[Advaita-l] The essence of advaita

Shyam shyam_md at yahoo.com
Wed Sep 26 10:22:57 CDT 2007

Pranams Prabha-ji
  Yes, manifest srshti is not Ishwara's dream - you are right in not extending that drshtAnta beyond its logical frontiers.
  I think what you are trying to say/ask is "Why did Brahman manifest as the Universe? If this was because of a limitation on the part of Brahman, then can he be said to be Omniscient?"
  This is my understanding.
  There is a space-time-construct that we are enmeshed in where causality has to be assigned.There is milk right now visible to me, and tomorrow it has become curd. What caused this to happen? A "cause" has to be posited.
  As far as avidya is concerned it is anaadi, or beginingless.
  Now when we hear the term beginingless, our mind, again by its default mode of functioning, thinks of beginingless as meaning something very very very old..something before Krishna, Rama, etc.etc.Time itself is a created entity just like space, and so beginingless essentially means something that is beyond this time-space-causality matrix. 
  So it is not that "first" we posit Brahman, as One, without a second.
  "Then" this "homogeneous" Brahman develops ignorance about Itself. 
  And "from this" the worlds and universes get created. This mode of thinking should be discarded.
  In essence there is no reality other then Brahman.
  What you see is Brahman alone. What you are is Brahman alone.
  This which should be apparent is not - to whom? to me, to whom it is not apparent.
  Instead what is apparent to me is duality, which is mithya.
  This is because of avidya. This avidya - this entity "i" have always had. Why? there is no answer because it beyond cause. That is Maya. It exists, for me, because i perceive duality which is its "effect", but it is not Real, because this duality is purely notional, and disappears with the right knowledge.
  Now let us go back to the water/ocean/wave example.
  From the standpoint of the water - water is. 
  The word wave - it is just a word. it is a concept - a concept for whom??  for the many waves that look upon themselves as waves.
  Did the water "create" the waves? no! there IS nothing but water. The wave is not a separate "thing" that required to be created. In fact the water for all its omniscience could NOT create a single wave that was not water when water alone IS. But the waves (let us say) perceive themselves as waves. This is a notional ignorance on the part of the waves which harbor this "wave-sense" So the concept "wave" is relevant to them. And now with this "wave"concept that they firmly cling to and conclude to be their nature, comes the "ocean" if wave-samsara.
  What is the substratum of the ignorant wave? water
  What is the substratum of the "liberated" wave? water.
  Brahman(water) is not a "knower" It is that know-ING - that objectless awareness - that illumines the notional ingorance of the jiva(wave) as well as its notional liberation.
  This very knowing - this awareness - is never under the delusion of duality - it lends its reality as it were to this delusion so that the jiva knows - but knows himself himself to be something he is not.
  I am Devadutta is a mix of "I am" which is borrowed from Brahman and "Devadutta" which is borrowed from avidya. Fortunately in the wake of knowledge, when the notional Devadutta as someone separate from Brahman disappears, what IS is "I am"
  Maya is the power or shakti of Brahman. Saying Brahman can be subjected to or under the influence of avidya is like saying my wondrous power of sight can cause me to go blind. KNowing ones identity as Brahman one obtains the Highest goal, One returns not from That, which is the Supreme - what a pity it would be if that Goal were always at-risk for and on the alert for this "other real entity"called maya! Nothing Real can ever be "covered" by something which borrows its real-ness from it.
  So jiva/i, is/am, under the spell of avidya. this avidya is beginingless. So don't look for a cause for this avidya. Why? Not because the question is inconvenient, not because the answer is difficult, but because what is begininglesss CANNOT HAVE a cause. And Brahman is beyond both cause and effect. When we say it is vivarta upaadaana kaaranam it is only form the standpoint of the ignorant jiva who demands a cause, for a duality that has no reality to begin with. This is the only aim of Ma Shruti when in her infinite kindness and compassion for the jiva she talks about "He desired" "Having brooded on that knowledge, He created" etc etc" 
  Now, with regards to what Shri Amuthan-ji talked about, I agree with him, but only partially. I dont think asking questions about maya, brahman, how, why, etc necessarily means one is not a mumukshu, and that one is dabbling in speculative philosophy.
  What else is mananam but the asking - repeated asking - of doubts, and more doubts, and in the process crystallizing this knowledge in one's intellect.
  So doubt, you MUST, and frequently, BUT under the safe umbrella of Shraddha. Not "is this true?" but "what is preventing me from understanding the truth in this?" Let the answers come to you. These questions are not like "what is the capital of Ukraine?" which you can quickly loop up in a encyclopedia brittanica, turn to Page 555 and line 2, and find out. As a mumukshu, as a jijnasu, these questions are most natural. With the right attitude they are also very beneficial. Moksha comes from understanding the shruti vakyas. When we have lingering doubts about "tat" and about "tvam", then how can these be simply ignored??how can we put "unnecessary" labels on these questions and lock them away?? I do agree that when it comes to Maya, it is best to not enquire "into" it, as Swami Vidyaranya-ji himself warns in the Panchadasi.
  It is like solving a jigsaw puzzle - you have so many pieces strewn around, that do not fit, slowly some small pieces fit, and then some, and before you know it, pieces that did not find the right place before now are so obvious. And so it is with atma-vichara - if a particular concept, an idea, does not seem to "make sense", do not discard it (- more importantly do not discard Vedanta!), but let it simmer in the depths of your intellect, introspect, and wait for MayaDevi herself to uncover the cloaks of her own Mysteries.
  And this is precisely where both karmayoga, and bhaktiyoga play a very important role - they dont directly give you answers, but they help prepare the mind, and render it fertile, so as to enable the intellect to finally "get it". Most indispensible factor of ALL is a Guru, a shrotriya brahmanishta, who can directly provide you with answers as and when these very valid and critical questions arise. 
  Humble pranams
  Hari OM
  Shri Gurubhyo namah
prabha <prabhagc at gmail.com> wrote:
  PraNAms Shyamji!

