[Advaita-l] Re: clarification on vedanta sutra
badisa55 at hotmail.com
Mon May 10 14:33:36 CDT 2004
1. There is another difficulty, which suddenly erupts in the Sutra
>when it speaks of the liberation of the soul. The Sutra makes out that
the liberated soul is free only in so far as it can enjoy the bliss of
>perfection equally as Brahman, but it cannot have the power of creation,
>preservation, destruction etc. of the universe. This categorical
statement would mean that even in the state of liberation the soul is not
Badisa: No. The soul in the current discussion is liberated fully from birth
and death loop. But it hasnt yet got the absolute salvation. Therefore, the
liberated soul at Brahma Lok cannot have the powers of creation etc as it
hasnt yet become divine by merging in divine. Here, one has worry if some
type of limitation still exists in the state of absolute salvation, but not
before attaining the salvation. I do not believe that in the state of
absolute salvation there will be any limitation.
Ø Here the Sutra seems to be landing itself on the qualified monism of
Acharya Ramanuja, according to whom the soul is an organic part of Brahman
but not identical with Brahman.
Badisa: No. The sutra is not supporting Acharya Ramanuja in real and
absolute sense. But it appears I repeat again, it appears to be supporting
Acharya Ramanuja philosophy. But it is not correct. How do we know it? Let
us see how with some background information.
The soul is nothing but divine when the layers of ignorance and avidya are
removed. Then both divine and this soul are like two drops of water. One
drop can mix easily with another. Once mixing is done, nobody can separate
these drops from each other. In order words, when the qualified soul merges
in divine, then there is only thing left that is called divine. Thus, Prasna
Upanishad, 6.5 says that all individual identities of souls are lost when
merged in divine, like a river looses its name and form when merged in a
sea. Same thing is also described in Mundaka Upanishad, 3.2.8. On the other
hand, sri Ramanuja will have difficulty to explain the existence of
individuality of souls in the state of absolute of salvation with the
support of these references. Therefore, when the above sutra says limited
powers on the part of soul, it should be understood that the sutra is
concerned only with the liberated soul at Brahma Lok. In the state of
absolute salvation, there wont be any limitations.
Similarly, please look Chandogyo Upanishad, 6.9.1&2. Here Uddalaka is
explaining the fate of individual souls when they reach divine. In this
reference, in order to make his son understand, the father gives an analogy.
The analogy is related with the collection of essence of flowers by
honey-bees from various flowers. The bees finally prepare honey. Now, this
honey is produced due to collection of different essences collected from
various flowers. This honey, once made, cannot distinguish the essence of
one flower from another flower. It means that no particular essence of a
flower can be recognized by the mass of honey. But nevertheless, this honey
is produced by the collection of all essences from various flowers by the
bees. But after the honey is made, there is no individual consciousness for
the essences obtained from different flowers to think that I am obtained
from so and so flower like that. In other words, they have no individual
thinking of their essences. Because no individual thinking is present, can
we here say that honey is not made of these essences? No. Individual
essences from different flowers are present in the honey, but once they are
merged together and formed into honey, that individuality is vanished. In
other words, each essence will not think that I am collected from so and so
flower etc. Instead, they acquire the consciousness of honey. Now, why
this analogy is said by father to his son? The reason is that by this type
of analogy, the father is implying that that is what would happen to the
individual soul upon entry of pure divine. This may also happen sometimes
temporarily in case of dream state. But this entry is an unconscious type,
and it is temporary till the dream lasts. Upon waking up from sleep, this is
gone. It means that the soul of a divine experienced person will enter
consciously into divine and merges, while in case of ignorant persons, this
is temporary, and upon waking up, he is still the same ignorant person,
caught in life after life in the world. The conclusion is that in the state
of absolute salvation, there is no distinction between soul and divine, as
also confirmed in Prasna Upanishad, 6.5.
The following references are given to look seriously how advaita philosophy
is correct in absolute sense and to show how both divine and soul are
For example, Maitreya Upanishad, 2.2, says that physical body is a temple
and the jeevatma is nothing but the divine. In the same Upanishad, 2.11
mantra says that both satguru and shastras are required to understand the
advaita philosophy. Mantra 2.30 says that one should experience that he is
the soul. In 2.31, the mantra says that, I am (soul) that paramatma.
