[Advaita-l] Antaryami Vishnu & anya devatas.

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at braincells.com
Mon Nov 8 01:48:06 CST 2010

On Mon, 8 Nov 2010, krishna koundinya wrote:

> "Atman has no form.  It is nitya, nirvikAri, sarvagataH.  That which is
> infinite, all-pervading cannot have any form.  Any form will limit the
> Atman".
> I am a smartha brahmin & I think I understand some of the basic tenets
> of advaita tradition. I am looking for strong vedic pramanas that
> explicitly state these that " Atman has no form or gunas". Are there
> any verses in the Vedas that state this directly ( without depending
> on inferences).??

See brhadaranyakopanishad 3.8.8 for instance:

sa hovAcha etadvai tadakSharaM gArgi brAhmaNA abhivadanti asthUlam 
anantaramabAhyam na tadashnAti kiMchana na tadashnAti kashchana ||

"He[1] said it is this Imperishable[2] oh Gargi the knowers of Brahman is 
that[3].  It is not large not small not short not long[4] not red-brown 
colored[5], not oily, not shadowy, not dark, not air, not akasha[6], not 
attached, without taste, without odor, without eyes, without ears, without 
speech, without mind[7], not lustrous[8], without breath, without voice, 
without measure, without interior, without exterior.  It does not eat 
anything and it is not eaten by anything."

[1] Maharshi Yajnavalkya speaking to Gargi Vachaknavi.

[2] Brahman which is akshara or imperishable or unchangable.

[3] Gargi had asked what is that pervades heaven and earth, above heaven 
and below earth.

[4] This four-fold negation of dimension shows that brahmana is not a 
dravya (substance.)

[5] Lohita.  Shankaracharya notes that this is a guna (quality) of fire. 
This shows that Brahman is not a quality.  dravya and guna are the two 
major concepts in vaisheshika darshan and classical Indian science.

[6] Previously Yajnavalkya had told Gargi that the akasha (ether) pervades 
the heaven and earth.  Brahman pervades even the ether.

[7] from without taste... to here are attributes of the senses so Brahman 
is shown to be beyond the comprehension of the senses.

[8] tejas can also mean power or heat.

> 5) With my very limited knowledge  I was talking to some Madhva
> followers, they told me that " NIrguna"="Nir" + Guna",

To be grammatically correct, nis + guna

> which does not mean that without attributes or gunas, but it is 
> something beyond comprehension but attributes do stay. It could have 
> been stated as "Aguna" instead of nirguna.Now I am not good in sanskrit 
> so I am at a loss.

If it is beyond comprehension then how do they know the gunas do stay? 
Isn't incomprehensibility exactly the argument the author of the blog you 
quote makes against Advaita Vedanta?

> Now  I want to know is there a difference between "nirguna" & "aguna".

Not really but they seem to be making the argument that there is a 
difference between not knowing the gunas and emphatically stating there 
are no gunas.

> If so what is it?? and does nirguna actually means without attributes.

Yes.  See shruti above.

> 6) I was also told that as an answer to Sri Madhusudana Saraswati
> swamy's "Advaita Siddhi" , Sripad Ramachandra Tirtha wrote "Tarangini"
> which refuted all the arguments in "Advaita Siddhi". I also heard of
> "advaita tatva sudha" but they maintain that it is not up to the
> standards or it is not a good refutation with some loop holes etc. How
> should we understand this?

we should read it ourselves and draw our own conclusions.

> 7) I found that Yoga Vashistha is being refuted while it is full of
> advaitic content.
> http://chiraan.wordpress.com/2009/10/12/refutation-of-yoga-vashishtha-sara/
> How should we take this ??

The author of that blog seems to have a problem with the idea that unreal 
causes can have real effects.  And he does not understand that jnana in 
Advaita Vedanta is not just a greater quantity of knowledge but a shift in 
scale of what constitutes knowledge.  Understanding these concepts 
resolves what seems like paradox at first glance.

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>

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