[Advaita-l] Re: Universe - finite or infinite?

bhaskar.yr at in.abb.com bhaskar.yr at in.abb.com
Mon Apr 18 03:21:45 CDT 2005

Hare Krishna

IMHO,  we  can  not  postulate  *finiteness*  to the universe, since for an
advaitin,  it is quite absurd to think that there is a thing called *finite
universe*  apart from infinite parabrahman.  If we say universe is finite &
brahman  is  infinite, the very infiniteness of brahman does get affected &
becomes   *finite*  only  coz.  this  excludes  the  another  finite  thing
universe!!  But  at  the  same  time,  neither  we can say this universe is
*infinite*   &  ever  lasting  like  parabrahman.   According  to  advaita,
infinite  should be *trikAla abhAdita* satya...universe having its temporal
existence  in  certain  state with time & space limited boundaries (dEsha -
kAla  parichinnatva)  cannot  fulfill  this  criteria.  But  as a matter of
fact,  universe  does  not anyway has its own existence apart from brahman.
To   solve   this   riddle,   shankara  puts  this  universe  (mAya)  under
anirvachanIya  category  &  says   it  is  impossible  to  define  universe
categorically as brahman or otherwise.

As  Sri  Ramesh Badisa prabhuji insisted, to have the clear picture of this
*universe*,  obviously,  being a vaidika student, we have to go back to the
souce  i.e.  shruti-s.  But, it is unfortunate to note that shruti seems to
carry          self          contradicting          definitions          as
regards to creation of this jagat.  For exmp. if you take praSnOpanishad it
says  with  regard  to  creation  HE  created life, from life ether, light,
water,  earth,  senses,  mind,  food etc. will eminate.  In continuation it
further  says,  from  food this world emanated & in world nAma etc.  If you
take   AitarEya   shruti   it   gives   some   other   account   :    There
is  Atman  alone  in  the  beginning  &  nothing  else neither sentient nor
non-sentient.  Then He thought (!!??) let me create the worlds & he created
these worlds etc.  If we observe the first shruti vAkya from praShna, it is
clear  that  puruSha  or HE  created prAna (life) etc.  but it is not clear
out of which substance this purusha created them.

On the other hand, the second shruti assertion from AitarEya we can say all
this   universe   was  Atman  alone  before  creation.   And  finally  take
chAndOgya's  mahAvAkya tatvamasi, it says all this universe has IT alone as
its          essence,         that         *alone*         is         real,
that is *Atman*, that is YOU Svetaketu etc.  Here shruti declaring that the
pure  being  alone  which created this apparent universe is strictly real &
that   alone   is  the  genuine  (shuddha)  brahman/Atman.   This  universe
comparitively unreal.

So,    it    is    through    agnAna    it   appears   that   this   really
real  (satyasta satya) parabrahman appears as all the differentiated things
such  as  mountains, stars, trees, BMI, socalled individual self  etc. etc.
Shankara  simply rejects these nAma rUpAtmaka jagat as vAchArambhaNam since
it  is  avidyAkruta  taking  into  consideration  of  our  true  nature. In
ArambhaNAdhikaraNa  sutra bhAshya he says the *non existence* of the effect
(kArya  as  jagat)  in  reality (fullness) is confirmed.  On what grounds??
since  shruti  declares  that  the socalled effect / universe is merely the
play of words (vAchArambhaNam) & other similar reasons.

Further,   one  can  say  in  the  pUrNamadaH  shAnti  maNtra  *pUrNamidam*
represents universe...But while commenting on this mantra in khila kAnda of
bruhadAraNyaka shruti  shankara has not said that *idaM* is universe.

Just few thoughts on the on-going discussion.

Hari Hari Hari Bol!!!

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