[Advaita-l] Re:clarification on Vedantasutra

Ramesh Badisa badisa55 at hotmail.com
Mon May 10 15:25:01 CDT 2004

Dear respectable members,
I have plugged the answers for the questions raised by sri Bhaskar. I felt 
very happy about these questions, as I also honestly got these very 
questions last year. I haven’t got satisfactory answers when I had contacted 
few persons earlier (outside of advaita list). One of them was sri 
S.M.Srinivas Chari (author of‘The Philosophy of the Upanishads’- a study 
based on the evaluation of the comments of Shankara, Ramanuja and Madhava, 
published in 2002). The answers given by sri Chari were not satisfactory at 
all to me (I have still have his letter). Also, the way he had evaluated the 
commentaries of these acharyas, at least of sri Shankara’s commentaries, 
regarding the nature of salvation and related topics was not good at all. 
Nevertheless, in an over all view, he has done a good job. I am not claiming 
that my current answers to be 100% correct. I have respect for all our 
acharyas. One more thing I would like to share with our members is that 
recently, I happen to see Vaishnava News on the Internet, where some 
spiritual questions were answered. One interesting question I came across 
was that almost the same question, which we are currently dealing, was asked 
by some one (please see this question at this site www. 
vnn.org/editorials/ET0202/ET28-7186.html). The answer provided by swamiji 
(Swami B. V. Tripurari, email: sangaeditor at swami.org) for this question was 
not correct, as he did not understand the question correctly. Initially I 
thought of responding with the answer the way I have perceived. But remained 
silent. Currently, the questions posed by sri Bhaskar are answered at a 
slower pace with some background information. So that members can see what I 
am trying to bring out in my answers. I apologize for lengthy answers. In 
this posting I am only sending the answer for one question. Currently I did 
not touch the questions on anandamaya topic also.

>I was reading the internet posting on  "An Analysis of the Brahma Sutra
by > Swami Krishnananda, The Divine Life Society  Sivananda Ashram, 
>India. It is a simple presentation of the analysis keeping all 3 schools of
>thought in mind.  But I noticed a strange observation in the last chapter
>which have been  highlighted for your kind clarification.  Since it is
>first time i am seeing that our Acharya shakara's views are tested I
humbly seek  your opinion/ clarification on the below.
>        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: This soul is liberated fully. There is no doubt about it. But the 
question is where is this soul liberated fully from? The soul is liberated 
from birth and death loop forever. However, it does not mean that this soul 
(liberated soul at Brahma Lok) has achieved absolute salvation. This is 
possible only at the time of pralaya, as per sutra 4.3.10. Please understand 
here that this is not the case with the other type of salvation. For 
example, the soul of a jeevan mukta gets absolute salvation immediately upon 
the death of his physical body. This type of salvation is called sadhyo 
mukti (called immediately salvation). If someone does not believe in two 
types of salvations, please refer to Varaho Upanishad, 4.5. I personally and 
honestly believe that all advaita followers either believe or aware of 
existence of two types of salvations based on sruti. At any rate, the 
liberated soul, discussed in the ‘Analysis of Brahma Sutra’ by Swami 
Krishnananda ji, is the one that has followed the path of devyan (also 
called archiradhi marg) of 8/24 of Gita or Chandogya Upanishad 4.15.5 and 
5.10.1 and 2.  These souls at Brahma Lok are called liberated souls and are 
waiting for absolute salvation at the time of pralaya.

Now, the question is why these souls at Brahma Lok are lack of powers of 
creation etc.? Is it something done by divine?

