[Advaita-l] Some basic questions on Advaita

bhaskar.yr at in.abb.com bhaskar.yr at in.abb.com
Tue Jul 8 04:24:49 CDT 2003

praNAm prabhuji
Hare Krishna

Yes. But is Ishwara also a reflection of brahman?

> prabhuji, no need to mention here again that  Ishwara with all auspicious
qualities (omniscient, omnipotent) is accepted by shankara when the same
parabrahman thought of as the cause & ruler of the phenomenal world
containing individual souls(jIvAs).  But it does not mean that there is
distinction allowed in brahman itself.  This has been admitted by shankara
only because of various levels of student of vedanta (adhikAra bhEdarItya).

Beg your pardon but I had a different intention in mind. I feel that the
acknowledgement of Ishwara as the supreme controller might perhaps damage
the non-dual sAdhana of a sAdhaka. What I am unable to comprehend is, how
a sAdhaka can accept Ishwara as controlling everything as a master and
still proceed with the non-dual sAdhana. The paradox here is that while the
former is a master-slave relationship, the latter is one of

>  prabhuji, I'd like to mention here that I had the same doubts in my mind
& I found it very difficult to reconcile the concept of bhakti & advaita
together.  Sri Vidya prabhuji helped me a lot to overcome this problem.

>  prabhuji, if I take the essence of your doubt, it boils down to
something of this
order :
As per adv. vedanta, the Absolute is non-dual one without second, there can
be no second entity there to show bhakti to it. How does the concept of
bhakti fits in this context when adv. holding its flag high saying aham

>  The concept of bhakti, by the very meaning of the term implies dual
nature :i.e. the *deity* which is being worshipped, and the one who
worships & try to propitiate his/her ishtadEvata. Here, one thing we should
take a note is that whatever be the nature of worshipper (let us say for
the time being the *jIvas*), the nature of his  *upAsanAdhIna devata* being
worshipped has to be the ultimate Truth & this upasana dEvata should be
omniscient, omnipotent & all pervading (sarvagna, sarvavyApi, sarvashakta).
But in that case, we end up with Two Ultimate Truths, namely, this Ishwara
(with name & form with qualities or saguNa brahman) and the nameless and
formless Absolute Truth -nirguNa brahman (achintyam, agrAhyam, nishkriyam)
of the Vedas and Upanishads. These two different absolutes is quite
paradoxical with the statement repeatedly proclaimed by the scriptures and
saints that there is ONLY ONE Absolute Turth.  But as I told above, this
distinction is only for the sake of clear understanding of students with
different mind level.

>  Further, shankara bhagavadpAda beautifully clarifies this by saying :
Shuddaye karam na tu vastUpa labhyaye , all actions, including pUja,
dhyAna, upAsana,  sankIrthana, hOma, havana etc. is just for purification
of the mind.  Hence pUja to saguNa brahman (deity with all auspicious
qualities) helps us to purifiy the mind - Surrendering is nothing but
surrendering the ego (Atma nivEdana) at the lotus feet of our beloved iShta
dEvata - that is Bhakti.  It is just like seeing the vast sky through a
narrow window.  Bhakti should lead us to purified mind which is ready to
receive the knowledge of ONENESS.  Since the Knowledge is vastu tantra this
cannot be gained through any ritualistic observation. (perhaps, this would
be the reason JK says truth is a pathless land) - this is true whether it
is objective knowledge or subjective realisation.  Once the mind is pure,
the Lord can bless us with the knowledge. It is with this belief jIva offer
pUja operating from BMI platform.

>  Prabhuji, this is the purpose behind the attitude of an advaitin who is
worshiping external object as reality separate from him. Advaitins know
that this is
process of purification but not an end itself. That is the reason why while
doing  pUja we say, sOham bhAvEna pUjayEt.

>  I humbly request the senior members of the list to kindly correct me if
my understanding of the purpose of bhakti in advaita is flawed.

> Hari Hari Hari Bol!!!
> bhaskar

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