[Advaita-l] Some basic questions on Advaita

bhaskar.yr at in.abb.com bhaskar.yr at in.abb.com
Mon Jul 7 06:44:13 CDT 2003

praNAm prabhuji
Hare Krishna

>  Kindly allow me to share my understanding with you.

I have some basic questions on advaita.

1. Does "tat tvam asi" mean that -

a. jIva and brahman are identical  ( I - the jIva, am brahman )
b. jIva is unreal while brahman is real ( I am not the jIva but I am
brahman )

It seems a) is endorsed by Padmapada while b) is endorsed by Suresvara. Is
this true? What view does Sankara endorse?

>  shankara's advaita is to establsih shruti pratipAdya EkamEvAdvitiya
brahman.  The concept of jIva is notional in empirical reality which does
not have any individual identity apart from parabrahman from the absolute
point of view.  His paramaguru Sri GaudapAda who advocated ajAti vAda is
also of the same opinion I believe (AtmA
hyAkAshavajIvairghatAkAshairivOditaH! ghatAdivacha
saMghAtairjAtAvEtannidarshanam) Pls. see the example of ghatAkAsha in
kArika.  So, as far as my limited knowledge goes, shankara endorses (b)
which is very close to his prasthAna trayi purports.  However, prakAshAtma
yati's vivaraNa prasthAna based on panchapAdika differs in this view.

2. Is Ishwara also a reflection? (cidAbhAsa)

>  If we accept jIva, then we will have to accept the creator Ishwara also.

3. Is jIva a reflection of Ishwara or brahman?

>  First, I think, we will have to ascertain whether separate entity called
jIva is there apart from BMI & ahankAra.  Pls. see katha shruti .. na
jAyatE mriyatE tE vA vipaschitu.

4. Is it necessary for a sAdhaka to acknowledge the existence of Ishwara or
is it enough if he acknowledges brahman?

>  As long as we are identifying ourselves with dehAtma buddhi & under the
spell of ajnAna, it is necessary to objectify the unobjectifiable
parabrahman for the sake of upAsana & chitta shuddhi.

5. Is mAyA the same as avidya or is it different from it?

>  IMHO, it is different. shankara uses mithya/mAya to describe prapancha
where as the term avidya used by shankara to denote root ignorance.

6. Is jIva one or many?

> prabhuji, at the first place is jIva there separate from parabrahman??
after resolving this issue, I think, we can number it.

For the sake of brevity I bluntly shared my thoughts prabhuji.  I humbly
request senior members of this list to kindly share their understanding on
these questions.  Especially Question No. 5.

Hari Hari Hari Bol!!!

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