Mantra 3.4 says that a person (soul) who goes above trigunas is nothing but
paramatma. Mantra 3.11 says that in the absence of duality, the mind does
not exist (means that it wont control the soul), and in that situation, the
soul is equal to paramatma. Mantra 3.24 says that by experiencing that I
(soul) am divine, the soul actually becomes divine. In Mantriko Upanishad,
mantra 20 says that a person who experiences that his soul is nothing but
divine, attains divine. Please remember that this attainment is possible
when both are at the same level. For example, a spoon of water (pure soul
without any bondage) can be mixed in a glass of water (divine). On the other
hand, a spoon of oil (soul in karmic bondage) wont mix in water (divine).
Therefore, the term attainment used above should be understood as same as
one nature, like water and water. In Sarvasaro Upanishad, mantra 20
reconfirms that soul is divine. In Niralambo Upanishad, mantra 11 clearly
says that, I am him (divine). In Shukahaso Upanishad, mantra 24 clearly
says that jeevatma (pure) is divine. Tejo Bindu Upanishad is a good source
to confirm that soul is divine. For example, the mantras from 3.1 to 74; 4.1
to 2; 4.60 to 63; 4.80 to 81 and 6.99 to 106 indicate very, very clearly
that soul is nothing but divine. One can quote many references from
Upanishads to authenticate that advaita philosophy is ultimate and absolute
Ø If we persuade ourselves to believe that the Sutra is sympathetic with the
Vaishnava theology of Ramanuja, we can easily understand why the soul in
liberation cannot have the power of God Himself.
Badisa: As said above that the sutra appears to be sympathetic with Ramanuja
philosophy, but when we analyze thoroughly in light of various spiritual
texts, this apparent sympathy for Vaishnava theology vanishes in thin air
and a true picture will emerge out, which is in favor of advaita philosophy.
>Acharya Sankara here has practically nothing to tell us except to interate
>that if the soul is given the power of creation, etc., there would be a
>clash of purposes among the liberated souls. Here again arises the
>question: are there many liberated souls in the state of Brahman?
Badisa: If sri Shankara were asked about the above question, he would have
practically explained everything clearly. Therefore, the above statement
that Acharya Sankara here has practically nothing to tell us except to
is the opinion of the author, swami Krishnananda ji, which is
respectable. The liberated souls at Brahma Lok are not called as in the
state of Brahman. Because, a soul becomes Brahman (absolute supreme divine)
only when it merges in divine. Although the soul is divine in nature, but
because it is associated in ignorance, it is not called equal to divine
practically. Otherwise it will lead to many divines. But we all know, based
on sruti, that there is only one divine who is second less. Although
achieving salvation is a tough job, there can be more than one liberated
souls at Brahma Lok, waiting for absolute salvation at the time of pralaya.
There is no hard and fast rule to tell how many souls should present at
Brahma Lok, waiting for absolute salvation.
Ø Acharya Ramanuja would not disagree with this proposition, but Acharya
Sankara would find here a hard nut to crack.
>question to My masters : could u kindly clarify , why author claiming here
>it is hard nut for shankara to crack.
Badisa: Firstly, sri Shankara and sri Ramanuajam and sri Madhava were not
contemporaries. So, how anybody could say that it was hard nut to crack even
for sri Shankara before that was asked? As far as I know, sri Shankara had a
clear understanding about the issues raised in this discussion. He would
have explained his position about the current issues in the discussion in
light of sruti texts very easily if some one had asked him during his
lifetime. Perhaps no body had got such doubts during his lifetime or may be
most scholars were aware of the correct answers. Much later, came sri
Ramanuja, sri Madhava etc acharyas into the picture and gave their own
commentaries. Now the author, Swami Krishnananda ji, is analyzing and
comparing all those commentaries and giving his personal opinion that it
would be a hard nut for sri Shankara to crack. We all respect his opinion.
For sri Shankara, I do not think, that it would be a difficult task to crack
the nut. Perhaps any one of the members in this list can crack this problem
easily if one spends some time on this problem.
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