Again, an excellent example. Your examples are great fun to read.

But, why do I have dreams? My answer has been that its because I am limited.
I consider having a dream delusional/limiting. In the dream I saw an old man
who I did not know before. He explained things that I did not know before. I
could have this dream because I am limited in knowledge (plus space, time,
and all other dimensions), but if I had infinite knowledge (and was not
limited in anyway) would I have a dream? I think not. Hence I assume that
Brahman could not have a dream. That is causing me to have these doubts. Do
you think that my assumption is wrong?

Hari OM!


On 9/24/07, Shyam wrote:
> Pranams Prabha-ji
> " >If the two are essentially the same, how can we talk about one being
> deluded (by Maya) > but not the other?"
> A few points/examples may help in this regard.
> First of all when we say the two are essentially the same, we are not
> talking about two identical entities.
> We talk about a identity of two things - jivatma and paramatma - which are
> seemingly different.
> It is like saying energy and mass are essentially the same, when they are
> seemingly different.
> So let us not lose sight of the very key words - "essentially" or "in
> essence".
> What Vedanta says is that there is the Whole, the Infinite and there is a
> something that is (taken to be) infinitesmally small, but which is in
> essence swallowed up in the Infinite, the Whole, and its small-ness is
> purely notional, and disappears when subject to proper enquiry or
> atma-vichara.
> I shall try to explain this with a second "stock-example" (- my apologies
> for my complete lack of creativity!) - the dream example.
> I see a dream. Two friends in this dream go on a hike. It starts raining.
> They rush into a hut they see along the way. They are glad to see an old man
> with a long beard in the hut. He is kind enough to give them food and water.
> They then sit to talk with him, and they talk about how fortunate they were
> to find his abode, whereupon he tells them - listen, do you know something -
> the two of you, me, this hut, this forest, are all nothing but brahman. And
> who or what is brahman? - he/she/that which is pervading the entire dream.
> Now the two friends look very surprised - with due respect dear sir, how can
> it be - they claim! You are doing the talking, we are listening, we just had
> warm rotis, our clothes were drenched in the rain - and all this was nothing
> but brahman? who is this brahman?
> He is both the efficient and material cause of that dream.
> He is the sleeper "I"
> As far as that dream Universe is concerned I lent both satta - existence -
> and sfurti - consciousness - to the dream. The hill, the trees, the rain
> clouds, the rain, the water, the food, my friend, the old man, everything in
> and through was me and me alone.
> And yet, did I for a second become old to become the old man. Did a
> particle of me get wet in that rain? Did i develop both the two friends'
> hunger and again its lack of on eating the dream food which was again only
> me? no. Now let us reverse the question - was the old man me> ? yes. were
> the two friends me? yes. Once i resorb the dream unto me, and the old man,
> the friends, even that mountain, all are destroyed - will i still continue.
> yes. So the dream friends and the "real" sleeper me are in essence the same
> - yet he the dream "jiva" was as though created and i, the sleeper, am as
> though the creator - the vishwanatha for that dream vishwa.
> I pervade the dream, i am immanent in the dream, i transcend the dream,
> and yet i remain unsullied, unattached, pure, auspicious - shivoham
> shivoham.
> How did i do this? Using my power called maya.
> Where is maya? It is my intrinsic power.
> So there are two things - me and maya?
> No ..no..there is only one, thing, Me. maya is not a separate thing that i
> wield like a spectre.
> I cannot distill or separate out this power of mine called maya - you can
> perceive it by its effect - in having successfully given an appearance
> consisting of this universe of plurality that was perceived.
> When there was the dream I was, when there is no dream or rather when the
> next dream is in potential form, i still am. In fact i alone am.
> Now what prevents the dream people from recognizing their innate oneness
> with me? ignorance or avidya alone - about what? their true nature.
> [of course one crucial difference between this example and with Brahman is
> - Brahman is in complete control over his Maya - our maya in "creating" a
> dream is so-called "borrowed maya".]
> With due respect, I would certainly disagree with Shri Senani-ji - Brahman
> is without any parts, and is completely unattached. There is no question of
> Brahman coming under the influence of maya or a part of Brahman being
