[Advaita-l] An Advaitin's Assessment of Some Dvaita Remarks

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Fri Mar 5 00:12:18 CST 2010

 An Advaitin’s assessment of some Dvaita-remarks श्रीगुरुभ्यो नम:

The following remark is sourced from the site: www.dvaita.org

  //INTRODUCTION TO KANNADA EDITION of the Book ‘Gitaa-sAroddhAra’

Some commentaries on the Gita which have come down to us have tried to make
out that Advaita-vada is the true message of the Gita. These look upon Sri
Krishna, the supreme Lord, as still open to the illusion of duality. This
may be gathered from the following verse of the Pancadasi of Sri Vidyaranya:

मायाख्याया: कामधेनो: वत्सौ जीवेश्वरावुभौ । (vi.236)

“The Jiva and Isvara are the calves of the divine cow of Maya.”

If Sri Krishna had really attained the experience of Advaitic unity, he
should have realised the illusory nature of the universe and his own
lordship over such a universe. In that case, it would be a gross deception
on his part to claim to be the Lord of all beings (Bhutanam isvarah). In
order to maintain the truthfulness of that claim, it will have to be
admitted that from the Advaita point of view Sri Krishna is still subject to
the illusion of duality. It is not clear how one who is not himself
completely out of the illusion of duality can teach pure Advaita to others.


of the Sri Palimar Mutt of Udipi and the

Bhandarakere Math of Barkur (S. K.)

Translated from the Kannada Introduction

by Dr. B. N. K. SHARMA//

An Advaitin’s  Response to the above observation of the Pontiff:

In the Panchadashi, is the verse:

मायाख्याया: कामधेनो: वत्सौ जीवेश्वरावुभौ ।

यथेच्छं पिबतां द्वैतं तत्त्वं त्वद्वैतमेव हि ॥

*mAyAkhyAyaH kAmadhenOH vatsau jIveshwaraavubhau |*

*yathEccham pibatAm dvaitam tattvam tu advaitameva hi ||* (VI.236)

[Jiva and Iswara, the two calves of the celestial cow called Maya, may enjoy
the duality as they like.  But the non-dual alone is the Reality.]

The  observation of the Pontiff of the Sri Palimar Mutt has arisen out of
misinformation about the status of Ishwara and jiva in the Panchadashi in
particular and in Advaita in general.  In the Panchadashi itself there are
several verses that show the distinction between Ishwara and Jiva.  While
Ishwara is the Lord of Maya, jiva is the ‘victim’ of Maya.  Hence, the two,
Ishwara and jiva, *are not both deluded* by Maya.

We may consider the following two positions:

1. In Advaita, samsara (transmigrative life),  jiva and Ishwara (soul and
God), bandha and moksha, (bondage and liberation) etc. are all within the
realm of Maya.  Brahman alone transcends Maya and is the Sole Reality.

2. In Advaita jiva and Ishwara are both deluded by Maya.

Of the above two statements, while  1  depicts the correct position of
Advaita, 2  represents a misunderstood position of Advaita.  Evidently, the
Pontiff has subscribed to the position 2.  No Acharya of the Advaita
sampradaya has said that Ishwara is deluded by Maya.  In Advaita, samsara is
mAyika in nature.  Bondage and liberation are within MAyaa.  The jiva in
bondage as well as Ishwara, the bestower of the means for liberation, belong
to the realm of mAya alone.  This is because, according to Advaita, the Only
Reality, Brahman, has neither samsara nor liberation.  Brahman is untouched
by Maya.  It is only in order to ‘explain’ samsara and liberation that Maya
is brought in temporarily.  Once the purpose of Maya is over, it is also
discarded. Hence it is said in the Panchadashi that both Jiva and Ishwara
are akin to ‘ two calves of the celestial cow Maya.’  The play of Maya
continues, for the jiva, until he realizes his Brahman nature.  Thereupon
there is neither jivahood for him nor is there an Ishwara.  All the
jiva-Ishwara vyavahara takes place within the plane of duality created by
Maya.  The Transcendental Truth, however, is Brahman, the Advaitam.  This is
what is meant by the verse quoted above.

In Advaita, NirguNa Brahman, in association with Maya, is called Ishwara,
the SaguNa.  Ishwara is ‘shuddha sattva pradhAna’ of the Maya’s three guNas.
 Jiva is ‘malina-sattva pradhana’ while in bondage.  Thus Ishwara is capable
of  bestowing upon the jiva the Advaita Jnana which is possible when the
jiva attains immense purity in mind.  This distinction between Ishwara and
Jiva makes Ishwara never a subject to the binding force of Maya.  Ishwara is
always Sarvajna in Advaita.

Maya can create bondage as well as release one from bondage.  When it
accomplishes the release of a person from bondage, Maya extinguishes itself.
 Ishwara is that releasing principle.

