[Advaita-l] Re: connotation of "god"

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at braincells.com
Mon Apr 25 09:38:51 CDT 2005

On Mon, 18 Apr 2005, tatha gat wrote:

> Hari Om,
> Many times, especially in Vaishanva circles, I hear
> criticism against advaita , usually revolving around
> "its an ego trip.. they say i am god, you are god,
> everything is god.. how can that be?"
> 1)
> I would like to know what does the word "god" denote
> for advaitins? My speculative understanding is based
> on the last verse of Maneesha Panchakam where Adi
> Shankaracharya  prays "From the standpoint of the
> body, I am your servant, from the standpoint of the
> soul, I am part of you and from the standpoint of
> ultimate reality, I am you" (translation may be wrong)
> Does this mean that in the structured world of names
> and forms, there are all-powerful beings - gods - who
> are vested with powers of creation etc. and there is
> no question of any identity between us and them. The
> identity is only in the unstructured realm of pure
> Brahman.

Yes, there is a difference between the human and the divine, but even
below the level of pure Brahman it is not necessary to assume an
inseperable gulf.  Rather Advaita Vedanta assumes a continuum of
consciousness from the animals up to the Gods with humans being somewhere
in the middle.

> 2)
> When a Vaishnava (or atleast a Gaudiya Vaishnava)
> thinks of Lord Krishna, he is thinking of an
> individual, a supremely powerful personality whose
> appearance and activities are described in the Srimad
> Bhagavatam. When we think of Lord Krishna, what are we
> thinking of?

This is an appropriate place to quote from the introduction of
Shankaracharyas' Gita bhashya.

dIrgheNa kAlena anuShTatRR^iNAM kAmodbhavAd hIyamAnavivekaviGYAnahetukena
adharmeNa abhibhUyamAne dharme pravardhamAne cha adharma jagataH sthitiM
paripipAlayiShuH sa aadikartA nArAyaNAkhyo viShNuH bhaumasya brahmaNo
brAhmaNatvasya rakShaNArthaM devakyA.m vasudevAd aMshena krShNaH kila saMbabhuva |

"When after a long time the upholders of Dharma had become deluded by
material pleasures and had lost the capacity for viveka and jnana and so adharma
was on the increase and dharma was being drowned by adharma, then the one
who wishes for the welfare of the world, the primordial creator Vishnu
known as Narayana, to protect the Brahmanahood of the Brahmanas on earth,
placed a fraction [of Himself] in Devaki by Vasudeva known as Krishna."

There is nothing wrong with thinking God is "a big man in the sky."  The
danger is in thinking God is ONLY a big man in the sky.  The theists want
to put limits on God.  By claiming he is only one way, they want to deny
him in all other ways.  How is this not an ego trip?

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>

More information about the Advaita-l mailing list