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

Vaidya Sundaram vaidyasundaram at vfemail.net
Mon Apr 25 10:02:02 CDT 2005

Namaskarams to the group after a long time.

Hopefully I am not of context here, and is just my 2 cents.

In his book "Sadhana - The Sipirtual Way", Swami Krishnananda has described
the concept of God quite interestingly. I was able to learn from it, hope it
helps. I quote below from different places of the book:

"The extent of subjectivity and self-sufficiency will determine the extent
of the divinity that is in a person. The gods populating the cosmos as
envisaged by the Veda Samhitas are these realities as envisioned by the
sages of the Vedas, who exist as the souls of things in the world, including
our own selves, -- the divinities are inhabiting even our own
individualities. Everything in the world is inhabited and indwelled by some

"Apart from the character of self-sufficiency of the gods, there is also
another character which is the inwardness of the spirit which constitutes
divinity. A god is an inward existence and not an outward performance. It is
more an existence and a being rather than a doing or an activity. Our
existence is mostly a performance, a work."

"It is not the work that the god does which is the defining character of a

"The more you become self-sufficient, the more also you become divine; and
conversely, the more you are divine, the more you are self-sufficient. It is
not necessary for you to ask for anything in this world if divinity
adequately manifests itself from yourself. Mere existence is God, and mere
existence also is any kind of divinity which is a particle of this divine
existence operating everywhere."

"There are only three things that are apparent to our vision in this world.
Everything is distant (everything is away and far from me); everything is in
some time and not always, and everything is separate from the other things.
This is called "desha-kala-vastu-pariccheda" in the ancient philosophic
terminology, a conditioning by space-time and individuality. Due to this
involvement of perception in such threefold categories, we begin to look
upon God as an infinitely inaccessible, transcendent, extra-cosmic creator."

To me personally, the chapter of this book titled Vedas and Upanishad's
helped clarify the idea of a single Creator beyond His own Creation, while
extolling His very presence in each individual. If we start looking upon the
concept of God as getting progressively closer to ones own "being", I think
the apparent duality of God being outside vs. inside can be resolved. There
is no ego trip here.
Also, God's apparent wielding of power is in no way a definitive feature of
"God-hood". It never was a criterion for being a God that He exhibit
superlative powers.

Hope this helps.

bhava shankara desikame sharaNam

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Jaldhar H. Vyas" <jaldhar at braincells.com>
To: "A discussion group for Advaita Vedanta"
<advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org>
Sent: Monday, April 25, 2005 8:08 PM
Subject: Re: [Advaita-l] Re: connotation of "god"

> 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
> 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>
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