Lack of powers of creation etc on the part of liberated souls at Brahma Lok 
is not something done by all perfect absolute divine. Then who caused it? I 
believe that it is the result of imperfect mode of worship of divine (Saguna 
worship, & if this worshipper dies before divine experience, then his soul 
will follow devyan path. Although Lord Krishna in Gita 12/2 emphasized for 
utmost faith and devotion on divine to indicate that worship in either forms 
is ok, but at this point Lord Krishna is answering in keeping the final 
result of either modes of the worship. The final result is salvation, which 
will be attained immediately for a gyani [jeevan mukta] after death, while 
for a karma yogi it will take some time to attain it. The imperfection on 
the part of liberated souls at Brahma Lok is present till these souls 
experience their divine nature) by the physical body (of these liberated 
souls, which are currently in this discussion and are at Brahma Lok), while 
living on the Earth or alike, and thus failed to get divine experience while 
on earth. It appears that the result of this imperfection on the part of 
these souls (which followed by 8/24 path of Gita) continues even in Brahma 
Lok also. Therefore, at Brahma Lok, Lord Brahma gives a final liberation 
teaching to these liberated souls. Now, these souls have to translate the 
final liberation teaching into the matter of experience. For this purpose, 
these souls perform meditation to experience their true nature of divinity. 
This experience is not an easy thing again, meaning that the souls will have 
to meditate for a long time. It should be remembered that even after getting 
divine experience, these souls would not become divine immediately. Then, 
one may here ask why? And wonder whether the sruti sayings that knower 
(experience) of Brahman is Brahman (meaning if you experience divine, you 
will become divine) is incorrect. How do we explain that? The following 
example may help us to understand. Please let us see the case of a jeevan 
mukta. A jeevan mukta is a person who has experienced divine while living in 
a physical body. As per the literal meaning of above sruti saying, he should 
be equal to divine immediately because he has experienced the divine. If it 
is so, then, it means that he should be able to perform all activities that 
divine could do. But in reality, this jeevan mukta cannot do all activities 
as divine. Because, he hasn’t yet got the absolute salvation as evidenced by 
the fact that he is still localized (indicating his finite nature) in a 
particular physical body (although with respective to him, he understands 
that he is not a physical body) and still facing prarabdha karma. Thus he 
cannot have all powers as divine. Therefore, when sruti says that a knower 
of Brahman is Brahman, it should be understood that knower of Brahman (a 
jeevan mukta) will become Brahman (absolute divine) only when the soul of 
this knower of Brahman attains absolute salvation by merging in divine. Not 
before that, as this jeevan mukta is still in a physical body and facing the 
karma. On the same lines, the liberated souls at Brahma Lok with divine 
experience (even in the absence any type of karma) will not become divine 
immediately as they haven’t got the absolute salvation. Therefore, these 
souls cannot have powers of creation etc. More over, we have in sruti that 
all beings are created from the divine (Mundaka Up. 2.1.1), meaning that 
absolute divine is the source of creation of various forms of bodies based 
on the accumulation of merits and demerits. Since the liberated souls at 
Brahma Lok haven’t yet got the absolute salvation, the lack of powers of 
creation etc should not be viewed as a limitation on their part, because 
they haven’t got the absolute salvation and thus they are not equal to 
divine. Thus, one needs to worry really only if there is any limitation 
still continues in the state of absolute salvation. On the other hand, we 
are not worried or concerned if some limitations still continue on the part 
of qualified souls before they attain absolute salvation. I believe that 
this question, “that even in the state of liberation, the soul is not fully 
liberated” came due to misunderstanding of the intension of the sutras. I 
again believe that other than sri Shankara no other acharyas have any clear 
concepts about true relationship between divine and souls, nature of 
salvation etc. For me, the lack of powers of creation etc on the part of 
liberated souls at Brahma Lok is a self-inflected weakness, arising due to 
mode of worship of divine when on earth. However, this limitation is not 
applied when the soul attains divine by immediate salvation, which happens 
in case of a jeevan mukta after he casts off his physical body once the 
prarabdha karma becomes zero. The souls at Brahma Lok will become divine 
only at the time of pralaya by merging in divine for absolute salvation. At 
that point no individual identities exist, but only one divine exists. 
Therefore, at that point we say that the souls have become divine, like a 
river becomes a sea by merging in it. This is where various sruti references 
are applied (Mundaka, 3.2.8; Prasna Upanishads, 6.5 etc).

Raming answers will follow slowly,


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