[Advaita-l] Advaita vEdAnta - Unit (10)

Krishnamurthy Ramakrishna puttakrishna at verizon.net
Tue Jan 30 12:54:27 CST 2007

So far we have understood that Brahman is the material and intelligent
causes of jagat.

We reviewed causes of jagat as posited by other philosophies and countered
them. In

this unit, we will revisit the advaita view of cause of jagat to firmly
establish the validity of the advaita view.


Further Review of Brahman as the kAraNa for jagat.


We established earlier that Brahman is the material and intelligent cause of
the jagat. We also countered all other views on the cause of jagat,
systematically rejecting either the logic or the inconsistency in the
hypothesis. We will now firm up the advaita view that Brahman is the
material and intelligent cause of jagat by posing some objections that one
may raise and defending the view against those objections. Shankara, in his
BrahmasUtra bhAshya, has adopted the sthUNA nikhanana nyAya -Firm Anchor
logic (firming up an anchor by repeatedly shaking it, driving it down
further until the anchor is firm and does not shake any more). Here BhagavAn
Shankara has himself advanced the kind of objections any one could raise and
has provided firm rejoinders to those potential objections, to establish
that the shruti pramANa is the only reliable basis for establishing the
jagat kAraNa.  Prior to reviewing the objections, we will revisit the
chAndOgya statement we reviewed earlier;

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


This chAndOgya statement established that kArya is not different from kAraNa
(ananya) and hence jagat is not different from Brahman (Statement 1). 

If Brahman alone existed before creation, then it is possible to say that
what ever exists now is not different from Brahman; this includes jagat (the
kArya) and jIva (which is not a kArya).  We still have not studied jIva yet;
however, we will make a statement here about jIva and Brahman (to understand
the objections and the responses), that we will establish when we study the
subject of jIva. The statement is

jIva is not different from Brahman; Brahman is different from jIva  ---
Statement 2.


Objection 1 - No Difference between the enjoyer and the enjoyed.

If Brahman is the kAraNa for jagat is accepted, then nothing is different
from Brahman. That means, the enjoyer jIva is Brahman and the enjoyed jagat
is Brahman. So there is no difference between the enjoyer and the enjoyed.
However, we experience the difference universally in the daily life. So the
vEdAntic view of "Brahman is the kAraNa for jagat" is objectionable. 

vEdAntin: This objection is not valid, because though jagat and jIva are
identical in svarUpa, they are different in presentation. The transaction of
enjoying is in the presentation and not in the svarUpa. As an example, steel
is the material cause of both the anvil and the hammer. The svarUpa of both
is steel, but in presentation, anvil is not hammer, hammer is not steel.
There is no objection to the transaction between them - hammer is the banger
and the anvil is the banged. The steel (svarUpa) neither bangs nor is
banged. Similarly, though the jIva(enjoyer) and the jagat(enjoyed) are
identical in svarUpa (Brahman), they are different in presentation and there
is no objection to a transaction in the presentations.


Objection 2 - Non-beneficial (HitAkaraNa).

If nothing is different from Brahman, even the ever suffering jIva is also

Since Brahman is the creator of jagat, then jIva is also creator of jagat.
So the jIva creates a jagat that is not beneficial to him. This is
contradictory. In addition, it is known that jIva has no role in creation,
sustenance and dissolution. So the theory that Brahman is the kArana for the
jagat is not correct.

vEdAntin: Even if the unhappy jIva is Brahman, Brahman is different from
jIva (Statement 2); As much as they are identical in svarUpa, jIva does not
have the abilities of Brahman at any time. As an example, coal and diamond
are both carbon in their svarUpa; however diamond is much more precious and
valuable than coal. Likewise Brahman is invaluable (shrEshTa) in comparison
with jIva. Regarding the other objection of jIva's role as creator etc., 

Shankara says the following in the sUtra bhAShya (1.1.2); 

" na jagatah yathOkta vishEShaNam Iswaram muktvA anyatah samsAriNOvA
utpatyAdi sambhAvayitum shakyam " - Apart from the Iswara with special
attributes described, the jIva has no capability of creating this jagat (as
a side note, if jIva can be  kAraNa for jagat, each jIva may want the jagat
to his or her liking; so we would have multiple jagats, which is absurd). So
this objection is invalid. 


Objection 3 - Brahman has no supporting Tools.

We observe tools in support of many intelligent causes, like the potter's
wheel, the goldsmith's anvil etc. Brahman does not have any such supporting
tools (we will study this later). So Brahman cannot be the cause of jagat.

vEdAntin: Supporting tool is not a necessity for all activities. For
example, we need eyes, light and mind to see an object. However some night
animals can see with eyes and mind only. A yOgi is known to see by mind
only. One may need a roller to make flat bread; however some may do with
hand only (like a pizza cook or nan maker). This objection is not


Objection 4 - Brahman has no Body/Limbs.

If not supporting tools, Brahman at least needs a body with limbs of action
and organs of knowledge. Since He does not have these (again, we will study
this in the subject of Brahman), Brahman can not be the cause of jagat.

vEdAntin: The same shruti that says Brahman is the cause of jagat also says
that Brahman has no body or limbs. A vEdAntin cannot accept one statement of
shruti and reject another statement of shruti. So the vEdAntin ignores this
objection. The shrutis declare that even without a body, creation of this
world is testament to the omnipotence of Brahman. The limitations of jIva
cannot simply be applied to Brahman.


Objection 5 - Usefulness / Uselessness of Creation.

The chEtana will engage in the creation of jagat only if there is a utility;
otherwise not. Then what is the purpose of creation? If the creation is for
its satisfaction, then it suggests that Brahman was dissatisfied before the
creation. This is against the renunciation of all desires (AptakAma) of
Brahman. Is it without any purpose? That would be a foolish play, which
violates the omniscience of Brahman - then Brahman cannot be the kAraNa for

vEdAntin: The real purpose of creation is as follows;

The jIvas of the previous cycle of creation, with all their karma would be
merged with the Brahman during the period of dissolution. These jIvas need
an environment to enjoy the fruits of their karma during the creation
before. So Brahman creates the jagat for the usefulness of jIvas to enjoy
the fruits of their past karma.


We will take up the remaining objections in the next unit.


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


More information about the Advaita-l mailing list