Bhagavan says in the Gita that He incarnates with the aid of His Maya.  He
is the Lord of Maya.

संभवामि आत्ममायया …(iv.6)

It is one thing to disagree with a proposition  but quite another to
disagree with another.  We may consider the following two statements to
bring out the force of this statement:

   1. I disagree with the Marxian ideology (for reasons….)
   2. I disagree with all those who hold that cow’s milk is a black paste.

The Pontiff’s disagreement with Advaita is akin to 2  above.  To elucidate,
no one in the Advaita sampradaya holds that Ishwara is deluded by Maya.  He
has  disagreed with Advaita on a misunderstood  ground that ‘in Advaita,
Ishwara is still deluded by Maya’.

In the sequel are shown some verses, from the Panchadashi itself, where the
distinction between jiva and Ishwara is clearly brought out:

मायाधीन: चिदाभास: श्रुतौ मायी महेश्वर: ।

अन्तर्यामी च सर्वज्नो जगद्योनि: स एव हि ॥ (vi.157)

( The jiva is ‘subject to MaayA’ and Ishwara is the Lord of MAyA.  Ishwara
is the Indweller, Omniscient and the Origin of the Universe.)

In  verse 19 of the dvaitaviveka ch. 4 he says:

मायावृत्त्यात्मको हि ईशसंक्ल्प: साधनं जनौ ।

मनोवृत्त्यात्मको जीवसंकल्पो भॊगसाधनम् ॥ (iv.19)

(Ishwara’s will characterized by a MAyAvRtti is the means for creation of
the universe.  The jiva’s will of the nature of a mode of mind is the means
for experiencing the fruits of karma.)

माहेश्वरी तु माया या तस्या निर्माणशक्तिवत् ।

विद्यते मोहशक्तिश्च तं जीवं मोहयत्यसौ ॥ (iv.12)

(Ishwara’s MayA has two powers: The world-creating power *of Ishwara* and
the deluding power that *deludes the jiva*.)

मायोपाधिः जगद्योनि: सर्वज्ञत्वादिलक्षण: (vii.72)

( Ishwara endowed with the MAyOpAdhi is the source of the universe and is
characterized by *omniscience,* etc.)

All the above verses, from the Panchadashi, bring out the clear difference
between Ishwara and jiva.

Also, this Rg Veda mantra says that the jiva and Ishvara both ‘reside’,
operate, in the realm of MAyA:

चतुष्कपर्दा युवतिः सुपेशा घृतप्रतीका वयुनानि वस्ते ।

तस्यां सुपर्णा वृषणा निषेदतुः यत्र देवा दधिरे भागधेयम् ।

एकः सुपर्णः स समुद्रं आविवेश स इदं विश्वं भुवनं विचष्टे ॥। (10.114.3,4)

(See blog: The Four ‘Glories’ of MAyA at
http://adbhutam.wordpress.com/2009/11/03/the-four-glories-of-maya/  for a
detailed explanation of the above mantra)

To conclude, let us look at what Sri Shankaracharya says about Ishwara in
the Sutra bhashyam:

स्यात्परमेश्वरस्यापि इच्छावशात् मायामयं रूपं साधकानुग्रहार्थम् ।

(Ishwara, out of compassion, takes on, by His Maya, a form to grace the
spiritual aspirant.)

Says the AvadhUta GitA:

ईश्वरानुग्रहादेव पुंसामद्वैतवासना ।

महाभयकृतत्राणात् द्वित्राणामेवोपजायते ॥ ( 1)

[It is only by the Lord’s grace, the savior from the worst of fears, that
propensity pertaining to Advaita-sAkShAtkAra arises and that barely in
respect of two or three (seekers).]

Says the Sarva-vedanta-siddhAnta-sAra-sangraha:

जन्मानेकशतै:  सदादरयुजा भक्त्या समाराधितो

भक्तैर्वैदिकलक्षणेन विधिना सन्तुष्ट ईश: स्वयम् ।

साक्षात् श्रीगुरुरूपमेत्य कृपया द्रूग्गोचरस्सन् प्रभु:

तत्त्वं साधु विशोध्य तारयति तान् संसारदु:खार्णवात् ॥ (225)

[The Lord, being pleased with the constant and unflinching devotion and
worship in the prescribed manner, extending over many lives on the part of
the seeker, manifests Himself, in His infinite mercy in the human form of
the Guru, thereby becoming accessible to the shishya for shushrUshA and
vichara which culminate in his crossing over the perilous ocean of samsara.]

* *

* *

*Thus, there is no question of Ishwara being under the illusion of duality
according to Advaita.*

* *

It would be good if the website organizers of www.dvaita.org take note of
this and inform the Pontiff in turn. It is also surprising that
Dr.B.N.K.Sharma too failed to notice the mistaken view of the Pontiff while
making the English translation.

Om Tat Sat


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