[Advaita-l] Isvara and Saguna Brahman

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at braincells.com
Mon Feb 23 11:25:21 CST 2004

On Mon, 23 Feb 2004, Aravind Mohanram wrote:

I have the Gitabhashya at hand so let's look at that:

> Bhagavad-Gita 13.27,

This shloka Mentions parameshvara.  Parameshvara is not the same as
ishvara anymore than Shri Rama is the same as Mohanram

> 13.28,

Here the Gita mentions Ishvara.  It extremely intellectually dishonest to
say Shankaracharya is indiscriminately interchanging parameshvara and
ishvara.  He is a commentator on the text, he has to go by what it says.
He specifically glosses ishvara:

ishvaram atItAnantarashlokoktalakshaNam ityarthaH.

"Ishvara which means that which was defined in the previous shloka."

or in other words parameshvara.  Now if Comans wants to argue that *Krshna
Bhagavan* is interchanging ishvara and parameshvara based on these two
shlokas, that's a different question.  However I think there is a simpler
explanation.  The Gita is a poem and parama adds another three syllables
which would spoil the meter of the shloka.

> 13.31/32

Same thing except for its paramatma and atma.

Look how on this list people sometimes talk about "vedanta" when there are
several varieties of Vedanta other than Advaita.  It's a shorthand that's
all.  It should be obvious from looking at Shankaracharyas works as a
whole and their subsequent interpretation that he considers Ishvara the
world-creator to be saguna brahman and parameshvara the ultimate reality
to be nirguna brahman.

This illustrates a problem with trying to infer ideas from books alone.
Especially in Indian culture where conciseness was taken to extremes.  You
have to look at the whole context not just pick at a word here or there.

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>
It's a girl! See the pictures - http://www.braincells.com/shailaja/

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