liila and celebrating duality

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at BRAINCELLS.COM
Mon May 13 22:10:33 CDT 2002

On Tue, 14 May 2002, Somik Raha wrote:

> By other theories, would you include "Dwaitavad" ?

No.  Somewhere along the way people came up with the notion that Dvaita
Vednta is just a stepping stone to Advaita Vedanta or is subsumed by it
etc.  I don't think this is a very useful way of looking at it because
Dvaita Vedanta is a seperate darshanbased on similiar premises (the Vedas)
but coming to markedly different conclusions.

I was thinking more about the various accounts of creation offered in the

> I am not sure I would like to agree or disagree with "Advaitavad", I would
> rather spend some time learning more about it, before I start forming
> opinions.


> Somehow, almost all answers end up explaining "what", but not "why". Would
> the question, "why does everything have a nature ?" be a sensible question
> to ask ?

Sure but how do you propose to answer it?  I'm not saying one has to have
an answer but one should be able to atleast propose some way of giving it.
Some questions may be interesting but on further reflection deemed to be

> I've heard of this comparison, that Brahman is like a child playing with a
> ball, and the toe of this child is actually representative of the size of
> the solar system (or the ball might be a galaxy)...

Such statements are also just analogy.  You cannot talk about thesize of
an infinite being.

> If the contention of Advaita Vedanta is that creation is unreal, then what
> is the explanation given for the illusion of the unreal as the real. What is
> the driving force behind the illusion. If we are to say that the illusion
> comes from nothing, that would be against a very basic law - "nothing comes
> from nothing".

No, the Advaita contention is that which is real is misunderstood.  If a
person is talking to me in Punjabi and I don't know Punjabi, it will seem
like just meaningless noise.  Or I might think it is Hindi and
(mis)interpret it thusly.  But based on the fact I don't understand it, is
it fair to say there is no such thing as Punjabi?  A particular appearence
including creation and destruction is superimposed on reality due to
avidya (ignorance.)  By the methods of Advaita Vedanta, we can overcome
that ignorance and apprehend the true reality.

> Oh dear, the thread on Kashmiri Shaivism is quite huge.. I'd be grateful if
> you can direct me to the relevant posts.

I would advise you to read the whole thing.  Shrinivas raised some
excellent points.

> Hmm... I guess by "we" you mean "Advaitavadis" (is Advaitavad considered a
> seperate religion ?).

Some people like to say it is not a religion but a philosophy or a
spirtual science etc.  But I consider this silly semantic quibbling based
more on the persons prejudices about what religion and science are than
anything else.  Advaita Vedanta is a system of belief.  It tries to be as
logical (which is not the same thing as scientific) as possible but
ultimately there are some concepts we take on faith just like any other
belief system.

> On the point that you make of science matching our
> perceptions(thats a most interesting point) - it seems science does match
> different theories being discussed here - the "Big Bang" theory with its
> modifications - that of iterative expansion and contraction - is an
> astronomical description of the "Pralaya" theory, which states the same.
> While the other modification - of the universe expanding continuously and
> being in the state that is infinitely - seems to be in line with
> non-creation beliefs - that of being here as we are.

Ok fine but science changes its' opinions all the time. Do we chase its'
tail or base our views on more stable sources?  Incidently that is why I
am so orthodox today.  The "modern" varieties of Hinduism are firmly stuck
in the 19th century and I found the "scientific explanations" of their
apologists laughably quaint and ridiculous.  It's not that I'm
anti-science, rather my interest in science comes from a different place
than my interest in religion.

> So is it right for me to understand that Advaita philosophy in general,
> answers "what", and considers "why" irrelevant ?

I wouldn't say irrelevant but definitely lower priority because above all,
Advaita Vedanta is a practical method for liberation from ignorance.

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

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