[Advaita-l] Advaita vEdAnta - Unit (8)

Krishnamurthy Ramakrishna puttakrishna at verizon.net
Tue Jan 23 15:59:08 CST 2007

In the last unit, we studied the concepts of material and intelligent
causes; in this unit, we will review the causes of jagat.


Brahman is the nimitta kAraNa for jagat.


BhagavAn Shankara comments in the sUtra bhAshya (1.1.10) -" samAnam Eva  hi
sarvEshu vEdAntEshu chEtana kAraNavagatih " - All upanishats declare with a
single voice that chaitanya (Brahman or Pure Consciousness) is the kAraNa
for the creation of the jagat. 


Let us review some of these statements from the upanishats.

MunDaka upanishat - 1.1.8 and 9

" tapasA chIyatE brahma tatO annam abhijAyatE

annAt prANO manah satyam lOkAh karmasu cha amritam " - Brahman expands by
tapas, which creates food, consumption of which causes prANa and creation of
mind; Then follows the five great elements (satyam); the seven lOkas
(universe). The living beings, karma and the fruits of karma follow in


" yah sarvajnyah sarva vidyasya jnyAnamayam tapah

tasmAt Etad brahma nAmarUpam, annam cha jAyatE " - One who is omniscient and
of the nature of knowledge, by Him, this brahma, names, forms and food chain
is created.


AitarEya upanishat - 1.1.1

" Om AtmA vA idamEka EvAgra AsIt

nAnyat kinchana miShat | sa IkShata lOkAnnu srijA iti " - Om - this was only
Atma in the beginning (without any name and form); there was nothing else;
It contemplated to create the jagat (an entity consisting of names and


TaittirIya upanishat - 2-6

"sO-kAmayata | bahu syAm prajAyEyEti | sa tapO atpyata " - He desired to
become many; to be born.

(I will show myself in many forms, I will be born in many forms); So He did


The above statements of shruti declare that this chEtana is the nimitta
kAraNa for the jagat. This chEtana must be there prior (between the kalpas)
to the creation. Therefore Brahman is the nimitta kAraNa of this jagat. Here
a question may arise as to why Brahman even wanted to create the jagat of
names and forms associated with all pains and sorrows. We will study later
that the jagat is created for the benefit of jIvas-for them to enjoy the
fruits of their karma.


Brahman is the upAdAna kAraNa of jagat


We concluded above that Brahman is the nimitta kAraNa of this jagat. But
this does not help us understand the svarUpa of jagat. We saw in the
examples in the last unit that we will understand the svarUpa of pot or
ornament, only when we know the clay or gold; that is when we know the
upAdAna kArana of the pot or ornament. Likewise we will understand the
svarUpa of jagat only when we understand the upAdAna kAraNa of jagat- that
is when we understand the material out of which the jagat is made. Once
again we turn to shruti for an understanding of the upAdAna kArANa. 


" shounakO ha vai mahAshAlO angirasam vidhivadupasannah papriccha 

kasminnu bhagavO vijnyAtE sarvamidam vijnyAtam bhavatIti " - Shounaka, in a
tone of humility, asks angIras; Oh! bhagavan, knowing which, all this
(jagat) is understood? - munDaka upanishat (1-1-3)

angIras replies;

" yathOrNanAbhih srijatE grihNatE cha

yathA prithivyAm Oshadhayah sambhavanti

yathA satah purushAt kEshalOmAni

tatha akSharAt sambhavtIha viswam " - Just as the spider creates and
retracts the web, just as the trees and plants grow in the world, just as
man grows small and large hair, so does all this comes out of akShara - that
which does not die - a synonym for Brahman. - munDaka upanishat 1-1-7.


In ChAndOgya upanishat (6-1-3), AruNi asks his son shvEtakEtu (this
conversation is reported to have taken place when the son had returned from
gurukula; the father asks him what he learnt there. The son discussed all
the transactional knowledge he had learnt, which was all he had learnt);

" tam AdEsham aprAkshyO yEna shrutagam shrutam bhavatyamatam

matam avijnyAtam vijnyAta-miti katam nu bhagavah sa AdEshO bhavatIti " -
That which is understood,

which was not understood before, that which was not discussed becomes
discussed, that which was unknown becomes known, do you know  "That" ?

AruNi continues to answer the question himself (6-1-4);

" yathA sOmyaikEna mritpinDENa sarvam mrinmayam vijnyAtam

syAd-vAchArambhaNam vikArO nAmadhEyam mrittikEtyEva satyam, " - Oh! sOmya,
just as by knowing a lump of clay, all products made out of clay are known;
the various products are name sake only (vAchArambhaNa) and the clay is the
Real thing,

" sadEva sOmyEdamagra AsIdEkamEvAdvitIyam " - this (jagat) was earlier the
'One and the Real' Brahman (6.2.1).


