[Advaita-l] Fw: The essence of advaita

Siva Senani Nori sivasenani at yahoo.com
Mon Sep 24 02:16:46 CDT 2007

----- Original Message ----
From: prabha prabhagc at gmail.com

> The Atman forgets its permanent (true, sat, nitya) nature of Brahman 
> and gets associated with the fleeting (untrue, asat, anitya) phenomenon 
> that the world is, due to mAyA.
I have great difficulty with this concept. Since Brahman is pure, complete, knowledge (omniscience), is it not reasonable to argue that it could not be deluded by anything including power of Maya (which itself is not separate from the Brahman)? If Brahman could be (prevailed upon), then one could argue that Brahman is not omniscient or omnipotent? Could you kindly explain where I am going wrong? 
praNAms Prabhaji.
I remember being exposed to this line of argument, but cannot recall the details. I wish I could place the context so that we could have read what learned acharyas said., rather than speculate. Anyhow, here is my understanding:
Brahman, or purushottama in the context that I heard this before, is indeed pure, and without blemish. However it is not to say that It (Brahman) is not susceptible to mAyA (not entering into an argument whether avidyA is a dosha in the normal sense): indeed Isvara, according to one school of advaita, is Brahman associated with mAyA. Similarly Brahman is omniscient and omnipotent (and to add to the list of apparent contradictions: nirvikara, not subject to modification; nitya-mukta, always free; and nitya-Suddha, always - that is, not occasionally - pure), and that indeed is the true, eternal state. Notwithstanding any of the above, Brahman is subject to the influence of mAyA and when under its influence, that part / image of Brahman subject to the influence of mAyA does not remember its own true nature / does not temporarily realise its true potential.
When we think in normal, fixed-sum (that is 1 + 100 = 101, and 100 < > 101)  terms, the simultaneous existence of Brahman in pure and deluded states appears to be a contradiction, but at this level our normal tools fail. If we replace 100 with infinity in the above, we see that the conclusions change; when we consider that we now firmly believe that light is both a particle and a wave, or that the electron itself is a temporary manifestation of the Field, the inadequacy of such a way of thinking is easier to appreciate. 
In sum, Brahman is pure, omniscient and omnipotential, and also simultaneously susceptible to the influence of mAyA. Then, why do we not describe Brahman as, "often subject to mAyA and without that, svaprakASa, self-illuminating" and rather define, or come nearest to define, Brahman as "yato vA imAni bhUtAni jAyante, yena jIvAni jIvanti, yat prayanti - abhisam viSanti" (the source, sustenance and destination of all the creatures)? We have two entities here, so to speak: Brahman - the pure; and mAyA - which causes moha, delusion. Such being the case, mixing these two muddles things up; to understand each of those, we must consider and study them separately, but know that they do mix up.
In the thousand names of Lalita, we have these two: nirmohA, mohanASinI. The Mother herself is without moha (Brahman, in its pure state) and destroys moha (influence of mAyA) in the upAsaka (Brahman covered by avidyA).

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