionless and one only is seen as multiplicity.  Nirguna
Brahman is seen by the ignorant observer as posessed of qualities and this
Saguna Brahman apparently creates, sustains, and destroys the phenomenal
world.  This (apparent) power is called Maya.

Thus the individual jiva is ignorant on two levels.  His "personal" lack
of knowledge and his lack of knowledge of the world-appearance. (Only the
appearence not the world itself which is real as I mentioned before.)  The
sole goal of Advaita Vedanta is to destroy this lack of understanding.
Anything else is just a fortunate byproduct.

What this knowledge is, is a shift in scale.  The evidence of your eyes
firmly tells you that the sun rises in the east of the earthand sets in
the west.  But later when you learn about astronomy you know that it is in
fact the earth rotating which is creating this illusion.  But during that
time has the earth changed any or is it your perceptions that have
changed?  Another example.  In the imperial system of measure, I'm 5' 8"
tall.  If I later say that according to the metric system I am 1.70m tall,
does this mean I have shrunk?  No, it is only the scale that has changed.

How does the person who has realized this shift in scale behave?  Not
necessarily much differently than before.  According to Swami Vidyaranyas'
Jivanamuktiviveka, although he will no longer be affected by karma, he
still has to suffer the results of the actions of the past (prarabdha
karma.)  Plus there is the question of motivation.  Sure he now identifies
with God--but also with an insect and every other living thing in between.
So what is the motivation for wanting to exercise "power"?  There is a
story about Shankaracharya that once when he was travelling with his
students, they were attacked by a rampaging elephant and ran away.  Later
the students asked why he ran away if the elephant was maya?  The Acharya
replied, "My running away was also maya!"

Finally if despite all this one still insists on exercising God-like
powers consider this.  If God is omniescent then the laws of Physics are
already perfectly as they should be.  What do you know about them that He

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

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