[Advaita-l] The liberated souls and Brahmaloka

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at braincells.com
Wed Mar 3 08:54:52 CST 2004

[Was:  ramesh-namaste.  Please use more descriptive subject lines so in
the future when someone is searching the archives, they will be able to
find relevant posts faster.]

On Tue, 2 Mar 2004, Ramesh Badisa wrote:

> Dear members,
> Namaste. I have the following doubts on one of the Brahma Sutras (BS),
> IV.4.19. I will be grateful to you if could help me understanding it.
> According to this sutra, the supreme Lord is present in two forms. One is
> transcendental form, and the other is relative form. It further says that
> who so ever meditates on Lord on his relative aspect cannot attain the
> transcendental aspect.
> The liberated souls at Brahma Lok [BL] (these souls worshipped saguna
> brahman while on earth, and thus reached Brahma Lok through krama mukti
> path) would attain the Lord at the time of pralaya, along with Lord Brahma
> (BS IV.3.10). It is assumed that Lord Brahma is one of the forms of suguna
> brahma, and so attainment to higher region by liberated souls and Lord
> Brahma at the time of pralaya is understood as attaining of nirgun brahman,
> who is supreme. However, as per IV.4.19 sutra, this attainmet now should be
> understood as attaining of relative aspect of divine only, which is lower
> than the the transcendental form.

The text of the sutra is vikAravarti cha tatha hi sthitimAh "and beyond
all forms because the situation is indicated"

vikAra is forms becaused forms are produced (i.e. are modifications of
other things.)  That there is something is beyond all forms is indicated
(by the shastras.)

It is interesting in light of our current discussions that on this sutra,
Shankaracharya quotes Chhandogyopanishad 3.12.6 which states one quarter of
the Purusha is all beings and the other three quarters are immortal in
heaven.  This is a direct quote from Rk 3 of the Purushasukta.  This shows
that although the Purushasukta is part of the karmakanda, it has
influenced Vedantic thinking also.

> My doubts here are:
> * Is the experience of Brahman required for liberated souls at BL in order
> to attain the relative aspect of divine also,

No  those virtuous souls who go on the Devayana also reach the worlds of
the Gods and attain saguna Brahman.  The difference between them and the
liberated souls is that when their punya has run out, they will return to
sansara while the liberated souls do not.

> * If yes, then as we know that knower of Brahman becomes brahman, here where
> is the question for the liberated souls becoming brahman? They are only
> attaining the relative aspect of Lord, which is lower than the
> transcendental aspect.

What this adhikarana of the Brahmasutras is trying to show is that
kramamukti is not a merging into Saguna Brahman followed by a merging
into Nirguna Brahman at the pralaya.  Because Saguna Brahman is not a seperate
entity just the partial, visible aspect of the one Brahman.  The liberated
atma may attain superhuman powers but it does not become Ishvara Himself.

> * If No, then what is the meaning of 'brahma brahma- vido janah' in 8/24
> saloka of Gita. As you all know this sloka talks about krama mukti path.

That amongst those on the Devayana, those who know Brahman never return
from Brahmaloka.

> * Most Upanishads, and all puranas describe divine in some form to inculcate
> bhakti in devotees (saguna worship). Does it mean that these scriptures can
> only take the devotees to reach the relative aspect of divine, but not to
> transcendental aspect of divine?

No because as I said the relative and the transcendental are not seperate
but two aspects of the same.  Whether the sadhaka will truly understand
Brahman as saguna or nirguna depends on his spiritual maturity.

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

More information about the Advaita-l mailing list