[Advaita-l] The essence of advaita

Mahesh Ursekar mahesh.ursekar at gmail.com
Thu Sep 20 23:15:53 CDT 2007

Pranams Sastriji:

As per your essence, the appearance of the world is an illusion - it appears
real only when viewed from the vyvaharic satta and not paramarthic. I am
unclear on one aspect of this idea. In Advaita, the mind (am using this term
loosely to include buddhi, manas, etc) is said to function only becuase its
sattvic content is reflected/illumined by the light of Brahman.

The question I have is this: From which satta are we attributing this power
of illumination to Brahman? It cannot be from the paramarthic satta since
the universe does not exist in that realm. If it is from the vyavaharic one,
then we are attributing an action (of illuming) to Brahman which goes
against the idea that Brahman can be talked of only in the paramarthic

To further explain my point we can consider an oft used analogy. Brahman is
like the sun and its mere presence makes nature act. It shines equally on
all - plant, animal or humans. When we link it to my original question
regarding the mind, in order to explain how nature functions, we are now
forced to consider the energy emanating from the sun's rays and how, for
example, it allows plants to make chlorphyll in order to grow . In other
words, instead of taking Brahman/sun to be a mere witness, we seem to be
conscious of its power working in the vyavaharic satta.

I would be most grateful for an explanation especially if I have understood
the concept wrongly.

Thanks, Mahesh

On 9/21/07, S.N. Sastri <sn.sastri at gmail.com> wrote:
> When a rope is mistaken for a snake in dim light or mild darkness (manda
> andhakAra) we say that the rope is the substratum of the illusion and the
> snake is superimposed on it. But the rope itself is a superimposed object;
> it is superimposed on pure Consciousness (i.e., brahman). So it is said in
> vedAnta that the substratum is not just 'rope', but 'rajju upahita
> chaitanyam'---   pure Consciousness with the rope as upAdhi or limiting
> adjunct. Thus every object is pure Consciousness limited by that object,
> or,
> in other words, pure Consciousness appearing in the form of  that
> object.  The
> practical implication of this statement is that whenever we see an object
> or
> a living being we must immediately think of it as pure Consciousness or
> brahman appearing in the form of that object or living being.. That is,
> the
> name and form have to be ignored and everything should be looked upon as
> pire Consciousness. This is the essence of advaita.
> S.N.Sastri
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