In the above illustrations, the objective is to describe Brahman; but what
is described is jagat. This can only be possible if the Brahman is the
upAdAna kAraNa (material cause) of jagat. Because by knowing the material
cause (gold) all its effects (ornaments) are known. 


So Brahman is the abhinna-nimitta-upAdAna kAraNa (undifferentiated or one
and only material and intelligent cause) of this jagat.


The Relation between kArya (effect) and kAraNa (cause).

If gold(cause) can be removed from the ornament(effect), there is no cause
(gold) any more. However, if the ornament (effect) is melted away, the
gold(cause) is unaffected. Therefore it can be concluded that the kArya
(effect) is not different from kAraNa (cause), but kAraNa is different from
kArya. Similarly,


jagat is not different from Brahman, but Brahman is different from jagat -
Statement 1.


We will review the views of other philosophies regarding the existence of
jagat and its kArana and vEdAnta's interpretation of those views. Most of
these interpretations are offered by no other than bhagavAn Shankara in His
commentaries on brahmasUta. Shankara's commentaries have been summarized in
some of the vEdAnta texts; the following is a brief version of those


The Buddhist View.


There are two groups in Buddhism  - shUnyavAda and vijnyAnavAda. We will not
discuss the shUnyavAda here. The vijnyAnavAda argues that there is no jagat
outside of our experiences, just like we experience an outside world in
dream though there is no world outside of the dream. They therefore argue
that there is no need to find a kAraNa for this jagat. There is an
inconsistency in the Buddhist statement itself. The affirmation of an
appearance of an outside world in the dream amounts to accepting an outside
world in the waking state (the logic here seems to be that, if there is no
outside world in the waking state, where is the need to even talk about it
in the dream context? so by talking about it in the dream state, they are
implicitly accepting the existence of an outside jagat). In addition, the
existence of an outside world is accepted by everyone, since they transact
business with the outside world. For example, humans and animals alike
search for food outside in order to quench the hunger inside. No one goes
after food, where it does not exist. Denying the existence in the waking
state by comparing to a dream state is inconsistent logic. After all, the
dream is a reflection of experiences in the waking state.

Following the dream, in the waking state, the difference (between dream and
waking) is obvious - for example, seeing a friend or relative in the dream
does not negate the existence of that friend or relative in the waking
state, though that friend or relative does not exist outside of the dream
during the dream. vEdAnta, therefore rejects the Buddhist view that the
jagat does not exist.


The mImAmsa view.


A mImAmsaka is a follower of vEda. He believes only in the karma kAnda -
sections of vEda dealing with karma only - and do not believe in jnyAna
kAnda. A mImAmsaka argues that the jagat is not created; it has existed (in
steady state) like this for ever from beginning-less time and so there is no
need to go after a kAraNa for the creation of jagat. Since they are
believers in vEda, shruti pramANa is invoked to counter the inconsistency in
their logic and reject their view. For example, the shruti clearly says
there is an unseen kAraNa for the jagat in the following shruti statements;


 "sadEva sOmya idam agra Asit Ekam Eva advitIyam" - In the beginning, this
(jagat) was the non-dual Reality (chAndOgya upanishat,6.2.1)

" AtmA vA idam Eka Eva agra AsIt "- In the beginning, This (jagat) was only
Atman - ( ItarEya upanishat, 1.1.1).


Other shruti statements even describe that this jagat is subject to
creation, sustenance and dissolution, as describe below.


" anEna jIvEnAtma nAnu pravishya nAma rUpE vyAkaravANi" -  I enter as this
jIVa form of Atma and classify the names and forms (of this jagat)
(chAndOgya 6-3-2). Here, in saying "this jIva", the jIva must be existent
even before the name and form. If jIva exists, then a jagat must exist to
support jIva.

" yatO vA imAni bhUtAni jAyantE yEna jATAni jIvanti yat
prayant-yabhi-sam-vishanti " - These living entities (bhUta), by which they
are born, by which they are sustained and into which they merge, describe
Brahman (taittirIya 3.1.3).

"sUryA-chandra-masou dhAtA yathA-pUrvamakalpayat divam cha prithivIm
cha-antariksham-athO suvah " - Ishwara created the Sun and the Moon,
dyulOka, earth, space and heaven as usual (rigvEda samhita 10-190-3). Here
"as usual" points to the cycle of creation and dissolution.


These shruti statements negate the mImAmsa view; the jagat has an
intelligent and material kAraNa for its existence.


We will continue with the remaining views in the next unit.


Om shAntih, shAntih, shAntih ( Om peace, peace, peace).


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