> susceptible this or any such conceptualization.
> Strictly speaking omnipotence, omniscience are all never applicable to
> Brahman - Brahman is the Whole, One, without a second. These adjectives
> apply to Brahman only from the standpoint of the jiva, - the jiva regards
> himself as an entity with limited power - so he has to look to Brahman as
> all-powerful, he regards himself as being a mortal - so Brahman is
> Omniscient - he regards himself as being a karta-bhokta - so regards Brahman
> as a karma-phala-daata. And this Brahman, in relation to this jiva, is said
> to be "saguna" Brahman or maya-sahitam Brahman.
> This does not mean there are two Brahmans - or two parts of Brahman - or
> two levels of Brahman - or two anything - this is precisely what advaita -
> Non-duality - is all about.
> It is simply from the perspective of the ignorant jiva that these terms
> have any relevance.
> So yes, while the wave with a sense of an individual wave-ness and water
> are in essence one and the same -from the perspective of the water - it is
> ever water alone.
> [It is only to answer meaningless questions like when did brahman become
> ignorant [- for the benefit of someone at that stage of development -] do
> some people talk about the fall of man or that man is "brahman that got
> deluded" or irrational hypotheses of this sort. Ignorance on the part of the
> jiva is ever-beginingless - if he had a-priori knowledge he would not and
> could not get ignorant "to begin with".]
> The two names of Mother become more clear now "nirmoha" - without moha -
> Herself being in complete control of Her Maya-shakti and "mohanashini" - the
> one who, by means of the Shruti words, removes the cause of delusion on the
> part of the hapless jiva!
> Ya Devi Sarva Bhuteshu Bhrantirupena Samsthita
> Namastasyei Namastasyei Namastasyei Namo Namaha
> My prostrations to you Mother.
> Humble pranams
> Hari OM
> Shri Gurubhyoh namah
> Shyam
> prabha 
> PraNAms, Krisji.
> Shyamji has explained this very well before. Perhaps I shouldn't belabour
> this point too much, but your answer would seem to imply that the
> enery+action aspect (Maya) prevailed upon the water (Brahman) to make a
> wave
> and give the wave a separate identity (the "I" ness). That makes the water
> (Brahman) the subject of manipulation - which seems to make it less than
> complete, ultimate, unaffected etc. That is my discomfort with the whole
> idea. Anything that can violate it's unaffected-ness shows it to be less
> than perfect. That bothers me. I take it that examples are inadequate or
> that my conclusion is incorrect.
> I thank you very much.
> Hari OM!
> Prabha
> On 9/24/07, Kris Manian wrote:
> >
> > >Thank you very much, Shyamji. I am still having great difficulty with
> the
> > >concept. I realize that all analogies are limited when applied to
> > Brahman
> > >but in the Ocean-wave analogy, I get the sense that the water
> > (Paramaatma)
> > >is not deluded, but the wave (Jivaatma) is.>
> > Prabhaji,
> > Let me share my understanding from the Ocean-wave analogy.
> > Wave is nothing but water with (kinetic) energy and action. Energy and
> > action brings forth ego and the "I" ness.
> > This brings new characteristics to the wave even though it is
> essentially
> > water. So is the delusion of
> > Jivaatma.
> >
> > Another analogy is when Hydrogen and Oxygen combine you get water that
> is
> > completely different
> > from where it came from.
> >
> > Hari Om.
> >
> > Kris
> >
> > _______________________________________________
> > Archives: http://lists.advaita-vedanta.org/archives/advaita-l/
> >
> > To unsubscribe or change your options:
> > http://lists.advaita-vedanta.org/cgi-bin/listinfo/advaita-l
> >
> > For assistance, contact:
> > listmaster at advaita-vedanta.org
> >
> _______________________________________________
> Archives: http://lists.advaita-vedanta.org/archives/advaita-l/
> To unsubscribe or change your options:
> http://lists.advaita-vedanta.org/cgi-bin/listinfo/advaita-l
> For assistance, contact:
> listmaster at advaita-vedanta.org
> ---------------------------------
> Be a better Heartthrob. Get better relationship answers from someone who
> knows.
> Yahoo! Answers - Check it out.
> _______________________________________________
> Archives: http://lists.advaita-vedanta.org/archives/advaita-l/
> To unsubscribe or change your options:
> http://lists.advaita-vedanta.org/cgi-bin/listinfo/advaita-l
> For assistance, contact:
> listmaster at advaita-vedanta.org
Archives: http://lists.advaita-vedanta.org/archives/advaita-l/

To unsubscribe or change your options:

For assistance, contact:
listmaster at advaita-vedanta.org

Don't let your dream ride pass you by.    Make it a reality with Yahoo! Autos. 

More information about the Advaita-l mailing list