[Advaita-l] A Query

Aditya Varun Chadha adichad at gmail.com
Sun Mar 27 07:13:42 CST 2005


>From my understanding, there is no "active, creating God" for an
advaitin. To an advaitin, God is to be meditated upon, and not
"worshipped" or "appeased" as such. This means that an advaitin does
not "ask God" for anything, because God as such cannot "give" (since
God is not an active entity). This is the foundation of jnAna yoga.

When we talk of the various names of God such as "brahma", "viSnu" and
"Siva", we talk of manifestations of brAhmaN that are easier for the
common mind to handle. But in advaita, "tat tvam asi" is an
all-pervading truth, which means that You are also a manifestation of
brAhmaN, that is to say that You ARE brAhmaN, (just like "brahma",
"viSnu" and
"Siva"). An interesting point in this light is the fact that "Sri",
which is another name for "God", is also used as a common salutation
for common people in hindi / sanskrit.

The scriptures categorically deny the SEPERATE existence of these
forms of God. Hinduism is said to have millions of "gods" and yet to
confuse it as being like the Roman pantheism would be a mistake.
advaita clarifies this by saying that these gods do not exist
SEPERATELY from brAhmaN. They are all simply manifestations of the
same truth. So it is the seperate existance which is mithyA.

Although "worship" or "meditation" to these manifestations is
considered benificial to some extent, these are not the final objects
of knowledge. An interesting point that shows the relation between
these "Gods" and brAhmaN is the fact that in the mythology, all three
of brahma, viSnu and Siva are known to practice meditation. The
question is, if these are the "highest" manifestations of the ultimate
reality, then who / what is the object of their own meditation?

Instead of thinking of this choice between "God" and "brAhmaN" being
an exclusive one, it may be better to understand "God" as an
intermediate concept that gives direction to our search for identity
with brAhmaN. "God" is not to be worshipped for his own sake, but
meditated upon for what the concept represents, God then, becomes
something or someone to be understood and emulated, not worshipped or

If by God you mean the omnipotent God of theistic religions like
Christianity or Islam, who gives, takes away, rewards, punishes etc.,
then yes, such a God does not exist for an advaitin. The Gods for an
advaitin represent different views of the same truth, the truth that
Aatman (the Self) is brAhmaN. An advaitin must deny the existance of a
God seperate from brAhmaN, but may or may not deny the role of the
concept of God as a way of attaining the ultimate realization of


On Sat, 26 Mar 2005 13:17:08 -0800, U.K Anumula <anumula at hotmail.com> wrote:
> In Indian philosophy we come across concepts like "aatma",  "Paramaatma",
> "Brahman", and God by different names, e.g., "Brahma", "Vishnu" and "Siva"
> etc.   My question is this: Are God and Brahman the same or are they two
> different concepts?   If they are different, when "Brahma" is "satyam" and
> all else is "mithya", God also becomes "mithya".   I think it was in Devi
> Purana there is a slokam which says "maayaantu prakritim viddhi, maya
> maatram parameswaraha".   An understanding on these lines, as literally
> interpreted, would lead us to true Godlessness.   God, in such an
> interpretation, is a creature of human ignorance rather than one who is
> transcendentally real.  Idol worship and performance of various rituals have
> nothing to do with true advaita. One can be a true advaitin and at the same
> time a non-believer in God (and certainly in the various manifestations of
> God that Indian cosmogeny revels in.)  Yet at the same time, worship and
> belief in God, in whatever form, appears to be truly comforting and
> apparently even providing answers to a common man's several troubling
> questions.   Can one deny God and be a true Advaitin?
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Aditya Varun Chadha
adichad at gmail.com

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